Friday, May 19, 2006

Less than a week.....

In one week, my oldest will be graduating from high school. Where did the last 18 years go? I have two wonderful sons. I know that I'm a mom and slightly biased, but I really am blessed.

For four years, Greg has attained academic achievement (honor roll), has a 4.2 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society, the Math Honor Society, has had three years of leadership positions in band, had a major role in the production of "Beauty and the Beast", and he has the best laugh of anyone I know. He has a booming laugh which reminds me so much of my dad.

Chris is just finishing his freshman year. Chris also got academic achievement this year with a very difficult schedule crammed with pre-AP classes. He was on the freshman football team and he played high school hockey, plus he was a member of a AA travel hockey team.

Both of them are very smart and very talented. And I have no idea what I ever did to deserve them. There have been times when I wonder who I would be if I hadn't quit my job 16 years ago. I need to get back into the workplace, especially with Greg going off to college. I'm scared though because I have 16 years of nothing. Nothing except two incredible human beings who are a better reward than any career I could have had. So I think it was worth it. Well worth it.

But now I have to get up the courage to try to get back into the workplace. I keep putting it off. I don't know that I have anything to offer. And, to be honest, I'm not sure I can handle working 40 hours a week. Especially with summer coming. Physically, I have a hard time handling the Texas heat. It drains the energy right out of me. People with MS should not live in this kind of climate.

Wish me luck. It's time for me to get out there and do something. But what? I really do need to do it, not just financially, but sometimes I just feel stagnant. I just have to do it. I'm scared.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Some cabernet sauvignon, Marvin Gaye, and a bubble bath

When we built this house, my most important request was a great big tub (preferably a jacuzzi). Well, I got my wish. And tonight, Jim is playing hockey, Greg is at a friend's house, Chris is upstairs watching tv, and I decided I needed a good long bath.

Feeling a little mellow, I bypassed Aerosmith and the Allman Brothers and chose The Very Best of Marvin Gaye, CD 1. Poured the wine. Started filling the tub, adding my cucumber&melon bubble bath (I'm not a floral person, I prefer the tastier scents), lit all the candles, turned off the lights....

Turned on the CD player before I got in the tub. Oh how I love Marvin Gaye. This CD has all his duets with Tammi Terrell. Absolutely gorgeous music. You can close your eyes and just float away. Perfect.

A nice,long bath in a candlelit room with the perfect music is like taking a mini-vacation. There is nothing better to lift your spirits.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Odds and Ends

I spent some time in here talking about my mother's hometown of Strong, Pennsylvania. I found a really cool website, and it's so spot on about the area!

Even found a picture of an old firetruck that used to reside in the hosey. Those are the houses at the top of the 'patch' near the hosey. (I hope the owner of that site doesn't mind me stealing it!) My mom thinks this is the firetruck that she and my dad rode on their wedding day (my grandfather was a volunteer fireman).

I am going to recruit my niece, who still lives in Mt. Carmel, to go out this summer and take some pictures of specific landmarks. Including my grandparent's house and some other areas I would like to see again. I bet she wouldn't mind.

I also have a copy of my great-grandparents' wedding certificate from 1906. It's a beautiful certificate, but it's not aging well. The writing is almost gone. I really need to find someone who can preserve this. It's a hundred years old! I can't believe that my grandfather kept it all those years. He even copied everything it said on another piece of paper. Smart man, my grandfather. I guess he knew it wouldn't last.

My grandfather also kept journals of every penny that he spent. Every doctor's visit, every nail, every gallon of paint.... dates and prices. It's an amazing little piece of history.

Well, that's enough for tonight. My sons are going through pictures of the eldest's high school years. He graduates next week. Where did the last 18 years go?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Feeling Old

Jim was looking for darts. A good set. He's had a set for years, but he decided that maybe there was something better these days. So we were told to go to The Gas Pipe on Burnet Road.

We walked into this store, through the bamboo beaded curtains, and walked straight back into 1981. In 1981, we were living in upstate New York. We were in our early 20s. We were having a carefree crazy life. Walking into this establishment was like having a flashback. The smell of incense was heavy in the air. There were showcases full of pipes, papers, and 'water pipes'. Of course, these are all meant for tobacco use. What other possible use could there be? It's all legal and stuff, with a wink and nod. Sign outside reads: "You will use the proper terminology inside, or you will be asked to leave." In other words, it's NOT a head shop. Really, it's not.

There was a store in Woodstock (the town, not the concert) that was so very much like this. As a matter of fact, at that store, back in 81 or 82, we bought a three-foot red plastic 'water pipe' (for tobacco use only, of course). Oh hell, that wasn't what it was used for. And we called it what it was, a bong. And there wasn't any legal reason that a store couldn't sell it to me for any reason that I wanted to use it.

I remember when we moved out of our first house, in 1993, I found that red bong in the back of a closet when we were packing..... Wow. Hadn't seen it for years. Now I'm getting reading for the movers to come, I have two young children, and I threw it away.

Yes, we all grow up eventually. And I grew up probably back in 1985 or so. Regrets? Not a single one. Before or after I grew up. And yeah, I would love to be 22 again, just for a day or two. Really really fun times when there wasn't as much to worry about.

The Gas Pipe. I felt so old when I was in there. So old and conservative. But damn. It wasn't always that way. And I can certainly appreciate that some things should never change, no matter how much we try to legislate them away. And that is a very, very good thing.

Oh - and he didn't buy the darts. He said that they were nice and everything, but there was nothing wrong with the old ones. Some things just aren't meant to be replaced. Amen.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

When did this happen?

When did I start to become so conservative? Trust me, I wasn't always like this. I am a very reluctant conservative. What is in a label anyway? There really isn't a label to describe me. I never thought about myself being in a particular group.

When I was 19, I was working in a law office as a secretary. One of the lawyers asked me if I was registered to vote. No, I wasn't. He walked me over to the courthouse and told me to register. He said he didn't care who I voted for, but that it was my responsibility to vote. And that was that. The first presidential election I voted in was 1980. I voted for Reagan. I was 21 years old. I had come of age in the Carter years, which were a mess. The Iran mess, gas rationing, interest rates about 17% and up..... those were some really bleak years. I voted against Jimmy Carter. That was how I saw it.

In the 90s, I was a Clinton voter. I liked Bill and Hillary (although I thought she was the smarter of the two). The 90s were good years. And in 2000, I voted for Al Gore. Not because I liked him all that much, but because I wasn't all that impressed with George Bush as governor of my state. I actually thought Al was a bit of an idiot, but whatever... I really really started to hate Al though when he just wouldn't concede and let the country move on.

I have always taught my boys that being a gracious loser is more important than winning. And what happened in 2000 tore the country apart. It was close. It shouldn't have been that close, but whatever. By dragging this thing out, it created deep scars in our society that have not yet healed. I honestly think we would be a better country if Al Gore had just conceded. I bet if he had, George Bush would not have been re-elected in 2004.

For some reason, so many in this country are treating this as a competition, a championship like the Super Bowl, if you will. It has become ugly and vicious and it doesn't have to be that way. And it all started because Al Gore didn't do the right thing for this country. It may not have been fair, but we would be in a better place today if that rift hadn't been torn open.

So this past election, 2004. I didn't vote for a presidential candidate. I voted in all the other categories, and left the presidential ballot blank. What? Nothing wrong with that. I wish they had a box marked "None of the above". I'm sorry, but John Kerry is an idiot. Another politician born with a silver spoon in his mouth who has no clue about what I deal with on a daily basis. Just like our president. There really isn't that much difference between the two. Career politicians. Rich career politicians. I have made up my mind that I will only vote FOR someone, not AGAINST someone. The lesser of two evils just doesn't cut it for me.

I wonder if I will vote for a president in 2008? They better field two good candidates who speak to me. What is it that I expect? I expect them to stop pandering to the extreme fringe lunatics of their parties. I expect them to start speaking to regular Americans, like me, who don't care about the extreme ideas.

What do I believe?

I believe that we should spend less money. Downsize the damn government. Make personal responsibility a mantra. I do not want a nanny state. I want less bureaucracy and more freedom. Rewrite the tax code. You shouldn't need a PhD to figure out how to file your taxes. I does not have to be so complicated.

Gay people want to get married? Let them. It doesn't threaten me. I don't care one way or the other. I just want them to stop screaming about it. I want to stop being hit over the head with the 'gay agenda'. I get it. I don't care. You have a right to your life. I have a right not to have to hear about it. I'm not your enemy. I'm not against you.

Abortion? I personally could never do it. But that's between a woman and her conscience. It's not that important. Drop it already. It's legal. It's going to continue to be legal. I don't care. Alright?

Global warming. I believe it. It's happening. So fix it. Why are we still using fossil fuels anyway? I can carry a telephone in my pocket and use it anywhere - why has the telephone evolved in the past 100 years but we are still using fossil fuels to move our cars? Come on people, you can do better than that.

Islamofascists - the biggest threat to the world as we know it. And everyone panders to them... don't offend them. Don't profile them. Let them be. Hell no. They oppress their women, kill gays, are the single most intolerant people on this earth... and yet they are given some kind of protected status? Fuck that. Time to wake up and stand up to them. They are multiplying like rats.

Immigration. Secure our damn border already! Tell the immigrants marching in the street against OUR government that they ought to be marching in Mexico City against the government that is at the root of their problems.

Conservative/liberal.... I am a woman without a label. And I know that I am a woman without a presidential candidate too.