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.

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?