Monday, December 15, 2008

Thank Goodness for DVR !!!!!!!

I had an awesome day today. My day began with my usual tune-in to the morning news program on ABC.
Today was so very different and special, though!
Apparently George W. Bush paid his farewell visit to Iraq yesterday. His "swan song" so to speak, a happy time for those of us that have spent the past eight years in utter humiliation with almost 100% of what this man said and did. I have no doubt that history will recognize this man as the buffoon he truly is. For anyone that still believes he's anything but a blithering idiot, today's news should remove all doubt.
During his news conference, a reporter removed his shoes, and one at a time, hurled them at our fearless leader's noggin. I have to give the man credit, he came pretty darned close with the second shoe!
I watched in complete adoration and glee as the shoes whizzed past "the shrub's" head, and felt compelled to rewind the moment on my DVR and watch it a half dozen times. It was especially fun one frame at a time.
Once the incident was over and the shoe tossing man had been taken into custody, Bush quipped that the shoes were size 10's, and that the reason the man threw the shoes was because he wanted his two minutes of TV time.
IDIOT! Would one think that after eight years in the position of President of the U.S., dealing with people in the Muslim world that he'd have a clue that the man winging his shoes at his head and calling him a dog insulted him in the worst possible way in that culture? Seriously?
Herein lies the root of the problem with Bush and his gang from day one.
Complete lack of understanding of the complexities of any part of the planet that ends at their noses.
Utter disregard for other cultures and beliefs.
Arrogant, stubborn refusal to ATTEMPT to figure out what causes people to behave the way they do in that part of the world, and finally, apparently, never bothering to try to learn.
Ignorance, at least apparently in the corner of the world inhabited by this bunch of chicken hawks, truly is bliss.
I just wish the shoe tosser had nailed him right between the eyes. Who knows, it may have even knocked some sense into him.
1-20-09..end of an error.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This week our annual World Vision gift catalog arrived. For anyone unfamiliar with World Vision, it's an organization that globally works to improve the lives of impoverished people. Robin and I have been sponsors of children since the early 80's, when we saw a program on TV that told how a small amount of money per month from a sponsor can change people's lives.
The first child we sponsored was in the Phillipines. Her name was Nanette. Once she graduated from the program, we were assigned her younger sister. More kids through the years. Sadly, a boy we'd sponsored through his teenaged years was in the path of the horrible Tsunami, and was assumed lost by World Vision when I contacted them to see if he was OK. We take comfort in knowing that at least for part of his life we may have made things better for him. The child we were assigned thereafter is a small girl in frail health in Chile.
We are thrilled and excited each year when the gift catalog arrives. In it, one can purchase gifts like a dozen chickens for a family in the Sudan. Goats, milk cows, wells for clean water.
(Clean water? WOW!) Seeds. Fruit Trees. Clothing. Mosquito nets to prevent malaria. School supplies. It seems that in other countries the children actually WANT to go to school! The list of items that one can provide is endless. Some gifts cost as little as $15. Other gifts, like a barnyard of various animals, cost more.
I think the thing that our family likes most about this catalog and the time we spend leafing through it to select each year's gift of choice is the knowledge that we are blessed in our lives..not only blessed to be where we are on this beautiful spinning globe, but that we have enough. Enough to share. Enough to help. Enough to "spread around". It reminds me of the quote "There but for the grace of God go I" and it humbles me. That could be me. That could be my child.
The truth is, it IS me. It IS my child. We are all connected by this thing called life and responsibility. I am my brother's keeper. Some folks like to call this concept of spreading the wealth and sharing Socialism. So be it, call me what you will.
Recently, the financial "crisis" blew up into a disaster of epic proportions. I don't claim to be an economist, but one doesn't have to look too hard or have a fancy degree to see that a good bit of this problem was brought on by nothing more than good old fashioned GREED. Corporate CEO's that make millions after bankrupting a company.. private jets. Fifteen homes in fifteen different places. More money than one person could spend in their lifetime, the lifetimes of their children and grandchildren. Greed, pure and simple. In the world of these people, folks that need a mosquito net to avoid getting malaria while they sleep don't exist. It's sad and pathetic and so absurd that it's an abomination. The amount of money that just one of these people makes in a week would feed a small country of impoverished people for a year.
It's time that we acknowledge just how far off track we have gotten. It's past time that we begin doing what we were put on this Earth to do. Care for one another. Respect one another.
Understand that the faces of poor people we see on documentaries about far away places are really the faces of our brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter if they are Christian or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist or if they have no affiliation. It seems to me that the Creator of us all would be all knowing enough to know that with the diversity of the human race that was placed here, different people would respond to different messengers. If one looks closely enough, it's easy to see that an awful lot of the messages that have been delivered through the ages are at their root the same message. That is, the messages as they were truly delivered, not as they have been manipulated by imperfect humans, but then that is certainly another blog...
As for me, I believe that the message I am in the mood to deliver tonight is in the form of the purchase a goat and a couple of dozen chickens.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wedding Survival Tips From Dominic

Even guys that are less than three feet tall can look cool in a tux!
The grown-ups are all really nervous. Running up and down the aisle pretending to be a race car is a nice distraction for them. If this doesn't work, try refusing to let them pin the flower on you. It'll take up some time and give them something to focus on besides throwing up.
Don't listen when they try to get you to put your toys away. People with important jobs at weddings can find time to play with their cars.
Ties suck. So do fancy shoes.
The lady with the big harp looks at you suspiciously every time you get near her tangle of cords and her stringy noisy thing. She doesn't know that you can do a better job playing it than she can, but maybe if you can get just a little closer.....
No matter how dressed up they make you get, be yourself.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cool Things I Learned From A Child With Autism

It doesn't matter if the chimpanzee signs back, it's
fun to sign "tree" and "ball" to him anyway!

The sound of a golf ball rolling from the front seat of the van to the back seat is hysterically funny.

Everyone laughs when kids say
"Oh Sh-t!"

Play-doh..Poop. Who decided why one is acceptable to play with and not the other?

Little victories are huge.

Kicking the cushions off of the sofa makes a fabulous trampoline.

Ball pits aren't just for kids. Teen-aged cousins and "grown-ups" like them, too!

Beagles are loud and obnoxious. The big fuzzy dog is a much better pillow anyway.

Watching the tires of a hot-wheels car roll is cool.

Grown-ups cry when hearing their name for the first time from a four-year old.

The sound of a cat hissing is awesome.

Different is OK.

People with Autism don't have a disability, they have a DIFFERENT ability:

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them."

~Albert Einstein
Autism didn't stop him!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Angels above, Miracles below...

I tell people that I have the world's best job. For me, working in a tiny municipality, driving senior citizens to their doctor appointments, delivering meals on wheels, and heading up a small non-profit charity that was originally started up by a lady that was a councilwoman there, a lunchroom lady by day, and a miracle worker other times, stealthy in her way of making sure every kid had a lunch, every family had food, clothing, dishes, whatever was needed.
She passed away far too young, after a brief and terrible fight with cancer. Our department was charged with taking her mission forward, which we do with as much gusto as we can muster in difficult economic times. We believe that she still watches over our efforts from above, making sure "her families" are taken care of through us.
Each year since I started with the department four years ago, the times have been more difficult for families struggling with illness, financial problems, substance abuse problems and more difficulties than not. We began a food pantry where moms can come "shop" for free when things are tough, subsisting on grant money we earn from taking classes at our local food bank, an anonymous donation of $100 per month, and most recently, my wonderful young cousin and his wife, who have made it their personal missions to help us by showing up weekly with food for our pantry room.
We toss ourselves out to the universe daily hoping for miracles, and amazingly, they happen over and over again.
This year is a shining example of the miracles that we see daily.
We had thirteen families that were in need of Thanksgiving meals. No money to do the job. Down to our last cans of vegetables..our food drive still two weeks away.
Into our office comes a fellow employee, from a different department. He hands us $40 in cash towards whatever we need.
Our $100 anonymous donation comes in.
Another co-worker arrives with marshmallows and stuffing mixes.
My cousin walks in with a turkey, enough fruit juice to cover our families for a month, and ten jars of turkey gravy. (we had three jars in the pantry!)
Within fifteen minutes of my cousin's departure, a business in the village that hadn't ever donated anything to our efforts before called, wanting our address. They're bringing TWELVE TURKEYS.
Fifteen minutes after that, my sister called from the store, wanting to know what else we need.
Now, if this kind of thing happened just once, one would be able to call it a really nice coincidence.
However, I strongly envision our Angel above, pulling the cosmic strings and orchestrating these small miracles, one at a time..not only to take care of our families, but to help remind me that the universe will take care of it. Everything will be OK.
Job well done, Jean. Thank you for the reminder that faith is all we need.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Drop Kick Me Jesus....

Through the goalposts of life. Cool song, cooler thought. I'm sure whoever the person was that wrote those lyrics was serious as a heart attack, but I can't help giggling every time I envision Jesus removing his sandals and drop kicking me (good luck, Jesus) through great big goalposts.
The thought intrigues me, though. The sentiment. I guess with my mood disorder, maybe instead of the lineup of fancy medications with all of their fine side-effects.. just maybe what I really need is for Jesus to give me a good swift kick in my tookus. (sp?)
Ok, not a great day in the depression department, but not the worst. Progress?
Tomorrow will be stressful. Have a lot to accomplish before Thanksgiving and Christmas for Project Hope. Thank God for Cathe, who's been in the department longer than me and has a heart of gold, and Mary, a.k.a. "Biscuit" who at times carries her load and mine. Poor girl is really earning her spot in heaven, as if she needs to earn it. Some people are just born lit up from their Creator, she's one of them, as is my sweet daughter, Ang.
As for me, today I will congratulate myself for sticking it out at work till 2:30 and surviving a dark mood day. Have to start trying to see the good things around me. The snow was pretty. Nobody peed in the van today. Not a bad day after all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Progress...of a sort

The roller-coaster ride of Election 2008 is finally over. Like millions of other people ready for a change in our country, our family became very involved and wrapped up in the excitement over Barack Obama.
In the heels of that excitement was the passing of Prop 8 in California, which of course has the reputation of being "progressive" and we seriously thought that it would fail.
It did not, and California joins the other 30-odd states in the US that have now written into their Constitutions bans on gay marriage.
Writing discrimination into Constitutions. Making it illegal for gay people to foster, adopt, visit their partner in the hospital. What's wrong with these people? Why is my family so scary?
My family. Started in high school when I spotted that pretty girl through the art room window.
Not really a pursuit to be honest, more of a friendship turned to relationship, morphed into parenthood and continued from the late 70's through today.
A regular life. Soccer moms, bills to pay. Work to do. Church, Sunday school. Charity work that we believe in strongly. A child that said last week that if giving her life peace could happen in the world, she'd do it. An amazing, bright and happy (and straight! take that, naysayers!) child, raised by two Moms. Pets, a house, a life pretty much like everyone else's life. Except we can't marry.
If I kick the bucket tomorrow, my Social Security evaporates instead of going to help raise the child I helped plan for..the child that I WANT to provide for in the event of my departure from this life.
It's not about anything more than that for me. If we haven't been "Married" for all of these years I don't know what to call it. Partner doesn't seem quite right when two people have made the kind of commitment that we have, endured and changed with each other and supported each other. I see straight counterparts give it up after a few years and wonder. I hear that certain churches, people that have been discriminated against in their own lives, have helped fund Prop 8 and I simply can't fathom why.
Is it because they are now on the "inside" and need inherently to keep someone else out, subconsciously thinking that if everyone is included that they somehow lose their position?
Isn't there room for everyone?
That's how I always thought. I know for a fact that a good portion of the young, white, idealistic nerdy types that went to the south during the Civil Rights era were GAY.
There because they believed that discrimination against one group equals discrimination against EVERYONE that is different.
I don't like being on the outside. It hurts to be told your relationship is wrong. It's sad to think that we can elect a black President and still believe that discrimination is ok.
Back to baby steps, only I think this one may have been backward, for my little family at least.

Baby Steps

Blogging. I hear that it's therapeutic, and therapy that takes place in the privacy of my own office with my computer to listen instead of some highly paid head-shrinker that really doesn't care what's wrong with me is much more appealing.
My life. Nearly thirty years with the same person, teenaged daughter. Job that revolves around helping others. I have it all, and then some. So why do I need therapy of any kind?
Haven't a clue.
Meds, meds and more meds. Baby steps toward a possible future life of not always being afraid that the next bad thing is going to happen. Baby steps. One wobbly foot in front of the other.