Thankful

Today I am celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband and two sons. Sitting down after all the meal preparation to enjoy a delicious meal and just bask in each others company. Not often we can eat together and when we do, it’s really nice. My sons have really grown over the past twenty and nineteen  years and my how they have changed. They are young men now, not little boys. My husband and I are thankful they have grown into their individual persons.

Soon enough, my youngest will be on  his own and then just me and Phil will be left. Maybe the dog, I don’t know. He’ll probably go with Zachary. They are best buds. The house will really be silent without the constant running up and down the stairs, the “I forgot…(fill in the blank)” or the questions we are asked about human nature, “Why do some people…(fill in the blank) do, say, etc..??? Guess we will have to quiz each other just keep the conversations interesting. Zachary sure keeps us on our thinking toes.

Another crisp, sunny, autumn day, leading into winter, which is slowly pushing its way in. Won’t be long, according to the few snow plows I have seen. The city is already prepping itself for the white flakes that coat the streets, the sidewalks, the driveways, and cause the ever anticipated school closures. Of course, where I live, in Indiana, the Super Bowl is on the priority list so they will make sure all can make it to the game.

Hot chocolate, warm blanket, hugs, smiles, and teasing my sons are things I am grateful for. Being able to say Happy Thanksgiving to my momma this morning was something to be thankful for. Glad she and my brother could spend the holiday with her sister and niece and some other family members. Nice to get out and be somewhere else for a change. Of course the holiday video helped too, as resisting, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is just not right. The peanuts really send out the right message.

Being together is more important than the fancy table setting, the elaborate dinner plan with all the rich platters and desserts. Yes, they are delicious and great to eat, but is that what the holidays are really about? Is that what Thanksgiving is about? No, I think it’s about being those you care about, and I like that message.

I also like that others that don’t have much can be helped too, that they are not left out. There are churches, volunteers, individuals who want to make a difference. That’s what Thanksgiving is about, making a difference in everyone’s lives and being grateful for the ability to do so. Togetherness, you got that right, Marcy! You go girl!

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Are We Missing Something?

Retailers have gotten really greedy this year. Have you noticed that trend, too? Seems that many want to be open at midnight on “Black Friday” instead of later in the morning. Guess they don’t care about their employees. No wonder the lonely Target employee is protesting. Can’t say that I blame him. He will miss most of Thanksgiving for crying out loud. We’re told that “customers would rather come in at midnight” than come in later in the morning. What is the difference? Early is early!  If this a true reflection on our society, then our priorities are extremely distorted. Guess there are consumers who honestly care more about the stuff they can get than the fact that they are robbing others of their family time. How selfish. Reminds me of the incident a couple of years ago in New York where a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in the name of bargains. And to show how scummy the patrons were, they insisted on being serviced at the check out in spite of the death of a human being. Pardon me, but if I were that manager I would have hauled every last one of the customers out with police escorts and tried to find out killed the individual, locked them  up and left them in jail to think about their sorry heartless actions.

I am so glad that I have never, nor will I ever shop on Black Friday. I have been an employee and worked the retail side of it and it is horrible. For some reason, the customers race through the doors like wild animals with no manners, they take from others, try to grab everything off a shelf so no one else can get a chance at a possible sale item, and the police have to be there for crowd control and extra store security are there as well. It’s the one day  that some just lose their minds and forget how to behave. Not everyone, just for the record.

Retailers add to the nonsense by stocking the seasonal items long before an actual holiday will hit, and then they start with the catalogs, you know the ones, the toy catalogs with the “hottest toys” that your child must have. They are consistent with the media campaigns that forecast what the trends will be and create a frenzy among the shoppers who believe they must bust a gut to break down a door, run another person over, just get that bargain before it’s gone. You do know that limited quantities are available for  this much anticipated shopping weekend. Once they are gone, seems they are gone.

Now I understand that the weekend following Thanksgiving is the biggest money maker for retailers, especially the big chain stores and they are doing all they can to lure the customers in to spend their money, charge their credit cards, sign up for a store one, anything to make the sales. The economy is bad and everyone is desparate to make a living, and there’s no harm in doing so. However, when you deny others the opportunity to spend time with their families, who already work their fingers to the bone for you, and have proven they are loyal, is it asking too much to allow them a whole day of rest?

And something else, since when does Thanksgiving have to overlooked and Christmas become the November holiday?Sure Thanksgiving revolves around family and food, how is that not important? Being thankful not good enough? We need to reevaluate what is really important before are totally blinded by out stupidity. I am going to enjoy Thanksgiving and relish in the comfort of my home on Friday. No sale is enticing enough to draw me out. Nope, not a one. Maybe I’ll get some lunch somewhere or better yet, just stay home and watch holiday movies. God,  please forgive those who have lost their way. Give them a map back to you.

They Spent Our Money on That?

Recently published article in the Indianapolis Star by Ryan Streeter about how the government likes to spend money on, um, how do I put this delicately, stupid stuff! There I said it and I don’t mind also saying that I am not surprised. And politicians wonder why the public has such mistrust over their actions? Well, duh!

Now, we all have heard about the stimulus and how it was supposed to help us all, well, okay when will we see that happen? Plenty of people are still out of work and desperately gluing their eyes to the classifieds every Sunday and searching every job listing their city has to offer. So where are the so-called “jobs” that are being created? Why does everything have to happen next year? Why not this year? Procrastination at its finest.

Okay, for those of you who may not have seen the article, here is a sampling of what Mr. Streeter wrote: seems Senator Tom Coburn has decided to reveal the outlandish  or is that frivolous spending habits of our national government. For example, “Why do we send Social Security checks to people who don’t need them?” He’s talking about the wealthy by the way, millionaires. Wow, is that it takes, be a millionaire and get all the breaks? Sign me up. Wait a minute, I don’t make that kind of money, guess that leaves me out in the cold, hu.

Oh, here’s another funny one, “funding  poetry in zoos,  another: actually paying a professor to study “gaming”. Yes, you heard me, he received a “federal grant” and decided to write a book, called “My Life as a Night Elf Priest”. It’s been published. Hmm…are the rest of doing something wrong?? Should we go the government with weird ideas for grants and see if we can get them? Sure as heck can’t get student loans or other financial relief can we?

Sure getting a college education is great and important for the job seeker’s future, but how do you pay the loans off if the job is not there? I think the government should just pay the loans off, they seem to have the money for other crap, what do you think? I’m ready for my check, please, Mr. President. Make it out to…hard working, underpaid, who really needs the money, to help ease the financial burden for her family..Oh wait that’s most of the United States! Alright! Let the money train roll!

Working on My Goal

Been writing for as long as I can remember. There is no specific start date for the urge to pick up a writing utensil and put words to paper. I have just had the urge to express myself for many, many years. Pulled an outrageous stunt by actually self-publishing a book of essays. How nuts is that? Where’s my entourage of people? You know the ones who take your picture, the makeup artist, hairstylist…those people?? Oh well, guess I am not as well known as some writers but maybe my time is coming when more will recognize this talented wanna be freelance, book writing fool.

Decided to try a blog and see where that would take me. I like the freedom that I have to say what I want, and have others either like or not like what I have posted. Most of the time I think the response is good. At least from those who have read the posts.  Writing whatever is on my mind, the subject of my choosing. To have the power, ha!  That’s the wonderful advantage about writing, you can express yourself in thousand different words in a thousand pages or more and others will respond.

Writing to me, is a way of conveying a message to others that they might be interested in knowing about. Some of what I have already written about has to do with my oldest son who happens to have  autism. I want to educate the world and let others know that just because one is different, whatever that means, we are really the same. Seriously, do we all have the same personality, ideas, eye color, etc..?? Even multiples are different in some way, even when they are identical in the physical sense.  Scary to think if we all had the same identical ideas, and nothing new or exciting was brought to our attention.

Right now there is a show on TLC called “American Muslims”. Why do we have to have shows like that if we are the “land of the free” where everyone  who is a citizen can live in peace? Why do we still rely on categories when describing others? Does it really matter what skin color, religion, gender, disabled or not? Aren’t we all human?   The way one dresses according to their cultural beliefs doesn’t bother me, why does it matter to any one else? It’s a learning process to get to know the other individual by asking questions. Make a new friend, oh my goodness, can you stand it? The saris (I hope I am getting this right) that are worn in among the woman of India are absolutely beautiful! The patterns are intricate and the colors are jewel like. If we would stop with prejudice and look beyond the  outer appearence we’d find some amanzing individuals out there. Just try and see.Now I realize I may get some flack, and some might say I am just being political. In reality, all I am saying is just use your common sense and the love in your heart that God above would want to extend to everyone, is that asking too much? Do we need any more hate in the world??  Next time you see a person, anybody, just smile and say hi. You make yourself feel better and them too. Is that so hard? Nah, didn’t think so. Okay, let’s form a group called the United World of People! What do you say?

Forgot Your Name?

Becoming a parent can be a joyous moment in one’s life. Children can bring major changes that include all kinds of sacrifices that are well worth giving up for the next eighteen years or so, more if your child has special needs. Sleepless nights, lack of a social life unless a babysitter is planned ahead of time, having time for oneself is limited as well but precious when found.

Now there is one thing that is universal with every parent, and I don’t care what country you live in, this has got to be something that kids are just genetically wired to do. What is this mystery power they have? Well, they change our names. You heard me; you can forget the name you were born with. From now on, you are mom, momma, ma, dad, daddy, pop, the list is never ending, and comes in every language on the planet.  And we answer even if the kid isn’t ours!

I mentioned to a friend of mine that our given names change from our birth ones to what the kids decide to address us as. Uncanny how any child can be calling for their mom or dad and we can turn our head assuming the child is ours. How embarrassing if they don’t belong to us. Oops. I am guilty as charged.  You don’t have to understand what the other person is saying either, you can tell by the expression of their words, their face, that they want their parent and that they want a particular something. Yep, kids have universal talents.

Right when you are on the phone, what do the younguns want? Our attention1 Mom! Dad! I need, I want… Well, of course you do, it’s because I am not looking at you so therefore I am ignoring you, right? But when we are cleaning, or cooking or meandering around the house we are not that important. Geesh, how does that work? We sit still and they ask for attention, but we move around and are ignored. Hmm? Could this be the answer for parent’s time out?

To be honest, being a  mom is something I have enjoyed and would not trade all the experiences just to go back to not having my sons. Nope, they have definitely made life much better for me and their dad, much richer, and given us memories to last forever and more to come. Maybe someday I will remember my given name but for now I really do like my current title: Mom, it rocks! Then again, there’s always the next one, grandma!  Oh well, God does have a sense of humor doesn’t He? Or is it the kids? Or both?

Just Can’t Imagine

Some things just have to be together without question. You know, like, toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, peanut butter and jelly.  Crayons and Crayola, preschool toys and Playskool, for another.  Disney and family entertainment. Mickey Mouse, anyone? Winnie the Pooh? Don’t know that I would want to imagine what this world would be like without some of cultural icons that many of us have grown up with. Some are just too sweet to not be a part of our lives. Play-doh, how fun is that stuff to mold into weird shapes or take a cookie cutter and pretend it’s edible?

My son and were I talking about how certain things are considered “institutions” in our American culture. Well, maybe internationally for all I know. When you say, “Peanuts” you think Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Walt Disney and Cinderella’s Castle, you get the idea. Interesting how connections can be made by association. No thinking required it’s spontaneous. Understood, common knowledge that is passed down from one generation to another. Notice how all the well knowns are still here, they haven’t left us. There’s a reason for that: a genuine attachment to what we know is good and what can bypass any language barriers that exist.

Come on, have you noticed how music can make anyone smile? How just someone from another country can visit the United States and immediately recognize a beloved character who’s been around for decades? Hmmm…Mickey, Minnie, Snoopy, Winnie the Pooh ring a bell?

Want more proof of our common cultural icons? What comes to mind when you say hamburgers? McDonalds! Golden Arches! McDs, Mickey D’s.  Ray Kroc had a great idea and his business is still serving billions today.  Pizza—come on, think! Pizza Hut! Okay, I know there are others: Burger King, Papa John’s, etc…

We’ve grown up with many of these common icons and they remind of us being kids, and now we can share with our kids and they in turn can share with future generations. Even when a new kid comes around and tries to give us something new, we still cling to the familiar, the ones we made the late night drive to for dinner or a snack, or maybe we decide to pop a movie in on Sunday just to recapture the Disney movies that were shown every Sunday night.

There’s a recurrent theme going on there: most were entertaining and they still are today. Most were clean and allowed the whole family to watch so that no one would be left out. Sitting down and enjoying a laugh, being in good company, using our minds and hands to create great memories. Yeah, think I may just get my Disney movies out and have a marathon going! Who’s with me?