The swill-val of political survival

That awkward moment. That one most odd sensation when you know you’ve been cornered and you can’t retreat. The reality sets in when you know you’ve push the button too hard and you’re gonna have to make stuff up to survive till the commercial break. How many times have we seen that play out this week on TV by the Republicans explaining why they shutdown the Government?

Come on Reps, it ain’t that hard. It is not like your picking out which salad you want from California Pizza Kitchen. Pass a CLEAN  funding resolution.  Ok, we get it you don’t want people to thrive with AFFORDABLE healthcare. But why do you not want Government?  Has some governmental agency been mean to you?

‘Merica. is tired. Maybe it is time to shuck the whole Constitutional thing after all. Maybe you, Republicans, would be happier with a Sales Receipt saying you sold all the government’s assets and sorry but there is a firm  No Return Policy. Get out of here. You are kidding me. America needs you to pull yourselves together and take your Obamacare medicine. Unelected people who say the crazy things you say get put on anti-delusionsal medications.

Let it go. John Boehner looked like he was in between drinking binges today on the Sunday morning shows. You know the look, the one that vacillates between euphoria and throbbing migraines. Then he made the Swill-val, where he turns from blasting Obamacare to fighting the Debt limit. Who was smart enough to see it?

OK, easy , freezy . Here goes. My idea is…Take Obamacare off the table, end the shutdown.  Negotiate the debt limit all by its lonesome self. Ok. Done. Finished. Go grab the nearest skinny- sunken- in -cheeked reporter and shout that the “shutdown of 2013” is HISTORY. Points go to the fastest person to the microphone. As a reward,  they get to speak first in the debt ceiling discussion.

Only 11 days until we see the edge of the cliff, again. I am so of tired of repeating history.

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I still love Fall, y’all.

To Love Again: The Duets

To Love Again: The Duets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I traveled on my journey of exercise. Like my blog, my exercise routine has been rather spotty lately. However, to my exercise addicted Friends, don’t get all gleeful and think I have been completely skipping my exercise and giving you any reason to gloat. I have pounded the pavement more than I have the keyboard. My legs and ankles look wonderful but my fingers and wrists look out of shape. Y’all know I am kidding.

Speaking of joking around. Can we all lighten up a bit? I get so tired of having to type those ridiculous smily faces and phony hahaha’s because my good Southern manners keep me from hurting someone’s sensibilities simply because I can turn a phrase with a bit of humor. It is a gift. We all have ‘um. Why is it necessary to hide my natural witty sarcasm with that idiot who is forever calling me and all my Liberal friends “Libtards”on FB? I’m gettin’ about sick of it and have been asking The Husband what my limits are before I cross some persnickety line of uncouthness in response. I don’t want to be a Repub-utard, oops, I got that last U and A mixed up.

The other day, I ’bout lost my sanity when I had to explain four hundred times to some Tea Bagger on FB that “Obummer” wasn’t gonna put the wacko’s name on the Death Panel list and charge him for paying for Sandy Suzy Cue’s big Boob implants simply because Obamacare is the LAW of the Land.

Despite the Government Shutdown, or  Government Slimdown as so titled by the learned folks at Fox, today was a beautiful reminder of how much I love Fall. I saw about 14 leaves turning yellow on my walk and felt all safe surrounded by the mature leaves of green waiting for the first cold snap when they would decide to let go of their tenuous hold and flutter to the forest floor. It was lovely. I looked at the creek and it was flowing so peacefully, reflecting the twinkling shimmer of the filtered sunlight beneath the canopy of viridian foliage. Then I saw the old, discarded, automobile tire washed there from who knows where. It made me so darn mad that someone could be so careless. The whole image then captured my complete tranquility and held it hostage. Gone. I was like my obsessed friend who has now agonized for 8 weeks over whether to get a 30 inch duel fuel range or a 36 inch range, or was there a need for a 48 inch range with two ovens. All the beauty of the day seemed lost, until I heard the absolutely gorgeous voice of Paula Cole singing “The Very Thought of You” with Chris Botti playing the most seductive sounding trumpet on my headphones. I swear that music makes me a nicer person. Some call it elevator music, but NOW that woman can SING. It reminded me that beauty is not ruined by the one ugly thing that gets in your way, it is the things that surround and engulf you that are beautiful. When you listen to her music,  turn up the sound to hear the mustiness ( and I mean that in the richest most pungent wonderful way like truffles) of her vocal gifts. I really could see my sweet wonderful Husband after listening to her remind me of his wonderfulness.

You see, I have been ticked with him since this past weekend when I cut my finger and he purchased the cheap version of the liquid bandaid stuff you spray on difficult cuts which are hard to cover with regular bandaids. In his ever so man-touch way, which can best be described as “get-over it, be a warrior and deal with it” he pressed the nozzle on the tiny spray can so hard the force made me SCREAM cusses that I am embarrassed to say I know… let’s blame that on some trashy summer reading I did this summer and move on. But the music and the surroundings made my three-day grudge disappear. Who could be mad at someone who loves you enough to fix your breakfast everyday even when your hair look like a hedgehog? Do you know how much he means to me? I should have told him instead of telling my blog friends. I will.  Or as my Latin teacher,  (the one I liked not the one on drugs) the one who used to tell me, “I shall, it is I shall.”

What a beautiful phrase, I shall. I shall enjoy the beauty around me. I shall ignore the distractions and the ugly. I shall listen to the ones who care. I shall forgive those that I must. I shall love the ones who love me even when I don’t deserve their love. I shall enjoy the days of fall.

I shall, y’all. I shall.

Posted in family, humor, musings, Politics, Southern Musings, words of wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sin.. part two

Come on, seriously? I am not kidding here. I have more people who read my blog from the religion category than any other. I find that absolutely hilarious. I admitted I sinned and put a blanket invitation out there for others to share their sin, and not one person stepped up for public introspection.  I must be on a lot of prayer lists and for that I am eternally thankful but come on religious folks, fess up. You sin and are too much of a coward to admit it.

Heck, I thought guns, Chick-a-Flick, and family values were your thing. Privacy was never one of the out front issues Christian types rally around. Why is that? I thought you were suppose to stand up and confess your sins every Wednesday night right before the baked spaghetti supper.

Have I hit a nerve?

I don’t really mind if you are private , in fact, I like the idea of you keeping your ‘bidness to yourself. I wish you’d keep more stuff to yourself and leave picking on folks who believe differently than you to dinosaurs. You know they are extinct, right? They really did live once and there are plenty of bones to prove it in museums all over the world. Now, if you want to say, they lived at the same time as Jesus, well, we have (or as they say in Alabama…got) a difference of opinion on that one.

I’m reading a book called Driftless and it is by David Rhodes and although I am only on page 222, I ran across a really interesting sentence on page 217. When wheelchair bound Olivia went about the land, ending up at a casino to test if Christ really existed she came to the conclusion, “The only real danger lay in giving doubt a fair hearing.”

Now, don’t jump to wide-eyed conclusions about whether I believe in Christ or not, I simply figured if one set of Bible verses can be misinterpreted to cause pain and alienation to many, then one simple sentence in a book of fiction can’t do much harm.

Appearances are everything. If you folks are searching the internet for meaning to life by reading blogs, then you need to accept you might be exhibiting some doubt. In some circles, doubt is a sin. Whereas in others, a good dose of skepticism is a characteristic of survival of the fittest. Not to go all Evolution on you and really wreck your comfort zone, I have to say , those of you who cling to your guns and purist’s belief in the second amendment are doing some mighty fine doubting. You are doubting your fellow citizens and neighbors and your love of country and state.

If you are doubting your country and thinking taxes are a sin, I never read the chapter where Jesus said , “Shuck thy taxes and don’t fix those potholes to hell.” I never read where he said, “Go ahead and do to others before they do unto you.” Although that is a pretty darn catchy phrase, if I do say so myself. I can see it now, plastered on signs and sports caps at stadiums of sport across the heartland. Let’s call it the “Get Even Verse.” It needs a number , how about, how about, how about, ummmm  4:15 , isn’t that tax day? Or maybe Sunday/11-12:00 the most segregated hour of the week, might be a better moniker for the “Get Even Verse” , thus throwing two stones at once. You’d sure have a better chance for getting the “Eye for and Eye ” message out there.

I am ribbing you a bit, no Adam pun intended. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog; I know how busy you are with all your Bible study. I’m not joshing, I appreciate it, I wish my family appreciated my musings as much as y’all. Maybe it will give you something to think about and discuss at Sunday School. By the way, I think Sunday is a fabulous business plan. It is a great day of free therapy, if you don’t count the tithing. And on that tithe note, you really shouldn’t be getting a tax break on that little deduction.  We’ll save that sermon for another blog.

You honor me with continued reading of my blog. If you would like me to visit and give an informal sermonette at your next revival, send me a little email. I would consider it a privilege.

GLORY BE and may Divine Sunshine fill your hearts, till we meet again, right here at my pulpit of upliftedness.

…Oh, yeah, if you want people to read your blog , put the word “sin” in the title. They simple cannot resist the idea someone is giving them a free chance to judge.

Posted in family, gun control, humor, musings, religion, Southern Musings, words of wisdom | 4 Comments

Sinning

I sinned yesterday. Hopefully, the reasons will be clear by the time I finish this blog entry. My sin was not some little nibble at that piece of tempting cheesecake or the kind that makes the world mourn from evilness, it was a sin against my personal code. Try as I might, I simply fail , although less regularly than in times past, to ignore the slights of snotty sales clerks. It makes me irritable when someone who has a job prefers to do it poorly and without joy. I had a wise friend, Ethel, who taught me the lesson of taking pride in all you do. Once many years ago we sat at Brookwood Mall’s food court and she stopped her interesting conversation, trust me that girl could converse with the lightness of a sprite and the depth of the darkest navy night, to say simply, “Look at that man wiping tables. He is doing it with as much pride as someone who make millions of dollars in a much more valued job.” Well, that bold utterance, stopped me cold and I turned to see the most elegant, older black man stooped over cleaning the dross of the former occupant of the table who was too lazy to put their trash in the garbage can located not seven feet away. I still hold that image in my mind. The strength he held was mesmerizing. He was proud. He had no idea two young Moms were watching him and one would be effected by his purposeful and graceful motions twenty-five years later. His example was the standard from which I judge others, unfairly.

When some people go out into the world they want to find the best deal, the best bargain, the lowest price point. When I shop, I want to see pride and satisfaction. You’ve heard it a thousand times, “It doesn’t matter what job you do, do it well.” I don’t care if I am at Wal-Mart or Sam’s or Saks, I want to see people who want to engage with the public and treat us as brethren, as someone who cares about you and you care about them. All too often nowadays, we see people fake it till they can make it. They fake it till that make it to closing time or worse they fake it will they can make the sale and run off to the next poor clodpole who is waiting for the sales clerk’s gracious assistance.

Well, my story of sin started two days ago. My son wanted to sell his Law School textbooks online. Of course, he asked me to do it since he was at his summer internship all day long and didn’t have time. I was more than happy to learn something new. Little did I know, signing up to sell a few used “like new” books would soon become the business that I never realized was in my future. After figuring out all the technical computer stuff and all the options to provide the smooth delivery of volumes of legal wisdom, I set out to the UPS store.

The Good Lord was looking kindly on me and placed the kindest, most cooperative understanding, 20something young man in my path. He was fabulous, complete with personality, charm, learning knowledge, and willingness to try. He was perfect for his position and any other he plans to pursue. His Momma ought to be very proud. Day one of my new online business was a success due in much measure to the efforts of this young man.

With Day One behind me, Day Two arrived and presented a twist that even the lovely lady on the Customer Service line of the Giant Online Bookseller couldn’t even imagine. Her experience was vast but she had never come across the problem I presented with a book about Mississippi Divorce. Come to find out, the author, who is a faculty member at the Law School my son attends wrote the book and only allows the school only to carry new copies at over $250 a pop, OUCH. The reason, I was unable to list it was because it did not have a ISBN number nor an EAN for that matter. So after calling the publisher and two Bayer aspirin, I secured the ISBN for the book and the bundle Material number for the CD and supplement and forms book. Anyone’s head spinning yet? I then reentered the  entry on my online part of the Online Mega Book Store. All was well, and I learned plenty.

Arriving at the UPS store, my young savior from the day before saw me and ran to the correct box sizes I needed and returned to help package and ring up my purchase. Life was good up until this point. Lo, I had forgotten my billfold, leaving it by the computer at home when I was securing my identification for the many blanks required to add an entry  to my online inventory in the online business of my not so real dreams.

“No Problem, I know you,” said the you clerk when I was able to find my checkbook instead. I wrote my check for the entire total of $3.81…yes three dollars and eighty-one cents. Then the problem presented itself in the form of a large , grouchy old bully. (Not me  folks, but the other clerk who had bitter burgers for lunch and decided that he needed to let everyone in the room know he was important.) The Old Fuming Fart, said, “She needs to have a picture ID.” I said, “Oh, give me a few minutes, I just live a short distance away and I will go get my billfold and return.” “No, can’t take a check without photo ID”was his response to that suggestion plus he threw in a smart a$$ sneer  for good measure like I was some check-kiting-meth fiend.  My self-respect was being challenged. He then persisted to belittle women as “difficult and whining” and that was the exact point I paused to compose my verbal-low-volume fit. Call me simpering but “whining” is gonna require some action.

My first blow was , “Are you the owner?”

“No,” he replied.

My frosty reply, “That’s what I figured.”

I turned to the young angel of a clerk and said I’d be right back. He timidly smiled and nodded in acceptance.

Less than fifteen minutes later, with billfold in hand and a cell phone call made to the owner whose card the young clerk slipped me silently, I faced Ole’ Fumie again. Calmed and waiting for the owner to return my call, I felt comforted and not intimidated. Fumie approached me to offer help as if nothing had transpired. He had gotten what he wanted from me. He had made me angry and he had made me leave and return. He was fresh with the raging hormones of I have power and I have inconvenienced and embarrassed you, now what can I do for you. I said nothing and handed over a fresh crisp $100 bill which I had grabbed from my emergency money hiding place knowing that Ole Fume Farter would have to try to pull out $96.82 cents as change from a cash drawer that had mostly debit card receipts. It didn’t surprise me in the least when he had to raid the “leave a penny tray” and the coffee cup tips to cover the amount. Hiding my silent smile was hard as heck. Then the Old Poot had to one up me and preached to me on the goodness of rules. I was in no mood for a sermon and instead responded with a phrase of words that in all my years has never even assembled in the my brain. All the stops between the synapses from my brain to my mouth were missing and my sin occurred.

There was no time to say the devil tempted me, there was no time to blame anyone, it was all on me, when I said my words I today call “my sin.” With a fast procession of phrasing for the first part before the crescendo , my words flowed, ” Look at yourself. Look at how you are acting. I don’t even have to try, and I have a better life than you do. ” On one level, I made the comment with intention and on another level I really had meant for the words to be “I don’t even have to try, and I am nicer than you.” However, it was done and it was said. His laughter was haughty. He still didn’t get it. What in the world made me think that this man would respect me as a person much less a woman, if I stood up to him? He’d already shown me what kind of person he was and I had walked away. This time I didn’t walk away. I continued to say,  “You may talk to your wife, or daughter or grandchildren ‘that way’ but you are not going to talk to me ‘that’ way.” He said , “I was following the rules. “That’s what my boss pays me to do.” I retorted,”He pays you to think. Being nice to customers is why he hired you. Show some pride, man, show some pride.” The touch images, in my mind,  of the Old Man wiping tables and my friend Ethel comforted me.

Today, I realize, I was wrong.  I brought this all about myself by being careless and forgetting my billfold. It was not my place to instruct this man who is years older than I am. I am not his Mom or Wife.  However, I should care how ugly he was to women. I do care how he tried to intimidate and embarrass me. I’ve seen my Mom face those types of men all my life. The old man was from a generation where his power came from making women feel intimidated and manipulated.

And now the good part of my sinning ways.

The redemption moment, the best part of this story, I met the owner. He came in and spoke to me. I told him of the situation, and how I had visited that store since the early 90’s. I told of my desire to try and shop at neighborhood stores. He smiled and said, “I have owned this store for five weeks. I bought it from a man who owned it for 26 years. This is my fault because the other owner got burned one time by a bad check and he refused to take checks.  I thought that was unreasonable. I told my employees that it was ok to take checks but to get ID. I didn’t know that they would interpret my words to mean to be inflexible over something as small as $3.18 cents. I thought they would think and be reasonable. I really want to thank you for telling me what happened. Will you forgive us?” To which I said, ” Will you forgive me?”

Now, there was a man who takes pride in his job.

I need to work harder trying to ignore the slights of others, whether given to me or anyone else. I have to realize I am not the teacher or preacher of the world.  Everyday, people say mean stuff to each other. Everyday, we all point out the “other” sinners. Today, I point to myself. I am a sinner. I sinned and broke my personal code to be the greatest person I can be everyday.

Who else is ready to say they are a sinner and tell their story? We might all learn something.

Posted in family, humor, parenting, religion, Uncategorized, words of wisdom | 2 Comments

Lovely Gestures

Feeling the newness of summer approaching, blogging might bring me to the computer a bit more often. Life’s been busy this year. The Prince is making great strides with his law school and intern work. The Princess, has been busy as well, traveling here to there debating anyone that steps up for a chance to get a dose of it. She is headed to Stanford for debate this summer, she was going to VBI  Debate at UCLA but she had a conflict with her leadership conferences. Gee, don’t I sound all smug?

I am. I admit it. Been there and done with that non-bragging thing, “Oh, isn’t your child grand while mine is nothing compared to yours”, slow ball of fabrication. Current Moms are fast paced and durn near sour when it comes to their darlings. The economy has hit hard in all places, the Tiny Kingdom of Mountain Brook is no exception.  At the Publix produce aisle,  I now hear those Moms of past glory trying to justify “multigenerational home additions.” Like heck. Closet space and all the hot water I want is one year away and I am not giving any to charity. Nada, Zilch. It’s all mine and I earned it. Everyday I spend some time, deciding on what new bath wash or bubbles I might need while relaxing when the nest is empty. I think I might get some matching soap and towels with 250,000 thread count from the softest cotton plants God invented. Gonna get my decorator buddy, Bill, to make me a lovely new comforter set; Good-bye Ralph Lauren. Nothing personal, Ralph, but I am replacing the old standbys and I am not going to the RL Outlet to do it.  Oprah, is my new luxury mentor. She snoozes on the best sheets known to mankind, so she tells in her O Magazine. One thing Oprah knows, is how find the most lovely things. I am a real believer after her suggestion to give “Chelsea Market”  fruit and goodie baskets. ‘Thank-you’ notes from all over the country fill my mailbox after I send those glorious treasures to my friends. If you haven’t received one from me, guess you need to try harder in that friendship mode to make my cut. Just reminding, you never know what you are missing out on from this end of the pond or Brook as it is called in this neighborhood. I am expecting to be hearing from y’all soon, my next order is about to be placed. You don’t want to miss the deadline,  so send your nice compliments and lovely gestures of friendship right on out.

Speaking of good things, let me share a really lovely gesture. If you feel like life’s kicked you in the butt, let me tell you about a lady in my neighborhood who lost her 16-year-old son in a car accident two years ago. She spent 6 months writing messages to cheer up her friends and in turn cheered up herself. Are you sitting down, she had over 115,000 visits to her CaringBridge page set up for her son. I see her everyday when I walk and she is always on her cell phone jabbering away and taking the time to smile at everyone that passes. I don’t see how she has walking around sense. The pain she is facing everyday is astounding.

Two days ago, the Princess received a generous debate scholarship given by the lady in  memory of the son the lady lost way too soon.  At the ceremony in High School Arena (as opposed to gym), I was sitting there wondering if the administration sent us a letter to attend the Honor’s Day program by mistake. I mean, we sat through an hour and 15 minutes of the most amazing awards and honors you could think possible and the end was nearing based on the pages long program without one mention of my fabulous daughter. I figured a clerical mistake must have occurred. Instead of being embarrassed, I did the next best thing a good Southern Mom and Alabama Football Fan would do. I starting clapping loudly and  two-finger- whoop-whistling at every Junior or Senior that walked up to grab their certificates of distinction. I’m no fool. You don’t want to be in that massive layer of PTA Mom Hell without acknowledging the offspring of merit. To my surprise near the end of the program where the best stuff was waiting to be given out, The Princess’s name was called and she received the memorial scholarship. I was proud as punch. However, I felt humbled. The Mom of the lost child was sitting a few seats from us. After the program, we made our way to thank the Mother. Before we could say much beyond a simple Thank-you, she said, “Clinton loved many things. He loved Lincoln-Douglas Debate and it makes me so happy his joy lives on through the gifts of the scholarship. It is like he a little part of him is here today. ” Well, no wonder, she had over 115,000 visits to her writings on Caringbridge. She cares about people. She felt as proud as we did for our Princess. What a gracious gift and what a gracious attitude. I mentioned I saw her walking and she laughed and said, “Oh, I am always on the cellphone. I call it my Telephone Ministry.” Hahaha, now how about that, she made me laugh while sharing that special twinkle in her eye of a wise friend.

How can some people find joy in the horrors of loss and others spend years lost in the sorrows never finding joy? I  often see it here on WordPress. Some people gain the strength and insight to allow themselves to move forward. Others do not and keep crushing the chance for some minimum of happiness.

In my neighborhood, we endured the tragic and completely unexplainable horror of losing Natalee Holloway. Her Mother and Father, Beth and Dave, moved heaven and earth, literally, to try to find sweet Natalee. No one stopped. It was a shocking tragedy for everyone who knew her. If any mother deserves peace, it is Beth. Not a day goes by, where I don’t think of poor, beautiful Natalee and her grieving family. Sometimes I see Beth on my walks at the park, I pass her going one direction and I pass Clinton’s Mom going the other. Two loving Moms on two different paths, witnessed by another loving Mom trying to find her way. Beth amazes me in her efforts to make something good come from her tragedy.  She started a foundation to warn parents of the dangers of letting kids travel outside of the country and how to protect them during “Spring Break” trips . She goes across the country trying to convince teens of the dangers out there. Rarely,  do you hear those stories of Beth.

I could probably never get 115,000 people to read anything I wrote, and I will never have a telephone ministry, nor am I equipped to speak to teens across America, much less sit for an interview on television, but I can tell you if you happen to read this blog, lift up others, it lifts you. Seriously. I know it works. I have witnessed it.

It may not be his favorite Bama Cap but It is our favorite all time cap.

It may not be his favorite Bama Cap but it is our favorite all time cap.

Probably there are many reading this blog who assume I have never faced challenges. You’d be wrong. One reason I haven’t written very much this year is because my Husband  faced a cancer scare. Thankfully, he is fine. He had surgery. All is as good as can be expected. He made me smile when he came out of his appointment with his Doctor the other day wearing a new cap. It reminded me I needed to share more hope with others.

Posted in family, humor, parenting, Philanthropy, religion, Uncategorized, words of wisdom | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Advice: Sometimes

Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes there is no time. Sometimes there is no courage. Sometimes there is no reason.

Oh my. I am in between emotional stages, it seems. Happiness, relief, joy, exasperation, and frustration. Who wants to read a diary post? Not me.

To get the disclaimers ready, Mom this is not about you. It will be tongue in cheek and funny and pi$$ed off. So do not call or text me some drama and then try to add deep dark meanings. If you find something humorous, laugh. If you learn something, sigh with satisfaction. If you get angry, start your own blog. To borrow the sarcastic words of “The Princess” without the edge, “Leave me alone about it.”

This is a “Princess” Post. She needs a lecture and will not sit down long enough to hear me out. As she says so crisply, “We get along better when we are not in the same room. Text works best, 140 characters too generous. Hurry up and leave me alone.” Boy, I am sure this is going to singe her skinny white jeans with the label, but pushing my good Southern Charm has its liabilities. Ain’t that what parents are for to teach liabilities and limits? I’ve got some limits that need to be expounded on and I am against paddling and such. So, I thought I’d do what I do best, put it out there with a little humor and insight and see how it flies.

Talk about the definition of Brave, I am taking on a rattlesnake with this one but I am going to start with a few ideas about how to get along with your Dear Old Mom. First…  “Yes, Ma’am”  still determines who gets in the best schools and best sororities, despite how that Google Chick Sheryl preached in her bossybutt book, “Lean In.”  A good “Yes, Ma’am” while leaning in to say just about anything gets you points. I’ve seen Junior League ladies say, “Yes, Ma’am,  she has hooters made of plastic but her recipe for pimento cheese would make that computer-typing Monkey at Atlanta’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center write a dissertation in two-line rhyming couplets. ” Now that is how you network on a professional level. Take that Ms. Sheryl. I do not take well to someone pontificating on having it all. I bet Ms. Sheryl doesn’t have a teenager like mine who considers “Breakfast of Champions” a  cheerio cereal bar and a San Pelagreo… or how ever you spell it. None the less, I bet my teenager could make Ms Sheryl ‘lean on in’ and grab a tissue if “The Princess” told her story about her awful Mommie who yelled at her brother when she was five. Really? You remember that, Princess? Well, here is a little update for you, you must have learned the lesson because I haven’t seen you pitch a glass of sweetened iced tea from the kitchen door all the way to the sink and make a mess that only Noah in the Ark has experienced. Yeah, I did scream at your brother. You want to “lean in” while I tell you a few more tales of astonishment in all it takes to raise a Brother who worships the ground you walk on even when you sometimes are not as nice as you could be to him? Don’t start repeating that tired old sayin’,” Awh, you love him more than you do me.” What has love got to do with it? Your Dad and I am busting our guts to make sure you kids make successful, productive taxpayers; we don’t have time for love, we are working are osteoarthritic knee joints to oblivion so we can get knee replacement surgery before we need new hips and have to start paying for the college of your dreams. Just the other day, I took in laundry so I could get my hair colored. Oops, that was your laundry that ended up all neatly thrown all over your “Princess Thrown Room.” Yeah, I don’t recall getting paid for the effort or getting my hair tinting. But I sewed up the chiffon bow that fell off  your striped shirt that you love to wear with the white skinny jeans. No need to thank your Dear Old Mom, a good , “I hate this place,” will do fine. I love to hear how you have suffered and all your friend’s Moms are their best friends. Look, I am trying to make sure you can make it on your own, I don’t need any more friends. The ones I have take more than enough of my time bragging on their kids. One of my closest friends, who I might sometimes choose to paddle my canoe of life while I sit back and rest, if I happen to be in a bind, spent many hours upset over how the  Washington National’s Baseball Organization just dumped her son and now he is playing in Sunny Southern California. Nice way to get dumped if you ask me. I could hit a baseball or throw a baseball for a few hundred thousand dollars. Lean In and I’ll tell you about the time I hit an armadillo with a Pier One Autumn-scented candle. (photos prove it in an earlier blog post for those that missed it) Yes, Ma’am, completely true.

Number two…Electronic devices are a pet peeve of mine. Princess,  you better get that lesson learned or I will start texting, messaging or sending your electronic Manti Te’o boyfriend in Texas my wish list for a Son-in-Law. Something tells me he’d dump you faster than Manti Te’o did his electronified- girlfriend-hoaxananny. I am tired of telling you to put that phone down, turnoff that iPod and close down the computer. Your hearing is already doomed from the volume of those earbuds. What more proof do you need than  last week, when we called you to come downstairs so we could buy you a brand new Mercedes with GPS and all the latest electronics and you couldn’t hear us? Sorry, Baby Darlin’ that offer is expired. ( Shhhh, don’t tell her but I was exaggerating.) She won’t see this since she probable closed down the computer to save electricity paragraphs ago. The Princess doesn’t like stories which have Mom lessons included. She would rather have candy.

Number three…Show some respect around here. Aretha had it right when she said…R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Tell you what it means to me. It means smiling politely even when you want to give me the stink eye. It means not having the last word, even when you think you own the argument. It means when we are out of your sight, you smile and brag on us to your friends. It means you understand we love you and are MORE than your Best FRIEND. It means no matter how much you hate it, eating the food we prepare because it is healthy is a good thing. It means sitting quietly with us watching Downton Abbey seasons one, two and three videos or jogging with us at the park because you know WE need the exercise not the other way around. It means staying calm when we say we love you. Respect means noticing that you can be the last one to get some new item of clothing in the family, waiting until your Dad gets new dress shirts. The man wears his until the cuff bans have frayed and repaired  at least once at the Magic Touch Cleaners (They really do have a magic seamstress there if you are in the need for clothing repairs. She is so magic, I have never seen her, but not everyone can put a two-way zipper in your favorite sweat shirt and only charge $4.50.) Respect is taking care of the things we give you. Respect is being kind, always. We know we are not the focus of your life right now but we are valuable enough for you to acknowledge that we exist. Respect is not holding on to false ideals about the powers of parents. Respect is accepting the things we say. Respect is trying to be the greatest person you can be and understanding we are trying to be the greatest parents we can be.

Number Four… Dad says he has no interest in being your matchmaker. I on the other hand, think I am perfect for the job. I chose the greatest man ever to love because he loved me first. That’s right , HE LOVED ME FIRST. Yes, Ma’am. He put me first. He still does. I learned from him. He is amazing and the most wonderful , supportive, fan I could ever have. In turn, I am his biggest fan. My wish for you, and your brother, is to find your one true love. Trust me, it is never the first one. It might not even be the second or third one but it is the one that respects the greatness you possess. It will be the person that loves the people who love you.

Mother’s Day was so last Sunday, and I loved the breakfast in bed, but sometimes, it takes more than a day to say the things that need to be said. All in all, The Princess and The Prince are my heart and joy. Lean in while I brag on them. One is in his second and a half-year of law school and is on track to graduate early and the other is an honor student in a great High School. Seems like yesterday, they were hopping out of the car saying, “Yes, Ma’am, I picked up my lunch money check. See ya, later Mom. I love you.”

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More messages from Birmingham

Maybe someone more talented needs to write this story but as it turns out no one listens to the knowledgable, articulate, reasoned, experienced writers. So, you got me. Lucky you.

Today when I flicked on my iPhone, I checked the local news online and saw this story about Davieon. Three weeks ago, I heard a TV news story about a multiple shooting involving a family. From the report I knew it must be filled with horror, I turned the station to catch the lighter parts of the news. The thought of trying to make sense of a senseless murder within a family held too much anguish for me to grasp at the moment.

This morning the title made me aware that my dismissal of the story weeks ago was not going away. I read it. It was as horrible as I had expected. For several months since Sandy Hook, I have engaged in numerous FB arguments with gun advocates about the second amendment. Probably every one I tried to convince did exactly what I did with the story of Davieon, tuned it out hoping it would go away and all would be fine. However, as with the nature of truth, it will not hide.

What is it about Birmingham, Alabama that makes this place so uniquely poised to experience the truths our children must teach a nation? Two weeks ago , a 10-year-old lost his life in a freak accident at our newly renovated airport when a falling departure sign crushed him to death. The shock was felt all though the city and country. The finger-pointing and claims of lawsuits mounted. Everyone wanted answers, rightfully so. However, what about that ten-year old’s family story captured our sense of obligation to make sure justice was served, yet failed to capture Davieon’s family’s situation? You do not hear anyone demanding the NRA or the gun manufacturer be held responsible for the failure of a product which caused death and harm. As much as we all grieve for the family of the 10-year-old, we all know that eventually in a few years, they will be given millions to try to sooth the pains that can never be healed with money. But what about little Davieon? He survived, a five-year old shot through the head and paralyzed by a gun in the hands of his own father. Davieon told his Grandmother, “Dad did it.” Davieon lost his 3-year-old sister and his mother and the man he said pulled the trigger, but the 5-year-old survived. Who in the generous NRA is going to contribute to the care of Davieon? What “Big Pockets” is going to provide for this small child who will need specialized care for the rest of his life? Are the gun manufacturers or the gun dealers, who made it possible for the father to possess the gun,  going to pay? No, we don’t want to limit or bother gun manufacturers  because they are the bastions of our 2nd amendment rights.  If Citizen United made corporations people, then let’s take them up on it and make gun manufacturers and the NRA and those groups responsible for Davieon’s situation.  We all know that will not happen because the gun lobby has already gotten the legislators to exempt them from such trivialities. The Conservatives on the Supreme courts have already addressed that very issue.

I will not forget the courageous Davieon. If serious, thoughtful, responsible gun owners would exhibit the courage of Davieon, we might save some other tragedy from befalling another family.

Unlike the situation at the Birmingham Airport, where there are “Big Pockets” to right a wrong, Davieon has nothing.

Our children are teaching us a lesson again. Birmingham’s history is linked forever to its children who gave their lives to teach us lessons. Davieon gave more than his share. What did he ever do to deserve his loss? His Grandmother’s gripping words as she is trying to cope with the grief said it all, “Some minutes are easier than others.”

Please take the time to read his story.                                                                                              5-year-old Jeffco boy shot in head, left for dead remembers everything: “Dad did it,” he told grandmother

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Political Love-Hate Relationship… The Loss of Words

Words are why I hate Politics. The words of this season have been embarrassing. No need to repeat them, their intent was clear. Nothing moves the mind better than a few carefully chosen words. They allow us to ignore the real deep, internal,  study one must have in order to grapple with the most serious conflicts mankind must challenge. No one wants to think for themselves, they want to latch onto other’s ideas and act like they were original.

I doubt that with all the innumerable words spoken this political season, very few people really searched their hearts and minds and fought the good fight to be honest to themselves. Yes, a lot of banter was expressed and many opinions tossed about. But did anyone really listen? Did people really use words to the fullest extent possible? Did they hear truth or did they hear bias and manipulation and false bravado? Words can be scary. Truth can be devastating; it must be to force people to confront the realities of pain, horror, and misfortune that the seconds of breathing and time produce in the synthesis of our cells which allow us to experience life.

Why does it matter? Why do words really matter? There are many expressions to tell us they don’t, “Talk is cheap.” Tell that to a person who has had a stroke and is unable to utter a recognizable word. “A penny for your thoughts, ” the obvious translation, who cares. The childhood strength quoted on playgrounds across the world, “Stick and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” There are many that disagree with that sage advice. The world is full of people who use hurtful words every opportunity they get a chance. Politics is the perfect example. It is not enough to disagree with your political opponent, they have to use words that demonize the person. Religious people are the worst offenders. They cannot abide someone who believes differently in opposition to their views because it then would make them have to question the tenets of their faith. To that I say, question repeatedly. If your faith or politics makes you judge or hurt other people, forsake it and move on. It is merely trying to use you and get your money or time or assets to protect a corrupt vision. Don’t be fooled.

How many times do people have to see pain and suffering before they realize it is wrong? Some will never see, yet they will speak impassioned words to hide the truth they are so afraid to see.

I am disillusioned by the 2012 political season. Not because of the thousands of commercials or FB chatter. I am disillusioned by the perfect willingness to lie. To deny truth. To deny facts. To deny logic. To deny fact checkers. To deny rights to express votes. To deny foibles. To deny shallow . To deny counterfeit, imitative integrity merely to get a vote. I am disillusioned by those that seek to deny healthcare to those that most need it. I am disillusioned by the obvious things we all see but yet have to deny because it challenges our comfort zone. I am disillusioned by racism.

However, I adore the process of Politics. I adore that we can choose to have people represent our goals and ideas of liberty. It is wonderful  so many took the time to look past the commercials and false stuff. Some would argue that just reading the material out there is a wonderful exercise. To me, if the Truth was the eventual outcome, then I would feel it was worth it. However, that is not the result. People are too lazy to really have a serious understanding of purpose. They ignore the steps to get there. They make excuses for not having the energy or time to really understand the plight of their neighbor. It is the worst of times, the most selfish of times.

Enough words have been written by me, I am but a small chord of the total voice.  I look with anticipation to tomorrow because I am very sure of my vote. I am confident I took the real steps to get past my prejudices and faults. I looked at my bias and weaknesses and I am happy to say, I am thrilled to participate in the election. When it is all said and done, did the candidate take the time to really make the serious internal deep thinking necessary to understand his responsibility? I understand mine as a voter, and I am sure that President Barack Obama understands his.

Cast your serious and thoughtful vote tomorrow.

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My heart soars. Thank you, John Franklin Stephens.

The World of Special Olympics

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child…

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Joe, so say Joe! You brought your A game and boy was it good!

Official portrait of Vice President of the Uni...

Official portrait of Vice President of the United States . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They heard us! The powers at the White House heard us! They sent in Joe Biden and he knocked it out the park, he scored a touchdown, and he took Paul Ryan “out the game!” Vice President Joe laughed the whole time and so did I!

It was just what we needed after our President stayed so calm in the last debate when he was facing the lost Mitten. President Obama didn’t know which Mitten to match. Yes, Joe pulled it off last night and the Debate was a grand and glorious thing.

I am a calling it like I see it. The smiles and laughs were absolutely GRAND!!! They served to point out the crapola points that Ryan was counting on as being amazing. Joe did the next best thing  available to him. Instead of calling Bulls#it to Ryan, he laughed and had to bite his bottom lip!! Me Too Joe, me too. I’ve felt that same urge to bust out laughing myself on many occasions to the crappola the Repubs. spew. Wonderful!

To hear the Fox-orons complain today was sweet music to my ears! My favorite little commentary was from the Mouth of the Frozen Tundra herself, Sarah Palin. Please do yourself a favor and watch the video….

Mouth of the frozen Tundra

Thank you, Sarah Palin not to overuse a Republican phrase, but you made my day. Oh, that musk ox comment was superb! I go all giddy when Sarah Palin uses analogies, there is nothing like it!

Paul Ryan may lift weights but we all saw Joe knows a thing or two about heavy weights. The one he used upside Paul Ryan’s head,  was tattooed with a little message , WE ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!

Posted in humor, Politics, sports, Uncategorized, words of wisdom | Tagged , , | 2 Comments