When My Dad Calls

I hate to admit it–but I have suspicions that my dad thinks I am a jinx when I watch Ohio St. He called tonight and said in his fatherly tone. “Elizabeth are you watching the game?”
ME: I have Ohio St. on upstairs and LSU downstairs.
Dad: That’s not what I asked. Where are you now?
Me: (swallowing the truth) Ummmm (fine I can’t lie to Dad)
Dad: I see.
Me: Dad, I really wanted to watch this game.
Dad: What is the score, Elizabeth?
Me: I ‘ll just stick with not good.
Dad: I’ll just suggest you go downstairs.
Me: How am I the jinx?
Dad: Do you remember the Michigan-Ohio St game you watch?
Me: Dad that was years ago.
Dad: Who’s winning right now?
Me: I’ll change the channel.
Dad: Love you sweetheart
Me: Great I can’t watch the game but I am upgraded from being called Elizabeth to sweetheart. Love you too Dad
Dad: Remember…..
ME: Yeah, yeah, yeah I won’t peak.
Dad: I will keep you posted by text.
ME: Swell!
Dear Ohio State,
No need to thank me for your win tonight. Just thank my dad when he quits laughing because it appears he is right.

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Questions From The Middle

Okay folks, it’s been awhile since I have even made a smidgen of an attempt to write. So before going forward I want to quote a friend of mine from twitter who says “apologize for nothing” (Hat tip to you Ken!) so I won’t.

A better question might be what brought me back? Aha! Well, there are times in all of our lives where we just don’t have enough time or energy for anything. Buuuuuuuuttttt when we do…..I’ll just let you decide.

Back in the 60’s my dad was a prolific poet. The first poem I read was And The Lord Created the Middle Class. I was about six when I read it and I am pretty sure the understanding of my six-year-old self was limited to Barbie dolls, making gooey cakes in an Easy Bake Oven, my baseball mitt, football trading cards and a stuff bear named Mouse (didn’t everybody have a stuffed bear named Mouse?).

I have often thought of that poem from time to time. One because I have a memory that doesn’t let me forget things I have read and two, partly because I was curious to see if indeed anything has changed.  So I asked him about it tonight.  Dad was thrilled when I mentioned it and I could hear the years melt away from his voice. However, he wasn’t  exactly sure where he stashed it. Hopefully, he will be able to find it! It’s not like he had a hard drive back then like all of you digital natives do now. It is I will bet, stashed in a notebook somewhere in the Pepoy domain.

In his cherished poem he talks about in iambic pentameter the creation of the Middle Class and the responsibilities bestowed upon it. This has nothing to do with what side of the aisle politically this class is on, but just how much this group strives to move up and how much of America is paid for by them.

What reasons drove me to ask Dad about it? Like most things in my life that inspire me to write, I was having a conversation this week with a few friends and they asked me what I thought about the government shutdown. Snickering, I said “Ya know, my income keeps the government going and since they’re not working I’m thinking why should I pay for nothing?” My friends looked at me strangely.

Feeling like a comedian in room full of crickets I continued.

“See all of us pay taxes, more and more over the years. There are more of us in the middle than any other income group. We seldom use services or ask the government for much of anything. We work, we pay and we have gotten bored and fed up with all the arrogance that continues to plague Washington. If I pay taxes to keep all those agencies for my safety going, and throw in all those so-called departments that think they have better answers to agriculture, emergencies, justice and anything else you can think of,  it is clear I am not getting served. With that in mind, if services are not being rendered, as with any other business that doesn’t do a job you hire them for, then why shouldn’t our payments be withheld until it is?”

Suddenly the 100 watt light bulb made a miraculous returned for only a moment as my friends realized what I was saying.

Folks, they have a responsibility to us not the other way around. While the powers-to-be on the Hill want to act like 2 year olds in a room full of toys whom are fixated on just one toy and having a game of tug of war, then we have to take the role of the teacher and simply take the toy away. Our tax dollars are the toy and its time to take it away.

What is really funny to me to is this presents like taxation without representation. They’re taxing but name one member of congress who is representing right now?

I am not decreeing anarchy or to start a revolution. I just want the arrogance of their ignorance to stop and work for the American people. It’s just common sense.

If you know me then you are well aware there is a football reference in here somewhere. I will not disappoint.

My boyz in Cleveland have won three in a row– all while losing their starting quarterback; a hometown boy of Cleveland to suddenly using the previous quarterback, in which the fans booed as he entered the game and still manage to come up with the WIN?!  Well– I guess there may be a lesson to be learned by all.

The success screams true teamwork and the desire to win. The Browns had to go with the flow, win the crowd back and in the end everybody including the fans did their part. The offensive line held off the defense, the quarterback released the ball faster, the running backs blocked and ran for yardage, the receivers caught the ball, the defense stopped the run, broke up the passing game, made the seal the win interception, not to mention the speedy special team kick returner’s run back of punt for a much-needed touchdown. They made a choice to play as one team and with that win, succeeded in showing the nation what real teamwork should look like.

It was only three weeks ago the Browns were being accused of tanking on the season for the number one pick in the 2014 draft. Instead they dug in and became the surprise of the NFL.

So explain to me why those employees we elected can’t dig deep and do the job they were hired to do?

This is not rocket science.  Shoot it’s not even finger painting.  What it is, is a small group of people sent to a small district to collect and spend our dollars in a big way while telling us it is for our own good.

Would you want any of these guys balancing your checkbook and paying your bills? Ummm I’m thinking a big fat no.  If you do– I’ m sorry they are on furlough but they’ll get back to you.

When my dad wrote his poem almost 50 years ago he might have had hope that something would change. It’s politics! A man-made device that over looks the spirit and beliefs of all the American people.

There is an old saying I tell my team everyday:

“None of us are as smart as all of us.”

Whatever your beliefs are–We are smarter together and know that real leaders do more listening than talking. They plan, they guide, they teach and they defend their people. What are they doing in Washington? Does your Representative pass the test?

The challenge is a small group shutdown the government because they can’t work as a team. Yet they can assess blame, use fear, and threats to make us be at odds with each other like them. Which this may sound blasphemous but do they want us to be like them in their image? We are so much smarter than this! As a team we have a choice.

Do nothing, or terminate their employment. It is that simple.

God created all is my belief, I also believe you get what you pay for.  I am fed up and tired of throwing my money out the window when nobody is working and congress is still getting paid. Those guys should have forgone their pay and tee times first!

Here in the middle we cut the luxuries to get back on track and have been doing so, long before my dad wrote a poem. What stinks is when this is all over they will come to us in the middle and tell us to pay for the mess they made.

Again we have a choice.

UPDATE:   My Dad’s poems have been located and I have copies!!!  Look for another post soon!

T’was My Night Before Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas and yet to be packed.
I look at the clock and wished it was cracked.
For the time was flying and all was a skewed.
I needed an angel who knew just what to do!
I looked to the heavens and saw in my sight a small little elf so brilliant and bright.
She made small sounds as she giggled and cooed.
The time that we spent was loving but few.
Her eyes danced like snowflakes..
Her coos just for me, but I feared suddenly all things including mistakes
With all her angelic might she fought off her sleep.
So snuggled and warm for the evening without even a weep.
She nestled her tiny head in the crook of my arm.
As if to say love should not bring me alarm.
By the grace of god this tiny elf
Brought me amazing joy in spite of myself.
For time is a number and sleep can wait.
To hold Savannah in my arms has been Christ’s Christmas fate.
As I felt her exclaim as her eyes closed in my sight,
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a goodnight!

A Wish for a Hot Tub Time Machine, Paul Brown, Fake Field Goal, and a Disgruntled Squirrel

It’s the Holidays and for fun I had a few wishes for the Cleveland Browns. Oh stop groaning and enjoy!

http://voices.yahoo.com/a-wish-hot-tub-time-machine-paul-brown-fake-11887713.html?cat=14

Hey Lolo! Tweet On! I Will Do Laundry! My Guest Blog at Media Absurdity

Check it out!!  See how a simple tweet by Lolo Jones was blown out of proportion, and  my reasons for defending her!

http://mediaabsurdity.com/2012/08/01/hey-lolo-tweet-on-and-i-will-go-do-laundry/

Fear Births the Storms of Socialism

Desperation: Noun

1: loss of hope and surrender to despair

2: a state of hopelessness leading to rashness

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The clouds roll in and the thunder gently rattles in the distance, the heart knows the storm will soon arrive. Nothing will change the momentum of the impending squall. To stay is an act of desperation to protect the surroundings of comfort that is familiar.

To leave is the feinting of sorrows that go with such abrupt departures. Nothing will be the same when returned.

Rankled in the vain attempt of trying to mollify the situation, wrapped in the want, the need and the must desperation is born.

The screams and the hollers of those around brimming with panic and uncertainty begin the malignant transformation from rational thought to blood curdling acts of inaneness. Fear is a potion to drink.

The juvenile behaviors of fear force blindness of spirit, deafness of conscious and the demoralization of soul. Nothing is safe.

However, they can protect you.

They will give the comfort of food, clothing and shelter, nothing more, and nothing less. Try to better the standard they will apprehend what is better and place it elsewhere containing the status quo.

Now they own you.

Long hours, longer days and everything will stay the same. Nothing moves, or improves.

In the moments of discontent, their desperation has generated fear with hate, bias and greed all to stifle the mind and silence the need for freedom.

The sacrifice is made, but the storm never comes. It is the fear of the tempest that is used to control, dominate and separate the rational being from sanity, common sense and resolve.

Desperation of fear destroys what is constituted in mind, body and soul as the natural right of being.

The shroud lay over freedom as it breathes its last breath and American Socialism is born.

The Silent Pieces of the Puzzle.

What seems like a lifetime ago my paternal grandfather had a terrific hearing problem.  It was always kind of rough going to visit my Grandparents because when Grandma left the house for any reason I would be stuck sitting on the couch in a heavily paneled tiny family room, as Grandpa rocked back and forth in his rocking chair, smoking his pipe filling the room with the aroma of cherry vanilla tobacco, while watching a golf tournament on an old Magnavox.

If anyone wonders if he turned up the volume, let me make this clear.  It was golf!  Back then as it has been explained to me many times;  it is a quiet sport of concentration where even the announcers barely spoke above a whisper.  If Grandpa only knew my friends and their version of golf he might have gotten a hearing aid sooner.

Basically, it was perfect for him. He couldn’t hear and he didn’t need to.  Same held true with just about any sport he enjoyed viewing.  He could see the action, smile at the good stuff and frown at the bad.  His eyes were as blue as the sky and his far sight was not diminished by time, it was strong enough where he could see the score from across the room.  However, sitting there with him on the old avocado green sleeper sofa on a rainy Saturday made me wish I was old enough to attend the Ladies Rosary Auxiliary, purely because he didn’t have much to say.  This would make for a very long Saturday afternoon.

Once he sensed boredom on my part he would immediately come up with a plan.  Thus, I would become the newly crowned recipient of a 1000 piece wilderness puzzle to work on until Grandma returned.  If I wanted his attention while working on the multicolored billion pieces of cardboard landscape, all I had to do was start in the middle.  Grandpa was an expert at assembling these things and by not following the puzzle plan of attack, it would create a slight panic in him and quietly come to my aid.

In a kindly gentle fashion he would reach for his reading glasses and silently stand over me and guide my petite hands, with his enormous ones to build the outer border of the puzzle. In his aged voice which was soft and muffled he would say “Bethy, you start from the outside and work your way towards the center.

How ironic.

There isn’t any question in the grand political picture where the boundaries are.  There lie on the exterior are the conservatives and the liberals.  All will vote accordingly. 

Even with all the arguing that has run rampant inside the GOP over which candidate should be chosen.  By November 6, all of the GOP will vote for the chosen Republican.

There has been a lot of talking/shouting by both sides, but what if there is a silent majority not being heard from?  Just like putting together a puzzle on a rainy day establishing the framework of the scenery leaves the middle wide open and empty, while waiting to be engaged by joining in the fusing of similar pieces.

Moderates and Independents hold the majority of votes across the country. They are hard-working blue collars and entry-level to middle management white collars who have never registered for a political party. They are also inundated with campaign phone calls they hang up on, main stream media sound bites that cause them to change the channel and watch reruns on TVLand and are left with contempt for all things political.

Those who rest in the middle have a pain point. What that is may not be so clear. It is clear the left believes they have those votes.  But do they?  What actions are being taken to debunk the stereotypes of conservatives being spread over many social media outlets by the left?

How many conservatives are talking between themselves and or debating, arguing with the liberals?  It simply is not enough.

Once when I was living in the moderate state of mind I was only concerned with how much money it was going to cost to keep gas in my car, the lights on in my home and what school district offered my children the best hope of a strong education.  I wasn’t familiar with the debt clock, revenue and tax brackets.  The old adage of “All you ever have to do is die and pay taxes” was a mantra that was basically accepted.

This is no longer the case.

What I fear is the Moderates and Independents will choose to stay home on Election Day or throw their hands in the air, frustrated and vote the country towards another 4 years of the same struggles.

I am far from suggesting that conservatives move towards the middle; nothing, could be further from the point.  What I have started doing is asking my more moderate friends some simple questions:

Do you like paying the same price for a gallon of gasoline as you do for a gallon of milk?

So which would you choose milk for the kids or gas to get to work?

How are your finances i.e. retirement and savings doing?

Do you still have a savings?

What will it look like 4 years from now?

Do you agree with cutting military spending, will you feel that way if there is another attack on the U.S?

Basic questions but watching the expressions on their faces I could tell I made them feel the pain that has been staring them in the face.  Yet, the normal response is “Nothing can be done.”

My answer is always, “Much can be done and it starts with a single vote.”

The unifying of Moderates and encouraging Independents could very well swing the election by simply helping them realize this country belongs to all of us and no matter what happens we are in this together. 

This is to take nothing away from the T.E.A. Party and all they have done.  However, there are still people out there that don’t understand what the initials even stand for, let alone what the movement represents.

As with putting together a jigsaw puzzle, quietly with my grandfather, the strategy was straightforward; establish the framework and then address the middle to finish the landscape.  It is time to start the addressing of our Moderate and Independent friends and engage in the conversation that affects everyone.

This election is a multi-million piece jigsaw puzzle.  The border has been laid, but about 40% of the pieces are silently scattered on the table waiting for hands to help them find their proper place in the political picture.  So many pieces, so little time, and so important for us all to help lend a hand.

While there are questions to be asked. I must ask myself which GOP candidate speaks to the hurts and pain of everyday Americans?  Which candidate can overcome and avoid the stereotype of the scary right-winger that so many of them will not put up with?

I ask these questions not because I haven’t made up my mind, but like my Grandfather, you’ll need to finish figuring out the puzzle yourself.

Only then can you adequately explain the picture to those who don’t have the patience.

Special Thanks: To Generic Republican and PolitiJim  for always being a tweet away

Yes, My Parents Met at Boy Scout Camp!

In the obscurity of the recesses of my mind there lies a tiny little memory. Today, I push away the cobwebs and attempt to relive that moment for the two people who have given life to my sister and me. In all the vast splendor of the fourth grade version of me, I would come to discover how our family came to be.

It was an assignment that I knew was coming. Having a sister one grade ahead of me in school, I knew there was no getting around it. It was the very first autobiography on my life that included all the excitement of chickenpox, favorite stuffed animals and the occasional skinned knee. However, the hardest part of the assignment was conducting an interview with my parents on how they met. The simple thought from my 10 year old brain was “Oh joy.”

My plan when I started out would be to go straight to the source. You know; the guy that asked the girl for her hand in marriage. This was going to be a cinch! I would be done in no time flat and I would be able to watch the ball game with my dad. Quickly, my cinch was dashed by a bombshell I didn’t see coming. The infamous words rang from the guy’s lips. “Go ask your mother.” Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked during the Indians season opener.

Defeated in my only master plan I trekked up the stairs to the kitchen where my mother was doing bills. In our modest split level kitchen, seated at the captains style table Mom was working on the family budget. The ever present fear that this may not be the best time to ask any questions I decided that I would ease into the conversation, once again proving I was nowhere near the brain caliber of my parents.

“Yeeeessssss?” My mother said with a slight tone of curiosity to it.

“I have a project for school.” I mumbled

“And that would be?” While her fingers flew across the calculator adding up the various expenses, the feeling of uneasiness swept over me. After all this was the woman who gave me a bill for services rendered when I tried to ask for an allowance the year before. Being anywhere near her and her calculator wasn’t going to endear me no matter what questions I asked. However, I thought wrong. “I am waiting Elizabeth.”

“How did you and Dad meet?” If there had been an old time country auctioneer in the room I would have given him a serious run for his money, with how fast I was speaking.

The sudden absence of sound in the kitchen was deafening as my mother’s hand paused over the modern abacus and looked up with her giant brown eyes. Then a flash of a smile came across her face before she spoke. “Autobiography time, huh?” I nodded glumly. “Well that’s an easy one.” She said.

“It is?” Whew! I thought in relief. That soon would change when I heard the answer I was sure no other child with the exception of my sister had ever heard.

“Boy Scout Camp!” my mom said not even batting an eye.

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I was stunned. Boy Scout Camp, how in the world do you meet the love of your life at Boy Scout Camp? I thought. Somewhere written across my face my mother must have noticed the beyond shock expression. “Mom” I whined. “You’re a girl and girls are not allowed at Boy Scout Camp. This isn’t funny. I’ll just ask Angela she did this project last year.” I stomped off to find my sister who would clear up this mess for me.

Again trekking up another flight of steps I went into our shared room and jumped on her bed.

“Go away I’m reading.” She growled.

“Tiger Beat magazine is not reading.” I yawned at her, quoting our father who never cared for teenage gossip rags. clip_image004

“It is, if there are words on the page, what do you want?” She was now well hidden behind her magazine.

“Mom said she and Dad met at Boy Scout Camp.” I was now looking over the top of the prepubescent rag directly at her.

“Didn’t believe her? Well guess what? They did.” She held the magazine closer to her face and I was left to go back down stairs and face my mother.

“Why didn’t I listen to this story last year?” was the only thought that raced through my mind.

I peeked around the corner and almost as if she knew I was coming she pushed the chair out for me to sit in. “Oh, so glad you came back.” Her sarcastic tone did not fall on deaf ears.

“Sorry, how was I supposed to know you really met at Boy Scout Camp?” I was squirming in my chair, desperately trying to avoid eye contact.

“First get your feet off the chair. Sit up straight and finally please listen.” I tend to believe to this day that the last part of listening was more pleading then a demand.

If curiosity had killed the cat then I was now really facing death because my interest was bubbling over. Her graceful hands smoothed out her navy and white shirt as she repositioned herself to begin the journey of events that gave way to meeting Dad.

I assumed the listening position by resting my elbows on the table and placing my face in my hands. My flannel blue and black plaid shirt was unbuttoned at the cuffs and Mom as she spoke politely reached over and buttoned each. “I met your father in June of ’61. Your godfather, my cousin, was attending a Boy Scout Camporee to kick off the summer and the camping season. Your Aunt Caroline wanted to go for a ride in my new Chevy Impala convertibleclip_image006 and not really having any specific destination to go to we decided to check up on her son (my future godfather) Jerry.” Her eyes flashed a brilliant glow and a wry smile crossed her lips.

“You see your Aunt wanted me to meet a different Camp Counselor but it was your father that grabbed my attention. One look and I knew I was going to marry him. We had the chance to talk and he asked if he could call me and as you can see we have been together ever since.” She winked at me proud that she kept the story short and my attention. As predictable as the sun rises in the morning she once again straightened out my shirt and softly ran her fingers through my long brown mane to try to ensure that every hair was in place.

She further added “Keep a smile on your face and you never know what doors will open for you. I found your dad all because I smiled at him.” I raised an eyebrow partly because I was 10 and boys still had kooties and the other part was I was expecting a much longer story.

“That’s it?” I asked not being able to hide my disappointment.

“How do you figure that is it?” She said dryly. “You asked how we met, not how our story has been unfolding each day since. Bethy, a relationship starts with the first hello, nothing more nothing less. When two people find each other in the world the first moments merely make it clear if you want to see this person again. Over the summer your father and I found out that we never wanted to be apart.” She gave me a hug and sent me off to write down what I had just learned about her and Dad.

That was 37 years ago and on March 3, 2012 my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Through the many joys and laughter, heartaches and losses, the many hellos they said to friends and family and the goodbyes that they have endured over the years. To me, it always appeared they handled everything as one.

I think how true to this day what my mother said about a smile and I know that many times even when they didn’t feel like smiling they did so we wouldn’t worry. Each has had their brushes with ill health and saw each other through it. Each have enjoyed success in their careers and celebrated. What stands out to me that even if the accomplishments or disappointments were achieved as individuals, it just never felt that way growing up, it always felt that they rejoiced and grieved as one.

No marriage is perfect but over time if given the chance, it can evolve by taking two separate flames freshly ignited reaching across the seas and gathering up on the shores, with a force so powerful that the two souls skyrocketing over the horizon fuse together to create a brilliantly lit beacon in the stillness of the night, signifying their union.

As we sat in the church waiting for the Mass that was in my parents honor to start, a simple message from God appeared to let us know he too was excited about the service. There, making his way to the front pew just across from my parents in all the spectacle of his uniform taking a seat next to his dad, was a Boy Scout.

Fifty years ago two amazing people repeated this promise: I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.

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