‘Random’ Category Archives


Due Diligence

by pjbowman in Random, Writing

Choices. It isn’t always about the lesser of two evils, but right now it sure feels that way.

We all, hopefully, have a wide range of friends with an equally wide range of political views. Perhaps some civilly discuss their differing views, but that has not been my experience. Some may invest the time and effort to do due diligence and research out which political candidate truly reflects their values, concerns and personal policies. I believe the evidence indicates most do not. Perhaps news agencies are providing us with good information. Again, evidence indicates they do not.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 5.59.26 PMRecently I watched a political segment with Ben Carson. Regardless of if you are a Democrat or Republican, please consider his comments. He addressed the current campaign climate and remarked, “Somehow we must abandon the thinking that there’s a bunch of politically elite people who know what’s best. Let the people determine for themselves what they think is best and who they think is best to serve them.”

What a novel idea.

He went on to point out that it is the media’s job to ask the questions that would expose the candidate’s policies. The media should be probe and provide really good unbiased information so the people can make good decisions. The media should ask the questions and the candidates should back up their responses with their policies and their plan to implement those policies. He stated that the media seems to be more interested in causing fights and conflict.

And I concur.

But as citizens, why aren’t we demanding or seeking ‘good’ information? Is it too hard to disseminate? Too time consuming? Not exciting or dramatic enough? Perhaps we have become comfortable or complacent. Have we become reliant on those within our social circle to trickle down what to think? Or perhaps we have become dependent on political parties or government leaders to plant and fertilize our thoughts. ‘They’ provide the selected items of information. Few consumers take advantage of the not so secret menu that is available.

Perhaps we have become too committed to our particular political party. Let’s not forget our tendency toward loyalty. No one wants to believe they are just sheep following the herd, but consider the possibility that we might be doing just that.

Americans are fed synthetic, artificial, polluted and canned phrases that have no intrinsic value. We digest the fastest, loudest and most toxic diet of words and smirk in America’s socially acceptable way. But hey! These political leaders serve us. They are applying for a job and when vetting them if we don’t know and value their qualifications we shouldn’t hire them.   We have the right and responsibility to ask the questions and receive the answers.

At least as of today we still have the right to ask and the right to know.

Hence the debates.

Can we depend on the news stations to deliver us unbiased information that enables us to discover who most closely reflects our values and concerns? No, unfortunately we can’t. It is clear that the news stations are not concerned with educating the masses about the candidates’ political platform, their policies or their plan of action. News stations are not concerned because that isn’t their number one priority anymore. Their job is to get high ratings. Where does that leave us? We have to find, validate and understand the information ourselves. Then decide if that person reflects American ideals, American integrity and America’s commitment to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

Instead the marketing numbers show that our interest lies in the sensationalism of the moment. And there are those who understand that and manipulate each situation to showboat their agenda or degrade another’s.

How many citizens have gone onto all or any of the candidates web sites and read or listened with an open mind to each candidates ‘business plan’? It is right there, just a click away waiting for us.

I have asked people over the last several months who they were leaning toward. Many hesitate unsure if they are in safe waters. I can see the wheels turning. Is this a person who hates who I hate? Do they belong to my ‘club’?

Is that the requirement for a dialogue? Do we only talk to those who agree with us? Do we only read articles that support and justify what we already believe? Are we allowing ourselves to be exposed to the diversity of thought that can produce new insight and solutions? Perhaps, but I sense more then ever that we discuss our ideas only with like-minded folk. It is validating and allows a venting session to privately bash, belittle and bully. It must feel good on some level, that bonding between bullies. I have witnessed it. It isn’t pretty and in my opinion, it isn’t American.

But I digress.

When I ask family, friends and associates which candidates policies they agree with many stumble and begin ‘the detract and/or deflect’ defense. Many just regurgitate the latest sound bite that was smart, clever and heard that morning on talk radio. And some even lie about knowing anything about their candidate or of even voting!

Who have we become? Each of us, really. Who? Look inside and be honest. The president is a reflection of the American citizen, of you and of me. Is your candidate of choice speaking your words and expressing your thoughts and if so, is that a good thing?

So let’s commit to do our due diligence. We are Americans. We are educated. We are the light on the hill. We need to be better and do better. Evil does not have a place here. It should never have a place here.

Choosing the lesser of two evils just isn’t good enough for America or Americans.








Curiosity is Not Courage

by Pj in Random

AnHutTrialI’ve been writing. And I’ve come to understand the importance of writing every day. You loose the flow of writing in the absence of the daily current.   I don’t know. Maybe that’s a good thing, but in re-reading it, the story feels choppy right now, kind of like learning how to drive a stick shift. You’ve got to get the feel of it and even then, sometimes you stall. I know eventually it’ll smooth out, but right now it feels choppy.

I have been re-writing a story that keeps haunting me. Sometimes I can’t stand the not knowing. I have to open the basement door and face the dark. I inch forward  grasping for the unseen string to pull the light on. Sometimes I find it and sometimes I bump into unknown things. Let’s not confuse curiosity with courage. They are definitely not the same thing.

It was necessary, this re-writing. I’m in search of a truth. And as I finished the second draft, I discovered that the question was completely different than what I once thought the question was. Perhaps what changed is me and that is now reflected in the story. Or maybe what has occurred in my life has opened up my mind to realize what the story really was about. Again, I don’t know. All I know is that it feels right. The question feels right.

What is the question? Hmmm. It is not a new question. It is about courage. Having the courage to do what your heart tells you to do or accept the fact that you won’t and live with it.  Either way is painful. Either way you have to let go of something that you are or thought you were. Either way you feel more alone.  The main character gave up her country, her extended family, her comforts and her security  to obtain the freedom to live as she wanted among others of like mind. It all seemed so liberating, but it soon became apparent that she was more imprisoned in her safe haven then she had ever been before. She tried to succumb. She really did. But she could not deny the lie of it all. She finally knew she couldn’t live with herself if she stayed. She walked away from what she thought she wanted, and found what she was really searching for.

It did not end well. But she ended well.

And as a result of her courage, we live in the land of the free and home of the brave. Ironic, isn’t it?


Pride and Prejudice

by Pj in Family, Random

Screen shot 2013-07-15 at 11.47.02 PMSaturday Ciera and I watched Pride and Prejudice for her birthday. Me and my girls kind of like that movie.

It went along with what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. This thing called love. And I readily admit I am a little slow on the uptake so forgive me., but….

My thoughts begin with this body concept. How easily influenced I am (won’t throw everyone in my little sink hole).  But frankly my dear I have to justify to myself why it is ok to let go of what I once looked like and acknowledge I will never look like again. Of course maybe I never looked all that good to begin with! Anyhow…

An old friend told his wife to stop obsessing about what she looked like. “You should just enjoy who you are because you will never look this good again.” He was wrong. She did look “good” again and still does! (Reverse psychology?  I don’t think he’s that smart.)

I digress.

I believe that this body is just a shell to protect something more fragile than my inner organs.  I’m not talking spiritual…ok, maybe I am.

I believe my body houses and protects a most extraordinary essence, a soul, my soul.  But the older I get the more I believe that it is protecting it from something much more than physical harm. It is shielding it from emotional and spiritual trauma. Perhaps some are able to be vulnerable and trust that love can and will embrace the intangible asset, your soul, but I know I don’t.

So when I watch pride and prejudice and I witness a love that, at least to me, is the epitome of the sharing of souls, my heart breaks just a little. My body has become a prison. It has a life sentence of solitary confinement. And I concede that I am the guard, with the key, hidden away where I can’t even find it.

I don’t know why I am that way.  I have trust issues. And with societies obsession and distraction on body image, I think everyone does.

Vulnerability is the most precious gift. The body melts away not with a touch of a hand, but with the acceptance of another’s heart. A soul exposed, in the light of love, recognizes perfection in oneself.


Health Care Reform

by Pj in Information, Random, Teaching

I do not even try to pretend to understand the political issues being bantered back and forth between parties, families and friends.  Everyone is so heated and convinced that the “other side” means harm to our freedoms and country. With all the noise and rhetoric, I feel I am not getting an objective point of view. So I try to expose myself to both sides and hopefully I can get a sense of what is real.
Next week the firm is sponsoring an event that will try to explain the consequences of the reform to small and medium sized business owners. It should be interesting. One of the perks of the job. Getting an education.

Health Care Reform Seminar


I’m Sorry…

by Pj in Information, Random

head hitI realize I’m a little slow on the uptake. I actually believe what everyone says to me. It is later, as I begin to dissect the conversation that I realize something does not ring true.  Or sometimes you have to hit me over the head.

Take for instance, apologies.  It took me years to realize that the rare apologies I occasionally received were not apologies at all. And it wasn’t that I figured that out all by myself.

There are times in life, no matter who you are; that people will say or do something that is wrong, hurtful, selfish, or mean.

Please don’t Eleanor Roosevelt me.  I am not as tough as she and never will be. I do not give anyone permission to hurt my feelings, but occasionally it occurs. Some choose to attribute my hurt feelings to hormones, chocolate or the weather. I blame it on people being thoughtless and cruel. It happens. And as a result, being human, it affects me.  That is what is true for me.

And to be clear, I am not innocent in the hurting of feelings department.  I have had to extend my apology to those I wronged. It was difficult. I felt humiliated, but at the end of it all, the relationship was stronger and ironically so was I.

But the hitting me over the head occurred one night in the distant past. After explaining my hurt feelings to an offender I said, “Don’t you think you should say you are sorry?” The offender laughed. I was told quiet clearly that I had never received an apology and frankly never would. I begged to differ. I pointed out the few times I received one and quoted the dialogue back to refresh memories.

This was answered again with laughter.

“What I said was, ‘I’m sorry you feel bad about what I said or did. ”

I sat there stunned. Then I laughed. I mean really, how very clever. Carefully chosen words that never did and never would admit fault, sorrow or contrition.

The consequences fell back on me.

I guess it could be worse.  I mean to never receive any sort of apology at all might be worse.  And I can tell you from personal experience I think it feels worse.  It kind of makes me feel discounted and just not worth the effort or maybe the relationship is not worth the effort.  Where’s Eleanor when you need her?

For those of you who choose to get defensive or angry or choose to take this all personally…

I am sorry you feel bad about what I wrote.

See, I can be clever too.


Driving Miss Crazy

by Pj in Family, Random

keysI am teaching my daughter to drive.  She has not been in a hurry, but last month I heard about a really disturbing incident.

I heard about a young girl who went to work. Her boss left an important work element (the life giving clipboard) at a local large warehouse store we shall call the big S. The employer was frantic because she did not have time to get this most important lifeblood of her business. So quite naturally she asked her young employee if she drove. The reported response was, “not legally.”

The employer handed this unlicensed, unpermitted, employee the keys.

“But, I don’t have my license or permit.”

“I don’t care. Go get the clipboard. We need it and I don’t have time!”

So the employee, with all her knowledge, experience and confidence gained from driving around the church parking lot one whole time time for 15 minutes, jumped into the big ton truck and proceeded to drive the 2.25 miles to the Big S.

Of course she arrived without incident. After all, teen-agers are invincible.

But now she was faced with a terrifying situation.  She did not know what to do. I mean who would? Probably the excitement of being on “the road again,” or for the first time did not leave much thought to all the ramifications of this assignment.  Driving to the warehouse was no problem, but without, you know, actual driving experiences plus the added responsibility of getting that clipboard, she never even considered the entire picture which included … parking.


Driving through “the back roads” through stoplights and stop signs without a permit or license or experience did not cause her any anxiety, fear or trepidation, but parking?  What’s a girl to do? She knew she was in some serious trouble.

cautionFrantically she circled the parking lot. She tried to park it but the “stupid” truck was just too big! Good thing she has such good common sense! After thinking it through she recognized her limitations and her options.

She made a plan. She began the execution of the plan. She drove to the front entrance of the warehouse, leaped out, entered the store, requested the clipboard and returned successful to the truck waiting idly by.  Brilliant! Wasn’t she smart!

She drove happily back to work proud of her accomplishment and her quick thinking to solve such a terrifying and insurmountable problem.

So,  after hearing this story, I slowly sank to the floor and requested that she do the same. I calmly explained to my daughter how utterly stupid and irresponsible this girl was for risking her life, the life of others, for breaking the law, for jeopardizing  so very much for a, a, …. clipboard! I made her promise that she would never be so irresponsible. And that if someone asked her to do something illegal she needed to have the strength of character to say no!

I decided right then and there that was not going to happen to my daughter.  To prevent such immature and irresponsible and flagrant acts against the law, reason and good sense I insisted she get her permit the very next Monday.

Surprisingly she drives really well.. except for parking.


Want to Get There

by Pj in Random

On one of my computer screens I have a picture of a road that disappears into tuly fog.

It reminds me of traveling to the mountains. Sometimes, not very often, we became shrouded in tuly fog.  It was thick and clearly dangerous for travelers. My father would slow down and dim the headlights that reflected back at us. Sometimes I thought we should turn off our lights and let the self-illuminated fog light our way. I was taught that we needed to be concerned with what we were going toward, but also what lay behind us as well. The rear red lights would tell others, “we are here.”

Traveling cautiously forward, we became quiet, the radio was turned off, our eyes widened and our ears listened as we concentrated and stared into…nothing.

It was a relief when the fog began to dissipate into wisps and eventually we could see our way again.

January feels like that to me sometimes. The year lays ahead and I anticipate it optimistically. I have a map, a plan, but sometimes…life happens.

No matter how I chart the future and envision the road and gaze into the distance, I cannot know what lies ahead. I nervously glance behind to see if I am alone or is someone careening toward me reminding me of where I’ve been.

I could pull over and watch others and sometimes I do. I acknowledge that I learn a ton watching how others do things. Eventually though I need to be brave and get back on the road. I am not satisfied being a spectator. The purpose of observing was to learn so I could do.  Staying too long risks dependency on what others know and eventually depreciates me.

I could follow someone else closely or travel together and I have. Safety in numbers you know, but eventually they turn or stop or lag.  I have enjoyed the companionship, but eventually I feel angry, frustrated and less than. I get lost.

Tuly Fog ClearingThe fog will clear.  I will see where I need to go and I will see where I have been. A moment of reprieve and of relief. I feel safe to move ahead. The feeling is…light, a little unfamiliar and maybe even awkward, but the way is there, present and possible.

January. Resolutions. Hopes. Dreams. Expectations.

The fog will embrace me again. It always does.

I know it’s about the journey. I know I will doubt my decisions. I will doubt my intentions. I will doubt my abilities, but it won’t matter.  I’ll get as far as I can today one step at a time because…

I really want to get there, wherever my there is.





The List

by Pj in Random

Sometimes I feel the only thing coming out of my mouth are all the negative thoughts  tumbling in my head.

I have to admit those thoughts roll and merge until I don’t even notice the blue of the sky or my eyes that are still able to see it, if I but looked.

I have to consciously list 5 things everyday I am grateful for. Five events that I appreciate.

Some days five is a lot.

  1. Food
  2. Clothes
  3. Home
  4. Employment
  5. Family

Rather vague. There is no intimacy with my life in that list.

  1. The late night run with Ciera to Cheese cake factory to share a Godiva
  2. My after work comfy’s that Wistie shared with me from the Gap.
  3. My patio where I can sit, lay and ponder next to a warm fire.
  4. An assignment that is so incredibly challenging, but feeling a sense of pride and ownership in the effort.
  5. Planning a fondue night with my kids at the end of the month. YUM!

That wasn’t easy, but I felt a spark of joy.

Another day. I can do this.



by Pj in Random

I have a question for President Obama and Governor Romney.

Humpty Dumpty straddled a wall. With pushing and pulling and gnashing of teeth, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. How are you going to put humpty Dumpty back together again?

I could ask you about our economy, Syria, health reform, abortion, religion, outsourcing, and education. And you will have an answer, but your answer won’t matter.

It won’t matter until the chasm that began in 1792 and became clearly established with the election of 1824 is… fixed, filled in, reduced, bridged or leveled.  But that won’t happen.  For the last 220 years both parties used the human condition; loneliness, freedom, mortality, concerns with meaning, the need to belong and fear to lead their particular flock toward their particular agenda.

And what has become true for me is, whoever is elected will face insurmountable obstacles. Yes, insurmountable.

We hear the rhetoric of bi-partisan efforts, crossing over to the other side to work … with the enemy.

The enemy.

But there will be no working with the “enemy”. The opposing party will do everything in their power to decimate the efforts, character, goals, agenda and power of whoever holds office.

Ross Baker, a political scientists at the State University of New Jersey – Rutgers said  a few years ago, “ People, for example, are asking fundamental questions about the role of government, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the vehemence. It’s the personalization. It’s the search for immediate political advantage. It’s the volume and intensity of conflict.”

Now the conflict is louder, meaner and more calculated.

“It’s nice to say let’s be bipartisan. But we’re a partisan nation. We were raised as a partisan nation.” Colin Powell.

So, sirs, back to the question you won’t answer because you can’t. The situation has escalated to the point when Americans literally hate other Americans who have a different political affiliation.  I am reminded of a quote from the movie, The American President,Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” Is it possible to acknowledge a man or a woman with opposing views with any degree of respect and common courtesy? Or does differences quite naturally lead to disregard, disrespect and dispise?

I fear the latter because unfortunately, I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. I’ve experienced it.

I have seen children cry as they wish this election to be done and over. They want the fighting and arguing to stop. I’ve talked with wives who are seriously considering divorce because their husbands have become so embittered toward the “other party” that their life consists of searching the news stations, the media, the internet for any and every story to justify and feed their hate.  I have seen young influential adults jump on the current band wagon, adopting the philosophies of men filled with anger and hate and disregard the teachings of the golden rule; love, tolerance and respect for all human beings.

Washington will not be able to approach a bi-partisan agenda because whoever “the enemy” has become after this election, won’t let them. It’s against their agenda. It’s against what Americans were raised to be, partisan. And I believe you both know that. Deflection works, but it doesn’t answer the question.  How are you going to tear down the road block, that you helped build to get elected, to get us where you said we would go?

The end does not justify the means. We are in stalemate. No one will gain the victory even though someone will win the election. Next week as one party celebrates, the other party will begin their offensive tactics. They will prevent bills, laws or agendas from progressing. They will smile smugly and remind everyone loud and clear.

“We told you so. We knew they would fail”

And when they fail,  that will bring some sort of satisfaction.

“Truth springs from argument amongst friends”. David Hume. What springs from argument amongst enemies?  I believe we know the answer to that question. We live it everyday.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the kings horses and all the kings men could not put humpty dumpty back together again.

A king probably couldn’t, but the President of the United States of America? “Only Americans can hurt America” Dwight D. Eisenhower. And only Americans can fix America.



Men are Stupid and Women are Crazy

by Pj in Random

So the other day one of our favorite attorney’s hung out in the “alley”. He vocally expressed his desire not to work because he had so much work that he couldn’t work. It was in one of our mid-afternoon, how are we going to get through the rest of this stressful day, I know, let’s have a discussion moment. I asked him, “how can we, as women, motivate or inspire men to do … anything.

After the snickers and subtle suggestions, he said “that” is not what motivates men. Now I know this was only one man so don’t get in my face that this was not someone who should or could represent all men. DUH!

I was just asking for his insight. So chill.

What followed was a discussion that got…personal. I won’t go into details.

He said if his wife asked or needed something from him, he responds if she tells him directly and explains why this is important to her.

Really. Hmmm.

After laughing at him he mocked offense and asked, “what? I do. If you guys ask me to do something I do it. “

And the trap closed.

I have an assignment at work that requires the attorney’s to submit to me a blog. I schedule it out so they only have to write one once a month. I send out a calendar and a weekly reminder. I walk down the halls poking my head in their offices and (gasp) smile. They know why I am there and they promise me that they will send me their assignment, but they don’t. I have bribed them with M&M’s and cashews. I post notices on their computer screens. I ask their legal assistants to schedule time for them to do a blog. I accumulated a list of ideas for them to write about. I glare at them, but they don’t care or more accurately, they don’t care about me.

Their lack of doing their assignment prevents me from doing mine and that, to me, is unacceptable.

So as a last resort I ask the “managing attorney” to encourage them to do their assignment.

That works.

And that really pisses me off.

So I squint my eyes at this defenseless trapped creature and ask.

“What about blogging?”

“Well, Pam… “ he goes off on all the work he has to do and that he wants to spend time with his family and he doesn’t see why it is important and maybe if I offered some kind of tangible reward and…

The list of excuses was long. Later in the day I went in his office to see if I had offended him. He said no. He knows women are marginalized, but he also said leaders inspire. OH!. So this is my fault. I lack leadership. Good to know.

As he walked away, the girls in the alley still came up with the same old conclusion.

Men are stupid and women are crazy.

And I still don’t have an answer. Or his blog.

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