May 30, 2011
To All Those Who Have Served In The Military of the United States of America, Their Families and Loved Ones,
On behalf of my family, myself, and countless others, I would like to thank you. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the service you and your families have graced our nation with.
Your sacrifice is not just for past service or for the present day and age. Your sacrifice has been for something much greater than that. You are part of a legacy, that in some way beyond our understanding, will remain etched forever in the very fabric of the world and time. You are defending not just people, but a nation, an ideal, a history and the liberty characterized by them.
Never let anyone make you feel your service is in someway wrong or ignoble. The sacrifices you and your family have made for us and for our nation will always be noble, respected and above reproach by those of us not present during the situations you have had to face and base decisions on.
How can a civilian judge you? We, who sleep in our own beds each night and go about our lives without having to combat any enemy. We have not witnessed the terrors you have, lived in the conditions you have, gone without the necessities you have, or suffered the aching absence of loved ones in the way you have. We are ignorant of what you and your family have endured for our sakes. It would be reprehensible to pronounce judgments against you based on trite sound bites, a handful of photographs or few minutes of video, or on the opinions of a few people. Ours is not to judge you. That is the responsibility of others who have been appointed to judge those situations called into question. Ours, as citizens of the nation you defend, is to support and honor you and your family, for you have truly laid down your life for us and our children.
Forgive us when we have forgotten you, neglected you, judged you harshly and minimized your sacrifice and commitment. Your duty may seem unappreciated here and now, but it is forever part of something greater than this time and place along with all those other heroes who have served in their due time.
With Everlasting Gratitude,
May 29, 2011
Our society has, at its disposal, easy access to a wealth of information. Despite this, once glance at some of the headlines floating around might have us believe we still don’t know much. In fact, how our clueless human species has managed to survive without these helpful answers and articles remains a mystery. With your welfare in mind, I’ve scoured the web in order to bring you some vital information.
Is it luck or fate that I found this lifesaving information in time for barbecue season? I know I was blissfully ignorant until I read it:
OMG-who knew! Why are grills still on the market?
I came across this question on Shine:
I don’t mean to be nasty, just pragmatic–if you need to ask this question, maybe you shouldn’t be procreating.
This was a headline from the Yahoo homepage:
Mothers of young girls have pondered this question since the introduction of the push-up bra in 1961, but they never had to answer it because push-up bras were made only for adults–until now. Mothers of young girls, the time has come to ponder this question seriously. Think of how much more fulfilling your childhood could have been if you had worn a push-up bra.
As for the makeup issue. That’s such a no brainer. Although “real” makeup is probably better for the complexion, I can barely afford “real” makeup for me. The girls will just have to live with the cheap, fake stuff made especially for children. Their complexion will recover.
For the star-watchers among us, especially those wanting to keep up-to-date on the latest star pregnancies, I recommend this article. It could prevent a potentially embarrassing situation if you run into one of these stars and are tempted to congratulate her on her pregnancy.
Allow me to share a few of my own tidbits of wisdom with you, hopefully saving you from the mental and physical trauma these situations may cause.
1. Never ask a child to guess your age unless you are psychologically strong enough to handle the answer. By the same token, never ask a child if they think you look like a Barbie doll. A friend asked my four-year-old that question. My four-year-old didn’t lie.
2. That romantic dinner for two poses many dangers.
- Undercooked steak (rare or medium rare) may cause food poisoning.
- Shrimp may cause sudden, severe allergic reactions.
- Let’s not forget choking is always a hazard when eating.
- Those candles need to be watched. They may cause a fire.
- Use steak knives with care; they can be deadly.
- The hot tub looks inviting and relaxing but it may reduce male fertility, have high bacteria content leading to skin rashes, and cause strokes.
- Those Spanx you’re wearing to look hot in your new outfit, may affect your circadian rhythms, and leave unsightly marks around your mid-section.
- Those lovely shoes may cause or worsen bunions.
- The music you’re playing may be embedded with subliminal messages or backmasked lyrics.
Go ahead and enjoy your romantic evening, just make sure to keep a watchful eye on everything.
Have you come across any headlines or articles that contain advice we didn’t know we needed?
May 26, 2011
The thunderstorms had passed, the breeze was balmy and we had fifth row seats behind right field and Brennan Boesch, my Tiger (he plays right field). It promised to be the perfect evening for a baseball game–until the young guy in front of me began taunting a player from the opposing team warming up near the stands. The game hadn’t even started and his derision, conspicuous above the hum of people milling around, was out of place and annoying.
I glared at the back of his head hoping he would feel the heat and shut up (it works with my kids sometimes). In the end, a beer and his girlfriend distracted him. He put his arm around her and a tattoo, trailing down the length of his forearm, jumped out at me: Acceptance Is The Answer.
I admit my first thought was very condescending, “Ha. What a hypocrite.” This obnoxious guy was telling the world acceptance is the answer. I knew his type. He would be the first in line to complain vociferously about others he disagreed with.
The game was slow the first few innings, and I found myself pondering his arm: Acceptance Is The Answer. It could mean so many things. Was he aware of the many implications of the motto permanently etched into his skin? I wanted to lean over and ask him what he meant, but it didn’t seem an appropriate question for a baseball game. He probably would’ve made a scathing, condescending reply anyway.
I thought exploring the possibilities inherent in that phrase might make an interesting blog post. I wrote, then pondered, then rewrote, but I wasn’t happy with the path the post was taking. I decided to look around on the internet for a photo of the tattoo.
Thank God I did. It prevented me from addressing a subject of which I was totally ignorant. At the same time, it enlightened me. I learned that it is a phrase known by many and often quoted:
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation–some fact of my life–unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it was supposed to be at this moment.
Alcoholics Anonymous (or The Big Book)
Suddenly I had a new respect for the guy at the game. This quote meant so much to him, he literally made it a part of himself, not hidden, but in the open as a testament, confession and exhortation for the world to see. I thought I had him all figured out. I’m ashamed of my arrogance. It seems I need to learn over and over again my impression of a person is not the reality of who they are or what they’ve been through.
May 23, 2011
After the long, stressful yet boring winter, I’m looking forward to summer more than ever before. School and other winter commitments are dying off quickly, leaving summer stretching out before me like a vast orange-gold sunset. There are so many things I want to do, I’ve decided to make a list. A summer to-do list (things we want to do) is much more enjoyable than a list of New Year’s resolutions (things we should do).
OK, here goes:
1. I want to spend hours at the bookstore and find some good fiction and interesting non-fiction to read.
2. I want to finish the aforementioned books. Preferably outside with a refreshing beverage.
3. I want to spend lots of time outside with my kids.
4. I want to write, write, write.
5. I want to make lessons plans for next year that I’m excited about.
7. I want the kids to keep up on math drill and reading over the summer. It makes going back to school in the fall much easier. Unfortunately, I rarely stick to this plan. But it’s a new summer and anything is possible.
8. Going to an outdoor concert sounds really good.
9. I want to get enough sleep, BUT still get up early and go to bed late. Does anyone know how to add three more hours to a day?
7. I want to spend time with friends and catch up with the ones I haven’t seen in a while.
8. I want to go to a Detroit Tigers game. Hey, we’re doing that tonight (Good luck, Brennan). Tomorrow I can officially cross one thing off this list. That’s great incentive to do the rest.
Even so, doing it all seems a bit ambitious. But I’ll have fun trying.
Summer’s stretching endlessly before you. What are your plans to enjoy it?
May 19, 2011
Last Kiss by Wednesday. A song about a boy and a girl on a date. They get into a car accident and the girl dies in the boy’s arms. I was about nine years old when I taped it from the radio–and played it over and over and over.
“Hey, watch this,” I told my mom one day. The song began to play and I burst into tears. “Isn’t that neat?” I was impressed that a song could make me cry.
Soon I didn’t have to play the song, just thinking about it made me sob. I worried when I couldn’t get it out of my head (yes, it became a nasty earworm) because I was crying all the time.
I remember sobbing to my grandma, “I can’t stop thinking about it. And when I think about it, I can’t stop crying. What if it never goes away?” I was haunted by that awful fate. My grandma just stared at me, trying to think of something to say. She had no clue what I was talking about.
Eventually the song faded from my mind, until Pearl Jam covered it in the late nineties. Had it always been that corny?
Memories, music and emotions intertwining throughout our lives. One small snippet of a tune can trigger a torrent of memories. I can’t remember my cell phone number, but I can remember song verses from thirty years ago and how I felt or where I was when I heard them.
I still know the chorus (in Spanish) to the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go. A friend and I went to watch our favorite band at a bar. They covered Should I Stay or Should I Go (part of the chorus is sung in Spanish) and we wanted to know the words in Spanish. Before the band came out, my friend went on stage and swiped the strategically place cards with the Spanish lyrics. They didn’t sing the chorus in Spanish that night but I still know it by heart.
Sea of Love by the Honeydrippers–Our first dance as a married couple. Then there was our honeymoon. The lead singer of the Platters performed. Although he had aged his voice was still awesome. We bought Smoke Gets in Your Eyes when we returned home.
Our first house was in upstate New York and I was so homesick for Michigan. I was going to school full-time and working. My husband worked third shift and we never saw each other. I was up very late one night listening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D and looking out the window at the giant fir trees in our backyard. The first snow of the season began to fall, large downy flakes, shimmering in the glow of the street lights. Everything silent, still and sleeping, except for the swirling snow and the serene music. For that moment, such peace.
There are so many more memories and songs they could fill a book. What are some of your musical memories? If you want to share the song along with a memory, paste a link with your comment.
May 15, 2011
I’m writing to warn you that Ordinary is conspiring against you. I think he is trying to take over the world. He knows once you are gone, the world will be his. He uses different guises (Comfortable, Relaxing, Equality) with the same intent–Your demise. He’s scheming to get people to settle for the lowest common denominator, instead of striving for excellence, or exerting any effort. He wants the world to believe that everything and everyone is and should be Ordinary.
Special, you are such a dear old friend. You were there when I was born and when my children were born. You attended my wedding. You’ve been to most of my family’s birthdays and holidays. I forgot to invite you a few times and always regretted it. You were with me every time I won an award, and in the quiet of the night when I finished my writing my book. If I’m paying attention, I see you when I look at my children, my friends and my husband.
I’m afraid of losing you. Special, we can’t let that happen. Without you, life is mundane and humdrum. You perk me up, give me something to look forward to and show me my value.
I know there was a time when I neglected you for No Effort (another alias of Ordinary). I could go from cleaning the house to a dinner date with my husband, without so much as looking in a mirror. Same clothes, same pulled back hair, same lack of make-up for every occasion. Well, maybe a dress if I was going to a wedding.
No Effort seemed like a friend. After all, I was too busy to put any effort in trying to look nice for anyone; it didn’t seem important. I see now it was just an excuse. I thought I didn’t need you anymore, Special.
I was ashamed of myself when I realized No Effort had taken your place. My husband, my family, my friends, actually anybody I came into contact with was special and deserved more from me than No Effort. More importantly, my appearance gave the impression I wasn’t interested in my life. I decided I wanted my appearance to reflect my gratefulness for my life.
Yes Special, we’re friends again. But Ordinary is still out to get you. Now he’s going after children, as well as adults. He knows if he gets them when they’re young, chances are they will never know you.
Ordinary misrepresents you brilliantly in his twisted play on “Self Esteem” (Success and praise at all costs) and “Equality” (Everyone is special in the same way and for the same reasons).
Do you remember when S²’s basketball coach gave trophies to every player on the team and player’s siblings? Or that graduating class that had twelve valedictorians? Where were you then, Special?
Ordinary has even stooped to making excellence laughable and contemptible. Have you seen this bumper sticker: My kid can beat up your honor student? That’s a great motivation killer for anybody wanting to excel.
Oh Special, I know you remember the bride talking about her fiancé, the marine. The week before her wedding, she said to me (a complete stranger), “Everyone doesn’t need to make such a big deal over him. He’s not that special.”
Those words haunted you and I for days– “He’s not that special.” How could she marry someone she didn’t think was special. That poor man didn’t deserve to marry somebody who didn’t think he was special. Nobody deserves that. Ordinary was victorious that wedding day.
There’s an insidious conspiracy against you, Special. I know you’re going to tell me without Ordinary, you couldn’t exist, and all the guises and aliases he has skewed are good in their own way. You’re right. I know the beauty of Ordinary. But given too much power, Ordinary can defeat you.
Special, don’t despair. There is still much to be positive about. The pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding was proof of your importance. Many churches cherish you. You are an honored guest at proms, weddings and first birthday parties. You witness many happy occasions and achievements and you are present at every birth.
Even so, Special, for your own good, watch your back. Ordinary is out to get you.
May 9, 2011
I look at those two words and I’m amazed by the endless possibilities they contain.
Wonder. Breathed into the essence of every human being, wonder kindles the imagination. There is a freedom in wonder that draws each of us out of ourselves if we let it. Bursting with potential, it sets us on a path leading to new discoveries and experiences.
Wonder is the natural companion of children, providing them with endless fascination of all things. They look with wonder at everything, from iridescent soap bubbles to ants on the sidewalk. They wonder what everything tastes like, voluntarily putting any and all interesting objects into their mouths, with the possible exception of vegetables.
As we grow older, wonder at the “ordinary” things of life alters our perceptions, ultimately shaping who we are. Sometimes this change is so gradual it escapes our notice. We wonder why we feel this way, or why we reacted that way. We wonder at the cause of another’s pain, loneliness or sadness. We wonder if we can help them. Each time we experience and act on this wonder, our world expands.
Sometimes wonder’s effect on us is cataclysmic. A newborn baby grasping our finger can arouse overwhelming wonder at this tiny new creation. Wonder can strike in a flash, revealed in the uniqueness of another person. We can experience this same wonder when similarities connect us.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but wonder is the muse of the creative. Plato wondered about the truth of the world we experience with our senses. Albert Einstein wondered about time and space: what would happen to a beam of light descending from a ship’s mast or a man’s speed as he fell through the air. Shakespeare, wondering about the complexities of the human condition, wrote brilliant plays and poems. Johann Sebastian Bach wondered about creating beautiful harmonies by combining intricate, independent rhythms and voices. Leonardo DaVinci’s wonder about everything produced spectacular and diverse results, from the Mona Lisa to the hang glider.
There is an unsavory underbelly to the freedom of wondering, that also bears reflection. Wondering what it feels like to get high (just this once), can lead to addiction. It can be toxic to wonder too often about things that tempt us: “I wonder what it would be like to be married to somebody else.” Or to wonder about things we can’t have: “I wonder what it would be like to have her life. She has it all.” Wondering how far we need to go in the quest for popularity can permanently stain a life. Sometimes we’re so busy wondering how we ended up so far from where we wanted to be, we lose sight of those small, beautiful things that should fill us with a new wonder.
Wonder ending at itself, wonder that doesn’t inspire exploration or a search for answers becomes a tragedy. Ignore, disregard, neglect and expect–negative, pessimistic words–are the opposites of wonder.
We’ve all asked the burning questions: I wonder why I’m here and what is my purpose. I wonder if there is more around me than I can sense. I wonder if there is anything after death.
The tragedy is not that we’ve found answers we didn’t like or expect. The tragedy is not that we may all disagree on the answers to those questions. The ultimate tragedy lies in reaching the end of life, without having explored the possibilities inherent in those questions, because we were too afraid or too lazy to wonder.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.” -Albert Einstein.
May 8, 2011
I’m thrilled to share another award I received from another Ashley.
Ashley Nixon awarded me the:
I really enjoy her blog and visit it often. Her enthusiasm is inspiring and contagious!
Requirements for this award:
1. Link it back to my giver.
2. Tell you seven things about me.3. Award it to fifteen other blogs and let them know
I’m still learning my way around the blogosphere and I’m excited about sharing eighteen more awards as I discover new blogs. I’d like to share two awards today.
I’d like to award the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award to lovetheuulove. I enjoy this blog because I can relate even though we lead very different lives.
Responsibilities attendant with this award:1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
2. Share seven random facts about myself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.
Ashley, thanks again for the award. And congratulations Counting Ducks and lovetheuulove.
Seven More Things About Me:
May 3, 2011
Much to my surprise, I was given two blogging awards yesterday. I’ve been blogging for about a month. I really enjoy it, but still feel like such a newbie most of the time. Thanks Ashley and Anita for thinking of me.
Ashley Graham awarded me with The Versatile Blogger award.
When I started blogging, Ashley’s blog was the only one I followed. She has a knack for being candid and informative.
Responsibilities attendant with this award:
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
2. Share seven random facts about myself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.
I’m not sure if I have five blogging buddies to pass this onto yet. But I’ve found so many interesting blogs these past few weeks, I’m sure I’ll be passing it on soon.
Anita Grace Howard awarded me with the Cool Cat award in her first ever Wonderland bloggy awards. I’ve enjoyed meeting Anita and reading her blog, A Still and Quiet Madness.
Well, here goes.
Seven More Things About Me:
1. I like to go to parties, throw parties and/or plan parties for other people or organizations.
2. I helped plan a “Valentines Cruise” party in February.
3. We used live goldfish in the centerpieces. It was awesome!
4. I brought home 6 goldfish for my children. It was more than I needed but I was sure a few would die before the kids got up the next day. All six lived for a few weeks.
5. I never knew goldfish smelled. Even when we got down to one lonely goldfish, S¹ had to change the water a few times a week.
6. I didn’t know what a huge mess a shattered goldfish bowl could make until until S¹ tripped on D³’s shoe last night.
7. I realize now, that cleaning up a shattered goldfish bowl entails hours of work, open windows (seriously, litter boxes smell better) and in the end a sparkling clean laundry room. Unfortunately, that part is still hours away.
May 2, 2011
Although an earworm is a pest,
An insect it is not.
It has not wings, nor tail, nor legs.
It can’t destroy a crop.
The tune that’s stuck inside your head,
The one you can’t force back
That’s an earworm going wild
Engaged in an attack.
On and on the song spins ’round
With a psychotic roar.
More bearable, a song you like
Than one that you abhor.
I know not how rid one’s mind
of earworm’s nasty sway.
It has the upper hand it seems,
Thanks to YMCA.
Be kind ubiquitious earworm,
endowed with chilling might.
Haste, back to Village People.
I cannot win this fight.
Dedicated to my own dear 24/7 earworm.
PS-Since receiving a comment about Curly, I’ve had The Curly Shuffle trolling through my brain. AAHHHH!