Posted in Internal Thoughts Opinion

Where is Generation X?

Disclaimer: There are of course exceptions to everything, this post is about the generality of Generation X.

As a member of Generation X, I used to always wonder why the media is fairly silent on my generation in comparison to the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. If you watch the news, or read articles online, Generation X is almost non-existent in the discussion. I used to be annoyed about it, would grump at people and wonder not only where we the latchkey generation as kids, evidently we were also that way as adults. I found an interesting article on Business Insider that covered it a little here that did back me up a bit.

My grumpiness about Gen X has changed though when I realized an important point. We really aren’t a separate generation, rather we are sort of the place between generations, the grey area where boomers and millennials touch. My husband and I have talked about it for years now and it has become a lot clearer. We really don’t have our own place.

Don’t get me wrong, Gen X does exist, there are things about our generation other than the music and some movies that aren’t present before or after, but we don’t really have any things that we can show off as our own. Unless of course you count that we have been hit by a lot of recessions and we aren’t quite young enough to change it around like the Millennials can, while not having the resources to start with that the Boomers had.

Ok, the Breakfast Club is a solid legacy of Gen X.

Our generation is divided between the boomers and the millennials. I realized this as I watched my friends fall into those two categories as we have gotten older. Now that I am on the higher half of my forties I realize some are boomers, some are millennials.

The boomers overall have kept to their parents outlooks. Generally more conservative, more religious and believing that things shouldn’t changed. These are the people more likely to talk about making America great again. They don’t like society changing, they think everything is going to hell in a hand basket and don’t believe in same sex marriage or gender identity. They believe in owning the biggest homes they can, the nicest cars, working the best jobs even if its at 80 hours or more a week and that the economy will fix everything so capitalism is good.

The second half is where I believe you first see the ideals of Millennials had started. The people who keep up with technology, who believe in equal rights, same sex marriage and that people can determine what gender they are based on what is right for them. Same group that doesn’t believe wealth is the way to success and that they have to maintain the planet for future generations, whether or not they have children. Most have cut the cord to their TV.

This placement between generations doesn’t seem to be the first time. There are other generations just in the last century that appear to be a parallel to Gen X in their invisibility, and as buffer between generations. These include “The Lost Generation“, people who came to adulthood during the First World War. You hear a lot about their children, the “Greatest Generation” that fought World War II and brought our economy to become the leader of the Free World, but you never really hear about them.  The “Lost Generation” underwent the horrors of World War I, and especially in Europe, but also in America the generation was shattered by that war, and never recovered fully.

Ernest Hemingway, from the Lost Generation (Writer/Journalist)

The Silent Generation” that grew up between the “Greatest Generation” and the Baby Boomers. Some of them fought in World War II, but most came of age in the late 1940s and 50s and fought in Korea and early Vietnam. They were sometimes considered the luckiest generation as they came after World War II so they were not as likely to see combat (Korean War had much less casualties and a lot smaller military), they enjoyed the increase in lifestyle, retired the earliest out of everyone but with all that no one really talks about them. Their deeds are often assigned to the Baby Boomers, but in fact many of those Civil Rights Movements were pushed by the Silent Generation (Martin Luther King Jr. was a Silent Generation member)

Joan Didion, Silent Generation Writer/Journalist

It makes me wonder if the cycle for the generations is longer then we try to make it.

With my experience of Gen X, I wonder if we need to span 30-40 years for each generation, with a known grey area between. That would explain a lot to me about Gen X and why we seem to be conglomeration of Boomers and Millennials, just either too young or too old to fit those designations at this point. It would also explain why the Lost and the Silent Generations, each sandwiched between two other talked about generations didn’t get much recognition as their own and seemed to have the same situation where many of their people fit into the generation before and after them.

So nowadays when people ask me at work to form into groups or to express who I identify with, I generally identify with the Millennials. That being said, I still have no idea what happened to Generation X.

Posted in General Update Opinion Transition

How does Phoenix rank for LGBTQA Experience?

survey-checkbox-istock-580

I have to admit it, right now my experiences in other cities dealing with the LGBTQA thing hasn’t been super good. Philadelphia was good, Denver kind of sucked, Atlanta really sucked, so coming to Phoenix I was pretty sure it would be the same.

It wasn’t, overall it was a good experience, barring one funny negative experience that really wasn’t negative.

Our arrival in Phoenix was marked by a rare homophobic event. We were in line at Alamo Car Rental, and ahead of us we watched a couple get harassed by an Alamo agent. He was pushing the “walk away” insurance, and all the extra things. He was pushing it hard enough that it made the rest of the line nervous.

clueless-alamo-rollin-with-the-homies-in-an-alamo-rental-car

It was our turn, as we stepped up I braced for the selling pitch. He began a long spiel of why we needed the walk away insurance, that Arizona law lets them claim for lost days if the car was damaged, etc etc. It was then my wonderful husband spoke up and asked me a question, but used the term “sweetie” for me.

The guy froze, his head went back and forth between us, and without any further mention he has me sign off the contract and we walk away without him saying a word. So while it sucked he obviously had a problem that two guys were together, it worked in our favor and the spiel stopped.

i-hate-the-word-homophobia

Our next encounter was at the Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Once again most of the staff were older people, so we were prepared to get a hard time. When our tour guide Judith arrived to give the tour, my fears blossomed. She was an older, conservative appearing woman.

However, she realized fairly soon into the tour (followed by a second tour for a different subject) that the hubby and I were together. Instead of any homophobia, she just talked to us even more. She seemed overjoyed that we liked listening to the tour, and wanted to know the history. It was definitely a great experience, and Judith is a great lady.

Dr. Meltzer’s office of course is super accepting, so we don’t need to go into that, but the Greenbaum surgical center was an unknown. However we arrived there and ALL of the staff were great, accepting of me arriving at any time day or not to visit the hubby. At no point did I not feel welcomed. It was impressive.

The rest of the time there was spent mostly in the hotel room, so the only other people we really saw were the hotel staff and they didn’t blink an eye at us. I don’t know if they were ok with us, but they kept their professional cool if they did.

That means Phoenix ranks a close second behind Philadelphia in my experience in accepting LGBTQA. I am not addressing the governmental/legal standpoint of transgender people here, just my experience with individuals

Of course I am posting this Sunday, a day early from our trip ending, hopefully that won’t change in the next day.

Posted in Internal Thoughts Memories Opinion

Food Security and Emotional Issues

I have always had a weird love/hate relationship with food resulting in some issues. I do emotionally eat, counting calories freaks me out and I have the hardest time leaving food on the table.

I grew up extremely poor (living in a car poor). This meant from the age of 8 or 9 on we were on food stamps. Contrary to what the DSHS people said back then (and the conservatives) they do not give you enough food stamps to feed a family. Nowadays DSHS  just say its only supposed “augment” someone, not be the sole food support. That is all fine and good if you are a single or adult couple, but anyone who seriously thinks its ok to only “augment” feeding a child is full of shit.

We ate well at the beginning of the month (no, it wasn’t all steak and caviar, fuck you conservatives). By the middle of the month the food was running out and we were living off of food bank contributions. By the end of the month there was donating blood and whatever other ways to scrounge up the money. All of this meant I had stretch marks on my hips and belly.

Coming back from the food bank. I have learned since then how to photograph better.

You heard me right, as a teenager I was skinny, and the weight fluctuations between the beginning of the month and the end of the month left stretch marks on my sides and belly that were there until my early 20s. The girls I was intimate with were usually disturbed by it. Even Wolsey commented on it when we started dating. I didn’t understand that stretch marks weren’t normal. I had just assumed that was normal.

We might have lived in a car, but it was a stylish car.

Food was a big deal in my family. If there was a holiday, or if some emotional trauma occurred my parents would beg, borrow or sell things to buy us something special. On the super rare times, we went out to eat, we finished everything brought to us. Hell, we finished everything at home for the same reasons. You never walked away from your plate with any food on it.

Things have been weird now for 25 years. I have always been ok with food security since I moved in with my husband, I have been in a stable relationship and within a few years my stretch marks left. We have always made enough to cover our bills and groceries and this scarcity hasn’t been an issue.However, I still fight with the following:

  1. I literally have to force myself not to eat all my food on my plate, especially when I am in a restaurant. It freaks me out that it is a waste of money (which it isn’t, and I can afford easily anyways). The thing is I logically know this even if it bothers me a lot.
  2. I can afford to emotionally eat. While it was a great internal relief as a child/teen because it was a rare occurrence, nowadays if I am upset I crave sugar, especially something like jelly beans and licorice I can buy it at will (and I do some of the time).
  3. The worst part is counting calories. I don’t know why, but it makes everything else in my life just explode. I can follow a regimen, eat the same thing every day, but I then get compulsive in checking. Then I just get aggravated, then the hubby gets my venting. We have tried it off and on for years, but counting calories, and diets in general do not work for me. The panic attacks are not worth it. I still can’t tie out why this bothers me.

I thought I would just ramble about this because I am looking at working out more. I would like to build up my stamina (and hey, losing fat isn’t a bad thing). I know that diet is more effective, but I don’t see myself changing my eating habits by a lot. So, I guess I am just explaining why a diet isn’t part of my future conversations about working out. I will try and eat a bit better, but no calorie counting, or crazy (e.g. stupid) diets.

Today was a sharing day.

Posted in General Update Internal Thoughts Opinion

Work and training

I have been quiet for a couple weeks because of work. I got selected to become our office’s Data Analytics Expert. I am good with this, it will be really nice on my resume and I will get to do what I like and dig into data. The hard part is the training. I have a lot of experience with data analytics at my prior state jobs (it hasn’t been done before now with this fed agency) so I have seen it. However, I am out of practice by several years so I can use the training, even if it is at a bad time.

The frustrating part is most of my coworkers are reluctant or even hostile to the idea of focusing on analytics, data mining, and other forms of analysis. They just want to do what has been done for the last 20 years even though it is slower, longer and not as effective. Doing analytical procedures will help sift through the multi-gigabyte size exported files. Personally I think it is a great thing. I look forward to it, but I hope that it isn’t avoided by everyone else and this turns out to be a pointless exercise.

There is however some issues with the timing of this. As seems to be the case for all things in my agency, things need to be put off and off and off, then all of a sudden they have to be done NOW! They decided to give me the data analytics expert position more than three weeks before they even told me. They had “forgotten” to tell me, so it was a last minute decision right before Christmas that we need to have all this training. We are currently on a very restrictive deadline for our forward pricing project. We have to have the audit done by end of February. The hard part with my new position is the almost 100 hours of training I have to get done in addition to be done with my portion of the audit.

I have spent a week at work doing online training (the prep courses) and I got some of my auditing done. However, next Tuesday I have to fly down to Los Angeles, stay there and fly back to Seattle on Friday. Saturday I will have off with the husband and then I fly back down to San Diego Sunday and will be down there until the following Friday. I won’t really be able to touch my audit until after the first of February, meaning everything is tight at work. Although I am fairly fast and I suspect I will be ok. I just hate the idea of being behind by 100 hours worth of work.

I am thankful for several things though. The first being that I stay in the PST time zone. I absolutely hate trying to get used to getting up at 5am EST (2am my normal time, that is even earlier then my actual early wakeup). Second, and more importantly, I am excited I am not in the deep red south. I don’t think I could handle being down there while I feel like I am in a week of national mourning for the inauguration day next Friday. It will be hard enough in our conservative agency, but to put up with the red south this month isn’t going to work (and honestly won’t work for me for at least the next four years). Let’s hope we all survive the coming apocalpyse

 

Posted in General Update Internal Thoughts Opinion

Shit…

I realize I haven’t been on much, life is busy. However, last night’s election has definitely made things more anxiety filled. I have a post on Accidentally gay I wrote about. I am going to crosspost it here.

I am sure this is only the first of many posts dealing with the results of the elections this year (2016). I had several articles/posts ready to be worked on but after last night I figured I should get my initial thoughts and feelings out for posterity.

Yep, its like that.
Yep, its like that.

I am not too surprised at what happened. Of course I am hurt that a sexist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic person was elected, but not surprised. I have spent a lot of time traveling over the last two years to the southern states and it was there I saw this in action the most, but I have seen it locally as well.

Don’t get me wrong, there was more than just the sexism, racism, bigotry and homophobia that was the cause for his election as president. People are angry, they want real change. Sadly I don’t think they are going to get the change they really want from a rich guy who has been bankrupt four times. People are reaching to make something great, when it was never great in that way.

After I watched the election results roll in, I felt like I was punched in the gut though, not because of all the slew of liberal/progressive issues I am in favor of, but for the safety of Wolsey. The first thing I thought about was his safety.

We fortunately live in a very very blue area, but this election has not only shown we haven’t progressed as a society as far as I had hoped, but there will be those that will take this as a sign to attack verbally, physically, legally anyone that doesn’t believe like they do.

I am suspecting there will be an increase in attacks on the LGBTQA community, even in my blue area. I don’t worry about myself. I am a big guy, most people leave me alone anyways, and even if they don’t it isn’t much of a worry. I worry a lot about my husband though. Not that he isn’t tough, but he is the person I love most in this world. I don’t want to see him in pain. This includes emotional pain from the hatred that this election is spewing forth towards everyone, especially transgender individuals.

I suspect I will be writing a lot, which is a good thing for me anyways, but I wish it was for other reasons.

I guess we get to live in “interesting times”. Personally I would rather live in boring, safe and happy times.

Posted in General Update Internal Thoughts Opinion

Why I won’t own a house Part 1

homeownershipI get a lot of people that are both friends or coworkers who constantly don’t understand why Jello and I don’t buy an adult house (meaning the American ideal of a house or condo, we would buy a mobile home but that is a different post). There are several reasons for our lack of interesting buying a home, price being the biggest, but also flexibility, commute and a few other reasons. Let me see if I can break out the biggest reason of price here.

First a little background, I live in the Seattle area and evidently the median price is $513,000. Let’s be honest I won’t even come close to that in affording it (no way I want to buy something that is a half a million dollars, or about 10 years of my income at this point before taxes). So I will pick one of the lower priced neighborhoods.

I do love the Seattle area.

Westlake (the other areas can be sketchier and honestly harder to get places to buy). The average price is $367,000. Seattle is very dense, so I will need to probably pick a condo to get a low price like this. Looking over the available condos in the area on Zillow I found a 783 square foot condo for about this price (actually slightly higher) in a more run down area of Westlake.

Overview at Westlake, yep no houses around to buy, but “cheap” condos are here.

Let’s say I have $67,000 in my pocket to put down to avoid the extra insurance needed for homebuyers with less than 20% (no, I don’t have that money anywhere but for argument sake let’s say I do). The best interest rate I can get seems to be 4%, and 25 year loan will be normal. So I borrow $300,000 (see the attached report for breakdown of a loan with NO PITI, insurance, etc, it is purely for the loan).

Per the bankrate website, I will end up paying $475,000 out of pocket ($175,00 in interest), plus the downpayment (for a total of $635,000) for a $367,000 house. I realize people will say “but what is the cost compared to rent”. It comes out to $1,583.00 a month. Which is $400 more a month than what I pay now.

Yes yes, I own it, but that isn’t the end of my cost. I still have to pay for regular condo insurance (not counting the loan insurance for under 20%), taxes and home owner’s association dues since it will probably have to be a condo. I looked up the following utilizing Geico insurance and King County website for taxes owed on a unit that is actually only $337,000 (10% less value then what I have here, so the actual taxes would be more).

Definitely more than just a mortgage payment.

Condo Insurance costs me approximately $112 a month for only $200,000 to fix the home. Property tax for the sample unit I picked out that was similar price was $2,900 a year, or $240 a month. The Home Owner’s Association dues are $350 a month (which isn’t that bad in the area).

Let’s not forget maintenance, the average maintenance recommended by many organizations is 1%. I have linked HSH’s website for source. That means for a $367,000 house, I should be putting away $3,670 a year, or approximately $300 a month. So let’s break down the total cost:

  • Mortgage:              $1,583.00
  • Condo Insurance: $    112.00
  • Property Tax:        $   240.00
  • HOA Dues:            $   350.00
  • Maintenance:        $   360.00
  • TOTAL:               $2,645.00

Let’s compare that to my rent, which is approximately $1,200 a month, plus $25 in rental insurance for a whopping $1,225. Which comes down to $1,420 LESS than what I would pay for a condo at the medium price. Remember, all a condo really is, is an overdone apartment (and not even overdone well usually). To own a house that has actual yard is probably close to 50-100% or more than what I have outlined here.

Important note: if you look at the attached report Mortgage Calculator Report – 300k Home, the first five years of payments an average person pays $580-710 a month in principal, the rest is interest and does not add to the equity of the house. That means for the first five years, $1,980 a month is going away just for the “honor” to buy a house. An equivalent apartment I have found (that is far nicer than the condo I looked at) runs about that much.

I could turn around, take that extra $700 I have left a month and invest, party, pay off debts, or just find a different job that pays up to $5 an hour less.

I think instead of buying a house, I am good with living in a super nice apartment, with extra pocket money and not worrying that something will break (that is the owner’s responsibility).

 

Posted in General Update Internal Thoughts Opinion

9/11 Unpopular Opinion

Lovely husband's magic egg!
Lovely husband’s magic egg!

Oh dear god I am going to get bombarded with “Never forget” posts. I hate these posts for one reason, certain groups bang the drums to this shouting how we are in danger and the evil of Muslims. That we should reduce our freedoms and invade other countries in the name of security.

Don’t get me wrong, it was horrible that approximately 3,000 people died, but our stupid “never forget” backlash got us into a war in Iraq, lost our freedoms and soared the debt and deficit (notice I did agree with Afghanistan but our subsequent halting to attack Iraq doomed the good in Afghanistan).

We now live in an age of fear, not because of terrorism but because we choose fear and fake security over the ideals of free citizens. The terrorists won, not because they enslaved us, but because we allowed our fear to enslave ourselves.

Let’s put this into perspective. 3,000 poor souls died that day. However approximately 10,000 – 18,000 people die every year from drunk driving. Since the 9/11 attack if we are super conservative with the numbers,about 150,000 people have died from drunk driving. That is 50 times more than died on 9/11 (and that is HUGELY underestimating alcohol related deaths).

I am not saying it isn’t sad, but we need to focus on the here and now, not the fear mongering that the term “never forget” really means.

http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/by_the_numbers/drunk_driving/index.html

Posted in Internal Thoughts Opinion

Blue Lives What?

freedmanstreetcops1First, I need to say I feel badly for the two cops executed and their families. That is a horrendous thing that should never have happened. Most cops are good, (although I won’t call a cop good if they are in the same department and don’t point a finger at the bad cops) and I assume these specific cops did not deserve it.

However, I see this trend on several social media sites were people (usually white middle class or above) are ranting that they “better see some protests now” for the cops, as if this is the same thing as what happened to Eric Garner or Mike Brown. I am sorry but your white privilege blinders are showing.

It is by no means the same thing. 

Cops have access to their own powers of law (arresting people, killing people, etc) but in addition to this they have the entire societal, court and government systems behind them. You can be guaranteed that any cop beat up, let alone killed will have the person accused of doing that indicted for a crime. The cops have the power, they not only have it, they ARE it.

The reason for the protests is because minorities do not have any recourse. They don’t have the power to arrest someone who victimized them, they don’t even have the power to stop from being victimized. They especially don’t have the ability to stop being victimized by those with power (aka COPS). A minority group member is unlikely to have the victimizer be indicted or charged, especially if that victimizer is a cop.

The idea of protesting is to underline that power imbalance and to protest it. It is to bring to the people in charge, that everyone else isn’t being treated “equal”. It is to protest the victimization of minorities who daily have to worry how someone in power (e.g. a cop) is going to treat them.

This is why there are no protests to underline the power imbalance for cops, because they are the power imbalance. Cops don’t need attention or support, they already can do what they want.

The whole switching #BlackLivesMatter to that stupid Blue Lives Matter (no I won’t actually hashtag it) just shows the complete misunderstanding that both the cops and the white media have of the situation.

Posted in Internal Thoughts Opinion

End Day 2 in Atlanta

opinionYesterday wrapped up pretty well. The schooling was long, and not very effective, but the first day of this type of training is often like that. The people are nice enough, the trainers are working hard.

Got home and worked out on a cardio bike for 20 minutes, then a 30 minute upper body workout (the new app I have turns out to kind of suck, so going with a different program). The workout room here is a lot worse then the one at our apartment complex (mostly just cardio and a few free weights) so I doubt I will get much working out here.

A friend pointed out that it is election time (which I forgot, we just get our mail in ballot and do research from there, we don’t watch tv) after I talked about the horror of the political ads here. Almost every ad isn’t about the issues, but about either illegal immigrants are taking all the jobs, or that Obama’s “horrible laws” will be upheld if they don’t vote in or out certain candidates. The worst part is people freaking about Obamacare!!!!! (yes the exclamation points are needed). It is obvious no one has ever researched the Affordable Healthcare Act.

In fact I was talking with a group and they were against Obamacare, I asked about if they read it and they said no. Not even two minutes later they were bitching about health insurance companies and the fact that medicaid wasn’t expanded. Then several of them were bitching about feminists and the gays (and yes, “the gays” is how they referred to it). I quickly retracted myself from the situation.

Now, I complain a lot about here, but I did watch something on their news I have to take my hat off to. Evidently a guy ran his car into a group of people (including a cop). It wasn’t until he hit the cop that the cop fired a single shot at him. If this was in Seattle, the police department would have shot the wrong person 22 times, then charged that person’s family for the bullets. At least at this point it seems like Georgia police are less likely to just shoot people (although that could be wrong, I have only been here two days).

Posted in Internal Thoughts Opinion

Fred Phelps

Today there was an article that Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, is in a hospice dying. I have thought about this day in the far past, the final days of one of the most hateful men is actually something I put thought into before.

Years ago I would have cheered his death. I would have hollered, hooted and made it a reason to throw a party. Even before my husband came out, I had many friends (including my at the time wife) who were either gay or bisexual. Not only that, but his treatment of pretty much everyone else made me hope for his death. It wasn’t just the protests of funerals, but the way he treated his own church members as well.

I would hope not only that he dies, but that he would die in extreme agony, alone and distraught that no one cared for him. I even hoped that maybe he would think at the end that it had all been a lie. I hoped for whatever last moment crushing of his spirit (and body) that could happen.

However, today when I heard about his impending death I realized a few things.

  1. I haven’t actually thought about him in a long time, even when I see the shenanigans on the tv, he leaves my mind as soon as the news article is over. I haven’t given him a single ounce of energy beyond the initial response everyone has to his church’s actions.
  2. I realized that I wasn’t ecstatic that he was dying. There is no overwhelming joy, and no desire to throw a party. In fact I kind of felt empty about it.
  3. After I read the article, my response was for me to hope that he found some sort of peace in these last few days. I know some people don’t think he was troubled by what he did, and that may be true. Something was broken inside of him though, I hope maybe he got some clarity.

I am not sure what the change in my outlook is, or really when it happened. I suspect as I grow older that maybe I take a longer view of the world, or maybe I have just seen enough hatred in the world that I don’t want to give it any more energy then it gets from me.

I don’t forgive him for what he did, and I wouldn’t weep if he ended up in his own hell (if something like that exists), but I don’t have the hatred myself towards him. Unlike a lot of people who are crowing upon his demise, I just sighed, clicked the link and moved on (well except for this blog post and my realization I didn’t have the hatred anymore).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/16/fred-phelps-dying-death-westboro-baptist_n_4974584.html