Friday, April 30, 2010

Arizona Immigration

I am concerned about the new Immigration law in Arizona. I decided to look up some information about it. After some research, I realized this would be more complicated than it sounds. It is an extremely polarizing subject. What I found out was actually interesting.

I was unable to determine exactly what the law enforcement powers were. From reading the actual law, it is a bit muddled. It states that police officers can, without a warrant, arrest anyone they believe may have committed any public offense if the officer feels they have probable cause. It is a rather broad reaching law that leaves much to the officer in the field.

The problem I see is simple. Although most police officers are upstanding men and women who really do respect the citizens they serve, there are always a few who will take their power too far. They will step over the line in the name of the law. It is unfortunate, but it does happen more often than we would like. In this case, it could lead to racial profiling and that would be disastrous.

The problem as I see it is simple. The argument that Arizona is using is to combat crime that is rampant now. The facts tell a different story. Arizona’s population grew by over half a million between 2005 and 2008 while the crime rate declined. Violent crimes dropped by 1,500 incidents and property crimes fell by about 8,000 in the same time frame. The stats do not fit the argument they make.

I have already heard a report that a woman who was born in Arizona, raised in Arizona, and still lives in Arizona was forced to produce her birth certificate in order to not be arrested. I fear this will not be the last time we hear of an incident like this. From my own experience, I know that even second and third generation Mexican Americans have a distinctive accent. If an officer hears that, does he have the right to stop someone and force them to prove they are an American? This new law may have started something worse than what they are trying to avoid. Keep your eyes open.

Time will tell how this turns out. This new law may have started something worse than what they are trying to avoid. Keep your eyes open. It could get ugly.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Freedom Of Speech

I am not allowed to have an opinion according to some. So if you disagree with what I am saying, request that I not send you notification of my posts or refrain yourself from reading any of this. I will, in the interest of my own health, attempt to keep this short.

The first amendment is our benchmark for freedom of speech. With few exceptions, we can say what we want. Those exceptions are some obscenity, all child pornography, speech that may cause imminent danger, and some types of advertising are regulated. However, my right to post on my blog what I choose to post is protected by our First Amendment.

Because of our First Amendment rights, I should be able to say what I want, when I want, and where I want. I am sticking with that idea because if Larry Flynt can be our poster boy for those same rights, I should be able to have the same. I just will not use pornography or obscene language to say it.

Being Alone

There are days I feel very alone. I live with negativity every day. It is not the way I choose to live, but it is all around me. Being a door mat or a garbage can is not my choice. I WILL have to change something.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I am always amazed by how some people justify their actions. To them it is okay to keep property that is not theirs because they feel they are owed everything. What they do not realize is they are going after the wrong person. In this case, they feel that after giving them a place to live, rent free, that I still owe them. What do I owe them? I cannot control the person she wants me to control, but she insists on holding me responsible for everything. Why? She has serious mental issues that need to be addressed and her family only encourages her to continue the destructive behavior. She will ruin the kids because of this. They will grow up with the same problems. They will steal, lie, and malign those who do not follow their exact wishes. I feel very sad for them. Time will tell and prove me right, I’m afraid.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Love Goodwill

I love Goodwill. It has really cool things and it is my store of choice to find Fossil purses. In the last six months, I have found eight, yes eight, of them just hanging on a rack at the Goodwill store waiting for me to find them. Since I love everything Fossil, I also own a few watches with that tag on them.

It is a bit of work to find these gems among the wannabes. First, you have to force yourself to get in your car and drive to the store. Then you must struggle to find the will to climb out of your car and walk into the store. Then you must deal with the agony of searching through all the bags hanging there. Some days there may be as much as 150 bags that must be combed through. You can just imagine the torture.

Today, the suffering paid off for me. I found a pristine and never used Fossil handbag complete with Fossil key still attached. Anyone with Fossil bags knows that is the icing on top. Well, today was my day. This bag, that did not look at all used, should have been around $100 new and I only paid $5.99 for it. I love Goodwill!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Memory Land

I have been in memory land for a couple of days now. It started when my daughter decided to “steal” one of my pictures I had posted on Facebook of her at a much younger age. It is probably my favorite one of her. I still see that little girl when I look at her. I know she has a daughter of her own now, but my first thought of her is the little girl in the picture.

It is amazing how that happens. My kids have kids of their own, but I still remember Little League, Scouts, and camping. In my mind, Cari is still sitting on the table with a pair of HUGE white sunglasses on her face while we play cards with my brother and his then girlfriend. I see David with a wooden hammer in his hand, pounding away at board with different shapes in it. Brandon has all his Teenage Ninja Turtle gear on and Amanda is running around with no shoes on and that lop-sided grin she had. Funny how those things just pop up your mind.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Books Do You Read?

When I was young, I had a voracious appetite for books. I could not get enough. I was so into reading, I would take the flashlight with me to bed and read under the covers. My mom usually caught me because she would come to check on me before she went to bed. She just shook her head and told me to put the book away. It seemed like it happened every night. I know there are a lot of you out there that did the same thing. Everyone I know who loves reading did that as a kid.

With very few exceptions, I read mysteries and thrillers even back then. I was hooked on Nancy Drew and all her adventures. I am relatively sure I have read every Nancy Drew book written before 1970. I was hooked on Nancy Drew and all her investigations. It is an obsession with mysteries I still have.

Because of this early introduction to reading, I still prefer mysteries, thrillers, and adventures. It is obvious in the writers I choose. My favorite authors rely on those ideas to give life to their writing. I am a huge fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler, John Sanford, and Dennis LeHane. A couple of those may tend toward the supernatural, but it is the search for the answers that drive the stories and my imagination.

Along the way, I became a fan of several different types of books. They are fewer in number than the normal reading material I choose, but they are notable works of art in their own right. Christy, by Catherine Marshall is about her mother’s young life in teaching in the Smoky Mountains. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the adventure of two former Texas Rangers on a cattle drive. Undaunted Courage, by Stephen Ambrose, is the story of Lewis and Clark’s expedition to document the lands of the Louisiana Purchase. There is also a novel by Harper Lee that addresses the inequality of race in the 1930’s based loosely on her life called, To Kill A Mockingbird. It won a Pulitzer and was turned into my favorite movie of all time.

My favorite fiction book of all time may surprise some you. It is the ultimate battle between good and evil. One side works for God and the other for Satan. It is a book by Stephen King called, The Stand.
A world-wide epidemic kills the majority of mankind and the struggle to gain control of the United States boils down to a handful of people. The leaders of each side take different paths in their quest. In the end, good triumphs over evil as it should every time.

What are your favorite books? Do you still have the same preferences you did as a child? Think about it and let me know.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Madness

Many things factor into my madness. My childhood was an interesting combination of influences. I am a preacher’s kid who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. I was well aware of the Cold War, Vietnam, and the hippie generation. I wore bell bottoms, now called low riders, platform shoes and tube tops. Certain life events have greatly contributed to my psyche since then. The combination of all these factors made me the totally mixed up person I am today.

Imagine growing up, from the time before you have any cognizant memories, in the church. Not only is your dad a preacher, but your grandfather and two uncles are also in the ministry. My childhood was rooted in the church. One of my brothers is now in the ministry, but he jumped ship and went to the Baptists. (!) My own ponderings about life began as I aged.

It was a time when the world was able to get more news faster than it ever had. I saw news reels of soldiers in Vietnam and the fighting they were going through. I vividly remember a photo that showed the execution of a North Vietnamese soldier. That particular photo won a Pulitzer. It had a part in shaping my view of war and my sense of fairness. I felt bad for the executed soldier and loathing for the one who did the deed. It was unfair in my mind even though the executed soldier was on the opposing side. I felt no one deserved that.

During the same time, the Cold War was still in everyone’s mind. There was always the constant worry that the “big one” was coming. The incident at the Bay of Pigs in 1962 set in motion the bomb shelter craze. It was considered the thing to do so you could survive the blast. Even through the birth of my first child I had that in the back of my mind. It took years to go away.

I also grew up in the age of the Civil Rights Act. It was enacted in 1964 but it was still being contested by places that did not want to see it enforced. People who were working to get African Americans registered to vote were still disappearing or being murdered in the south long after the Civil Rights Act was put in place. I heard all the stories of the time. It was still big news into the 70’s.

I have to admit, I was totally confused. This time period in my life shaped how I feel about the death penalty, equal rights, religion, and politics. I am a walking contradiction. It is hard to explain, but I will try to do so as succinctly as possible.

I disagree with the death penalty for one simple reason. Executing an innocent person is not worth the cost. On the other hand, putting a person in prison for life may cause more suffering for that person, but I feel they should suffer for not following the rules that the rest of us have to follow. That is the law and order part of me. The practical side of me knows that when government has to defend that death sentence, it costs more than ten times the amount it would cost to house them for the rest of their lives.

Equal rights are near and dear to my heart. Because life can be so unfair, I feel we should strive to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity we feel we should receive. These feelings extend to everyone regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or any kind of handicap. I know that discriminating against others will diminish humanity and show we are no more than animals.

How do I tackle the subject of religion? I try not to with some people. I look at the Bible as a guide to how we should live our lives. If we are following Jesus’ example of how to do that, we do not force others into believing, living, or following what we say. We are supposed to lead by example, not resort to force by way of laws or physical attacks. More wars have been instigated by people in power who think their religion is the better one and that God is on their side. I was unaware of the fact that God encouraged violence and yet many societies still use Him as their reason to continue fighting.

Politics is where all these come together in the most odd way. I believe there should be a separation of church and state because this country was based on freedom of choice. When using religion as the basis for some laws equal rights can be infringed on by taking away others’ right to choose their own paths. I want tough crime laws because those who commit them are taking civil rights away from those people they violate but we should not have a death penalty. They should be allowed to suffer in prison.

All of this meshes into the term I use for my political views. I am a Progressive Independent. It means that I believe everyone should have the same rights I do and we should be looking for a better way of living. When we restrict other’s civil rights, we makes ourselves less than civil.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Negativity Reigns

Negativity reigns in my house these days. It permeates almost every square inch of my life and the place I live. I look at those around me and wonder why they are so unhappy. I know life is not easy. In truth, it is extremely hard. There are many things that do not go our way and we often wish we could have a different life in some ways, but that is normal. Everyone has dreams of “the perfect life”. Reality is not perfect. Dwelling on the imperfect parts only succeeds in making people unhappy and making those around them unhappy.

I make a choice every morning when I get up. I choose to not dwell on the negatives in life. Now, because I am human, I have moments (and sometimes more frequently than I like) when I do not seem to be able to get past an event or something that was said to me. I will get angry or sad because it bothered me. I think the difference is that I don’t stay that way. I choose to let it go so I am not mired in it.

I did that once before with very bad results. Once I came out of it though, I decided I never wanted to be there again. Not letting go of insults, wrongs, or any other perceived insult is a miserable way to live. Can you image being angry, or unhappy, every waking moment of your life? How would that affect you? There would be no true joy in life. When you watched your kids or grandkids play, laugh, and show you love, you would not truly understand how good that was. Those moments would be tainted by some type of pessimism. I spent some time in that place and it was miserable. Every day was a chore to go through. Why would anyone want to put themselves through that?

Having lived through something that most parents never want to experience or would ever wish on my worst enemy, I find that life is what it is. I will probably never have a lot of money and I may not have much of a place to live but I know one thing. WE make life what it is. If we look at the world as though everyone is out to get us, we will be very unhappy. If we choose to find all the good we can, we will end our lives knowing we had a good life. That is what I want. I have people in this world who love me and that I love. It’s all I can ask for because it’s all that matters.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Right to Privacy

Has our right to privacy been completely taken away? I have started to wonder after reading a rather quirky, weird news story about a man drinking a cup of coffee. It seems he was sitting in his own home enjoying his morning coffee when a woman and her child cut through his yard. In other words, they were trespassing. This story would probably never have seen the light of day except for one fact. The man was drinking his coffee in the nude. He was arrested and convicted of indecency. The conviction was thrown out, but the poor man incurred $15,000 in legal fees. He was in his OWN HOME!!!!! They were TRESPASSING!!!!! Somewhere along the line, someone lost sight of the fact that the woman was committing a crime when she reported the man to police. And we wonder where all our taxes are going.

The full article and more weird news like this can be found at the following link……

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Promiscuity and Earthquakes

Now I think I have heard it all. Probably not, but this is hilarious to me. According to a high-profile Iranian cleric, inappropriately dressed women have caused the recent increase in earthquakes felt around the Pacific Rim. (Oh my)! He claims that by not dressing correctly, these women cause the increase of promiscuity to spread. It seems that has some correlation to the increase in the tremblers being felt. Just goes to show you, you can learn something new every day. 


Negativity is a bad thing. I know, it sounds like a cliché. That’s because it has been said millions of time over thousands of years. The problem with negativity is simple. The more time you spend in that state of mind, the more likely you are to live your life that way. It colors everything around you in shades of gray instead of the vibrant colors that life should be.

So here is my advice for the moment. Do not find fault with everyone and everything around you all the time. It turns those people off. They will not want to be around you. You will not find true joy if all you see is the unflattering side of everything you look at it. Take off the screen that colors your world and take in the awesome colors of life. A little color makes a colossal difference.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Strolling Through Blogs

At times I like to take a stroll through the blogs. I readily admit that I do not look through the ones that focus only on children. I understand their focus. I would have done the same thing when mine were small if we had the options of blogs on the web. Mine were born before the web was for the everyperson. At this time of my life, I enjoy reading about life outside of small people. Before anyone takes offense, let me explain.

I was one of those people who graduated high school without real conviction about where I wanted to go. I already had a full-time job and moved to a different job after a promotion. I stayed there until after life happened, I got married, and I started having kids. For the next 20 years, my life was all about kids and nothing but kids. One of them had recurring health issues and that further changed my focus in life. I was not alone. Millions and millions of women do the exact same thing. But somewhere along the way, I lost me. It took a major upheaval and loss to help me find myself.

I know it sounds cliché. I have read this in different books all my life, but I can say it is true. I was lost after Amanda died and was in a very bad place emotionally. For the next two years I floated through life. I started working at McDonald’s because it was a safe place for me. I knew that job like the back of my hand. It would give me something to do and keep my focus in a different place than the hole it was in at the time. During that time, I was separated from my husband and I was living with a person who was not good for me. Needless to say, my progress was not as fast as it should have been. Once I got out of that house, the improvement did start.

For the next few months I worked at a bowling alley. The person I worked for has a unique way of dealing with his employees. I got so angry one day, I quit. It really was not the best thing for me to do, but it sent me on the path I follow today. Not only did my path change, it changed in a big way.

The first thing I had to take care of was a new job. That only took about a month. I have learned over the years how to network and thank goodness one of my contacts is a friend of mine. She took care of the job situation for me. Then it was on to the next phase. That consisted of taking a big leap of faith. I had to have faith I could conquer that step. It was going to college. I graduated high school in 1980. I did not start college until 2008. Twenty-eight years after I graduated, I finally went to college. What a rush that was.

At first, I was completely intimidated. There was the flurry of applications, testing, and getting transcripts from high school. I made phone calls and faxed many pieces of paper for the college so I could even think about starting. I still had a niggling thought in the back of my mind, that I would not be able to do it. It seemed almost surreal to be really happening. To make it even more intimidating, it would all be done………online! When I started school, I was still rather computer illiterate. I could surf the web, write emails, send attachments, and change my desktop picture. That was about the extent. My, how times have changed.

I have learned so much about myself that I never knew. I found out I am capable of so much more than I ever thought I could be. Not only am I succeeding in school, I thoroughly enjoy the challenge even when I am stumped. The person who has emerged is somewhat different from the person I thought I was. I still have the same convictions regarding society that I had when I was 18. The civil rights movement is near and dear to my heart because I truly believe in equality for all. It is tempered somewhat by what a person does, but not by how they look or what color their skin is. I believe prejudice in any form is wrong. That is a fundamental part of my core. I have become more confident in who I am and what I am capable of.

What I believe is the adversity in my life has made me stronger than I thought I could ever be. It has taken a very long time to get here, but I am enjoying the ride. I think I am still searching for answers because when we stop searching, we stop living.

Describing My Kids

How do I describe my kids? That is the question I was recently asked by someone I reconnected with on Facebook. The fact is they are all good kids. And that is amazing considering they had me raising them. I am not exactly the sanest person in the world. Anyone who knows me can contest to that.

They all have killer senses of humor as I stated in an earlier post. They are very passionate about their family. That holds true more so with the three of them. Do not cross one of them, you will have the other two to protect their back. And they would do it very ferociously. So the person they focus on should be prepared. It is a force to be reckoned with. Above all else, they care about people in general. Those that are considered “different” from the norm are the ones they never want to see hurt. They will defend them just as fiercely as each other. They will always pull for the underdog. They are unique and wonderfully loving kids I would never want to be without. Because they are still living (and I hope they will be past my time), I will leave the rest of their personalities to them. I know they would understand that.

This conversation came up because I was asked about Amanda. She was a singularly unique human being. There is never a perfect one either. She wasn’t perfect, but she was about as close as anyone could be. Human beings have emotions ranging from anger to apathy or hate. She had all but one. She never hated anyone. In fact, she accepted everyone no matter what they looked like, talked like or what social class they were in. She always had a smile for anyone who looked at her. If someone else was down, they got a hug from her because she genuinely wanted to make them feel better.

She also had a temper. Everyone lucky enough to know her knew that. None of us were immune to it either. If she was able, she “stomped off”. That meant hitting her hand on the floor as hard as she could as she scooted out of the room. Of course, the whole time she was yelling, “Non! Non!” That meant no basically. The best part of it was not how funny it was but that she would be your best friend again in less than five minutes. She NEVER held a grudge. I have never met another person who could say that.
Some may say all the damage from the brain tumor gave her memory glitches but she didn’t forget things. She remembered everyone she met so I would have to disagree on that.

Amanda would have had every right to look at life very negatively. She had been poked, prodded, operated on, and endured many hours and days in the hospital throughout her life. She was only 16 when she left us. The remarkable thing about her was the capacity she had to love and accept others unconditionally. She did not allow all the negativity to change that. I believe those lucky enough to have known her would agree she was as close to perfect as a human being could be. Her smile would make the world a wonderful place and fixed every woe we had. Oh to have that smile shine on us today.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Snakes In Church

When I was a kid, my dad was the preacher at a small country church. It had a cemetery with some very old stones in it, but part of it was still open and we spent some very enjoyable Sunday afternoons playing games with the other kids in the church. The front of the church had a large concrete slab where everyone gathered if the weather was nice. The doors were typical of late 1800’s style. They were solid wood with really cool, old doorknobs. The church also had another awesome feature that all of us kids absolutely loved. It was a bell. It could be heard for quite some distance when it was rung every Sunday morning at 9 a.m.

We didn’t have indoor plumbing there, only an outhouse that was a good 50 feet from the back door. When it rained, and sometimes it poured, no one could get to it without being drenched. Needless to say, this was a real country church. Because the church was old, it also lacked air conditioning. I remember all the ladies sitting there with those fans that had Jesus picture on it. The windows would all be open and fans in the windows would be blowing, but in August, it was never enough.

One of the ways the elders were able to keep air moving in the church was to leave the front doors open. There were no screen doors on the outside so all kinds of bugs and other creatures could come in. It was quite normal to see people batting away mosquitoes on Sunday evenings. The problem was that not just bugs came in.

One of the elders was a man named Bruce who loved nature of any kind. His garden was the best in the congregation. He truly had a green thumb. He taught me, and every other child, as much as he could about bugs, frogs, plants, and anything else regarding nature. It was always a fun day with him. If you went to his house on Sunday afternoon in the summer, you spent time with him in the garden and learned even more. He is part of some of my favorite childhood memories.

One of Bruce’s routines on Sunday mornings was to check the bathrooms for snakes. With the concrete floors, snakes loved the coolness of the bathroom. I loved to go with him on these hunts because I would get to see a snake on occasion, and Bruce would explain what type of snake it was and I learned even more. Needless to say, he was the resident snake remover. And did he ever come in handy one Sunday.

Dad was preaching and I remember thinking it was awfully hot that morning. It probably was August. You know the kind of day when no breeze to move the air and the humidity is as high as the temperature. I vividly remember catching a glimpse of Bruce getting out of his seat and calmly walking down the aisle about halfway down the church. Being a child I was terribly fascinated about why he would get up in the middle of the sermon. When I turned to get a full look at what he was doing, I just smiled. He was doing what I had seen him do many, many times. He was trying to entice a snake to bite a pencil so he could remove it from the church without causing a scene. He succeeded admirably.

The lesson we can take from this is simple. If I tell you there are snakes in church, there just may be.

Expressing Yourself

I know that some would say expressing yourself in the blog forum may be dangerous to your health. Maybe you are putting too much out there and it should be kept private. I have to disagree to a certain extent. Healthy venting is a good thing. There are rules to it in my opinion and most psychologists would agree. It needs to be done with facts, not innuendo, and above all else, no names mentioned or use of foul language.

I find that people do not understand how crude and socially deficient they sound when they use that kind of language. It only adds to the perception that the person is of low class. When they continue with accusing others of actions that reasonable people find implausible, it only adds to that perception and it could be considered bullying. Bullying can be cause bodily injury. There have been suicides in the news recently and it can cause a child to take a gun to school. There are many school districts who can attest to this fact.

I think what I am trying to say is that there is a difference between venting and social bullying. The difference is major and cannot be missed by those who are capable of telling them apart. It is where tact or silence is the far better choice.

Old Friends

Last night was interesting. I had a Facebook page about a year ago, but I never did anything with it. I only invited one person to be my friend and I didn’t go to the page often enough to make it worth keeping. So it has been dormant all this time. For some reason, and I don’t know why, I decided to deactivate it, which I did. While looking at my daughter’s page, I thought I would give this a try again and see if I could actually keep up with it. I tend to write, shoot, or take pictures more than do the social networking thing. My mom would even tell you I am anti-social. I was informed last night that there may be another explanation. It turns out, I’ve just been busy.

After signing up on Facebook, I started receiving invitations to add “friends”. For those of you not aware of how it works, that is what we are all called. I really did not get on there to do the social networking thing, but all of a sudden I was getting invitations right and left. For a moment, I was overwhelmed. Mainly because I was confused at the thought that all these people remember me. I only went to school there for a couple of years and there were a lot of people in the class. I came from class sizes of 25 to class sizes of almost 200. Big change! I have been receiving these invitations all day. I am in complete shock.

Thank you to all who remembered me and let me know. This may be more fun than I thought it would be.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blaming Others

Over the years, I have learned a few things. Maybe I have not learned as much as my mom would like, but I have learned a few things about human nature. One of the most curious traits I have encountered is called “It’s someone else’s fault”.

Blaming others for everything that happens to us is not a good thing. Learning how to accept responsibility for our own actions is the best way to go. The problem occurs when you make all these accusations public. There is usually misinformation sent out that can be outright lies. It also assumes things about others that are not in any way correct. Remember what assume means. Break it down.
I realize that most people do not really get that concept.

Recently we have been experiencing some problems with my son’s ex-girlfriend. I know my son has his faults but we ALL do. Because we are human, we tend to make mistakes. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t. The problem with the ex-girlfriend is that EVERYTHING is his fault. She accepts NO responsibility for anything she says or does. In the past, she has made repeated calls or texts to his phone that has run up the phone bill that I have had to pay. One very early morning, (about 1:30 a.m.), she sent over 40 text messages and her reason was he was not answering her. He was asleep. At other times she has called every 10 seconds because he refused to pick up the phone and let her scream at him. She doesn’t understand that at all. She thinks he needs to let her scream at him and do exactly what she wants.

Life has been a bit scary with her in it. In the past, she has not only harassed him, and me at times, with the phone, but she has also made it known that she was watching the house. Before she made that comment, she had burned a box of his clothes in front of the house in the very early morning hours because she was mad at him. There was also over $2500 worth of damage to his car. The vandalism to it was awful. These things have been going on for almost three years now and they have two children together.

The worst part of it is that her family gets involved and there seems to be no stopping them. Her mother has even called me and told me I am this terrible grandmother because I do not jump and follow what her daughter wants me to do. Quite frankly, it is getting harder to do anything for her because I don’t trust her. If I went there to help, will she call the police to have me arrested because she has some need to “get back at me” for any wrongly perceived insult? Even with all the things she did in the past, we took her in to our house and gave her a place to live because she had no other place to go. I don’t know.

Just yesterday she was arrested for unpaid fines. The police did a random tag search and found out she had the warrant. She turned around and blamed my son for giving them a tip. SHE has the unpaid fines, but MY son was responsible for the random tag search. Her mother thinks we owed her a place to live because of the things my son did not do for her. Of course, her mother kicked her out of her house when she did not have a place to go.

I see that blaming everyone else for any problems they have runs in the family. They are teaching those kids the same things. I am very concerned for how the kids will turn out. They will hear terrible, nasty things about their father and his family. That is not how you should raise kids. Teaching them to blame others and talk about others with the same vitriol they hear will turn them into people others will not like. They will have self esteem issues and not be liked by others. What a sad life they will have and I don’t know how to help them at this point. They should be ashamed of themselves for their selfishness.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Personal Challenges

We all have personal challenges we have to overcome, or at the very least, endure. Mine usually involve other people. I really do not like confrontation and the only time I will actively engage is when my patience, and sanity, has been pushed to the breaking point. Afraid of going past that point, I will choose to mediate. It usually requires me to convince all others to give a little. Lately, I have not been so successful with this and it is particularly concerning because it involves one close to me.

Convincing others to stop, take a breath, and realize they need to approach an issue from a different perspective can be like hitting your head repeatedly against a brick wall. The wall does not give. Your head will take the brunt of the damage. This usually occurs when there is no acceptance of any responsibility on one or both sides. If even one person chooses to blame all problems on the other side, there will be no progress in the situation. That is the unfortunate position I find myself in. There is one person who chooses to play the blame game and involve others in that same game.

I am hoping that given enough time, this will resolve itself or I will find a way to get through to those who choose to keep closed minds. The bottom line is this, as long as some people continue to bring others into the equation and use them to bolster the blame game they will forever damage any chance of resolution. In my opinion, this would be an extremely sad outcome. Maybe they will reconsider their position and want a peaceful end to the situation. I can only hope.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meeting Georgie

We were fortunate to have the best dog in the world when our kids were still young. Her name was Georgie. Now my sister-in-law and I have differing opinions as to how she got her name, but the result was the same. She was still the best dog ever. Now I know there are going to be some of you out there that will disagree with me and say you had the best dog. Because of how she came into our lives and how she left it, I will respectfully disagree with you until I die. So here’s the story.

Keith drove a Schwan’s truck for about two years when we lived in Georgetown, IL. He had a few routes in the country which meant he met several dogs in a day’s time. There was a particular house where a certain boxer was residing. They called her Baby. She was a flashy fawn with her ears cropped, her tail docked, and a very thin little girl. The story he was told was that she had been found alongside a road with a crushed back right foot and three puppies that did not survive. She was near starvation. When she was rescued, she weighed a mere 17 pounds. (Boxers her size, usually weigh between 50 and 60).

The lady who had her told the pound she was in to call her before they euthanized her in the event no one claimed her. She had taken such a liking to the abandoned dog that she wanted to keep tabs and find out who adopted her. Georgie was literally within minutes of being euthanized when the lady called them. She refused to let them and took her home. The rest is history and the makings of the greatest dog ever.

Keith called me to ask if I thought it would be okay to bring her home one night. I said it was no problem and he did. Little did I know what a major impact her addition to the family would be. And it all started the very next morning about 6 a.m.

We awoke to children’s horrifying screams. I don’t know if you are aware of how a boxer greets people, but let me tell you, there is an inordinate amount of snorting, bouncing, and u-turning going on. Imagine being woke up that early in the morning by a snorting creature that wasn’t there the night before. That is how she greeted the kids. Because I was still half asleep, I did not have a clue as to why they were screaming. It wasn’t until I reached their room did I understand what was going on. In the middle of the room is Georgie, snorting and bouncing in all her boxer glory. Cari, Brandon, and David are trying their utmost best to get away from her while the youngest, and smallest, kid cannot get her blankets off fast enough. Amanda was so excited to see this dog she would reach for the dog then try to pull the blankets off. The whole time she was trying to scoot down to the end of the bed. The smallest and weakest child had no fear.

We laughed so hard we were crying. I don’t think the older three were too happy with us about that, but they got over it soon enough and grew to love her. She was the dog they will remember for the rest of their lives and I would agree she was the best.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This post was actually done earlier, but I was having issues with my blog and had to delete some of them. Enjoy!

The summer between my junior and senior year of high school started out with great promise. I was in love. At least as much as a sixteen year old can be with her first true love, which really means out of this world. He was gorgeous with blond hair and blue eyes and drove a really cool car. I also had a job at the local McDonald’s that gave me extra spending money for all the important things we truly need to succeed in life. Those important things we all need were clothes, shoes, and gas money for my car. We spent every spare minute with friends just hanging out. The future was in the palm of my hand.

All of this wonderful euphoria was swept away two weeks after school was out when I came down with mononucleosis, the dreaded kissing disease. It is a miserable disease that robs innocent people of all energy and makes them feel like death warmed over. It kept me down for over a month but could not break me, and yet, it did nothing to prepare me for what fate and my mother had in store for me one week that summer.

My mother, bless her heart, decided we needed to take the annual family vacation to Opryland in Nashville, TN. “Beautiful country” was the phrase we kept hearing from her. She laid out the maps and very carefully pointed out the route she was proposing for the drive. She thought a scenic drive would be a wonderful experience. My father added his own ideas which meant historical sites. Since he majored in American History during college, it was not a major surprise when he decided to show us The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home.

Of course, being sixteen, I did not think it was going to be such a fun trip. We were not even close to middle class so the trip would be taken in the family car. Oh how dreadful does that sound to a teenager? That meant seven hundred miles each way with my parents, my three younger brothers, and my baby sister in one, two-door vehicle. We did not have air conditioning either, so that was something to look forward to. I am not sure if anyone truly understands the minds of young boys, but if they had to travel with them in rather confined spaces, I am quite confident that all of them would be institutionalized.

As the time drew near, I was still feeling weak from my mono ordeal, but I felt it would give me the excuse to not engage as much with my siblings. I could pretty much ride in silence and for the first hour of the trip, the boys kept fairly quiet. Then they became those creatures that should be locked away. There was the usual bathroom humor that all boys seem to find amusing. I believe there was even a conversation that ended up being a debate. I think it had something to do with nasal discharge and whether your body kept making more after you blew your nose or if you just emptied it out. I also cannot wipe away the memory of that awful stench that was coming from the back seat. We discovered the boys had taken off their shoes.

Keep in mind that this happened in 1979. There are things you will no longer see in the backwoods of Kentucky and Tennessee. As we arrived at the border between Illinois and Kentucky, we realized there was a very large difference in the scenery. We saw more hills and hollers, (as they say in the south), and more old shacks along the road. My mother often commented on the air conditioners jutting out of the shacks right next to a hole in the same wall. The farther into Kentucky we pushed, the denser the woods surrounding the highway became. At times, it seemed like it was closer to dusk even though it was the middle of the day. That is when we started noticing something really strange.

It seemed there had been an explosion of outhouses. Past every bend and turn there was an outhouse. They were made of all different types of material. There were ones of wood, metal, and even some that were plastic. From their appearance, some had been there for many years. Others looked as though they had been freshly whitewashed. It was very odd. For the rest of the way to Nashville, we saw all manner of outhouses. Of course, my brothers caught on to that very quickly. “There’s another one!” was a frequent phrase uttered in the car.

The farther we drove, the more we saw. There was so much jockeying for position it felt like we were the latest craze. We would have given the Rubik’s cube a run for its money. Every bathroom break was an argument to see who would occupy the window seats. We even argued over whether Mom could get a window seat. This game was so much more exciting than finding all the license plates with different states on them. We had no idea how diabolical my mother could be.

That following weekend we took a different set of highways home and had the most hilarious time we could have ever imagined. We excitedly got in the car for the long ride and could not wait to get started. The arguments for position had already started. The second we got away from the metropolis of Nashville, we were looking for outhouses of all shapes, sizes, and age. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. What a trip that was.

As children, we do not understand the significance of the experiences we have. We only know we had fun during that particular excursion or it was the worst time we had. Growing up and having families of our own gives us some insight into what pure joy really is. Pure joy is moments. It is always those few moments when children find humor and happiness in the simplest of times. I discovered it was traveling lost highways and finding outhouses.

Personality Test

I took a personality test last night and I thought it was hilarious. Most of it is absolutely true. I am a moderately expressed introvert, a distinctively expressed intuitive personality, moderately expressed thinking personality, and a distinctively expressed judging personality. Famous people with this type are Isaac Newton, Niels Bohr, C.G. Jung, Michel de Montaigne, and Michel Nostradamus. It sounds like I am certifiable. For those of you who know me, I am positive you will agree.

Let me know what you think of this assessment of my weird, odd, and strange personality. Then try your own test at Have fun with it. Leave some comments and tell the rest of us.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Challenge

I have a challenge for all of you who read this. I have asked my family to jot down, write stories, or let someone know stories of their childhood. Maybe write stories of their children’s lives. Cute stories, sad stories, odd bits of stories. Memories need to be preserved. At some point down the road, someone will ask you what your childhood was like. Will you remember the most pertinent points of an event or will you tell them you don’t remember much?

I have always been fascinated by stories that older people tell me about their youth or early adulthood. I worked in the home care industry off and on for many years. I am usually spellbound by the stories of older people. I think about the fact that most of them remember the Depression, what their mom fixed for supper, or if they had no running water like it was yesterday. I wish I had asked if I could write those down. Life happens at all different stages of development and it should be preserved for others to enjoy.

So do me a favor and write.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


For those of you who have been receiving posts over and over again, I must apologize. My posts were showing up twice in the blog and becoming really annoying. I have been working at rewriting the computer speak to fix the issue. It appears I have done so. Just don't think I can fix your computer speak. You would be sadly mistaken.


The job hunt has been rather daunting lately. I do not seem to be able to get an interview these days and I know I am not alone in that position. I am still in school though and hope to change the employment situation soon. I have made the decision to continue on and obtain my bachelor’s degree. I am hoping that a combination of the associate’s in Medical Office Administration and the bachelor’s in Business Management will give me a cross section of jobs that will apply to me. I know I still have a couple of years left, but I think the economy will change enough by the time I graduate that I will stand a chance of realizing a dream.

My dreams came a little late in life. I started the family and put aside me for them. During that time, we four children and one of them was diagnosed with a serious illness at the age of two. For the next fourteen years, she needed me to be there more than I needed to go to school. She passed away in 2004 and in 2008 I was able to finally realize my dream of going to college.

Going to school after twenty eight years was a shock. I also chose to go online which was another major change for me. When I took the placement tests for the English and Math classes, I just knew I would pass English and fail Math. Boy was I wrong! I failed the English by one, count it, one point. After speaking with my stepmother, I found out there have been changes in writing since I left high school many years ago. She thought I did pretty well considering that. The funny part of the placement tests? Not only did I pass the Math test, I passed the Math test with flying colors. My admissions advisor just laughed at my obvious bewilderment. Let me assure you that taking College Algebra after that many years was a horrifying prospect. Even my brother who aced all the math classes said, “Ewwww!” He was no help whatsoever.

Since May of 2008, I have managed to get through algebra, Microsoft Excel, Access, and a writing class. I also managed to get through Anatomy and Physiology I & II. I guess I remembered more than I thought I did. Next term will be Speech. Woo Hoo!! Continuing on for the bachelor’s will entail more math and accounting classes. It should be interesting, but now I am looking forward to the challenges. When I started school, I was very apprehensive regarding my ability to succeed. The last two years have shown me that I am capable of conquering any challenge I choose to tackle. So bring it on!

k A { } serif"'>I think Amanda just worshipped Cari so much, the act of the nail polish application was her way of saying, “I love you Cari”.

How Can I Learn Anything If I Don't Ask Questions?

My kids are really funny. They all have killer senses of humor and have since they were young. This memory is in regards to my other son, David. He has always been a joker. Even when he was a small boy, he had a quick wit that most people would not think a boy his age would have. Some of his zingers would be so funny I would have to stop doing what I was doing because I would be laughing so hard. This was one instance in which I had a hard time stopping.

As usual, I was going somewhere with the kids by myself. My husband was usually working so we went a lot of places with just the five of us. Of course, it was the same routine as it always was. The kids were always talking, music in the background, and someone complaining, "He's touching me!" Occasionally, we would sing along with the radio or tape that I put in, but more often than not, there was mostly talking over the music and everyone trying to get my attention at the same time.

There were seemingly hundreds of questions about everything a small person could think to ask. Where are we going? How long will it take to get there? So, why is the sky blue? (Try explaining this to a child without getting even more questions. It is because blue light from the sun strikes the air molecules and scatters and our eyes perceive it as blue). Why do you have brown eyes and I have blue? (Again, try to explain genetics). The list is endless.

One day was particularly bad with many, many more questions than normal (or so it seemed). Because I am much like any other mom, I finally asked my own question. "Why do you ask so many questions?" The reply I received was my own words coming back to haunt me. Dave's instant reply was "How can I learn anything if I don't ask questions?"

I was speechless. You see, when I sent them to school I wanted them to learn as much as they could and had encouraged them to ask as many questions as they needed in order to learn what the teacher was telling them. This was a perfect example of what you say to or around a child will come back to bite you.

he s o { } erson I know who could put polish on that girl’s fingernails that stayed on until it wore off. That was Cari. It did not matter what color Cari picked out to put on her fingernails, Amanda would not let anyone take it off except her big sis. Cari could remove it any time she wanted. They would simply pick another color and it would be applied. Again, no removal request by Amanda.

I think Amanda just worshipped Cari so much, the act of the nail polish application was her way of saying, “I love you Cari”.

Fingernail Polish

I think there are some ways we have to show others how much we love them without saying a word. Amanda had a special way of showing her big sis just how much she meant to her and it all had to do with fingernail polish.

Although Amanda had some physical issues, she was still a girlie girl at heart. She loved clothes and had definite opinions about which ones she would wear and which ones she would not. Getting new socks was just as good as a new pair of shoes. If any of her clothes developed a hole in them, she refused to wear them. Even if I told her they were her play clothes and she needed to wear those when she was not at school, she would put her finger in the hole, look at me, frown, and shake her head no rather vehemently. Those who knew her know exactly what I am talking about. She had strong opinions and did not care if you knew it.

The one thing girlie I have always done, and Amanda liked, is wear nail polish. She would hold my hand, play with my nails, and ask me to put polish on hers. Now this was a timely proposition with Amanda. There was the process of picking out the color she wanted to wear, and then there would be the cleaning of her fingernails. All of the supplies would need to be in place before we started, because if you left to get something in the middle of it, she would have them a mess before they were dry. I always took my time to do this because it was fun to sit with her and just talk. She really enjoyed the process. Then it would end. Every time she was done, she asked me to remove the polish. Keep in mind, she picked out the color and requested it be put on.

There is only one person I know who could put polish on that girl’s fingernails that stayed on until it wore off. That was Cari. It did not matter what color Cari picked out to put on her fingernails, Amanda would not let anyone take it off except her big sis. Cari could remove it any time she wanted. They would simply pick another color and it would be applied. Again, no removal request by Amanda.

I think Amanda just worshipped Cari so much, the act of the nail polish application was her way of saying, “I love you Cari”.

Cari And the Newel Post

Cari is my first child and was the first grandchild on both sides. My husband is the only child to have his own children and there were no girls so my mother-in-law was absolutely thrilled. She was able to dress a little girl in all the frilly clothes she wanted to. We have pictures to prove it and I will admit she was just too adorable in those frilly dresses.

After we survived her first nine months, (she was such a colicky baby), we found out she was a fearless child. My brothers liked to give my husband and in-laws near heart attacks because of the way they played with Cari. She was tossed, thrown, nearly dropped, and used like a sack of potatoes. In other words, they seriously feared she would be dropped on her head. My brothers were only following how they were raised.

My dad was good at throwing children around. There are pictures of my dad holding me by my calves while I was stiff as a board and laid horizontally stretched out six feet off the floor. It turns out I was pretty fearless too. Dad would play with me the same way my brothers were playing with Cari. He played with my brothers the same way. They never dropped her, but my in-laws were never sure.

I found out exactly how fearless she was when I went to pick her up at my mom’s one day. My brothers just HAD to show me what Cari was doing now. My mom lived in a house with an open staircase so it had a newel post. This newel post was rather large. It was large enough to hold a small child, namely Cari. One of my brothers would stand her on top of the newel post and then say, “Jump!” She blindly trusted them so much she would jump with everything she had. I just laughed. Cari was so proud of herself she started reaching for the post so she could jump again! She had no doubt they would catch her and she loved the exhilaration of the “game”.

She has not changed much since then. She now has her own child who is as fearless as she was. She even runs like her mama. It is like going back almost 25 years. Watching Paige reminds me of how much fun and joy Cari gave me, (and still does), when she was growing up. I cherish those memories more than she realizes. Memories are what makes us tick and drives us on.

Singing In the Car

Few things in life stand out more to a parent than something their child says or does. I have many vivid memories of my children's young lives. One of those memories makes me smile to this day. It was so much fun I have saved a reminder on my phone just for this memory. What led up to this is something every child is forced to endure every time they ride in the car with their parents.

We were no different than any other parent of the time with the music we listened to. We grew up with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Steve Miller, and the Eagles. Of course we had cassettes (!) in the car that were always popped in as soon as we started on the journey we were taking. It really didn't matter if it was thirty minutes or thirty hours, there was music in the car. At that time the kids were inundated with our music as they had no choice. They were trapped. To this day, they all remember the music, and thankfully, they appreciate it.

Because I enjoy singing and like many different types of musical genres, I sang in the car most of the time. Three of my kids would join in regularly, but one of them only joined in a specific song. That was Brandon. He would only sing the chorus with me, but he sang it with gusto. That song was "Gimme Three Steps" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is such a great memory that today my ringtone for him is the beginning of the chorus from "Gimme Three Steps".

Thanks to Brandon, he began my need to give each person on my phone their own personal ringtone that reminds me of them. Something in each of these songs means something to me and my memories of them. Thank you Brandon for solidifying my sentimental side.

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