Sugar Diary – Shannon in Kansas City

When I was a child growing up outside of Detroit I existed on a steady diet of sugar.  In the Detroit area we have a local brand of pop called Faygo and I drank a liter of it a day.  Red Pop and Rock and Rye were my favorites.  I remember walking to the drug stores and gas stations and buying candy, pop sickles, ice cream and snack cakes as treats.  My mom was a single parent and didn’t have time to cook so McDonald’s, Burger King and the like often provided dinner.  There were no parental restrictions on my diet.  It was a lovely childhood.

Over the last few years I have cut back on the sugar in my diet.  I haven’t imposed a prohibition of sugar on myself but I’ve definitely made changes to reduce how much sugar I consume.  I’ve read many articles about the harm that sugar does to the human body over time and I want to be youthful and healthy for as long as possible.  I’ve also found that if you are trying to be thrifty sugary snacks and drinks are easy items to eliminate from your shopping list.

I think the easiest way to reduce the sugar you consume is to reduce the amount of pop you drink.  I think of pop as liquid candy and I don’t want to eat candy with every meal nor do I want to graze on candy all day the way people sip on pop all day.  When I eat in restaurants I usually order water because I only want a sip of pop but most restaurants serve large glasses with free refill for about $2.50.  To me that’s a fairly expensive indulgence so I just skip it.  Plus I don’t want the “free” refill.

I can’t say that I feel or look much different now that I’ve cut back on sugar in my diet.  The only way I can tell a difference at all is when I eat something sweet like a piece of cake but now the taste of sugar is overwhelming.  I will still enjoy the piece of cake but the confection is almost too sweet and it leaves behind a strand after taste.  I’ve lost my child hood sweet tooth.  There is the result of abstaining from copious amounts of sugar.

Unsung Heroes – Shannon in Kansas City

There are many heroes among us.  People that say that children have no one to look up to in this age are probably teaching their children the wrong values.  The heroes that I speak of are not the type of people that will be written about in history books, put on magazine covers or placed on a float in a parade but they are heroic nonetheless.  You won’t recognize them as the a hero when you look at them because they may not look like what we’ve been taught to admire.  You may stand in line in front of a hero at the grocery store or sit next to one on a bus.  They are the unsung heroes of the world and they are the people that make a real difference and make the global economy run.

I have been blessed to meet many unsung heroes.  I have met many people that persevere at taxing jobs that don’t pay what workers deserve.  These people may be working their way through school or working a second or third job to make ends meet.  These heroes continue the struggle because they take pride in providing for themselves and their families through hard work and with honesty and integrity.

Perseverance is usually only lauded when talking about a notably successful person that became successful after many failures.  But an average life takes perseverance too.  We all face so many struggles in modern life.  Families life and finances have become very precarious at this time in American history.  It takes perseverance and strength to survive this life and keep your relationships and financial responsibilities in good standing.

In America it has been proven that we are all working much harder for less.  College graduates and experienced workers toil away at jobs that are far below their skill level in order to earn an honest living.  It would be easy to give up on the future but so many of us soldier on and continue to make sacrifices for our dreams.

It takes perseverance to make a friendship work, to have a successful marriage, to raise children, to finish education or to punch a time clock every day.  Persisting through difficult times and keeping your mind fixed on a goal when you are frustrated and ready to give up is heroic even if the accomplishment is not one that will make you a trending topic on Twitter.

I wrote this piece to tip my hat to all the every day unsung heroes of the world.  Hats off to all the bus drivers, factory workers, restaurant servers, janitors, retail workers, receptionists, stay at home moms and dads and day care workers etc.  You (we) do difficult work that we should be proud of.  We work hard and don’t need to ask anyone for anything because we are not afraid of hard work.  Hard work pays off in more ways than one.  Pat yourself on the back if you are an unsung hero.  Keep up your good work.  Hard times are only temporary.  If you know an unsung hero give them a hug and let them know they are appreciated.

Hillary Clinton for President – Shannon in Kansas City

I think that Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States.  At least she is who I am supporting in this year’s presidential election.  I think the country is ready for a lady to be in the driver’s seat.  Or at least she will win because the other candidates are too extreme and frankly not convincing in their arguments.

I have always voted as a Democrat.  It’s not that I think that the Democrats are really all that honorable, accomplished or honest but as a working class, unmarried Black woman from the rust belt of the United States they speak to my interests more than the Republican party does.  With that being said none of the Republican candidates stand a chance at winning my vote.

I’ve never identified with the Republican point of view enough to vote for them but this current crop of Republicans is down right frightening.  The Republican front runner would not have even passed my high school speech class.  He probably would not have passed my high school composition class either based on his speech and illogical thought patterns.  His competitors for the Republic nomination are not much better than him.  They bicker back and forth like they are on a 1990s talk show.

The entire bunch of them is whiney, too sensitive and has the maturity of grade school children.  Even if they made valid points while spreading their political message, which they don’t, I couldn’t vote for them based on the way they conduct themselves.  I am not from a particularly affluent background nor do I make a great deal of money now but I have more class and intelligence than any one of the Republican hopefuls for the Presidency of the United States.  That’s pathetic.  I’m a forty one year old waitress for heaven’s sake.

I’m not terribly excited by the Democratic nominees either but they are far superior to what the Republicans managed to scrounge up.  Bernie Sanders is a popular candidate among the hipster crowd.  I like to think of myself as part of the hipster crowd.  I’m well educated, I’m a bit of a starving artist, I enjoy the occasion coffee shop or dive bar and what can I say I’m pretty darn hip.  But I’m not buying what Bernie Sanders is selling.  I’m probably too old to fall for his bribe of free college.

I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is free; not anything, not ever.  Someone always has to pay.  So if Bernie Sanders wants to make college free who is going to pay for it and what will the trade off be?  Will Americans have to pay 75% income taxes or a federal 50% sales tax?  If a young or not so young person gets a college degree on the governments dime will he or she be required to serve in the military for a time?

I can only speculate because I have heard Bernie Sanders elaborate on how he plans on accomplishing his socialist version of America.  In that way he is much like the Republican front runner who plans on building a wall on the U.S., Mexican boarder and charge Mexico for the expense of building the wall.  I don’t know how he expects to make Mexico pay.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters think that Black Americans  owe Bernie Sanders our vote because he was active in the Civil Rights movement.  I respect what Senator Sanders did in the 1960s but I don’t feel like I owe him anything.  He stood up for what was right which I don’t think makes anyone a hero.  Besides that, there are thousands of Black people that were active in the Civil Rights movement that will be lost to history forever.  I don’t think many people would claim that their sacrifices should make them a presidential candidate.

I’m also very curious about Bernie Sanders position on Israel.  He was raised in a Jewish family but he does not practice that religion.  As a Christian person I am supportive of Israel and I think that America should support Israel as well.  If Bernie Sanders does not support Israel that would be very weird to me.  His family was killed by Nazis in Poland.  If he isn’t supportive of Israel that would make him the Stacey Dash of the Jews.  And I can’t support that.  I’m bothered that he hasn’t been more outspoken on his views on the Israelis Palestinian conflict.

That leaves Hillary Clinton.  Clinton has her critics that say that she is untrustworthy because some of her campaign contributors are Wall Street companies like Goldman Sachs.  I agree that that is suspicious.  Once again nothing is free and those companies will be expecting favors from our new president because nothing is free after all.

There are a lot of people on social media that say Black Americans should not vote for Hillary Clinton because the mass incarcerations of Black men started under the Clinton’s.  I’m not sure if that is true or not but what I want to know is where have these critics been.  Hillary Clinton became first lady in the 1990s.  After that she represented the state of New York in the Senate.  After that she was Secretary of State.  But all these Black activists wait until about two months ago to discuss her husband’s involvement in the unfair treatment that Black men have received from the U.S. justice system.  Where the heck have they been?  Once again, I’m not buying what the Hillary detractors are selling.  Congress makes laws not the president.

So the United States will probably have another history making election this November just like we did in 2008.  I think we are on the verge of electing our first woman for president.  It’s not that we are really all that enthusiastic about electing a woman just like most of the country was not excited about electing a mixed race, Black looking man a president.  We settled on the only candidate available that was not an morally bankrupt fool.  It’s a shame that this is what American politics has come to.

Fortunately, Barak Obama was a great president and he did a lot for all Americans.  I will miss him and his wife terribly.  I may even cry when they leave the White House.  I believe that Hillary will do her best to serve America to the best of her ability.  I believe her ability is great.  As far as her character is concerned, I’m sure she is a little shady.  There’s no way you can be involved in politics as long as she has and not be a little jaded.  But I trust her more than I do any other candidate.  And it will be a bit of poetic justice to watch Donald Trump lose a presidential election to a woman.