Let’s Dump the Poop Tank????

I like to camp.  I like going camping.  In the mountains, in the woods, at the beach, wherever.  I just like camping.  In my younger days I camped in a tent.  One of those dome type tents that has a zipper door and a zipper window on the other side.

dometentI even went camping in a tent when I was pregnant (8 months pregnant mind you) with oldest son Zachary.  That was definitely NOT a comfortable camping trip.  My ex husband and I went camping every month back  then. (1996)  We went with a camping group on a monthly camping trip.  They of course had campers.  We had a tent.  We lived in San Diego and camped in the mountains of Julian, or on the beaches of La Jolla. They were fun times, but they also taught us that we might prefer camping more if we weren’t laying on the ground, so we bought a pop-up camper.

popupcamper

That was great for awhile.  In fact we moved from San Diego to Pensacola Florida when Zachary was 6 weeks old, and traveled across the country living in the pop-up.   We probably should have rethought that, since we had two dogs and an infant, but we were young, and you know how that goes…..

Anyway, so I have always enjoyed camping, but after my ex and I got divorced I didn’t camp much.  I was busy being a single mom, and didn’t even own a tent, so that made camping challenging. So I would get my “camping” fix by going to parents night at Zachary’s Boy Scout summer camp week and hanging around the campfire with them. And after all those years of scouting in April we got:

My new Eagle scout!

My new Eagle scout!

So I was just being a single mom, doing my thing and then Karol came into my life.  She loves camping too, so it was a match made in heaven.  The difference was she was much more equipped than I was in the camping area.  She had a HUGE dome tent, AND a little pup tent AND this amazing Cabela camping kitchen.  We went camping a few times, and had a ball.  Fishing, burning marshmallows, sitting in the smoky campfire, getting tons of bug bites (well that part wasn’t so much fun), and just sitting in camping chairs drinking coffee from the percolator coffee pot on the Coleman stove….good times.

But then we decided to get crazy and we bought a camper.

We really do love camping in our camper!!  Of course in the two years since we bought our camper  things have changed some.  We bought a camper with bunk beds in the back since we had 4 kids at home at the time and the 3 boys always went camping with us.  Then Katarina moved, and it was just the 3 boys. Then Brandon graduated high school and started working full time, and had other interests (which no longer included camping with the fam), and then we only had 2 boys.

Our camper

Our camper

Now Zachary is older, and works most weekends, so he doesn’t always camp with us either, so it is usually just Karol and I and The Genius camping.  Because he is the only kid, he has the back all to himself, like his own private little room. Also we usually let him bring a friend so he won’t be so bored by himself…..I know, can you believe that Karol and I aren’t interesting enough for him???? Hmpphhhhh…………..

I am super excited whenever we go camping , and even more excited that Zachary is old enough to take care of the house while we are gone!!

It is funny to me that just two years ago, Karol and I knew nothing about camping with a camper , and in the two years we have owned it we have gotten to the point where  we have setting up and taking down the camper to a science, and we can set up and tear down in about 30 minutes.  That is 30 minutes from pulling in to being fully ready to camp. And 30 minutes from “ok, let’s get ready to go”, to having the camper hitched and ready to pull out!

But as we are tearing down, I do the inside and Karol STILL gets to be the one who dumps the poop tank!

So I say let’s go camping and Let’s Dump the Poop Tank !!!

How much Privilege do you really have?

 So I have been talking about privilege for many years.  I have gotten into arguments on Facebook and Twitter about privilege.  People almost always come back with (particularly white heterosexual males): “I am not privileged.  I have had to struggle”
Ummmm, okay, so privilege is not about whether or not you have had to struggle in your life.  It is about how society in general perceives you and judges you with regards to things like your gender, sexual orientation, race and financial status.
My friend Tonya posted this Buzzfeed (I LOVE Buzz feed, btw), with questions about privilege and to be honest I think it is a very comprehensive list, so I am going to copy it (and give credit of course) here so people may have an understanding of privilege and how it works. So, How much Privilege do you really have?
Please feel free to share your number (if you are comfortable) in the comments on the blog so it becomes more apparent to all how privilege works.
privilege-definition
Give your self one point for every comment you can say yes to: (I added the stuff in Italics)
1.  I am white.
2.  I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.
3.  I have never been the only person of my race in a room.
4.  I have never been mocked for my accent.
5.  I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”
6.  I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.
7.  have never been called a racial slur.
8. I have never been told I “sound white.”
9.  A stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.
10. I am heterosexual.
11. I have never lied about my sexuality.
12. I never had to “come out.”
13. I never doubted my parents’ acceptance of my sexuality.
14. I have never been called “fag.”
15. I have never been called “dyke.”
16. I have never been called a “fairy,” or any other derogatory slur for homosexuals.
17. I have never tried to hide my sexuality.
18. I am always comfortable with P.D.A. with my partner in public.
19. I have never pretended to be “just friends” with my significant other.
20. I have never been ostracized by my religion for my sexual orientation.
21. I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.
22. I have never been told that my sexuality is “just a phase.”
23. I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality.
24. I am a man.
25. I feel comfortable in the gender I was born as.
26. I still identify as the gender I was born in.
27. I have never tried to change my gender.
28. I have never been denied an opportunity because of my gender.
29. I make more money than my professional counterparts of a different gender.
30. I have never felt unsafe because of my gender.
31. I have never been catcalled.
32. I have never been sexually harassed or assaulted.
33. I have never been raped.
34. I work in a salaried job.
35. My family and I have never lived below the poverty line.
36. I don’t have any student loans.
37. I have never gone to bed hungry.
38. I have never been homeless.
39. My parents (or someone else) pay some of my bills.
40. My parents (or someone else) pay all of my bills.
41. I don’t rely on public transportation.
42. I buy new clothes at least once a month.
43. I have never done my taxes myself.
44. I have never felt poor.
45. I have never had to worry about making rent.
46. I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender, or salesperson.
47. I have had an unpaid internship.
48. I have had multiple unpaid internships.
49. I went to summer camp.
50. I went to private school.
51. I graduated high school.
52. I went to an elite college.
53. I graduated college.
54. My parents (or someone else or the VA) paid (at least some of) my tuition.
55. I had a car in high school.
56. I’ve never had a roommate.
57. I’ve always had cable or Direct TV
58. I have traveled internationally.(not military service)
59. I travel internationally at least once a year.(again not for military service)
60. I studied abroad.
61. I’ve never skipped a meal to save money.
62. I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is. (Or know what it is but have never had to use it)
63. I spent Spring Breaks abroad.
64. I have frequent flier miles.
65. My parents are heterosexual.
66. My parents are both alive.
67. My parents are still married. (or would be if they were alive)
68. I do not have any physical disabilities.
69. I do not have any social disabilities.
70. I do not have any learning disabilities.
71. I have never had an eating disorder.
72. I have never been depressed.
73. I have never considered suicide.
74. I have never attempted suicide.
75. I have never taken medication for my mental health.
76. I can afford medication if/when I need it.(and have a co-pay I CAN afford, even if I think it is too high)
77. I have never been told I’m overweight or “too skinny.”
78. I have never felt overweight or underweight or “too skinny.”
79. I have never been shamed for my body type.
80. I consider myself to be physically attractive.
81. I can afford a therapist.
82. I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.
83. I have never had an addiction.
84. I have never been shamed for my religious beliefs.
85. I have never been violently threatened for my religious beliefs.
86. I have never been violently attacked for my religious beliefs.
87. There is a place of worship for my religion in my town.
88. I have never lied about my ethnicity as self-defense.
89. I have never lied about my religion as self-defense.
90. All my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices.
91. I am not nervous in airport security lines.
92. I have never heard this statement: “You have been randomly selected for secondary passport control.”
93. I have never been called a terrorist.
94. Nobody has ever tried to “save” me for my religious beliefs, or my sexual orientation
95. I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.
96. I was not bullied as a child for any of my identities.
97. I have never tried to distance myself from any of my identities.
98. I have never been self-conscious about any of my identities.
99. I have never questioned any of my identities.
100.  I feel privileged because of the identities I was born with
I originally thought I scored a 30, but I actually scored a 31.  Which is a bit better but not by much!
I believe my score is only 30 because as a JEWISH, WOMAN in a SAME GENDERED relationship who has also struggled financially as a SINGLE MOM, I cannot get as many points as if I could remove one of those labels.
This also brings up intersectionality.  Look how many words in the above sentence  are bold.  I could also add OVERWEIGHT to those categories……I have many “adjectives” that describe me…. that is what intersectionality is in a nut shell.  We are many things, not just one, and each one of those adjectives, (or intersections) forms how we view ourselves and how society as a whole views us.
Please feel free to comment about how this made you feel if you are comfortable.  Until we start having a discussion about privilege it will be more difficult to remove these labels that cause separation in our society.
#womenslives  #blacklivesmatter

American flags for the neighborhood!

We have really been going through some crap in the United States lately. Shootings, burned churches, overt racism on the rise, the fight over the Confederate flag, whose picture should be on our paper money, the increased strain on our natural resources, etc etc etc.

But in this little neighborhood where I live something happened last week (July 3rd) that made me forget all that crap for a minute and actually feel patriotic and proud to be an American.  As a 20 year Navy veteran, it reminded me about why this is the only country where I want to live and how much I love the United States of America.

As I turned from my street onto the main drag that runs from the end of the neighborhood to the main road, this is what I saw:

Little USA flags lining both sides of the street

Little USA flags lining both sides of the street

A friend of mine took this pic.  Flags lining the street and military personnel in their PT gear running down the street surrounded by the flags:

flagsandtunners

Then she posted this picture a few hours later:

noflags

Notice something different??

Yup, the flags were gone…….after just a few hours…..so what happened?  Where and why did they disappear?? What happened to the American flags for the neighborhood!  ??

Do you see the little paper on each flag in the top picture?  That was attached to each flag, and it gave the name of the lady who bought them and donated them to our neighborhood, of her own unselfish accord.  However, unfortunately she also had her Realtor credentials on there, so the flags were deemed “solicitation”.  However, before they were deemed “solicitation” one woman complained and according to her was told that “they weren’t allowed to be there”,  (side note, they have been placed by this woman for years with no problems), so she took it upon herself to pull up the flags with her children.  ALL the flags………with her CHILDREN….. (oh and by the way she is a military spouse and was in the military herself)

One of my friends from the neighborhood started a private conversation on Facebook letting us know that this woman and her kids were taking down the flags.  I was out running errands when the FB messages started coming in.  When I read them I was so angry that I decided to do something about it!  So I called the HOA office and asked what was going on.  I was told they had “received a few calls about the flags being solicitation”.  I did ask why that particular lady and her kids were removing the flags and I was told she had decided to do that on her own.

So my next call was to the HOA President who agreed to let the flags go back in as long as the paper was removed from them.

My next call was to the woman who  purchased all the flags to ask her if she was okay with her name being taken off the flags so they could go back in the ground.  Of course as I expected she didn’t put the flags on the road for personal gain, but as a nice gesture to the neighborhood, so of course she said “YES!”  So with just a few phone calls, the situation had been fixed.

And just between you and me, I was all about making sure this happened just to show this woman who complained that she wasn’t going to win…..  so I was determined to make some phone calls and negotiate a way for the flags to go back!

In the meantime I posted on Facebook that the flags would go back up, and was looking for people who would come out and help replace them. (there had been an uproar on the private FB group for our neighborhood about the flags being removed).  A large group showed up to help the next morning at 8 am.

Neighbors replacing the flags.  :-)

Neighbors replacing the flags. :-)

The kind, selfless, woman who placed the flags to begin with (Christina Kreutter) is in the back on  the left wearing a white hat.  There are at least two military retirees and four active duty military members in that photo as well!   There are probably hundreds of military families in this neighborhood which is why Christina’s gesture was even more meaningful!

Now just to keep things balanced and try to tel the WHOLE story, the woman who pulled up the flags with her children claimed that there were some flags on the ground because they had been knocked down by the cars driving by.  She stated when she called the HOA office to ask what to do about that, (ummmmmm why she needed to call is beyond me…..just put them back in the ground duh), she said she was told “they shouldn’t be there”, and so she was “helping” by her and her kids taking them up……

I find that story hard to believe.  If you were concerned with the flags on the ground, then just put them back in a bit farther from the road.  If you were concerned about MORE of them being knocked down, then just move them ALL back a bit….don’t take them out of the ground….sheesh….doesn’t take rocket science to figure that one out…..

Anyway, this is how the neighborhood looked from Friday morning July 3 until Monday evening July  6:

flags4

flags1

flags in bg

If you are in the Hampton Roads area, and need an honest, caring, Realtor I know a few……and one is Christina Kreutter, ABR, SFR.

Thank you Christina for making our neighborhood beautiful and reminding us that the United States is a beautiful place to live.  You filled our hearts with patriotism and pride!  And thank you to my friends AND neighbors who rallied together to replace the flags and make our neighborhood beautiful!!!