The Confederate Battle Flag and the “N” word are not all that different but many may disagree – HaliPawz

racism, empathy

I understand I may make some angry with this post.  It is NOT my intent.  Please read the WHOLE blog before you form an opinion about me, about the flag, or even what your real argument is about.

I recently had a conversation with a non white male about the confederate flag and all of the drama around it.  So many people are focused on the Confederate Flag and how it represents so much hate and horrible ideas but as the discussion continued between the two of us, I stated to him the “N” word is just like the Confederate Flag and the conversation got even more intense.

His argument:  The Confederate Flag is a representation of hate and was designed around white supremacy, and therefore should be gone.

My Argument:  The Confederate Flag is a representation of Southern Pride and / or of country life, and has nothing to do with hate except for those who allow hate and racism to enter their lives.

His Argument:  But the history of it shows it represents something else.

My argument:  But history shows the true meaning of the word Negro and the “N” word and why it should not be used by ANYONE but there are those who choose to ignore it and give it  it’s own meaning.  How is the “N” word any different than the Confederate Flag, it’s just  different groups supporting the two sides.

Now mind you, I was driving across state heading from Michigan to Missouri so I couldn’t take the time to break it down with facts about the Confederate Flag and I wanted to refresh my memory of the N word before I stated facts.

Please understand, I am not trying to divide the races even further, but rather to get everyone to understand similarities exist, even when we don’t want to see it.

Let’s look at some true facts first…..the term “Confederate Flag” is used when people are talking about this flag:

This is the Rebel Flag, not the Confederate Flag

This is the Rebel Flag, not the Confederate Flag

But the Confederate Flag actually looked like this:

White Man's Flag

Actual Confederate Flag

William Thompson, who designed the Confederate Flag DID say it was the “White Man’s Flag” but the Rebel Flag, causing all the uproar right now, was designed by Willliam Porcher Miles.  Was Miles racist?  Probably.  He was a Southern man living during a time when the country was divided.  Yes, he was known as a slave owner, but so were some of our earlier presidents and key men in our history.  I’m not here to discuss slavery.

The history of the Confederate Battle Flag or Rebel Flag

The Confederate Battle Flag was just that, a battle flag.  It was NOT a representation of slavery, it was just the battle flag of the south.  There have been people saying it flew on slave ships.  Not true.  The south NEVER owned any slave ships.  Technically, the slave ships were from the New England State, the dutch, and the Portuguese, NOT the south! It wasn’t even a southern NATIONAL flag, it was JUST a battle flag.   When racist groups, such as neo-nazis and skinheads choose to use this flag as “their” flag, they are, in fact desecrating the Confederate Flag and technically have no right to use it.  There are southern men and women who lost their loved ones, their ancestors, who died under that flag flying.  While we may not agree with WHAT they were fighting for, they have every right to want to respect the flag that represents THEIR history.  You don’t have to agree with something to respect it.  Black men, of their own free will, chose to fight under this very same flag that everyone is saying represents white men only.  So not true.  There are a lot of myths surrounding the Civil War.  It wasn’t as simple as the north was free and the south was slavery.  It goes so much further.

One group you may want to study further is the “Sons of Confederate Soldiers”  and read their statement so many, including the media, ignored.

Before I get into my deep comparison, think of a tradition such as “jumping the broom” that was passed on from ancestors to today.  A white person living in a predominately white town may have no idea what “Jumping the broom” means, but that doesn’t make them hate it or fight to have it removed from the weddings of those who choose to keep that tradition.  Yes, I understand there is a difference between someone choosing to have a tradition at their wedding vs a flag flying high on a government building.  All I’m trying to say is to understand the meaning TODAY behind something before you get upset, not the meaning the media or hate groups want you to believe.

47% of those polled only think of the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of pride in the south.  They don’t even know the history of it other than that.

This leads me to the N word…..

Negro comes from the Greek word Necro meaning dead, empty of life, corpse.  Now, I can say I choose to never use the N word or the word Negro but there are those who choose to use it as a sign of empowerment, indicating that, by using the word, they are taking it back and taking the negativity away from it.  But it comes with rules.  It is not OK for EVERYONE to use it.  Who decides?  At the end of the day, some use it almost like a word of pride.  I personally don’t understand how a word representing death and empty of life is a word to be proud of, but it’s not for me to understand because it isn’t MY history.

At the same time, I would hope those who CAN understand the pride that goes with the N word for themselves or those they know would look deep in their hearts to understand how the Confederate Battle Flag can be a source of PRIDE for those with Southern Roots.

The south wasn’t the only one who owned slaves.  There was slavery in the north as well.  In fact, there were some slave owners in the north that tried to ignore the laws even after Emancipation Proclamation.

At the end of the day, we don’t have to agree with something in order to be accepting of it.  Try to gain a little better understanding of WHY one group supports something, even when you may not and ask them to understand the things you support.  By taking the time to understand and appreciate another point of view, there will be less knee jerk reactions to all situations.

All I ask if for you to think about it, consider what I’m saying, and try to understand a point of view different than your own; it might just help make the world, and relationships with others, a little better!

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

Advertisements

Hyundai Elantra, my latest Hertz Rental Car – HaliPawz

As my summer with mom draws to a close, it was time for me to head back to Kansas City, Missouri from Port Huron, Michigan. I rented a car from Hertz like I normally do. I wasn’t as happy this time about the rental price, but that is another story. I had picked the group “Toyota Corolla or similar” and ended up with a 2015 Hyundai Elantra.  I have some question about the Elantra and the Corolla being in the same class, but Hertz, like any rental car, is never specific enough to give you an true answer and it wasn’t so far off that I feel like complaining again to them.

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Let’s talk about this car for a minute. The first thing I want to acknowledge is that it is a nice looking car. I’m really more of an SUV/truck person in general, but I do appreciate a decent looking car at a good value. The car has a nice sleek look to it. When I got in to drive away, I was impressed with the amount of legroom when you put the seat all the way back. I’m 5 foot 10, so plenty of legroom, especially for a long drive, is very important.  I still don’t like how low it is to the ground, like I mentioned in a previous rental review, but again, I’m used to being higher up in my mini suv.

Headed to my moms to pick up my luggage I didn’t have a real chance to check the vehicle out, as it is a straight shot on a normal road. The brakes were crazy intense though! I barely tapped them and the car jolted to a stop!

When I start loading the luggage, I was impressed with the amount of trunk space there was. I am not the neatest packer, especially on car road trips. As long as everything can shove in the trunk I am happy! Because of this, I appreciate ample trunk space. I fit my suitcase, a duffle bag, a baby gate (for the dogs), a 30 pound bag of dog food, two tie outs, the dog’s travel bag, my laptop bag, a pair of shoes, some miscellaneous small bags,  and a big Sam’s Club thermal tote with some food in it.

Hertz, Rental, travel

Hyundai Elantra Trunk filled with stuff

Since it’s a rental, I covered all of the seats in sheets and blankets.  Filled the dogs water cooler and put it in the back, on the floor.  Loaded the dogs up and we were on our way.

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

The backseat must not be too bad, because Bella was not as restless as she was on the trip six weeks ago in the rental car. She only wanted her head out the window for about two minutes and then settled in on the seat and fell asleep. Zipper crashed in his normal place on the floor of the backseat.

When I first hit the expressway, I was a little concerned as the car seemed to want to sway back-and-forth quite a bit. There wasn’t a lot of wind, so I wasn’t really sure what caused it. All I knew was it was going to be a long drive if it continued. After a while, I began to think maybe it was me, because it seemed to get better as we drove along. There is an interesting feature I found on the car, you can choose what mode you want to drive it. The options are normal, Sport, and Comfort. I’m not going to lie, I played with it a few different times on the road, and I honestly couldn’t see that much of a difference. The steering wheel might be a little tighter in sport mode but it was very minimal.

I have to drive from Port Huron, Michigan to Kansas City, Missouri pretty down pat. I usually know where I’m going to have to stop, I know when I’m a third of the way, I know when I’m half way, especially when I’m doing the drive overnight. As I was crossing Michigan, I was on the phone and realized that I had already been on the road about four hours and the gas tank was still at half a tank. I couldn’t believe it!  I made it all the way from My mom’s house, to Kanake, Illinois before I had to stop!  It wasn’t because I needed gas, it’s because my bladder gave out before the gas did. It only took 10 gallons to fill it back up and we were back on the road. I noticed I still had 447 miles to go until I reached my home, and the car was saying I had 417 miles to empty. Had I waited another half an hour, I would’ve only needed to fill the vehicle up once for a 12 hour drive! That is pretty impressive. In looking at the gauges I averaged about 36.8 to 38.4 miles per gallon.  Not too bad.

Hertz, rental, travel

Hyundai Elantra Gauge showing 36.8 mpg

Hertz, Rental Car, Travel

Notice the angle of the edges on the driver’s seat of this Hyundai Elantra

As I have mentioned before, I am not a small woman. The seats were not the most comfortable in my opinion. The edges kind of dug into my outer thighs a little bit so I found myself shifting a lot. Perhaps if I had a vehicle with power seats, it might have been a  little better because I could have raised them up a little, but I doubt it. I found myself sliding down in the seat quite often and then having to shift myself back up. It’s just not comfortable when you’re wearing a pair shorts! Another complaint I had which I have often in cars, is the position of the center armrest and the side armrest; there is no comfortable way for me to rest my arm on it while I’m driving. They were both way too low. I found myself bringing my left leg up and resting my arm on it while I kept my hand on the steering wheel.

For some reason I don’t seem to like the cruise control on this vehicle. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I was constantly tapping my break and shutting it off and then driving with my foot on the gas again. I hit a little bit of rain at one point in the drive, and the vehicle handled it pretty well. I had control of the vehicle at all times.

***A little safety tip… Never ever ever use your cruise control when it is sprinkling, raining, snowing, icy, etc.!  It is not safe.***

Okay, back to the review!

The headlights were weird. I know that sounds strange, but I had difficulty figuring out if my lights were on or not!  I drove at least an hour and a half to two hours with just my parking lights on until it got dark enough for me to realize I didn’t have my actual headlights on. What threw me off was it looked like they came on automatically because the dashboard lit up a little differently when I got dusk but it didn’t look like any lights were on the outside so then I flipped the switch and saw a slight change on my dash and what I thought were lights on the car but then, like I said, it was only my parking lights!  Oops! Oh well I eventually figured it out.

The mirrors on the side are very nice, they are a good size, and the driver side has a little mirror insert in the upper left hand corner so you can see the road from two different perspectives.

The gauge lighting is nice, you have a clear indication of your fuel, you can toggle between your trip Miles, your miles per gallon, how many miles to empty, what your average rate of speed is, and how long you have been on this trip. It was easy to reset each one of them when I  started my trip. As I am a huge fan of the color blue, I was happy to see that most of the lights on the dash were a nice navy blue tone. Accented with white or a lighter shade of blue depending on which one you were looking at.

The steering wheel has a nice assortment of gauges on it including your cruise control your emotions to go between the different styles of driving, your trip information and you can quickly reset it from your steering well. I was surprised to not see any radio controls on the steering wheel, not sure if that is an option that can be added on different models or not.  The one thing I found weird though was that the controls were all on one side, so when you’re driving at night, it just didn’t look symmetrical.  If you have a case of OCD, I’m sure it would annoy you a little!

It has a sunglass holder up near the roof along with nice lights that are easily accessible and easy to turn on for the interior, I know they’re easy to turn on because Bella‘s big head turned them on more than once when she decided to walk around a little bit and try to move to the front seat!  I said try, because she wasn’t successful, but she did hit the light!

You have a 12 V plug along with a USB plug and in auxiliary plug all at your fingertips. The USB plug is a very nice touch. There is a small area to the right of the plug to put a few things. I put my Bolle` sunglass case in it though and it pretty much filled up the area, so it isn’t very big. The center armrest also opens up for additional storage, but I don’t like to put things in there for a rental car because I don’t want to forget them.  There is another 12v plug just off to the right so a passenger could also plug something in.  I forgot to look to see if any were in the back seat or not.

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

All in all, even with being uncomfortable seats, for a rental car on a long trip I would definitely choose it again if given the option because I loved the gas mileage and how little I spent on gas for the trip. I just need to either lose weight, or make sure I’m wearing jeans the next time! LOL

Both Zipper and Bella were able to fit their head out of the same window when we were closer to home!

Hertz, travel

Bella and Zipper sticking their head out of the rental car Hyundai Elantra

Hertz, Hyundai, Elantra, Travel

Bella and Zipper happy to be home after 15 hours in a car. You can see the water cooler on the floor behind them.

Would I purchase the car?  No, it would be too uncomfortable for me long term, but for one or two people (or skinny people) renting a car, it might be a good choice.

I hope this review helps you! Share your comments and thoughts if you have this car or have driven one?

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

Whipped Chocolate Decadence Dessert -HaliPawz

For the last three or four years, my mom had made a dessert to take out to her cousin’s house for the 4th of July. I think it’s one that has been passed around for years with a bunch of different names.  She always used the recipe in a family cookbook where different members submitted different recipes.  Over the years, I’ve made a couple changes to it to suit MY taste.  Sadly, my mom couldn’t join us for the 4th because she is going out of town with different family members later in the week, but I’m still heading out and I decided to still make this dessert to take, along with my pasta salad I shared previously.

I don’t know the original name of the dessert, so I named it what it is to ME with the changes I have made!

All I know is…it’s pretty simple to make and not that expensive. Win win for me!

Let’s start with the CRUST

Ingredients

1 Cup Flour

1/2 cup pecans finely chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter

Pre-Heat the oven to 350

Set the butter out to let it get to room temperature. In a bowl, mix the ingredients well. It will be crumbly.

Grab a pan….I use a half sheet disposable pan so I don’t have to worry about collecting a pan at the end of the night.  You can use any 9″x13″ pan though.

Pat the mixture down into the bottom of the pan well making sure to cover the entire bottom. I’m not the neatest baker, so I try to be specific for others like me!

Place the pan in the oven for 15 min. If you know your oven takes a little longer, try 17 min.

Take the pan out and let it cool completely.

Or…for a laugh, you can watch my video explaining the crust! LOL

Pecan Dessert Crust

Ingredients for the filling (the good stuff!)

First Layer:

1 package 8oz Cream Cheese.

1 cup powdered / confectioners sugar.  (May also be called 10X sugar depending on where you live)

1 1/4 cup Cool Whip (I buy an 8 oz container and it works perfectly)

Now, the baking for dummies side note….the cream cheese needs to be at room temperature (left out) and the Cool Whip needs to be thawed completely but left in the refrigerator.  Funny story, I tried to make this once and only the top was thawed.  Ended up being a mess and I had to keep stirring it to thaw it! Took forever!

Beat the Cream Cheese and powdered sugar together.  Then slowly add the Cool Whip. It should be nice, light, and somewhat fluffy.  Spread it over the cooled crust evenly.

First Layer: Cream Cheese & Cool Whip

Now, because I’m not a quick baker and I’m convinced these few minutes make a difference (yes, I know it probably doesn’t) I put the pan in the refrigerator while I’m mixing the second layer. Ok, really I have to take the time to wash the mixing bowl and measuring cups because I don’t have a lot of them! 😊

Second Layer:

2 packages Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding. (Rumor is you can do any flavor, but I never have.  You could try Butterscotch, Lemon, Pistachio….any flavor you would like in a cool treat)

3 cups milk

Another funny story….make sure it is INSTANT pudding.  Yes, I made that mistake.  To the expert bakers who are still reading this, I’m sure you’re laughing at me.  To the non-bakers, don’t worry about it, just make sure it’s INSTANT! Trust me!

Beat the two ingredients together. It will thicken, takes about 2+ minutes. Then carefully spread over the first layer, being careful to try not to mix them.  Not that it really matters, I’m sure it wouldn’t affect the taste, but just don’t do it! 🙂

Second Layer: You can see the thickness on the spatula

2nd Layer:  Instant Pudding and Milk

2nd Layer: Instant Pudding and Milk

Once you have the second layer done, you’re ready for the third layer, it’s pretty difficult, but you can handle it….

Spread the remainder of the Cool Whip over the second layer.  That’s it. Super simple.

I like to sprinkle pecan pieces over the top to make it pretty but also to make it clear there are nuts in it.  You can also put chocolate shavings on it. If you do lemon pudding, you could do something lemony, to indicate what flavor it is.

Whipped Chocolate Decadence Dessert with Pecan Topping

Whipped Chocolate Decadence Dessert with Pecan Topping

When done with the top, put a lid on it (another reason I use the disposable pan, so I can cover it with the lid and write on it with a permanent marker!)
Place in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Make sure you use a serving utensil that will cut through the crust.  If you don’t, people tend to “scoop” it out and miss the crust. If you use a disposable pan and pre-cut it, be careful not to cut right through the pan. It has happened!

I use disposable utensils as well.  If I get them back, great. If not, no big deal.  I get the pans, lids, and utensils from Sam’s Club.

When it’s time to serve, make sure you are close to the front because it goes quickly and you want to eat some!

Enjoy!

Example of a prepared dish to pass….My Pasta Salad ready to take complete with serving spoon taped to lid

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

Can Glucosamine and Chondroitin help the severly arthritic? – HaliPawz

Sam's Club

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my mom has been down visiting me for a while again this summer.  Being a writer, my schedule is a little more flexible than my siblings and I try to make sure she has a good time while she is down here.  My mom has suffered from arthritis for as long as I can remember.  Of course, as she has aged, it has become worse.  She now walks with the assistance of a walker, a motorized scooter for long distances, and is in pain almost all of the time.  As a daughter, I hate knowing she is in pain.  I am always trying to research ways to improve her life and minimize some of the pain.  At the stage she is in, most things I read says there is nothing to help her other than pain management.  There were some studies that showed medical marijuana might help, but she was not willing to even consider that and I don’t think my siblings were too keen on her trying it, so I kept moving.

Back in 2013, I started working with a new trainer for my horse and Luke would have “clicking” sounds when he worked.  My trainer said I should put him on Glucosamine and Chondroitin and see if it helped.  Within a month, the clicking was gone.  Of course, some say it was because I was working him on a regular basis so he was stronger, minimizing the clicking.  I believe it had something to do with the Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

Because I had hurt my knee when I was younger, I decided to try the supplement for myself after seeing it work with Luke.  I’m not great at taking medication, I often forget, but I did notice my knee didn’t hurt as bad when I remembered to take them.  I purchased them at Sam’s Club because they had an Instant Savings on them and I have the Plus membership, so I saved more money at that time.  I liked their Simply Right brand because it didn’t contain a lot of the fillers, just the glucosomine and chondroitin along with vanilla flavoring to make it easier to swallow.

Sam's Club

Fact Sheet Simply Right Glucosamine Chondroitin

Fast forward to earlier this year, my 4 year old Neapolitan Mastiff, Bella, was stiff every night after a fun afternoon at the dog park.  Don’t let her age fool you, she can run with the 1-3 year old dogs and hold her own.  She loves to play.  I didn’t want to take that away from her but hated to see her in pain at night.  I decided to try some Glucosamine and Chondroitin for her as well.  I ended up changing her food to a dog food with it built right into the food.  For more information on that, feel free to check out an earlier blog.  I also learned turkey neck bones have a lot of natural Glucosamine and Chondroitin in them and are good for dogs to chew on, but because I have another dog at home with food aggression, it was not an option.  I had purchased some dog treats with Glucosamine and Chondroitin built into them and it seemed Bella did even better when she had just a little more in her than what her food provided.  The treats were expensive though, so I hit the internet trying to find out if I could give her pills safe for humans.  It appears that, as long as you don’t use the ones with additional fillers and by products in them, they are safe for dogs.

Week 1 – We are at the first week.  While I told her she had to try it for a full three weeks before we would determine if it is helping her at all or not, I still wanted to see if she had noticed any changes as all.  It has been an extremely rainy time down here.  I think it has rained almost every day.  She said she noticed her hands haven’t been sore or swollen feeling.  This is pretty huge because she has actually talked to her doctor about her hands they would hurt so much the day before it rained.  He prescribed her some ultraced  to help with the pain and she hasn’t had to take one all week.  It’s too soon to tell if it’s due to the Glucosamine and Chondroitin or just due to the fact she is in a different climate and more hydrated than she is at home.  I don’t think she drinks enough water when she’s home alone, I make sure she has something to drink all day.

Week 2 – So, here it is, a full two weeks into my trial period and I ask my mom how she’s feeling.  So far, her hands have only hurt her one night out of the full two weeks and it has rained almost every day here.  I asked her how her shoulders were feeling and she said they don’t hurt, but they don’t normally hurt.  I was surprised by this comment because she is always complaining her shoulders hurt!  She has had surgery in them and has very little ability to reach over her head now.  I noticed she was reaching for a glass in one of my cupboards because I forgot to leave one down in the dish strainer for her.  I asked her if it hurt for her to do that. She paused and checked both shoulders and said no, it didn’t hurt when she reached up!  I thought that was a good sign.

We will finish the full three weeks and get final thoughts.

Week 3 – A full three weeks of the Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Not a lot of difference between week 2 and week 3.  Her biggest surprise is her hands.  She said they just don’t hurt.  I waited a couple weeks before finalizing this to ask her and she has decided to continue taking them.  Her biggest complaint is the size of the pills.  They are pretty big.  Is it a HUGE difference, and miracles happened?  No, but I know her hands have led her to take pain pills before, so if we can eliminate even that pain, to her, it appears to be worth it.

As I said, I know it has helped me personally with my knees when I take it every day.  If I start missing a few days, then it seems like it takes days for it to start working again.

My suggestion is, try it for three to four weeks.  See if you notice anything different.  You’re only out the cost of one bottle, but if they do work, the price is worth it!

Let me know about your experiences with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, I would love to hear other opinions, both good and bad.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz