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, 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!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Who are You?

Lately, I have been searching my mind, trying to come to an analytical conclusion as to why some people care about how they present themselves and how others could care less.  What I mean is:  Are you someone who tells the truth, strives to be the very best, owns their mistakes, shortcomings or errors - OR - are you someone who likes to skirt by, fly under the radar,  perform only enough so as to say, "yeah, I participated" but in reality did only the minimum?  Do you live by a code of ethics?  Right or wrong?  Those are questions I ask myself often.

As some of you may know, I lost my job back on May 23, 2011, after 11 years at our local hospital.  NO NAMES PLEASE.  At first I was completely shocked.  I was hurt, upset, angry, lost, irritated and dismayed.  Then came the incredulous letter that my unemployment application was being denied.  This floored me.  Mind you - it's not like I "wanted" or "needed" that unemployment, but I applied as I thought I should.  It was decided that I was let go due to my own actions - something which I contested.  Then came the appeal to the decision.  Surely, in all the years I was at my job, performing well, receiving letters of positive feedback, etc., etc.. - an appeal would swing my way.  Ha ha... this was not the case.  I had to attend a hearing, via conference call, and listen to some of my fellow co-workers LIE THROUGH THEIR TEETH as to the facts, as they interpreted them. 

Now, in all fairness, some people just can't help themselves.  They are born with some genetic deficiency that regulates their moral code of ethical behavior.  So, as a Christian, I can look past these defects and ask God to look after them.  It takes some doing - believe me....I would much rather see 1,000 chiggers and fire ants fall in their underwear, but  I need to be better than that.  After all, except for the momentary glee I might encounter, in the long run, it would be fruitless. 

In a small town you notice things.  One of my favorite things to witness is the boss who let me go, taking one of her "breaths of fresh air" by driving throughout a certain neighborhood, so that she can smoke, several times a day.  I see her about 10 times a week, driving up and down Anglers Drive, smoking.  I think to myself...you have balls, lady, to let me go when you are, in fact, stealing from the company by taking all these smoke breaks.  Then there is the other employee who testified against me.  She's a peach of a beast.  Her theft - reading her kindle book, while on the clock...while ignoring, to a certain extent,  her patients.  I loved that one.  Add to which indignity - she loved to bring her 2 little kids in, every weekend, for at least 40 minutes, since her husband and she had schedules where there was a lapse in daycare.  Either these little gems sat at the nurses station, or were left alone (under the age of 5) in our break room to do whatever they wanted.  Any concerns I may have had about that fell upon deaf ears.  The third of the nitwit parade was a lactating mother of a very cute little baby.  Yes, I admit, the baby was cute - down right adorable - but again, babies do not belong in the workplace.  This nurse liked to pump breast milk.  She pumped alot!  Don't get me wrong - its a natural thing to do...but I guess that my thought on this is that you work in an Emergency Room, and pumping just isn't appropriate when any patient could crater in a minute, while you are in a room, with some pumping apparatus connected to your breast.  Then there was the shopping on line that these 2 gals did... baby clothes, work out clothes, etc, etc.  It was just amazing to watch people take advantage of the clock the way they did.

No, I know what you are probably thinking _ I sound petty, bitter and angry.  Well, yes, in some ways I am.  I resent the fact that I lost a job that I loved, that I was very good at, that I worked any hours, days etc in order to be a team player.  I was not perfect, but I worked with a code of ethics.  I was also far older than most of the nurses I worked with.  Never in my life did I truly believe there was a generational gap until I came across these new, late 20 early 30 y/o boobs who feel as though the world should revolve around their life.  In the years I worked there I saw 6 or 7 babies born to nurses. There was a population explosion of sorts.  Thank God I was in menopause - it seemed to be an epidemic of pregnancy in the emergency room.  Whew, I am very happy to escaped that one.

So, today I learn that I lost my appeal to my unemployment.  Yeah, it sucks, but in the long run I feel alot better about having a decision, and being able to get on with my life.  It feels good to get that shit off my mind, move on, put it behind me and start to point myself forward.  I'm going to be a grandmother, and that is pretty exciting.  I like that feeling.  I will head to California in about 6 weeks, look for a new job on the coast, see my kids, visit my friends, see my "peeps", listen to the sound of the ocean crashing on the shore, and God willing, be able to get my groove back. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

RIP Patrick Gartlan - Leader of the Big Fat Gaelic Gartlan Group

Some families only speak to each other with regards to weddings and funerals.  My family, at least some, are no different.  Death is never welcome.  I cry each and every time I receive news of a family members' passing.

This morning's news from Ireland was especially difficult to absorb as it was not too long ago that I blogged about the Big Fat Gaelic Gartlans, and the closeness of our group, the first cousins, far and wide, spread across the world.  This morning I learned that my eldest cousin, dear, dear Patrick Gartlan, had been killed in an accident.  My cousin, Paul V. Gartlan skyped me and was the bearer of this heavy news.

Patrick was the leader.  The eldest of the all the first cousins.  I recall meeting him one summer day back in the late 70's, when he arrived at my parents' doorstep on Yolanda Avenue.  He was a dashingly handsome man, with blond-ish hair, the same color as his mother, Sadee.  I always felt a bit of kinship to Patrick, as I was the other blond in a sea of dark haired Gartlans.

Patrick was also a man of fine craic.  He could tell a story better than most - a true Irish trait.  He was hilarious with his stories, his affinity for our current President, (of course we did disagree on this point) and would marvel at getting my goat as he spoke of all things liberal - I believe he knew this was driving me mad.  He loved vintage cars, loved his wife Diane, adored his daughters Meagan and Sara.  He even got a chuckle out of one of the girls' friends, named Stu Pid.  Yes, that really is the bloke's name.  Stu Pid.

Patrick's daddy was my Uncle Maurice, who was the eldest of the last generation of Gartlans.  Patrick had the stories.  He had them all.  If you had a question about the lineage of one of our family members, a quick ring to Patrick would get you the answer.  He knew everything there is to know about anything.  He was calm, gentle, kind, loving and most of all a Gartlan, through and through.

My last phone call to him, a few weeks ago, was met with a hearty laugh, and the usual, "Ah, well Jesus Christ, and even a Mary & Joseph".  This seems to be a very interesting piece of the Gartlan colloquial expressions uttered from the mouths of Gartlans when we are surprised, shocked, jovial or just plain excited about anything.  "Well Jesus Christ Mary & Joseph.. you don't say".  Patrick's brother Brendan had slipped the pearly gates a few years back, and he often spoke of Brendan, and his gift of the great craic.  I never was able to see the two brothers together...but I can only imagine that right about now, St Peter in heaven is having to settle the two boys down, so that all the angels can get some sleep.

So, on this day of great sadness, my eyes are full of tears, my heart is heavy, but I know that Patrick was a gift to our family,  his memory will continue on with the stories the rest of us will tell, and that the leader of the Big Fat Gaelic Gartlans has left us only for a little while until we all meet again someday, for a pint and a shot of Jameson!
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

God's speed dear cousin, until we meet again.  Love You, Ann Corry 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Walking down memory lane

Phone calls can make a day brighter, make anyone feel a little more special, and when you hang up after a great conversation with an old friend,  find yourself  yearning for more.

An hour flies by like the snap of my fingers when I get to chatting with one of the special people in my life.  The age difference does not make a difference.  The political views, religious differences - all of it makes absolutely no difference when two people have love and respect for each other.  After a phone call with Connie, all I can think of is the next time I can see her, have a good visit, and be reminded of how lucky I am to have such an incredible woman in my life.

Mrs. Salper, aka Connie, is just someone who can walk into a room and give you the boost you need.  Having been taught to never, ever refer to my elders by their first name, I still catch myself wanting to address her as Mrs. Salper, even though she continues to ask that I call her Connie.  Old habits die hard.

Connie and Don, whom I have mentioned in a previous blog, are dear friends.  Their daughter Elizabeth and I have known each other for 40 years.  Looking back to the lazy days of summer, I can still recall how cool their home was.  Cool, calm and comfortable.  Even with the scorching heat of the San Fernando Valley, the Salper house was the place to be.  A wonderful marble entry way, led into a living room, kitchen and views of their colorful backyard.  Beautiful and interesting mobiles hung throughout the house.  No matter what time it was, or what Don and Connie might be in the middle of,  a neighborhood kid just knew that Mr. & Mrs. Salper would stop whatever they might be doing to make time for you.  I can still get a grin out of Connie when I mention the two wooden headed dolls that hung in the dining room, near the old rotary phone.  Those two dolls - actually they looked like 2 of the wise men - haunted me for years.  On my last visit, Connie told me that in her will, I have been bequeathed the dolls.  This speaks volumes.

Connie throws clay.  No, not on the wall, not to fill cracks on the wall, but to create stunning pieces of art.  When the garage door was up, you could usually see Connie, sitting at her potter's wheel, clay in hand, turning pieces of mud into works of beauty.  I treasure every piece she has ever given me.  Each piece represents a part of my life, a thought or an idea.  I create little stories around each piece; and they are displayed through out my home.  I don't pretend to be an art aficionado, but Connie is pure, undeniable talent.

During today's conversation, Connie informed me that she had been outside "tackling" the bougainvillea.  Now, for those of you from So Cal,  there are probably memories of that nasty, prickly, thorny yet breathtaking bush.  Delicate pink and deep, mysterious blooms adorn the plant.  We had one in our backyard in Northridge.  I loved the thing.  I hated pruning it though.  Connie & Don's backyard was a long, slightly wide lawn, with numerous trees and a great covered patio.  A kid could run and run in that yard - and run we did.  Neighborhood kids, running and laughing, on summer days, building forts, chasing the dog and playing hide n' seek.  I can close my eyes and still recall the great adventures that took place in that yard.

As I prepare to visit California for a month in September, one of the top priorities on my list is to head to the Valley, knock on the front door of my favorite people - and step inside.  Just like a walk down memory lane.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Press 1 for English, 2 for Insanity

Albert Einstein said it best - "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Or perhaps it was Stephen Hawking - who is quoted as making this logical statement - "It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years."

Both men were far ahead of their time.  I, on the other hand, am but a mere mortal, in fact, a mortal woman, in menopause, so really, all wisdom from great thinkers goes straight out the window, like a boy getting caught in a girl's bedroom well past curfew.  Not that this ever happened to me.  Really, it never did.

I hear the reasoning and arguments in favor of automated phone calls, menu selections, etc. but for the life of me, none of  it makes sense.  One of the biggest pet peeves are the "Please press 1 if you want English, 2 if you want Spanish", which of course would be in Spanish.  Doesn't anyone ever wonder if the person who speaks Spanish, Arabic, Latin, French, or any other language for that matter, other than English never even gets past the press 1 for English simply due to the fact that they don't understand the question to begin with?

After pressing 1, my next question would be, "Please listen to the following options", which undoubtedly never delineates exactly which department I need.  Somehow, the question I have doesn't have a category.  So, you go through about 10 options, listening very carefully to keep a mind inventory of all the numbers and options, and where they will direct you to.  By the time you get to option 10, you might as well hang it up, because you have forgotten 1 through 9, and what they might transfer you to.  

10!  Oh, I've just been given the option to speak to an operator.  Now, this may or may not mean that you will actually get a living breathing body on the other line.  And, if that person actually is living and breathing, they may or may not know how to help you.  Its like rolling the dice.  Come on, CRAPS!  

Recently, I attempted and finally succeeded in applying for a small community college in southern California in order to take ONE COURSE.  First, I  went to the website, which, of course, did not answer the questions I had.  I then called the numbers provided to me for the particular department I was interested in.  The first round of phone calls got me transferred to three different locations, after pressing every single number possibly known to mankind. I think I may have actually hit infinity.  I finally had a regular person on the line, who I posed my question to, only to then find out that the only person in the entire world of this college was on vacation.  I thought to myself..."Well of course they are."  One of the great tragedies of my life is that if it can go wrong, it will; if it can be lost, it will.  The process of applying for a college course once you are over the age of 45, and in a state of menopause should actually BE a college course.  I nearly threw the computer out the window.

Then comes the angst of ever trying to get a human if your cable goes out, or the electrical bill is off, or God forbid, YOU NEED TO CONTACT THE IRS - my advice on that last one is to give up, flee the country and change your name.   Gone are the phone calls, on the old rotary dial phone, which allow you to dial something that had letters and numbers in it, actually hear a human answer the phone where upon you hear, "Thank you for calling, my name is Sally Sue, how may I be of assistance to you?"  Can you imagine how much happier the world would be?

Until then, I feel it to be prudent to block off at least one hour whenever the need arises to contact anyone by phone, especially a public service agency, and also try to take an Ativan, have a cup of coffee nearby, food for at least a week, a port-a-potty, bedroom slippers and a pillow.  Now, please press 1.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Zit and Cup of Coffee

So, menopause as it is, and the firing squad of quandaries shot my way, why not toss a zit or two into the mix.  Just to make sure I am still ticking, Mother Nature ( are we really sure that it's "Mother" Nature) allows me to gaze into the morning mirror and utter, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all", and what to my near sighted eyes do I see, a pimple.  Come on - seriously - a zit?

Back in the day, let's say 30 years+ ago, a pimple might have been something I could explain.  Either too much chocolate or a fried onion ring could be the culprit to such a facial disaster.  But, now at 47, a zit is something for which I feel there is no explanation.  If it were not for the constant battle against growing a beard from the surge of wayward hormones, I would be left in a state of shock with regards to a pimple.

God, you know I really love you - really I do!  But, with everything that is going awry due to the hormonal surges, are you really serious in letting me have a pimple on my chin?  Sagging body parts, female pattern baldness, aching feet - all these crummy aches and pains that come with aging are going to be my downfall.  I keep thinking to myself that I escaped my teen years with a relatively clear face.  My belief is that a constant baking of California sunshine kept my face looking halfway presentable.  I skirted the zits,  and moved along without a care in the world.

A little too late of course, I now realize (as if I thought there would be some escape) that the years of tanning have probably taken their toll on my skin.  I am my own worst enemy.  But, with the issues I have control over, why is it that a zit on my chin has become the focus point of my existence.  Vain.  Vanity.  Downright obsession.

Well, enough on this topic - I am off to the grocery store in search of a product of my past - Clearasil.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Martha Taylor McDermott Walsh

Sometimes, if you are lucky enough, along comes an adult who connects with you, makes you look at yourself completely, and accepts you regardless of your screw ups.

Martha was that kind of parent.  She was lovely, kind, compassionate, caring, funny, sarcastic and she was my best friend's mother.  For years, I considered Martha to be a second mother of sorts.  She took me into her home when I needed some space from my own family, gave me the encouragement I needed, and taught me so much about the type of woman I wanted to become.

When my own children were born, they immediately became attached to "Auntie Marfa", as they referred to her as.  Not too long ago, my daughter Eryn commented that with the birth of her own child just around the corner, she wished that Auntie Martha was here to see it.

On July 5, 2001, Martha passed away. She was so young, and not done living her life.  She left grandchildren,  a daughter Kris and 2 sons, Jay & Sean.  The people who gathered at her funeral were from all walks of life.  She touched so many lives along her path of life.  Police officers, politicians, long time friends of her own children, and loads of family who adored her.  She was a team mom for her sons baseball at Northridge Little League, she was a supporter for her daughter's cheerleading, and she was an outstanding friend to me.  She drove a brown Mustang, loved to cook for her family, doted on her grandchildren and made sure to listen when wayward kids would walk into her home, seeking out advice.  Let's just say there was  always room for one more at Martha's house.  She had enough room in her heart for anyone that needed some love.

Her memory never fades.  I recall, with a broad smile, the time that her daughter and I were with her, driving up Reseda Blvd, from Davy's Fish Market.  We were right near Our Lady of Lourdes Church.  Kris and I were kidding around, as tweens do, and my eye glasses flew out the window.  "Girls, girls, stopping acting so silly",  Martha exclaimed.  Of course, we had to stop on a dime, and jump out to find my missing specs.  I looked through old photos and recently found a picture of Martha with my daughter Eryn, having a tea party.  It was something else.  She was just the best.

On this day, I remember the day I met Martha in 1979, the day she died, and the day I delivered part of her eulogy along with Bob Baker and then Monsignor Fatooh at Our Lady of Lourdes Church.  I reassured her 3 adult children, sitting in the front row, that they had the best of moms, and that every time they looked towards the heavens, see a star, and dream just a little, their devoted mother would be with them.  Always and forever.

I miss you Martha, have never forgotten you and love you always.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Patriotism and The Rockets Red Glare

A friend responded/commented to my facebook post a few days ago, wherein I was disgruntled by the noise from fireworks and my dog's reaction to them.  Mainly, that my dog likes to either hide in the bathtub, or curl upon my head, forging some silent battle against the good of my hair and the evil of the loud noise.  My facebook friend posed the question as to the level of patriotism in our great nation - "Are those shooting off late night fireworks doing so as a sign of patriotism", or enticed into disturbing the peace because they have over done their libations?

This got me to thinking about what the word patriot is defined as and why some find the week leading up Independence Day a perfect time in which to shoot off fireworks at all hours.  Is a patriot defined as someone who drink Samuel Adams beer, or someone who recognizes that freedom really isn't free?  Is a patriot someone who understands the meaning behind Thomas Paine's Common Sense or spends Ben Franklins on fireworks?  Is a patriot someone who likes Madison, as in little sugar cakes or someone who gives a few Hamiltons to the VFW?    Is a patriot someone who likes Oh Henry bars or instead, put a George Washington in the church offerings on a weekly basis?  Can someone tell me who the founding fathers of this great country were?  I know who they are, but the question is, do you?

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." These are the words of  Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers.  So, if  this is to be held accurate and sound, one can conclude that people setting off fireworks at 0200, in the middle of the street, while heavily intoxicated are nothing more than fools.  Patriots?  Hardly.  Fools?  Most assuredly.

"Is freedom about hot dogs and fireworks", my brother asked today.  I suppose that to some in this country, who have no idea as to how they acquire their freedoms, such a speech, living in a democracy, etc., then indeed, Independence Day is about beef on the grill, soda, potatoes, alcohol and acting like idiots late into the night.  Ask a soldier sitting in a red dirt foxhole in the middle of Iraq, and you will probably get a different reaction.

So, who is a patriot?   Can it be the homeless bloke on the street, down on his luck? How about the single mother living in Van Nuys, CA, working hard to make ends meet?  Maybe a patriot is someone who plays professional baseball, or the fan who sits in the stands, watching the game.  Perhaps a patriot is the family man who mows his lawn on Sundays, and then watches as the family pet takes a shit right next to the children's swing set.  All of the above can be patriots.  Again, we ask, who is a patriot? 

A patriot is someone who loves their country.  Respects the laws of the land.  Respects all the citizens within her borders.  The patriot holds his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is played.  A patriot considers it a privilege, not a burden to vote.  A patriot is someone who thinks that the Pledge of Allegiance is important, in its entirety, without omission of "one nation under God".  These are the songs of patriotism in this great nation.

On this day, when our country recognizes and celebrates the gift of freedom, we, as Americans, should be showing tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces who gave their lives for us so that we might be able to enjoy all that America has the potential to give.  There is a lady who stands in a harbor, as a beacon to those who have come to this country, LEGALLY, to grab the gold ring of democracy, just as my father did so long ago.  Patriots come in all colors, shapes, sizes, religious affiliations, political parties and ethnic backgrounds.  So long as a man or woman holds close the principles of freedom, they are a patriot.

"And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I'll proudly stand up next to you and defend her still today, 'cuz there ain't no doubt I love this land, god bless the USA." ~ Lee Greenwood