Monday, November 25, 2019

Ok Millenials

Okay, I watched the short video clip of Ms. Chlöe Swabrick, a 25-year-old lawmaker in New Zealand. (They allow people that young to serve in government?)
I heard her say, quite clearly, "Okay, Boomer."
I confess, I thought she was talking to a dog. This was some sort of viral video after all, so it must have a dog or cat in it. But, in watching the clip again, I could see no dog beside her. There apparently wasn’t a dog across the room from her.
And if she was speaking to a dog, what exactly was she saying? "Okay, Boomer, sit." Or, "Okay Boomer, go fetch." Or, "Okay Boomer, you can go play now."
Then I learned that Ms. Swabrick was addressing, not a dog, but an entire generation of people. In fact, MY generation of people!
She said to one man, and to all of us via social media, "Ok, Boomer."
I admit, I laughed out loud. Like seriously, LOL! JJJ
What a polite and gentle way to say to people who are your parents' age: Shut the f up, you old geezer!
(I hear, in the background, all the men of Boomer age crying out, "We're not geezers!" Dudes, look in your mirror -- you became your parents over the past 50 years and you are now geezers.)
Turns out this "Ok Boomer" is a code among the Millenial generation.
My children are Gen Xers, whether they like it or not, just like I'm a Boomer whether I like it or not. We Boomers raised these people who are now young adults.
I have a clear memory of my totally cute 3-year-old daughter putting her hand on her hip, rolling her eyes, and sneering at me, "Duh!" (Where did she learn such nasty language?!?! Not from me!)
Her action went to my brain stem, and not the one that leaps in to care for people, or comfort them with pots of coffee. It went straight to the maternal, controlling one. I said something brilliant like,  "Don't you talk to me like that, young lady!" To which she responded with a huff and stomped away.
"Duh" had become a snarky response to know-it-alls. Such a simple word – nonexistent before TV and Homer Simpson – that carried complicated, terrible connotations.
Here was my perfect little girl using it, if not appropriately, perfectly. It got a great reaction out of her mother.
Now that little girl is grown up, along with all her contemporaries. They are their own generation now with their own title, GenXers. The Millenials are so called because they were born and grew up as their society crossed from one century to another – a very arbitrary birthing on their part.
And now,  apparently, they are old enough to serve in government, to have the care and feeding of people's grandchildren, to have – gasp!—minds of their own.
We Boomers were not going to raise children as we had been raised: we were going to tell them they were loved, hug them frequently, encourage them to become whatever they wanted instead whatever their parents had decided. We encouraged kindness toward all and tried our darnedest to eliminate racist language from our daily lives.
And look what happened! They care about each other, about others who are different from them, even the Earth.
My husband and I have met many, many young people through our Airbnb, and they are universally pleasant, kind, and curious. They are delightful in conversation, asking about our lives and sharing about their own interests.
I love these Millenials. I have to love someone who, out of frustration with an overbearing elder male, said something so polite and conciliatory as, "Ok." She didn't even say, "Duh!", or even worse, roll her eyes!
I'd say that young lady's parents -- probably from that Boomer generation -- did a great job of raising her.
Go young people, you fine Millenials! You rock! You are okay!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Kitten Millenial and Tomcat Boomer

This summer I brought home a kitten, six-weeks old, and cute as a button. (How did buttons get the reputation of being cute, anyway?)

Her name is Lacey. [I am unable to load a photo of Lacey, doubtless because of my birth date. Grr.]

Lacey arrived in a house with three other cats. Okay, we’re cat people. But we have a large house! 

Anyway, the first cat Lacey noticed was our yellow tabby tomcat, 6-year-old Jones. [Also, no photo of Jones.]

The second she saw him, Lacey's eyes got big and she jumped right on top of him. Jones yelled and hissed and whacked at her.

The next second, Lacey jumped on Jones again.

Finally, Jones ran out the cat door to the outdoors to nap in peace. Before exiting, I must note, he had some very unpleasant things to say to the humans who brought that monstrosity into the house. What were we thinking? Why were we destroying his peace and quiet? What had happened to our mental abilities – already limited because we are mere humans – but still?

Lacey is a wonderful kitten: gentle, curious but cautious, and follows her humans all around the house. However, truthfully, she only has eyes for Jones. If he appears in her vision, she abandons all pretense of loving her humans, and runs up to him, jumps on him, chases his tail.

No matter how awfully Jones treats Lacey in return, she still loves him dearly.

Actually Jones is showing amazing tolerance for this pest. He growls at her and hisses, and probably calls her mother cat names with his body language, but he has never attacked her. He has never scratched her. He has never jumped on her in return.

Jones knows instinctively that a kitten must be tolerated because she is young. She doesn’t know any better than to behave badly toward him: jumping at him from corners, ignoring his bad language toward her through hissing, forever watching his tail.

That’s how it is with youngsters – feline or human: they behave badly, unprofessionally, crudely because they don’t know any better yet. They resent being corrected, but they want to be appreciated anyway.

This is a perfect example of the problems between old people and young people, between generations. The Laceys of the world – now referred to as Millenials -- behave badly,  and the Joneses of  the world – currently the Baby Boomers -- also behave badly. It's a tough mix, and timeless. 

I'll share my reaction to "Okay, Boomer" in the next installment of this blog. What was yours?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Why We Have Chickens

If you've ever stopped by my web page ( you'll notice that chickens play a role in my life: a troublesome role, but beloved.

So why do I put up these flower-destroyers? Why have chickens at our house, at all?

Having chickens is not the norm – at least not in the year 2019.

Having chickens used to be very common. Historically, almost every household had a few chickens.
chickens in our front yard


For the same reason we have chickens: because chickens lay eggs.

As long as we have a small flock of healthy chickens, we get eggs every day.

Having eggs in the refrigerator makes us feel like we always have a little food. No matter what happens in the world, we won't go hungry. We may get REALLY tired of eggs, but we won't go hungry.
a sample collection of eggs

Always having food, even if it's lowly eggs, makes us feel healthy, rich, and free from hunger.

Eggs are one reason  we have chickens.

chickens eating cottage cheese
Another reason is that chickens eat our table scraps. They are omnivorous – meaning they'll eat anything, -- and they're scavengers – meaning they'll eat anything dead on the road.

Landfills are filled with food that people throw out. We don't send any food at all to landfills. We toss all our leftovers, even from restaurants, into our yard for the chickens.

Another reason  we have chickens, is that they eat bugs and weeds. Controlling weeds around our house helps prevent fire. And eating bugs, well, we're glad to have fewer bugs in our lives – that's all.

Our chickens are like pets to us. We feed them, talk to them, care for them. We don't butcher them (although we should if we were very good to the planet). We let them "free range", meaning they can walk around all over the place, pooping everywhere – which is good for grass, but kinda gross.

Anything I've missed? Do you have chickens? What are the reasons you have chickens? Would you like to begin a flock of your own? (I have some that eat flowers, that you could get very cheap from me.)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Okay to Give Up

You see them everywhere, the inspirational posters that proclaim, "Never give up on your dreams! Never!"
I am a questioner, so I ask: What if someone's dream is to be a serial killer? Don't we want them to give up?
I sure do!
And I'm here to proclaim, at the lofty age of 65, that giving up on dreams is all right. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
A newspaper article I read featured a young man who had dropped out of college. After one or two years, he decided he didn't like college, left, and was now a bartender in a small Colorado mountain town. The implication of the article was that this was an unfortunate situation. Darn college for being so tough on students, and pity the poor students who had to become bartenders instead.
The young man was unhappy about college and how it was organized. He felt like he didn't fit there. He did not complain about bartending. Maybe that got left out of the story.
Whether he liked bartending or not, he sure did not like college. So gave up on that dream, and left.
We all have dreams of what we'd like to do or be, especially as children. Our very cute little 3-year-old daughter told us she wanted to be truck driver (for some reason, this frightened her father). She also wanted to be a waitress, a cake baker, and a jazz dancer – all jobs she saw and was curious about.
Were these special dreams that we should have nourished, urging her to never, ever give up on?
One of my own persistent childhood dreams was to be a military marching band leader. I practiced marching in my bedroom and around our yard. I tossed that tall baton thingy that I'd seen used, and I practiced saluting smartly.
So what did I do to achieve that dream?
Join a marching band? No.
Join any band? No.
Play an instrument? Yes, the violin. Not used in marching bands.
Join the military? No. Although I did join the Peace Corps which I considered serive to my country.
Teach music or band? Yes, at a tiny rural school. Not enough students for a basketball team much less a marching band.
Learn how to design marching band performances? No.
Have I regretted the loss of this dream? No. I'm amused by the memory, not longing for it.
Since those days, I've dreamed of learning how to paint with watercolors, singing on stage with a back-up band, joining the astronaut corps. I've painted a picture of pineapples bouncing, played guitar by myself, and read articles about astronauts.
It's okay that I have not accomplished these dreams. It's okay that I've had lots of hobbies – crochet, cross-stitch embroidery, scrapbooking, bicycling – and that I no longer do the At some point, they each demanded that I invest more energy in order to stay interested. And I chose not to. I was don that hobby.
In all my life there is only one dream that has stuck to me like a bur: becoming a fiction writer. I've churned out short stories and novels. It's the one activity I've been willing to invest in to get better. I've gone to writing conferences, read books about writing, and practiced in journals. I can't stop. I can't stop.
I don't need a reminder to never give up, I do the work anyway.
When I look at talented committed people, I think we are alike in this respect. Tiger Woods, Simone Bales, Bill Gates, Agatha  Christie, Pablo Picasso: they followed that special dream because they couldn't stop. Obstacles were thrown in their way, and they figured out ways around, They learned, they grew, they complained, their groused – but they just kept doing that thing that they loved so deeply.
I'm guessing they all had hobbies, or tried to. They engaged in activities that they gave up on.
 Just like me.
Just like you.
Give yourself a pat on the back for having dreams, and for taking any action toward them. And for moving on to another dream, and another, and another, and ...