Monthly Archives: July 2011

Age Is Just a Number

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Birthdays are a big deal to me. They always have been. My mom and dad always did it up big for my special day and it usually started around 5am. Yesterday Jacob and I celebrated his birthday. We did a lot of fun things, had a really good time spending the day together and enjoyed festivities until late last night. But this got me to thinking…….

I’m an old soul. Jacob is not…..he “acts his age” when he needs to, he’s responsible, he has a good job, he takes care of business….but he is young at heart. He’s silly and funny and happy almost all the time. I have to work at this.

There are times (well, to be fair it’s most of the time), that he tells me to relax, have fun, enjoy life…… But you see, I am enjoying life, I am happy – I’m just not carefree I suppose. When does this happen to us? Did it happen when I had kids? I think maybe so. I was 21 years old when my oldest child was born. I was still a baby myself in a lot of ways. I grew up really fast from that moment on. People talk about “college days” and how wild and crazy and fun they were. My college days, when I finally got to finish college, were filled with carpools and wrestling practice and baseball practice and dance class and kids school projects and parent-teacher conferences……

I have fun, I really do. I’m just a quiet happy! Granted, there are times that I wish I could just let it go and be silly and carefree and not worry about anything at all, but really, how realistic is that? Does that mean that I’m a stick in the mud? I hope not.

I’m glad Jacob behaves the way he does, he keeps me balanced. I may not be goofy, but I’m slowly learning to let things go and just be. I think that’s the best goal I’ve set for myself lately – relax, let things go, enjoy every moment and just be. Maybe you should give it a try too……..

Cheapskate

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I don’t understand people who skip out on their bill.

Tonight we were out for Jacob’s birthday. We have a great Irish Pub in our town and being that I’m Irish – I work like a homing pigeon with it. Anytime either one of us suggest going out, I quickly suggest the pub. Anyway, we had been there for quite some time – several hours. It was really busy….tonight was bike night. At one point we guessed that there were probably a minimum of 500 tattoos in the pub at that time.

So, the bar was busy. But this one guy – he looked like a really respectable middle age to older fella – was sitting on the other side of Jacob and had been drinking for about an hour. I noticed several beers that he had as well as several (more than 2), shots of Jameson. Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Irish Whiskey, but Jameson isn’t cheap. I’m guessing his bill was somewhere around $20.00. This guy had been chatting with a younger fella and suddenly asked him to watch his drink for him, then instead of heading toward the men’s room he bolted for the front door. The funniest part of this story is that the little bartender – I’m guessing she weighs about 120 – took off after him. She came back in about 3 minutes later, clutching a $20 dollar bill in her hand. She said, “it was only $$20, but I don’t want to pay his tab”. She went out on the street and caught him and got the money from him. Made me chuckle.

This got me to thinking about people who do things like that – ones who take things that aren’t theirs with no concern for how this will affect other people. What makes someone do something like that?

This in turn got me to thinking about the article I read about how Florida is now the first state to require drug testing for its citizens applying for welfare benefits. Again, I don’t understand the outrage over this. Why is it okay that the people working at jobs and making the money that supports the welfare system be drug tested to be allowed to work, but the people who are receiving the benefits from others hard work not be tested? Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t see the problem. Doesn’t it seem natural that they be tested? How is it unconstitutional? You must be drug free to work but not to receive the benefits of that work? Sheesh.

Everyday I’m surprised by the audacity of people. And, everyday I tell myself that I shouldn’t be surprised. I used to believe that in general people were good and honest and fair and at least a wee bit compassionate, but I’m really not so sure anymore. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think people are any of those things anymore. I do think there are some – and I happen to be fortunate enough to know a lot of them that still hold those values – but sadly I seem to always see the people who are trying to cheat someone out of something.

Where did our integrity go? I just don’t understand.

A Picture Is Worth…….

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I was sitting in the waiting room in the Tire and Lube Express at my local Walmart store today, browsing through a magazine to pass the time, when I stumbled upon an article that has been nagging at me all evening. Actually, to be completely accurate what I saw today was only a picture – but it triggered the memory somewhere in the library of my brain of an article that I recently read. Anyway, the picture was a close-up of Kim Kardashian with the focus of the photo being her engagement ring. Her $2 million dollar engagement ring.

So, I’m a girl. That ring is unbelievably, fantastically gorgeous. It’s huge and rectangular and perfectly clear. It’s amazing. Yes, I’m a girl – but I’m also what I believe to be a conscientious, knowledgeable ,compassionate citizen.   Therefore, while the girly-girl side of me wants to look at that ring and “oooh and aaah”, the rest of me is just frustrated and more than a little outraged.

Our country is obsessed with celebrities. Quite frankly, I’m not quite certain why the Kardashians are considered celebrities. I’ve really seen nothing that they do or contribute other than a reality (that’s no real person’s reality) show and  loads of money into the retail businesses…..they certainly do support shopping. Maybe I have missed some great contribution they have made – but the biggest thing I’ve seen is that they have Bruce Jenner as a step-dad.

I think what troubles me the most is the audacity of the ring. The money spent on that ring could make a better life for thousands of people. And she’s wearing it on her finger. It feels to me like she’s giving the finger to all the homeless and hungry people in her city……the finger with a huge diamond on it.

I’m certain she’s not the only “celebrity” that I would find issue with….it’s just that she’s headlining the magazines these days. I’m just frustrated. Our country is so concerned with celebrities and other countries’ homeless and hungry people and other countries’ disasters and if they are getting what we think they should have regardless of what they think………

What about our homeless people? What about our starving children? What about our babies that are growing up without families because we adopt so many babies from other countries? Don’t get me wrong. I’m compassionate – sometimes probably too much so. I don’t want people to suffer and my heart breaks for people experiencing tragedy.

When do we start taking care of our own?

The 4th Ring of Hell

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I now believe it’s a bad omen when the weather forecast is simply…….HOT. And the prediction wasn’t even from a local radio station or newspaper….no, that was The Weather Channel’s official forecast for my neck of the woods for today. No partly cloudy, no high humidity….just HOT. This proved to be a lesson in trust for me.

11am. bike ride…..82 degrees. 12:00 beach time…..94 degrees. Parked car, under a shade tree…..99 degrees. Home to a wonderfully chilly house with a bit of an Arctic feel to it……69 degrees.  An ominous “CLICK” (*cue eerie music).

I got a bit too much sun on my face so at first the slight upswing in temperature was simply attributed to body temperature going up. When I felt the perspiration begin to trickle down my back I knew something was amiss. Jacob plods into the laundry room, opens the circuit box and lo and behold, the breaker is thrown for the A/C. We flip it back on, hear the unit kick on and go on our merry way. 10 minutes later……”CLICK”. Repeat the process…….. This goes on for about an hour with minor variations added in along the way. Ones that include a few expletives and frustration and “where’s my beer?” uttered along the way.

The realization quickly sets in that it’s much too hot to cook our special 1 year wedding anniversary dinner. The plan was a nice romantic dinner made together and maybe a movie afterwards.

We got in the car and headed to the ice cream shoppe.

Dinner consisted of French Silk ice cream with caramel sauce for Jacob and Coconut Pineapple ice cream with caramel sauce for me.

Tomorrow morning we’ll call the repairman, and tomorrow night we’ll have our special dinner. But, even though it certainly wasn’t what we had planned, something tells me this anniversary dinner we’ll never forget. And you can bet that from now on I’ll bad-mouth The Weather Channel forecasts a little less and trust them a little more.

 

The Caveman

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I think that in a former life I was man – a hunter/gatherer type of man. I came to this conclusion early this morning as I was scavenging around the local farmer’s market. I was digging through the vegetables, squeezing the fruit, eyeing the flowers…… After 25 minutes of sniffing, pinching, holding, and taste testing I headed toward the parking lot with my bounty (in a reusable organic tote of course).

I hit the door and proudly showed my loot. Fresh homemade baked Asiago bread, tomatoes, scones and organic homemade doggie biscuits….for a meager $17.50.

For just a moment I channeled Tom Hanks and wanted to yell “look what I have created!!!” Even though I didn’t really create it. But I felt as if in a way I had been to the garden to harvest my veggies and I had spent time slaving over the fire pit baking bread and fruit infused yummies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not delusional – I know I didn’t really come close to doing any of that – but just for a moment…..ya know……..

Anyway, I love farmer’s markets. I love the things that are offered and the friendliness and the sense of community when you are meandering around the tents. In truth the bargains probably aren’t all that spectacular, but in my mind they are. And, for just that moment, I’m a hunter/gatherer taking care of my family and bringing home the bounty.

Lazy?

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Do you ever have those days where you just can’t get it together? Yeah, me too. The last two have been that way for me. Yesterday was so bad it doesn’t even bear discussing.

This morning our dog came to my side of the bed at 6:45am, wagging her tail, putting her nose in my face and doing a low-grade whine. My husband hasn’t been feeling well lately so I got up with her to go on the early morning potty run. We came back inside and I just didn’t really feel like 6:55am was a good time to give her breakfast, so I curled up on the sofa and let her get up with me. I’ve found that when she’s curled up in the same place she tends to be less needy. So, while letting her on the sofa may seem like a kind gesture it was really just self-motivated. Anyway, I went back to sleep as did Stella and we woke up at 8:15 when Jacob came trudging down the stairs. He fed Stella and started piddling around, I’m not certain what he was doing. At any rate, I decided I could sleep some more. Apparently the early morning start had done me in.

After a 3 hour nap I rolled over, yawned and thought of every single excuse I could to not get up. Eventually I gave in, got up, showered, made myself presentable…..and by that point I was exhausted. I had another little rest from the exertion.

At one point I did manage to get up enough energy to do a little housework – emphasis on the “little”. I checked e-mail and Facebook, but that was exhausting. I rested a bit more. I watched a bit of television til my eyes were droopy. Dinner was quick and dirty – a fast in and out of the kitchen.

I’m wondering if there’s something in the air that makes me so sleepy. Maybe it’s the pollen count, or the heat index or maybe the sunlight. Or maybe it’s something that has seeped into my computer lines. Maybe it’s emitting some undetectable wave that causes exhaustion. Quite possibly it’s the new air freshener I bought. It’s probably laced with some type of sedative.

I’m quite certain it’s not because I have a case of lazies.

Puppy Love

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This is Stella. She’s the first pet that my husband and I have had together. We rescued her from a shelter. See, I love dogs. I really love them. All kinds, all sizes – I love them all. Truth be told I just love animals in general, but I have a really soft spot for dogs. My husband on the other hand – he’s not much of animal guy. He tolerates them, but if things were left completely up to him we would live in a pet free home. But, bless his heart  – he put his preference aside and we decided to get a dog. It’s one of the most wonderful things he’s ever done for me.

We tossed around the idea of going through a breeder. There were a few breeds that I had in mind. Ones that were not prone to shedding, were family friendly, medium sized…….ones I thought would be good matches for our lifestyle. But I kept seeing the commercials about the animal population and how so many animals have to be euthanized every day and how shelters are bursting at the seams with animals that need to be adopted. So we took off one Wednesday afternoon to the local animal shelter just to have a look.

As we walked into the dog wing my immediate reaction was sorrow. The first thing I saw was a large pit bull mix with the most gorgeous bright blue eyes I had seen on a dog. And they were staring up at me with such a huge amount of sadness that it broke my heart. She just looked so forlorn. At that very moment I knew that even if we didn’t find our new family member that day that eventually we would find them at a shelter. I knew that from then on my pets would be shelter rescues.

Over my shoulder, my husband’s voice said, “hey, what about this one?” I turned and I saw this dog that looked like a mix between a coyote and a wolf…..and as we walked to her block her tail was wagging. We went through the process of being approved for adoption and we got to spend some time with who the shelter had deemed “Foxy”. She was friendly and rather calm and she was a shedder – a HEAVY shedder. Her paperwork listed her as a Shiba Inu/Collie mix. Both prone to loads of shedding. But, my husband – the guy who doesn’t really like animals – liked her. And she liked him. Within minutes of meeting her, she was lying on his feet.

We drove home and talked about her. Was she the right one? We found her really quickly. Were we making a decision too fast? Should we look around a bit more? No, we knew. She was the right one. She was going to be ours and we would call her Stella.

The next morning we tidied the house so she would be impressed when she got home, we stopped by the local PetSmart to get bowls and a collar and all the pup paraphernalia that we needed. We made it to the shelter and claimed our new 3-year-old family member.

She is beautiful. She stays right with us, she very rarely barks, she loves to take walks…..she’s perfect. She does shed – a lot at first, the whole shedding the winter coat thing – but now no more than any other dog. I really think she loves us. And she makes us happy. There’s something very soothing about a dog lying next to you.

I don’t think that at the time my husband realized what he was doing for me. Dogs are a lot of work and they’re not for everyone, but they are definitely for me. He gave me a wonderful gift – and she is ours.