Tuesday, December 31, 2013

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!

Is anyone else disappointed with Bath & Body Works revision of the Vanilla Bean Noel lotion line?  I have contacted them to let them know that I wouldn’t be stocking up on it for the year this season because it doesn’t smell the same.  I asked them why they changed it and they said that their focus groups wanted it this way.  The customers said they wanted less grease.  Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I never thought that the Vanilla Bean Noel lotion was greasy.  It always absorbed quickly and felt so amazingly good and smelled so temptingly delicious. 

A long time ago, it was just Vanilla Bean lotion.  You could get it anytime.  They took it off the shelf and replaced it with Warm Vanilla Sugar.  WVS was not a good replacement for the Vanilla Bean and I just stopped hoping when VB didn’t return. 

Last year, on a whim, I returned to Bath & Body Works and was delighted to find that the Vanilla Bean was back in the Noel line.  It could have been back for a while – who knows – I just discovered it last year.  It was amazing to smell it again and I bought enough for a year (and several months, I’ve since discovered).  What rekindled my love for B&BW, has now thrown me into and icy shower of betrayal.  I received a bottle of the new Vanilla Bean Noel from a friend at the beginning of the Christmas season.  One night, while watching TV with my boyfriend I put some on my hands and massaged it in.  He said nothing.  Usually he’ll say something like, “Putting lotion on?” or “What smells like cake?”  That night he said nothing.  I asked him if he smelled anything and he replied in the negative.  The next day I wrote to B&BW and the reply was nothing short of a slap in the face.  I wish I still had the email.

My question is this – is there anyone out there as disappointed as I am?  Do we start a movement to petition for the return of the original Vanilla Bean Noel?  Does anyone care?  If you care, please share this blog post with your friends and family who might also care.  Please post to B&BW on their Facebook page.  Let them know we want our olfactory senses aroused by the warm inviting scent of vanilla!  This is a travesty that needs reversing!

And then maybe next Christmas we’ll be able to enjoy the smell of our own skin just a little bit more.




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And That's The (Horse) Poop!

It’s funny.  I live in a rural area with lots of Amish around.  They pay school taxes and land taxes and keep to themselves.  They farm and bake and sell their produce and baked goods on the side of the road wherever they can.  Some build sheds, or craft chairs and other furniture or toys.  They keep to themselves and their ways.  But there is one thing people can’t stand about the Amish.  THEIR HORSE AND CARTS!

            If it’s night time you can’t see them.  There are some that will use just a lantern or two and you don’t see them until you’re almost on top of them.  Then there are some that cover the back of the cart with reflective tape and you can see them a mile away.  Most of the time it’s in-between.  There’s just enough reflective tape to let one know that there is a buggy ahead.  It has been a huge divide for the “English” up here. 

On one hand you’ve got the “live and let live” folks.  These are the people that admire the Amish.  They think it’s great that they’ve kept the old ways and haven’t bent to society.  On the other hand you have the morons that think the Amish are dirty and stupid and have no right to be on our roads.  These are the people who continually complain about the dark buggies and the horse poop.

When my parents moved up here from the city they were trying for a simpler kind of life.  Dad wanted a hobby farm.  Get a couple cows, a couple pigs, a dog, some cats and a horse.  Grow a garden and feed the family.  Fresh air to breathe, green grass to sprawl on in the summertime.  No asphalt jungle.  A very “Green Acres” type of existence.  They actually pulled it off and I had a great childhood. 

While I was growing up I didn’t realize the animosity some people felt towards the Amish.  They were always welcome in our house.  They would come by to visit with my parents and I could hear their different dialect and I thought we were pretty special because we had Amish friends. 

In the on-line newspaper today, opinions to a poll were published.  The poll asked whether the Amish should pick up after their horses when they pooped in the road.  (I told you we were rural)  The fact that this was a poll should have given me a clue as to the answers.  I was really surprised that so many people would want the Amish to stop and scoop.  A lot of respondents also said it was a stupid idea given that they are slow already and it would add to the danger they are already in, in a buggy on fast roadways. 

I was completely taken off guard by the number of people who complained that if they had to pick up after their dogs then the Amish should pick up after their horses.  Again, rural area here – I almost never see anyone pick up after their dog, including me.  Yes, I admit it.  When I take my dog out I always forget a bag.  In the more urban areas I do bring bags and pick up but we don’t go there together very often.  So when my dog drops a load, that’s where it stays.  And I’m guessing a lot of the people who said they scoop really don’t.

What I don’t understand is this – I’ve seen horse poop on the road.  I’m a walker and a part-time runner.  I’ve run around it and through it.  My dogs have rolled in it.  Comments about how gross it is make me wonder if these North Country “natives” have ever seen real horse poop, because horse poop is probably the nicest poop around.  It’s grass.  It falls apart when it’s dry and turns to dust.  It smells just like a horse.  I’d rather have my dog roll in horse poop than a dead frog or worse – a dead bird.  If I walk through horse poop I don’t get all grossed out.  It’s not slippery like cow poop.  It doesn’t stink to high heaven like dog poop.  You’ll never find it in your flower garden when you are planting, like cat poop.  It doesn’t stick to your sneakers.

Oh yeah, one other thing, its biodegradable, unlike the chemicals that we, the “English”, spew from our cars into the Amish faces as well as their horses. 

We like to think we are so advanced, but what would we do if the government shut down all computer systems?  No phone, no electric, no computers.  It’s not that far-fetched of an idea.  I think we’d probably need to go to our Amish neighbors and ask them for help.  Maybe even a ride.  And you know what they would probably do?  They would probably help us, even though we treat them like second class citizens, even though we complain about their old ways and the buggies they drive and the poop that their horses leave on the road.

Imagine that.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Eulogy For My Cat

My cat died.  She was sixteen years old.  Her name was AJ.  She had belonged to an ex-boyfriend of mine.  When I met her she was just a little thing.  A little ball of gray fur and big green eyes.  When I was done having sex with my then-lover, he left the room.  She came over to me and I picked her up and held her to my chest.  We stared into each other’s eyes for the longest time, neither looking away.  I had heard if you did this with a cat they became yours forever, but that it was rare.  I don’t know who looked away first, but we were both hooked.  When he left to go to jail or something he asked me to take her and I did.  Then he asked me to bring her to his kids, and I did.  It hurt to let her go, but she was theirs.  Several days later I was asked to pick her up and she’s been mine ever since.  That was sixteen years ago. 

AJ used to fly around the room when she was a kitten.  She’d get a running start and then bounce off the walls.  It was hilarious to watch.  She slept with me every night.  She would climb up my legs and sit on my shoulder when she was just a baby, and a little older. 

AJ moved with me every time I found a new place to live.  I always let her outside a couple days after moving because she loved being outdoors.  She was a hunter and a sun-baby, although she loved to sit under my hostas in the afternoon sun.  She disappeared a couple times, but she always came back.  This last move she spent two weeks at a neighbor’s house with her two girls.  I had no idea until my next door neighbor came to me after a walk and told me where she was.  They had named her Madonna (which was an appropriate name for her) and fed her wet food.  Their mom was very willing to give my girl back to me, but I told myself if she went back there I was going to let her stay.  She never did, but I didn’t want to hold her back from what she wanted. 

She loved it outside and would cry to be out all the time except for the winter.  Then she would get all squirrely sometimes from being in the house so long.  She liked to climb and we would find her peeking out of the neighbor’s pontoon boat, or scaling the roof of their house.  She would sit up there and look out over us, and once they moved away she would look into their windows at what, we didn’t know, but there must have been birds or rodents or something in there.  A couple times I had to coax her out of trees, not because she couldn’t come down on her own, but because I was afraid she would get stuck. 

She used to love riding in the car when she was younger.  She’d lie down in the back window and yowl.  I’d yowl with her.  She definitely had part of my soul and I had hers.  Every once in a while she would give me a little kiss on my cheek or chin.  It was hardly an everyday occurrence and whenever it happened I felt like I had just won something.  It was like she was saying that she loved me and I was ok by her standards. 

AJ taught me how to speak cat.  She had a beautiful big mouth and sometimes we would meow back and forth to each other, getting louder and louder until either she or I would soft meow and quiet it down.  Anyone with a talker cat knows what I’m talking about.  I wish I had gotten video of her voice because even though I can imitate her pretty well, it’s not the same when she doesn’t answer back.  It was also hard to get a good photo of her because she would squint her eyes at me, but I got a few and I’m glad.  I got a video of her in the catnip I grew for her last year.  Glad about that too. 

She never got big.  She always looked like a kitten – small and thin.  For a couple summers she bulked up and got muscular, but I think the hunting was good in those years. 

AJ was an upstairs cat.  She didn’t get along well with one of our dogs, so to keep her safe we installed a gate and gave her the run of the upstairs – no dogs allowed.  The bathroom was her private dining room and every morning she woke us up with her loud meows before she even got off the bed, letting us know that she was hungry and wanted food NOW.  I would meow back at her and then tell her to “c’mon, we’ll get some food for ya.”  She was definitely a creature of habit and had us do everything we could to keep those habits, and we loved her for it. 

She was allergic to the red dye in cat food.  We had to spend more money for better food but she felt better for it so it was worth it. 

She tolerated Cal and Sky, but loved Jack (gone now for several years), Toby, and Bella. 

When I would lie on my back she would crawl up on to my chest and bump my chin with her head.  She slept on the bed on a pillow between us.  She would lick my boyfriend’s hair.  At first it annoyed him, but they grew so close and I think it was her way of letting him know that he was accepted.  I also think she liked the salt.  She would purr so loudly that I called her my little percolator.  Such a big sound from such a small kitty.  Many nights after I had fallen asleep on my side, I would wake up to find her sleeping on top of me, between my arm and hip.  She fit so perfectly there.  I loved to wake up in the middle of the night and see her silhouetted against the night sky.  She was beautiful in profile, and when she was like that, looking out at the night, it made me wonder what she saw, what she thought. 

She listened to me laugh and cry.  She listened to me rant and she allowed me to love her more than any other cat I have ever loved.  She was my best friend. 

When she was miffed with something or someone, or if she was tracking a bird or squirrel, her tail would whip back and forth.  She loved to do this at night, on her pillow and hit our heads if we weren’t paying attention to her.   

AJ had claws that wouldn’t retract.  They weren’t out super far or anything like that; they were just always there when you picked her up.  She didn’t mean to dig (you knew it when she did).  When we lived in the rental house it had a side yard and it was full of moles.  One day I looked out and saw her playing with them.  She literally threw them into the air and hit them like you would a baseball.  It was hilarious until she ate one.  I don’t think she ever ate another one after that.  They did not agree with her tender tummy.  When I moved into that place and let her out she disappeared and I called and cried for her and eventually she came home and I hugged her and held her and didn’t scold her.  I wish this was one of those times.   

My last morning with AJ was Tuesday, August 6, 2013.  I had gotten ready for work and was heading to the bedroom door to go downstairs.  I turned around and decided to pull the blankets up over the pillows.  AJ was on my boyfriend’s side of the bed, lying down.  I pulled up my side and went over to the other side.  I picked her up, pulled the blankets up, then set her down again.  Usually she’ll jump from the bed but she lay back down and I scratched her head and gave her a kiss.  I told her I would see her later. 

I can’t talk about what happened because it is tragic and violent and not something I think she thought through carefully enough.  Looking back on the past week I can see now that she was planning it.  Call me crazy if you want, but she was a smart cat.  She was getting old and her body was hurting.  I saw it in her walk, in her unsteadiness, in her frailty.  She was still my kitten, but my old kitten.  She never sat in the driveway.  If she did, she would get up and wander away when the car pulled in.  The last week she just stared down the car.  She was waiting for the hit.  I think she thought it would be quick.   

I picture her on my dad’s knee, him sitting at our kitchen table at the old house.  Every morning he would have his coffee and she would lie on his leg while he sat and smoked.  I think of that now, and immediately after she died, I know she is with him, that he is holding her now.  That she’s purring and talking to him now instead of me.  And he’s answering her.  Not like I did, but with words cause he’ll know what she’s saying.  I want to talk to her one last time.  I want to hold her one last time and not let go, not let her out of the house, out of my sight. 

Over the last several weeks as I have looked back over our time together I realize that after all the time I thought I was a dog person I am actually a cat person.  She has given us so many memories, good ones, that will probably ruin us for another cat. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Words vs Actions vs Washington Redskins

As I was listening to the news this morning, and hearing about this one topic for a month or so now, I have to laugh.  The president and other political groups want the Washington Redskins to change their name. 
At first I thought it was outrageous because what about the branding and the history, stats, trading cards, etc.  What would happen to these things?  Then I thought, well maybe they have a point, maybe the name strikes hatred in the hearts of Indians all over the United States. 

Then I read an editorial written by an Indian or had quotes from real Indians living on real reservations who weren’t really concerned about the football team.  They were saying it was really the political Indians, the ones in office or in politically affiliated groups that were concerned about the name.  And then it was stated, and I’m paraphrasing, that the Indians that aren’t registered in one group or another don’t really count because their opinion can’t be counted because they aren’t registered.  Huh?  Yeah, that’s what I said too, maybe I misunderstood. 

But what that “uncounted” Indian said was that his people were more concerned about clean water, good schools, housing, you know, the essentials.  They really didn’t feel slighted by the football team name.  So why all the fuss?  When did this nation have to be so politically correct?  We are censoring ourselves and I don’t think anyone realizes it. 

Now please don’t think I’m insensitive to the Indian nations.  My daughter is part Indian.  Not much, but enough so that when she was born I was actually asked if her father was black.  I also tried to get his family to get me more information so she would know her heritage, but no one (in his family) thought it was important.

Here’s what I want to say though, about the political correctness that has everyone taking umbrage about, well, nearly everything.  If we are so upset about a football team name then we should just stop buying tickets to those games and stop buying those items that support that particular team.  It’s as easy as that. 

Better yet, maybe we should start putting into practice ourselves what we want everyone else to do.  We expect politicians to be fine, upstanding, honest folk who are looking out for our own, and the nation’s, good. 

We should also be that in our homes, our jobs and our communities.   If we treat others as we want to be treated and not how we expect to be treated then hopefully that trend will grow and grow until we have a nation that works together for the best of our fellow man and country.   Actions will matter, not words.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Veterinarian Woes

           A while ago my favorite dog magazine put out a call for readers to tell them what they looked for in a vet.  I have to say that my response was a litany about my favorite veterinarian that no longer practices in our area, but I didn’t really let them know what I actually look for in a vet.  I guess I never really thought about it.  Until now.

See, my dog has lumps.  He’s been a lumpy boy for some time now.  I’ve had dogs all my life and the vets I’ve taken them to have always said “fatty tumor, leave it alone”.  I have always had a doctor that I trusted and listened to me, at least as an adult pet owner.  When I was a child and just out of school I was still in fear of the vet.  They know so much more than I do. 

However, with age comes knowledge and with knowledge comes questions and new fears.  I have lived with this dog for ten years now.  I have known him since he was five weeks old and woke up with him in the middle of the night for barefoot walks in dewy grass so he could learn to pee outside.  I searched high and low for him when his beagle nose led him away from me into the danger of the streets and other dogs’ yards. 

When he contracted mange and no one knew what it was, I found a vet that did and he was cured.  And we loved this vet for six years, until he just one day up and retired and moved away.  Shock, fear and anger are STILL with me!  And for the last two years we have been shopping around and trying new veterinarians, wanting to find THE ONE again.  It isn’t going to happen.

So I’ve made the appointment, I am arming myself with knowledge and I will make sure that what is done is done with respect and care in the best interest of my dog.  This doctor is going to have to understand that I am an extension of my dog, that I speak for him and want only the best for him.  I don’t consider him a god and I will question him if I don’t understand.

And maybe, just maybe, someday down the line, this doctor will be “the one”, the one that we trust our animals lives with, the one we miss when he’s on vacation and we make ourselves wait for him to get back instead of going to another doctor (unless it’s an emergency), the one that we tell all our friends about so they know a good place to bring their own fur babies.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

All We Can Ask Is "Why?"

This Nevada school shooting is really bothering me.  I feel so bad for this nation.  We have entitled ourselves and our children to anything we want (we deserve, we think) and if we don’t get it we get mad and get even.  I don’t know why this happened.  I can’t even pretend to get in this boy’s head, this twelve year old boy, and try to figure him out.  And he’s not going to be around to answer any questions.  And his parents are probably clueless too.  Unless he left a note, or he was going to counseling.  I really have to wonder if his parents didn’t see something coming.  I know when my daughter was a teenager and even now, I can tell when she’s ready to boil over.  I can see and feel the simmer before she blows.  I can’t do anything about it because she is an adult, but I also DID do something about it when she was a child.

Here are some things that I think contribute to the shoot-em-up society, in regards to children:

1.             Video games.  You can say that they are just games, but when children commit crimes psychologists are the first ones to say that their brains are not totally developed and they are highly impressionable.

2.            Medication.  Not theirs, yours.  Either they are taking it or see you abusing it.  And they think it’s ok, because it gets you through the day, or the hour, or the last five minutes.

3.            Red Bull.  I’ll probably get in trouble for this but I’ve seen a ton of kids drinking this and other highly caffeinated drinks that will get them going, screw up their sleep cycles, make them cockier, etc.  When I was a kid even Pepsi was kept away from us.  Only for the adults.   In previous posts I have mentioned living a sheltered life, so this was probably not true for a lot of kids.

4.            Access to the internet.  I don’t care how many stops you put on your computer, phone, tablet, etc – the kid will always find a way.  You look at what they do on the internet?  Riiiggghhhttt.  And I won the mega millions last week.  You do realize they know how to erase history and clear cache before you look over their shoulder, correct?  What they see, and what they post, and the fact they feel they can say anything makes them extremely dangerous.

5.            Children’s rights.  Yes, it’s good that we can help the children who need it, but has your child ever said “You can’t put your hands on me!  I’ll tell the police!” when you’ve threatened to spank?  They teach that first thing in school now.  It’s supposed to teach them that their body belongs to them only and no one should touch it without their permission, but what it really teaches them is that they can get away with ANYTHING because you are afraid to get in trouble yourself.

6.            "Everyone’s A Winner" mentality.  Kids have to understand that not everyone can win and handing out awards to all does not help our children.  This melds into the theory of bettering oneself.  If you think you’re going to get an award anyway, why do better?  Why push yourself?  These kids are bored out of their minds.  They don’t have to figure out anything – all they need is technology and they are on their way.

There’s more, there’s always more.  Maybe you’ll add to my list.  I think we need to go back to the fifties, or even the forties.  Whenever kids went to classes for manners and how to behave in social situations.  We’ve lost that.  I think even people my age could use it.  These things were taught because they were important.  Not for fun, not for credit.  It was something you needed to become a productive member of society.  I think we need to start paying more attention to the people around us instead of our smart phones.  If you see someone in distress, take a moment and see if you can help.  Smile at the person in line behind you.  Make small talk.  Show your child there is more to your life than them.  Show them there’s more to their life than you.  Take away the video games and technology and bring them outside.  Show them parks and zoos and museums.  Walk by the water or in the woods.  TALK to them.  Make eye contact.  Make them respond to you.  Be quiet with them.  Be still with them.  It may be exactly what they need.  Let self-confidence be their weapon of choice.  Please, for their futures as well as our nation’s.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Tissue For My Issue?

Last night I went to bed angry and slept fairly soundly.  Actually, I slept better than I normally do when all is right with the world.  Why would I go to bed angry?  There is a good answer for that and here it is.  I had a friend.  I had a very good friend.  When I stopped working with her we would talk and visit once in a while.  When I worked closer to her I would stop down on my lunch hour maybe once a week, or two.  She never came up to visit me although her time was more flexible than mine, but that didn’t matter.  At one point she just stopped talking to me.  I went in to visit and she was curt and uncommunicative.  I still have no idea what I did, but for the longest time she ran from me.  Stayed in her car when I pulled into the parking lot after her or turned her head if she drove by me as I walked to the office.  Just last week she and her husband ran a stop sign at the end of the one-way street because had they stopped our cars would have been next to each other.  She un-friended me on Facebook.  At first I thought she deleted her account but when I looked she was still friends with everyone else.  I got the picture and although it hurt at first I chalked it up to live and learn, one cannot hold another as a friend if that other person doesn’t want to be.

I left work last night only to be followed by her and with her was a mutual friend.  I looked in the rearview and saw them while I sat at the light.  The only thing I thought was that wasn’t it nice that they were still so close.  Yes, a little sarcastically, but what else can I do?  I knew they were still paling around.  Whatever.  They stay a good ways behind me and we take the same route.  When I get to my village I pull over at the post office and she does too.  I think to myself that this will be interesting, but I put on my sunglasses and walk at a normal pace into the post office.  I get my mail and walk out.  I don’t look at her car.  To me she is invisible, and worse, a stranger.  I don’t know her anymore.  I get in my car and start it up.  She pulls out from behind me and honks.  Both of them wave.  It takes everything I have not to give her the finger but the woman in her car with her is a friend of my mother’s, and someone I used to scrapbook with and I respect her more than that.

I get home and I post on Facebook something along the lines of “Don’t expect me to wave and honk.  We’re not friends”.  I get a bunch of likes and I don’t use names.  When I pick up my boyfriend later I tell him what happened.  He asks me if I spoke to her and I told him no, that she never rolled down her window, didn’t yell from her car, didn’t get out or make any effort.  He was glad I ignored her.  He didn’t think she needed to be acknowledged since she hadn’t done the same for me the last year and a half.

Later he gets on Facebook.  He sees my post and he gets all “Why did you post that?” attitude.  I walked away.

Later he asks me if I’m mad at him.  I tell him no and go to bed mad.

This morning after I’ve had some time to think I ask him what his problem was with the post I put on my wall.  He told me that I shouldn’t put anything on there that I wouldn’t say to her face and since I wouldn’t it shouldn’t have gone up.  He said that I’m not that time of person, implying that that person is an idiot.  I told him that it isn’t often that I put things like that up but I do and I AM that sort of person.  And now I’m really angry.

I could roll ten different things I’m mad at him about into this and make him into a complete jerk, but he’s not.  But after ten years I have to wonder if he knows who I really am.  I basically have the attitude “live and let live”.  Whoever you are is who you are and maybe I like you or I don’t but it’s your life, not mine.  I do this with him all the time because he is definitely a lot different than me.  He, however, is very judgmental and I feel it a lot even when it’s not aimed at me.  I basically start an argument with him before I can stop, challenging his views.  I am trying to stop that because I know I can’t win and it just causes hard feelings.  If I walk away I’ll forget about it.

After all this, what really bothers me is that he thinks I should be a better person, when I’m trying to be the best person I can be already.  I’m tired.  I would like to tell everyone to go jump off a cliff.  I would like things to go my way.  I don’t.  They don’t.  And sometimes I vent about it.  Here it is.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Letter to Oprah

Dear Oprah-

You are so full of crap.  Trayvon Martin and Cecil Gaines have nothing in common except their skin color.  If you are defining every black person by their skin color then you, yourself, are a racist.  I would have to say that Mr. Gaines did not play the thug life to get where he was as I’m guessing extensive background checks would have eliminated him from the job pool if he had.  Unless you are living in a bubble, which I believe you do, you would have known about T. Martin’s twitter handles and his gangsta wannabe lifestyle, at least as it plays out on social media. 

Yes, I’m white and I pretty much live in a bubble too.  I haven’t had a whole lot of experience with any nationalities, be they black, brown, Asian, German, Australian, whatever.  I had a little experience with an Italian once and it was pleasant, but that’s another story.  My problem is this, and maybe you can figure out an answer or an explanation. 

If a white person (or one who looks white) harms a black person, will they always be wrong?  I feel the media (your playground) portrays that exact sentiment.  If that is the case then we are not all created equal and must defer to a person of color, always. 

I’m tired of paying for other people’s grandparent’s mistakes.  My grands came over from Germany, Ireland and England after slavery was abolished.  I felt guilty for a long time but my family had nothing to do with it.  So why do I have to defer?  Why do I have to feel guilty when I hear about some kid getting gunned down by a white guy?  Why do I immediately have to wonder if it was racially motivated? 

If I was out and being followed and someone attacked me, I would definitely try to open a can of whoop ass on them.  As a matter of fact, several years ago I was in Phoenix and wandering around a little mall when someone seemed to be following a group consisting of me and my three friends.  We had gone out to dinner and were waiting for a cab.  In the meantime a man was eyeing us in a suspicious manner.  Before I had left on this trip I was reminded by my boyfriend that if anyone attacked me to stab them in the belly button with my keys.  He said it would take them right down.  This guy was following us, so I gathered my friends together in a well-lit area and I told them to whip out their keys or a pen from their purses and we would have a chance if this guy attacked.  Then we waited.  And we waited in a way that made this shifty guy finally walk away from us.  We were lucky and so was he, because my adrenaline was going strong and if he had come up to us I would not have had a problem stabbing him, even if he was just looking for change.  He was in my space and suspicious.

And he was white.  And I was afraid.  And I’m sorry, but kids today who choose to look like thugs are going to get treated as such and maybe they will learn from this, but they probably won’t.  White or black, they think it’s cool and badass and they will keep perpetuating stereotypes until video games, musicians, movies and talk show hosts stop glorifying them – black, white, whatever.

I take offense at celebrities and presidents using their influence to get a rise out of the public.  I take offense of the press that did not publicize George Zimmerman helping accident victims.  I take offense of a public that wouldn’t use their heads and realize that there was no dirt on GZ brought out by the press.  If he had skeletons they would have been all over the news, but it wasn’t there. 

It is tragic that a boy was killed.  It is tragic that a mother and father lost a son.  It shouldn’t happen that way.  It is more tragic that the media has latched onto fear and hate and spreads it like butter on the tongues of society and that we like the taste of it so very much.

Figure all that out for me Oprah.  And if you didn’t make that befuddled remark about T. Martin and Cecil Gaines, I apologize.  The press made me do it.
PS:  Bad call with the purse in Switzerland.  I'm sure they wouldn't have shown it to me either.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Superficiality - Guilty or Not? Or Am I Human?

I have to point out that I am spiteful and that I hold a grudge far longer than anyone I know.  That said, I’d like to talk about why.  I’m a loner.  I always have been.  I have only had one best friend at a time, starting when I was five.  I met my first best friend at our neighbor’s chicken coop.  I was watching the chickens while my dad was at the barn getting fresh milk.  This little girl comes up to me (the farmer’s granddaughter) and asks me if I want to be her best friend.  We were inseparable for seven years.  When we entered junior high she became popular and I did not.  She hung out with the cheerleaders and sports groups.  I hung out with nerds and outsiders.  What’s funny is that I never held that against her.  I still smiled and waved to her in the halls, and as we became adults we always spoke when we ran into each other.  She was the best first best friend a girl could ask for.

No, I’m not sure when I started holding grudges but it was definitely after I started dating.  In my senior year I lost my virginity and the guy I lost it to.  My best friend at the time was a geek like me.  Not such a loner (she really didn’t have the dark, sad look that I had and couldn’t pull it off), she had lost her first boyfriend through a tragic car accident.  When my ex asked her out she came to me all excited and asked if it was ok.  I told her that it would be, as long as I didn’t have to hear all the gory details.  She told me all the gory details and I promptly walked away from her- forever.  I tried to get back in touch with her later on just to see how life was treating her but she made her life sound too busy to really give me a straight answer so I never got back to her.

I have held grudges and then let them go.  This includes my brother’s ex-girlfriend.  We did everything together – shopping, partying, clubbing, heart-to-hearts – it was great and I never loved any of my friends like I loved her.  Then she decided to get married, and I was the person she asked to spend her last night as a single girl with.  Then she moved away, started having babies, and made new friends.  Did I resent that?  I guess I did.  We barely spoke and it’s only now, after several years of being back in the neighborhood, do we keep in contact and see each other.

I’ve gone through several jobs in the last couple of years.  Not because I was fired or laid off, but because the pain of going to a job where one’s voice didn’t matter anymore hurt too much and the way staff were treated was abominable.  I had been there for ten years and made some really good friends, or so I thought, until I left and worked elsewhere.  One of my very best friends, yes, I said best, didn’t even show up at my barbeque last year after I had spoken with her two days before to confirm.  At that point she was saying that she would absolutely be there.  She never showed up or called.  At this point I had been gone from that employment for one year.  I had kept in touch with them, visited, emailed, called.  I should have known something wasn’t right the last time I stopped in there.  She sat at her desk while I visited with other staff and she kept her head down.  She wouldn’t even look at me.  I never went back, and a couple weeks later she fired a woman she had worked with for years.

What bothers me is that she didn’t talk to me.  We were such good friends, or at least I thought we were.  I realize that I was no longer part of her work environment but we used to get together to eat once in a while.  We partied at each other’s home, we knew each other’s children, we even took their phone calls if the other was busy.  I don’t know if I did something wrong, or if I offended her in some way.  She took one of my other friends with her (I know this sounds very 8th grade, but it’s how it really happened).  She brought her in to volunteer to cover for the person she fired.  That friend hasn’t really spoken to me since either, just a phone call by me at Thanksgiving.  I had also called her to see if she wanted to scrapbook with me, but she told me she couldn’t afford it, so no, she did not want to go.  She was very short with me and I knew then that I was out of the loop.

I miss my friends.  I miss the camaraderie and the silliness. The other day I realized that I had been un-friended on Facebook.  It was then that I realized that what I was doing in my life no longer mattered to her.  The other friend, the one she took with her, will speak to my boyfriend and ask him for favors, but will not call me or try to engage in conversation when we run into each other.  Not that I do, either.  Work friendships are just that, friends from work.  Once you leave you can’t go back, unless you offer to help out, and I just can’t so I lose.  The only thing is, they do too.

So am I spiteful?  I guess I am.  But I think maybe I’m a little more wary of superficial friends.  If one isn’t true, then I don’t want it.  And I guess they don’t either.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Life is Like A Box of Chocolates

   “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”, said Forrest Gump’s mama.  She’s right, you don’t.  I worry about a lot of things, but in the end what is going to happen is going to happen.  Yesterday, all afternoon I was harassed by my daughter who wanted me to pick her up and drive her to the store.  In all fairness, if she didn’t live as far away as she does now, and if I hadn’t been so tired, I probably would’ve done it. 

   Now, I’ve been telling people lately that things are getting better. She’s learning the boundaries that I’ve set for her and is abiding by them.  Never in my working life except when she was a young child has she called me less at work.  Then – BANG!  She called me yesterday at least ten times at my office and probably the same on my cell phone.  It’s not like the phone rings constantly here, so the phone ringing as much as it did was noticeable.  I answer the phone so I was ok on that end, but I was just so disappointed and angry that she would do this.  I was hurt that she would think nothing of putting my job in jeopardy for her wants, and it was a want, not a need, no matter how much she phrased things that way.

   I wish I felt good about doing nice things for my daughter.  I wish I could enjoy spending time with her.  I wish I had spent more time disciplining her and not making it up to her that I had left her father and pushed her into a single parent household.  The main reason I did that was because I didn’t want her to see women as something to be pushed around and used, possibly as a punching bag or a money machine.  I left him before she was two.  She’s with someone just like that now.

   I wish I knew her hopes and dreams, and maybe someday when she’s not asking me for something, when we are content to be with each other, when her husband allows her to be alone with me, I can ask her and find out what’s on her mind.  As it is now they latch on to everything they get and see what they can trade it for – for him.  It’s not a happy life for her.  Certainly not the one I envisioned for her when I held her in my arms for the first time.  All of my hopes and dreams for her have shattered and I can only pray that things will get better for her.

   Her path, the one she’s chosen, is the one that hurts her the most.  If she walked the straight and narrow and did things the way she was supposed to she would get to a life she could enjoy without handouts and begging.  At least I think she would.  I just wish she’d try, and I wish he would let her.  ‘Cause she’ll never know, just like that box of chocolates.  I just wish she’d grab one and try it…




Friday, August 2, 2013

Weiner-Spitzer, Anyone???

Is anyone else sick and tired of Anthony Weiner?  I seriously think he gives hot dogs a bad name.  I think either his wife is a really strong person who can deal with just about anything and holds her wedding vows to her heart, or she’s just very stupid.  Either way, just because she believes in her husband is no reason to vote for him.  Spitzer either.  Is it wrong for me to point out the sexual innuendos both names inspire?  Does anyone else see it?  Weiner Spitzer.  They could make a porn movie together for crying out loud.  They could run together on that ticket. 

What’s scary is that they could win.  They could have the best ideas and the best strategies and they still do not deserve to even run.  By being unfaithful and vulgar to their families they have proven that they cannot be trusted in our government.  I only thank God that Bill Clinton had not had access to a cell phone or digital camera, because I like Bill.  I think Bill was good for our country, and that we did pretty well with him.  I’m not so sure I would have liked him very much had I discovered that he had tweeted his goods to Monica or anyone else for that matter.  The fact is, Bill kept things quiet.  He didn’t advertise as Weiner has done, and he didn’t pay for it with taxpayer money like Spitzer did.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I expect powerful people to have affairs.  Long hours and extended time periods away from home will do that to a man or woman.  Stress relief is key for them to make good decisions and to be on their best behavior in the public eye.  I’m sure most, if not all, of the great presidents or businessmen had affairs.  I also think they respected their families enough to keep it on the down-low.  That all started to change in the Kennedy era and it’s gone downhill ever since.

I think it’s changed partly because the women these men are cheating with feel entitled to more than being the other woman.  They’ve forgotten their place in this picture, which is the whore.  They believe they need to be respected.  Silly ho’s.  Look at Petraeus.  He did a fine job.  He was good at it.  He protected our country.  He had an affair.  It wasn’t love, it was sex, and it should’ve been kept between him, his wife, and his ho(s).  It shouldn’t have become a national scandal and he shouldn’t have lost his job because of it.  It didn’t affect his job.  Problem was his ho.  She thinks it’s ok for her to hold his balls to the wall, and it probably is – in private.  It shouldn’t become a “story” and the press is just making all of these things worse.

America is quickly losing credibility because we give more weight to stories that don’t matter than those that do.  Here is a list for any self-respecting reporter to use as a guide:

Education – how do we get more people invested in our country’s children?
Fracking – how is it good for the environment?
Government - anything
Mental Illness vs. Gun Violence – Ever think that taking care of folks with MI might take care of a lot of the gun crazies, instead of shutting down mental hospitals?
Animal Abuse and the link to Anyone Abuse
Sex – why do we sell it in print and on TV but refuse to talk about it in public?  Why is it good, but bad?

There are a lot others, but those things could keep our reporters thinking instead of looking for dirt.  I’m guessing any self-respecting reporter wants to report on these things instead of Kim and Kanye’s baby name.  Honestly, I don’t think anyone really cares about them anymore.  They’re has-beens.  Anyone will tell them that once you get married or have a kid on TV the sexual tension is ruined for viewers and you go on the back burner.

So, Mr. Weiner, Mr. Spitzer and all the rest of you cheating liars – I hope the citizens of New York, and the rest of the nation, recognize you for who you are – cheating, lying, womanizers that don’t respect anyone, most of all yourselves.  You are not worthy to park our cars if you worked as a valet.  I wouldn’t trust you with mine and I own a 98 Ford Ranger.  No, you are not worthy. 

It’s democrats like you that are making me consider changing my party to independent and voting conservative. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Hate Morning

   I hate morning.  Well, let me clear that up- I hate morning when I have to get up and there are others in the house I have to cater to.  Waking up alone, with just the dogs and birds, when I have no place I need to go is wonderful. Other than that waking up is just the preamble to what I have to do for everyone else.
This morning was a real treat because not only did I get to wake up in the middle of the night to an invasion of the dogs into our upstairs sanctuary (read:  no dogs allowed), I got to hear complaints about the water temperature not being what it ought to be and about socks not getting washed.
   I was also accused of being passive-aggressive (again) because I wash only my clothes and not his (I wash both and he knows it) and that I never argue back (I don’t).  I can’t win when I do so what’s the point? It’s wasted breath as far as I’m concerned.  I could use that breath elsewhere.  Plus, I don’t know how long it’ll take him to get it through his head, I wasn’t raised that way and I’m not going to change.  Just because he was brought up in a house of arguers doesn’t mean that’s the right way to do things.
   It was a great morning.
   And now I want to text him to see how his day is going but I feel like if I do I’m caving and he needs to make his words up to me, which he did try to do, but way too soon for me to feel forgiving.  Sometimes I hate myself for the little game of sabotage I play on my relationships.  It is a covert operation and it’s only going to end up with me being alone and him feeling like something awful.
   So I will text him and check in, and we will go to class in the evening together, and I will have the next several days off to catch up on sleep and chores.  If all goes well we won’t have this argument again for a couple months.  If all goes well is the key…