Friday, September 25, 2015

Random Thoughts

I don't have a topic for a whole post, but have some random things on my mind.  I should mention that I have had a cold for a week, so some of this might be contributed to disconnected medicine head.  You have been warned.  Here we go:

*I have had my car for two years.  At what point will I figure out that I need to push to open the gas door instead of pull to open my trunk?

* I continue to hate fall.  When the leaves get crispy and the golden rod blooms, it makes me so sad, and makes my nose run.

* I do not like things with Pumpkin Spice.  Pumpkin Spice makes me angry.

* I am not sad that Ryan is in the last few years of needing a costume.  I am somewhat confused as to why being a banana is still socially acceptable, but being The Flash will now cause ridicule.

* The only good thing about Halloween is that you can get fun sized candy bars in so many options.  I do enjoy a really fresh Clark Bar.

* I have a cold.  I am blaming it on Fall. or maybe Dave since it started with him.  It is making me really crabby.

*If you have a cold, is there really a better feeling than when one of your nasal passages clears enough to give you a deep breath of fresh air unimpeded with mucus?  It is as if the sun is coming out after a long storm, only to be covered up with storm clouds again.

*I really like this Pope.  I like his humility and humanity.  I like that he is looking out for everyone and is not about pomp and circumstance.  He is what the world needs now.

*I get to take 1 niece and two nephews to lunch today, and I am so very excited.  Now that they are 23, 21, and 18, they are so interesting and fun to be with.  I am just glad that they let me hang out with them.

That wraps it up for this edition of Random Thoughts.  Stay tuned for future episodes of my stream of conscience.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Political Post - Consider This Fair Warning

 I have always been a "live and let live" kind of person.  I don't try to push my beliefs on others, and I don't appreciate having others push theirs on me.  I like to think that I have an open mind, so if you want to have a calm, rational discussion on a touchy topic, lets discuss, and perhaps I just might change my mind.  Even if that doesn't happen, at least I will have learned from the experience.

With that being said, I just can't understand why people think that it is okay for that crazy woman to deny a marriage license to same sex couples.  It is not a question of who is right or wrong, it is a question on whether or not this woman is doing her job.

First, if your beliefs don't allow you to perform your job duties as outlined by the law, then you should not be doing that job.

Second, if you are going to pick and choose which aspects of the Bible you are going to agree with, that is not very Christian of you.   Just like statistics, you can bend the Bible to say just about whatever you like.  I may be wrong here, and if I am, please let me know, but I think God wants us to live our lives as an example of kindness and compassion.  If you are a criminal element that causes harm to others, and I am on jury duty, then it is my duty to pass judgement. Even though I have been called for jury duty three times, I have never been on a jury, so my opinions should never have legal consequences to anyone.

Finally, I believe that this woman is going to end up as a sad footnote in history.  Her actions will be seen as being as ridiculous as people that tried to stop women from voting.  I believe that people that are in a committed relationship with another person should be given the same rights and consequences as this woman who has been married four times.  I believe my friends who have three children together should be able to visit one another in the hospital if one falls ill.  I believe that they should not lose their house to others when one of them passes away.  I believe that medical benefits should be provided to their whole family.

I am sad that a presidential candidate had a rally when she was released from jail; that he even shed a tear.  I want God to bless America, but I want him to bless all of us, not just ones deemed "normal" to those that stand in judgement of anyone that might be different.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Yes, I am still alive, and no, I have not emotionally abandoned this blog

I know it has been almost a year since I have written on this blog.  I have a million excuses why I haven't, most of them because I have been busy, and some because I haven't had the emotional energy, but mostly because I haven't taken the time to feed my own likes and hobbies since I am supporting those around me.

Colin is 15 and has completed his first year of  the wonderful world of High School.  I feel that he deserves his privacy and the opportunity to create his own online life.  He is amazing and talented and funny.  All of the things I was dreaming of for him are coming to fruition.  His wise-beyond-his-years personality has finally caught up with his chronological age, and it is so fun to watch him grow into himself.

Ryan is 10.  He is still a bundle of energy and joy and light.  He still makes me laugh every day, and he still makes me crazy.  His smile could light up the sun itself, but he also has the dead-eye stare that will one day strike fear in his children's hearts.  I think he got it from my dad.

In the last year, we have survived and actually enjoyed a season and a half of marching band, winter and summer swim, travel baseball and travel basketball.  We lived through Freshman Year in high school, and third grade.  All of this alone is a good excuse for why I haven't been writing.  I can thank Ryan's guardian angel for getting him through third grade math.  Thanks Sara!

This year we are living the high life as a member of safety patrol.  That has single-handedly made fourth grade the Best Year Ever.  I am a bit worried what is going to happen when the florescent sash has to be passed to the next guard as this is only a one month position.  Only one person gets to be the safety patrol captain who gets to be in charge all year, and there is some fierce competition.

As for me, I will continue to drive the kids to and fro from hither to yon in a quest to give them the same experiences that Dave and I had when we were growing up.  The chance to be a part of a team, and feel like they are involved in something bigger than  them.  For us, it is the chance to watch how far they have come, and dream about how far they can go.  After all, isn't that our job?  If not, tell me because this is a lot of work if I am doing it wrong.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Where I have been...

I have been considering abandoning this blog.  I know it looks as if I already have since I haven't posted for a while, but summer was crazy and it doesn't look like it is going to slow down for about 10 years.

Things that have happened since I last posted:

1.  My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was an intimate gathering of the family that was there for them when they got married; the family they created in the 4 kids, 4 sons-in-law, and 10 grand kids; and the family they chose in the friends they have made along the way.  There was good food, good company, and I am so happy to be a part of their world.

2.  Laura was home for a whole month.  OK, not necessarily home, but in the area, so it felt like we got to spend time with her family for a whole month.

3.  Ryan has been playing flag football.  I was against this from the beginning as we all know that I am afraid that he is going to get hurt.  Let's face it, 9 year old boys have a very hard time not tackling when they are flinging themselves at each other trying to pull a flag, and I have seen my fair share of underwear when they grab the pants instead of the flag.  There is no safely equipment except for a mouth guard.  I think they should at least have a helmet for crying out loud.  Dave will never hear the end of it if something happens to him.

4.  Colin is in high school now and is in the marching band.  In our school this is a big deal as there are 240 or so kids in the band.  I have so much respect for these kids.  If someone told me that I would have to play an instrument and walk, sometimes backwards, I would tell them they are nuts. Colin plays the mellaphone which is a huge trumpet and he can't even see where he is going as the bell is too big to see around, and he has to march with his head up.  I am ridiculously proud of this kid.    

5.  School has started.  In fact, we are 1/2 way done with the first grading period already.  Once again, third grade math is bringing me to my knees.  I remember this with Colin as well.  Can someone please explain to me why we have to learn how to subtract using FOUR different methods? Is one not bad enough?  There has been a few nights of tear and gnashing of teeth, and it is not always Ryan with the issue.  One night I had to call my friend who teaches 2nd grade and have her translate for me.  I had never heard of a Landmark Number.  If he would have called it estimating, I would have understood.  Thanks Cindy!

It seems like I spend an inordinate amount of time in the car, and we are keeping Moe's Southwest Grill in business.  I had a bit of a panic attack when I realized that there was no more saying, "if we can just get through September things will calm down."  When band ends, swim team begins.  When flag football ends, basketball begins, and so on, and so on.  I have decided to just buckle up and enjoy the ride. People keep telling me it will be over before I know it anyway.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

LeBron's Decision Part II

For the past week, it seemed like we had been held hostage by LeBron James as we waited for him to decide where he would take his talents. We have been down this road before when four years ago, he crushed Northeastern Ohio's collective hearts when he took them to South Beach.   I believed that our hometown boy was going to do right by us and stay to bring us the championship that he had promised.  He was hailed as the best basketball player that had ever lived and I bought into the hype.  This time I refused to open myself up again for the rejection.

Cleveland has suffered rejection before.  Let us not forget Carlos Boozer convincing Gordon Gund, the former owner of the Cavs, a blind man no less, to let him out of his contract with only his word that he would sign a new long term contract.  He then went and signed a multi-year contract with Utah. Most people don't even remember that.  It was not that James left, it was the way he did it.   We don't begrudge people the opportunity to take the best path in life.  To see what life is like somewhere else.  Heck, who hasn't wanted to go away for college or live on the beach?  The difference here is that most people don't hold an hour long press conference on prime time television to stick it to the place that has shown so much passion and respect.

I am happy that the decisions that I made when I was 25 didn't effect the economy of an entire region.  When I was 25 I made the biggest decision of my life when I married Dave. Aside from the 198 people that attended the wedding, nobody even cared.  (I assure you that those 198 people enjoyed a spectacular evening.)  LeBron was 25 when he made his decision to go to Miami.  For the previous five years, he and his family had every whim and wish catered to.  In short, he was a spoiled brat.  I am glad that people can't remember what a brat I was when I was at that age.

LeBron has grown up.  He is a father of two with one on the way.  He has had four years (the equivalent of a standard college education) to experience life away from home.  He has had four years to recover from the backlash of the Decision part I.  I am not sure that he was expecting us to react so strongly since he had never been shown anything but love.  Cleveland was justifiably upset by the betrayal and I think it took all of us time to recover.  That time is now.

I don't think people outside of this area fully understand what LeBron brings to us.  Cav's season tickets sold out in eight hours.  That means that all of the home games will be sold out bringing people downtown to eat and shop.  The city of Cleveland is electric.  There is true joy in the air.  In the past week, Cleveland has landed the Republican National Convention and the prodigal son is coming home.  Perhaps this will show people that Cleveland has come a long way from being the "Mistake on the Lake." Just like LeBron should not be judged for his youthful mistakes, Cleveland should be judged on what it is now not 40 years ago.

LeBron is coming home.  He finally understands what this area has to offer, not only for himself,  but for his family as well. I think he finally understands that nobody will love him like we do.  He understands that when he is here, we are all better.  I think he understands that he can make a big difference in the lives of the people that live here.   He understands that this is a great place to raise a family and most importantly, he understands that there really is no place like home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fourth of July Round-up

The Fourth of July is always a busy time for my family.  Dave and I got married 18 years ago on Sunday.  It is still the happiest day of my life, and the best decision I ever made.  The weekend included a surprise (at least to me) visit from Laura, the neighborhood breakfast, a trip to Medina for the parade, an Artfest followed by dinner with Dave, and ended with fireworks.

I am focusing on the fireworks for several reasons.
1.  Dave loves fireworks.  I am indifferent.  He will seek them out, and I am content to go along for the ride.
2.  There is generally great people watching at fireworks.  I LOVE to people watch.  It is a true study in human behavior, and this year did not disappoint.

We intentionally arrived way early to the festivities so we could get a good seat.  We had a spot scoped out from last year, so we wanted to make sure we could sit there again.  We were some of the first people to arrive, so any spot on the lawn was ours for the taking.  We very carefully selected our spot on top of the hill so we would not have any trees in our way.  We laid out our blankets and set up our chairs and the boys started to play catch and play with sparklers.  We had two hours worth of snacks and entertainment spread out before us and were having a great time.  It was small time Americana at it's best.

About 40 minutes into our experience, a man came and sat upwind from us and lit a stogie.  Who does that? I realize we were at an outdoor event, but COME ON, did he really not think that the 50 or so people around him wouldn't notice!  Colin is very sensitive to this kind of thing and my options were to call this guy out, or to move.  The guy was kind of scary looking, and we all know that I avoid confrontation with strangers like the plague, so we moved our two blankets, seven chairs, 1 cooler and 4 bags of stuff.  We were no longer sitting on top of the hill with no trees in our way.Putting that behind us, the fireworks were really good and the kids had a good time.  We were all in a really good mood, and I, in particular, was feeling quite patriotic as we started the long trek back to our car.

Did I mention that we arrived two hours early?  When we got there the parking lot was empty.  We carefully chose our parking place so we were facing the exit and were at the end of the row so we could just pull forward.  We were following  traffic jam etiquette by letting one person in front of us per row.  Apparently the lady in the Ford Expedition did not understand or follow the common traffic jam etiquette, and when we got to her row and let the person in front of us out, she expected the same for her.  Dave proceeded to move forward and the lady drove as close to us as possible without t-boning me and then turned her bright lights on right next to my face.

I could understand her desire to get out of the parking lot as she had two spawns of Satan kids in her back seat. Perhaps she had to go to the bathroom, and I would never fault someone for not wanting to use a port a potty.  Perhaps she was sharing her car with Smelly Stogie Man, but for crying out loud, WHO DOES THIS?   I can't say as I have ever had such a thing happen before.

The bottom line is that we had a lovely evening with family and one of Will's friends.  They were so sweet to Ryan playing catch with him, helping him with the sparklers, and he even sat between them for the show.  He will carry this memory forever.  These are the kind of days that recharge my soul and keep me going.  These people are the reason that I stay in Ohio even though we had one of the worst winters on record.   Days like this are the reason that this will always be my home.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Parenting 101

I think it goes without saying that I have never said, nor will I ever say that I am a perfect parent.  I am far from it.  I consider it a successful day when my kids are clean, fed and safe.  It can go either way on the clean and/or the fed, but I have been accused, more than once, of being overprotective.  It is a true case of "if keeping my kids safe is wrong, I don't ever want to be right."

Currently Ryan is mad at me because I won't let him play flag football.  To me, it is the gateway sport to tackle football.  There is no doubt in my mind that he would make an excellent player, and that is part of the problem.  He will really like playing, and catch the attention of some coach that will want him to go to the next level.  He is big, and kind of fast, and very enthusiastic.  How do I say no then?  It is hard enough for me to watch him playing baseball after the unfortunate incident last year.  Can we just take a moment to imagine how bad it would be for all of us if he got hurt playing football?

Enough about that.  Here is where I was really going with this post.  Over the weekend I was working a trade show booth in a very popular, open-to-the-public area attraction.  I was in a conference room that held five or six booths.  I had been working about 45 minutes when this small child walked into the conference room.  There had been a lot of kids with parents walking through all day, so I didn't think too much about it.  After a few minutes all the other visitors walked out and this child was still there as more people came in.  I kept my eye on him until he wandered over my way.  I asked him where his parents were and he said that his mom was out in the hallway, leading me to believe that he walked ahead of her and she would be coming in a few moments.  I told him to hang out with me until she got there, and I gave him my phone to play with until we found her.  Fifteen minutes later there was still no sign of her, so the lady from the booth next to mine went to find her.  Meanwhile this child had built something on Minecraft and had mastered Ham on the Run.  (Go on, I dare you not to sing "Band on the Run.  I know, it is impossible.)

It turns out that his mother was out in the hallway where there were other vendors.  I understand how hard it is to get a babysitter, not to mention how expensive it can be, but this child had been with me for TWENTY MINUTES and she had not missed him.  How could she have possibly expected this baby to stay with her for hours on end unsupervised.  There were over 3000 people attending this Expo, not to mention the regular people that would have been there for the actual attraction.  This kid was very willing to talk to me and also very willing to play with my phone and eat the candy that was on my table.  The only thing I was missing was the puppy and I could have had the kidnapper's hat trick of cliches.  It was a disaster waiting to happen. Over the course of the next few hours he wandered in four or five more times.

I really try to mind my own business and not to judge other people's parenting styles because, as Robin Robert's mother says, Everybody's Got Something.  Lord knows I have no right to cast the first stone.   I don't know this family's story, and frankly it is none of my business. I am sure this child is rambunctious and ornery and pushes his mom to her very limit, much like Ryan does to me.   I am just sending up some thanks to this child's guardian angel and hoping she sticks close, because that family is going to need it.

Now if mine can help me with this flag football problem and convince Dave and Ryan to pursue a less dangerous hobby, I would really appreciate it.