General Blips

So I wrote this long and very cool blog post yesturday…wordpress used to auto save your drafts, what happened to that feature???  I am going to attempt to recreate it today…ugh….I wanna scream!!! ( A very Butch scream that is.)

WordPress Aggravation

General Blips

Have you ever received a little note, tucked into your lunch or the pocket of your jacket?  Maybe attached to an article you wrote for your local paper?  A note that said “great job, I am proud of you” or something of similar praise?

How did that note make you feel?  Did you smile and feel great for a few moments?  Did you keep the note safely tucked in your jewelry box or wallet?  Reading it when you were maybe having a tough time or a bad moment in a day?  Did it uplift your spirits and make you want to write a note to someone too?

Little notes and cards can touch us in ways that are insurmountable.  They can change us forever with just a few words scribbled hastily on a scrap of paper or a post-it note.  Cards can be even more impactful sometimes – although the spur of the moment note can be our favorite.  The little “Thank You” card you receive for doing some seemingly small thing for someone that helped them and changed the outcome of a particular day or event for them is just as powerful as that scribbled note.  And it’s the more formal salutation to someone we noticed who took care of us in some way.  

I love to get notes and cards, like anyone.  But I love to send them more than I like receiving them.  It makes me feel good inside to sit down, write out a small card as a token of my deepest appreciation; a sign of my caring for someone in some small – or big – way and letting them know that they make a difference in my life every day.

It doesn’t take a lot of energy or time to write these words of encouragement, thanks or gratitude to a person in your life.  And that time and energy is worth it tenfold on the other end.  

My father once said “It is an honorable and classy person who sends Thank You notes and the such.”  I took his words to heart, and wanting to BE that honorable, classy and memorable person to others I have made it a habit to send them to people.  Especially when I know it will touch that person, boost them up and lift their spirits when they open it and read it.  

Writing out cards and notes is just one of the ways that I try to change the world for others.  I offer up words of thanks, encouragement, sympathy or inspiration – whatever is needed and appropriate at the time.  I picture the person opening or finding my hidden note, and the smile that will spread across their faces.  I write in hopes of changing one stressful moment in a day into something memorable and peaceful for their hearts.  

I am very careful not to “fluff” my notes/cards.  I write the truth and I write with sincerity and compassion for the receiver.  I don’t want them to ever feel that I just wrote to be cordial or proper, but that I wrote the words specifically for them and from my own heart.  

Here are my hints for writing a good note or card to someone who has impacted your life in some positive way.  

1.   Be specific, tell them why you are writing, what thing they did that you noticed or appreciated.

2.   Be sincere and honest.  Tell the person exactly how they made you feel, or how they made your day.

3.   Be brief, but to the point. Don’t over do it. Flattery will get you everywhere, until you sound like you are going over the top.

4.  Be prompt, write the note shortly after the fact.  After 2 weeks your message will be old, and outdated to the receiver.  They will still respect receiving it, but it won’t have the same bold impact as a prompt volley.

5.  Unless you live with the receiver, send your note or card in the US mail.  Splurge for that over-priced stamp, use nice paper and a nicely writing pen or choose an appropriate card for your local card shop or your desk top collection (everyone should pick up cards and note cards in their travels for future use, you often see unique ones in your travels, why not buy a few for future use?)

6.  Make your recipient feel valued and special.  Many people work in thankless jobs today, the secretary at your child’s school who helped with a minor problem, the doctor who saw you on the spur of the moment for that sore throat or who went above and beyond with time for you, the bus driver who waited for you while you ran helter skelter to catch the bus, the cashier that always makes sure your groceries are bagged exactly as you like them….there are countless people you encounter every day that are only trying to make you happy and make your day go easier…think of them and drop one a note today  – just because they did what they did.  

7.   Email is NOT a note.  Don’t even go there.  Nor are those online “cards” you can e-send.  Not honorable like a hand written, personalized note or card.

Note writing is becoming a lost art in this cyber age.  Email thank you’s are so generic and in my opinion just plain tacky.  It takes someone to think and take action to hand-write a quick note of thanks, encouragement or inspiration.  You will be remembered for it and you will be blessed with happiness in yourself for sending it, because you just know you are making someone else’s day a little less stressful and a little more bright.  

Write a note to someone today.  If you have a child or a romantic partner put a note of love, pride or encouragement in their jacket pocket or lunch today.  If you had a particularly good experience last week at the town hall with the clerk while registering your vehicle, tell her. Whoever you write to today will certainly smile and feel good about themselves and about you.  They will know you have class and are honorable and their efforts were not for nothing.  You were appreciative, and that is all they want – a little recognition sometimes.  Pulitzer Prizes are nice, but hand-written notes will be saved in jewelry boxes and wallets forever.  Perhaps you will even inspire them to write someone else a note.  In time those notes will even come back to you – tenfold.



The Art of the Note….

General Blips

Regarding our local school district (Maine SAD 35) purchasing supplies via a “bid system” online.

Dear Editor,

I read the article about South Berwick/Eliot’s school District (SAD 35) saving $100K via a “best bid” purchasing program.  I am all for saving money, but as a citizen of the area, and a local tax payer,  I would like to know if there is transparency in the purchasing program, and where they are purchasing from…are these “bidders” local to the area, the state, county, or even the country? And is there any program in place to give American – and even more so LOCAL vendors – a preferred shot at the bidding, and providing this kind of local advantage because it assists the local economy?

I am interested to know that the local school districts are “putting out to bid” things like supply of copy paper, when Maine is a paper producing state, and I do hope they consider this factor in their final purchasing decisions.  A bidding system is fine, but being discrete in who you allow to bid, whether you prefer bids from local businesses over those from foreign interests should be a deciding factor, especially in the current economic climate.

Purchasing copy paper for the whole country from China would (to me) be akin to Idaho purchasing Maine potatoes for their school lunch programs.  There was also mention of the food service programs at the end of Thursday (10/18) article on page A11.  I would also like to strongly recommend that SAD 35 and every other school district in the state, and around the US and it’s territories to be buying as locally as possible to help us in the economic recovery and to teach our children who are attending these schools the skills and importance of buying local – especially when it comes to fresh foods. 

Buying fresh local foods, and even packaged local products, will save on freight costs, promote jobs and economic growth within the local and regional community.  I believe it is important for all of us to start to become more educated and aware of where the products we consume, including but not limited to food and beverages, are made and from where they originate.  I hate to think that I am eating dinner at my favorite local diner and find out that the potatoes are from Idaho and the Blueberries are from Columbia.  Not when I live in the potato, blueberry and lobster state!

Recently I was shopping at Portsmouth Market Basket on Woodbury Avenue.  As I approached the seafood case I was totally astounded to see only 1 item in the entire case of probably 40 different items of seafood, that originated from Maine.  I saw lobster imported from Canada, Scallops from Portugal and Shrimp from Chile. It was ridiculous.  Here I am standing in one of the most seafood producing areas of New England and I am expected to purchase foreign fished products? Who does that benefit?  Not my fishermen friends in Maine and New Hampshire.  No wonder they are suffering, when even the local grocery stores won’t or don’t carry their products.  It is just not right, and Market Basket should be ashamed to even uncover that fish and seafood case.  I am only glad that they do have to label the products now and state the place of origin for the consumer to see, and I hope that many consumers who shop at these stores that support the foreign fishing industry and not the local fishing industry, have cases full of spoiling seafood as people get with the program and refuse to buy the foreign caught and imported products.  There are plenty of local fish and seafood supply businesses where you can purchase products native to the area and probably caught that morning.  Anyone who is local knows of at least one local fish joint.  And by stopping there on your way by, you will support the local vendor, the fisherman of our own region and in the end your own local economic health. 

We are allowed to view our school district budgets, and their annual expenditure reports.  I also would like to know and see in writing just where these purchases of supplies and necessary equipment for every governmental organizations such as our schools, town halls, police, fire and ambulance services and all public works and tax payer funded organizations.  It’s only right that they would be buying as locally as possible.  And that any work needed on their infastructures be bid to the most reasonable bid coming from the closest local vendor or company.  That doesn’t mean it has to be from Maine…but let’s not hire our bridge work to be done by some company from California (hypothetically speaking) when we have very capable companies right here in New England that can competitively bid and do the work, or supply the materials – US made materials!

I believe it’s time for transparency in purchasing by all governmentally run organizations – schools included and it’s time to bring it home to America.  And to the states that pay the taxes to fund every one of these organizations. Let private schools do what they wish, but if my tax dollars are buying foreign made and supplied products within my own community for community use, that’s just not right.

Buy Local.  Buy America.  Bring it home. 

Letter to Editor of My Local Newspaper

General Blips

It seems, unfortunately in 2012 that being comfortable in just being who you are, and allowing others to do that same thing, not policing them in return – even when they do it to you – has just become the sort of “norm” way of thinking inside of the LGBTQ  community   I am saddened by stories I hear about individuals (and groups) being put down by others inside of the LGBTQ umbrella for expressing themselves as individuals, and not being swayed by “stereotypes” or “rules” of how to act, be or present that appeases our seeming need to be seen as normal in the world at large.

Since I began questioning the ideas of gender policing, transphobia, and hate from within the LGBTQ community itself, I have recieved quite a bit of input from others.  Some telling me their horror stories of incidents they endured, or that a partner or lover went through.  Some lamenting the by-gone days when it was “ok to be gay” and we all carried the rainbow flag together – Butches, Femmes, Dykes, Queers, Bisexuals, Trans people and those still seeking their identity.

Be that.  The LGBTQ community has become so hostile towards it’s own “members” in recent years; no longer affording us a “safe space” to just be the unique individuals we are intended to be.  But trying to “police” us and set “guidelines and rules” for who can and cannot claim an identity, a lifestyle, or just their own unique style.  For some reason some have gravitated toward more rigidity in how others are “supposed” to present to the rest of the world, which lends heavily to the “one bad apple” thing that happens so easily when you are already part of a group that is already viewed thru the eyes of skepticism.

Remember the Toronto Gay Pride chair who wanted – paraphrasing here – us to tone it down – ie no “Butch” lesbians or “Flambouyant” gay men, but for the crowd to exhibit a more “family friendly or normal” presentation in the parade?— Yeah, like let’s all pretend we are “normal” like the rest of this fucked up world’s inhabitants! SMH

God forbid that we take “pride” in who we ARE, in our own families and in our community as a whole.  I remember that incident very vividly, because, as a Stone Butch myself, I felt completely negated – within the so called “safety net” of the community that I loved – and represented.  And by someone who was supposed to be leading a showing of PRIDE and fighting PREJUDICE.  It felt to me like a direct insult; a frontal attack and left a very very bad taste in my mouth that I have yet to be able to fully rinse from existence.  I only wish I had the opportunity to address the person who spewed those words into the air with such whimsical ease; to say, “HEY, wait a damned minute!…”

I have so much more to share related to this topic of hate and discrimination experienced under the umbrella.  I thank those who have taken the time to contact me with their painful recollections -L, G, B, T, and Q’s!  And please if you would like to share I am wide open for hearing your experiences and opinions!  More to come…

Shaking the Umbrella