Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Friday, July 3, 2015

C: And That's What It's All About!

My, hasn't there been controversy lately?  V and I have lamented that we know we are getting old because the world seems so very strange--topsy turvey, even.

V is in a twit (Is that a word?  Is it a polite word?) about the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. I am much calmer about it--as a lawyer I wholly expected the decision.

Then, there is the Rebel flag controversy.  I admit that I have one, myself, around here somewhere.  I never thought of it as a banner of racism, only as nostalgic Southern culture, but after the recent discussions, I have come to realize that many do, and that offense has taken on horrible magnitude in the wake of the Charleston AME massacre.

Again, as a lawyer, I have pondered the controversy of same-sex marriage as it collides with religious beliefs.and the flying of the Rebel Flag as it collides with free speech.


I gotta say, our Founding Fathers (FFs) have my deep respect.  They crafted a marvelous system.  I work within it every day, and I'm here to tell ya:  It is not perfect, but it is a wonderful piece of craftsmanship.

Frankly, as brilliant as they were, I don't believe the FFs had any idea how wonderful was their work.  There is just no way they could have foreseen the twists and turns our society would take--they, for example, would not have let me--a woman--vote. They would not have counted my right to a voice as an "inalienable right" as those who penned the Declaration of Independence declared such rights to be:

But the FFs instituted a system that seems to organically understand that we don't always get it right at first; we must live and learn and grow.  As a result, I get to vote.

Thank you, 14th Amendment!!

Thank You 19th Amendment - Ratified  August, 1920

As I drove to work the other morning, I was stopped at a red light.  The car in front of me bore a bumper sticker such as the one depicted below:
It brought to mind recent discussions: First Amendment right to speech vs offense to others, always a tension.

Then my eyes slid left to another car ahead of me in the other lane, directly next to the car with the bumper sticker above.  It had its own sticker:
I simply could not stifle a giggle to myself.  Here were two Americans, exercising their First Amendment right to speak their piece, side-by-side, and I'd venture to say they would not see eye-to-eye on much.

And I thought it was a fitting picture for me in the week preceding Independence Day!  It warmed me right up, right to my heart, and I heard strains of the "Star Spangled Banner" in my spirit.  And I am so thankful that these people have presented to me their divergent views!!  This is what makes us great and what makes us better!

Whatever our opinions, if we're Americans, we have the right to them and the right to express them so long as we do not unduly harm others, "By God," just as the FFs said.

And that's what it's all about!

- Cowgirl C

Sunday, December 21, 2014

C: My Definition of "Early Christmas Shopping"

Until the last five or so years (coinciding with husband's departure), my house was the Christmas gathering point beginning with Christmas Eve where every child under 18 received their Christmas Eve Bag full of goodies, continuing through a highly-family-traditionalized Christmas breakfast, ending with a Christmas evening dinner with friends.  This concentration of holiday festivities demanded lots of planning.  I would begin in the summer grabbing sale items off the end caps of big-box stores for gifts.  By Christmas week, all presents were wrapped and ready because I would have to turn my attention to food.
Since I have been single, however, things have conspired to dwindle my Christmas activities down to almost nothing.  First, following my husband's abandonment of me and his entire family, I went into a shock state that prohibited exact replication of  past celebrations, although we went through the motions.  In more recent years, there have been other factors, not the least of which is the aging and marrying of family "children," who now have the nerve to start their own traditions.  I have surprised myself at how little I have minded the passing of this torch.  It is as if all involved knew it was time, and it actually felt good to watch the activities unfold elsewhere, taking part exactly when and where I wanted to do so.
Last year my son, my mother and my mother-in-law, and I had a quiet Christmas together, culminating with a wonderful, peaceful dinner by candlelight and flickering fireplace and soft carols playing in the background.  We were restful and happy.
This year we are even one less, with the passing of my mother in May.  
So, while my Christmas has been pared down considerably, there are still things to be done--and this year they have been put off, sadly, to the very last moment.
Realizing that this weekend was the last one before Christmas (!!!) I determined to get up at the crack of dawn and leave the house by 6:30 a.m. to be at Sam's Club when they opened at 7:00 a.m.  This is the only time I will go there at any time--especially holidays--as the waiting in lines tends to be unreasonable at that store.  I knew it would be the best place to buy our special rib roast for Christmas evening and to peruse for a few gifts I would need to pick up.  So, this year the term "shopping early"  took a slightly different meaning.

Now, I am an early riser and pride myself that I never require an alarm clock.  Because of this cocky attitude, Hubris did its usual thing and let me oversleep.  I opened my eyes at 6:30 a.m.

Realizing I was in deep, deep trouble, I jumped out of bed, washed my face/brushed teeth, threw on the first pair of jeans and shirt I ran across and ran out the door, again smug in the knowledge that none of my acquaintances would be crazy enough to be out that early.
I got to Sam's just as the doors opened.  As I stumbled through the door and grabbed a complimentary styro-cup of weak coffee, I heard a loud and very nearby "Ho-Ho-Ho."  I turned to look one of my lawyer colleagues squarely in the eye and shrank backwards at the thought of how rough I must look.

"John" had certainly had taken time to put his makeup on.  He always sports a full, white beard and on this early holiday morning he had taken great pains with his appearance.   He had on a Christmas-red jacket with (unbelievably) white trim, was wearing one of those floppy red Christmas hats with a big white fluffy ball on its point.  He looked for all the world like St. Nick.   
And he was jolly, which irritated me almost as much as getting caught in such a sloppy condition.  
Furthermore he did not have the good graces to just leave me the Hell alone...oh, no!  He had to engage, clearly happy in his Santa success (I could only hope that Hubris later got him, too...)  It took me good five minutes (eternity) to disengage.

I managed to locate a beautiful rib roast, picked up a few incidentals and beat a hasty retreat to the seclusion of my car by 7:45 a.m.
Realizing that I needed a few grocery items (and knowing that I had already had my ego-shattering for the morning and, therefore, had immunity from any further such attack on my pride), I stopped in at Walmart next door to get milk, bread, yadayadayada.  As I pushed my way into the produce isle, I was tapped on the shoulder.  I turned to see yet another lawyer greeting me.  He, too, looked showered and refreshed.  He, too, was holiday-happy to see me, which meant an actual conversation while I died knowing that I looked like Hell...a feeling I had only just begun to get over.
I disengaged, virtually ran through WalMart and fled home.
I'm done.  The item or two I have yet to purchase will be picked up during my work days this week (only two), after which I will happily begin to plan and prepare our Christmas feasting, smaller though it may be.  No more risking getting caught looking like a homeless bag lady by those on whom I normally need to make a power impression...at least this holiday season.
Son, MIL and I will enjoy a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together.  My brother and
Sister-in-law, now with grown chicks, will join us for our fire-lit dinner Christmas evening.  I look forward to it.

Here's hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas, too.  

--C, slinking off with only a shred of former pride...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

C: Of Guns and Peace

bradley stoneBradley Stone is on the lam, probably in Pennsylvania. He is accused of murdering six people, including his ex-wife and her family.
There is one suspected sighting by a man out walking his dog. NBC Philadelphia reports:
Police are investigating whether a man, who fit Stone's description, was involved in a carjacking in Doylestown late Monday. He had a knife when he approached a resident around 7 p.m. on the 100 block of Commons Way in Doylestown Township and demanded his car keys, according to investigators.
The victim, who was legally armed, fired multiple rounds at the suspect, who ran into nearby woods, police said. Police, including K-9 units, searched the area, but they did not locate anyone.
Read about this here.

And, then there's this:

Remember the horrors of the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya,westgate mall proving that shopping malls are fortresses for terrorists? It certainly gave Interpol (International Police) reason to ponder this:
Mindful of the recent terrorist attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said that armed citizens in open societies need to be able to defend themselves and others against terrorist attacks.  You can read this here
lindtNow turn to the Chocolate Café in Sydney, Australia, where yesterday one lone gunman held captive at least 17 others.

What if one of those citizens had been packing? Could things have been different?

What if the gunman had reason to suspect at the beginning of his insane plan that someone in that shop might have been packing? Would it have given him pause?

What if the man in Pennsylvania walking his dog had not had his gun? Would he have lost more than his car keys and car?

Would this person, if it is a fugitive as desperate as Stone must be, have killed a witness?
Just thinking out loud…

And, yes, this may take it a bit far, but I could not resist.

Sorry to return on such a somber note.  Call me a right-winged nut case for even thinking this.  I won’t mind.  It’s what is on my mind today. 
Just askin’ the question.
POST SCRIPT - News says the fugitive has been found dead--suicide.  Was a PTSD veteran.  Sad.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cowgirl V: Storms of Life


The holidays are fast approaching and I am not ready!  Mentally I am ready, but physically-- no way!  I don't even have a shopping list yet and there is so much cleaning to get done!  The decorating will be simple as we have some repairs going on, but that's okay.


"C" and I have taken a long break from posting.  We both lost our moms early this summer after they both had suffered declining health the past few years.  Still, as they say--it is true--you are never really ready to lose them.  This past year I have been retired from my job and in many ways that has helped.  "C" is busier than ever at her law practice and has just moved back into her home after a leak last January that flooded the entire downstairs of her house.  She has been somewhat of a refugee living nomadically with friends, in a hotel for almost 8 months while her home was being restored--a difficult time.  Oh, and I almost forgot--a terrible tornado that wiped out many homes in her community and left a neighbor family grieving the loss of the father and two teenage daughters near "C"'s home, and caused minor damage to her property. It has been an exhausting year for her.


So how have I occupied myself since retiring?  I have rested a lot, spent time with my dogs and kitties at home, taught myself to crochet--kind of!  I have found that busy hands, a tactile, comforting yarn, mindless repetition is good for the soul --it calms my restless mind. When my mother was briefly in hospice care, I had my yarn and hook and could sit through the night with the comforting repetition to soothe and distract me. So far all I have produced are some rather crude dish cloths, but that is good enough.  Now I understand how women throughout the ages have found solace in mending, knitting, patching their lives back together, figuratively and literally.  How I wish my own mother could have discovered this as she struggled with anxious moments and would unconsciously sit and wring her hands.  Lord knows there is enough trouble in this world to trouble us all!

I've also joined the community of Instagram and spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest.  I have several projects to accomplish this year--getting my kitchen cabinets painted, some repairs that need to be done, choosing new flooring, rooms repainted, etc.  Whew--it is a bit overwhelming especially since I can't physically do it myself anymore.  I always loved new projects in the house, painting, wallpapering, but I need help now.  Pinterest is a gold mine for finding ideas if you haven't joined, I highly recommend it!

So, hopefully, tentatively --we are coming back to posting.  Life is fragile, the world is changing so fast and there is so much evil out there, but I refuse to give up hope. I'm working on a rant--Yes, this is a rant alert, but I thought it best to stick my toe in here gently before running readers off!

 * One last note to our friends out there --has a hobby or handwork helped in a therapeutic way to get you through a rough patch?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cowgirl V: Remembering and Still Missing Him


Today, (February 17) would have been my dad’s 92nd birthday.  I can hardly believe he’s been gone over 20 years.  Seems like yesterday I last heard his voice, saw his face.  Time assuages grief, but rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of something I would like to talk to him about. 



He was reserved and shy to those he did not know well, but at home there was lots of conversation about so many things.  I suppose that is what I miss most.  Discussing books, politics, religion—so many things he was interested in. 


The Source


He was born in 1922 to young parents who did not belong together.  His mother was loving and faithful, but his young father (barely 20 years old) was not up to fatherhood and left to seek employment in Utah.  He did not see his son until he was almost three years old.  There little interest shown and the resulting pain of indifference and broken promises.  I’ll never forget my dad telling me of the time when he realized that the dad he had idealized in his childish mind, did not exist.  My grandfather had come to his hometown for a visit from NYC where he was working at the Times.  My dad who was ten years old, admired a boy riding on a fancy English bike.  “So you would like one of those?” his dad asked.  “Just wait until I get back to NYC—I will send you one right away.”  Of course he waited expectantly for the bike that never came. 




Some folks follow in the footsteps of a negligent or abusive parent, but to my dad’s credit, he determined that he would be a faithful husband and family man—everything his own father was not.  Of course, it’s so easy to gloss over imperfections and as “C” reminds me those who have passed on suddenly become saints.  My dad was beloved, but he had his faults.  There was a simmering rage at being rejected that I have seen in everyone I’ve known who has been rejected by a parent.  Sometimes it spilled over at home—usually directed at me! 

I wrote about my dad a few years ago in a post titled He Was Unwanted.  A reminder to me that every life has a purpose and should be celebrated.  So on February 17, each year my mother would bake  daddy’s favorite cake –Pineapple Refrigerator Cake—a vintage recipe from the fifties that she got from our neighbor, Betty, who was the perfect homemaker.  Her house was immaculate and she made dessert every night!  This cake would be perfect for Easter dessert and I am going to make it this year.  A tender yellow cake split into layers with a luscious lemon pineapple custard filling and frosted with fresh whipped cream!  Yummmmy!


Refrigerator cake


Here’s the vintage recipe from a Spry shortening booklet  at www. food.com  recipe 41821  pineapple refrigerator cake

Hope you will try it!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

C: In the Ear of the Beholder

ears deceiveI heard a great sermon Sunday.  It was about the story of the rich, young ruler.  The point of the story, my pastor said, was not just about “rich” folks—it applies to us all.  We all have things we prioritize over God…even our “good works,” as the rich, young ruler had always meticulously obeyed the law.

Pastor ramped up, driving home the point that we cannot tell where we stand solely by our actions—that good actions can often mask impure motivations.  It is not the “outward,” he says, that is telling.  It is the “inward.”

And this, folks, is where I was jolted upright because what I heard is: “What is important is the “N” word!  Do you have an ‘N-word’ problem?”

And, through the rest of the sermon about our “inward struggles,” I heard repeatedly: “N word,” although I knew well what he meant.   It was my ears.

My consciences is clear:  I have no “N-word problem,” although it is probably evident that my “inward” regions could use some cleaning up.

Thank goodness there was no “giggle partner” sitting next to me, MIL not being the giggle-in-church type.  It could have been a disaster and it reminds me of another time.

I was sitting next to my BIL years ago, listening to a sermon from Zechariah 5:1, which says:

Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll.  And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I answered, "I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits…”

What I heard was “…behold, there was a flying squirrel…”  On top of that, it was a BIG flying squirrel (a cubit being estimated at 18 inches).  What a sight that must have been—even more impressive thflying squirrelan the flying scroll, which I knew was what Pastor referenced.

I glanced at BIL who, having heard as I did, silently mouthed, “…flying squirrel???”

Oh, it was bad…he and I dissolved, simultaneously bending forward to stifle our laughter.  Again, I say, it was bad—almost uncontrollable; tear-jerkilaughterng, nearly-pants-wetting laughter all while trying to be quiet and inconspicuous.  Our spouses were not pleased.

So funny how our ears can deceive, and what it does to our perception. 

Reminds me of another time.  In our household, there was a tendency for my son and me to sing Christmas carols at any time of the year.  You might hear us in a chorus of “Good King Wenceslas” in July. 

One day, Son made a sing-along request.  “Let’s sing the Christmas carol about the airplanes, Mom.”

For the life of me, I could not imagine what he was talking about.

You know, we sing it all the time.”  No, I did not know.  I requested that he start us out, which he did:

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the planes (er, plains).

Made me consider what my little child had been picturing inangel his head all those times we sang that song. 

On reflection, I decided that we do, indeed, want angels singing over airplanes…


Saturday, January 11, 2014

C: Truth in the AT&T Store

What is it about me that makes random folks just want to tell me their troubles?  Probably I ask for it.  attI am very interested in people.

You’d think, being a divorce lawyer for over thirty years, that I would become bored and jaded by human drama—not so!  I remain interested.  I hope it makes me good at my job.

Anyway, my paralegal/sister and I were in the ATT store today doing some phone switcharooing.  The man helping us was a nice, late fortyish man who noticed my business name on the account.  He asked, “what kind of law?”  I told him.

He had a story.

This guy has an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old from his former marriage and of whom he has custody. 

Then, there is the just-turned-six-year-old by his baby-mama.  He has a concern about the situation she is living in with her mother (he should be concerned,  from his description).  We talked about it just a few minutes.

As he walked us to the door, he quipped, “I really messed up.  I was 44, and she was 20.  I never planned on another baby. I just don’t know what happened.

Before I knew it, out of my mouth came:  “You know you never had any say in that, don’t you?  She planned on a baby, and that’s all that counts.  Once she planned it, the die was cast.” 

He stood looking at me quietly.

I continued.  “Oh, sure, you COULD have practiced protected sex, so I’m not letting you off the hook completely, but she was driving that car.  Men are so stupid when it crazycomes to this.”

He took it like a champ and said, “You speak the truth.  I never had a chance.  She played me.  Yes, we are stupid where sex is concerned.”

There you have it.  An admission.  It is the truth.

Robin Williams:

God gave man a brain and a p****s…and only enough blood supply to run one at a time.

It’s just that the kid reaps the consequences.

too old


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