Sweet Potato Pie and Shut My Mouth

Song, song of the South, Sweet potato pie and shut my mouth, Gone, Gone with the wind, ain’t no body comin’ back again.

Oh Paula.

After reading all 62 pages of Ms. Deen’s official “Transcript of the Testimony of Paula Deen” and all 33 pages of the official “Lisa T. Jackson v Paula Deen” transcript, I have a bit to say.

The brouhaha over Ms. Deen’s saying the “n” word back in 1962 after being held at gun point seems to be the big wazoo. Sadly, that is just the tip of the butter cube. I think we can all agree that regressing to one’s base self during a time of heightened stress is forgivable, so Paula, bless your heart, I forgive you that one.

The fat of the issue melts down from February of 2005 through August of 2010, approximately 5 years, wherein Ms. Jackson documented repeated attempts to stop all manner of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, abuse, battery, and embezzlement.  Ms Deen, who admits to owning 51% of both restaurants involved, and the corporation, testifies she was never informed formally of any wrong doings. In essence, Ms. Deen’s defense is ignorance of wrong doing, and insisting, that if anything in the case actually happened, it can be forgiven because it was either a “joke”, “what men do”, or “gender on gender joking” all, according to Ms. Deen, completely acceptable acts within the workplace. Ms. Deen states that “Most- most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target – I don’t know. I can’t, I don’t know.” and that when she does tell a joke, “I usually poke fun at myself and other women.”

The Lady, it seems, even being 51% owner of the business, was completely unaware that Ms. Jackson had filed complaints that include the following:

Mr. Hier (Ms. Deen’s brother and co-owner of “Uncle Bubba’s Restaurant”, repeatedly demeaned Ms. Jackson stating among other things that he expected her to “go down in one month” (fail in one month’s time) in front of board members and restaurant employees.
Ms. Jackson was able to turn the failing business around in 6 months and showed a large profit, in reference to that success Mr. Hier referred to her as  “almost Jewish” and called her “My little Jew girl.”

She was qualified for, yet denied, a managerial position within the corporation because “…the Lady and Sons Restaurant General Manager Dustin Walls and Paula Deen’s sons, Jamie Deen and Bobby Deen, would never allow a woman to tell them what they needed to do.”

“The Lady and Sons Restaurant is known as ‘The Boys Club’.” as no woman was allowed to have leadership or managerial roles, and no voice in any decision making.

“Manager Dustin Walls”… in a angry moment, “threatened to fire ‘all the monkeys’ in his kitchen, in reference to all the African Americans working there.” To his credit he did apologize, however another General manager also apologized to a broader group of managers for his part in “exposing the (Dustin Walls’) racist comments and for being too compassionate towards his employees.”

There is a policy learned from Paula Deen which “Bubba” Hiers stated, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my sister, if it ever comes down to firing a guy or a girl, you let the girl go, because they’re a dime a dozen and you can always find a girl to come work for you, but it’s hard to find good guys.”

Ms. Jackson filed numerous complaints in regards to the fact that she was under paid for her job in comparison to her male counterparts. Each time she was told that “”Bubba” Hiers would not permit a woman to be paid more than she was already being paid.” In fact, “Bubba would have a heart attack if he knew you were being paid this much!” When this matter was brought up at a meeting where Ms. Deen was present, she stood up and directed her comments to the women in the room and stated “You all need to learn to work together and become one.”  When a male counterpart stood to defend Ms. Jackson and the other women regarding equal pay, Ms. Deen turned to him and said, “Shut up! I’m not talking to you about this. I pay you to handle that part of it.”

Male General Managers were paid substantially higher wages/salaries including bonuses, retirement, holidays, and were required to do less work/hours than Ms. Jackson, who received a lower salary only, no benefits, no bonuses. Originally Ms. Jackson did receive bonuses, but after 6 months, upon Mr. Karl Schumacher learning about her divorce, those bonuses were stopped permanently. The reason given were in regards to his “personal religious beliefs about marriage and the sin of divorce.” (um, forgive me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Ms. Deen divorced? Wasn’t it that divorce that got her thinking about how to start her own business?) He told Ms. Jackson “Women are stupid because they think they can work and have babies and get everything done.” (again, wouldn’t Ms. Deen be a perfect example of how that actually can happen?) Upon Ms. Jackson complaining about harassment and equal compensation she was met with “You know the family dynamics of the company… certain people aren’t going anywhere, and if you don’t like it, you can go find another job.”

She was “subjected daily to pornography within her own office (which she had to share with “Bubba Hier”), harassing and abusive comments, loud and without apparent concern for vendors or customers, staff, or anyone else near him.” Mr Hier also used the same pornographic web sites while he was in the staff kitchen, downloading and viewing the pornography without regard to whomever was in the room, often leaving the website up and running when he left the room. He also used a company email address, one he shared with Ms. Jackson to send and receive pornographic material, subjecting Ms. Jackson and her staff to unsolicited pornography.  She was also asked by Mr. Hier to “bring in photos of [herself] when she was young so he could view them, because [she] had nice legs.” He also mocked other female employees calling them “fat girls” commenting how he “couldn’t have them walking around that” and eventually changed their uniforms to cover their “fat arms”.

After frequenting strip clubs he would regale stories about his exploits there to Ms. Jackson and other staff, often mocking the women. In talking to her about a female worker who was married to a much younger man he asked Ms. Jackson “Can you imagine that man going to bed with her?” There were several more lurid accounts of his graphic and sexual comments about persons working at the restaurant. Disgusting comments and pornographic images to express his feelings about Gay Marriage.

All these documented statements, complaints, or otherwise all laughed off by the General Management, and by Ms. Deen in her statements, as “jokes”, and typical of “every man.”

All persons of colour were not permitted to be “in the front”, meaning when they needed to use a restroom they should use the one in the “back of the house” or in the rear of the restaurant.  They were also instructed that when they came to pick up their checks, they should use the back door, not go through the front of the restaurant.  This is not uncommon in most work places, except that when the white workers wanted, they were allowed to use the guest restrooms, they were also allowed to walk through the front to receive their paychecks without complaint, or reprimand from the managers.  Persons of colour were also only allowed to serve or work in the back of the house, only white girls were employed as hostesses. One African American Hostess was hired, but “Bubba” constantly complained about her, harassed her, and eventually called the police and had her searched for stealing a white woman’s purse.  She was searched and found innocent of any wrong doing. No charges were ever filed, but she was humiliated in front of the whole restaurant, customers and staff. Even so, after that, all African American workers were held to the back of the restaurant.

Racial slurs were common, so much so I could write another page describing them all; references to the colour of skin being “dirty”, calling the President the “n” word whenever Mr. Obama came up in conversation, referencing certain jobs as ” “n”-rigging”, and telling his complete African American staff that he was going to “put them on a boat and ship them back to Africa.”

There are documents of physical abuse towards certain staff members at the hands of Mr. Heir in a drunken state at work.

Also documents showing Mr. Hier would take upwards of $26,000 a month from the profits, essentially hiding that fact and cooking the books to hide it.

Ms. Jackson was denied promotions she was qualified for a number of times, and witnessed other women and people of colour also denied promotions they were qualified for.

All of the above statements are taken from the first 19 pages of Ms. Jackson’s testimony. 19 pages of 33. There is much more, and much graphic abuse I don’t care to rewrite on my blog. After reading Ms. Deen’s defense, her own words, in her testimony, what I come to understand is that she feels that Ms. Jackson went to a third party and “told stories”, “massaged the truth”, and managed to get two persons who had no stake in anything other than finding the truth in the situation, to “bend their ears to her stories”. Ms. Deen freely admits to using the “n” word in 1962, and to referring to both her restaurants and “f^#@ing restaurants”, she admits to calling an employee a “piece of p^$$y” in anger, but after that, everything should be forgiven because it’s just what men do. It’s what we all do according to Ms. Deen.

None of us have evolved at all. None of us have read a book, seen a movie, watch the news, voted policy into laws, or grown over the past 50 years. None of us. We all joke about Jews, rednecks, gays, and black people.  We all mock and target people, it’s funny! What else do people joke about? Ms. Deen, evidently, has no clue about bullying either, because according to her, if the person is the target of a joke, it’s o.k. If the person isn’t in the room when they are being mocked or demeaned, it’s o.k. If a vulgarity is used between two persons, it’s o.k. for a third party to engage in that vulgarity also. If someone is in a room where pornography is being viewed or where vulgar jokes and stories are being told, this should be ignored as male behaviours that cannot be controlled, but should be ignored by anyone who may or may not be “offended”.  She is the victim here, she is the one who is being targeted by a disgruntled employee who didn’t get what she wanted. Ms. Deen, who owns 51% of a now, pretty large corporation is being punished because she was somehow expected to know what was going on in her business while she was away doing t.v. spots and book deals. Somehow she was expected to know that her partners were creating a hostile work environment.  But she didn’t. And she feels she shouldn’t be held responsible for what was going on in her absence.

What’s really sad here is that she created her own hell. She created the environment where women, evidently even the owner, can be demeaned and belittled and it’s just what men do. She allowed the “Boys Club” to take such control of her business that now, she is the one who gets to clean up the mess, which according to her own policy is just what the women folk should do, clean up -and let the men think about the bigger things.  She really feels this way. She really feels that nothing was wrong with the way her brother and sons handle the business with her name on it. There is nothing wrong with calling persons of your own gender “p^$$y” or halting their careers and keeping their salaries and wages low just because they are female. There is nothing wrong with segregating your employees to the front or back of the house. There is nothing wrong with joking about people or groups that are different than Ms. Deen and her family. There is nothing wrong with pornography in the workplace.

Unfortunately the folks at the FoodNetwork also read the documents and they feel like Ms. Deen needs to be released of her contracts. Why? Well Ms. Deen, Because in Hollywood, if you goof up in such a way that may cause your customers or sponsors to get queasy, upset, angry, or otherwise feel uncomfortable in your presences, um, they’ll show you the door , close it, lock it, and wish you well.  Hollywood cares about money, so do a lot of companies that hung their brand on your brand. If you goof up bad enough they lose money.  And Ms. Deen, what you allowed to happen in your company wasn’t just wrong, it was illegal. They know it, we know it. Perhaps you can review all the complaints, pick up a history book, watch a few documentaries, and then you too will know it… the way your company runs is not just wrong, it’s illegal.

No joke.

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Monday Blues

want: Thor to be home

need: sleep and more sleep

where: in my own bed

read: that part where Dorothy repeats over and over, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”

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On Confidence and Women

We’ve misunderstood a very important message…

Jack Palance, late in his 60s, did a commercial wherein he dropped to the floor and did a few one armed push-ups, hopped up to his feet, looked directly into the camera and said, “Confidence is sexy, don’t you think?” Yes, Mr. Palance, it is. 

As a child we were instructed to do as Thumper was taught, and remember “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” So being polite little girls, we tried to keep positive when thinking or talking about others.

Then sometime in our youth we discovered Marcia Brady and Seventeen magazine and things about our own bodies began to make us “lay out”, do “crunches” in the hundreds, and buy enough mascara to make Alice Cooper jealous. 

We began wearing make up in Junior High. Think about that ladies; in Junior High. Back when your skin was tight, your eyes were large, your body just a thin girl woman, you felt the need to wear make up so you could feel beautiful. We thicken the make up more each year in an effort to hide the real us, so much so, that now we really do look completely different without it.

We got older and forgot that just by getting older we would have to work (read: work) to keep gravity from doing its job, and that no matter what we try/buy, our skin’s elasticity would begin to relax. We can be fit and “thin as a rail” and that skin will still sag a bit by the time we reach a certain age. Those big boobs we all thought we needed to be beautiful would turn on us in our 40s as they began to say “To heck with it, I’m tired, I’m laying down.” when they are not strapped in a harness.

We ponder which way we look the least hideous, laying on our backs makes our faces look better, but every other part of our body melts and puddles in weird places. We secretly practice posing for “selfies” noting that we look less ugly if we tilt this way or look up that way. 

If we forgot to take care of ourselves because we were busy taking care of the bills or other people, we gained weight, and our bodies and our minds punished us with shame, guilt, and pain. Some of us really do have bodies that require medications that help make us heavier. Wanna feel better? Take your meds; but the bonus is an extra 20 or 30 pounds. If we worked really hard to lose that weight, our bodies still punish us and says “Stinks to be you, all the fat is gone and as a reward you can have all this hanging skin and more wrinkles. Have a nice day!” Or we are too thin and get hassled by people who think we have an eating disorder. We really cannot win.

Somewhere along the way we learned that it was not o.k. to talk poorly about our sisters, but it is completely o.k. to talk poorly about ourselves, and usually on a daily basis. We feel guilty about enjoying our bodies as they are, we feel shame in seeing the slightest sign that we are no longer in high school, that we have bore children, or the weight of burdens, or years of working and being too tired to do any maintenance on ourselves. We loath the face in the mirror, not because it’s disfigured or hideous, but because it’s a habit to do so. 

Someone told us not to be vain, to not love the person in the mirror, to lose ourselves, to serve others, to to to to to…. and we misunderstood that message to mean “You are not worth it. You don’t deserve it. DO NOT serve yourself; instead only serve everyone else. To do otherwise is not prudent, it is selfish.We misunderstood the message!

When was the last time we looked in the mirror and said “You know what? I look o.k. for someone who has led my life. As a matter of fact, I really like this part of my face, my body… who else has features this nice? I’m doing pretty good in this area! Thank you Heavenly Father for giving me ______!”

It’s o.k. to like yourself. It’s o.k. to think you are pretty or fabulous or that you have a body that isn’t perfect, or maybe it is! It’s o.k. to think that although you gained weight and now have worked so flippin’ hard to lose it and now it sags worse than before, “Who the heck cares! THESE SAGS ARE PROOF I AM FINALLY TAKING CARE OF MYSELF!” In fact, it’s mentally healthy to like who you are! There is a very fine line between confidence and conceit and it’s about time we stood on that line.

We need to stop being ashamed of thinking we are ‘it and a bag of chips’. We are daughters of God, who I assume is probably good looking just because He is a God. Have you ever heard of an ugly goddess? NO! So, let’s be Thumper and stop saying negative things about our selves. (Ask the man in your life if he prefers you naked or clothed, and believe his answer. Ask him why he prefers the lights on instead of off, and believe his answer. STOP asking him if you look fat, he doesn’t care that much about it, believe me…he wants you healthy and happy and confident!) Let’s face our respective lives, trials, ages, disabilities, etc., give ourselves an honest break and an honest assessment, let’s search ourselves for the beautiful things we each possess. 

My point is confidence. Confidence is the quality of being certain of our attributes and abilities. It changes the perceptions we have of ourselves, assists our self esteem and positive attitude. Confidence is what helps others see us, notice us, take us seriously, increases our opportunities for success. And yes, if we confidently display our positive attributes, even those physical ones, people may see us as more beautiful, attractive, and or sexy.

I’m “gravitationally gifted”. I have 5 kids and my body is proof that I misread the information I got about taking care of others before myself. But o.k. Here I am now, and I have much much more to offer than my huge body. I am a great mom. I have amazing skin, I’ve never dyed my hair because I like the colour- even now with all the grey! No one has the cute (hang ten) feet that I do. I like my hands, even with the wrinkles they now have -I’m 55, it’s o.k. to have wrinkles! I have nice fingernails 10 months out of the year. Even with my weight, I still have a shape. I’ve got a face that is o.k. to look at. I’m happy most of the time. I can find humour in almost anything. I’ve got a bit of skill and talent. I am courageous and I can do anything I put my mind to.

Here is the challenge to you my friends: Confidence *is* sexy. Even if you don’t care about being sexy, be confident! If you’ve read this far, I want you to go to your blog or status page and proclaim to the world your fabuloucity. Tell the world at least five things that make you physically beautiful… and if you want to throw in some character traits that make you amazing please do that too! But I want FIVE strictly physical attributes that make you beautiful. It’s o.k. to confidently state the good things about yourself. Be confident in who you are, you are amazing both physically and otherwise. GO!


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Another Gloomy New Year’s Day in SoCAL

Oceanside CA. Harbour

Want: More days like these.

Need: Fresh fish for lunch.

Where: Oceanside Harbour then up to Newport Beach

Read: This has been a great day.

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4 things each day

4 things each day

One want, one need, one wear (or in my case –where), one read -each day.  My life, my blog, simplified.

Want: To blog again.

Need: More gratitude.

Where: Introspective.

Read: Mosiah 4:19  For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

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