Friday, August 30, 2013

Short and Sweet

Today is Friday and I decided to go short and sweet with my political/social views. So here they are:

Our forefathers got it right, since that point though....we have really screwed it up. A country who doesn't support the "rights" of its people is not a democracy. A country who tries to control it's people whether it be with money, hand outs or the taking away of both God given and Constitutional rights is a dictatorship in which the people are controlled by the government instead of the government being controlled by the people.

Power whether it be by money or leadership can be a very exhilarating aphrodisiac. It can make one forget that at the end of the day, they are still just flesh and blood like everyone else and if not for a stroke of luck or good fortune, they are no more or less human, in foul-able or above the law than anyone else.

Money, much like any other inanimate object is not on its own....evil. It is the man who holds it that decides whether money shall be used in a good or evil way. To say Capitalism is bad is to cripple a nation. To force a good hard working man to pay for those who refuse to work or support themselves is unfair to the man and unfair to those he is forced to support. To allow a good hard working man the right to give of us his own free will and support those with "true" need, that is what makes a country flourish.

When a country starts picking and choosing who has rights and makes a division or discriminates by race, creed, color or age then it is not "for" the people. When a country tries to disarm its own while helping to arm its enemies....there is a problem and when a country tries to control the media and quiet the people, then the people must open their eyes and realize they are really no longer free.

When people turn on their it not the beginning of the end? When we "choose" to kill the most fragile and innocent of our own species while fighting ferociously for the life of other species, what does that say about us as a people? When we judge others by their diversity instead of honoring the differences are we giving our Creator who in His infinite wisdom created each of us the justice and respect He deserves? When we use our color, race or creed as a way to put others down, cause division, abuse the system or ultimately hurt our fellow man, we do society, our group and humanity as a whole......a grave injustice.

We have created a country and a world that I doubt our forefathers would recognize. We have taken something good and fair and made division and inequality at every turn. We have been the greatest power in the world and greed, narcissism, and a desire to control we are becoming that which our forefathers fought to get away from. For those that don't get it.....history does in fact repeat itself and man is his own worst enemy. If this country fails I hope those who are quick to point a finger remember that the blame lies not only with those who chose to bring us down, but also with those good people who saw the writing on the wall but said nothing, did nothing and in the end.....reaped what they sowed.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nouns, Adjectives and a Verb or Two

There are two questions that always make me cringe. The first one is when a teacher or employer or whoever asks you to describe yourself in one word. The second is when your friends are asked to describe "you" in one word. How ridiculous. One word to describe an entire person who has lived likely many different lives in their however many years. How do you do that? Pretty easily as I have had to do it and seen it done a lot of times, but just how accurately?

If the question is asked of me about myself, I guess it depends on the day and how I am feeling. Those one words can be anything from "tired," "aggravated" and "lookout" to "content," joyful" and dare I say...."happy." Sadly they are just words that describe the moment and not the whole, but seldom do I want to delve deep enough to really think about the whole.

Now if that question is asked of others about me, you can count on answers such as "funny," "friendly" and the ever popular...."strong." I just want to laugh. Especially when I know that words like "strong" are just a persona I put forward and not in anyway the real me.

The bottom line is, no one can be described with one word. Each of us has different sides and depending on the day, the people we are with or the circumstances....different feelings and attitudes. We are a people of not just nouns, but many many adjectives too. Sometimes I am "somewhat" strong if I need to be there for others. If I am with my friends I can be "very" funny and  I see no reason not to be "friendly" when meeting others. Okay....I couldn't think a of good adjective to go with friendly. You either are or you aren't.

I am also someone who tries to find the good in the bad. I try to be a half way decent mom. I have a temper but most times try to keep it in check. I have been known to yell but I also love to laugh. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt but if you hurt me or make me mad enough, all bets are off. I like the color pink, I love my friends and I would do just about anything for my kids. I am often outspoken....but if I find myself in the wrong....I will admit it. I am seldom quiet but when I am, there is usually a reason. I love to dream and to write and to lose myself in music. I love God, I go to church and I am not afraid to speak of either. I don't have to be liked but I won't tolerate being disrespected. I smile a lot (except for when someone has a camera pointed at me). I try to be a good friend, a good listener and to keep judgement out of both. I have opinions, thoughts and beliefs and you are likely to hear them if you ask or cross a line. I am a product of my experiences and I can be my own worst enemy. I am nouns and adjectives with a verb or two thrown in for good measure. I am all of this and more.

And that a little about me today!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Leave it There

So I am getting in touch with my spiritual side today. Yesterday I had an epiphany. It wasn't like a cast iron frying pan hitting me over the head all at once. It was more of a feeling of peace that came over me......and stayed. I am sure this has been days in the making but yesterday was the day it hit me. Ever since I found out my body might be acting up and making miniscule spots appear in places they shouldn't, my head has been in a really bad space. True to form for me.....I panicked. I didn't want to but I really didn't see any way around it. Panic is my go-to emotion anytime I feel in over my head. It usually settles down into something more manageable and less manic after awhile, but when I feel like I am going under for the first time....I really need a lot of talking down off the ledge.

Since last week at this time I have teetered on said ledge and I have really had to put things mentally and more importantly spiritually in perspective. Probably my greatest personal fear next to losing my kids, is having cancer. It is not so much the sickness itself although I know how horrible that can be, but the major issue I have is leaving my kids. I can't hardly think of what Z went through when his dad died and then imagine myself leaving him too. I also can't imagine this being his senior year and any focus having to be on my health. I almost get sick when I think of all the sacrifices he has made without complaint over the years with David and life in general. This year is to be his year, not the year that he has to worry about his mothers health or life. Then of course there is David. I really can't leave David. Not now especially with him still in school and him being special needs. He needs me! This all has been running through my head and causing me to hyperventilate at every turn.

I knew I was in over my head the moment the nurse said..."spots on your lung." Along with my immediate worry about the kids there was also anger. Lots of anger directed at the one person who is not here to defend herself. My mom was the greatest mom in the world, except for her smoking addiction. Cigarettes always came first with her and she ultimately died because of that choice. Was I going to die because of her choice too? As my head swam and I began feeling as if I was going down for the second time, I realized that I couldn't do this alone. I couldn't find answers in the state I was in. I couldn't be a mom in the state I was in and I was barely functioning in the state I was in. I had to pull myself together and deal with whatever I was facing.....head on.

I began praying. I pray daily and usually several times during the day but I still see myself as a lazy prayer. I suddenly was a very dedicated prayer. All the spiritual words of wisdom that I had grown up with started making their way through my cluttered brain: "If God brings you to it....He will get you through it," "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle," and my mothers favorite of and for all time......"Put it in Gods hands and............LEAVE IT THERE!" They all made sense but my desire to control all in my universe is pretty darn powerful. My next stop was Mass. Going to Mass always seems to have a calming effect on me and much like a Twelve Step program for an addict.....Mass is my meeting. Luckily Mass was being said at the Cathedral and I went. God directed me there for a reason.

The Cathedral to me is both ominously scary (I went up the dome stairs as a little kid and I remember the small stair case, the heights and the life size statues scared me) and gorgeously beautiful. Once in the church though...I found great peace. Then as the priest gave his short but penetrating sermon about when in need ask the Blessed Mother to go to her son for you, it hit me. No prayer is ever unanswered and all prayers are answered in the way that is best for us...we simply have to listen and let God guide us. I think that was the first step in my ability to start seeing things as they really are and not the way my crazed mind was viewing them. My mind was going to the worst possible place without any actual facts to back it up. I don't know if I have cancer or not. I don't know if I have anything. All I do know is that I have some spots and those little teeny tiny spots are not going to take me down. They are not going to stop me from living my life, being a mother or doing the things that I both need and want to do.

Since the day at the Cathedral, I have talked to my doctor who I am utterly confident in. She already has me set up with specialists for second opinions and is staying on top of all of it. I have also found that a couple of people I know have had an actual diagnosis of cancer and they are fighting it with a drive and determination that makes me highly ashamed of my own panicked meltdown. I have talked to friends who I know will support me whatever road I go down and finally.....I have gotten some positive perspective on the realities of my situation.

While I still don't have all or even really any of the answers that I would like to have, life is moving forward again. I have recharged my faith and I believe I have honestly put all of this in Gods hands where I know my family, my life, my heart and my soul are the safest they can be....and yes Mom....I will LEAVE IT THERE!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dragging Douglas

Today I heard.....there might be talk of planning a new annual event in Wichita!!!! Of course it is in the very earliest of stages but if this particular event were to come to fruition, I am thinking this might take on a life of its own as events go. The best part.....I might get to have a tiny part in its inception as it is being tossed around on one of the facebook pages that I created.

So please go back with me in time to the early 1950's to the late 1980's. In Wichita there is a street and a section of it goes east and west through the down town area. The streets name is Douglas. Just saying the name can bring about some amazing memories for a lot of people. So what was so special about Douglas? Well for a 30+ year expanse....if you were a teen, lived within a 30 miles spance of Wichita, had a great car (or any car for that matter) and a group of friends....then on Friday and Saturday were dragging Douglas!

The part of the street we dragged was about a two mile stretch and on a really busy could take two hours to complete the stretch. It was where many a drag race was started as fast cars would rev their engines, pick their competition and then meet up at some disclosed location to see who really was the fastest. There were Chinese fire drills, girls and guys jumping into each others cars and lots of music blasting from the radios. It was a scene straight out of American Graffiti and a time in many of our lives that will never be forgotten. Sadly, with gang violence and Old Town trying to breathe life back into down town Wichita, dragging Douglas was outlawed and something we took for granted and thought would always be there, was gone.

A few years ago, after having a conversation with Z about dragging Douglas and his eyes lighting up at the idea of such a thing and such a place, I decided to start a facebook page about it. I figured if I remembered it and it held such a special place for me, that it might also hold that special feeling for others. I wanted people to have a place to come and reminisce. I hit this one on the mark because within a few weeks there were over 7,000 people who had joined and were sharing their memories, pictures of their cars and stories of their cherished days dragging Douglas. It was amazing to know how many people met on Douglas and later married, how many people still have the car(s) they drove back then and how many people loved those days just as much as I did.

When facebook decided to redo the groups, I Used to Drag Douglas was one that took the hit and wiped out the entire group membership. Since,  I have been working to rebuild and we are almost up to 1,000 now. As people are realizing that the group is still there....they are trickling in, joining or rejoining and the memories are flowing again.

The other night on the heels of the Old Settlers car show and the Black Top Nationals in Wichita, there was much reminiscing going on. One of the members suggested that an annual event be started in Wichita where those that used to drag could come back and for one night.....Douglas would be opened back up for those wanting to stroll....errr....drag down memory lane. My mind started thinking about a weekend event. It would be awesome revenue for Old Town and even the downtown area. Many chimed in that even though they lived out of state......they would come back for such an event. Anyone who knows me, knows planning an event such as this would be right up my alley and I think that this could even be successful for years to come. Perhaps we need to whisper in the ear of some radio personalities and start finding out who has "what" connections?!!!! I definitely believe this event could be a winner.

So yeah....I heard that many many many people loved dragging Douglas and there are those that want it to live on in Wichita history and not just die because we let it. If you ever dragged Douglas, I would love to hear your opinions and comments. Feel free to share,  because somethings......should just never be forgotten!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mealtime as Family Time

Yay....I am on a roll and the good news is my mentor is pleased with the prolificness of my blog. The bad news.....she is also pulling her hair out with my sentence structure and grammar. Content- A, Basic grammar- C-! Oh well, I guess I will forever be a work in progress. So moving forward, today on To Like or Not to Like....I chose a Like.

When I was kid (pretty young in fact), houses were usually built with a place to eat in the kitchen and also a dinning room where you had your fancy table, often a buffet and sometimes even a china cabinet. Both rooms were utilized for sit-down eating. The kitchen was usually breakfast and lunch eating and the dinning room was supper/dinner, Sunday dinner and holidays. At least that is how it was at my house. You ALWAYS ate meals at "a" table and if you ate between meals (which you seldom did) it was either in the kitchen or outside. Eating in the living room, your bedroom or any other room in the house was grounds for punishment.

As we evolved as a nation, my belief is that one of the greatest detriments to society and the family was the invention of the tv dinner. I think Swans was the original culprit and they took a main course such as fried chicken, potatoes, a veggie and sometimes a dessert....froze them in a tin foil container and sent them to your grocery store to be purchased and reheated in the oven and then front of the tv (thus I guess the name). Since bowls of food on the table, serving utensils and even dishes were no longer necessary (the foil container was also the plate) it wasn't a huge jump to the purchasing of the small and individual tv trays so that we could park ourselves in front of the tv in the living room/den and enjoy a meal watching the news or our favorite program. WOW what an invention!

With the modern convenience of tv dinners, women were able to spend less time preparing food and cleaning up. They felt that they were still giving their families a well balanced meal but their days were no longer full of slaving at a stove or having to end with a sink full of dishes after a long day.  Bonus....they too could actually sit down and enjoy a meal. It was an apparent win for everyone and this was evident in the amount of tv dinners that went flying out of stores over the next few decades. What could be wrong with convenience and time saving meals served in half the time or less that an actual meal could be prepared?

Humans are funny creatures. When convenience of just about any kind comes into our lives, we quickly forget our pre-convenience ways. With the upsurge of tv dinners, many homes went from the occasional tv dinner night to tv dinners most nights. Kitchen tables became catch-alls for papers and just about anything.....except for meals....and dinning room tables became dusty, unused and obsolete. Another funny thing is that all rules pre-tv dinner seemed to go out the window. Suddenly no room in the house was off limits for food (except maybe the bathroom). Another funny thing was that our tv dinners over the years became much smaller and filled with more additives and just plain crap, while our tv's started becoming much larger. Not sure what the correlation is here....but it is true.

The worst thing though that I feel happened when Swans brought convenience to our lives was that we all forgot how to be a family. A dramatic statement you say? I think not. When we ate at the table as a family whether it was breakfast or a big holiday meal, it was a time of togetherness, conversation and bonding. Parents were able to catch up with their kids day, husbands and wives had real conversations and families in general knew that it was sacred family time where there were no interruptions and everyone was expected to exceptions!

I am sad to say that I, like many, lost my way in the new world of tv dinners and eating in front of the tv. With kids coming and going all the time, often it was easier to throw a dinner in the microwave and plop down for two minutes on the couch in front of the tv. Then one day I realized that 1) I didn't like feeding my kids what was in those dinners, 2) they were expensive and 3) I had a perfectly good kitchen table that I cleaned around but seldom used. It was then that I decided that our tv dinner days as well as our days eating in front of the tv were gone and I have never looked back.

It is my belief that along with making us lazy and tv obsessed, those little conveniently packed meals where also a catalyst for breaking down families and also making us a nation of obesity. Again you say "too dramatic?" Think about it. Before tv dinners, we ate at the table. We cleaned up after dinner and everyone had a job doing so, then there might be time for a couple of hours of tv if the family didn't have something else planned. With the onset of tv dinners, kids and adults alike turned the tv on the minute they came in the door in the evening and didn't even have to turn it off for dinner. Soon watching the boobtube became more important than family conversation or activity. Also, before tv dinners....the kitchen or dining room were the only places you ate and usually you only ate when a meal was prepared and on the table. When we started opening up other places in the house to eat, suddenly there were no rules of when, where and what we ate. Lets not forget too, that if we are nothing.....we are a lazy nation. Some became too lazy to even put a meal in the microwave thus the expansion and growth of fast good restaurants all over the country. If tv dinners had been the emergence of lazy eaters in our society.....then fast food restaurants had sealed our fate. Now we have instant gratification in food. We can order and have a burger, fries and a drink within two minutes (sometimes even quicker if freshness is not an issue) and we can eat in our car, at our desk, in our bed and front of our 150" tv's if we want. Through it all, we don't even have to talk to a family member, ask anyone how their day was or act as if we are part of a family at all. It is not good!

When I put the kibosh on eating anywhere but the table, I heard grumblings from everywhere. I also had doubts about myself if I would live up to fixing a meal 3 times a day. I am happy to say that I have lived up to my part and because of this...the family came around pretty quickly. The kids liked having home cooked and not just microwaved pre-packaged foods. I had much more control of what was going into my kids and they weren't eating much in between meals because they were full from actually eating meals. As a family we all started looking forward to sit down meals at the table without tv or cell phones. We have gone to eating a meal in about 10 minutes in front of the tv without ever saying a word to each other, to spending about 30-45 minutes at the table both taking and eating. It has become an amazing family time for us. The bonus is my kitchen is really clean. I have to clean it three times a day now. I always know what I have on hand so stuff doesn't go bad in the frig from non-use and this saves money in the long run. No waste. The rest of my house is cleaner too as I don't walk through and find dirty dishes and half eaten food. It is simply a win all the way around, but mostly it is a win for our family as a whole!

So today I like home cooked meals, eating them at the table and mealtime as family time. I may not be able to change the rest of the world but I can make my home and family just a little less lazy, a little more healthy and a lot more bonded! Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Helluva Week

It has been a helluva week. Actually the last couple of weeks have had me peeling my fingernails but this week has been a doozie. I got my test results back today. Yes, there is a spot on my lung. What that spot is they don't know however, the radiologist was NOT worried about it. He said to just wait and do another CT in three months and see if it has changed. I was so happy the radiologist was not worried. Unfortunately, I have a bit more at stake than the radiologist. It took all the control I have (and we all know that ain't much) not to scream at the nurse through the phone and say HELL NO! I am not a big fan of the "wait and see" notion. Especially not with my family cancer history. The advice that I got from everyone after the results were in was......get a second opinion. I was way ahead of them.

Monday I have a follow up appointment with my doctor. She is a breast cancer specialist who is very familiar with my family history. I plan on having a detailed conversation with her on this. I would much rather be pro-active and find out that it is nothing rather than "wait and see" and then find myself being reactive if it turns out to be something that has decided to grow or even spread in the next three months. In case you can't tell, I am feeling a bit irritated and overwhelmed right now.

It is currently late night, early morning and once again I am waiting on Z. So much is going through my head. It has suddenly hit me that this is his last year in high school. It hardly seems possible. I have absolutely no idea where the time has gone. It was also brought home to me tonight just how expensive this year is going to be. A lottery win would sure come in handy about now. Yeah....I know, we could ALL use a lottery win. Money aside though, there is the realization that things are going to start changing rapidly around here. Z has many school and social commitments this year. I am having to let go (and we all know I suck at that) and let him find his way in the world. I find myself having to stand back and trying to decide when I should "mother" and when I should let him handle things. It is so far a work in progress. Boy this whole parenting thing sure looked a lot easier in my 20's than it does now.

Yes, I am a bit overwhelmed right now but if I stand back and view the really big here in Lisaland is really not that bad. Everything is moving in the direction it should. Kids are growing up and moving forward. That is a good thing. Yes I am worried about health issues, but I am not sick. I don't even know if I have anything to worry about, but I have been conscientious enough that if there is something there......hopefully it is caught early and easily eradicated. Compared to my is a fairly benign issue and I will cross the financial bridges of a senior in high school as they come. Other than that....I have amazing kids, great friends and my faith. I am very blessed.

Okay, it is time for bed. The dogs are giving me dirty looks through sleepy eyes as they want to go to bed and I am still on the computer. Apparently they don't feel that they can just go up to bed without me. The journey I guess needs to be a group effort. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully with a little sleep, a good house cleaning and a trip to Mass I will be a little less overwhelmed come the new week.

So I guess I will say "good night!" Or is it "good morning?" Oh and by the is a very good friends birthday. If you happen to see Chris Landis.....wish her a very happy birthday. This is her last year in her forties!

Friday, August 23, 2013

To All My Intelligent Friends.....I Ask Why!

Good morning all! We are going with a "No news is good news," mantra this morning and I will be taking any frustrations out on this blog. Look out!!!! Today's assignment is........Social Issues/Politics. Now I know a few of you maybe fist pumping and yelling "Awesome," while others of you are probably face palming and saying "REALLY?" Yes...really! Apparently my political posts....errrr....rants seem to be one of the more interesting things about my writing. Who knew? I just thought they were therapy. is only one day a week and I will try to keep it as social as much as I do political. Of course sometimes the two run together but I will do my best not to beat a dead horse....too often.

Today the subject I am going to talk about is a little bit of both, not because I made it that way but because the current administration made it that way. Now let me start this by saying....if you are a friend of mine on facebook, regardless of your political affiliations, you are my friend for a reason. You are my friend because you are intelligent and you have common sense. The same goes for those who frequent my blog. Of course there are the occasional hit and run sh!t disturbers who comment just to start something but for the most part.....I surround myself with educated people. Now as you read this, please think about what I am saying and please, don't feel you have to agree or disagree.....just think about the facts.

Trayvon Martin was murdered. It was a tragic situation. Was Martin completely innocent and George Zimmerman just shot him or was Zimmerman in fact shooting for his life? A jury of his peers said that Zimmerman was innocent of 2nd degree murder but most felt he was not completely innocent of the death. In my humble opinion......since I was not there and not privy to all the evidence that the jury was, I would say that the most likely case scenario was that both had some culpability. The end result though was that a young man died, his family suffers, another man's life changed forever and his family also must suffer. Nothing good came from that one fateful night except pain and suffering for all involved. Tragic to say the least. In all its tragedy though, the bottom line was this was a thousands of killings that happen in our country's cities and towns everyday. So why did the president decide to step in and make this case political? It was no surprise that Al Sharpton and his band of merry white haters (yes....I did just say that) along with Oprah and much of Hollywood joined in with hate speech and death threats against Zimmerman in the guise of justice for Martin (and may I point out here that Zimmerman was NOT white but Hispanic). Apparently though, Zimmerman was close enough to white. Why though did the president of the United States with the death rate from violence continually climbing, choose the Martin/Zimmerman case to chime in? Why did he decide to make this personal by making his famous..."If I had a son he would look like Trayvon," speech? Why did the president get involved at all? Am I the only one who questions this? I can understand him weighing in on a terrorist act, a school shooting or something major that affects the entire country but a random murder? One would almost believe that Martin was in fact his son! Perhaps though, the reason for his involvement was far more political than it was "personal." Maybe it was because he was pushing for gun control and he decided to make this one of his many attempts to turn Americans on each other and disarm them in the name of Martin? I do in fact think this is what started it, however the case took on a completely different light as the word "racism" started getting bandied about. When in doubt, play the race card! It is because Martin  was black and Zimmerman was not and because high profile people stepped in and stirred the pot that Zimmerman will likely have to watch his back for the rest of his life. Heck....Casey Anthony has a better chance of living a normal life than Zimmerman does and that is actually pretty sad.

Now most of you are likely scratching your heads and wondering...."What was that she said about NOT beating a dead horse?" Yes, the Zimmerman case although still pertinent water cooler talk, is pretty much old news. However, there have been multiple cases of late where innocent people die not because they looked suspicious or someone was afraid of them but because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh and did I forget to mention.....they were white and were killed by blacks? Is this a race issue or just a tragic turn our country has taken?

Last week some young teens, two black and one white, killed Australian student Christopher Lane who was going to school in Oklahoma on a baseball scholarship. He had done nothing wrong but these young men wanted to kill someone. They were bored and preliminary reports stated that they wanted to know how it felt to fatally injure someone and watch them die. One even posted their exploits on facebook. As a white American I will NOT stand up and call racist on this. I will however say that if the president were to speak out on street killings, this incident might have been the time and place. Lane was not an American but he was here legally and thus deserved better from this country. Also, the president is as much white as he is black. Why has there been no impassioned words that if he had a son, he might have looked like Lane? Does our president only identify with the black side of his DNA? To me it speaks volumes.

Then there was the killing of Delbert Belton, the 88 year old WWII vet from Washington state. Again a horrific crime where Belton was in the wrong place at the wrong time and randomly selected by two black teens who overpowered him and beat him to death. This time there were no guns involved so likely this did not send any kind of anti-gun message but for goodness sake there were many reasons that the president should have spoken out on this one. Belton was elderly, he was a United States Vet having served his country in WWII and he was a random target. The first two should have been reason enough for the president to speak out but although the media has covered could have heard crickets where the current administration, Sharpton and Hollywood are concerned. Could Belton have not been your grandfather Mr. President? Apparently a truly innocent foreign exchange student and a military vet don't deserve the same outrage that a wannabe thug deserves (I am calling him this because of his own facebook picture postings).

So now I ask....what is wrong with the big picture here? Bottom line is no one should have to die at the hands of another. That being said, we all have the fight or flight instinct and often we don't have any choice but to fight. There is enough reasonable doubt about that being the case in the Zimmerman trial that the jury found him innocent. However, Zimmerman did not get off scott free. In fact, not only does he have to live with the fact that he killed another human being but he also has to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder and fearing for his life. There were no winners in this case. The other two cases though, they were deliberate....willful and calculated. They were cold blooded and the alleged criminals did it for fun. THAT is where the outrage should be. THAT is where we should start looking at ourselves and this generation who thinks killing someone is a good way to stop boredom. THAT is when the president should speak out and speak up, not to stir the pot and play the race card but to point out the REAL state of the Union and send the message that regardless of political stance, race, creed or color.....these acts will not be tolerated. Instead we get crickets. 

So now my friends, think about what I have said. Compare the outrage in the Martin/Zimmerman case from all the movers and shakers to the complete silence over the Lane and Belton case. Ask yourself why. Does it really have to do with race, does it have to do with agenda or does it have to do with a little bit of both? Are Lane and Beltons lives any less precious to their families than Martins was to his? Think about it and please let me know what you think.

Until's hoping you have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

About Me

Fourth day in a row. Are you in shock yet? Today is Stories About Me...... I have to laugh at the thought of this because in truth, my blog is ALWAYS about me or at the very least....some part of me. My mentor however felt that after reading my blogs, "I" was mildly interesting at times and that she would like to read more about me. I hate to break it to her but there is very little interesting about me. The only interesting thing is those that surround me. At any we go.

Today, yesterday and all the days since I was old enough to understand the term.....I have hated cancer. I have seen it take a hold and cause pain, suffering and sometimes ultimately....death. Cancer does not care who loves you or how old you are. It does not care if you are rich or poor, naughty or nice. It is truly an equal opportunity destroyer. It is because of this that I get to so incredibly angry when I think about the billions of dollars that have been donated to cancer research over the years...and yet we really are no closer to a cure than we have ever been. Why?

In my due diligence with my health (especially where cancer is concerned and with my family history), I found out yesterday that my yearly breast MRI came back clean yet again. Relief flowed through me until I heard the word "BUT". You never want to hear that word in regards to your health. The "BUT" I heard was......."But we saw "something" on your lung." The something was vague, even in the report, but obviously it was something enough to cause concern. My heart nearly stopped and I am sure my voice went up about five octaves as I quizzed the nurse on the whys of all of this.

Truthfully I did smoke for less than a year back int the day when smoking was "cool." Looking back, I don't think smoking was ever cool. Tattoo's are cool. Even some piercings are cool but smoking is just slow suicide and that is NOT cool. Seriously though, I doubt my year long coolness of smoking when I drank was that detremental. What was however was the years that my mother smoked 4-5 packs a the the enclosed car.....anywhere we were. Those years of second hand smoke could really have been my slow suicide. So you can imagine the fear that swept through me when that something was found on my lung. Let's also not forget that one of my mothers primary cancers was in fact.....lung.

Today I am having a CT to see if that something is really anything. Prayers are greatly welcome at this point. If there is something there....then I plan to be extremely proactive. However, I pray there is nothing. This is Z's senior year and I want it to be amazing. A mother fighting for her health and ultimately her life might rain on that amazingness a bit. I need to be 100% for David and yes, I am just a little angry right now. I am angry that as a nurse and a mother, that my mother chose her addiction over our health. I am angry that I was stupid for even a year and I am most angry that right now I have no control over anything.

I have put it in God's hands at this point because I have no choice. I know that my life is safe there. It always has been. His will.....will ultimately be done, but I know He is open to prayer and I am asking for a lot of it. He also made me a fighter for a reason and I am prepared to go head to head with cancer if need be.....I just hope that it doesn't come to that.

If you read this today.....please say a little prayer for me. Even if you don't pray or believe in it....if you are my friend, humor me and say a prayer anyway. You may not believe, but I do. Please pass this on too. I will take prayers from anyone....anywhere and I thank you. So there you have it. A story about me!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Flyover State

Okay, it is Wednesday and there is a blog. Just how shocked are you???? Probably as shocked as I am. So far you have only seen two of the topics that I was assigned. Well get ready because I am about to unveil a third. The truth is that last night as I went to bed, I was thinking about doing a completely different topic but today as I was looking at Facebook....I changed my mind. I am a woman after all and we are VERY good at that.

So today and for every Wednesday in the near future, Wednesday's will be days about Spirituality! I know, there are those of you out there that just rolled your eyes and said, "She's going to get all religious on us. Sigh!" Well, maybe. However when I saw the topic it sparked my interest in the fact that spirituality covers a lot of ground in both perception and actuality. This could leave the door open for some really amazing blog pieces. Truthfully though, there maybe religion involved because 1) spirituality and religion are both synonyms and opposites depending on which side of the coin you are on and 2) I am after all writing it. So hang on to your Wednesday because here we go.

In my humble opinion, spirituality is something....anything that brings us closer to God, whether it be church, music, family, etc. Yesterday I saw a post on FB about Americans voting on their likes and dislikes of the 50 states of our country. My state, Kansas was voted the ugliest. REALLY? It made me sad because I had to believe that many who voted had never been to Kansas or they might have voted differently. As I went back and read comments this morning I realized that I was not alone. Thus today's blog!

Jason Aldean had a song out not long ago called Flyover States. It essentially talked about the fact that the midwest is so underrated in its beauty and that we are just regarded as flyover states and nothing more. (I will post the video at the end of this blog. It is worth the listen). The first time I heard the song I fell in love with it because I knew....whoever wrote the song got it and the way Aldean sang it, well it appeared that he got it too!

I have always felt that Kansas had a raw beauty all it's own. It is kind of like that country girl who wears no makeup and at first glance is overlooked and disregarded. Then there is that magic moment when you really look at her and you realize that she needs no makeup, nothing fancy and no bling. She is a true beauty without any fuss at all. Yes, to me...Kansas is that true beauty!

What does all of this have to do with spirituality? I believe it has everything to do with it. If you have ever seen a golden wheat field dancing in the wind just before harvest, played under a brilliant blue Kansas summer sky or sat in the back of a pickup truck in the country watching a full moon rise in the evening Kansas sky, then you know there is something amazing going on. It is something that makes your heart beat faster and makes you know that there are things much bigger in this world than us mere mortals. You feel connected to the earth and the sky and this worlds Creator.

Walking a leaf ridden street in small town Kansas in the fall or watching a spring storm with it's flashes of cloud to ground lightening and its rolling blasts of thunder does something to you deep inside that moves the soul and clears the mind. Hearing the locusts on a hot summer evening or watching the snow fall silently on a cold winter morning is awe inspiring. Knowing that I can drive down the road and see for miles with no obstruction from high rises and very little traffic makes me realize how lucky I am to be apart of all of this and realize that not everyone is as blessed as us Kansans are.

If you listen to a life long Kansan talk, you are likely to hear a grumble or two about the weather (too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer) but the thing is, they are life long residents for a reason. Like Aldean, they get the beauty of Kansas. They get the miles of prairie and the wind with little to block it as it blows across the plains. They get the tornadoes that often meet the spring, both their massive beauty and their massive devastation. They get the icy roads in the winter and the scorching heat and humidity in the summer. They get farmland for miles and small town life. They get that God made Kansas special....just like all the other states and whether it be farm, small town or city, each of us is blessed to be a part of such a beautiful state.

So I say, before you call us ugly and visualize us as nothing but drab open space, come see us in spring and experience that amazing storm. Come see us in summer and lay out under a pristine blue sky. Come see us in fall and witness the turning of the leaves and the feel of a brisk Kansas fall day. And finally.....come see us in winter when the air is cold and the snow silently covers farms and towns and makes us a winter wonderland that even Santa loves. Next time Kansas is simply just a flyover, why don't you stop in. Maybe then you too can know what us Kansans have always known. The true beauty of this flyover state!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Mother's Curse

Today I mother's words come from my lips. I am sure if I had been able to see myself at that moment I would also have seen her mannerism and attitude showing through too. No, it is not the first time that this has happened but when I catch myself I always find it amusing. Well sort of.

What I find most interesting for lack of a better word is, often when I channel my mother it is with words or attitude that I swore as a child/teenager that I would never use on my kids. Her pearls of wisdom such as "Say a prayer to St. Anthony," when something was lost or "Offer it up," when I was in pain or upset and the "I can't never did anything," speech whenever I was about to give up. These seem to flow from my lips with the ease of authority and wisdom now, while I see my kids flinch every time......just as I used to. I can see them mentally telling themselves that they will never annoy their children with such absurdities. Meanwhile I can hear my mothers favorite mantra...."You just wait until you have kids of your own!" Was that a warning? A prediction....... or as many like to think, a tired and frustrated mothers curse? Whatever it was, I now know what she meant.

As a teen I always loved my mom but there were definitely times when we were not each others biggest fans. I thought she was behind the times, naive and often times just flat out ridiculous. What could a 40/50ish woman know in a modern world? She on the other hand knew that I was in fact naive, thought I knew more than I actually did and that I actually was the ridiculous one. For years we were oil and water because she knew what she was talking about and I didn't have a clue, so the words of wisdom that I continually heard were irritating. If only I had been smart enough to know that one day I would long to hear those words come from her lips, just one more time......

So bottom line, I like most parents have been cursed by my mother. In so many ways I see myself becoming her. I hear her words, have been told that I now have her mannerisms and I know it all must be true because when those words spring forth I see the all too familiar eye roll from my kids. Is this a good thing? I think so. I now understand where those words came from and the wisdom behind them....even if now my kids look at me as some socially underachieving dinosaur. I can smile at their frustration and irritation with the wisdom that is currently beyond their grasp. Why? Because now I hold the power of......... the mother's curse. (wink)

Monday, August 19, 2013

In This Moment.....

Yes, I know that I fell down on the whole blog thing again last week. Don't judge me!!!! I am hoping this week will be a MUCH better one. At least for today, the decision of what to blog about is an easy one. To Like or Not to Like....... Today I choose like! 

I don't normally like Mondays because I always feel so unprepared. Forget the fact that they roll around every week at the same time...I still feel unprepared. However, I like today...or perhaps I should say, I like the moment of today that I am currently in! Right now, in this moment it feels as if I can breathe. School is now in session full time (until Labor Day) and I don't have anything pressing on me that I am preparing for. Today I can just breathe, plan, blog and start catching up on all the stuff I have been putting off for a day just like this one.

I am curled up on the couch with my Pitty (which by the way we have nicknamed Pitty Cent) at my feet and my two little dogs close by. Dishes are done, laundry is going and my brain is free to travel in any direction it wants. Yes, there are phone calls to make, appointments to schedule, a house to clean and the never ending basement project....but there is also peace and quiet and a feeling of "I got this handled," at least for the moment anyway.

I guess spending the weekend with friends and doing a little emotional purging in the process was a good thing. Now I feel as if I can accomplish and move forward and who knows what today, tomorrow or even the week ahead holds?

Yes, I like this moment. It is nice to say that in a world of often unlikeable moments. This one is a good one, a special one, a rare one. Catch me in an hour and the bottom may have fallen out, but for this moment.....I like it a lot!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Alarm

Today I alarm go off. It was the signal that summer was over and the school year was beginning for one of my offspring. The other one starts tomorrow. It is so surreal as it seems only a few days ago, I turned off my alarm for summer to begin. Now it is over. Maybe it has been the really strange weather we have had this summer or all the projects, but it feels like summer really never kicked in.

I know there are many parents that count the seconds until school starts in the fall. They can't wait to have the house back and some form of order restored to their day, even if only for a few hours. I however have never been one of them. On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoy my kids. I love the laid back summer time where schedules for the most part are thrown out the window (my basement is proof of this) and we just relax. I like the noise, the commotion and the constant activity that is in the house when they are here. Sadly we didn't actually get to do all the things I had hoped to this summer but we did laugh a lot, work a little and have a lot of fun together. There were a lot of cherished moments and wonderful memories made.

Now as I prepare to put David on the bus and spend the day in a last ditch effort trying to get all the finishing touches on the school year, I admit that I am a little sad. Maybe even more than a little. There will be no more leisurely breakfasts and no more hearing at least two tv's going throughout the house. There will be no more hearing Z singing from dusk til dawn and no more midweek movie marathon days. My days will be without David following me throughout the house asking me "Where'd ya go?" and without Z's amazing lunchtime salads. I know the dogs feel it too as they seem to be just a little uneasy knowing change is upon them. I guess it is upon us all.

David will be starting 6th grade this year and Z will be starting his senior year. It is all going by so incredibly fast and there is simply nothing to do but hold on for dear life, grab every special moment I can and hope that through it all, I have managed to get it right at least part of the time. I guess that is what most parents do.

Yes, today I heard.....the alarm go off. Not just any alarm but the alarm that said summer is at end. Next stop is school, fall and a downhill slide to the holidays. I know that for the next nine months I will hear that alarm many times over but I think it is safe to say, that none will make me feel quite the way that the sound of that alarm made me feel today.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Death, Mortuaries and Funerals

So we will try this again and see how far we get. To Like or Not to Like...... Today I am going for a Not Like! Yesterday I went to the mortuary to say goodbye to a family friend and neighbor of many years. I was struck as I walked through the heavy ornate doors and felt the stillness all around me. The silence was barely broken by tentative whispers from other rooms and in that moment I was very aware of  just how much I hate mortuaries and funerals. Perhaps it is because I have been to my fair share over the years and none of them come easy. Maybe it is the finality of it all. Whatever it is, I would rather do just about anything than go to a mortuary or funeral, but as we all learn as we get older....there are just those that if we can, we must say our final goodbyes to.

Maybe this all effects me so because the first deceased body I ever saw was my grandfathers. I knew he had been sick because he lived with us and was bed fast, other than that though, I had no real understanding that with his kind of sickness (stage four testicular cancer) he was not going to get well. Even when I woke up one morning and his bed was empty and my parents told me that he had died during the night, I still did not understand the concept of death. It wasn't until I walked into the mortuary with it's dim lighting and the heavy scent of flowers in the air that I realized that things would never be the same in my life. As the mortuary attendant pulled back the sliding door to the room where my grandfather's casket lay, I could see the top of  his face. I walked carefully in only to suddenly realize that what was laying in the casket was no longer him. This shell was all that was left and it terrified me. Even being bed fast grandpa always smiled, laughed and was animated. He was full of stories and laughter and now, he was simply still. Never would he smile or laugh on this earth again and all of this was just more than my young mind could fathom. I remember digging my heels firmly into the floor and shaking all over. As my father tried to push me forward (I don't think he had realized the level of my trauma) I stood firm to my spot. When he finally did get me to move, it was backwards and over him. I darted from the room half screaming, half crying and full on terrified. Needless to say, I didn't end up attending that funeral, but the mortuary visit is still as vivid to me today as it was all those years ago.

Since that time, I have lost many people from my life and I have attended many visitations, rosary's and funerals and each time a part of me feels just like I did that day as a little girl. The worst probably for me was the funeral of my 6 week old daughter who died of SIDS. The loss itself was traumatic but nothing prepared me for the viewing and funeral. I wasn't sure I was going to survive it all. I obviously did but it remains a deep scar on my heart and I am not sure that I could ever attend the funeral of another child.

As I said, there have been others. Many others in fact and they simply don't get easier. The pain that fills the air, the tears and so many people walking around trying to say the right thing when deep down everyone knows at that moment, there simply is no right thing. It is just awful. The end result is always the same. The body we see and bury is just a empty shell. The person we loved, knew and called our own is no longer there. Often the body doesn't even resemble the person anymore because what made that person...... left and moved on the moment of death. Reconciling the person we loved to the shell that remains is almost impossible. I truly hate it. 

The only thing that has gotten me through some of the funerals closest to me (those on my mom's side anyway) have been family. My mothers family is huge and no matter how sad the funeral or how great the loss, the family gathering post funeral is always amazing. As strange as that sounds, it is true. My family mourn by remembering. As we all sit around, that is when the memories pour forth and the stories begin. Then there is always laughter. Sometimes there is laughter until there are tears. Or maybe the laughter is simply covering the tears. It has been my experience though, that when the stories are flowing as well as the laughter, then that is the moment we all begin healing and I can't help but feel that the one we lost is looking down and both laughing and crying right along with us. It is an amazing feeling.

I have given it a lot of thought over the years and I somehow think that the old Irish Catholic idea of a good and proper wake might still be the way to go when someone leaves this earth. The body would be brought to the house in it's casket and put in a room where everyone could come pay their last respects. Meanwhile in another room, one heck of a party would be going on. There would be stories told of the deceased and memories shared, along with a toast or 20 to the person for a life well lived and a quick and peaceful journey into heaven. No one in attendance would have a choice but to grieve and then to also begin healing. It would certainly be better than a cold and dimly light mortuary with all the silence and heavy floral smell. After all, shouldn't the whole process be about celebrating the persons life here on earth and their new life in heaven? The mourning is for ourselves and our loss...not for them. They simply don't need it!

The bottom line is, death and ultimately funerals are inevitable in life. It doesn't mean I like them and aside for the need of burial, I am not even sure I really understand them. I guess it is closure for those of us left behind. Ultimately though, if anyone is listening.....I am all in favor of bringing back the Irish wake. If I have to say goodbye....I would much prefer to do it with a few tears, a toast and some wonderful memories that leave me with a smile......until we meet again!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Really Good Week

So I have been firmly and repeatedly chastised by my mentor for "teasing" her with only two posts on my new daily blogging journey and also for making my new daily blogging journey only two posts. Yes, she said as much to me. I didn't really see the difference but apparently she did and felt I should be doubly admonished! As I told her, looking back on starting the daily blog the last week or so of summer and just as school was starting, perhaps was not one of my better decisions. However that being said, I have to follow up by saying that I am incredibly proud of myself. The last time I was trying to do a daily blog, if I missed a day, I beat myself up ruthlessly about it. This week though, I just went with the flow and realized that when life let loose of me, the blog would still be there. So this was a win for my mental health/OCD but a loss for my dedication! Thus the chastisement. Apparently my mental health is not that big of a deal to others. Sigh!

I will likely be doubly in trouble today, as although I am blogging....this will without a doubt be a blog that is  all over the place (it is the weekend thank you very much) and I am mentally catching up. I will do better in the future though....I hope!

My next door neighbor of nearly 40 years died this week. He had been ill for a very long time and sadly bed ridden for a lot of that time. When I got the call of his passing, I was not shocked but I was very sad. Another hole has been left. It seems like such a hugely important part of my town is slowly dying away both figuratively and literally. It makes me sad and makes me want to hold on to people that much tighter. If only a tight grip could prevent the inevitable. RIP my dear Mr. Harlan.

Speaking of holding on....I would say that is what I have been doing this last week. That is part of the reason that I have not been available to blog. Well that is as good excuse as any....right? While in one aspect Facebook has disheartened me quite a bit this summer, in another it has given me a happy place where I can combine my love of home town, history and people. Sometime ago (we are talking years), I started a group on Facebook called: You Might Be From Mulvane if............... It was a page, like all those sorts of pages where people could put their unique memories to their unique home town. Somehow this page survived the whole Facebook group makeover and it has lived on with people here and there adding their thoughts, memories and some pictures along the way. From time to time I would find internet pictures of our town and add them, but there was always a part of me that wanted more for me and more for my town. I wanted a way to unite the past with the present so that the past, those who created this town and those who influenced us along the way would never be forgotten but rather their legacy passed on to the newer generations.

In the last week my town has been gearing up for back to school, the 30th Class Reunion of the class of 1983 (they were the class under me) and Old Settlers, our yearly town celebration. One night while looking through the Mulvane page and taking a walk down memory lane, I decided that the page was due for some much needed love. Once that decision was in place, another former Mulvane grad contacted me and let me know that he had years worth of Mulvane High School yearbooks and pictures on disks that I could have. I was over the moon. I spent two days adding pictures to my beloved page and as the saying goes...."If you build it....they will come." They did! Suddenly the page which maybe saw a handful of visitors per week before, now had people rushing to join the sight and others commenting on the pictures, sharing the pictures and adding their own.....along with many thoughts and memories on growing up in the town that I call home. It has been amazing. What was more amazing though was that I had people thanking me for helping to bring the page to life. It has actually been a joint effort by everyone who has participated and it has also been a humbling experience which has been filled with joy and taken my mind off the things in my life which don't always put me into such a happy place. It has really been a good week. 

So this upcoming week, there may or may not be more blogs. I am still trying to work on the basement, I have yet to buy school stuff, my house needs cleaned, I have cheesecakes to bake, I am still on the job hunt, school starts Tuesday and Old Settlers is this coming weekend which means I am on vacation from Thursdayish through Sunday.  So as you can see, I really need to prioritize and since I now know that I can miss a day of blogging when I am suppose to be blogging daily......and not have a complete melt down, well we will just have to see how everything falls into place.

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here in the South Central part of Kansas. There is no rain and the temps are cool, especially for a mid August morning. Mass is over, blog is just about finished and I am ready for  about anything this day has to offer, other than Sunday ER trips. I am not up for an ER trip! That being said, I wish you all a happy, healthy and blessed Sunday!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today I Heard........

Tuesday. If in fact today is actually Tuesday. Yesterday I spent the better part of the morning thinking it was Tuesday, only to find out it wasn't. This would have been okay had I not decided to proclaim the wrong day to facebook. Yes, it was a bit embarrassing when I realized that apparently subconsciously, I had tried to skip Monday altogether this week. Sometimes I amaze even myself and usually not in a good way.

So today is Tuesday. I have checked my calendar and everything. This means that today I have a new topic to blog about. This topic I thought a little strange and wondered how I would work with it, until yesterday evening. So for the foreseeable future, the Tuesday topic will be: Today I heard...... See what I mean by strange, or perhaps interesting would be a better term. Well here we go.

Today I heard (okay...actually yesterday), that a lady from both my town and my church died. She was in her 90's, so it really should not have been a shock, but it was. When I heard, it felt as if I had been gut punched and all the air was knocked out of me. Why? Because this was no ordinary 90 something lady.

The lady I speak of, her name was Loretta. Loretta was a fixture in my small town for many years. She and her late husband had raised their kids out on the farm and then later in life moved into town. She had been a staple in our little Catholic church and if memory serves me, I believe she once told me that she and her husband had been one of the families who helped build our original church.

When I was young, I must confess that I was not fond of Loretta. She was fairly tall, rather stern looking and very direct. She was a no nonsense type of person and had very little patience with any form of said nonsense. It wasn't until I was a grown woman that I realized that behind that directness was a very kind heart. After my husband and mother died and we moved back to town, Loretta was one of the first to seek me out. In her gruff way she let me know that should I ever need anything, she would be the one for me to call. Her reaching out to me was both surprising and comforting.

Next door to me lived a very good friend of Loretta's named Mrs. F. Mrs. F. was a lady who had for years been a neighbor to Loretta out on the farm and then once widowed, she too moved into town. Mrs. F. was in very poor health and my elder son would mow her yard and help her with odd jobs and Z would go over and keep her company. If ever I couldn't find Z I would know he was sitting in Mrs. F's kitchen talking her leg off and regaling her with all our family secrets. Loretta appreciated the fact that the boys reached out to her friend and told me so often. When Mrs. F left this world, Loretta was the one who found her. I knew it was hard on her as I stood in the yard with her waiting for the ambulance to arrive. She refused to get sentimental though. Instead she said, "She had a good life and this was the way it was suppose to happen. She just sat in her chair and went to sleep." It was this direct Loretta that I had grown to love.

Loretta always went like a house a fire. You would see her either coming or going in town. She was always at daily Mass and then she had her group of friends she would meet for coffee. She always stood pencil straight and walked like a person on a mission. It only took a quick look at her face to know what she might be thinking about any given circumstance and she was never shy about conveying those thoughts. One day I was talking to her and I said something about how important she was to our church community and that I hoped she would be around for a very long time to come. She practically glared a whole through me as she said, "Now why would you wish that on me? Practically everyone I know is dead. What do you want me to stick around for?" Then she asked if I knew how old she was. I didn't. To me Loretta was ageless and I had never really thought about her as any particular age. At the time she was 88 years old. I was shocked. I honestly thought she was in her late 60's or early 70's. When I told her that, she laughed out loud.

One Sunday morning I went to Mass at the Villa (a little chapel off the nursing home we have in town). It was a Mass Loretta attended fairly often. As I was getting ready to leave after Mass, Loretta grabbed my arm and pulled me aside. She told me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and that she was going to have surgery. Then in a very direct manner she said, "I need prayers." I knew better than to show sympathetic emotion, so I simply said okay. Within a very short time, she was back to church and back to herself as if nothing had ever happened. Knowing better than to ask too much, I simply walked up to her after Mass one Sunday and asked, "You okay?" Her reply was a curt, "Yes!" and all was right in the world again.

Of late I noticed that Loretta didn't go from kneeling to standing quite as easily as she used to and there was just the slightest slump in her normally straight back. In fact, it occurred to me not too long ago that 90+ years....and many of those spent on a farm, were hard on even the toughest body. Eventually age would take its toll, but it was obvious that Loretta still maintained the upper hand. In fact just a couple of weeks ago I saw her sitting in her pew at church along with some of the other older widowed ladies of the parish. She still looked and acted like Loretta.

So last night as I was looking at facebook, our church page notified us that Loretta had passed away yesterday morning. I had to read it several times for it to sink in and then my mind began racing, trying to think if I had heard she was ill or having problems. I had not. So I contacted another lady in our parish hoping she would say it was all a mistake. It was not. She had been having some very recent health issues, but not life threatening ones, so her death was unexpected for everyone.

I know Loretta had a good long life and that she likely was very happy to go when God called her. For myself though, I am incredibly sad that I never got to tell her what knowing her meant to me. Of course Loretta didn't go in for all the sentimentality and likely she would just have given me the look that said, "I know, so there's no use in you saying it," but still, I would like to have told her anyway.

There is a generation in my town that is quickly leaving us. They were strong, hardworking and they helped make this town what it is today. Loretta was among those.

So, today I heard....that a one of kind woman, with a stern demeanor and the kindest of  heart and spirit left this world, but not before she left her one of a kind mark on me, our church and this town. RIP dear Loretta. You will be sorely missed.

Monday, August 5, 2013

On Any Given Monday

Welcome to the new blog. Or is that the revamped blog? Was that a fragmented sentence? Sorry. At any rate, welcome to my first blog topic in quite a while. So what is the topic for today and on any given Monday in the near future? Drum roll please.................To Like or Not to Like. Apparently my opinion on things I like and/or dislike is something that shows that I have a certain way with words and also proves to have a modicum of entertainment value.Yes, I said modicum.

According to many close to me, I am not shy about my opinions. I am especially not shy when it comes to my dislikes. I find this funny because for many years I was a rather shy and non-confrontational person. Then at some point in my life, it was as if a switch was flipped and I became this person who if pushed would take someones head off without blinking twice. Neither the shy me nor the beheading me are me's that I am especially proud of. I keep thinking that there has to be a happy medium between the two and hopefully someday I will find it.

All this being said, tis true....I have little problem expressing my happiness or my displeasure with things. The thing is though, right here and now I can't think of any one thing that really has me overly happy or overly mad. Perhaps I am just too tired at this moment to have any heightened emotions one way or another. Since nothing extreme comes to mind I do however, as always have my lists of things I like and dislike. It seems those babies grow with each passing day. So as not to disappoint, I decided to go with happy thoughts and hit a few likes.

I like hot weather....when it is cold. When hot weather hits however, I am really not a fan.
I like rain. I like the the sound of it with windows open as I drift off to sleep. I love the way it smells and feels. Rain seems to renew me just as it does the earth.

I like heels. No, I love heels. I am 5'1" and heels for me are not just a want, they are a need and the higher the better. In 4" heels I am actually average height and I am still shorter than most people I know!

I like drive-ins. Going to a drive-in brings back so many wonderful memories from the past. As a young child I would wear my pajama's to the drive-in and we would picnic in the back seat. As a teenager I would go with a group of friends and we would pull down tailgates and bring lawn chairs, and let's not forget date nights at the drive-in where you never actually saw the movies. Yeah....I like drive-ins. Sigh!

I like sitting on the front porch after dark in the summertime. I like listening to the sounds of the summer evening and smelling barbecue grills, listening to kids in the distance and hearing locusts singing back and forth to each other. There is just something about a summer evening on the porch that gives me an inner peace and in that moment, makes the world seem right.

I like watching lightening. I am not talking about those intermittent flashes that come with your run of the mill thunderstorms. No, I am talking about the great big bolts that dance across the sky as the thunder cracks and the air sizzles. It is an unparalleled mixture of beauty and fierceness that never fails to stir me and always leaves me longing for more.

I like taking trips with my kids. I love the laughter, the songs and the conversations that come from those trips. Those are special moments and ones we possibly wouldn't share if not for having to make those long car rides and I treasure every second.

I like walking into a hospital ER and seeing familiar faces. No matter how bad the situation that brings you in, there is comfort in the familiarity of people who know you and your situation and they know what to do without a lot of talk and explanation.

I like those once in a blue moon movie days, where the kids and I hang out in pj's, veg out and watch one movie after another. Those days are the best.

I like cooking dinner and sitting down together as a family and eating. I love the conversation and the togetherness that comes from these meals. They are memories in the making.

I like hanging out with friends I have known for years. I like the history and the stories that can be told and retold from that history. I like laughing with them until we cry and sometimes.....crying with them until we laugh. Having friends like that is nothing short of amazing.

I like history. I like reading about the past, learning about the past and doing what I can to pass that history on. To move into the future, we must first know our past.

And finally....I like sleep. Not just sleep mind you, but the act of going to sleep. I like laying my head on a cool pillow and feeling my body relax. I like allowing my mind to drift and feeling myself slowly fall out of consciousness into complete relaxation. To me, it is simply the best part of the day.

So there you have it. My first topic blog. No, there was no berating of a new found foe, nor abundant praise of new found treasure. There was only a few positive words about the world currently around me. Fear not though, I will get rested up and someone will either make me over the moon happy or tick me off to a boiling point and you can be sure that you will hear all about it, on any given Monday!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Grammar Sucks

In case any of you were wondering, the drought here in Kansas appears to be over. At least that is what all the water standing on already saturated ground seems to be saying....and still it rains. All I can say is that if it is up to my family to build the next ark, fuuuget about it! We can't even get a room in our basement completed, so I am pretty sure an ark to save the world (or at least Kansas) is out of our skill set.

How do you like the new blog look? I was finally, after months and months of trying, able to change my backgrounds, fonts, etc. Thank you Google helpers (they run blogger) and also thank you Z for all your help. I would like to blame blogger for the issues and at first it really was an issue with blogger, but more recently it has been an inept user and not blogger at all. My apologies for all the nasty comments I have left both Google and blogger. I hate admitting my imperfections!

So the look of the blog is not the only thing about to change. To J'nelle, a faithful blog reader who has asked me numerous times over the last year or so, "When are you going back to daily topics on your blog," you will be overjoyed to know that as of tomorrow, they will be back. The rest of you may have mixed feelings about this, as do I, but there is a reasoning behind it and I will now share it with you.

Out of the need for employment this summer, I decided that a job could and should be one you enjoy and I enjoy nothing more than writing. That is when I realized it was time to seriously look into the world of freelancing. I honestly thought with the world being on the internet that finding freelance work might be easier than it was 30 years ago. Perhaps it is, for someone who has not forgotten everything they learned in grammar school about grammar, but I have had to face some harsh realities about my writing skills. The most important reality is that I am lazy. My feedback seems to be that my content is "good" but my editing, punctuation and general understanding of sentence structure are greatly lacking. Potential employers seem to find my own twist on grammar and the English language not to their liking. Go figure!

Lucky for me though, one of those who critiqued me rather harshly also decided to take me under her wing. I am not sure if she is a writer herself, a teacher or just someone whose eyes are offended by poor grammar and run-on sentences. At any rate she sent me a very long and detailed email in which she stated that she had taken the time to read or at the very least skim, my entire blog. She picked out several posts in which she said there was great emotion and the content was, (in her words) "quite excellent," but the grammar, sentence structure, etc where highly lacking. Much of the rest she said were, "at times enjoyable," but often times "very incohesive" (is she making up words?) In other words I think she meant my thoughts are all over the place. I wanted to say, "lets see where your thoughts are when you are 50, menopausal and running yourself crazy," but I refrained. 

She said some of her favorite parts of my blog were when I blogged about topics. She said my thoughts were more cohesive (she seems fond of this words and its variations) and it appeared my audience (you guys) seem to enjoy them a great deal according to my comments section. She said they also opened me up more and let my readers take a peek at who I am not only as a writer but as a person. All this being said though, she felt that my laziness in grammar detracted greatly from the actual content. However, what I lack in sentence structure I apparently make up for in my words, so she would like to mentor me. Yay me! No seriously....yay me! I have been writing lazy for so long that I actually need someone to help me edit and correct grammatical errors. I always thought that one day I would be a writer and I would have someone around who would edit and do those corrections for me. Apparently that is not the way it works, so I need to learn.

So here is how it is going to work. She has given me a list of five topics and she would like me to assign a topic to each day. These topics are what she would like to see from me based on what she has already read in my blog. The topics she has chosen, she believes will show different sides of me, different skills in my writing and possibly ultimately open up doors for me in the writing community. She will be reading my blog daily and if she finds a topic not working or not showing her what she is wanting to see in my writing, she will have me change it up. Finally, she feels I need to be writing something everyday. Her words, "You have a natural ability with words, emotion and basic content. You simply need to work on grammar and hone those skills to be able to take your work to the next level and be an employable writer." I am good with the writing everyday, but it appears that I will be doing it for free for sometime to come. I guess I am still going to need a day job. Have I mentioned that grammar sucks?

Since I am not sure what topic I am going to assign to each day yet, I will let the topics be a surprise for you all. Start reading tomorrow though to find out what Monday is. Also, as always your comments are appreciated and if you aren't currently following me on blogger....please do. I have a feeling that the more followers I have on here the more enticing (employable) I will become to would be employers.

So until tomorrow, hope you all have a dry and happy Sunday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

As A Matter of Fact....I Do Still Blog!

Why as a matter of fact.....I do still blog. I guess I have been on a blog vacation of sorts. Actually, I have been both mentally and physically otherwise occupied. Yes, the blog ideas have tried their best to clutter my mind, but other things have shoved them out. Today I decided to take some time and organize. My plan is to organize my thoughts, my paperwork and maybe my freezer. As plans go though, by the time my thoughts are organized and spread out all over this page, there will likely be no energy left to organize anything else. Baby steps girl! Baby steps. 

This summer took on a life of its own with me mentally. Thoughts, feelings and emotions have reared themselves this summer. Some are good and some have been really rather dark. The older you get the more you realize just how little control you have over some processes in your life.....the grief process for instance. I think they get it right to some extent about the steps to grief and grieving, but they leave out the part where "everyone is different" and that the process isn't completed in just the span of a few months. Sometimes it takes years and sometimes it takes a lifetime. What really sucks though is that grief can blind side you. Just when you think you are home free, a picture, a song or even a smell can make you feel like the whole process never took place and you feel that you are back at square one. Yeah, I've been there a bit this summer. I'm better least for now.

I also have come to some conclusions about myself, people and life in general. There are things I have control over and there are things I don't. There are times when taking a stand is not only the right thing to do, but also very necessary. There are also times when speaking out does nothing but cause more issues than already existed. I can't control the world. It is far too vast and way too far out of my skill set, so I must put the world in Gods hands. I cannot control my country or its leaders. I can vote, I can educate myself and I can speak out when necessary but again, there comes a time when one has to realize just what their limitations are and weigh the good against the negative. Again, the rest needs to be handed to God. As for people, I continue to get schooled in people regularly. I found out recently that I am in some ways very naive about the human population. I am not alone in this as people like myself use Facebook and other media sites with the incorrect belief that somehow they are safe. We put out personal info, pictures and way too much info on ourselves and then we somehow are surprised when people use all of this to attack us and our families. Not all people are moral and ethical. Not all Facebook friends are our friends and sadly, even some we know on a personal level who stand as both family and friends are not what the words suggest they should be.

I would like to be angry, and I was for a while about some of the people who have shown their true selves to me this summer, but after thinking it through I realize the real blame lies with me and not them. They did nothing to me or my family that I myself did not allow, whether it was in the cyber world or in person. It was a great lesson in trust as well as an eye opening experience into what people will say and do when they are hiding behind their computers. Lesson learned and I move on.

I also found myself extremely humbled this summer. It is humbling to know that maybe as a woman in my home on my own turf I am queen of all my kingdom and usually in great demand. After all, I am the only one who knows how to change out toilet paper, where the laundry room is or how to load a dishwasher, but when I step out that front door....I am just another someone. You would think that all my years in various jobs, working in the home and doing everything from daycare to domestic service, along with my years of blogging, writing and expressing myself to the world would find me some kind of work that would provide for my family and give me a sense of purpose. Of course this all needs to be on my terms (working from home)....but come on, am I asking that much???? Apparently I am. What I have found is that my blogging has gotten lazy along with my punctuation, spelling, editing and it seems at times that I have a fairly poor general understanding of the English language. Don't get me wrong....there are jobs out there where you can work from home, but it seems that first you must put your time in on the job. Being told for the umteenth time that you are simply not employable is no fun to hear. It is also no fun to take the criticism from writers. I know I have done it for years, but when I am at a point where I am trying to learn from said criticism, it gets a little a lot humbling. Sigh!!!!

Aside from all of my mental, emotional brain clog, there has been a lot of physical stuff too. No not health or anything like that. Physical as in home repair. Z (or should I say WE) took on a project this summer that in theory sounded like a week or two deal. Here we are in the second month and I am kind of over the whole home repair thing. Unfortunately it doesn't matter how over it I am as there is still much to be done. Z decided to actually put up sheet rock walls in his room, along with a new floor and ceiling. Before, it was just cement walls, cracked and curling 1970's linoleum over cement and ceiling tiles with pool cue holes in them. Thanks to a friend of mine Z has pushed forward even though I think he realized somewhere about week two that he might be in over his head a bit. In the midst of all of this a few other repairs have been done such as light repairs, a new door and David's room no longer has a Z head size hole in the wall. All of this along with cooking, cleaning, organizing, rearranging, decluttering and running every which way has kept me physically busy and usually fairly exhausted.

So as you see, blog ideas haven't stood much of a chance in my overused brain in the last couple of months. Now as I look at the calendar I see that school is just a couple of weeks from starting and I find myself wondering how the time has gone so incredibly fast. It seems that just the other day the kids had their last day of school and we were wondering what to do with the 12 weeks in our future. As summers go though,  this one wasn't horrible. A lot seems to have been accomplished and I feel a change in me. Maybe it has been the life lessons about people and trust. Maybe it has been the humbling and realization of where I stand in this world. Maybe has been the combination of it all and the feeling that this summer has not been wasted. Whatever the case, it has been a very busy summer and one I don't think I will soon forget.

Oh, and yes.....I do still blog.