Friday, February 29, 2008

Put your foot in it

I learned so many things living in CA and experienced so much in diversity in that melting pot state that make me who I am today. I'm much better off for all of it and for all the friends I have there.

I remember a comment one day at work about food. Maybe we were enjoying one of those good office potlucks. Anyway, Rosemary said, "well you really put your foot in that dish!" What? I didn't know what she was talking about so had to ask.

Let me explain that Rosemary happens to be an African American. She said, "that's what the old folks say when they cook something real good and tasty! You put your foot in it. It's a compliment."

So I learned something--here I always thought to step in it or put your foot in your mouth was not a good thing. Just one little example of how we learn from others.

Now forward here to MN, land of the Norwegians, Germans, well you get it, the Mid-West. So at church a group of women gathered to listen to a Beth Moore DVD about Immeasurable Love. Beth said while speaking on this subject once that one of the women in the audience came up to her later and said, "Girl, I was about to throw my shoe at you. That was so good. You sure put your foot in it! I wanted mine there too" Beth had taken off her shoe to demonstrate and whacked it on the floor of the stage.

The women around our table looked very puzzled. But I fell out laughing. I knew what was meant and appreciated the expression! They looked at me like I was off again! Here in the Mid-west sometimes I feel like an alien. I explained the significance of "putting your foot in it." they asked how I knew that. I told them about Rosemary and the food. So we never know where what we learn at some point in our life will come in handy to teach somebody else some day.

Update 2012, I read the wonderful book, "House at Sugar Beach" by Helene Cooper and reviewed it on my book blog.  I learned a Liberian plea or promise or emphatic way of asking is " I hold your foot,  or I have your foot."  So there is some African  connection with putting the foot in it!  This post has attracted spammers and so I am  pulling it aside to drafts.  I really do not want these spam comments that continue to plague me.     Freedom 12/12/12 by blocking Anonymous comments the spammers are gone and this post is reactivated....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why are we so unhappy

Republishing after losing the spammers when I blocked the ability to post anonymously to my blog.  Hooray and good riddance to rubish.  PULLING THIS BECAUSE OF SPAMMER INVASION 11-28-12
   Very interesting perspective that makes us think about pathetic negativity. This made the email rounds attributed to Jay Leno, but in fact only the last sentences are from Jay. The rest from someone else.

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3's of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year? Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and > provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs , a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have , and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the President who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The President who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same President who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The President that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for keeping all the> spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The Commander-In Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it...are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds, it leads; and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about "how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way"...Insane!

Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth, and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.

"With hurricanes, tornadoes, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?" Jay Leno 2007

Monday, February 25, 2008

Favorite Stanley Kunitz Poem The Layers

Reposting after pulling this from spammers.  Now that I have removed the ability to post anonymously to this blog, problem solved!  Hooray and good riddance to bad rubbish and all the rest. I include here just one photo from my late Uncle Carl's home which we had to clean out for the estate sale and eventual home sale, in PA.  There were many layers to clear.  Carl had accumulated so much over a  lifetime of 93 years.  Now today, looking back I wish I could have kept more, but I do not need more things for memories and after all, there is a limit to what we can accumulate.    

When we lived in CA a group of us  formed a memorize and recite poetry group. Most of the group were far more liberal politically in their views  than me, but we shared a love of making poetry ours by memorizing. This group was the brainchild of  Susan Rushton, a local reporter, and I miss that camaraderie.  We met once a month.  This is one that I chose that has stayed with me ever since..

Stanley Kunitz died in 2006 at the age of 100; he had been a US Poet Laureate This poem reminds me of The Road by Cormac McCarthy and like that book,  it can be a sad tribute to life.

The Layers

I have walked through many lives, some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being abides,
from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road precious to me.
In my darkest night,when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice directed me:
"Live in the layers,not on the litter."
Though I lack the art to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

Why we Drink Alcohol

The Value of a Drink "Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink I feel shame. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams .. If I didn't drink this wine, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver." ~ Jack Handy WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what the hell happened to your bra and panties.

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. " ~Dean Martin

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." ~ Henny Youngman

"When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let's all get drunk and go to heaven!" ~ Brian O'Rourke

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." ~ Benjamin Franklin

And saving the Jerry's favorite for last, as explained by Cliff Clavin,of Cheers. One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to his buddy Norm. Here's how it went:

"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

Good thoughts on every woman should

A set of screwdrivers,a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

One friend who Always makes her Laugh... And one Who lets her cry...
A good piece of furniture not previously owned by Anyone else in her family...
Eight matching plates,Wine glasses with stems, And a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored.

A feeling of control over Her destiny...
How to fall in love Without losing herself...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... How to quit a job
AND confront a friend without ruining their friendship...
When to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...
when to ignore and when to react
That she can't change The length of her calves, the shape of her head..
Exercise, a great haircut and GOOD make up go a long ways
That her childhood May not have been Perfect... but; Its over...
What she would and Wouldn't Do for love or more...
How to live alone... even if She doesn't like it...
Whom she can trust, Whom she can't, And why she shouldn't Take it personally...
Where to go.. Be it to her best friend's kitchen table, her cell phone, a walk around the block, or a drive in the country...When her soul needs soothing...
What she can and can't accomplish In a day... A month...And a year...

A favorite poem


Do you need Me ?I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.I am at work, though you do not understand My works.I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Meas I AM, and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am here. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.When you need ME, I am there.Even if you deny Me, I am there.Even when you feel most alone, I am there.Even in your fears, I am there.Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.I am in you, and you are in Me.Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, foronly in your mind are the mists of "yours" and "mine".Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.
Empty your heart of empty fears.When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.And I AM in all.
Though you may not see the good, good is there, forI am there. I am there because I have to be, because I AM.

Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of ME does the world go forward.I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law's fulfilling. I am assurance.I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by.I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance.I am your peace. I am ONE with you. I am.

Though you fail to find ME, I do not fail you.Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you neverwavers, because I know you, because I love you.

Beloved, I AM there.
--- James Dillet Freeman

Note: This poem received a lot of attention in 1971 when it was taken to the moon by astronaut James B. Irwin on Apollo 15. Irwin's mother gave it to him before the flight and he actually left a copy of the poem on the moon. The author, James Dillet Freeman, was poet laureate of the Unity School of Christianity at Unity Village. He wrote the poem in 1947. James left this world in 2003. I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him read some of his poetry in Sacramento, CA

My very favorite joke

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner. I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, 'If I give you this money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?' 'No I had to stop drinking years ago,' the homeless woman told me.

'Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?' I asked 'No, I don't waste time shopping,' the homeless woman said. 'I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.'

'Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?' I asked.

'Are you NUTS !' replied the homeless woman. ' I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!' 'Well,' I said, 'I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight.' The homeless Woman was shocked. 'Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting.'

I said, 'That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine.'

About my father and me

Last year I kept busy with research and writing a tribute to my father, getting him and his crew memorialized correctly at the WWII monument, and going through a lot of grieving after 60 + years reservoir of sadness in a Wall of Silence!

The photo includes my dad, standing back row far left,hand in pocket, pilot on that fatal flight with the entire Combat Crew 193. I have all their names but cannot identify them in the photo.

Thought you might be interested in reading , the tribute on the American World War II Orphans Network, AWON website, through the link that follows. If for any reason that does not work for you, you can Google AWON and scroll through the fathers''s been quite a journey and were it not for this organization I'd still be thinking I was the only one who lost a father in WWII, whom I never knew, never heard much about and was ignored by his family. Actually there were more than 180,000 of us who lost fathers and who were deemed "Orphans" by our government. I've learned that many of us now in our 60's and many older lived the same loss experiences all across the country. The Wall of Silence was the way of coping that crossed cultures, parts of the country, ages. ...And many of us today are all we have.

Jerry & I found material when cleaning out my mother's house in PA after she died suddenly in 2004. What a treasure chest that she had kept through the years. Wish she could have talked about it when she was alive. Anyway, now I have accomplished another one of my retirement goals!! I use the signature below in corresponding with AWONers and the military about this ...

daughter of 2LT Lewis S. Ball
MIA June 20, 1944 flight enroute from Nassau,Bahamas to Charleston, SC
113th Army Air Corps, Combat Crew 193 Charleston Army Air Field

Political journey

When I was growing up Catholic in PA and JFK ran for President I lived in the most thrilling time ever. In college 1962-63 I remember how we sat in the dorm main room around the only TV watching the news about the Bay of Pigs. Back in those days we were in same sex only (female) dorms and shared a room with a roommate. Our rooms had a bed and a small desk where we could Study! We had no personal TV's, microwaves,cell phones, refrigerators--none of that stuff. How primitive this would be today! Anyhow we all supported our President and looked sadly around worrying about war. I especially worried about war and deaths. Those who know my life of losing my father WWII months before I was born know that it really bothered me.

Flash forward to CA and myself lying pregnant, knowing this first marriage was the biggest mistake I'd ever made, across the country from anyone and wondering what the *&^% I was to do while the black and white TV showed President Kennedy had been shot. I was so sick and so pregnant and now this. Surely not. I have read everything about the assassination of President Kennedy and still do not believe we know the truth. But I won't go there. Leave the speculation to others.

Move forward in time now to the 60's. Jerry & I were married and settled with Steve in our first home in Fair Oaks. I'm still a registered Democrat and Bobby Kennedy is now running. Then his assassination. I was devastated; there went our political hopes.

Sometime later and I don't know when, but I knew that I was not a Democrat. Actually we had become successful and I hated paying more and more taxes. We were part of the Jarvis Gann property tax revolution in CA which was something we benefited from as long as we lived in CA. A good thing.

I realized I was more a Republican but I sure did not like Richard Nixon. Never had. After his resignation I changed my party registration to Republican. I'm sure it was due to Reagan, whom I idolized and was so proud to begin working for at the state while he was still Governor. We were so happy when he ran for and became president! Such wit and managerial style He appointed good smart people who gave him good advice. (I am mostly impressed with smart--I don't do stupid at all!) I remember being advised when we worked on a welfare cost containment proposal that it would be presented to an incoming Democrat, Jerry Brown and his administration. Right then things became real clear to me that there is a big difference in political philosophies. I naively asked if they would not want the truth! What a laugh that brought from my colleagues and manager! So I learned more about politics.

Incidentally, Gov Moonbeam Brown had the strangest appointees. But you know they were deeply human and always concerned about those who worked in the system. True they started the worst thing to ever happen in CA state government--unions and affirmative action. But that's the way they believed, I think. I have other stories about some of those appointees.

I do remember voting for Jimmy Carter. Wow was that a big bad mistake! I remember thinking, "He seems human. He even carries his own suitcase! He wears jeans" What a way to waste a vote!

Now it's 2007 and I know that I'm not always a Republican, but I sure am not a Democrat. Independent doesn't appeal to me at all; what fun would that be to have no candidate? So I remain a registered Republican and go along with most of it. But I seriously depart from the ultra right wing (mostly old men and women) who ride the Abortion soapbox. I am for the woman's right to choose--always have been always will be. It is the most difficult decision a woman will ever have to make and it should be between she and her doctor! Don't tell me anything else! Don't mess with Roe v. Wade and quit wasting my time with your drivel! Besides that let science do it's thing with stem cell research! Sheesh!

Still the choice is not enough to make me support Hillary or Barack! McCain was not my first choice either but that's what we have going for us.

So here I sit in MN in Hubert Humphrey land surrounded by more Dems than ever. At least where we lived in Placer County in CA there were many Republicans. Here every school teacher or farmer has their hand out for $$ and are Dems. They call themselves DFL= Democratic Farm Labor. That says it all. I think these people just don't know any better. Lots of them born and raised in the same place and never lived anyplace else!

But Jerry--now he has been a registered Democrat all his voting life. He says it is because of Truman. I guess he liked Harry. He thinks it's funny and says that his party never sends mailings asking for money nor do they call and ask for $$. Well he's got that right. When Arnold Schwarzenegger became Gov of CA, I thought he'd be the answer to troubles but he backed way off. Arnold came with Maria Shriver, his wife, a life long Democrat--a Kennedy. So I laugh and tell people that Jerry is my Maria. Actually I know that Jerry votes more Republican than I do some time! He's a Rush listener, NRA supporter, etc. Hard core Republican but just won't change his registration. When we moved to MN I thought surely he'd change his registration to Republican. But no he didn't. So he accompanies me to most Republican events, supports Republicans and tells them that he's a Democrat. Gregg Davids, our former state rep. who lost his seat in the anti-Bush, Republican backlash last election but is running again laughs. He says that Jerry can be the head of the Democrats for Davids!

So I'm continuing in retirement some involvement in local and state race candidates. I'm a delegate to the endorsing district and state conventions. I have to learn about MN politics. The caucuses are very different. I sure would prefer a primary but don't think I'll be the one to change that. If I get bored, or frustrated, I'll sit back. For now, it's a way to meet more people and the candidates. I miss the insider info. I had when I was a state of CA mgr.

And so for my Polish grandfather who desperately struggled to learn English, become a citizen and believed this the greatest country in the world, I keep an interest in politics. Umh, I know as a coal miner he was a Union guy and a Democrat, but sorry, Grandpap, this only goes so far.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why I blog

So often I have thoughts that I think are great....well they are to me. I have to write that down. Or I'll be talking to a friend who says, "you really should write that story." Or I'll tell what happened to me in such a funny way that people are rolling laughing--I believe that if it's funny someday it will be funny today. I've often thought I'd like to write a book, a story, TGAN (the great American novel). Thought I'd start after I retired but not so. I have written pages on different things,events, feelings, etc. Memoirs why not mine?

Retirement move to the middle of the country in 2005 after a 3 year plan is an adventure itself to put into words. So too our construction project of 2006-07. Or how about the Final Slap--how my mother's death in 2004 revealed scoundrels. I never thought it would be. Disappointment and triumphs? How putting it all into God's hands is the only release.

SIL Katie asked me, "Do you blog?" No I didn't. Who knows why I didn't. I can spend hours on the emails. I will generally respond to all my emails and can write at length and likely tell people more than they ever thought they wanted to know/hear.

I've always been one to write--even letters ages ago. Old relatives said they always looked forward to my letters which would have more detail than anyone's. I'd even mention the color of new pajamas for Christmas. Somehow writing is an outlet for me. I like to talk too but I really like to write--let my fingers do the talking. And sometimes there is just not anyone to talk to when I want to. Certainly I don't have the connections now that I did in my career days. I have lost friends and relatives and a few who were my bestest talking buddies. It takes years to build that closeness and here in this midwest vast land of family roots I haven't found so many to talk with. Most are centered in their well established and rooted selves and families. Some are way older, some younger.

A line in the play, "Company" says something like, "We are too old for the young and too young for the old." I feel like that the "squozen generation."

So finally today I start my blog. After thinking about a website and deciding I didn't want to spend $ until I was sure this would not be a novelty, I decided to blog. So here it is world, ready or not.

And besides when we travel I can record our journeys on the RV road. That is as long as we have wireless connection. Another issue to resolve.