The Steps We Take

Confucius once said (quoting Chinese Philosopher Lao-Tse) a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. As innocuous as it seems, it really can hurt far more than given credit for. It’s not the physical steps that hurt but the emotional effects of making the decisions to carry out the ideas.

I tend to believe most people only see the big picture and are completely unaware of the many steps it may take to accomplish the tasks, journeys or events that are in mind. It is within these meager steps that can insure success. Miss a step and then start the count of how fast the house of cards crumble.

No one comes in to this world running, walking, standing or even sitting up. We learn it. It is those first steps that create the memories that endure and times we wish to forget.

What happened in the steps taken by some this week. Let’s see:

Rick Perry said he stepped in it.

Joe Paterno was forced to step down.

Herman Cain had to step through it again.

Newt Gingrich stepped it up.

Each one of the aforementioned had to make adjustments to circumstances and be held responsible for their decisions. I know there is more to it than what  appears above in those short blurted out sentences.

Rick Perry had a moment that most people would rather forget. I am not going to make excuses for his drawing a blank; however, this is a man who since having back surgery hasn’t missed an event. How many people can take any steps, let alone walk up to a podium after having back surgery?  Then have a mishap and be able to poke fun at himself? I must ask how much physical pain has he been in? What complaints can be heard from him about it? None, instead he turned that moment into a quiet powerful message.

Appearing on The Late Show with David Lettermen he handled the Top Ten List with confidence. He achieved something I think people may have missed. By understanding that his misstep would become a joke, he took the first jab. He was able to redirect and get back on point showing leaders make mistakes. Humbling as it seems, how many would have given excuses or try to come up with a good reason? Will he ever be a great debater? Probably not. Can he lead? Ask my good friends in Texas and they would give him a hell yea!

Herman Cain has been stepping through allegation of sexual harassment and the list is growing.

Bear with me here; along time ago my best friend from high school and I were discussing something that happened at school. My mother within ear shot of the discussion told us this:

“If one person says it, might have merit but would need proof. If two people say it then yes it has some truth to it. However, I caution you girls if there are more than three it has become everybody’s business and there isn’t any truth to it any more. It is just a popular topic to make people look more important. It has become nothing more than idle gossip which will bite those who spread it in the behind. Mark my words.”

This is what I see is happening to Herman Cain. It has become a supercilious rant by some tossing around allegations and waiting 15 years to step forward seems outrageous and a flat out embarrassment to those women who have truly suffered from sexual harassment. The painfulness of the subject is hard enough to come forward with and prove, but to have those take away from the severity with an attempt to discredit one person in an attempt to gain by it, is inexcusable.

In stark contrast to this is Joe Paterno’s firing from Penn State. Simply put he had all the opportunities in the world to remove Jerry Sandusky from his coaching staff.

This wasn’t questions of false allegations this is going to trial. Placing football before everything else may have put him in the record books. The truth is he will never coach again, and Penn State will for a very long time feel the effects of trying to cover up the horrific acts of one.

It can be said that JoePa reported it but how far did he follow through with it? Are there truly that many rules in HR manuals that caused this to be buried under a rock for so long, or was it a case of winning brings in too much money for those innocent boys to be protected? Hmmmmm.

No one likes when an icon falls but it is his own steps that he is responsible for. No one wins, game over Coach.

Then there is Newt. Every debate he picks up more and more support. He possesses the brilliance to handle moderators and peers easily in debates. Without sounding rehearsed he is confident almost in a cocky sense. He will not back down from his point and has yet to raise his voice. The victor of more debates than the other candidates, he is still deemed unworthy of being viable as the GOP presidential choice.

Newt’s steps are perfect right now. Why? He didn’t make a big splash in the polls when he first announced his bid for the top office, more of a steady climb. Using patience and perservrance, Newt is avoiding the rolling coaster climb that leads to the crashing and burning in the polls.

Once the joke of the GOP Presidential Candidates, he now has people taking a closer look and he is receiving better placement on the debate floor. Newt is making the small and right steps to accomplish the desired outcome. There is still room for missteps. Once the onset starts of garnering attention from the MSM (Main Stream Media), they will swarm like locust and thus begins the taring down of Newt. How will this be handled? Or is it more of his old-time beltway experience working in his favor that will allow him to maneuver past the MSM and directly hold the attentions of the voters? I am not so sure. I prefer to wait and see.

These four men have been facing steps, in, down, through and up, which are direct results of the decisions they have made whether on purpose or by happenstance. I envy none of them.

Why? I had to choose to take a step to write about it. Need I say more?

Taking steps can be deliberate decisions that should not be taken lightly. Confucius wasn’t kidding when he said the journey of a thousand miles…It is first steps that can allow the individual to pursue with either reckless abandon or be diverted from the path that needs to be taken.

From first steps of infancy to reaching the end of the journey the final destination is the same for all, plugged in the middle of it are choices. Choose wisely and reap the benefits, choose foolishly and the outcome could be dire.

Hey, I can’t sugarcoat it. Wouldn’t even try to.

Next time I think I will use the word rankle…sounds irritating, but that’s what may make it fun to use.

Be well and once again I remind you of something I posted a while back. Nothing that starts out peaceful stays that way. I was right. Think about it.


Sharing the Wealth, Put Me Out In the Cold

Did I get your attention?  I thought so.

I have given a lot of thought on the subject of wealth redistribution; you could say it has occupied a good bit of my time over the years. All in all, it reminded me of a cold day in 1973 when it began and ended 24 hours later, that’s when I learned the basics on this subject.

The conversation began as I went racing into my parents’ bedroom while my mother was getting ready for one of many Christmas parties that year.  I jumped up on the side of the vanity and did one of my favorite things to do, watching my mom applying her make-up.

While engrossed in her actions, I soon would remember why I went in there. “Mom!” I shouted. “I need an allowance!” Startling her with the excitement in my voice, she snapped up a tissue to wipe the eyeliner off where I caused her to overshoot her eye and on to her temple.

“Oh, you do, do you?”  She never looked away from the mirror, finished correcting the eyeliner debacle and moved on to her mascara.

“Yea! Cindy get’s five bucks every week!”  My heart jumped over the excitement of getting cold hard cash.

“I see. What exactly does Cindy do for this allowance?”  She said as she glanced over at me.

Stumped I stammered for an answer “Um, I think she cleans the barn.”  Cindy had lived on a farm.

“In case you haven’t noticed we don’t have a barn. So, what are you going to do around here for five dollars?” She chuckled.

I thought a moment. My grandmother lived with us and all the really good high paying chores were done before I got home from school.  “I could clean my side of the room.”

“And I should pay you to clean your room?”  She was now blotting her lipstick.

“I guess not.”  Truthfully I was crushed by the mere tone in her voice.

“Hmmm, now let me get this straight.” There was a long pause (more like 30 seconds, but to a kid..)  “I should pay you to be a member of this family?  And you only want to pick up after yourself?”  She turned looked right at me and suddenly I could feel the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

“Uh, um, I don’t know.” I whined, regretting ever mentioning the subject.

“Oh no—wait a minute,” she said touching my arm to stop me from leaving. “You live here, eat here, we clothe you AND now you want me to pay you?” 

“Uhhhhhh, I guess?”  I was sinking fast and I couldn’t even find a life jacket let a lone a life boat.

“Also, you get presents, money when you need it, and I am pretty sure we pay for all the sports you join, the piano lessons you wanted, and now you want me to just pay you?”  This wasn’t working out how I had envisioned.

“I suppose?”  Man, why couldn’t one of the dogs come barging in, a phone call, anything to stop this line of questioning.  Yelling for help was not an option. I was drowning fast.

“How old are you again?” She knew the answer this was a warning shot that I now had her full attention. 

I hopped off the vanity and quietly answered.  “I just turned nine.”

“Well, I see.”  She smiled a sort of smile I had seen her use on Dad, when she knew the advantage belonged to her.  It was a look that did not inspire the feeling of warm fuzzies.  She added a strange chuckle before she spoke. “Can I get back to you in the morning after I have thought about your request?”

“Okay.”   Renewed hope abound I kissed her cheek avoiding contact with her sticky lipstick and left completely clueless as to what just happened. That night I would sleep peacefully at the thought she was considering my request.

However, the next morning, I found my mother up bright and early sitting at the breakfast table. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes and thinking of nothing but cold cereal and Saturday morning cartoons, I was surprised to see her there.

 I could see in front of her a white piece of paper with a lot of writing and numbers on it.  She gently slid the paper to where I had parked myself at the table.

 I sat looking at the paper, in a moment my eyes grew in disbelief.  I didn’t fully understand what was on the paper, but my mother tapped to the number at the bottom of the page.

It read:  For 9 years of services provided including room and board: 

Elizabeth Ann Pepoy owes the Pepoy Family…………..$124,162.12

“Hey! But I’m a just kid.”  I protested.

“Keep reading sweetheart.”  There are moments in your life you live to regret, this would be one of them until I had children of my own.

As I read through the repayment plan– the list covered everything from lawn mowing to doing homework and trying not to fight with my sister.  I was to help with the grocery shopping and putting them away until further notice.  I also had to help my Dad shovel the drive way when it snowed and feed the dogs.  With a special notation that feeding the dogs included giving them water. Something, I would bet had been overlooked in the past.

The note continued:

For the record no family member gets paid to be a part of the family.  Love is free. However, the house, the transportation, the lights, the water, the clothes and the food we eat are not.  Your father and I work so that you have a home with all of the above.

We give you what we have.

Love Mom

P.S. If you want anything extra get a job.  Since you are still too young to have one, it is time to start your repayment plan. I have taken the liberty of having  your boots, coat, scarf and mittens waiting in the mudroom so you can dress warmly to start shoveling the drive way.  It snowed last night.

I quietly got up from the table and looked at her.  She then asked a question that I probably shouldn’t have answered because it sent me to confession later that afternoon.

“Have you learned something this morning?”  She smiled her warm motherly smile.

“Yea.”  I groaned wondering if the hat she pulled out for me to shovel in would cause great disparity on my part Monday at the bus stop.

“And that would be?”  As she leaned up and stroked the back of my head. Knowing I had learned a valuable lesson.

“Never ask a bookkeeper for an allowance.”  I didn’t make a friend.

The days of my collection of bandersnatch creatures from Sesame Street were long behind me and my life lessons were just starting.

 My parents redistributed their wealth and wisdom to me so that I could grow up and stand on my own and truly give a hand up to those who need it. 

 I will be the first to admit the woman is good.  I would use this redistribution of wisdom on each of my own children.  I suspect they will do they same.

For those who want to pay more taxes.  I have a much better I idea.  Since I have redistributed my meager wealth to the future; aka my college age kids, who have worked minimum wage jobs while going to school and in search of their true callings.  I need a new roof feel free to send what you would have paid in taxes to the cause. 

Jeff Foxworthy said it best on Hannity, “To me, America was built on being a land of opportunity it wasn’t a land of guarantees….”

Word of caution nothing that starts out peaceful ends that way.

Be Well,



Is Anybody Listening?

The other evening I was at a friend’s house when I noticed she had the same Keurig Coffee Maker that I do.  I started to make a comment about it , when suddenly she revved up into a whole dissertation on the handy contraption.  I mentioned to her ( at least I tried to) that I already owned one just like it, but nevertheless she continued with her monologue, almost as if she was enjoying the sound of her own voice.

Looking at her in disbelief, I wanted to say; didn’t you hear what I just said?  Honestly, I was floored by how little she was paying attention, and astonished how effortlessly she moved from the contraption to what coffee I needed to buy.  She even went so far as to hand me a coupon for 20% off to buy a coffee maker I already own.  Frustrated, I managed a crooked smile and accepted the coupon. Next thing I knew she was handing me a cup of coffee.  Quickly (more like one hot fast gulp, I would pay for later) I  finished the steaming hot brew  that she insisted I try.  It was then I realized I needed to make my escape.  Don’t get me wrong I love her, she’s a great friend, but there are times that she gravitates towards something and I just can’t bring her back from it.

Hyped up on caffeine my drive home would be the kind of stuff  Speedracer would be proud of. 

And that’s when it hit me….

However,under extreme advisement (mostly my own, which I ignored).  I placed a call to my Dad at 11:30 CST to his 12:30 EST that was a non-emergency.  You will have to take my word for it, and I promise to spare you the ugly sounds (swearing– I think) I heard, before the phone was promptly disconnected.

The events of the evening  just reminded me of all the rhetoric going on within the GOP.  It seems everybody is banging on drums and not one person can hear the music. 

The next day I grabbed the phone ( hoping for a better response then from the night before) and hesitantly said “Dad?” immediately I began a rapid tear about what happened the previous evening and then tried to tie it all back to my political concerns.  How he understood everything I spewed at him is a wonder. I suspect it comes from living in a household of all females (I mean no disrespect but you had to know our household).  

 Everybody is in full motion– talking, ranting and raving, with arms swinging to make a point. We would stop only long enough to look at Dad, to have him conclude which one of us was right.  His answer was designed with truth and an easy escape clause;  “All of you—too bad you weren’t listening.”

Now I ask you does this sound familiar? 

Everybody is talking and nobody is listening, well to each other in some metaphoric way.  In all, isn’t it really about the same wants, needs and objectives.  The mitigating factor might just lie in what Dad told me:

“Emotions can and/or will win an election, but does that mean those emotions choose the right candidate?” 

How true does this hit home?  Of course we have emotional attachments this election season.  However, arguing amongst each other doesn’t serve any real interest, nor purpose.  My stockings run just sifting through the words being tossed around like weapons that are meant to impale. 

There are a lot of strong feelings going into this coming primary season and so much viable information that it tends to be overwhelming.  The trick, I think is to separate the emotion from the facts and not repeat electing on feelings like I believe what may have happened in 2008.

That said I fear that I am right back at my friend’s listening to what I already know, already understand and  my concerns are still not being heard.  What I need and want is one person to explain something I don’t already know with the ability to listen. Perhaps some type of plan.

Is there anybody listening?  Am I going to get a coupon for 20% off a platform I already know?

Many camps are working diligently and the candidates have become gadabouts trying to hit all the different events or so it appears. I question what coffee maker they represent?    

If my friend were to sell coffee makers I might be coerced into buying one.  If she decided to run for office I might have to recommend she sell coffee makers.  While I love her to death my vote would not be her’s.  Leaders listen, plan and talk.  They have the ability to choose the right people for the job and no fear in changing it when the desired outcome is not achieved.

I am waiting for the one candidate to stand up and grab my attention.  I already know what I don’t want.  Like my friend did by talking over and through me, I don’t want to have the same points given to me for what I already own the knowledge of.  It’s just an empty cup waiting to be filled.

To all the candidates—convince me, I am listening……for my vote is the coffee in your cup.  Where will my vote be poured?

Happy Hunting!  Next time I might just lean toward using bandersnatch. This might be a real challenge but I bet my anime friends out in twitter can help me (HINT, HINT)

Be Well


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