put it down

Once, when I was a young school girl in the early 1970’s,  I was walking home with some girlfriends.  We were on a corner saying a long goodbye, we won’t see you until tomorrow….what are you going to wear………………  just then a car drove by, a little boy in the back seat stuck his tongue out at me.  So I stuck my tongue out at him.  His Dad pulled over, stopped the car and got out.  He gave me a talking to about my bad behavior.    I didn’t say a thing, except I am sorry.  I remember it today 2013.

Yesterday, while driving around getting last-minute stocking stuffers and a couple of groceries, I momentarily wished it was the 70’s.  As a long line of cars waiting through yet another red light, people & their frustrations were bubbling.  Cars swerved out of lanes and I ended up behind the “problem” child driving a pretty new, silver Subaru, Washington license plate 384-YTG.  Yes, I memorized it, I had the time.  She was a cute girl who appeared to be about 16 or 17.  She was texting and kept missing the green light to make the left turn.  Once it turned green, I lightly tooted on the horn and she jolted forward.  Myself and two other cars made it through the light.  I followed her and she was drifting into the right lane, then the left.  People were honking at her.  She sped up and then slowed way down.  I wanted to get away from her, for safety reasons and because she was making me crazy.

Actually, I wanted to pull up in front of her, slow down, stop and walk over to her window.  I wanted to hold out my hand and say it.  Hand over the keys.  I mean it, right now.  I will drive you home and give these keys to your parents who bought you this nice car.  I wanted to teach her a lesson she would never forget.  I wanted her to understand the privilege it is to drive.  I wanted her to understand how many of our lives are in her hands.  I wanted her parents to give a hoot.  But alas, in the day and age that we live, I had no right to do that.  Nor would the parents appreciate me “helping” them parent.

I am still a parent and YES, both our boys and girls know exactly how I feel about texting and driving.

She finally turned off.  I went on my merry way.  I prayed for her safety and those around her.

TaylorThen I thought of our friends Clay and Shauna Sauer and their family.   They lost their sweet daughter Taylor, because of texting.  I wonder how their hearts break all over again when they see a young person texting and driving.  It has been a long grieving process.  I am so humbled and impressed with the lengths that family has gone to, in helping educate and bring awareness to this social problem of all ages.  Please say a prayer of peace and goodness for this wonderful family.  www.facebook.com/TaylorsCorner1   May God Bless the work the Sauer Family is doing on behalf of their daughter & sister.  Thank you for walking over the coals of grief to help so many.

To: silver Subaru 384-YTG………………. may God watch over you and bathe you in the Grace that young people need.  Texting while driving is an extremely high price to pay for being a silly, goofy kid.  Maybe if you are old enough to drive, you aren’t so silly and goofy.  Maybe you need to understand the lesson.

Please share this post with any kiddo in your life.  I know they will roll their eyes.  Let them roll their eyes at me.  I don’t care.  I will gladly stand beside their car and hold out my hand to them as well.  I am more than willing to be the mean old lady.  Yep, that’s me.  Caring and mean.

not so fun

Remember folks my blog, my opinion.

For some reason, I am a grump about Christmas.  I am trying to get better, honest, I am.  I love a traditional concert.  I love our outdoor Christmas tree on the deck.  I adore hot cocoa and stuffing Mr. Right’s stocking full of surprises and goodies.  I love a traditional church service.  I just don’t like all the “forced” happy and shopping that sort of makes me feel weighed down.  I am getting better.  OR I thought I was.  Then right when you least expect it, some  company goes and does something shameful.  blah.

Think about a huge, wood-paneled conference room.  A huge, long, rectangle, wood, main table takes up almost the entire room.  The matching black chairs surround it at evenly spaced intervals.  There are pad folios & pens set out in front of position.  The carpet is plush, to help deaden the sounds in the room.  An extremely large flat screen is mounted to one wall as well as a white board.  There is the obligatory plastic thermos carafe set, evenly down the center of the table.  Waiting, all just waiting for oodles of stuffy, stick your nose in the air, seriously dressed people from “management” to file in, for the 10 am meeting.

Called to order.  Lots of people have their phones in their laps, so they can play Angry Birds or stroll through face book while the meeting moves along, slowly.

New Christmas ornaments comes up on the agenda.  This is a meeting of Hallmark management.  We all pretty much know about the 4 Billion dollar a year company with 39,000 stores that sell greeting cards and other products.  We are all somewhat familiar with their Keepsake ornament line.  Many friends I know, buy one each year for a memento for their children.  I have never bought one.

You know, if it has a tutu or a cute animal and a grandgirlie asked me for it, I would say, yes.  In this case NO, I will not be buying any ornament from Hallmark this season. 

I do not want to have any part in their “bright idea” this year.  That was typed sarcastically.    Remember back to our board meeting?  Yes, they were all seated around a table.  They all voted.  They all WENT ALL WITH THE CROWD.  Follow the money.

Why or how on earth could seemingly decent people go along with what everyone else thought was a good idea?  Do people leave their back bones at the door?  I get it, you have bills to pay, you have kids, you have lessons to pay for and a mortgage.  You do not want to rock the boat for fear of loosing your job or more importantly, your health insurance.

So they took the silly idea of a Christmas sweater and turned it into something STINKY.    Something that is absurd and shameful and actually shown behavior of a 6th grade bully.  Shame on you Hallmark.  Where is your pride?  fun apparel

So the song lyrics they played with:   ‘Deck the Halls’ was translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800’s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry,”  Hallmark in their “wisdom”(?) decided to change the words to “don we now our FUN apparel”.

How sad.  You, in your crummy dark-colored suits, sitting in a room, drinking your tepid water, and burnt smelling coffee, thinking you “know” better than the customer …………………..made this really, really poor decision.  Just to be politically correct. Let’s say what it really is.  That move was not politically correct, that decision was very bad manners and extremely poor judgment on your part.

Where are your good manners?  Did your mothers teach you nothing?  To shame people and their lifestyles is a good choice? This is what you think the Christmas spirit is all about?  You never for a moment thought, “hey, this may hurt many, many people’s feelings”?  Or did you think, let’s cash in on this lower than low idea?

To that I say, Bah Humbug.

Okay, so word has it that Hallmark has decided to rethink its decision to sell the $12.95 ornament.  Because of backlash and maybe people not wanting to spend their dollars at their  store for all products not just a ridiculous, incredibly STUPID idea for an ornament……..GASP, they may loose money.  Shall we rethink this?

Imagine that?  A store not able to rake in oodles of money, because of their dumb idea.  No prancing reindeer here, no silly penguins dressed in menswear, just worms.  Slimy, low life worms.

I am headed over to the Crate & Barrel website to order some penguins ornaments.  They make me giggle.

Sunday drive on the water

Part of our Sunday drive was on water.  No, not some kind of religious experience, although it is pretty awesome to be out in the middle of Puget Sound surrounded by nature and all her glory.

ferry boatThe great state of Washington has the largest passenger & automobile ferry fleet in the United States.  They have been in the business since the early 20th century.  The Washington State Department of Transportation, manages the overseeing of 11 million cars annually and 22 million bike riders & walk on  passengers.  The ferry system serves the Puget Sound  & San Juan Islands.   No, the system is not perfect.  They are, like many other forms of transportation at the mercy of Mother Nature.  So when the wind blows or the fog rolls in, delays happen.  The “Ferryman” or if he or she holds the rank, Captain, will guide, pilot, command, and is entrusted to make sure, on a daily basis thousands upon thousands of people get where they need to go in a relatively smooth, safe and efficient way.   Since the horrid events of 9/11 the United States Coast Guard escorts the ferries and provides another layer of security to the system. ferry boat coast guard

Each vessel is named and we know which we have traveled on.   Yesterday, we traveled on the “Kaleetan”.  She can hold up to 188 cars.  The three largest in the fleet can accommodate 200 automobiles.  The smallest in the fleet holds just 34.  The bigger vessels each have a galley.  All have restrooms and you can stay inside your car or for the views you can go up to one or two of the decks to sit and play cards, use your computers, phones, read, visit with another human, listen to people play their cello or violins (mostly to earn their fare) or get out your camera.  You are standing on a vessel in the middle of the Puget Sound.  The panoramic views are breathtaking and priceless.

If you have never experienced it, a field trip on a merchant vessel is most certainly worthy of your bucket list.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is part of a daily commute, an annual trip to grandmas, a monthly shopping trip to the big city, or just part of a Sunday drive.  Fares change with the seasons, slightly higher in the summer months, yet to be honest, not a bad price.  The ferry trip to Victoria, BC, through the fjords is quite honestly some of the most breathtaking scenery you will ever experience.   Yesterday, the cost to take our car and two adult passengers from Bremerton, a one hour trip right into downtown Seattle, was $10.70.  ferry boat two

The people.  I have never once had a bad experience on a ferry.  I can “old Girl Scout” cross my heart promise, that every single person I have encountered as been pleasant.  Most engaging and friendly.  People offering to help others with the taking of pictures.  Everyone is yes, in their own space, but somehow, the “forced” waiting in line for 30 minutes to an hour, slows down the pace and the nerves sort of unwind.  You have absolutely no control over how fast or slow the ferry moves along.  You are in this moment in time, where you just have to be.  You can be apart of nature and wind and have your hair twist and tangle all around your face.  Or you can sit quietly indoors and look out the window as nature slips by your window.

Once on land, might I gently suggest a delicious dinner at the best Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant in all the land (at least Seattle)?  http://www.bamboogarden.net/

Sunday drives are good.  Sunday drives build great marriages.   Sunday drives that include being on the Puget Sound are remarkable and will buoy your spirit and soul for the week ahead.  Here’s to our good health!Seattle Ferry

“I have bathed in the poem of the sea”.  A. Rimbaud

color blind

I live in the great state of Washington.  Now, whoa Nelly.  That does not mean that every person and idea coming out of this state is indeed, great.  Take for example the latest rhubarb to get started in the city of Seattle.     Among the words considered “potentially offensive”: is the word,  brown bag. The Office of Civil Rights contends that those words could potentially offend, “brown bag” supposedly has racial connotations rather than simply being about the color of a paper bag used to carry one’s lunch. “It used to be a way people could judge skin color,” said Elliott Bronstein of the Office of Civil Rights. The city recommends people use the terms “lunch-and-learn” or “sack lunch.”

REALLY?  Are these people teasing me?  Is this a SNL skit that I am in the middle of?  I think the younger generation calls it “being punked”.    I can’t even stop laughing long enough to take this serious.  Oh, don’t worry, plenty and I do mean plenty of folks are fussing over this.  They don’t even care that I can’t stop giggling.  The city council needs a wake up call.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  How about if each one of the city council members has to come to an ordinary citizen’s home, one school morning at say, 5:15 am?  They will need to offer their help in getting, let’s say three kids (normal variety, all colors, different languages, different ages)  first awake, then….cleaned, beds made, hair and teeth taken care of, back packs ready, find shoes for all three, deal with the morning attitudes (because you know there is going to be one or two melt downs) breakfast not just made, but EATEN and while all that is going on, pack lunches for all three kids.  (just three innocent, sweet, adorable kids), food that they will eat and that they should be eating.  No, not the “incredible” non edible lunchable, a real honest to goodness lunch that will help their brains and bodies grown.  Then, put said lunches into say, one Hello Kitty lunch box (nothing offensive there), one Spiderman lunch box (again, innocent) and for the junior high human……………..”a lunch and learn” bag.  REALLY?  Come a little closer, I need to WOMP (yes, that is a Batman term) you up side of the head with my flip-flop.  Geesh, wake up man!

dogsOne of the beautiful things about my job………….Yes, you didn’t know?  I actually own a real business.  Been working in the black (is that offensive? no, it is amazing!) since 2006!  I actually worked all day long yesterday. (my customers have been incredibly tolerant of my schedule and the amount of time I have had to take off this year)  Mr. Right and I are the owners.   Okay, here is the run down: taxes, paperwork, new labels, baking, more baking,  wording, recipes, license(s) yes, I have yearly licenses for the business and  for the scale I use, ingredients, rules, did I mention small business taxes, oh yes I did.  Here, four words sum it up……..I bake for dogs.  Did I mention that I LOVE my job?  Well, I do.  I love it.  I own it.  I run it.  It makes me smile.  It makes me happy.  www.doglegdesserts.com    Here’s the beautiful part…………I love, I mean it, LOVE every single one of my customers.  They all have tails that wag.  NOT one customer has complained.  EVER.  period.  They have never, ever, once complained about the names I call the treats.  Not one grumble about my wording when describing said treats.  Not one complaint about the BROWN bags that I or Mr. Right deliver or mail them in.  No siree.  Not one complaint.   My amazing grace filled customers are,  hold onto your hats…………………………..brown, black, tan, mixed colored, white, red, golden, dirty brown, clean, dirty, educated and have been to school and some have not.   Incase you were wondering, one of  the beautiful parts about dogs, they don’t see color.

So today, when one of my brand new customers receives her BROWN craft bag (NO it is not a Lunch and Learn bag nor do I call it a sack) with the orange tissue, and sweet ribbon with paw prints and the clear bag of AMAZING, NATURAL, HOMEMADE dog treats…….I can guarantee her companion will not care one single bit about the color of anything.  They will smell the pure goodness that was baked into those treats.  imagesCAUJB9V8golden girl

Unlike some “Office of Civil Rights” members, dogs only see the good in people.  We just have to live up to their expectations.  The dogs, not the civil rights members.  Thus ends another rant.

somewhere over the rainbow

rainbowIt was 1979 and my high school civics teacher thought it would be good for our class to go on a field trip.  A trip to the “big” city.  Seattle, Washington.  I grew up in a small community, big enough at the time for two high schools, yet small enough for the police to call you by name, if they caught you smooching, after dark near the town tennis courts.  (Hi Mr. Hartle, thanks for not telling my parents.)  Good, got that off my shoulders.  whew.

Field trip.  We left early in the morning and drove the hour to the big city.  The field trip was to hear a man speak at the Seattle Center.  His name was Jessie Jackson.  He was the leader of the “Rainbow Coalition”.  I will be honest, I grew up in a high school with one black person, who happened to be intelligent, funny, and a good school chum and one mixed race girl, over the top intelligent, excellent manners, sweet and so pretty & just happen to have  most glorious skin tone of any of us valley girls.  That being stated, traveling into the big city, to a huge convention center, during the time it took us to walk into that arena,  our class became the minority.  It was overwhelming and shocking.  I was 17 at the time and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I had never heard someone speak/yell/preach/sweat/gasp for air/grab the audience like he did.  He whipped that audience, me included, into a frenzy.  I can remember the excitement.  You could actually FEEL the energy in that room.  I don’t actually remember all that he said.  I do remember being excited about “what we could accomplish”.

Once home, I wanted to tell my mother all about it.  About all what went on, it was thrilling and exciting and loud and shocking and listen to this and this and this…………..I will let you guess her response.

The years unfolded in front of me.  I KNEW the moment that I had children, I would raise them to see people, not what race or religion they were.  If I did nothing else, my children would be brought up to be well-educated, informed and would not have one judgmental bone in their bodies.

During those “junior high school years”, our plan of parenting was tested by many, many adults.  Some adults, pushed even me, to the breaking point.  I can still see myself, shaking on the inside, standing face to face, on more than one occasion,  raising my voice and asking “would your mother be proud of your behavior”?  I wanted our boys to see the stupidity of adults choosing to judge others based on ignorance.  We stood our ground.  We never, ever wavered.  We knew, without a shadow of a doubt, what our mission was.  Treat others as you would like to be treated with honor and respect.

Mr. Right and I raised two well-educated, informed, kind & respectful human beings.  You don’t even have to take my word for it.  Go have lunch with either of them.  Meet their friends.  Job shadow them for one day.  I guarantee you will have only great things to say about them.  We are extremely proud of the life they have chosen to lead.  Yes, we can and will stand and answer for their upbringing.  I can look anyone in the eye and said, we did our very best to raise human beings of honor.

As excited as I was all those years ago, to hear someone speak to the masses………….today, I would (shaking on the inside), stand my ground, look Mr. Jackson, in the eye and ask, “would your mother be proud of your behavior”.  Are you willing to answer for your children’s behavior?  Are you encouraging peace and understanding with all?  Are you using your “power” and “fame” for good?

I think I will concentrate on a couple of different views, each were also able to whip up the masses into a state of frenzy.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our true nationality is mankind.” 
― H.G. Wells

I knew, I quit

imagesCAFCXRIAIf I hear one more IRS employee say “it was not under my authority”. “it was out of my jurisdiction”, “I have no knowledge of that being authorized”…..urgh…………. they knew.  period.   Yes, that’s right, you read that correctly.  I would say it to any of their faces.  THEY KNEW.  Here’s the part that gets under my skin, they did NOTHING. Not one single person said or did the right thing.  This makes me afraid for our country.  It makes me afraid for mankind.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

The school year 1993-1994, we were living in Germany.  Mr. Right was stationed at hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.  Our children attended DODDS (Department of Defense Dependents School).  With the exception of more languages offered, no limit on the days you took your kiddos out of school for field trips, it was pretty close to being run as a public school in America.  They had field trips, school carnivals, special needs classes, book fairs, intramural sports, advanced gifted programs, clubs and whatnot.  They had PTA.  Yes, I volunteered.  I was the treasurer.  Actually, I was the treasurer for all the DODDS schools across Europe.  Don’t ask how or why I raised my hand.  It sort of happened.  I thought (foolishly) that if I was on the “inside” I would be able to lobby for brand new reconfigured, ever-changing world maps and new American flags in each class room.   No, I never did get enough votes to spend the money to make that happen.  Believe me, I tried. I talked, I twisted arms, I joked, I begged, I gave every possible reason why I thought it was of importance.  Our boys always, always, always had a brand new map of their world in their bedrooms no matter where we lived. untitled With the exception of while living on a casern in Germany, we have always flown an American flag outside our home.  While in Germany, our flag was inside our home.

I remember very clearly, on one occasion,  waiting until the boys went to bed and then Mr. Right and I went into the living room and dumped out two black garbage bags of money.  Crumpled, rubber banded, American dollars, German Deutschmarks, coins, paper.  It was money made at the school carnival.  Yes, someone had to organize it, count it, write the deposit slip and go to the bank with all that loot to deposit.  We must have washed our hands 6 or 7 times that night.  urgh.  It was several hours of counting.  Then re-counting to make sure it was done perfectly.

I wrote so many checks, it would boggle your mind.  I often wrote checks bigger than Mr. Right made in a month.  I helped balance different school’s PTA books.  I counted every single dollar/Deutschmarks from every single book fair that year.  I mean it, every single one.  I went to the bank so many times with bags of money it was shocking.  Who knew PTA’s had or needed that amount of money?  I helped find little and huge mathematical mistakes.  I was even known to put it down for an hour or two, go home, take a shower to “think” and come back to discover the mistake.  I faithfully attended every single meeting.  I never missed one.  I voted on every issue.  I took it seriously.  I was honest as the day is long.  They wanted me to be the treasurer.  I felt it was an honor to handle that responsibility.  They teased me when I gave out checks for $1.02 saying they had over paid on something.  I asked for 82 cents for postage from others. I was snickered at.   It was by the book.  No question about it.  Mr. Right was my second pair of eyes.  He checked and double checked every penny or Pfennige.

At the end of each school year, the DODDS PTA board would always have a retreat.  It was a convention.  Speakers, lectures, classes, voting for next year’s officers, formal dinner and more.  Many, many vendors from America would come to show their wares.  This was a huge undertaking.  The decisions about which text books would be bought for the following school year hung on that convention.  It was always held at a resort/hotel/destination that could accommodate so many people and have the restaurant and hotel facilities that would be of service for a three or four-day event.  The first year that I attended (1992-1993) I was just learning about everything and was not in charge of the finances.  I was a board member only.  It was my first time in the Alps.  Yes, it was breathtaking and stunning and it was unbelievably beautiful. It was at that convention that I was elected treasurer for the following school year.  Mr. Right and I had discussed the possibility prior to be attending.

Fast forward through an entire school year.  We were nearing the annual convention.  Yes, I was on my second year of lobbying for new maps and American flags……..I continued to bring it up at every single function and every single meeting.  I wanted those American children/classrooms to each have them.  I can say that I gave it all that I had.  To tell you that I failed is an understatement.  I was crushed.  Actually, this many years later, I am still sad that I could not convince them how important it really was.  sigh.

The annual convention was set to begin just after the end of the school year, the month of May.  We were working our way through April.  I was writing checks to tidy up the end of year bills.  Then, it happened.  I was given a bill for $74,000.00 plus.  I of course had to look at the reason and if the correct forms were filled out.  The check was to be written to the hotel for rooms, food and alcohol (and a lot of it).   Let me get this straight, I can’t get these people to give money to buy a map and a flag for each class room, however they easily without thought, decided that very expensive alcohol, hotel rooms and 5 star quality food for board members was of value?  For once, I re-read and set aside.  I went on with my life for a day or two.  That request never left my mind.

I talked to Mr. Right until honestly, my voice was hoarse and he was just about at his limit of listening.  It was with a heavy heart that I asked Mr. Right for help.  He helped me craft my resignation letter.  I sadly boxed up all my secretarial supplies.  I gathered all the paperwork and “the” checkbook and I put them all into two neatly packed boxes.  The next morning I drove to the bank and removed my name from the account.  To tell you I was brave would be a lie.  Mr. Right drove the boxes and my letter to the president of the PTA’s home.  I made the phone call and told him what was about to be dropped off.

I had never nor have I since quit anything.  ever.  period.  I always, always follow through.  I never break a promise. ever.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  No, not because it was the right thing to do.  Because of what all the board members said to me.  They were LIVID.  I lost friends.  Everyone thought and said I was a looser.  They called me every name in the book.  They said I was a quitter that I was giving up on the “kids”.  I should be ashamed of myself.  They reminded me of the promises I had made to follow through.  They said I was very unprofessional to leave them in the learch like that.  What would they do?  The convention was coming up and who would be able to step in?  What about the kids?

I walked away.  My heart was broken because of all the ugly things that were said.  I can still feel it.  The convention went on without me.  Nobody stood up with me.  No one single person called me to talk privately to tell me I did the right thing.  To this day, not one person.  Do I feel mighty?  Do I feel holy and better than them?  Do I feel puffed up and special because I did the right thing?  no, no and no.

  I knew, I quit and YES, I would quit again & again and again.  It was the right thing to do.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

Say Grace for junk food!

Okay, picture this………….phone unplugged, feet propped up, television on, game seven in the Blackhawks vs. Redwings Hockey series.  The tension builds, the lights are swirling in the arena.  The players step onto the ice to warm up.  The organ music is loud, really loud.  The excitement builds.  …..get your water ready, get your snacks………….we are not taking our eyes off this television.

Snacks……..yes, junk food snack.  Yes, even people who don’t eat sugar or dairy or meat etc……still LOVE junk food.  This is where Momma Mouse comes in.  http://mamamousesays.com/  It is a wonderful blog and she offers up tons of delicious food and recipes.

Now, I ask you, who doesn’t like junk food at a sporting event?  Garlic Fries, peanuts, nachos.  Yes, nachos.  No, not the kind with lovely onions and veggies and cheese and perfect chips and olives etc………….Nachos, you know the ones.  The ones in the paper bowl.  The chips are hidden under the gooey mess of pure chemical goodness.  Let’s get real people.  That is junk food at it’s finest.  The kind where you can’t even pick up a chip without getting the sloppy, melted mess on your fingers.  Two or three napkins worth of junkie goodness.

Okay, melt 2.5 Tablespoons earth balance and mix in 2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour.  Add in 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and then whisk in 3/4 cup Almond milk.  Keep heating on medium and whisking until it is the melted consistency that you love.  Add in 1/2 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes, onion powder & garlic powder and a dash or two of real salt.    Okay fill your plate with homemade or store-bought tortilla chips and then pour on the melted, cheesy goodness.  Then top with some jalapeno.  For the picture I placed a couple nicely on the top.  After the picture was snapped Mr. Right heaped oodles more peppers and covered it all in more red pepper flakes in a glorious mountain of pure junk food.

DSCN1028Grab three or four paper napkins, more might be needed, Say Grace and grab the best seat in the house.  The next three 19 minute periods are going to rock your world and fly by in an instant.  You forget the world, your troubles and it is so intense you can clean your entire plate of junk food without even thinking about it.  The only time you I was not chewing the sides of my fingernails was when I was stuffing in nacho goodness.  Yes, that good.

We both devoured our game treat, and what a game it was.  There is nothing better than a game seven in a series.  Congratulations to the Black Hawks.  Well played.  Congratulations and thanks to the Redwings for a very entertaining and exciting series.  Well played.

Even though I adore the rough and tumble and push and shove of a great hockey game, oh and I love the uniforms and I love to watch them skate………………it turns my heart to mush, when after every game is over they remove their glove and shake hands like gentlemen.  Such class, their fans are so proud of them, well and I would imagine so are their moms.


A man came to son number two place of business today.  He brought his $500,000.00 car.  He wants it wrapped in a solid
pee yellow color.   He proceeded to show #2, his Rolex and his shoes and his jewelry. rolex #2 mentioned that he thought Mr. Money bags was trying to impress him.

He would not shake my son’s  hand.  He made some comments about the tattoos.

#2 sent me a text.  Telling me that money sure doesn’t buy class.

He also said thanks for not raising us to be jerks.

I wrote back and said even if we were not your parents you wouldn’t have ended up being a jerk.  I said I was more impressed and curious of people who were very, very wealthy and wore a $69.00 watch.  It made me wonder why?  I don’t need to “get to know” Mr. Money bags with the bad taste.  I know everything I want/need to know about him.

I told him a couple of people won’t shake my hand or talk to me because I am sick.  You wouldn’t want to catch “cancer” now would you?

I told him people are idiots.

It still hurt my feelings that people (I mean idiots) would be so rude to other human beings…,in this case our son.

I wonder……………..if you shake a person’s hand who has tattoos…………….does their creativity, intelligence, loyalty and kindness rub off on you?

Just wondering?   Well, just wondering and venting as only a mother hen could. mother hen

How about we give instead of give up?

Lent threeYesterday, while shopping in a nationwide fancy schmancy health food grocery store, (just happens to be in a very upscale, exclusive Seattle neighborhood), it was sample day.  Yes, lots and lots of samples.  I happen to be standing back watching a very well-mannered, polite, well dressed 11-year-old girl sample a sesame bar.  The “hostess” said, we have several flavors, please try more.  We even have chocolate.  The little girl’s mother jumped right in, (nose in the air a bit, I must say), “she gave up chocolate for Lent”.  So no she will not be having that.  ouch.  Not a very nice way to speak.  I was wondering how the little girl became so polite, when her mom seemed to be so brash.

On this second Sunday in Lent, I am sharing that for the first time in over 30 years, I am not giving up anything for Lent. I am just a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts.  I think Jesus will understand and give me a pass, just this once.   On January 22nd of this year, I gave up all processed white sugar, I gave up a lot of my privacy, I have given up wearing one of my favorite colors, pink.  I gave up staying up late.   I, together with Mr. Right gave up three planned trips this year, I have to give up swimming for a while, I have given up processed foods, I have given up my couple times a year hard cider, no alcohol ever now, I have given up many “friends” and acquaintances (okay, maybe they gave up on me),  any and all colorings, flavorings and yes Virginia I have given up (yes, I know) my daily afternoon lattes, OUCH.

I recently read an article about a priest who gently suggested to his parish, “here’s a thought, why don’t we NOT give up something for Lent this year?  What if we GIVE something instead?”  You know how well change goes over in traditional churches?  Not very well nor smoothly.  He gently but loudly suggested instead of giving a van load of food and supplies to the food bank, how about everyday for Lent, you drive over and donate 2 items?  How about donating a pair a socks a day to the shelter, instead of gathering bags and driving over and quickly making your donation.  What if, for forty days, we give to our fellow-man?

Yesterday on face book there was a little motivational poster, “Jesus doesn’t care how many Bible verses you memorized.  He cares about how you treat people.”Lent two

Today, on this second Sunday in Lent, I am choosing to write happy notes to friends.  I choose to write a couple thank you cards to folks to whom I really want to pour out my thanks.  We are making a run over to the food bank to make a small donation.  Yes, in this house, we have decided to give instead of give up this Sunday. I am well aware that it is not a smooth topic to bring up with tried and true, blue hued hair Methodist ladies.  I am sticking on this one.  We are giving more this Lenten season.  It feels like Jesus will be okay with how we are treating people.  I am good with that.

1,500 seconds of peace

I have a bit of an issue with going to medical and dental appointments.  Some may call it a fear, fret or fobia.  It is real, it is heart racing, blood pressure rising, crying, being ugly, saying ugly things, nasty and out of control.  Sure I have paid “professionals” to see if they could help or figure this out.  They figured out, if they said they could help, I would pay them money.  They would gather bags of money and I would be on my merry way.  Didn’t really work.  Oh it worked for them, they got their bags of money.  Might have something to do with being raised in a religion that does not approve of medical services?  Or it might be, I have just gone to way too many appointments?

Here we go again.  The appointments.  The fear, the dread, the misery, the muscle aches from the adrenalin  blah, blah, blah………….it is just too much.  Everyone tells me to focus on scripture verses or picture a positive mental thought.  Think of something nice and calming, they say……………to be honest, I am so far out of control, I can’t hear, or think straight. chairs on the beach

We live about 25 minutes away from the hospital.  So on Monday morning, that drive was looming ahead of me.  I had to come up with a plan that would at least get me that far.  EUREKA…………………remember all those scrapbooks we have all kept?  We have purchased paper and stickers and printed photographs and glue and tape and made our trips into beautiful works of art?  Think of all the moola we have spent on putting together those “memory books”.   For some reason, I grabbed one.  I covered myself in a warm and fuzzy blanket and settled in for the drive.  I looked at pictures of New England in the autumn.  breathtaking.  I thumbed through pictures of Hawaii.  I felt a little teeny zip lock bag of a few grains of sand.  I remembered the wind and the sun and the sand.  We talked about a funny story and “remember that great dumpy place we ate the most amazing food ever?”  Then I flipped the page and saw the cruise ship.  The pictures of the animal towel creations that “Herbert” the best cabin statesman we could have ever asked for did for us.  We remembered that Herb somehow magically got out the watermelon stain from my white t-shirt and had it hanging back in the closet when I came back to our room.  Between you and me…………..there was a little tiny latte stain that I had not been able to remove from the hemline………………….yep, you guessed it Herb worked his magic there too.  amazing man.   Next page was a trip to the Oregon coast.  Wow, was it windy in those pictures.  I love that I cut out slim, trim, young, fresh, models and pasted them onto one of our photos and wrote a funny caption of how good walking on the beach is for our skin.  What was I thinking?  I was being goofy.

Oh we are here?  Once I closed the book, the fear crept back in, the tears started, blood pressure rose, ears started ringing.   I have a friend who wrote me an email that I printed and read over and over…….”you said it’s hard to remember that God does not give out fear when you are scrambling in a pool of it–I SO agree.  That is why He puts people in our lives to lean on when we need to :)”      …..yesterday to spend my day in goodness, I sewed the afternoon away, making a couple goodies for her……….

Somehow by simply opening a scrapbook, all the Grace I needed fell out of the pages.  I was covered in good memories and Pure Grace and my  mind swirled and twirled in all the goodness.  I forgot about ugliness for 25 minutes.  Sometimes, 25 minutes is forever.  It felt good to take “some time off” from all the worry. It felt lovely to be bathed and covered in Grace.

As I walk through this week, dragging my feet and trying to stay positive….I am lucky for a couple of friends who I can lean on and they can do the worrying and fretting for me, or at least just a bit of it.  It is just so overwhelming and too much for one person.

I am grateful for a steadfast, unwavering husband, who is somehow holding me together.  I am grateful for my friends.  Sincere, kind-hearted, true friends who somehow manage to allow me to be ugly and scared and terrified and then will listen to a silly recipe I just “have” to share.  I want to be that kind of friend to others.  I want to help them as they are walking on hot coals.

Maybe my purpose in life is to lift up my friends?  Maybe I have been seeking all these years as to what is my job?  What is my God-given talent?  What is my purpose?  Maybe it is to be a good friend?

As I try to keep my hands busy and keep my brain occupied, I am trying to think of others.  Just when I thought I was doing something nice for someone she turned it around and made me feel lovely.  She wrote in a message  “and you explaining in the loveliest words about my situation and your love for me.  I am so touched………….You are one of my blessings.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.” 

I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refuse to be reduced by it.  ~maya angelou