About Me

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My husband tells me I am a makebate. So, what's wrong with that? I love to write. I have 2 great kids and 1 grandson. I'd love to say I am "retired" but really, who retires from life? Shoot me a question, comment, rant or rave. They are all welcome here. Love dogs, my family, and most of all, debate. Pro NRA, conservative and a right wing lady.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

George Bailey, Bedford Falls and CLARENCE

"Look Daddy, 'Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings'".  Little Zuzu Bailey said it best. Or maybe it was young George Bailey, holding up two fingers, closing his eyes and wishing, "I wish I had a million dollars."  Either way, "It's a Wonderful Life" was just about one of the finest films ever made.

A dear friend of mine, Julie Colwell, knows me all too well.  A few years ago - well, at least 12 year ago, I was going through one of my notorious holiday depressions.  During this particular pity party for one, I was missing my recently departed Daddy, who had succumbed to cancer in 1995.  As far as I was concerned, life would never be the same since he was gone.  He had a way of making everyone he came across feel as though they were one of the most important people in the world.

At any rate, back to Julie.  Here I was, in a state of feeling sad, and walking out to the mail box to get the mail.  There in my wagon wheel mailbox was a little package from my angel, Julie.  A nicely wrapped gift, "It's A Wonderful Life", just in time for Christmas.  The gift made all  the difference in what might have been a really crappy holiday.  Julie is just one in a million. Some years later, I would again open my mail box and find a real, genuine, personally autographed black & white still from the movie "Its A Wonderful Life", penned by little Zuzu Bailey, herself.  I treasure that picture, almost as much as the movie, and Julie.

Not just during this time of year, but all the other 11 months, I feel blessed to have a CLARENCE.  An angel who watches over me, cares about me, and loves me, depression, rants, Republicanism and all.  Julie can pay a compliment to anyone. It doesn't matter what you have done, where you have been, who you may or may not have got into trouble with.  Julie is there.

The same could be said about my best friend Kris.  She comes through like a shining star when you least expect it. She can be gruff, stand-offish and somewhat aloof, but personally she hasn't fooled me.  That tough outside shell just hides what is one helluva a great human being.  Ssshh, I don't want her secret to get out. One year I was down in the dumps about some trivial thing - so trivial that at this very  moment I can't even recollect what it was.  At any rate, once again the post office delivered a little ray of sunshine.  See's chocolates - Bordeaux chocolates to be exact.   Kris knows me all too well.  My favorite See's candies on a crummy day.  Yet, another CLARENCE in my life.

Then you have people like George.  George Bailey.  What a great Hollywood creation.  Jimmy Stewart was the perfect man for the great task of bringing George Bailey to life.  Bedford Falls could be Anytown, USA.  And any person such as a George could bring a no-name spot on a map to life with the belief that there are truly genuine, decent people in this world.

During this time of year, when people are spraying the competing shopper in the face with pepper spray, all over an XBox360, or someone crazy dame has gone completely overboard with the tinsel on her festivus pole, or someone has flocked their tree just a little TOO much,  it's nice to know that there are still George Bailey's in the world, Bedford Falls can be where ever you call home, and out there in the great vastness of the heavens...

A bell is ringing, and another CLARENCE has earned their wings.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Christmas List - A Waste of Paper?

It's that time of year again - the time where we list our naughties and niceness, in hopes of the illusive Santa Claus making deliveries via a chimney.  I guess Santa is not coming down any chimneys at our house this year, as the magic man Big Wind, blew our chimney stack to Arizona on December 1st massive windstorm.  Oh well.  If I close my eyes and really, really wish upon a star, maybe I will wake up in Arizona as well.

When I was younger, the anticipation of Christmas was something else.  Our parents had routines.  On December 6th, the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, we would get a tree.  Decorating was a family activity, although I believe my daddy got more out of it then the rest of the family.  By the time the house was done being adorned by Christmas spirit, picture frames would have little sprigs of pine tucked behind them and the tree gave the house a fragrant aroma of mystery for the season.  Daddy decked the 2 story suburban house with lights.  Some blinking, some burned out, but it was magical, mysterious time on Yolanda Avenue. 

I vaguely recall the Christmas wish list.  Some of the items on it were probably absurd.  A new car, a stereo system, a trip to Europe. skis, trips to ski resorts. Classic.  What the hell did we think our parents were made of - money?  As I got older, and realized that money did not grow on trees, the list became shorter, and far more realistic.  Maybe a bottle of perfume, or warm slippers.  Items that actually could be used over and over again.  And the gifts were far more enjoyable.

Now, as a grandmother to Christopher Corry, and his very first Christmas I am left with the realization that I can't give him the world.  I wish I could.  World peace, an end to world wars,  economic stability for his future. It all boils down to "wants" vs "needs".  Just how much stuff does a 2 month old baby "need".  Just what is enough?  Christmas is really for kids.  Its about imagination.  Dreaming.  Fantasy.  As kids get older, it is far more about "wants".  Most commercial, costly, and soon forgotten once the AAA batteries wear out, and the family pet gets a hold of the toy.

What I can do for our grandson is plan for his future.  I can start today by putting aside money in order to build a college fund for him.  Maybe he will be the President that solves all the world's crisis.  (My wish ... a Republican President)  Maybe he will be the man who finds a cure for AIDS, cancer, and world hunger.  I suppose every grandparent holds the highest of hopes for their grandchildren.  I received 2 wonderful gifts in the lives of my children, Eryn and Bryan.  They are healthy, beautiful young adults, with their lives in front of them.  Knowing that,  is a gift that any mother would be proud to receive.  As for the next generation - our grandson Christopher Corry, the greatest gift is that he was born.  He will be able to carry on the Corry family name.  What I can do for him is pray that he makes a difference in this world of uncertainty, that he grows up to be the kind of human being that thinks of others' needs before his, gives to those who have nothing, and that Christopher Corry can one day say... "I made a difference in some one's life today". 

For a grandmother - that's the best gift on earth.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mother Nature, Snowmen and Al Gore

Gotta wonder what these 3 things have in common.  Well, I suppose you can tie them together.  Actually, you CAN see the similarities. 

This past week, Steamboat Springs, CO was whipped into a frenzy by winds that topped 123 m.p.h.  In case you weather bugs are listening - that's right - 123 m.p.h.  Pasadena, CA and the Santa Ana winds have nothing on the Yampa Valley.  I suspect the mighty Ute Indians were delivering some type of ominous warning to this valley.  Mother Nature got together with the indian spirits, huffed and puffed, and almost blew our house down. 

The high winds started in the middle of the night on December 1st.  Our overly paranoid, nervous dog Casey crawled on the bed and quivered in fear over what sounded like a freight train bearing down the mountain.  At 0710, while I was staring out the living room window, pondering why the trees in the courtyard had not blown their roots, and headed for Arizona, a large portion of the roof took flight from its anchors and landed smack-dab in the yard.  Unreal.  The sound was deafening.  I stood there, in shock, trying to take hold of what had just happened.  2 hours later, with another gust, the next portion of roof literally peeled off the building.   If ever I had any curiosity in what hurricane winds feel like, Mother Nature answered that question on December 1st.

Al Gore came out with a over-hyped movie a few years ago.  He claimed that we were in some horrendous global warming spiral, and that in some way, the GOP, George Bush and corporate America were in cahoots to heat the globe right out of existence.  It would appear that since that movie made headlines, America has seen more cold then triple digit numbers.  Everything comes and goes in cycles.  I doubt that Mother Nature has some alliance with any political movement.  Weather patterns are just part of the scheme of things.  I tend to get a real giggle out of alarmists who run crazy, like the 3 little piggies, squealing about global weather patterns and imaginary conspiracy theories.  Neither the Dems or the GOP had anything to do with my roof taking flight on December 1st.

One of the oddities of that horrendous winter/wind storm was the sturdy, son of a gun, snowman who withstood the hurricane force winds of December 1st.  He is still in the front yard.  Sure, he has lost a little weight with the sun shine, but he is one tough gun.  I have to wonder that if America, the economy, and all things relevant, were built with such determination and spunk, we'd be in a far better place.  The Occupy Movement, the self absorbed entitlement generation, the "I deserve everything for free"  group could take a lesson from the 6 foot snowman in my front yard. 

There are no guarantees in life. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

XBox360, Pepper Spray and Insanity

Really?  I mean, REALLY?

Tis the season to be stupid.  Fa-la-la-la.  I suppose I can plead some level of ignorance as to why XBox360 is even worth standing in line for, at night, with other morons.  It's not as though some person is handing out free $100 bills - It's standing in line for a video game.

What's wrong with society?  Well, I can tell you the possible root for some of the major dysfunction which seems to be taking over the United States. GREED,  a sense of ENTITLEMENT, and people who spend worthless hours in front of a television playing video games.  When you see the major news stories of the evening, several things seem to fill the first 10 minutes.  The Occupy Goons are camped out in city parks, picking up lice, communicable diseases and stinking up the joint.  They are refusing to go out and get jobs.  Sure, I can appreciate the irritation at bankers and corporations that we, the American tax payers bailed out, and who are now are receiving bonuses.  So, I will give the protesters that.  But, what may have started as a novel idea, has run its course, and is now nothing more than an excuse to sit around, chant silly statements, and go without a bath.  Sorry, your time is up.

Next item on the agenda - look at the silly parents across the country, willing to stand in lines, occupying the sidewalk all in hopes of snagging some video game for their kid.  We talk, and talk, and talk about the economy dwindling and the failure of an American made product.  Yet, at Christmas time we flock in hoards to stores so we can buy foreign made toys. We buy products from China.  Yep, that's right, CHINA.  Last time I checked, America was up to its credit card ASS in debt to China.  Has anyone seen the Target commercial of some bipolar looking manic red suited lady, "training" for her big day of shopping?  That's enough to give anyone nightmares.

I purchased some pepper spray a few months ago as a means of personal protection.  I had some psychopath who made some threats towards me, and so I felt the need for personal protection.  Pepper Spray seems to be the answer for me, although packing a gun is a little more comforting.  But, the pepper spray can put down an assailant pretty fast.  Bad men beware that if you intend to hurt me, I will have no regrets in giving you a face full of pepper.

Thankfully there are a few things I will not be doing any time soon.  I will not be in any occupy movements in the near future.   I do not want cooties from some fool who thinks sitting in a park, living in a tent, chanting about how "We" owe him something is the end all experience of a lifetime.  I can attest to the fact that I will never, ever, wake up at midnight to go out and stand in a line with a bunch of greedy consumers, looking for the perfect deal.  There is nothing I "need" nor "want" that bad.  CORRECTION - I will stand in a line to vote Obama OUT OF OFFICE,  I am more content in drifting off to a turkey coma on Thanksgiving night.  I do not understand, nor do I have any interest in learning how to play XBOX360.  I have a hard enough time trying to figure out how to get the little smile face icon to appear on my Skype screen.

And thankfully,  my pepper spray is safe in my purse, only to be discharged if a bad man tries to hurt me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving & The Kids' Table

The time of year where the United States reflects and remember the pilgrims.  At least that's how I recall the holiday...as a little girl, a long time ago.  There were the arts and crafts that children made prior to the big day, plays involving Indians and pilgrims sitting down to a holiday meal and giving thanks for all things good.  I suspect that today's feast of gluttony is a far cry from what actually was served on the plates 200 years ago.

The items on my child hood plate were always tasty.  I loved my mother's turkey gravy, homemade dinner rolls, peas, pumpkin pie and of course turkey.  Mother was once, a long time ago, a home economist, and so we were treated to well balanced meals, always vibrant in color.  There were the perfect amounts of salt and pepper on the dishes, and it was a time to be able to set the dining room table with fine china, silver, and Waterford glasses and goblets.  There was one small butter plate and another plate with margarine.  My Dad would sit at one end of the table and my mother at the other; although mother was constantly running around to make sure the dinner ran smoothly.

There was always a "Kids table".  For a while there we actually had 2 kids' tables.  If memory serves me correctly, there was a small, orange folding table, with 4 smart little chairs that my siblings and I were assigned to.  It would be stationed in the marble foyer.  Then there was the bridge table for teens.  They were in the living room.  Then there was the large, expansive dining room table where grown-ups sat.  The location of all three tables allowed for all to be part of the big feast, and yet be entities in and of themselves.  The layout of my parents' house allowed the layout, as each room was not separated by a wall, but rather some funky 60s style lattice work.  Only the kitchen had a door way...thus food was brought out from the kitchen, in to the dining room, and then funneled out to the other tables.

The kids' table is a real slice of  Americana.  Who actually started the habit of casting off the kids to a small table?  And why does this tradition continue still?  Were we being punished for being small, or was it because kids have a natural tendency to spill, or because we finish eating more quickly than adults?  I really could never figure it out.  I do remember that at our kids' table, the china was the every day plate, and we did not have the luxury of 3 forks, 2 spoons, knives, tea cups, etc.  We got the dull, blade-less knives, or even worse, our plate was delivered to us with everything already cut up.  I made it a point to mix everything together, into one large potato, pea, dark meat ball.  Things just had more of a culinary appeal if they were together.

As you got older, maybe even passed the puberty threshold, you were then graduated, like a commencement exercise, into the living room, where there was carpet, a real linen table cloth, knives that cut meat, and even 3 forks.  You still had to go into the dining room, or kitchen to get your food, but you were  a step closer to the grown-up table.  While still within earshot of the adult table, you and the fellow teens were able to discuss more heady topics, like trying not to get caught sipping wine, or ditching school, or how we would sneak out of the house after dinner and visit other teens.  One step up from the innocence of the kids' table, but half way to the adults table, where no doubt major topics were being discussed.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, you graduated to the ADULT TABLE.  The table with candles, 3 forks, 3 spoons, 2 knives, 2 goblets, 3 plates, and not enough elbow room.  You were either lucky enough to sit next to one of the dinner guests, wedged in the middle and out of arm shot of a parent, or drew the short straw and were sitting on an end.  Being a left handed person, I drew only 2 spots on a dining room rectangle. I'd get the right of my Mom or Dad.  I search my memory to even remember if there was another left handed person in our group, but I think I was solo.

We had dinner with the same group of "family" every year.  Jim and Ruth Dolan, who were like our auntie and uncle.  Some years there were more Dolans.  As those Dolans got married, moved, etc. there might be more Gartlans.  Periodically my Mother would have other people for supper.  Then, after a few more years, more Dolans would come; with new kids to fill the almost vacant kids' table.  It was like a rites of passage.  Kids' table, to teen table to adult table.   

By the time I got to the adults' table, I began to come to the realization that grown-ups did not really discuss anything of great importance, nor was it especially entertaining.  Our family dynamic does not allow us the luxury of getting together any longer during the holidays, as we live in different states, and really, if truth be told, we do not get along very well. 

Somehow the kids' table was really the best place to be after all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Have You Thanked A Veteran Today?


Day by day, we are able to speak our minds, share our opinions and banter back and forth without fear of  persecution for only ONE reason - The Veteran.

The Vet is a person who thought of something greater than themselves.  They fought in battles, far and wide.  Some came home, bruised and injured.  Some still wage a silent war within themselves, suffering from PTSD.  Some never came home.  Their lives were lost on a foreign shore in France, or a muddy trench in Germany.  Some took their last breath along side their fellow soldiers on the frozen Chosin in Korea.  Some bled out in a jungle in Vietnam, alone.  Others were responsible for the end of the reign of terror from Saddam Hussein.  Some young men and women died in the heavy sands and bleak mountainsides of Afghanistan, while searching for the evil one, Osama bin Laden. 

War is a necessary price for the cost of freedom.  Do the protesters involved in the Occupy Movement even realize that?  Do they stop and give pause that someones son or daughter gave their life so that someone like "Joe Blow"  can lay in a hammock, between two trees, in a city park, protesting that they feel slighted because they don't have a job?  News flash here - you'll never get a job if you don't clean up your act, get out of the hammock and go look.  Some brave soldier gave the protester the finest gift of all - freedom.

Somewhere in Little Town, USA are parents who waved goodbye to the child at a bus depot, and watched as that child headed out to boot camp; never knowing if they would return.  Hugs and tears abundant, these parents said "until we see you again" and "god's speed".  Suddenly yellow ribbons appeared on the oak lined street, and so began the prayers of hope and determination that the soldier would come home.  For some parents, such prayers were answered, but for others there was a knock on the door and 2 military representatives in full dress blues with heavy hearts. 

When you look at the Stars and Stripes, what do you think of?  Do you feel the pain of a little boy or girl who will never know what their Mommy or Daddy endured so that freedom would live on?  What about the soldier who returns home and faces the demons of post war traumas, whether physical or mental?  Do you show disdain or contempt at someone who stops and pauses for a moment when they hear the National Anthem, while you hurriedly pass by, too busy to recognize the patriot in front of you?

All over this country's graveyards today, little American Flags decorate headstones.  The VFW and others who realize the sacrifice of the soldiers, will take time to stop and show respect for those no longer here.  Some citizens of this great nation will take a moment to stop and say thank you to a soldier.

I feel honored and blessed to have a family full of veterans.  Men who thought of something greater than themselves, put on a uniform and proclaimed, "Yes, I will make the sacrifice so that you can enjoy the fruits of freedom"....

Thank you. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

60 minutes and the End of an Era

Well, with shock and disbelief,  I write on the passing of Andy Rooney.  At age 92, I suspect he had lived a complete and full life.  I wonder if he had regrets?  I wonder how much more insight he could have brought to those of us who relished in the last 10 minutes of 60 Minutes, every Sunday.

If you really think about it - Andy Rooney was the epitome of a consummate blogger.  He blogged in visual strides.  Where some might create the written blog for pointing out the oddities of life, or the irony of some event, or the creative way in which small consumer products are packaged in very LARGE containers (That was my favorite of Andy's segments), Mr. Rooney put his stoic face to the camera lens, and started to speak.

I am a pretty devoted Conservative.  I hope we will unseat the current disaster of a President in the very near future.  However, growing up in the Gartlan house meant CBS News.  I grew up listening to "Uncle" Walter.  Of course, Walter Cronkite was the staple of our house.  My Dad was a Democrat and so CBS news was what was on the television.  We watched the resignation of Richard Nixon, the man on the moon, the assassination of Bobby, JFK, and Martin.  We heard about Medgar Evans, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the nightly summaries from Vietnam.  The troubles at Penn State, the Kent University shootings,  the civil rights era of the 60s unfolded in our  shag green carpeted amphitheatre there on Yolanda Avenue.

After Sundays in the backyard, watching my Dad mow the lawn in his plaid golf shorts, black dress shoes, white t-shirt and golf cap, and eating burgers, we were then relegated to the den to watch 60 minutes.  We were not permitted to watch much television as children; my parents felt that reading was more beneficial.  However, 60 minutes was allowed.  And sure enough, 60 minutes would never be the same without the 10 minutes of entertainment and parody from Mr. Rooney.

He was a gruff looking character.  Stern and always appearing hunched over.  I often wondered if he intentionally puffed himself up to appear that way; perhaps so that we might take him more seriously.  He would cover the topics of ridicule.  I loved the way he pointed out things that needed some line of explanation.

Later, after I grew up, moved out, had my own children, and formed my own opinions, I still was able to appreciate what Mr. Rooney was speaking of.  I never really got a sense of where he stood on things on the partisan lines, but I knew he had a fine appreciation of pointing out the ridiculousness of life.  You think about people like Jerry Seinfeld, or Dave Letterman, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, and even my favorite of the night time talk/news guys, Bill O'Reilly, and they all seem to have benefited from Mr. Rooney's fine repertoire.  Whether or not a hard core conservative wants to admit it or not, there are some people in life who just break the barriers of all that, and get to the heart of the matter.

I consider myself lucky to have turned in for Mr. Rooney's last segment on 60 Minutes just a mere 5 weeks ago.  How sad that, after all that time as a news journalist, and with a much earned retirement, Mr. Rooney was not able to enjoy his time away from the camera.  But, perhaps that is what he intended all along.

Thanks for the memories, as they say.  You were great!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Leaf Journey

Life begins as a sprig of a thing on a branch.  A tiny bud, hearty and tightly closed, appears mystically and magically on a brown branch.  Slowly, as the sun and rain begin to vitalize the bud, gingerly the cocoon opens, and springs forth tiny leaves.  Each leaf has a venous system of sorts, where the nutrients of the soil seep into the life of the leaf.  If, for no other reason, this leaf has a purpose.  It must emerge from the bud state, and add multi-hued color to the paleness of the brown; branches, twigs and trunk. 

Through the cold of winter, the bud is dormant,  just underneath the skin of the twig.  By a miracle, the leaf bud appears in spring, and begins the task of growing,  and then with a sudden burst, appears as a delicate green set of wings on the dull and drab branch.

The leaf is now firmly planted to the host tree, anchored to its' life source.  The leaf provides beauty, and the sound of the wind is amplified by its presence.  Could this be God's whisper?  Do we know how to listen to the sound of God?  Throughout spring, the little leaf grows.  Its' task will be shade eventually.

By late May, the delicate nature of spring is cast off to longer days, filled with warmth as summer dawns the horizon.  Days of length and heat give the leaf its' human purpose.  Shade.  A large oak or elm  in a backyard, filled with children, families or the popular swing, all benefit from the leaf and its' continued presence.  Ah, shade.  There is nothing more pleasing to the senses then sitting under neath a shade tree on a hot summer day, and catching sun rays as they shoot from between the canopy of leaves.  Dreams can be had for those who allow the day to whittle by, while under the comfort of an old elm in a field.  Lovers can sway back and forth upon a wooden benched swing, with heavy twined rope support, and grab a kiss from their lover.  Children can skinny up the trunk of a full leaf tree, and escape their troubles; hidden deep in the disguise of the leaf festival.

As summer is ebbed out by crisp morning temperatures, the leaf slowly begins its' slumber.  The once brilliant emerald greens and sun kissed golds fade, and fall creeps into the world.  The winds of the season stir and with the drop of temperature, the leaves then begin a morphing into a palette of hearty earthen tones.  Brilliant reds, hot to sight, golds of the mighty Midas, yellows like a ray of sunshine, browns, oranges and greens still prevail, but it makes for a kaleidoscope of adventure into an artists' mind.  The artist of course is none other than God.  He simply dabbles his creative brush a bit against a brilliant blue sky, and a masterpiece of color explodes across fields afar.  The rustling of leaves bring harmonious melodies as fall creeps in. 

As each leaf breaks free from its' branch anchor, the leaf tumbles and spirals downwards to the velvet grass below.  The crunch of children running through the leaves fills a fall day.  Fathers gather the leaves into piles, and children are allowed to romp in the hearty and plump mattresses of the leaf body.  Imagination of fierce dragon leaf piles and children slaying those fairy tailed creatures, comes to any child willing to soar towards adventures.  This is what dreams are made of.

Then just as the season of fall takes its' leave, the leaf prepares its final journey.  Mulch for the soil, and reward for its' master,  the tree.  Every ounce of love and life that the mighty leaf gained by its' life from the tree is returned to its' earthly body ten-fold.  Snow falls from the heavens, and blankets the roots of the mighty tree, now revitalized by the nourishment of the leaf.  Throughout the long, cold and arduous winter season, the tree is protected by the leaf spirit.

Finally the cycle of life begins again, as on one late March morning, a tiny little bud appears on a knobby branch - thus the journey of the leaf begins again.

**This is dedicated to the trees in my old backyard that brought me so much joy as a child.  I could climb you, way up high, escape from my life, and for a moment, be cradled by your love, unconditionally.  Thank you! ****

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dog Sitting and The Conde Naste Travel Bug

So, we are into week 2 of our current dog sitting adventure.  Let me tell you, it's a treat.  A real doggy, tail wagging treat.

I knew I had married the right man when poor old John sacrificed his sanity,  all for the sake of putting up with the likes of me - a animal loving fool.  On the mornings I am not getting up at 0330 to go and bake, John gets up, showers, then creeps back into the bedroom, and gets our latest family member, Lady Bird, the min-pin from underneath the covers, and carries this little 10lb chortling blind dog, outside to do her business.  The other charges, Buster, the Yorkshire, who has an affinity for White Russians, and Charlie, the white ShiTzu boy who is only 1.5 years old,  follow John in their commanding dog way.  Casey, our 9 year old bull mastiff/rat terrier mix, who is indeed, daddy's little girl follows behind the pack, just to make sure everyone makes it outside.

Upon returning inside, all the doggies line up and stare at the bag of Pupperoni dog treats.  John has spoiled these dogs beyond belief.  Some people find John to be gruff, or even a bit moody, but I am a firm believer that animals are better judges of a person's character, thus seeing the animals react towards John, I know I got the best of the lot.

Poor hubby is really a good man.  Who else would not even raise his voice to his wife calling and proclaiming, "I got another dog"... (John, if you are reading this - just know you are my number one) and then pretend very convincingly that he is elated by the prospect of  yet another four legged creature to occupy bed space.  Add to poor John's indignity, a few years ago I had adopted a special needs,  neurological mess of a cat, Mickey Finn, while John was one one of his Costa Rican "guy trips".  I did ask prior to the adoption, and my loving spouse said..."If it makes you happy".  I guess I should have asked him if it made HIM happy.  However, the brain warped cat of a clown (reversal intended)  has provided hours of non stop entertainment for us.

Our pet sitting vacation is winding up, and soon Buster & Charlie's parents will return from Costa Rica.  The McArthur clan will head back to our own house, 2 dogs and cat in tow, and resume our normal activities.  People with half a brain venture to far off, sunny, beach shored destinations, but John and I seem to be the crazy fools who deem 2 weeks with 4 dogs to be better than any 5 star hotel/beach/motorcycle escapade.  What's wrong with us? 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

So, October 31st is just around the corner, and most pumpkins who have any sense are quivering in their orange lined vestibules.  'Tis the time of year when the heathens of this world take the mighty pumpkin and sacrifice it to the Asphalt Gods.  November 1st is no friend to the short, squatted pumpkin.

What most good Irish children will tell you is that Halloween started in Ireland.  Actually, it was more a pagan ritual of sorts; brought to us courtesy of the Druids.  You know, the architects of Stonehenge.  And, if truth be told, Halloween did not really get going in this country (the USA) until 1845, when Irish immigrants flooded New York, after the death and scourge of the potato famine. 

What I recall most about Halloween were being able to eat Farmer John hot dogs, (unless Halloween fell on Friday, then it was fish sticks... you know, catholic).  My parents, both being Irish, did not really live it up on the pagan day.  We were allowed to create some sort of costume.  A pumpkin for each child was allowed; and thus began the competition of who could carve the most atrocious of faces on the poor orange skin of a gourd.  By the time October 31st rolled around, most pumpkins on our block were looking like Joan Rivers, before the face lifts.  Poor little bastards - all alone in a orange pumpkin world.

There were groups of kids who would team up, and start canvassing the neighborhoods.  We lived in the Ozzie & Harriet world, and thus every house had a light on, every parent had a basket full of candy, and razor blades were not yet being silvered into the little chocolate bar.  We would scour the streets, making it all the way to Reseda Blvd, which back in the late 60's and early 70's was quite a rite of passage.  Grade school kids were fierce if they could claim bragging rights the next day at school by proclaiming, "we made it to the blvd."! 

As I aged, Halloween took on a new meaning - parties involving more adult styled entertainment.  Keg parties,  dances, and even a bong hit or two.  Yes, I smoked pot... but I did not inhale.  The costumes were elevated from cheap plastic masks and manufactured get ups, to more risque apparel that was about as far away from being a saint as one could get. 

Watching "The Great Pumpkin" was a must. Charlie Brown and Linus really had it going on.   As we got older, it was the sequels of all things horror.  Halloween, the famous John Carpenter film was out in theaters, and then it could be caught on the television, day after day, leading up to the great holiday.

One year I dressed as a bum, and thought... wow this is the life.  Now, as I watch the vacant headed hippies doing the Occupy Wall Street party, I realize that some bum actually stole my costume.    Good grief Charlie Brown!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bliss - Oh, I Miss Thee


So, what does this mean to you?  Is it cotton candy clouds, wafting in effortless waves across a blue bird sky? Or a warm wind across a Caribbean ocean, so teal blue that it hurts your mind just to imagine it?  Is the smell of a puppy's breath, or hearing a little kitten offer up a faint little mehw?  Bliss.  How do you envision the words?  The dictionary has it as complete happiness, and I would probably concur.

http://youtube/7I01BwClpSk   (I think I have attached that link correctly, but Bliss is NOT my abilities with computers) 

When I was a little girl, Bliss to me was climbing a tree, up atop the world, and being able to see out above the valley.  It was the feeling of absolute freedom as I walked, alone, along the beach at the end of the Pierpont Blvd, at my parents' beach house.  It was the magic passion (that really sounds crazy, doesn't it?) of a warm Santa Ana wind as it brushed across the night skies, allowing me to feel God's arms all around me.  When I was a little girl I would love to sleep in the backyard, under the skies, with my dog Coco at my side.  I would listen to the wind and watch the moonlight dance reflections, like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, on the silver screen.  I would lay there, in the night, and dream about running away to some far away place, and be able to run my own show.  I'd be my own boss.  I'd have control.

Bliss comes in the form of camping out in the desert southwest.  Moab, Utah brings me joy.  I can count a million little, tiny stars, strewn across a black velvet sky, and wonder about life.  I see the wisdom of my Daddy.  I can talk to my heart and soul, and somewhere in the vast eternity of darkness, I can hear his reply.  "You pull yourself up by the boot straps, Ann Corry". Bliss is traveling the highways of this country, looking out at the landscape as it jets by.  It's the people I meet along the way. 
Later,  Bliss was the moment my children were born.  December 1, July 4th, December 14th - BLISS, BLISS, BLISS!  Bliss was the day I met and married the most wonderful of companions - my husband John.  Bliss was the last time I held my Daddy's hand.  Bliss was knowing that I would see my son Michael and my Daddy again someday in heaven.  Bliss will be the day that my daughter Eryn has her baby - a son Christopher Corry.  Bliss was meeting my biological grandmother - a special gift.  Bliss is hearing, "I love you Mom", coming from my son Bryan, even after I have nagged him almost to death.  Bliss is the feeling of clean, crisp cotton sheets, the feel of cashmere on my shoulders, the cry of a newborn baby, the way a baseball glove feels on my hand, the sound of leaves as the winds zip through them.  Bliss is soft rain.  Bliss is a well written book, a symphony of words.  Bliss is music.  To tell you the truth, bliss is life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

who owns this blog?

So apparently I write about myself too much on my own blog.  This was discovered when I inquired of some friends as to whether or not they had read the blog and what they thought about it.  I don't mind criticism, comment or curt replies.  I asked and I indeed, received.  But I am left in a bit of a fog - Musings from Menopause... well who should the blog be about?  A man in  menopause?

I have been on the road for 3 weeks now.  I attempted to get a job in Southern California.  One was offered, however, the rate of pay would not allow me to cover the home in Colorado as well as a place in Ventura, CA.  I spent 2 weeks; divided between the coast and the Valley.  The weather was accommodating, and I was reminded of the utter joy of driving on the 405 during torrential rain, and even an extra special treat of the 405 north, right where the 5 and 405 merge, during rush hour traffic.  It was sublime, I tell you!  Nothing says, "I love LA" more than edging along a single line of traffic, moving at a snail's pace of 4 mph.  Really, 4 mph.  My friend's son Sean and I had a hearty laugh and imagined what all the other suckers were thinking as we inched through a maze of vehicles.  Sheer utopia!

I saw the Pacific coastline (SMILE) and the sound of the waves.  There is nothing more relaxing to me than the sites, sounds and smell of the coastline.  After a week, it was time to head to Santa Clarita, the Valley and other visits.  I stomped on old stomping grounds; as if this is some type of ritual when someone gets older and is faced with the realization that we are all mortal. Truth be told, the Valley has really taken a beating.  There are more and more homeless standing on corners these days.  The economy is taking its toll on the City of Angels.  Trust me when I say that its not that I lack compassion, but simply, that I no longer have spare change to give some people.  Wait, I think B. Hussein Obama has some "change"!

After one week in the Valley, I have headed east, to Phoenix, where I now bask in the joy of 95 degree days, sunshine and a good book.  Sadly, this leg of the trip is nearing an end.  I have heard that there has been snowfall in the 'Boat, (Steamboat, to the lay person) and the highs this week have not even crested 50.  Ugh, do I really need to go home? 

My mother has a dead tree in her front yard, and after some discussion it was thought that the best way in which to remove this scab on the desert landscape was to tie a rope/chain around it, hook it to my tow bar on my SUV, and yank.  However, this could have caused my front end to be forcefully removed if not gauged correctly - weight/force/etc...  I uttered in jubilation - Does a front end reconstruction allow me to stay throughout the winter?  Nope!  Darn.  I almost felt the need to head to Target for sun tan oil.

Alas, I should head the car north, towards the Rockies, and what awaits me.  Snow.  Of course, there are the high points of this idea. John is probably missing me, and the over use of the personal pronoun ******  "  I  "..!!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friends and Fish

So, during my travels the past two weeks, one thing that remains steadfast and true is the old saying that visitors are like fish - and you should throw them out after 3 days.  They just might stink up the joint.

I suppose I am fortunate in that the friends I have are not the type of fish mongers that will cast me into some chum shark bucket, even after just 1 day.  I'd like to believe that I contribute enough to earn my keep.  I do their laundry, prepare dinners, clean houses and generally attempt to be more of a positive guest than a pebble in  a already tight fitting shoe.

Truth be told, it is my personality to give rather than take, so helping out around a friends' house seems like the very least I can do.  So far the two families I have stayed with have received tacos, burritos, dinner dishes done, floors, and even sheets changed on beds.  I only wish I could get more people to come visit my husband & I, so we could entertain at our house and allow people the luxury of feeling special.

Southern California has given me 13 days of decent weather, some gloriously sunny days, a surfing contest, a movie, some great food, not much traffic and some late nights of chattering away with friends.  What a joy!  But, even with all the wonderful aspects of this trip, I can help but miss my husband, and the peace & quiet that seems to go hand in hand with Steamboat Springs (but for noisy neighbors).  I have managed to compliment my tan, and even got a pretty decent blister on my heel from hiking out on the Channel Islands. (Ssh, please do not tell my orthopod, Dr. Sisk) The Pacific Ocean even offered up some great pictures of dolphins leaping out of the water, trailing our boat to and from Santa Cruz island.

So, in the next few days, I will begin the journey back to the "Boat...and predictions of snow.  However, I will be able to see my husband John, my other dog and cat, get back to work, and even sleep in my own bed.  I do plan to swing through Arizona, Phoenix in particular, and see my birth mother and GMA. 

No grand son yet, as of this typing.  I have a feeling that he will make a grand experience soon, and then my daughter will begin the ride of a lifetime; the circle will make yet another revolution, and I can pray that in 20 years or so, my daughter will come to the epiphany that I was not Joan Crawford in disguise after all.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tragedy in the Air - National Air Races

Back in the late 80's, I had the opportunity to experience the National Air Races in Reno, NV up close and personal.  It was the thrill of a lifetime - even more so for me in that I am uneasy about flying.

I was dating a fellow, John Slack, who's step father, Lyle Shelton was the pilot for the Rare Bear, a vintage world world II plane, competing in the races.  It was a fine year for Lyle and the entire team of the Rare Bear, as Lyle brought home the gold that year.

Hearing the tragic news out of Reno last night, I was suddenly catapulted back to the late 80s and the stunning memory of that thrilling week in mid September. The week I spent in Reno was a thrill a minute.  There was the very distinctive smell of the jet fuel, the noise of the engines, the buzz,  as the planes made the laps above the crowds, and the cheer of the spectators as the planes whizzed by.  Consider it similar to the Indy 500, but airborne.

The people that attend these events are unique.  Being in the pits was like no other experience I have ever had.  I met John Candy that year.  He was an airplane aficionado.  You can see the wives and girlfriends of the pilots and staff sitting in lawn chairs, or atop large trailers; all cheering on their designated plane.  You see the crews, buzzing around the pits, talking all things airplane.  Large propellers, powerful engines, trim and sleek planes, buffed to a crystal clear reflection - it can be mesmerizing!  I was fortunate enough to even meet the pilots of the world famous Thunderbirds.

By the end of one week, I was hooked.  While I still have a strong fear of being in a plane, I can't imagine anything more thrilling than being behind the controls of a world war II plane, soaring high above a cheering crowd,  punching through a piercing blue sky on a warm fall day.  Some people, like myself, can only be a spectator on the ground, but lucky are those men who take to the skies and test the limits of man and God.

God's speed to those who lost their lives on September 16, 2011 and to Pilot Leeward, and the Galloping Ghost,  who appears to have had enough control over his plane to steer it partially clear of what might have become an overwhelming tragedy for those spectators on the ground.

When once you have tasted flight you will always walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward: for there you have been and there you will always be. Henry Van Dyke

Sunday, September 11, 2011

college aged neighbors - BE GONE

Contrary to popular belief, I was, indeed, a younger woman.  I might even go so far as to say, I was college aged.  I recall the fun of college.  Well, parts of it.  I do not profess to be a saint, although I was named after one.  Boy, I wonder if my parents knew what they were doing when they named all 4 Gartlan kids in honor of saints.  Just as I can assert that we have a dreadful POTUS right now, I can firmly assert that none of the Gartlan kids were saints - and at college age; well, let's just say we might have overwhelmed a priest while in the confessional.  Maybe it's a Catholic thing.

"Oh honey - let's name our children after saints so they will grow up to be perfect."  says the wife.
"Sure dear, whatever you say...", smirks the husband.  (A huge cat like grin across his face)

Living in a condo has some advantages.  It's smaller than a house, easier to take care of, someone else can mow the lawn, do the yard work, snow removal, plow the driveway after one of Steamboat's notorious and even more so, erroneous weather reports - you know the kind - 2-4 " overnight.  Then you wake up to 2-4 feet of the white phat pow-pow, creating havoc to all those dumb enough to not have the right tires on their car.

So, once again, off track.  College aged neighbors.  Where were we?  Right.  So, every fall, the circulation of higher education kids living on mommy & daddy's dime come through and rent the condo above mine, or next door, or below.  There is not enough earplugs, ativan or patience in the McArthur home.  Apparently the other night, the pinheaded fools upstairs decided that it was time for band practice.  Yep, that's correct.  Nothing says, "I AM A RESPONSIBLE YOUNG MAN", then a set of bongo drums, banjo and bass guitar. Add a little liquor to the scene, and all of a sudden every guy thinks that he is Jimi Hendrix revisited.  Ah, news shocker here - You suck! 

The first night the new dudes moved in upstairs, some where in their little brains, they got the wild idea that unpacking at midnight is a good idea.  Bricks for brains!  And apparently, by the noise that was shaking my ceiling, they must own a couple of big boulders as well.  After what seemed like my entire childhood, I finally huffed and puffed, got out of bed, put on my robe, and marched upstairs like a dorm mother.  I knocked on the door, and was greeted by some tousled hair, shirtless fool who said.."Oh, is the music too loud?"  Is he kidding me?  I looked at him with a sneer of irritation - "Really, you think your music is too loud?  How about the unpacking at midnight?  I think that's what is too loud, sonny boy"!!  He gazed into my evil and sinister, just got out of bed eyes and seemed shocked. 

The next day, I contacted his landlord and told her that her tenants perhaps were off the breast a little too early, and needed to be reminded about how to live in peace and harmony.  I am told that apparently these kids would respond to "positive and effective communication".  What the fuck is that?  I feel it might be much more effective if I crammed my bedroom slipper up their arse!

So, here we are, one month into the new upstairs tenants.  I felt for sure that my playing country music loud in the afternoon might send them a clue.  Nope.  My brother suggested taping my stereo speakers to the ceiling and cranking up my right wing conservative talk radio.  Nothing says I love you more than Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin.  I even overlooked the one day last weekend where the kids upstairs invented a new and fun game where you throw your ski poles from the 3rd story deck, and see if they land upright on the lawn below.  Apparently, this can be a thrill a minute. 

Lucky for me, I am the HOA president.  And unlike our current POTUS in Washington, D.C., I firmly believe in rules and monetary fines.  Come Monday, these pinheads will find themselves with a nice monetary warning.  $50 of "please be quiet". 

A few years ago, we had some girls living next door.  They were nice enough - just dense.  And they got the bright idea to leave decorative candles on their wood stove.  Well, after one joint, time just flies.  They were fading fast in the haze of herbs, and the smoke alarm went off.  0220, and here comes the fire department to deal with the fire.  One of the poor little things said to me.. "Really Ann, candles catch on fire...".  As a mother I have to sit back and laugh.  Did these girls fall off a turnip truck?  Add to which indignity, a bird had flown down their flue and the poor bird got cooked.  Burning candle wax, and roasted poultry.  Yummy.

So, as school once again begins in Steamboat, I hold my breath, and my tongue, and try to coax myself into believing that God hears my prayers, and that one night these wayward "dudes" decides to toss out his pizza box at 0200, only to find our current resident bear at the dumpster, waiting patiently for his next meal... A College Aged Neighbor.

Friday, September 9, 2011

So, Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning - Remembering 9/11/01

It's my opinion that country music captures it best.  Alan Jackson opined about it in his smash hit, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?" Or "Have You Forgotten"  by Darryl Worley, which asked the question about how a patriot felt the day that Al Qeda and/or muslim extremists attacked this great country.  Can you recall the great sense of pride for the United States of America on the day after 9/11?  We were a united group.  All for one, one for all.  We stood together, against tyranny, terrorism, the Taliban.  We supported the tremendous loss of 343 firefighters... the loss of the boys in blue, the NYPD, and the 2996 souls who perished in the WTC, the Pentagon and the lonely farming field and the heroic crew and passengers of United Flight 93, in Shanksville, PA.  "United"  States never meant so much as it did on that fateful fall day, 10 years ago.

So, what were you doing?  Like most people across America, we were awakening to a new day.  The cowardly acts of terrorism occurred so early in the morning that most people probably had not even had their morning cup of coffee.  Some might have been on their way to work, or already at work.  Some might have been stuck on the 405 freeway in southern California.  Or trucking across Montana on the I90.  Maybe there were surfers waiting for the big wave at county line on PCH.  Maybe they were a farmer, on a tractor, plowing a field somewhere in Iowa.  Americans were going about their business on that morning when time stood still, and our nation changed forever.

I was enrolled in EMT school.  Hmm, seems appropriate, given that a large number of  first responders were killed on 9/11.  A friend telephoned me and asked if I was watching the news.  It seems odd that on this particular day, I was not watching the news - as I am always watching the news.  Fox News!  After the pit of my stomach dropped to my feet, and bounced back up, I ran to the television, and with mouth agape, sat down and cried.  I could not believe what I was watching.  Surely, this must be a mistake of sorts.  No one just flies a jumbo jet into the World Trade Towers.  Then it hit me - this was not an accident but a deliberate act of war.

Let's rewind that statement for a moment.  An act of WAR.  Terrorism.  Pearl Harbor, remember that day?  A day which will live in infamy.  What about the first time the WTC was attacked?  Oklahoma City... another terrible day.  All acts of terrorism, carried out be terrorists, cowards and enemies of the America.

Here we are, 10 years later.  Are we a safer nation?  I'd like to think so.  I'd like to hope so.  Sometimes I think we are safer.  Other times, not so sure.  The mind of a terrorist operates differently than mine.  One thing I can safely attest to though is the unwaivering sense of pride when I see our firefighters, emts, police officers,  the United States Armed Forces, everyday people just doing their jobs - protecting the citizens of this nation.  They don't do it for recognition.  They certainly don't do it for fame or wealth.  They run into burning buildings,  walk a dark alley for our protection, protect us from thugs, perform CPR on those who's hearts have stopped, take time away from their families as they work towards freedom in Afghanistan and across the globe.  These are the heroes that are here for America.  They aren't a punch line.  They are not cute little figures that we should honor only one day a year, or throw a special party for.  The Heroes of America are here among us every single day.

On this, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I will do what I do every single day - I will pray for those who have lost their lives fighting for freedom, who protect us on a daily basis, who put on a uniform at the beginning of a shift, go to work and say..."Nothing will harm you today, not on my watch".

Thank You America. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Art of Forgiveness

Forgive and forget.  To err is human, to forgive is divine.  Turn the other cheek.  All great one liners for the fine art of forgiveness.

While I am all for the statement, "I'm sorry",  lately I find these words to have little to no meaning to certain people.  So, riddle me this!  If you offer a truly heartfelt apology to someone, and they accept, does this mean that you no longer need to be reminded of the forgiven act for which you apologized for?

Case in point - I do not pretend to pontificate myself as a perfect person.  This may come as a huge shock to some of you who have known me for a very long time.  I know, you all thought that I was perfect.  Well, on some days,  I actually am perfect.  However those days are not prolific, and more times than not, I have an air of imperfection.  I am opinionated. I speak my mind.  I have a tendency to render my "filter of vocabulary rants" useless, and therefore say whatever comes to mind without first reviewing it in my mind to make sure that I have offended no one!  But, I am a decent person. I give to charity.  I pray for my enemies.  I say "God Bless" when I see an ambulance.  I love my children. I love my husband.  I love animals.  I am painfully honest when it comes to money.  If a cashier gives me too much change, I tell her about it, and don't keep her monetary error in my wallet.  To put it plainly - I believe in Karma.  What goes around, comes around.  Those are words to live by.

So, forgiveness.  What is the purpose behind asking for forgiveness if the other party just rehashes your error, over and over again... like Hallmark Channel's reruns of the Golden Girls?  I don't mean that you forget the error, whatever it is, but to bring it up, on a fairly regular basis to the offender, by the offended - well why bother with the apology?  I suppose my catholic upbringing about confession and penance sits in my head.  In the front of my head.  It's like a big bold sign, a NEON sign, across my forehead that says, "sinner" or "bad daughter".  I can't win for losing.

So, about my past.  I was not always the charming person I am now.  I was a rebel before there were causes.  If my mom said left, then I went right.  I had my own way of thinking, which usually was not the way of my mom.  It is not like she was a bad mother.  She was just too darn rigid.  I lived in a dual direction highway of a world, while mom was on a one way street.  It was her way, or the highway.  There was no deviation from the world of mom.  So, there you have it - we've established that I was not perfect.

Some months ago, my daughter laid of huge pile of nastiness on my soul.  I can overlook it, as she is pregnant, and I know, from first hand experience, times x 3, that hormones, pregnancies, and moms are not items that should ever be combined without fear of explosion.  But, with the mean and nasty comments, came an epiphany that I was not very nice to my own mom in my youth.  It was like a light bulb went on, and a mysterious voice said "Ah ha..got it"...  So, I called my mom and told her that I was truly sorry for any and all sins of my past.  I admitted to her that I was not so nice, and it took getting the same shovel to the back of the head for me to realize that I was not the most prefect of daughters.  She accepted my heartfelt apology.  Really, accepting the apology is good for the soul.  I mean this to be received by everyone who has ever been on the receiving end of some one's apology.  It can lift years of worry and turmoil off your heart.

So, the question begs an answer.  If you accept the apology - then why is there a need to continue reminding the offender of her sin?  My mom just can't let it go.  The past that is.  Every phone call is a new and exciting way in which my mom can communicate her memory of the rotten way I was when I was younger.  I guess I am confused.  If I offered the genuine apology, and you accepted it - why the need to bring it up ever again.

The Lion King movie was a treasure trove of wisdom.  In one scene, the prophetic monkey whacks the wayward lion on the back of the head.
Simba :  "I know what I have to do. But going back will mean facing my past. I've been running from it for so long.
[Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn't matter. It's in the past.
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it.
[swings his stick at Simba again who ducks out of the way]
Rafiki: Ha. You See? So what are you going to do?
Adult Simba: First, I'm gonna take your stick.
[Simba snatches Rafiki's stick and throws it and Rafiki runs to grab it]
Rafiki: No, not the stick! Hey, where you going?
Adult Simba: I'm going back!
Rafiki: Good! Go on! Get out of here!
[Rafiki begins laughing and screeching loudly]

Why can't life be like that?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nesting as a Grandmother

So, the impending birth of our first grandson, Christopher Corry, is just around the corner. There is quite a bit to do before this little fellow arrives on the scene.  After all, its "nesting" time here at the McArthur household.  I am sure my husband will enjoy this aspect of pregnancy.  Lord knows, I do.

So, what's with nesting?  Do any of my readers know of its origin?  Throughout history, it seems that women about to drop a baby go through a phase of psychotic cleaning.  For someone like me, who needs help in cleaning every hour of every day, nesting has its advantages and rewards.  I am finding items that I thought I had lost long ago.  I am still searching for my Irish Sweepstakes/Bond ticket.  It's gotta be somewhere in the house.

Nesting - apparently occurs near the end of pregnancy.  These unrealistic tendencies come to fruition about a month before a baby arrives.  A soon to be mom will go on a cleaning rampage.  Not just a wipe of the swiffer or a spray of Windex, but a frenzy that resembles sharks tearing into chum.  In late November 1983, while I was awaiting the birth of my now pregnant daughter Eryn, I actually cleaned the ceiling.  Yes, that's right - the CEILING!  I couldn't help myself.  It was like I was possessed by Mr. Clean, and was searching, literally chasing the dragon of Mr. Clean.  Then there was the removal of anything that sat idle for more than a few minutes.  The bathroom vanity annoyed me, the base of the toilet needed to be pristine.  I became obsessed with cleaning doorknobs and door hinges.  It was like Martha Steward on steroids.  Santa Barbara was getting a fall cleaning, and I was the master mind behind it all.  Whew,  I am exhausted just thinking about it.

Now, with our first little grandson about to make an appearance the first week of October, I find myself, as a grandmother, beginning the ritual of deep cleaning. I just finished ripping the bed apart to wash the frame,  bleach the mattress pad, iron the bed skirt, and spray Febreeze on every viable surface within a 10 mile radius.  And as I had mentioned a few days ago, on Facebook, I have had a hot date all weekend with Murphy's Wood Soap, Windex and Pledge.  My husband is west, near Brown's Park, camping with the dog, and I am on a mission - a cleaning, nesting, frenzied mission to clean.  Laundry is spinning, and the ironing  board is up, and I will begin to starch and press the bed linens to crisp perfection. 

I wonder if my daughter is experiencing this bizarre ritual yet?  Has she looked around and decided that all light bulbs in Southern California need to be cleaned?  What about the rail in the closet where hangers hang?  Have the window screens come out, and are they being soaked in water and peroxide to ensure complete dust removal?  Its enough to drive any sane man out of his mind.  No doubt my husband will return home tonight, 3 days of dirt with him, and walk into the house and turn on his heel, thinking... "Oh no, Ann has flipped her lid..."  or maybe he will thank our daughter Eryn for having a baby, and having our home in pristine shape.  It's not like our daughter is going to come to Colorado and give birth to Christopher Corry on the kitchen floor - although it is clean enough!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Safe Sex - Really?

Now, before the smut runs rampant through your brain, hold on to your panties.  The title of the blog might lead you down a road - a road you are not supposed to be on.

One of my daily routines is surfing the Internet.  Reading Fox News, conservative bloggers, the Drudge Report, anything and everything that might relate to politics, world events and then, and only then, do I look at the more frivolous nonsensical crap, like Yahoo trending, or human interest stuff.  The shit... yep, that's right, I said it... S-H-I-T - that is considered news today is, simply put, amazing.

The other day, I came across an article regarding Jane Fonda.  You know her, "Hanoi Jane", who really should have been tried for treason back during the Vietnam era for her disgusting display on anti-American antics with the North Vietnamese.  Shame, shame.  I don't care how many Golden Ponds you've starred in, or who you have been married to - treason is simply treason.  There are no excuses, well unless you are so greedy that you think publicity means selling your soul to a  communist.

Lately, news coverage has been bordering on voyeurism.  I've got enough crap going on in my life than to see headlines about congressman who love to use their "smart"/dumb phones to photograph their penile shortcomings in gym mirrors, or dress up like Tigger the Tiger, or tap their shoe on a bathroom stall - "Hey can you spare a square" or cheating on their cancer stricken wives with a blond ding-a-ling photo journalist, or using smoking cigars as some sort of pleasure tool.  Come on, really?  Is this what our world has come to? Remember the good old days where sex was kept in the dark, or at the very least, behind a red door?  As the world economy hovers between dire and dismal, are journalists (or Penthouse letter writers) desperate that what other people are doing in their bedrooms, or out in public, is really folly disguised as news?

So, Jane Fonda.  Apparently old Janey-girl has started to give advice about having a healthy, invigorating sex life at age 73.  Well, thank you very much Jane.  Between the nausea I feel every time B. Hussein Obama opens his pinheaded mouth to the absolutely disgusting picture of you having healthy sex at age 73, my never ending diet might just have some light at the end of the tunnel.  Can you imagine your parents sitting at home, playing cribbage with the neighbors, and saying... "Oh we are so proud of Johnnie Journalist, our son, who went to Harvard, earned a degree of higher education", only to then find out that sex smut stories are what million dollar education bought them?  

Society has enough on its hand fighting a terrible economy.  Are we really so desperate that news outlets can't find something more meritorious to write about then some over the hill celebrities who think and actually believe, that all of America wants and/or needs to know about their sex life?

The other night the Republicans gathered and began the saga of the debates.  I'd love to say that I was sitting on the edge of my chair, glued to Fox News, watching 10 or so candidates banter back and forth about what they are going to do to fix the mess we are in.  Sadly, I fell asleep at 1930, and missed the entire thing.  The next morning, I watched the highlights - and was really irritated by the notion that some journalist had enough in the nut sack, groin area to ask Michelle Bachman if she was going to be subservient to her husband.  Are your kidding me?  Oh all the questions in the world that a serious news man could ask.. this dim watted light bulb wants to know about subservient candidates?  What is the world coming to?  Again, the question borders on the bedroom. I am not voting for a candidate because she is a woman, man or whatever.  I am looking for someone who can help get us out of the mess created by a bunch of morons in Washington, D.C.

Well, I better get going, I think I hear my husband calling me - and that means only one thing - Ha ha... its my turn to do the dishes!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Living as a Feline in the McArthur House

Having lost my job of 11 years as a medic, my life has taken some rather bizarre turns of late.

I was denied my unemployment.  And truth be told, I suppose it would not have really taken it, as I feel that if you have a body, mind, etc, then you should be out in the work force - no excuses.  I have the same attitude about people who collect any type of assistance, or, in today's jargon, Entitlement.  Everyone seems to think there is Entitlement around every corner, in every one's back pocket, and living in every town, USA.  Hell, some people might even have some bizarre notion that Entitlement is sold at your friendly neighborhood drug store, next to Condoms and Birth Control  Oh wait - those two items need to be mandatory for everyone on the Entitlement planet.  So, I guess now you know how I feel -really!!! 

So, I get up 3 days a week, at 0330, and go to my part time job, as a baker.  I've done so much in my life.  I just never thought that baking would be what I was doing at 47, and at the jumping off point of becoming a grandmother.  But, I am baking.  Thank God, and all the gluten angels, that I have Celiac Disease, or I would be a plump at a Christmas goose... tasting, hell eating everything I prepare.  The local gourmet grocery, just 2 blocks from my house, has been a place I have frequented for the last 18 years.  I am not only a customer, but an employee.  I have worked there on and off for the past few years.  You get to know the people that work there, and also all the locals that come in every single morning for their latte or one of the muffins I bake.  In a world of no brainers,  the baking does require some enhanced knowledge of how to manage your time, multi-task and critical thinking.  All in all, its a pretty good gig.  In fact, here it is - 0900, and I am done for the day.  Muffins, muffins, muffins!

And here I sit, at my left arm attachment mode, the computer, facing the television, watching Fox News, and reading blogs, scanning the Internet for stories about military, politics, health issues, headline news and my 3 email accounts; one of which is for job hunting, one for the HOA and one just because.  I keep pretty busy.  If I could make a living doing all of this, I guess I could be wealthy.

When I return home from work, I find myself looking at the pets and wondering, "What is it that you both do all day long?"...Are you enjoying each other's company?  Do you run in circles, chasing tail (no, not that tail) and getting in trouble.  We actually leave Fox News on for the dog and cat, just in case they need to have the up to date headlines of world as it turns. 

In particular is the cat, Mickey Finn.  If ever there was s source of free entertainment, our kitty is just that.  Poor Mickey Finn.  He has a few strikes against him.  Finn is about 2 years old.  He is all black.  I read somewhere that black cats are more likely to be euthanized because stupid people out there think black cats are some type of reincarnated "witch", or they are "evil", or "scary" !  People - listen up.... Black cats make great pets.  And if you get them from your local animal shelters, they will be forever grateful.  All animals from local animal shelters know they owe their lives, all 9 of them, to their human rescuer.

Now, as for Finn, well he's "special".  And I do mean special.  He is a survivor.  Apparently, the story goes that he and his sibling Moses were born with pano-leukopenia, which is a neurological and respiratory disorder.  Cats appear to have ataxia, which in a human speak-ese would mean that they look like they are punch drunk.  Hence, Mickey Finn's name.  You know, someone slips you a "Mickey Finn" in your cocktail, and you are the headliner in a one cat comedy show.  Finn spends his days, I presume, running sideways through the house, chasing imaginary bugs, fairies and even his own shadow.  He is not stealth, but rather a goof of sorts.  He is constantly hungry.  And I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that he runs to the food bowl whenever someone gets up.  He really thinks that some food will fall from the sky, and miraculously appear in his dish.  Finn also has a deep affinity for Casey, the dog.  Crazy.  Of course, Casey the dog could care less, and so Finn does everything in his power to put his tail in Casey's face at every chance he gets.

Finn's brother Moses lives at Pet Kare Clinic.  Moses also shares the same abnormalities.  Crazy walking patterns, cough and sneeze, wheezing, and runny nose problems!  Out of a litter of 6, only Finn and Moses survived.  For that, they are indeed extra special.  Yes, I love my pets.

So, as I sit here and spin my wheels after getting up at 0330 to bake, and getting home at 0900, I am fortunate enough to be able to take a glimpse inside the life of my pets, and think, "What is it like to be a feline in the McArthur house"?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Fine Art of Snobbery

Okay - I admit it.  Way back, when I was a young girl in pig tails, we had a nanny.  We also had a housekeeper.  They weren't black, they weren't white.  They weren't from an eastern block country.  They were Hispanic.

After watching the movie, "The Help" today, I found myself in a quandary of sorts.  I detest racism, bigotry and ignorance.  If you want to turn my stomach into knots, use the "N" word, and it will send me in 20 different directions of how I can somehow slip crazy glue into your mouth, in order to save the world.

But, I got to thinking about Carmen.  Yes, I am pretty sure her name was Carmen.  She was a gem of a girl.  I remember her from the early 1970's.  It might have even been the very late '60's.  I even have a vivid recollection of a photograph (actually one of many) where Carmen is a part of the picture of the Irish crew of Gartlan kids, lined up on some family outing.  There is one of Carmen holding my hand, as we stood in front of the Santa Barbara Mission.  Seeing the picture in my mind today, I believe it was probably the very late '60's, as I was adorned in some hideous '60's styled outfit, plaid or checkerboard print of sorts, with knock knees and 2 ultra blond pigtails.  There are a few other that stick in my memory as well.  Carmen in a pink polka dot bikini.  Nothing too racy, of course.  Just some Austin Power-ish fab swimsuit, and all the children with her, while we were at the summer house in Ventura, CA.

There were 4 of us kids in the house.  All within 5 years of each other.  I was the eldest.  I had to set the example, or so my mother told me.  I always detested that I would be considered an example, simply because I was a hellion, and always in search of the perfect way to be disobedient.  Why on earth would you lay a guilt trip on a kid by making her an example?   I do recall the night my parents were having their wedding anniversary party, and someone in the house; I believe it was my Auntie Ruth, said, "Oh, your mother is off to the hospital with your Dad and they are having a baby."!!!!!     "Jesus H. Christ", I thought in my mind - another sibling.  Great.  Like a present or something.  And sure enough, the next morning, I believe (if memory serves me correct) Carmen came into my room and informed me that I had a new baby brother.  In fact, that baby brother just celebrated his 43rd birthday on August 8th.  Happy Birthday Michael!

At any rate, I suppose that my mother and father must have been overwhelmed with having 4 kids, so close in age, and all very young, a big house, and so many social obligations.  My mother had a housekeeper who came once a week, to clean.  Of course, we were instructed to "pick up our bedrooms prior to 'cleaning lady' coming"  - I guess we must have been slobs.  I always found irony in having to clean my room before the "cleaning lady" came.  Such was the life of a 60's housewife, having bridge parties, smoking cigarettes, and having someone look after your own children and clean your house.

Now, don't interpret this to mean that my mother was in anyway incapable of cleaning.  She's a master at it.  I owe all my cleaning habits to my mother.  I suppose my poor husband is reading this and thinking to himself... "are you smoking dope, Ann?" - the house is a mess.  And actually he is correct.  Our house is a mess.  On any given day you can find some cat hair wafting around, or get up from the leather sofa only to realize you are heavily coated with the dog's hair.  And, I have been known to toss my clothing on the floor, where they will pile up for a day or so, until I get some bug up my ass, and decide I need to tidy up.  I have been known to iron my bedsheets and even my husband's shirts.  Nothing says "I love you honey" more then a freshly pressed shirt.  And I get a feeling of being on vacation at the Hilton when I see my bed made with lavender scented bedsheets.  Since I gave up drinking, some things just tend to excite me more, I guess.

At any rate, Carmen and the cleaning lady - where were we?  Right.  Snobbery.  As I was watching the movie today, I realized that there was a little, tiny, minuscule level of snobbery at our house.  It's not that we were raised with any amount of pretentiousness,  but that in that generation, having help was not out of the norm.  I can't recall what the cleaning lady or Carmen had for lunch, or what they were paid.  I don't even know what happened to them.  For this, I feel remorse, as they were part of our lives for a few years.  Does that make me a snob?  In the movie The Help, one of the main characters recalls vividly, in full blown techni-color, what her black, southern maid was like.  The words of wisdom the maid put into her mind.  For the life of me, I feel slightly irked at myself for not remembering more about Carmen.  She is in the family photo albums, for bloody sakes.  What ever happened to her?  Did she marry, have a family of her own?  Was she truly from Mexico, or some other country of spanish origin?

My grandmother is a very wise woman.  She is a great lady.  One thing I know about her is that she is proud.  And she possesses an overwhelming sense of couth!  She would never make some assisine request of someone, when she is able to do it herself.  So, I hope I have inherited those genes.  I've got 2 hands and a brain...somewhat intact, which is always important to have.  I often think that if I had all the money in the world, and not a care to fill my day with, would I employ some one to help me with housework, or shopping?  Am I that kind of woman?  Nah, nope, nada.

I may be menopausal, and even a bit vain.  Sure, its a great dream, something to run through my head, but I just would not have it that way.  Carmen, where are you?  I wish I had taken more time to dig deeper about you, who you were, where you came from and what became of you after you left my parents' employ.  I want to thank you though for holding my hand at the beach, telling me stories and most of all, allowing me to be a little girl in pigtails.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Debt - Who's Your Daddy

Debt.  Most people have it.  Most people don't want it.  Most people avoid it like the plague.  Today the S & P dropped 634 points.  Pretty damn dramatic.  Wow, and here's a news flash - ITS ALL THE TEA PARTY'S FAULT - well, at least that is what yahoos Kerry and David Axelrod are saying.  Who knew?  I just thought it was poor spending on the part of the country, the politicians and the team leader.

One of the news pundits made a comment about a true leader will own up to the faults that occur under his term.  I'd believe that to be an accurate statement.  However, the leader of a now, AA+ credit rating, seems to think otherwise.  He is still reading from the yet, still stagnant and repugnant speech of "blame everything on George W. Bush"... and "its everyone else's fault, not mine."  This guy misses nothing.  Sharp as a stick!

Now, I am certainly no financial wizard.  Ask me to balance my checkbook, and I am going to shrink like a violet, and run for the nearest hot house.  It is beyond me.  But - and here it is - I do have enough intelligence to realize that if you have only so much money, then you don't go out and buy high priced vodka on a beer budget.  Of course, in my case, still being sober, I'll make the comparison of settling for a Hersey kiss instead of a hunk of Godiva Chocolate. 

I have never held public office, nor would I want to.  The biggest decisions I make are as the President of our local HOA.  I can't fathom how the morons in Washington, D.C. are so dense that they do not know that if you do not have a dollar, then don't buy a bar of soap for $1.25. And furthermore, you don't bend over in the shower, if you drop that expensive bar of soap. Our  HOA is doing fairly well.  We get bids for work that needs to be done, we evaluate all bids, we decide on who is going to give us the best deal, and we make a decision.  I'd love to see a brand new parking lot, but the reality is that our Association simply doesn't contain the amount of money necessary to improve such a luxury.  Some of the people in my Assoc. really want to have the esoteric appeal of a nicely paved parking lot.  But, when you break it all down, we simply can't afford it.  Wow, what a novel idea.

Maybe I should run for office? 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Paying the price for FREEDOM

What do the military do for us?  Jesus - Where do I begin?  One quick thought runs through my mind at this very moment - protection of our freedoms, everything which is held dear in this country.  Our defense - the United States military - and every sacrifice - comes at the cost of someones son or daughter sitting in a sand hole, trench, rainy night, scorching middle east day,  36 hour guard watch, MASH unit, infantry regiment,  basic training, running in the sand on a beach, pushing yourself beyond the limits of your physical limitations, heat stroke, dehydration, missing appendages, flag draped coffin, TAPS playing, sacrifice.  

What do we give our military?  Some of us give gratitude. Some wave a flag at a celebratory welcome home event.  Some salute their comrades.  Some pray non stop for the cessation of war.  Some give their time to the USO or Wounded Warrior Project.  Some pay for peace.  These are the patriots of this country; those who realize and truly appreciate the dedication of our military to serve and stand because they believe in something greater than themselves.  

Now, I am not in the position (although I wish I was) to decide other peoples' patriotism.  Actions speak louder than words in most cases.  And for that, I am grateful that the current administration in our country as well as their sycophants, have actions that are shouting volumes from the highest levels...

A hip hop party at the White House.  Listen, people are entitled to celebrate their birthdays however they wish.  But, one should consider that in times of recession/depression, trouble, war, etc, etc... that appearances can speak to the high heavens of the caliber of persona at the White House.  I know, I know - it's all too clear that I hold great disdain for the current POTUS.  His arrogance overwhelms me to a point of feeling physically ill.  I get a headache listening to him speak.  Anger seeps through my veins at his utter discontempt for our nation. Does he even care about the morale of this country any longer?  

The following is a short list of pinheads who attended a bash for the POTUS on his 50th birthday.  " Among the guests, from the entertainment and sports world: Wonder, who performed (he is one of Mrs. Obama’s favorite artists) as did Hancock, Whoopie Goldberg, Ledisi, Tom Hanks, Jay Z, Hill Harper, hoops stars Charles Barkley and Grant Hill, and football great Emmitt Smith.  From government and politics: former governors Bill Richardson and Tim Kaine; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley; senior adviser Valerie Jarrett; former First Lady Chief of Staff Susan Sher; and two of Obama’s closest Chicago pals, Dr. Eric Whitaker, University of Chicago Hospital vice president, and The Parking Spot President and CEO Marty Nesbitt."

These minions are entitled to spend their days as they wish - far be it from me to say otherwise.  But, it just seems to me that our POTUS and his pals need to be a bit more attentive to what's going on in the world around them.
Today, as I was researching the names of people who were in attendance for the POTUS' recent birthday, one thing really bothered me.  I was unable to find the names of the patriots of the United States Navy (all 31 of them) who were tragically murdered by the Taliban in a Chinook Helicopter accident in Afghanistan.  That just strikes me as offensive.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Talking to God, the Saints and all occupants of heaven

As a Catholic, we are raised to believe that our prayers are answered.  Mind you - all prayers are answered, however sometimes they just may not be the response we are wanting or searching for.  Being raised Catholic takes some serious motivation.  Listen, I am all too familiar with the guilt factor.  I was raised on it.  Not only was I raised IRISH, but Catholic.  It was a double whammy.  Now, I wouldn't trade it for a mile...or even a million dollars (hmm, wait a minute a million. well maybe) but sometimes being raised with a dogma that talks incessantly about guilt, purgatory and heaven (yes, hell gets covered in that, too) a poor girl can get confused and begin to wonder which end is up.

I was never one for the confessional.  I have met only 1 priest in my entire life with whom I felt comfortable enough confessing my sins.  Well , make that two.  Fr. Ernest and Fr. Tom at Holy Name Catholic Church in Steamboat Springs.  I suppose it has something to do with meeting them later in my life, when I felt I was not under scrutiny.   Ironically enough, my very first time in the confessional, with a priest at St. John Eudes in Chatsworth, CA.  turned out to be almost too terrifying to go through a repeat performance.  We had attended CCD at St. John Eudes, and going through the Sacrament of Penance was pretty serious stuff.  We had to prepare for several months, and finally came the day when you would stand in a line with your fellow classmates, and anxiously await your turn to enter the mysterious dark room, with the padded foot rest, magic screen, and the little light on the outside of the room that indicated to outsiders that you were in laying a load on a priest.

What I disliked most about the confessional part of my religious upbringing was that I always felt like I was being judged.  Most of the priests I was raised around were old fellows, who took guilt to a whole new level.. I realize they were doing their jobs, acting in lieu of Christ, but I couldn't get past the idea that they were friends of my parents, and would then turn around and tell my parents the list of sins I might have committed.  You know, sitting in the confession, with a note pad that said "Ann Corry Gartlan" and all the mean things I might confess to.  The first time I received the Sacrament of Penance, I lied.  How's that for a first time admitting of sins?  It isn't that I did not have some grievance to get off my chest, but I just couldn't bring myself to 'fess up to it - to some guy who would undoubtedly turn right around and ask my parents to tip heavy in the offerings on Sunday, and he'd give a list to them.  So, I made up some wild story of teasing my sister.  Which, actually was the truth - I teased her, she teased me, in fact the Gartlan kids were notorious for their teasing, poking fun and getting into mischief. Nothing ever too serious, like arson, stealing, or hurting other kids - just plain old fashioned siblings encounters.  I felt it ridiculous to confess to something that seemed too trivial.

Then there were the punishments after the confessional.  I was too young and immature to appreciate the cleansing of one's soul, or the merit in reciting the Our Father, Hail Mary of Act of Contrition, a hundred times over...if I was not really, truly remorseful for whatever it is I had committed a few hours earlier.  Lets be honest - sometimes you just need to tease your sister, or tattle on a brother.  It's part of the upbringing of siblings.

Fr. Ernest and Fr. Tom are different.  I did some major confessing to Fr. Ernest before going under the knife for spinal surgery.  I suspect I wanted all my bases covered in case I received just a little too much anesthesia.  Fr. Ernest even came to my hospital bedside and administered the anointing of the sick to me - boy, I must admit I felt like I was on the road to the recovery after that.  Fr. Tom is just about old enough to have heard Jesus Christ's confession (if Jesus had been in the business of committing sins).  He is an old Italian, from New York, and although he does not like the New York Yankees, I can see past this little error in his thoughts and truly appreciate that he has dedicated his life to counseling our poor, lost souls and setting us down the right path.  He's just the real deal.  I went to him one day, a few years ago, and I was just about as low as a gal can get. I was upset with my husband, feeling alone, desperate, angry and just about at the end of my rope.  I spilled my guts to Fr. Tom.  He hears confessions the old fashioned way, which I prefer to this new age open confession; I like my little bit of security that comes from the little screen that covers my face.  Well, poor Fr. Tom took it all in, heard my confession, in between the sobs (yes SOBBING) and absolved me of the sins I confessed to.  After that, I sat in one of the back pews, started in on my penance of Hail Marys, and Fr. Tom, God bless him, came out of the confessional, and gave me a little pat on the back as if to say.."you did alright, Ann". 

Now, of all the times I have sat in a confessional, one thing does still weigh heavy on my soul - just how does that little light come on? and what happens if your priest becomes hard of hearing?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Waiting on the postman

SO, the government is looking for ways to trim the budget.  Ha ha, one big fat entity, that has more pork fat than a farmer john hot dog, is trying to find ways to save our country from financial ruin,  How about this - STOP SPENDING!  I am no financial wizard.  I do not hold a piece of parchment that says I am from Harvard, Yale, Princeton or MIT,  and might indicate I have some wizard magic on budgeting, saving, money or anything else.  What I do have is a degree in common sense.  If you don't have any money, then you don't borrow, you don't buy on credit and you start saving.  It is a constant source of entertainment to watch the pinheads in Washington D.C. attempt to balance a budget when, as is evidenced from their past errors, they are completely clueless when it comes to matters of the leather wallet.

Today's news bring a sad story about who might be on the chopping block.. The U.S. Postal Service.  Oh, this is a sad day.  How will little kids get their mail to Santa Claus if there is no postal service?  What will happen to the Christmas card?  The Mother's Day card, the Thank You note,  the Dear John letter, the baby announcements, and of course, the credit card bill?

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, one of the greatest joys I had was waiting on the postman.  Yes, I sound pretty darn pathetic.  Of all the jollies a kid can have, I was waiting for Art the postal worker to drop off the mail.  He usually showed up around noonish, 6 days a week. Sometimes there was a little red flag on our mailbox indicating that there was out going mail.  Art would deliver the mail, flip the little red flag down, and drive on down the street in his little post army looking jeep, with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the vehicle.

I was raised by parents who insisted you should write letters.  You should write thank you notes to relatives.  You should communicate with people across the globe with pen and paper.  I treasure every letter I ever received from an auntie in South Africa, or an uncle in Ireland.  The art of letter writing seems to have fallen by the wayside with the development of email and internet.  Should I thank Al Gore, who invented the internet?

The delivery on the mail was great.  And before I knew any different - and saw the light of liberalism and its evil ways, I liked to read TIME Magazine.  My dad was a subscriber.  He never did see the light, well at least not that light.  We also were "members" of the National Geographic Society.  And of all my siblings, it was me who enjoyed writing letters to relatives.  My great aunt, Mary Alice Magee, from Boston, MA had an affinity for the letter.  I wrote to her on a regular basis - and receiving her letters was such a welcome event.  They smelled like Chanel No. 5.  To this day, I can still recall her address.  225 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116.  How's that?  She's been dead for almost 30 years, yet, her address is stuck in my mind.  Guess I wrote to her more than I recall.

Art the postman had it made at our house.  My parents gave him an "envelope" Christmas gift every year.  Some amount of money, tucked in an envelope.  Some days there would be cookies we placed in the mail box for Art.  Some days I would sit at the curb and wait for Art so I could personally hand him my little note for one of my many relatives.  Art was a member of our family, truth be told.  Not in the genetic sense, but just a constant reminder of a man who was working hard, delivering the mail, and making a little girl's day, by delivering letters from far away places.

I don't know what happened to Art.  I suppose as the years went by, he retired and then waited for his mail to be delivered.  What I do know is that today's generations have no idea what joy there is when a letter comes to you, with a stamp, and inside is a wealth of information from a relative.  A Dear Ann,  How are you?  What are you up to?  etc., etc., etc.

The mail I wish would go away (hello government - here's a cut for you) is junk mail.  Now, if government really is serious about ways to find more money in our already failing economy and budgetary woes - why don't you come up with a law that bans junk mail.

Oh well, I guess that's just asking too much.  I better get going - I need to run to the post office before it is cut from our budget.  And to Art, where ever you are - Thanks for delivering the mail through sleet, snow, rain, sunshine, hot days, cold days - all days of the year.  You were the real deal!