It’s actually six days after New Year’s Day. I apologize to my readers. That’s what happens when the New Year begins with a new, part-time job, and an impending snowstorm.
My New Year’s Day tradition, since moving out on my own, is to take down all my Christmas decorations. I didn’t decorate quite as heavily as I normally do, particularly outside. That was a good thing because if I had, all outdoor decorations would have been buried in about a foot of accumulated snow over the days preceding Christmas.
Just before New Year’s, our area got word that a snowstorm was coming, which might be a blizzard, depending on conditions (it wasn’t a blizzard, but it was brutally cold). My basement is accessible only by way of outdoor, concrete steps. If I wanted to get those decorations put away safely, it had to be done as quickly as possible on New Year’s Day.
The storm was delayed a day, as it turned out. I got all the work done, but was unable to get to my blog. Then I was given my first assignment – taking night-time photos of the storm. More about that in the next catch-up blog.
Personally, 2014 will be a year of anticipation and some worry. Will I be able to get a living wage job? Will they hire someone who took a photo that was worthy of a half page in the community newspaper’s editorial section as a secretary? What do I say to prospective employers who doubt my commitment? How do I convince them that I won’t be bored? Or even if I am bored, that I’d rather be bored than hungry?
Mom’s health isn’t all that good. She’s made me promise not to tell my brothers. She refuses to see the doctor who would probably perform an angioplasty. I’ve tried to convince her that with her temper she’s as likely to suffer a stroke and wind up like her friend Elsa, who suffered a stroke and died last Spring.
Mom, of all people, should know what a stroke means. When she was young, she studied to be a nurse. As we were watching her friend dying slowly, Mom said that people have the wrong idea about strokes. They think because the person is paralyzed that they can’t feel any pain. But that’s not true, Mom said; strokes are incredibly painful. The patient may not be able to move a muscle but the nerve endings are intact and sending messages of anguish.
Will Mom make it through 2014? Will she make it to 2015? Will she make it to her 90th birthday at the end of this month. Her doctor, when I asked him, hinted that I shouldn’t be surprised at anything that might happen. Something about the end of summer (although I think if she has the angioplasty, she might yet live to see Halloween, if not Christmas).
The problem is, she really doesn’t want to. She’s vain about her age. She doesn’t want to be 90, much less 95, like her older brother, or 100, heaven forbid. All her friends are gone and she doesn’t have the vigor that she used to have. She’s unhappy.
My brothers and I have another problem. Brother B and I were fixing up what we are told is my father’s grave. “What are we going to do if he isn’t down there?” I asked him, pointing to the grave, which is where my mother will be buried.
Just as bewildered, Brother B responded, “I don’t know, Squirrel!” (My childhood nickname).
There are happier prospects on the horizon. A new job? Either this newspaper will hire me full-time, if I can prove I’m a worthy photographer (the photography editor at the newspaper group saw my portfolio; the news editor at the actual newspaper for which I work had not – yet).
A move to a new home, complete with a yard, a dog, and a level neighborhood where I can once again ride my bicycle. The gentleman in question is undecided as yet and we still have a month to go before the question can be properly addressed. I’ve told him no “living together.” He was surprised at my assertion, but that’s the way it is. I have no intention of being a “tenant” in his house. I refused to live the way, always in fear of being “evicted.” That’s why I bought a condo rather than renting. Either it’s my house also, or I stay where I am and we stay the way we are. Or we go our separate ways, if he doesn’t like it. I hope not. We’ve been friends for many years.
As for the coming year’s politics, Obama appears to be hanging by his own petard. His own party is afraid of him. He’s put off enacting certain sections of Obamacare until after this year’s Congressional elections, lest his supporters be voted out. The economy is dangling by a thread. The administration has grossly lied to us about the unemployment rate. Small and medium businesses are dying and taking jobs with them. Before Christmas, I drove down to Cost Cutters, only to find it closed up.
Just try and find a vinyl tablecloth. Either you pay big money at an expensive store like Kohl’s or you buy rags at the Salvation Army. Wal-Mart is an affordable store but even they have gone the route of linen table cloths, for that wealthy look for your dining room table. Thank goodness for plastic table cloth covers.
Taxpayers are as yet unaware of some of the new tax laws Congress has inflicted upon us. I paid off my mortgage early and my family and my gentleman friend scolded me for foolishness. I’d lose my tax deduction. Well, Congress has done away with the mortgage tax deduction, which is bad news for people with big mortgages and families.
The family is on the endangered species list in 2014. The Progressives are doing everything possible to bring about the demise of the family, the Capitalist economy, and America. Even Tea Partiers are feeling disheartened. One of them called me last week to wish me a Happy New Year. She told me about a young man, with no political experience, who wants to challenge a wealthy U.S. Congressman.
My Tea Party friends have to understand that there’s nothing wrong with starting small, even if you have big ambitions. Yes, politically and socially America is in dire straits. But well-intentioned Tea Partiers will be of no use to their country if they dash themselves against the rocks of wealthy, established Republicans in higher offices.
You need to get your feet wet on the lower levels. Go for the State Assembly and Senate. Run for a local office. Then work your way up. I have a portfolio of 12 years’ worth and more of photographs. Yet, hierarchies are everywhere and well-entrenched. Even though I’m an experienced, professional photographer (meaning, I got a salary – quite a high salary – to take photos at my former company) have two excellent cameras with a variety of lenses, I still have to start at the bottom of this newspaper’s ladder.
The question is whether I can afford to. I can for a short while, but in the end, I may have to take a less-creative but better-paying job. I don’t like “settling” but sometimes reality gets the upper hand. I’m competing against local photographers whose husbands or families can afford to support them while they hop around the two counties. They also have families, which means they have connections to the local schools, which I don’t. Still, as long as I can afford to do so, I’m going to give this opportunity my “best shot.” That is my resolution for the New Year.
But I also know I need a Plan B.
Many unemployed people have gone through Plan B. And C, D, E, F, and so on. Like Burnt Meadow Road in West Milford, our economic road is deteriorating into an intractable path, with boulders deliberately rolled out onto the right-of-way to deliberately block our individual progress. The residents of upper Burnt Meadow Road don’t like visitors. Obama and his Progressives don’t like individuals.
The individual is evil, greedy, selfish, and uncaring. The Progressives mean to empower themselves by entitling their voting bloc – women, minorities, and block-headed youth. Obama is quickly becoming the same kind of president as Vladimir Putin, Mohammed Morsi, and Kim Jong-un (who recently executed his uncle).
Political progressives clearly do not believe in democracy or freedom. In their view, power belongs in the hands of the few and “wise” who know better than everyone else. They would think that, wouldn’t they? Corporate progressives believe pretty much the same thing. A few, well-oiled machines running any particular industry is better than innovative start-ups who would wreck their business model.
By the end of this year, look for Time magazine to declare 2014 “The Year of the Progressive.”