Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Aftermath

Well, our lights are back on, and it has warmed up! Great news, right: yes it is. Yes it is for some. Yes is for people like me, my family and friends who managed to stay warm without having to go to the hospital or die from hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning. I am grateful. We were blessed. 
   However, some did not fare so well in this Texas freeze. Not faring so well is a grave understatement. So far, the death toll reportedly in Texas stands at 41; 25 in Harris County--where Houston is--alone. The majority who died were in their 60s to 80s. Two children were reported to have died in addition to an 11 year-old boy in a neighboring county. Most died of either hypothermia (freezing to death) or carbon monoxide poisoning. This poisoning came about due to the use of grills in the home, running generators in garages and people sitting in their running cars IN their garages. These people made what they felt was the best decision they could out of the sheer desperation to keep warm as the temperatures dipped into the teens and the power remained off much longer than expected.
   This unnecessary tragedy also affected hospitals because water pressures dropped to dangerously low levels which affected patients, i.e. dialysis patients like my stepmother. Because of low water pressure, her dialysis treatment had to be delayed and this resulted in complications that now has her in the intensive care unit. This angers me even more, but I'll put my energy into prayers for her instead.
     The unnecessary deaths were tragic in themselves. Now let's move to the other unnecessary tragedy: devastating damages and losses to homes and businesses. While our home was spared, thousands and thousands were not. That includes my own mothers home in a town about an hour from us. I had her to come stay with us because I was uncomfortable with her being alone in this storm. Before she returned, she got a call that water was pouring from the side door. A cousin that lives across the street was able to go turn off the main valve. It turns out that a pipe had burst in the attic, as it had for so, so many. Pictures show the ruptured pipe and destruction in her kitchen where she loved to cook.

 She refused to be sad and jokes that she wanted her kitchen remodeled anyway. I don't want imagine what the outcome would have been had she stayed.
    To add insult to injury, some of the electric companies who lured customers in with cheap rates had price spikes to the tune of thousands of percents due to their variable rates attached to those initial cheap rates. This left already suffering Texans with electric bills in the hundreds to the tens of thousands of dollars. One thing I learned a long time ago when learning about acquiring a mortgage, was to stay away from "variable rates." I never trusted them. When selling those plans, the low rates are highly promoted and the possibility of the increase is greatly downplayed. However, a government moratorium was passed on disconnections, so no one will have to worry about getting their electricity disconnected because they can't pay.
    This tragedy has so many moving parts, so I'll have more to come. There will be more because as the weather warms up, the hard work of picking up the pieces begins and mourning the losses resumes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The "Great" Texas Freeze of 2021

      When everyone was wanting to quickly usher in 2021 before 2020 was even over, My thought process was not to rush time. You don't know what the rest of 2020 could bring, and you don't know WHAT 2021 will bring as tomorrow isn't even promised!              Well here we are, going on day 3, and my family and I are 'one' of millions, sitting in our home with no electricity in below-freezing temperatures! This is utterly RIDICULOUS in the technologically-advanced 21st Century United States of America. Of course fingers started pointing. I'm from a town a few miles outside of Houston. So we fall into that General Houston Area. Of course some started pointing fingers at Houston's Mayor. Being a black mayor, sometimes he's made to take blame a little more readily. He took tremendous heat for a viral photo someone posted of Houston's skyline showing the contrast of lit skyscrapers and darkness where homes and smaller businesses would be. The truth is that a vast majority of those skyscrapers have their own backup electrical generation as they house critical infrastructure for their various operations such oil & gas pipeline and IT operations. So it's not like the Mayor let the big corporations stay lit while the people's power got turned off. The mayor of one large city isn't responsible for the entire State of Texas' electric grid. The operation of the electrical grid falls under the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, "affectionately" known as ERCOT and, of course, the Governor falls in somewhere as well. 
      Weather reports have been predicting this weather system for at least 2 WEEKS BEFORE it even made it to Texas! This, to me, makes this that much more despicable to me. I'm hearing reports of how the grid wasn't prepared for such extreme conditions. However it does freeze in Texas. This may have been one of the most extreme, but there ARE freeze conditions in the winter, so I'm not excusing such a lax in preparing for this.
   Some are blaming the green energy methods such as solar and wind farms as many of the turbines are reported to have frozen. Some were blaming natural gas liquid facilities. Nevertheless at least 2 weeks of predictions, I feel, could have bought some time for better preparations than what seems to have occurred. People "smarter than me" couldn't better prepare or did they erroneously believe they didn't need a higher level of preparation???? I believe the latter, and here we are.
     Here we are, freezing in our own homes. People have died of carbon monoxide poisoning out of sheer desperation to stay warm using improper methods. The City of Galveston, a neighboring beach town, has reported about 5 people dying. I had erroneously reported 20. My apologies. They had actually requested a refrigerator trucks that could HOLD 20 people in anticipation of that many fatalities. Thankfully, there weren't 20, but the FIVE reported was far too many. This is unconscionable. ERCOT and the State needs to answer for this in their comfortably warm accommodations. I'm thankful we have enough blankets, food and a gas range that can be lit without electricity. My heart and condolences goes out to the lives ones of those who senselessly lost their lives here. Needless to say, I'll be glad when the lights are back on.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Move it, Move it, Moooove!

 I know that I needed to be out here, but I was so consumed with putting my ducks in a row for an important project that's been on the horizon for me. I've been taking small, hesitant steps, but lately, I've been getting more and more incentives to push forward. And yesterday, as I was finishing up on my day job, I got a "good-bye" e-mail from a co-worker who was leaving the Company for her own business venture. I was so proud of her.

About a year or so before the Pandemic, she and I had been discussing a possible venture. I'd overheard her talking on the phone on our lunchbreak, and I pretty much knew what she was talking about. And it was pretty refreshing to know someone else who was about to embark on the same venture I was interested in. Off and on, we'd touch base about it, but the last time we spoke, she didn't seem to be as into it as before. Next thing you know, the pandemic struck, and with our different work-from-home schedules, we hardly saw each other. And we weren't as close whereas we hung out after work hours. It's something how you can be so familiar with the people you work with, but it stops as soon as you walk out that door to go home...which brings me back to yesterday.

I was finishing up for the day, and I was doing my final e-mail check, when I saw an e-mail from her. Because I hadn't checked them earlier, she was already gone for the day, so I had to congratulate her on her personal e-mail.  I was ecstatic for her.  This gave me an even bigger push to take steps needed to get my own venture started. I had gotten a few things done, but I was stuck on the kind of business checking I wanted to get. I have really bad habit of overanalyzing things. I've been slowed down by what's been coined as "analysis paralysis." It's when you study and read and over analyze something to the point that you just get stuck and don't end up moving forward in your venture.  That happened to me on the venture I had started almost two years. Now it was happening again. I finally prayed, did one more bit of research and concluded with an institution. I started my application process online, but was told that it would take a few days for them to verify my information. However, the nice CSR did tell me that if I went to a local branch, that they take could care of the application the same day.

As soon as I finished my work, I made my way to the local branch, which was pretty close to me. The process was pretty seamless, and my account was approved, and by a major bank! That was big for me, because I'd had some financial challenges that could have hindered my approval, and I had already been turned down by two online banks that supposedly specialized in start-ups like mine. This was also a sign, I believe, for to think bigger than my circumstance and to stop selling myself short. I am very excited! So, with the paperwork that I have filed, and my new account, I was able to be approved to get "work" from this particular platform which I was trying to get on to for quite a while.

I'm moving forward, and it's exciting right now. I know that the road won't always be this way, but I'm so grateful to God for the strength, and the courage to do it afraid: to push through in spite of my fears and doubts. As I push through, these doubts begin to wane, and my confidence is starting to grow.  Now THAT'S moving forward. Now, I've gotta go for now. To be continued...

Monday, January 25, 2021

It's Okay to Steal... Just This One Time

 Well, well, well... It's been an interesting time, this "season" of Covid-19:  working from home, staying home, mask wearing, no touching, no gathering, no stealing??? Well, there seems to be an exception to the stealing part, at least for a certain individual of a certain "privilege."

According to news sources, Harris County doctor Hasan Gokal, took a vial containing 9 doses of the Moderna vaccine home and vaccinated family and friends.  Family and friends who, reportedly, were not priority candidates for the shot. The doctor allegedly told a colleague, who then reported him. He was fired and arrested for theft as a public servant and faced up to a year in jail. Of course, Dr. Gokal lawyered up and his lawyer had a great explanation ready because it was only one little vial.  

So, what had happened was... According to his attorney, it was the end of the day, and it was leftover vaccine that would have expired in the next six hours anyway.  It was reported that the good doctor offered the leftover vaccine to police and other healthcare workers who were onsite. They refused it because they had already been vaccinated. She said he called his supervisor to see if there were other available patients, and when there apparently were none, he proceeded to take it with him, off premise, after which he supposedly "used contacts in his cellphone" to find candidates to administer those nine doses... to "eligible recipients", with the last one going to his "chronically ill wife." Another source reported that those vaccines were given to his close family and friends. Who else would you have in your phone contacts who might want the vaccine; certainly not wait-listed people who have been waiting for days to weeks for it.

Okay... I'm a bit lost on this. First off, there are numerous reports of waitlists and people with appointments being turned away for the vaccine because of such high demand in the Houston area. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be enough for demand in the area where the good doctor had this "surplus" vaccines. His attorney asserted that the vaccines would have gone to waste if the good doctor would not have taken that vial to administer it to the people he administered it to. But, to his defense (and I say that loosely) it is reported that he "entered all of the recipients into the State's database THE FOLLOWING DAY, as required." So, he followed rules or was he just covering his... self.

And in breaking news today: a judge DISMISSED those charges and admonished the State for "attempts.. to criminalize a doctor's documented administration of vaccine during a public health emergency" and further criticized the prosecutor's affidavit saying that it was "riddled with sloppiness and errors." WOW! So, the good doctor won't be charged, his attorney is demanding an apology and getting ready to sue AND 9 people got to questionably jump the vaccine line! It's all working out for him in the end.

Sooo what kind of example are we setting for our kids. So where to we draw the line? There are people in prison for long periods of time for stealing because they and/or their children were truly hungry or in need. There are people who have committed lesser indiscretions and are spending close to life in prison. It seems like it all boils down to one thing:  money and privilege.  The lines of the ruler of morals is pretty much a sliding scale when it comes down to money and privilege. Standards double and the rules get to change as you go or they change to match that privilege. That was so blatantly demonstrated on January 6. As I watch these instances and shake my head, one thing I know for sure: each individual will have to answer for their deeds. Because we, as humans have free will, we have the choice to do what is right or what is wrong. And no matter the "reasons" we come up with for not doing the right thing, deep down inside, we know.  

Saturday, January 23, 2021

New Habits can be Hard to Birth

Happy New Year! Or is it too late for that?

Well, I'm starting again. Starting again...starting again from what??? How about starting again from stagnation... Starting again from from procrastination...starting again from just starting again.

When you have goals in life, you have to do at least two things:  have a plan and just do it. For me, I have dreams, I have things that I want to do, I start planning, and I've even started implementing, but there was no follow through...  That's a problem. It's a problem when money has been spent, equipment bought, software launched. It's like running up to the door of success, but you're afraid to knock and go in. A type of FEAR sets in... I capitalized the word "fear" to keep it to the forefront to make me realize that I need to put it in the background; put it behind me... to OVERCOME IT.

First off, I first had to understand just why I allowed fear to set in in the first place. I have to understand why I seemed to have to be on the outside looking in at success.  Someone once told me that I was afraid of success. I didn't understand why he said that to me. He was also someone who ran his own business. I didn't understand it because why on earth would I be afraid to succeed?!  But the thing was that I wasn't afraid to succeed, I didn't feel like I really could. I didn't feel like  was worthy of succeeding.

 I can remember in high school, looking at other girls who were "pretty" and some actually not really so much so, then looking at myself in the mirror and thinking:  what is it about them that makes them so pretty... they don't really look better than me. Yet they were considered pretty, popular and liked by many others. But the thing I was beginning to wonder, but didn't really let it take root, was that it was about the CONFIDENCE they had in THEMSELVES, the belief in themselves that they were pretty. They carried themselves as if they were absolutely gorgeous even when they really were not. They believed in themselves, so others did. And when others did, it fueled that confidence that gave them ability to succeed in other things they would set out to do. I begin to learn that this is the key: to believe in yourself, to believe that you can do it, to believe that you can see it, and believe that you can achieve it. 

Personally, I didn't always believe that "I could". Another keyword now comes in to play:  ALWAYS. I needed to ALWAYS believe in myself in ALL of my ventures, no matter what. I had to stop looking at only believing in some of the things that I could do, and believing in ALL the things that I would set out to do: no matter if I'd succeed or fail in that venture. That's where overcoming fear comes in. I was listening to a couple of successful entrepreneurs who talked about fear and how it can hinder your success. The one thing they both stated, and I decided that I am going to do is to "DO IT AFRAID". I can remember a period in my life when I was leaving an abusive relationship, and I was afraid.  I was talking to a close friend of mine telling her how I was feeling, and she said, "...God didn't give us the spirit of fear!" With her saying that, it was like a light just came on. Although I'd heard that Bible scripture many times, that was the first time it really resonated with me. But I now realize that even then, I did it afraid.  I continued the process of leaving and cutting the "romantic" ties with my abuser. I left it and never looked back.

Fast forward to now. I have a couple of ventures that I've given valiant starts, i.e. paid for training, purchased software, equipment, and even started working on these ventures, but something happened. It's like I hit a wall of some kind, and I stopped. One, I know that I allowed some other personal endeavors to distract me and get me off track from that venture.  I know that it can be lucrative, but I'm not understanding the mental block.  Now that I think about it, I let my mindset go back to high school where I felt I wasn't "good enough," so I wasn't. I was in an entrepreneurial industry group at the time, and had great support that was helping to propel me to the next level, and then covid-19 happened. Our in-person meetings and gatherings came to a halt, I was adjusting to changes at my day job and the anxiety that it was causing me, and I just lost focus. Venture number two was started during the pandemic. Apparently a lot of people were going into this direction because as I was purchasing equipment for it, some items were unavailable due to the high demand. I was, nevertheless, able to get the equipment I needed to get started. I started, and then, BAM, I hit that wall again. In this case, there were hindrances to one of the steps to my moving forward that involved paperwork. Part of it was beyond my control, and the time constraint to remedy the situation just happened to take time that put this venture on the back burner. And in the process, I became discouraged, because I put in a bit of investment, time and study into it only to be somewhat forced into a standstill. Even this Blog: I just stopped writing...

However I still want to do these ventures. Now, I HAVE TO do something. In my financial position, my primary income is just not enough. Quite frankly, I've known that for a while, but I thought that I could make it work. But in reality, I knew I couldn't.  And my failure to "make it work" like it was going resulted in me feeling like a failure because I have been working in my day job for so, so many years. And as a result, I just fell into a depressing rut and got stuck. Well, it's time to get the hell out of this rut!  It's time to get unstuck! I can to this! I am doing this! Writing all of this down is tangible proof that all I have to do, is to JUST DO IT!

I am Bizeediva, and this is The Bizeediva Chronicles.



Thursday, November 12, 2020

I Was Counted... I Think

November 3, 2020 was Election Day in the United States of America. I voted--although I did have misgivings about both candidates (one more than the other). Neither candidate seemed to want to address my primary issued, which at this time, I will withhold. My reasoning is not the issue of this blog.     

Nevertheless, I did vote because the Presidential Candidates were not all there was to the ballot.  There were congressmen, senators, judges, prosecutors and propositions. These seats affect our daily lives no matter who is President.  I carefully went up and down the the ballot, made my choices and cast my ballot. I definitely took my time because the State of Texas eliminated Straight-ticket voting for this election. Straight-ticket voting is where one box that represents your desired political party is checked.  Upon checking this box, all candidates in that Party are selected.  This makes it easier when you only want to vote for the candidates of the same party. I would think that, in this age of Covid, that it would have helped with alleviating long lines and be a great help with keeping people safe as people who chose Straight Ticket would be able to cast their ballots much quicker. Some voting rights activists coined the elimination of the Straight Ticket ballot as a form of voter suppression, which is a real problem in the South, and in this state in particular.  

I voted early to save time, and I did, as there wasn't a line at the polling place I voted at. Early voting in Texas afforded several options, especially in the larger municipalities.  In addition to the varied places such as schools, churches, and libraries, there was drive-through voting and mail-in ballots. Of course the latter two drew controversy and court challenges as opposers started yelling the "F-word":  FRAUD. In the end, the Governor of Texas only allowed 1 maildrop per county, even in big cities like Houston and Dallas! I chose not to use the mail-in ballots and let others know, as I didn't trust it as it was reported that many maildrops were moved, missing or destroyed. Even drive-through polling places were challenged in Texas' largest county. The County Clerk held out to Election Day and got in front of a possible court decision that could have thrown out 127,000 votes that had already been cast by closing all but one of the drive-through polling locations.  I feel like the County Clerk got "punked" because the courts that allowed the Governor to remove all but one maildrop per county actually decided in favor of all of the drive-through ballots...go figure.

This has been some kind of election, and as of today, it still is not quite over. According to the news, the challenger for President has been declared the winner even though there are some votes that still remain to be counted as well as the decision of the Electoral college that has not been made. Our President refuses to concede, and the challenger/news-announced President-Elect has not been able to transition.

We'll see what happens by December 14! Until then, I'll carry on: business as usual!


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I'm Sick of This!!!!!!!!!

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of it all.  If I hear the words: Covid-19, Corona Virus, hand washing instructions, hand sanitizer, Quarantine, Social Distancing, Stay-at-home Order, Alone Together ONE MORE TIME... If I have to keep meeting church members and friends via Zoom (if I got to keep hearing the word Zoom)... If I have to keep seeing celebrities and talk show hosts without makeup in their pajamas Zooming from their homes (or somebody's home) either singing or whining about having do their own hair and/or nails... If I've got to hear "Lean on Me" one more time as I'm making one more of those damn MASKS...!!! If I see another commercial with banks and big corporations lying about how much they're "there for us" or another commercial showing videos of people cooking, exercising or spending time with their children or each other (as if that's something unusual)... If I see another press conference; if I see and hear hear another choir, symphony or band singing from 'various locations' in "10" different squares; if I have to watch late-night TV and SNL without the laugh tracks; if I have to go to church one more Sunday via YouTube; if I have to see poor Dr. Fauci roll his eyes and try to clean up one more ri-damn-diculous statement that Mr. Trump let's fly from his mouth... If I hear one more heartbreaking story of a high school senior missing out on their well-deserved final-year experience...  If I hear the phrase, "our new normal..."--because this IS NOT NORMAL--I'm going to cry! Maybe I'm going to cry because I know I've got to hold on.

As a matter of fact, I'd just stopped crying which is why I decided to write this rant. I thought I was taking this in stride, staying home, and taking the precautions when I went out. I thought I was all right. I guess that my personal emotions of disdain for this whole situation and my feeling that "this, too shall pass"--which is seemingly further and further away--was getting the best of me. I guess I'm tired of being alone. Although my husband is out of town, we still talk and video chat.

Sick and tired as I am of all of this, I still count my blessings. I still have my job and I am able to work from home as well as receive my salary. My daughter, along with others are furloughed or laid off altogether. 

I am well.  When all of this started to go down, I had a nagging cough from a cold I had earlier. I was very self-cautious every time I coughed.  Fortunately, no one hassled me about it. That cough is long gone now, but it certainly was not a good look in this climate. I know a Sister from a church I grew up with who was in quarantine, but thankfully she gave the word that she tested negative, and will be headed back to her healthcare job. Unfortunately, we found out that my mother-in-law has the virus, and is now in the hospital in Louisiana.  She was previously in a nursing home, which has definitely not been the place to be for our seniors as of late (as if it really was at all). We can't go visit her, only wait for updates from the hospital via my sister-in-law who lives out there. So for now, we pray and wait and pray...

Sick and tired as I am of all of this, I know that I'm not as sick and tired of all this as our healthcare workers are. I know my emotions aren't weighting as hard on me as theirs are on them, especially those in the hospitals that witness patients dying alone. My heartbreak pales in comparison to those who have to share in the fear and pain of the women who are forced to give birth practically alone: without their spouse or partner or parent to be by their side.

My sick-and-tired doesn't hold a candle to the long hours, stresses of the job, lack of PPE and just being around the constant near deaths and deaths that occur on their watch. My heartbreak is a mere paper cut compared to the blood-gushing wounds our healthcare workers endure as they feel the helplessness of doing all they can, and feeling that it's just not enough.

Well, now that I've got that off my chest, I'll go to bed, and get ready for the last few days left to work from home and get ready to go BACK into the office Monday morning. I wonder how that will be in this new "atmosphere..." This will be a new atmosphere of wearing masks, having our temperatures taken upon entering the building and social distancing in a world of cubicles... now isn't THAT an oxymoron. I'll be ready to go as I hold on to the notion that:  this, too, shall pass.

The Aftermath

Well, our lights are back on, and it has warmed up! Great news, right: yes it is. Yes it is for some. Yes is for people like me, my family a...