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.

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?