Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The post with everything

Ice Cream

Top ten reasons I cannot keep ice cream in the house:

1) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
2) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
3) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
4) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
5) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
6) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
7) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
8) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
9) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.
10) I always eat more than a serving size, well--WAY more than a serving size.

I've asked DH repeatedly--"please please do not buy ice cream". When I buy it for myself I buy just a small pint, brush it off in one single Saturday night Law & Order-fest and then it's gone forever. But no, DH had to buy a five gallon container of it a week ago and while I was able to go without a few nights, I gave in and wound up finishing the damn thing up tonight.

And now I feel guilty for finishing it off. This sucks!


The State of the Union

Let's face facts, I dont' know which America the President is living in but the state of our union is not confident and strong. We've got a lot of problems in this country that have yet to be addressed. Social Security, federal income tax code, the energy crisis, Iran, Korea and our health care system are among those issues I am most concerned about.

The baby boomers are the largest generation living right now and they are going to be retiring soon. Every calculation I have done, every source I have read, shows proof positive that there is NOT enough social security to go around. We told the BB's and their parents, the GG's (Greatest Generation) that social security was the big white way, they were told "just pay in and we promise when you retire your money will be used to take care of you" and so they trusted in the government which is now ready to shaft them and their children and grandchildren. Most of these folks were born and raised middle class and married middle class, they were promised big things from social security, told it was patriotic to contribute. I can guarantee you that fifty years ago if people had only known how corrupt the SS system would become they would have found alternative means for funding their retirement, even if it meant stuffing money under the mattress, which to be honest with you, in these times doesn't sound like that bad of an idea now does it?

Is it un-american for me to say "I'm not watching the State of the Union". Well fine, write me up, I'm not watching it. In fact, they're pre-empting Michael Savage in order to air it on the local talk radio station, and I am not happy about that. Besides the State of the Union is all going to be the same old thing about let's see--Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, Afghanistan, the war, terrorism, 9/11, social security, unemployment, health care, education, blah blah blah. Sure those are important but I'll pay attention when we actually start getting somewhere on something other than Iraq.


Iran

Hello? Are you listening? You should be because Iran is about to get serious all over our big fat red, white, and blue American ass and I don't think anyone is paying attention. Iran will not negotiate, they hate us, they want us dead, they will be cohorting with Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Aqsa, and everyone of those damn terrorist groups. You think Iraq was a threat? Iraq was nothing compared to Iran. They've got a psycho Hitler-wanna be for a dictator. He would love nothing better than to nuke us. They want Israel wiped off the face of the earth and they will not settle for anything less. The only thing that can save us is if the young twenty and thirtysomethings of Iran, many who were young but did live through the Ayatollah and the turmoil of the 70's and 80's remember what that was like and how they do not want to go through it again. I have read in more than a few sources that these young people want freedom, they crave it. THey do not hate America, many of them embrace the western culture even though they don't necessarily agree with it. They are graduating from college, starting families, they see our freedom and they want a taste for it. I am confident that if that government gets too far out of control, the young freedom desperate people will come to our aid, not for us, but for them.


Fair Taxes

Speaking of, why won't any of our esteemed politicians in Congress back the Fair Tax Plan? What? They don't like it? Think it's bullshit? Hyped? I don't see any one of them coming up with a better plan. I sure as hell am waiting and I hear nothing from them. Instead they would rather back the strongarming of government agencies in the continued taking of our hard earned tax dollars. They are throwing our money away like it's nothing. Every pork barrel dollar being spent is our money. You know why they won't vote for an alternative tax plan? Because they know that once Americans begin paying taxes on consumable items, the American people suddenly have the reigns in this country. We can control the politicians if we make them accountable and if we, not them, are in charge of the tax dollars. Yeah I know, we elect them to represent us, but it's out of control now, they are no longer accountable to us. Time for a change.

Exxon posts record profits

Exxon Mobil earned $10.6 billion during its first quarter. Meanwhile, many Americans have to choose between paying their utility bill or putting gas in their vehicle to go to work. I'm not saying Exxon doesn't have a right to make a profit, they most certainly do. But something isn't right when prices hiked like crazy last year and they walked away with $36.1 billion for the year. Hello? Let's see maybe you math geniuses out there can figure out for the rest of us what profit Exxon would have walked away with had the price of gas been back down to where it was before the major hikes? Would it have been 30 billion? 25 billion? 15 billion?

Do you know how much money 15 billion is? It's a lot.

And for those of you saying I'm anti free-enterprise, I'm not. I am a registered Independent who believes wholeheartedly in free enterprise, but I also don't believe in gouging the American people either. The oil companies and this government hold us hostage to pay whatever price the oil companies demand because we, the people, have little say in the energy issue. It's not yet affordable for most Americans to run solar power through their homes and apartments, not everyone has the capability to convert their vehicle to run off vegetable scraps and cooking oils, and electric cars aren't exactly cheap either. We need alternative sources of fuel and our government needs to begin investing in it. Oil companies own dozens of patents on alternative sources for fuel but those will never see the light of day. And our Congress will sit on their hands and play dumb because many of them are invested in the same oil companies that are gouging us.

Crazy isn't it?


The Deficit

In case you have been living on Mars and hadn't heard the news, we're running a major deficit. Last I checked it was $8,202,401,471,182.08 and growing.

Bush said last year that the deficit could be cut in half by 2009. The problem is he doesn't want to raise taxes and spending has only increased. Maybe it's his fuzzy math but I just don't see how you can cut this enormous deficit without either raising taxes or cutting spending. I just don't see it. I guess that's why I'll never be President.

My problem is I look at things from a common sense point of view. I really don't know where I picked up the common sense, I wasn't born with it, oh no, my parents could tell you that, I didn't have much of it growing up either, all I know is that age and experience (some good, some bad), had a lot to do with putting me where I am today. For me common sense comes naturally anymore. So if I, in my mid-thirties have it, why don't elected officials who are twice my age with a more expensive education, have it too?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Ethics topic?

You know when giving me an assignment you can't be too broad. I have to have things specific, narrowed down. I've got to write a 10-15 page research paper on any topic/career/major/profession and the ethical situation or applications which are most likely to happen in that area of interest. There are so many I can think of and I can't seem to narrow my focus at this point in time. My prof says that once I begin really examining these issues, I will be able to focus. I have a lot of research to do.

We tend to filter our thinking through some type of ethical world view and I find it interesting that in one recent assignment when I compared individual rights, diversity, common good, justice and several other world views, I found that individual rights was more important than the rest. It doesn't mean I think everyone shouldn't come together for a common good at some point, doesn't mean I don't believe diversity, justice or any of the others were important but to me if we don't have individual rights, none of the rest really matters.

What kind of person would be willing to trade individual rights and freedoms for security? Yeah I know we all want to be secure and safe. What would happen if we told our leaders that our safety and security meant more than being free?

The hungry would be fed, the sick would be medicated, the unemployed would have jobs, seniors could age without fear of neglect, children could go to school without fear of violence, people could retire without worrying about their income.

So you think.

All that "perfect world" stuff is a little iffy but one thing is sure....the government of the this country would own every little piece of your life.

You can't possibly want to set this country back in the dark ages? To hell with the sacrifices made by millions of people--both soldiers and civilians--who died to keep America free----who died to keep communism and fascism off our shores----who thought that their safety and security (and ultimately their lives) was worth sacrificing for your liberty and freedom?

No way.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hmm...

I don't know about you but I think that someone charged with a DUI should have more than a few hours in a jail and a $1,000 fine. I mean damn, the commissioner's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He sideswiped a car while changing lanes and was so drunk he didn't even know he'd hit anyone. The guy he sideswiped had to chase him down to let him know what happened. Fortunately he only caused about $300 worth of damage to each vehicle but he could have killed someone.

I thought we were tough on drunk driving? I thought we absolutely had ZERO TOLERANCE for those who drink and drive?

Guess it depends on who you are. If you're a politician, it's all different. I saw this years ago, a black county commissioner gets into a one-car accident, hits a tree, gets his blood taken by a cop and it comes back twice the legal limit. The commissioner claimed he hadn't been drinking, that it had been something to do with going to the dentist earlier that day I think. Anyway I recall a brief cry of racism then the State Attorney dropping the charges because a judge ruled the blood was illegally obtained from Chestnut. Incidentally the guy later admitted he had a few glasses of wine earlier in the day. There was in fact a bottle of alcohol in his car. He got off on a technicality when he should have been serving time.

Florida drivers licenses clearly state "Operation of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law"

If you drive a motorized vehicle in Florida you are automatically consenting to have your blood drawn for alcohol. That's it, plain and simple.

I wonder what will come of this recent case. Of course the perp apologized to his constituents for the embarassment he caused us (why? I am not embarassed by his actions one bit), he accepted responsibility for his actions, and he entered a alcohol abuse treatment program.

It is being reported that he has a drinking problem and attributes that to why he is so adamant about pursuing stricter anti-alcohol laws. He opposes extended bar hours, has been instrumental in tough ordinances that make parties in college-student dominated areas more difficult and he also supports keg registration laws. The guy is a teacher in the community, a professional and a representative of our best interests. He helps create local legislation that directly affects our lives. He is also a hypocrite. If he had a drinking problem, he should have entered rehab a long time ago, not when he got caught. entered the alcohol abuse program.

Yeah he's one of those guys who thinks that just because he can't control himself, the rest of us can't either. News flash---don't punish me for your blatant irresponsibility.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Who is sane enough

to vote for Cindy Sheehan? She's considering running against Dianne Feinstein for the Senate seat in California.

Cindy says:

"I think our senator needs to be held accountable for her support of George Bush and his war policies."

Now I'm no fan of Senator Feinstein, in fact I find her whacko, hypocritical, left-wing attitude pretty repulsive but one thing I can agree with the Senator on is that she in fact does NOT support George W. Bush.

Cindy says she needs to talk to her three grown children about her candidacy before she makes a decision. If her children were smart they would duct tape her looney ass, throw her in the white wagon and have her committed to Bellevue Mental before she embarasses that family any more than she has (as if bonding with the dictator of Venezuela and making traitorous anti-American statements to his people, wasn't already enough icing on the cake to get her committed.)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Oh MY Goodness!!!!!!!!

I can't believe it. Robert Scorpio is BACK on General Hospital!

Robert and Luke (and Holly too for a short time) together again. It's an "old days of GH" fan's dream come true. The hell with all these new fangled plots, give me the good old days anytime. The days when we'd watch when we came home from school even though we were supposed to be doing homework. Was it cheesy? Maybe. Overdramatic? Absolutely. Did we love it? Hell yes!

My VCR stayeth tuned......


First Rick Webber (ok don't get me started on how GH messed up that opportunity), then Noah Drake, now Robert Scorpio.

All this retro is just too much! :)

I hope Oprah doesn't promote my book...

I often thought of writing a book, maybe about the experiences of my life, but now I'm terrified to do that because Oprah might find out about it and read it. And if that happens there's a possibility that she might actually like it, though I think an average, thirtysomething, straight, white chick hardly qualifies for Oprah's kind of author. But what happens if she does like it? She'll want me to appear on her show. And what's going to happen when, after I appear on her show and we discuss the trials and tribulations of my life, and my booksales climb into the millions, the website smokinggun.com decides maybe they ought to check out the facts?

Like the time I ate dog food when I was a kid. If I mention I was on Alpo on and off for months and then smokinggun interviews my mom and finds out that it was gravy train or some other brand and it only happened for a week or so, what's going to happen?

Is Alpo going to sue me for misrepresentation?

Are those people who once ate dog food and went through therapy to break the addiction going to sue me because I lied to them about the brand and the amount of time I spent addicted to it?

Is my slight twisting of the truth going to throw them off the wagon?

Gee, I hope not. I don't know if I could sleep at night knowing the damage I'd done.

Or what about the time when I was playing with my sister when we were just little girls and I got hurt and had to be rushed to the hospital to get stitches in my head?

As I recall the story, I was about 4 years old and riding an inchworm and hit my head on the corner of the bedframe but my family recalls that sis and I were jumping up and down on the bed and I fell and hit my head. My parents drove me to the hospital in a maroon vega. What if smokinggun finds out that maybe I wasn't on the inchworm but that I really was jumping up and down on the bed?

Is the manufacturer of the inchworm going to sue me for bad-mouthing their product?

Are all the thirtysomething grownups out there who were once inchworm riding brats of the early 70's going to be upset because just when they thought I was bringing to light a painful memory that needed to be dealt with----they were let down?

Or better yet what about the time I ran away from home about 21 years ago? Let's see I'll write I just rode my bike about 25 miles to another town and met a girl washing the courthouse windows as part of her community service, then she hid me out in a rat infested house with serious juvenile delinquents I'd met there, and then later that night one of the girls turned me in to the cops and took me to where my parents were waiting for me with the police. For me the whole experience was pretty harrowing.

But what if smokinggun talks to the police in that town and finds out that the crowd I was hanging with when I got there wasn't dangerous at all, just a bunch of harmless juvies?

Or what if they find out that the distance I biked to that town was maybe closer to 18 miles?

And happens if it's determined that because I didn't actually stay out overnight, it wasn't really classified a runaway case--but rather an unauthorized outing?

What happens if smokinggun talks to my mom and finds out the reason I ran away is because one morning my mom made me wear these ugly read polyester pants to summer school? Because of course you know that the best runaway stories are the kids whose parents beat them and let's face it, the red polyester pants thing just wouldn't excite too many folks.

Will all the runaways who read my book think they'll be opening up a book written by someone who shares their pain, only to find out that I wasn't really a runaway at all..just a stupid teenager angry at her mom for making her wear ugly pants?

I'll tell you one thing, if I write a book, it will be embellished. First off my life isn't all that exciting unless of course it's one of our family dinners which is really right out of the script of a Mel Brooks comedy, and second, there is absolutely no way in hell that if I write a book about my life, that I am going to tell the truth. So, if I write a book someday and some poor soul is led to believe it's a self-help motivational bestseller and then they become disappointed and disenfranchised and start calling Larry King to bitch about it, I don't care.

It's my life, and I'll lie, embellish and distort the truth as I see fit and maybe if I'm lucky I can make a few million off of it.

I know Oprah is so powerful she could make dirt a household product every woman in America would rush out and pay top dollar for if they heard mere mention of its greatness on her show, and so I know all too well that her opinion of my book could make me or break me. But you know what? I don't need more chaos in my life, so I think I'll just take my chances on my own.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More city slicka envy!

Just so you know I'm not the only one with a great view, these are some of the great things mom and dad see on their place every day--mom took these photos of their place, isn't she some photographer? You know there really is nothing like sitting on the front porch and listening to the birds chirp or taking a long stroll in the quiet woods!



















Ok I took these last two, awesome eh?

City slickas don't have this!

Some pics of the great outdoors at our house!















See the fox!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

7 kids dead.

You've all probably heard of the tragic story that happened in Lake Butler, Florida . Long story short, a school bus was stopped and dropping kids off, a car was stopped behind it, and a fully loaded tractor trailer weighing 40,000 pounds slammed into the car from behind, never even stopped. The cab of the truck and the car caught fire, all of the children in the car died, in fact there's damn near nothing left of the car they were in. The tractor trailer driver, the bus driver and nine children on the bus were injured but not life threatening. Not only were the children killed but when the grandfather, the father of woman who adopted the children, heard about the accident, he had a massive heart attack and died. Even more tragic.

The children in the car were members of the same family and ranged from 21 months to 15 years. One of the fifteen year old children was the driver of the van, there were no adults present.

The accident might have killed 8 children had one not been dropped off prior to the accident.

Right now the NTSB is investigating it. The stretch of highway is 60 MPH except for a portion of it near an intersection which is 45 MPH. Did the driver have a glare in his eyes? Was he tired? Was he on a cell phone? What could have caused him not to see the bus and the car stopped ahead of him? Those are all questions that will be answered in the coming days.

Now while it isn't the 15 year old girl's fault she was hit and they were killed, I have to wonder....why did this mother let her inexperienced child, who simply had a learner's permit, drive around 6 other children and a 21 month old toddler? This girl had not the experience or awareness to be taking on such a responsibility.

And so I have to ask....had an adult been driving, could he or she have possibly used their best judgment and gotten the car out of the way in time?

We'll never know. All we know is that there are eight people dead, seven children and one adult, and many more lives have been ruined forever.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I'm onto you...

Let me preface this with the fact that DH and I support our local, state and federal law enforcement in any way we can. And the Florida State Troopers can always count on us and our donations. So my bitch session here isn't about the troopers or their legitimate rep FAST (Florida Assn of State Troopers), it's with the crappy third party agencies who solicit donations on their behalf, or so they say.

Two weeks ago I get a phone call after 9 pm asking for DH. I ask "who is this" and the person on the other line replies "Florida State Troopers Association" and I know they are soliciting donations and I say "do you know it's after 9 pm? You woke us up" and I told him to call back another time.

Two nights ago I get a call about 7 pm asking for DH. I tell them he's not available and I ask who is calling. He says "Florida State Troopers Assocation" and I reply "are you the same guy who called us up the other night and woke us up?" ane hesitates and says "no" and before I can tell him to call back later he cuts me off mid-sentence and hangs up on me.

I was so livid. After some serious internet searching I found the email for the Florida Association of State Troopers which is THE legitimate organization that supports the Florida Troopers. I emailed them and complained about this agency who was soliciting donations. I told them I would never donate through this agency,ever.

Two days later I get a really nice email from someone in change at FAST letting me know that this isn't the first complaint they've received. She apologized and then let me know that she had checked my phone number (I provided it in my email) against the Do Not Call Lists and found my number was there. She said that if the number is on it, those organizations are not allowed to contact the individuals. In fact these agencies aren't allowed to contact ANYONE after 9 pm.

Turns out the perp is IUPA Florida Local 6000 which is strongly affiliated with the AFL-CIO (no surprise there!).

I found a nice article on their questionable practices regarding how they spend the donations they collect:

Police Charity has Questionable Way of Using Donations

I just filed a complaint with the FTC and it feels great. Finally, I can actually fight back!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Illegal immigration...

I heard two very disturbing stories in the news yesterday.
The first one is about the Mexican government distribution of some 70,000 maps showing highways, rescue beacons and water tank locations in the Arizona desert which will alleviate the deaths among illegal immigrants stuck in the desert. The maps also show areas where there is cell phone reception.

A member of this Mexican government commission said:

"We are not trying in any way to encourage or promote migration. The only thing we are trying to do is warn them of the risks they face and where to get water, so they don't die."


Sure they are. If they were that concerned for their fellow man they would do something to improve conditions in Mexico so that these people didn't feel it necessary to flee their own country.

We are friendly with Mexico, Bush just loves Vicente Fox. There's never been one word out of Bush's mouth blasting Fox for his support of illegals coming over our borders. And here we have the Mexican government doing even more to encourage breaking our laws and where is Bush? Yep, he hasn't said a word.

The second story I heard was that ten heavily armed men in Mexican military style uniforms were confronted by Texas law enforcement officers after crossing the Rio Grande yesterday. The Mexicans retreated and went back across the border but they abandoned more than a half ton of dope. Of course Mexico denies its military was involved. The Mexican government claims that drug dealers dressed up like Mexican military to make us think it was indeed the military.

Yeah ok, whatever.

It doesn't matter whether they were military or not, we are all quite aware that the Mexican government encourages breaking US laws. I mean if they're encouraging illegal aliens to cross our border, why wouldn't they also encourage smuggling drugs into our country?

Now before you think I'm anti-immigration I am not. I am a descendant of German, Irish, English, Italian, Sicilian and Romanian immigrants. And oh yes I am also descended from Native Americans (Cherokee), so I have the best of both worlds thank you. My ancestors emigrated here legally and they helped millions of other legal immigrants build this country. America is a country of freedom and of laws. It is imperative that we enforce our laws in order to preserve our freedom and liberty.

I do not dislike Mexican, quite the contrary, I've met several Mexicans and they are really very nice and also very proud and extremely hardworking people. But that isn't the issue. The issue is about breaking our laws. I understand the Mexican and other peoples wanting to come here for a better life but they are breaking our laws and we cannot tolerate it. The border states have such an influx of illegals it is overwhelming the educational and health care systems not to mention it's taxing on local and state law enforcement who cannot keep up with catching the illegals and incarcerating those who break the law.

At this time I see illegal immigrants from many nations coming to America and sure many of them work hard, but they tax our system incredibly. And unfortunately unlike my ancestors who worked hard to read and write English and assimilate to America, offering their culture to us in exchange for them learning to become Americans, many immigrants coming to America today do not assimilate. They do not learn our language or our customs. If they did you would not see a ballot in California that is available in 37 languages. And that's just the beginning.

If we are going to encourage immigration it must be legal. And those who come here legally must work, pay local, state and federal taxes, contribute positively to our society, learn our history, become citizens, abide by our laws, and of course they can speak whatever language they want at home but when conducting business in America, they need to learn to speak, read and write English.

Sure it takes a lot of time and effort but if one truly wants to be an American, then certainly the time and effort is worth it.

In the meantime, come the next Congressional and Presidential election, I am watching and listening carefully. I don't care what party they belong to, whomever does not support the protection of our borders and the enforcement of our laws will not get my vote.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What would you do?

Ok say you work at a prison, where there is high turnover of correctional officers and not an adequate supply of them on shift at any given moment. When you were hired in this support staff position (for example office clerk or secretary), your job description was pretty clearly defined--to clerical and/or secretarial duties. You liked the salary, you were fully aware of the job description, as explained to you, so you accept the position.

During the early part of your employment, those in charge are replaced by new people and suddenly things change. You, who is not a certified officer, who was hired as a secretary or clerk, who has absolutely no training in the area of handling inmates on a physical level, is suddenly expected to stay late to serve meals to inmates, shake down their cells and worse--physically pat them down for contraband.

What would you say to those in charge if you were told to do this.

If "go to hell" was part of your answer, then "DING DING" we have a winner.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ok it's something as simple as the phone not working right. We've had static on it for four years and only recently it got worse. In the past, every time we called BellSouth about it they would tell us that it was on the inside, not the outside. Finally I gave up. The phone worked, that's all that mattered.

For two weeks we haven't received a single incoming call, well hell we thought maybe no one liked us anymore. Then we find out that our phone isn't working for incoming calls. When calling in folks just got a lot of static and shit like that. Called BellSouth, first I got the automated repair service, that didn't do it for me, then I called back and spoke to a live person. The live person took the repair call. We didn't hear from them for a few days, so I finally called them back. THey told me they didn't have a way to call me--that their tech had been to our house and determined the problem was inside the house. Uh didn't they ever hear of leaving a note? We were never notified that he'd ever come out here. They said it cost $80 just for the service guy to come out to the house, not to mention the fees for materials and labor. I said "screw it" and called my dad, a veteran telephone man, because I know he'd know what to do. He advised me to put a new jack in, so I did that, damn thing still didn't work, so he drove 45 minutes out here and took a look at the box outside, pondered the problem a few minutes, tested the lines, and finally determined it was something bad in the interface box outside the house.

Five minutes. That's all it took. All the service guy did when he was here was plug his phone into the outside jack, got a dial tone, packed up his stuff and left. He never even tested the wires to see there was a short somewhere.

Thank goodness dad is the kind of guy who believes in doing things right the first time, it's his motto, he's always been that way. And for nearly 30 years, Bell South was sure as hell lucky to have him working for them. I know not all the guys who work for Bell South these days are incompetent like the one who came out here, there are many who truly care and do do their jobs right, it's just that they seem to be so few and far between. And it's not just in this industry. As the hardworking, dedicated, customer service oriented baby boomers begin to retire, we are seeing a new crop of younger people who rely on technology at incompetent customer service centers to do their jobs for them.

Sometimes a little pondering and use of commons sense is all you need to fix the problem. That's all my dad used and my phone line is working like new.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A great play!

My Mother is Italian, My Father is Jewish & I'm in Therapy..

That one-act play is coming to town. Mom told me about it tonight. Of course it really hit home for her because it is HER life! Her mother, affectionately known as grams was born and raised in NY and is the daughter of Italian and Sicilian parents, and our late gramps really was Jewish, his parents were Orthodox Jews from Romania. And to wrap that up in a nice neat little package, my mom isn't in therapy but God knows she should be.

Actually come to think of it, our entire family should be in therapy....

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Missing the big pic

Our mayor has established her top ten goals for this year. They include revitalizing downtown, adopting a city energy plan, improved neighborhood safety, revitalizing the urban core, boosting partnerships in recreation, transportation and public safety, improving the effectiveness of city government and focusing on special needs population.

But there's no mention of the traffic. Traffic in this university town is the worst I've seen in a city this size, which is about 100,000. It's crazy, the roads are jammed, the lights are poorly timed, it takes 30 minutes to get just a couple of miles, there are people blocking intersections, it's just a mess. Ambulances and fire trucks have a difficult time maneuvering the packed highways. Just a decade ago, afternoon traffic didn't get heavy till about 4 p.m. and many of us liked to get off work on Fridays about 3 pm so we could do our errands and zip home with no problem. Now, it's bumper to bumper at 2 pm in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, some of our "esteemed" elected leaders wanted to revitalize the already overcrowded downtown area. You know what they wanted to do? They wanted to remove one lane from traffic and make it pedestrian friendly. Main street in downtown is one of the most traveled highways in this city and removing one lane would have significantly reduced the flow making an already bad situation much worse. It would have also removed the entire highway from the list of state maintained roads, a heavy cost that would have been taken on by local taxpayers.

It's really disgraceful that these folks are worried about the already overcrowded and overdeveloped downtown area while most folks int he rest of the city can't get home at a decent hour because they're sitting in their cars in traffic for so damn long.

What gives?

Monday, January 16, 2006

"When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about. It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard."

...Hillary Clinton speaking in a Harlem Church during a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

Huh?

Has Hillary ever been on a plantation? Did she ever own a plantation? Was she a slave? A slave owner? Was she a non-slave worker on a plantation? Does she even know what a plantation is for that matter?

By her comment "you know what I'm talking about" was Hillary insinuating that the blacks in the church must know all about plantations because they're black and as we know all blacks alive in America at this moment were obviously slaves at one time?

Hillary is the last person who should speak on the subject of plantations. After all she was born and raised in Chicago, which is the last place you'll find a plantation. Perhaps her marriage to the "first black President" gives her some experience the rest of us aren't privy to.

What's sad is that not only is she using race to divide America, but she received a huge round of applause for her efforts. If Dr. King had been alive to hear that, he would have been disgraced, and rightly so.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A class everyone should take...

I LOVE my class this semester. My professor is a great person and I've had her for two other courses in which I earned A's in both and let me tell you I worked for those grades! She encourages me to do my best. Thanks to her I have really come along way in my writing and critical thinking. She and I are hell bent on someday starting our own grassroots movement--a common sense movement. We're tired of the lack of common sense in society. Politically we don't lean too far one way or the other, we're more independent minded. I can't believe it took me until my thirties to develop this kind of thinking. After talking to many people who are older than me, I find that my journey is normal, most of them have gone through it too.

Anyway, right now we're discussing business ethics and moral development in class. You know the text puts forth several scenarios and when I analyzed them in my mind, I did what I thought was the obvious right thing. In fact I am positive it's what most people would have done. But what amazes me is there are people in this world who could put ethics aside and harm or cheat others just to get ahead. I've never done it and I could never do it. I just couldn't live with myself if I thought I harmed someone or cheated them just so I could come out with more. No way.

I've got to begin narrowing down a topic for my research paper which is due in April. We have a choice of seven different activities including researching practices of intelligence gathering in business; researching the history of business ethics and addressing questions regarding the extend to which Americans have observed ethics in their business dealings and followed standards of ethical behavior; researching books on the topic of "climbing the ladder to corporate success" and the ethical values involved in the process; whistleblowing and the repercussions; investigating one particular company's business ethics; investigating insider trading scandals from the 1980's; and researching the Ford Explorer Firestone tires scandal.

So which do you like? I'm torn as they are all very interesting to me. I need to set myself a deadline to choose a topic so I can begin my research. With all I have to do at work and home, I need to devote some real time to this. I find ethics an interesting topic, and yeah it does really amaze me that some people have none. ANd as far as the critical thinking involved in this research, it's amazing we have men and women graduating from college without the ability to master it.

So tell me, if they're not learning that, what are they learning?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wanna be a hero to your kids?

For about $1500 you can get your kids to look up at you with love, respect and admiration.

How?

All you have to do is take them on a Walt Disney World vacation, which for seven days and six nights will cost you less than $1500 for a family of four. Disney's latest commercial states:

"You can be a hero too. Take your family on a Walt Disney World Vacation."

Wow. Is that all it takes to be a hero to your kids? Think of all the happy families we'd have if parents took their kids to Disney every time the kids were feeling the need for a role model. Just think----no more drug use, school violence, teen pregnancy, or dropping out of school. Disney can solve all your problems!

The hell with all that. Now I'm just your average Jane but my idea of a hero is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things, one who unselfishly gives of themselves and leads by example so that others have a better life. A hero is not defined by age, color, nationality, religion, height, weight, gender, wealth or educational background.

A hero is defined by the size of their heart.

I'm very disappointed in Disney and I wonder where their heart really is.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's none of your damned business...

A major university is extending health insurance benefits to same-sex partners. Ok fine, they have to sign an affidavit attesting to several things including this statement:

We have been in a non-platonic relationship for the preceding 12 months.

Say what?

You mean to tell me that in order to receive the benefits, these folks have to affirm they are having sex with their partners? Are the powers-that-be insinuating that a relationship isn't valid unless the participants are sexually active?

Somebody really messed up didn't they?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Letter from Michael...

There's a story about a young Marine named Michael who wrote a letter home to his mother while he was in the hospital after having been wounded in Korea in 1950. A Navy Chaplain named Father Walter Muldy apparently was given the letter, checked the facts and concluded what was in the letter was true. A year later he read the letter in public for the first time, to a gathering of some 5,000 marines at the Naval Base in San Diego.

Of course they're probably all dead now, but you can read and decide if you believe. There are too many miracles in this world that happen every day for me to believe this didn't happen.


Dear Mom,

I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody. First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, ya hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I'm okay you understand. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month.

But thats not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael everyday. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? "Michael, Michael of the morning fresh crop of Heaven adorning," you know the rest of it. Well I said it everyday. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.

I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been 6'4" and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly. I looked at him, "I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit."

"I just joined at the last minute", he replied. "The name is Michael."

"Is that so," I said surprised. "That is my name too."

"I know," he said and then went on, "Michael, Michael of the morning ..."

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen. Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael. Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence.

"We are going to have some trouble up ahead."

He must have been in fine physical shape or he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation. Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

"Michael," I shouted in sudden alarm.

I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.

Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn't anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

"Down Michael," I screamed and hit the frozen earth.

I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing. Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits. But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know..

I remember feeling strong arms around me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking well, this is not so bad. Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor. As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hands was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights. Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

"Where is Michael," I asked.

I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one.

"Michael, Michael he big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."

"Kid," said the sergeant, "You weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow."

He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it kid?"

"How'd I do what?" I asked half angry despite my wound. "This marine named Michael and I were just ..."

"Son," said the sergeant kindly, " I picked out this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it."

He paused for a minute, "Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle. And there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."

I didn't say anything, what could I say. I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then the sergeant spoke again, "Kid," he said gently, "everyone of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke."

That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.

Love, Michael

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I really wanted to be Dorothy!

Sophia Petrillo
Which Golden Girl Are You?



You are savvy, sassy and always on the go! Even if it means borrowing someone else's car without asking! Sometimes you say the wrong thing at the wrong time, but that's why we all love you!

Hands down my favorite show of all time has to be The Golden Girls. Dorothy reminds me of my mother, Sophia reminds me of my grandmother. Mom is fifty-something, tall, smart and well-spoken and her mother is short, in her 80's, and feisty. Grams is the daughter of a Sicilian mother and Italian father, and oh yes--she's sassy, bossy, and always right. Isn't it amazing that she is now in her 80's and has never been wrong? Not even once! I think all the women on that side of the family going back the old country were very much like that.

It's funny because mom and I were discussing the Golden Girls the other day and the subject of the comparison between she and grams to Dorothy and Sophia came up. We both just laughed because without a doubt the phrase "Shady Pines, Ma" is quite common in our family :)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Why do we put ourselves last?

Five years ago I was a single woman. I worked out religiously all the time. I'd stop at the gym nearly every day after work. At least twice a week I would work out on the weights machines and at least three to four days a week I’d spend about forty minutes on the elliptical and/or the recumbent bike. The elliptical was my favorite. If no one else was waiting for the machine I would often extend my time on it to 40, sometimes 60 minutes. The high I felt afterwards was indescribable. I felt great. I loved to walk too and often would park at the gym or nearby park and walk alone or with a good friend of mine. With her it was fun because we talked the entire time, making an hour and a few miles go by very quickly. During the 40 minute drive home I felt completely and totally relaxed. By the time I got home I wasn’t that hungry. I’d eat dinner but I was more content with some leftovers or sometimes a salad or on many days a can of spinach heated in the microwave.

I felt the most energetic during a five year period of 1996-2001 when I think I was pretty physically fit and felt good. I still needed to lose a few pounds, I mean I battled that ever since getting out of the military years back, but overall while I needed to lose it, I did look and feel great. My clothes fit great, I was toned, and I was relaxed.

Five years after that I had gained weight, felt depressed, sad, angry, anxious and hopeless. I hated my life, didn’t know which way to turn, and how to get out of this deep dark black hole I was in.

So what happened?

I got married.

Before you think I’m blaming my husband, let me say that it’s not my husband’s fault. He always encourages me to get out and exercise, eat right, get my education, and do anything I want that makes me feel happy and content. He supported me but I’d be really negative and he got to the point where he didn’t know what to say or do for me to make me feel better. I finally just gave up on me because I lost sight of who “me” really was. You see when I got married; I believed that I suddenly had to focus on someone else and not me. Instead of focusing on both of us, I spent all my time doing stuff for him and not me. He didn’t tell me to do this, it just happened that way. I thought it was the way it was supposed to be done. I had watched my mom spend most of her married life doing things for my dad and us kids, she always put us first. Nobody told her she had to do it that way, she just did. And even though my parents are still happily married and have been through a lot in their lives, my mom didn’t realize until a few years ago that it was ok to think about her first. I sometimes wonder if she really does put herself first though. She spends so much time thinking about all of us and worrying about us, she never really focuses much on herself or treats herself to anything. She’s a born caretaker and she’ll always be that way. And so when I got married I just fell into this role of caretaker too. I felt my husband’s entire existence was dependent on me and I felt that it was my responsibility to take care of him. I think though the felt quite differently. I think while he liked being pampered (or huggied as he calls it LOL); he probably wished I would have spent as much time on me. If I had I wouldn’t have gained weight, wouldn’t have gotten depressed about life in general and wouldn’t have become resentful, sometimes blaming him for me not spending enough time taking care of ME. There are more issues, of which I don’t want to go into but I had so much baggage when I got married, I think that combined with the stress of marriage (and it IS stressful) just got to me.

There’s a misconception that when a person gets married, they have to give up their own life. Actually I find it’s the woman who mysteriously gives up her life while the husband goes about his business without much change. This isn’t the man’s fault; it’s the woman’s fault. We somehow are conditioned to believe this happens as soon as we say “I do”.

It started with aches and pains, sadness, crying, anger, feeling tired, emotional, drained, uninterested in going out or doing anything anymore. I had been tested for RA and Lupus and all tests were negative. My doctor told me there was nothing physically wrong with me stemming from a physical condition. But I did have a mental condition—I was depressed. In one year I had gained sixty pounds and no wonder I felt so tired all the time. And when I faced the reality I would cry and feel a terrible anxiety because I knew I had to do something about it but I had no idea what. I felt like I had lost control of my life. I felt like I was in a rut.

I knew how to eat right and exercise, the problem was making my mind realize it too. I didn’t know anymore how to create a life for myself that was separate from being married. How could this happen to a once very independent person? Easy. It can happen to anyone. I forgot about me, plain and simple, I didn’t even know who the real me was and no matter where I turned nobody I knew could help me.

Believe it or not while my emotional turmoil was affecting me physically, I wasn’t the only one who needed a major change. DH realized he wanted to get healthy too. He needed to lose weight too, he wanted to get healthy, learn to quit smoking and become a calmer person. Between his baggage and mine, both emotional and physical, we had a long way to go.

Just a few months ago it finally hit us and DH and I have finally come to a point where we are on the same page and very adamant about getting healthy! We are very concerned about getting any number of illnesses that can befall people who aren’t healthy. Our outlooks have really changed.

After several attempts to quit smoking, DH went to a hypnotherapist and he will proudly tell you it’s been over a month and he is still smoke-free and has hardly any cravings or desire for cigarettes. Also, he cut down the amount of beer he drinks on the weekends, but it’s a start. He enjoys eating the healthy meals I cook, enjoys salads, fruits and veggies and he enjoys going on walks with me during the week. He also has enrolled in college at night and he wants to work out at the gym a few days a week now. As for me, I was seeing a psychologist who helped greatly and I haven’t been back but plan to see her again soon. I have begun stretching more, to loosen my painful muscles and be more flexible. I am also enjoying our walks and looking forward to the gym again. And the same hypnotherapist who helped DH also helped me with my stress eating and also helped me develop a strategy to handle stress when it happens. I am eating right, not snacking during those critical times anymore and I am working on drinking more water.

Our biggest goal is to lose weight, build muscle and be healthy. We realized that in our thirties, this isn’t getting any easier. If we don’t get healthy we will surely die young. I have seen what heart conditions, type II diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s does to people. I know exercise and eating right won’t immunize us from these diseases but if we are healthy we have a better chance of fighting them and winning. Dh and I have developed the philosophy now that in addition to physical exercise and eating right, being more relaxed, calmer and having a more positive outlook will also help contribute to our well-being.

We can’t do this overnight or all at once but we can and will do it even if it takes us awhile. It’s just nice to know now I don’t have to give up my life and he doesn’t have to give up his, we work together in this and STILL be individuals and do things for ourselves and put ourselves first when we need to. How nice is that?

My final words on this topic at least for the moment are if you are reading this and have ever experienced any of the things I talked about here, whether you were like me or like my DH, you aren’t crazy and you aren’t alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of. We’re only human.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The New Blog!

Welcome to the new blog. New look, new attitude! I had to do this because I dumped some serious baggage and wanted to just leave it (and them) behind. The baggage was just old attitudes and old ways I really wanted to change. The blog had to go too. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed that blog, but I felt a fresh start was the way to go. Let me just say that in the past few years, I have learned a few valuable lessons in life. May those lessons stay with me now wherever I go and in whatever I do.