28 March 2008

Sound at all familiar?


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present (CONGRESS) is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
…(Congress) has made Judges dependent on (their) Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
(Congress) has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
…For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.
…For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
…In every stage of these Oppressions, We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A (Congress), whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people…

Sorry I blew up.

I attended class last night at the same venue it has been for the past 2 weeks.

I am a creature of habit – I get there a bit early as I have to drive 2, sometimes 3 or more hours to get there and don’t want to get stuck in Denver traffic during rush hour…

So, I walk into the building and head directly for the classroom (which has been on the third floor the previous three times it’s been held) via the elevator. I’m thinking of the RV that almost ran me over on I-25 when the car in front of me stopped and I stopped, but RV had a little harder time going from 75 to 0 in 2 seconds… Yikes!

I lived.

Anyway, I boarded the elevator, lost in thought, pushed 3 (for the third floor) and kinda looked around a bit. I noticed a menu of activities posted on the right wall of the tiny, mobile room. ‘Huh! John McCain… Isn’t that odd? Some guy with the same name as a presidential candidate is speaking at this building sometime tonight. Weird…’ (Yeah, I do stuff like that all the time.)

The door opens and I step out of the elevator to a room full of black-suit-dressed goons, female and male – all standing around tables looking self-important and more equal than others. (I think I walked in on them patting each other on the back, or something.) I’m dressed in blue jeans and a pink sweater. WAY out of place. I nod, and then head to the hallway which leads directly to the classroom I’ve been attending for the past 2 weeks…

Sasquatch in a black dress suit holds out her hands in a “hold on there, Sparky” way and says: “This area is secure!”

I think to myself: ‘define secure.’

I said, “No, that’s okay – I’m attending a class just around the corner.” And I kinda point in that direction.

Sasquatch says, “NO! This WHOLE area – this WHOLE floor – is secure.”

I’m thinking, 'Not so much – I just walked off the elevator… no problems there! How flippin’ secure is that? Again… define secure.'

I say, “Oh!” and I’m sure I’m standing there like a fish in the headlights… or a deer out of water… and then I say “They must have moved the class.” Then, I start to get back onto the ‘secured’ elevator to leave these self-important people to smelling each other’s armpits and choosing up sides.

Another lady walks me to the doors and said “Here, let me help you.”
I say, “I don’t need an escort. I can figure this out. But, Thank you.”
She pushes button #1 and walks out of the elevator. I look at the list and see the class is to be held on the second floor that evening.
I say, “Well, thanks, but I needed floor 2…” as the door shuts on my words.

And I was thinking of voting for McCain…

19 March 2008

Keeping it in focus

I have to tell you. I attended a class last night – let’s just call it CE. The subject of Nanny Cams came up. I was asked if I thought it was illegal, or legal. I know it’s legal, but part of me thinks it’s unethical… or just not right, because I could see myself as a 17-year-old teenie-bopper babysitting a child… and when I think no one’s watching I pull my undies out of my crotch because I’ve had a wedgie for days… or I kinda, you know, just sorta pick my nose… (it wasn’t a pick – more of a rub) because nobody’s watching. Then, I find out they were watching. Not only watching, but actually have it on recorded data for all to see. How embarrassing.

Another student said, “probably everywhere but in the bathroom.”

My instructor said it made no difference. If Nanny Pedophile wanted to “sodomize your child” (his words, not mine – my mind didn’t even go there and my father IS a pedophile…), what’s to stop them from doing it to your child in the bathroom.

He’s got a point.
I had a long drive home, therefore a long time to think about what was being said.

My first thought (which I voiced in class) – if you’re that worried about this stranger you have watching your child, you’d be better off to quit your job and stay at home and raise your own dang child. I got many groans and man-are-you-crazy opinions from that. But, seriously, we as parents are willing to pay more for coffee in a month than we’re willing to pay for good childcare. If we paid a nanny what s/he was worth, we’d be paying out more than we were bringing in… so why not quit your job and raise your own children? Because you want to feel important, right? Look in the eyes of your child and tell me who you’re trying to feel important for. (I’m getting a little self-righteous here, so I’ll stop.) My point is nobody is going to raise your child the way you see fit - even if they do a spectacular job - it will still fall short of your expectations for them because you cannot dare to think this stranger – this person who did not birth this child – could be anywhere near to what you are to your child. And if s/he is better than you – you’ll probably fire her/him out of jealousy.

So you videotape your nanny to prove yourself right.

To what end?

Say you caught your nanny “sodomizing” your child (not a pretty visual, I grant you – but I didn’t say it. Teacher did.)… Now what do you do? You feel vindicated because you hired someone you didn’t trust enough to trust enough and sure enough, s/he proved you right. Goody for you. What you’re not thinking is:

You have Nanny doing unmentionable things to your loving, adoring, trusting child… on tape… so you – and the rest of the whole world - can see… and???

Yes, you can prosecute. Yes, s/he is going to jail for hopefully a long time. Yes, you were RIGHT!!!!

And Yes. Your child was irrevocably and undeniably abused in a very real and lasting way. And guess what? Neither you nor your child will be able to get that image/fact out of your head – probably for the rest of your life. And you will still feel like you failed your child… even though you were armed with a camera - because you disarmed your common sense and better judgment.

Me thinks you better look harder for a decent caregiver for your child before deciding on just taping the injustice, unless your goal in life is to play the victim. In which case – I guess that’s on you. I have no response to that.

Another thought I had – If it’s legal to set up video recorders all over your house and tape everything and everyone in it, why did Rob Lowe get in so much trouble a while back for setting up a video camera in his bedroom closet and videotaping himself having sex with numerous girls? And, what if you set up a video system but didn’t tell your spouse, but then caught your spouse having sex with the nanny? Would you have a lawsuit on your hands? Just wondering. Doesn’t the spouse have an expectation of privacy in his/her own home?

I just don’t trust people who aren’t trusting. Me thinks they have one to many skeletons in their own closets… focusing the video cameras, I suppose.

Enjoy & In Joy
S

13 March 2008

Spring Cleaning


Today I’m going to do something different besides bitch about politics.

The weather’s changing. The skies are bluer. The air is clean and crisp. And, summer is on its way. So, to greet summer, we’re going to do an exercise in gratuity. I’ll do it here – you play along at home. ‘K?

We’ll have an 'attitude of gratitude' session… as they say.

So, sit comfortably in a quiet place and ponder about your life. What is it for which you are most grateful?

I am grateful for Love. I have five beautiful girls who show me love every single day, in many ways, and accept my love to them in return. I have a grandson, whom, although I rarely see, lights up my life with a smile on a picture and fills my heart with love. I am loved and love back in a totally unconditional way – a kind of love for which I’ve been searching all my life. I finally have that love. I am extremely grateful for that. I have the love and companionship of my siblings, who give me courage, encouragement and insights. I have the love and respect of other relatives around me (my son-in-law, my uncle, etc.), whom I feel a mutual respect and admiration. I have the quirky love of my mother, who reminds me this world is nothing but an illusion – we make of it what we will and there is nothing else but what we see. So, why not love instead of fear?

(The opposite of love is fear, you know? Not hate. Love accepts all possibilities. Fear rejects all possibilities… and hate just makes you bitter and ugly.)

I am grateful for being able to wake up in the morning and be free to choose my day. I am grateful I no longer have to be the indentured slave of another, or have to answer to another’s whims. I am grateful I have a full and rewarding life of my choosing – my life… not an extension of ‘his’ anymore.


(Remember, these are my gratitudes – not yours. You’re playing along at home with your own list….)

I am grateful for my warm and inviting home. I know if my house burned down tomorrow, my home is there regardless, for we fill it with love - and every person who enters my home with a heart full of love adds to the home in ways I never imagined. I am thankful I have a place to call home; a place I can decorate and clean; a place to invite loved ones into and make them feel comfortable for a short (or long) time.

I am grateful for the places I’ve been. I am fortunate to have lived in and travelled to many states in this great United States. I’ve enjoyed the scenery of Alaska aboard a cruise ship – twice. (Thank you, Universe). I’ve enjoyed the beautiful, bleached shell beaches of Cozumel and Cancun, MX. I’ve visited Germany in the fall, when the golden leaves fall on the road like overgrown snowflakes and fill your being with the surreal sensation of child-like amazement.

I’ve spent many days searching the entire continental United States for the most perfect spot; the most perfect National Forest/Park; all 48 states and never could decide.

I was fortunate enough to be born in Wyoming, where the seasons change right before your eyes, the freshly fallen snow offers you scattered diamonds in the morning, and the spring brings you flowers of all scents and colors. I lived in Oregon for a spell – what a beautiful place that is. I spent some time in the California Mojave Desert where the sunsets surpass all others; New York, where the fireflies (the first time I ever saw one was in upstate NY) dance and twinkle you back to the age of two; Georgia, where the beaches of Tybee Island are littered with sand dollars, and the air smells of anticipation; Colorado, where each and every day the mountains take your breath away and make you want to kneel before them and kiss the ground in gratitude for sharing their cloaks of many colors with you. (But you don’t because people would point and stare…)

I am grateful for the many opportunities afforded to me in regard to my writing. Sometimes it feels as if my books will never be released, but I know everything comes in its divine right time, so I am grateful for this time of anticipation and planning.

And least, but not last – I am grateful for things: Things make my life more comfortable and enjoyable – the television, this computer, my hobbie-makers (cameras, telescopes, dark room equipment, glue, felt, paper, etc.), the washer/dryer, the refrigerator & stove, the dishwasher, the alarm clock, the stereo… beautiful and enjoyable music… wonderful and life-enhancing movies…

Of all my belong-ings, my collection of crystals gives me the most pleasure while just sitting and enjoying a cuppa. The rainbows created by the sun filtering through them are splattered throughout my home – always changing, always dancing. I am grateful to be able to see and enjoy the wonderment of nature; the simple pleasures.

Now… don’t you feel better?

All right. We’re done. Thanks for playing. All you have to do now is go about the rest of your day and…

Enjoy!
…and In Joy,

Sandi

11 March 2008

I think (too much)

I think I’ve misplaced some friends. Have you seen them anywhere? Under the bed? In the closet? Maybe on the bottom shelf of my fridge. (I need to clean that!)

Strange how you go through life, all happy and content. At age 2 you meet someone just like you… only different. Then she morphs into someone else and you forget all about your previous kindred spirit while playing with your new one. And on it goes until you find yourself in your forties and realize the friends you’ve gathered along the way stopped playing with you… or you stopped playing with them, but you couldn’t say why.

Sometimes you change away from their beliefs/actions… and sometimes they do. But I think you both walk away, one step at a time.

One friend was a partier. She knew all the right bars, all the fancy tricks to keep from having a hang-over the next day (I am very skeptical any trick ever really works, but I never had one while staying at her house… then again, I don’t drink much to begin with – that you know). She now is content working in a garden, singing in the church choir and preaching the word of God. Who is this woman I grew up with? (Not that there’s anything wrong with those things – just a far cry from the person I knew not very long ago.)

One friend became a Secular Progressive (…or maybe he always was one, but I just didn’t know it…) and lost his sense of humor… “Don’t even joke about that!” I find it hard conversing with him now, as one of the side effects of being overtly-political is the added conviction anyone who believes differently than you is a moron… or how did ‘Munchhausen’s-by-email-address-disorder’ (allergymom) put it? “Ignorant Woman” (that would be me). I don’t mind being thought of as ignorant… just please don’t say I’m not funny.

One friend is ultra religious, so when I found myself leaving an adulterous husband, she couldn’t bring herself to understand… for I gave my vows to God and swore to let no man put asunder… (Oh, yeah? Well he broke his vows first: Forsaking all others? Give only unto me? Hear those lines before anywhere? Nee-ner!) Anyway, she has yet to forgive me completely for dishonoring her version of God. We trade Christmas cards. That’s about it.

One friend just recently stopped emailing, stopped responding… I have no idea why. I don’t know if I’ll ever find out. My emails go unanswered.

Don’t get me wrong. I still consider all of these people my good friends. If they ever needed anything, I would be right there for them. They are and always have been kindred spirits.

Some you lose track of. Others… the ties that bind begin to chafe and gag.

My cousin and I were pretty good friends, at least I thought so. We lived in different states growing up, so we didn’t really know each other or hang out until recently. Then stuff happened and she showed her true side. I’ve always said you never truly know someone until you divorce them… and that’s how I found out how deceitful and mean-spirited she is. Like I tell my kids – just because she (he, they) said it, doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee – if my cousin said it, it’s more than likely a lie. Some people you’re just better off without in your life.

My ex-sister-in-law (who shared my pain and was a constant in my life) actually thought she had to ‘choose sides’– if there ever was such a thing – after my divorce and chose her husband’s brother. (Funny thing is, she was my friend first and I introduced her to the family). I don’t blame her, really. She has to live/deal with them. Poor thing. And my ex is just like my cousin – they both confabulate like pros.

The last time I spoke to my ex-sis-in-law, she said: “It’s the nature of the beast.”

Well, I’m no beast.

…at least not after I’ve had my coffee.

In Joy & Enjoy
S

10 March 2008

Beholder's Eyes

I was about 18, and making pizzas at the local pizza joint alongside my best friend, Don. He recalled the events of the evening for my sole benefit while spreading cheese over sauced dough. Seems they went to a bar where the entertainment (and I use the term lightly) was a wet t-shirt contest. His accolades for the winner wouldn’t cease, so finally I said: “Yeah, well, I got boobs, too.”
His reply: “But, she had a face and the bod to go with it…”

Fast forward a bit to age 21. My soon-to-be-1st husband, Tom and his cronies came over to my apartment to watch the Superbowl. As I passed around the brews and chips, the guys swapped stories about this fox and that chick… animals, it seems, are all we are to them… In the middle of the laughter and stories, Tom looked at me and said to the manly crowd in a loud and determined voice: “Sandi’s not much to look at, but she’s got one hell of a personality.”
Not for the first time, nor the last, I wished I had perfected the vanishing skills I had practiced so often as a child…

Fast forward to many years later and soon-to-be-2nd ex-husband. We’re at a hail-and-farewell (Army thing) and husband can’t stop flirting/touching/ogling one very pretty Captain – one of many young ladies in his long line of ego-girlfriends. His wildly inappropriate actions are beginning to embarrass me, but I keep quiet until the ride home. I ask him if he thinks the young woman (girl) he doted over was pretty.
(I know, you shouldn’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer.)
“Yes,” was his answer, “very pretty.”
“Do you think I’m pretty?”
“Well… you’re not ugly… I wouldn’t be with anyone who wasn’t at least a little pretty…”

Hit that fast forward button to just a few months ago. I’m at a conference minding my own business, grabbing a cuppa coffee at break-time, when a portly, much older gentleman approaches me and says:
“You know, I just have to tell you. I find you are a very striking woman.”
“Why, thank you. That’s very sweet.” I’m dumbstruck, but my ego-balloon starts to inflate a bit. These are words I am unaccustomed to hearing.
“Yes, very striking. I don’t know when I’ve seen such a striking woman before.”
(Becoming a little uncomfortable now, but that damned balloon is hanging on every word and growing bigger than my head at this point.)
“Thank you.” I say again, and smile politely.
He continues to look at me - what is increasingly becoming more of a leer, and adds:
“...Not beautiful by any means… but striking.”

*POP!* There goes that balloon. I wonder if anyone else heard it.

“You are beautiful no matter what they say.
Words can't bring you down.
You are beautiful in every single way.
Yes, words can't bring you down.
So, don't let them bring you down today…”

08 March 2008

I have nothing...

...to talk about today.


Tahna (rhymes with Donna) - daughter #2 - called a few minutes ago. She recited part of her day for me. It seems she was in search of the local library, and since she hasn’t lived in her neighborhood long was unsure of its location. She called her friend, Jeff for help, and the conversation went something like this:

“Do you know where the library is?” she asks.
“It’s on the boulevard, at the bend,” is his reply.
“On the left or right?” she asks.
“Which way are you headed?” he inquires.
“ …Toward it…??”

Yeah, she’s a blond.

Enjoy your weekend.
I wish you laughter. (Don't forget to set your clocks back this week-end - if your state practices daylight savings time, that is.)


In Joy,

S

01 March 2008

There's nothing Good about it.

I knew a woman who was nervous around microwave ovens. It seems she believed they were harmful to your health and would eventually cause cancer by standing near one and consuming the food heated in it. She believed the waves were bad for your heart.

Those fears were unfounded – for her anyway.

She ought to have feared her son, instead of the micro-wave.

She died on her front lawn from a gun-shot wound to the heart – inflicted by her 23-year-old son, who then turned the gun on himself.


When we first set out to have children, we have aspirations for them – none of which include drugs or violence. We hold our infant child, no larger than our arms can handle, and whisper to her our hopes and dreams. We watch with adoring eyes as she grows; reach out to catch her when she takes her first tumble while learning to walk… and for awhile, wonder if she'll be able to take more than a few steps before kissing the carpet again. But she masters the art, and soon we’re chasing her around the house.

I’ve heard women say they’d like to have a child for the unconditional love between mother and child.

Newsflash: That whole 'unconditional love' thing on her part lasts about 2 years.

Then your adorable child does the unthinkable – she starts to develop a personality of her own. She wants to feed herself in the highchair, even though more makes it to the floor than in her belly. (All toddlers are morons – they get more on them, than in them.) She doesn’t want to wear that beautiful dress you bought because the lace is itchy. She doesn’t like the gym shoes you picked out because her nemesis in junior high gym class has the exact same pair…

Then high school - and the fights begin.

The “I hate you!”s and the rolling of the eyes…
You think it, too, but you’d never say it to your child… instead you say, “I love you, but I do not love your behavior.” She throws a dirty shirt at you, grunts something indiscernible, and slams her bedroom door in your face.

And you sit quietly on your couch, remembering her little hand in yours; the way she looked up at you with total trust and commitment; her little voice saying; “I love you mama. I want to live with you forever.”

Then you hear her scream from inside her room; “I can’t WAIT to get away from you; to move out of this house!”

And you wonder what you did to change this angel into a devil in a matter of months. You wonder why you were unable to show your love for her better. You wonder if it will ever be good between you two again.

But it will. And, it does. And she calls you from her apartment/dorm and talks to you about her heartaches, sister problems and money woes. You help her out when you can, but you feel like it’s never enough, because you sense her growing away from you every day. You see her becoming more a woman and less your little girl.

And then she really does leave. You find yourself standing on the front porch, watching her drive away with her boyfriend. And you know you may never see her again because she’s moving to the other side of the country to be closer to his family. And your heart breaks once more. The tears flow. Not for the first time, you wish you could have done more to connect with her. You hope she knows just how much you love her; how much her presence enhanced your life. And, you let her go.

Goodbye, Peaches. I’ll miss you. Take care of you.
p(m)s. Danna, please look out for your little sister for me, will you? I miss you, too.

pass the popcorn, please!