Riding Life!

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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

C: Be the Change You Want to See in the World

The quote is from Gandhi.

change-the-world

I found the poem below on a blog, Cha Cha Gigi, which, sadly, seems to have ended last June.

Please read this poem carefully – one line at a time.  No skimming or going ahead!!  You’ll miss out if you do.

Lost Generation
I realize this may be a shock but
'Happiness comes from within'
is a lie;
'Money will make me happy'
So in thirty years I will tell my children
they are not the most important thing in my life.
My employers will know that
I have my priorities straight because
work
is more important than
family
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era
this is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
Thirty years from now I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it.

--Jonathan Reed, 2007

Now read each line, starting from the last line to the first line (reverse it).

Don’t you love it?  Yes, hopelessness can be reversed!! 

journey-begins-single-step

Your deep thoughts for the day

compliments of Stickhorse Cowgirls…C

P.S. – as a “Wordie,” myself, I admire Mr. Reed’s word agility here almost as much as I admire the sentiment! (How long do you reckon this took him to write?)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

C: Vanity, Vanity; All is Vanity

chasing the wind The Book of Ecclesiastes has some wisdom in it, you know….

I ran across this Dove Evolution video, which has been around a couple of years now.  It contains a great message that chasing the image of beauty which advertising and popular culture burns into our brain is, indeed, a chasing after the wind.

Believe me, having your husband leave you for someone 30 years younger will make you consider cosmetic surgery, but I discarded that idea fairly immediately.  Why?  The only possible reason I could think of in my particular status to do it was to try to snag a man, and I wasn’t even fishing.  Besides, there’d have to be too much surgery—once started with that number-one priority (the double chin…), I’m afraid I’d try to work my way down, as it were. 

So, I’ll stay as I am, for the moment. 

I hasten to add that I am talking about ME, here, at this time. I have friends who have had cosmetic surgery with great results and for good reasons--no judgment, here--and I'm not counting it out for me in the long run. But I don't need to do it to try to meet some standard that is false, and I think the larger issue here is not surgery, any way, but realties and the need to find ourselves good, solid ground on which to base our self-esteem.

When you watch this video, you’ll see that even supermodels, blessed with “good bones” and high metabolism need the help of cosmetic artists and photoshop to attain the status of “model” of beauty for us all:

Yes, I love the message of this video: that there needs to be more to our self-esteem than outward appearance (notwithstanding the prevailing message) and that the bar has been set unrealistically high, anyway.  In other words, it’s a lie…

But, then, I need to remember that it can work the other way, too.  Can’t use that top video for my self-esteem talk without taking into account this one, as well:

No, I’m no model (never have been), nor is my goal “beauty:” I always say I aspire only to “socially-acceptable.”   I’ll leave plastic surgery for a while, but I got the message of that last video, too—I’m off to exercise!

C.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

C: The Roll of Infamy Expands—Ex-Rep. Chris Lee

Look at this patriotic stance:

chris lee

Doesn’t it just make your heart swell with pride to see a hard-working Congressman out there looking out for our interests?  See the Capitol just over his shoulder?  See the patriotic lapel pin?  Isn’t this just the picture of who you want to represent you?

But, as most of you know, Congressman Chris Lee (R-NY), has resigned quickly on the heels of revealing his true nature:

chrisleeshirtless

And, unbelievably, he revealed it on Craig’s List (!!!), trolling for women.  He put HIS REAL NAME AND THIS PHOTO on Craig’s List!  I mean, really, is someone who does this even smart enough to hold office? 

OOOOOOOH, look at that flexed muscle!” Isn’t that what he wanted to hear?  Taking his manly-posed picture in the mirror (this embarrassment is killing me, here—like watching a painful talent show).

I am somewhat known for outrage about this kind of thing, but in this case, it’s hard for me to work up any anger…All I feel, truly, is embarrassed for this sap and sorry for his family.

Bless his heart!  Not only has he had to resort to Craig’s List for a date, but he has felt the need to lie about his age ( comin’ up on 47), saying that he is 39!  What’s up with that?  Can’t stand to be in his 40’s?  The you-know-what not working quite like it did when he was 10 years younger?  Whew!  This is embarrassing…Really, this whole thing is pretty Junior High.

V’s comment on the shirtless Craig’s List photo was that it reminds her of a gorilla beating his chest for attention and to proclaim his, well, “manliness” (??? “Gorillaness?”).  Anyway, when I repeated her assessment, Son said, “That’s because that is exactly what he was trying to do.”

Lee’s resignation in humiliation will cost his taxpayers in excess of $1 million for a special election.  (So much for his Tea Party connection…)There is no telling what it is costing his wife and child.  Yes, he lied about that, too…

So, Mr. Gorilla-Beat-the-Chest, maybe the next picture we see of you is one like this:

chimp 

It is, after all, the best likeness of the three pictures.

And, while I question the wisdom of any woman looking on Craig’s List for a date, kudos to the woman who ratted him out.

I am sick of this…they do not need to be tolerated. I'm doing my part to give every one of them the publicity he deserves.    C

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

C: Orphans in the Snow??

weather We had seen the weather maps.  Yes, everyone knew the snow was coming.  I had a trial scheduled this afternoon at 1:30—the court called and cancelled late yesterday, although the weather at the time was positively balmy.  The weather guy was adamant that we were going to get dumped on yet again.

Yesterday was my late FIL’s birthday, so last night in his honor (on good, dry roads) MIL, Son and I went out to his favorite Italian restaurant where MIL ordered his favorite Brasiola.  We had a good time remembering him.  I was tired enough to put off the compulsion most of us have to stop at the grocery story, knowing that I had plenty of food at home.

Howeeeeeeever, when I got up this morning early, I realized that we just might not have enough coffee to last us through a couple days of snow-in.   Can’t be having that, now, can we?  Besides, there was NO precipitation.  Everything looked just as normal as can be.  I got in the car and took off to the store (we’re in the country—the store is 12 miles away).

As I turned out of our driveway, the flurries began to come.  By the time I was three miles down the road, I could see it blowing across the road.  Not a good sign.  The weather eased as I camesnow flurries into town.  The grocery store parking lot was dry as a bone and, even better, there were few folks in the store.

But I knew it was coming, for sure.

As I stood in the store’s aisle, fielding a call from my brother, demanding to know where I was on this dangerous morning, a woman approached me.  She looked to be early 40’s and was quite disheveled, like she had just crawled out of bed.  She was dressed in light-weight slacks and a thin v-necked sweater—not winter attire.  As I ended my call with my brother, she began a conversation, and this is how it went—very familiarly, like we were old BFFs:

Girl!  We’ve got to get the H out of here…I think it’s gettin’ bad outside!”

She went on to tell me what I never had even thought to wonder:  “I’ve been out drinkin’ all night long!  Well, me and my husband are trying to get back together—you know, work things out?  Well, we got loaded together last night.  We got us a room and partied all night!”

Yes, I could smell the alcohol.  No response apparently required from me, she continued:

You know what I did?  I got up out of the bed this morning and said to myself ‘Omigosh!  I’d better get back home to the kids!’  They don’t know we’re trying to work things out…”

Of course, my lightning quick mind realized that this meant the kids were home last night alone.  It didn’t get better….

I got myself home in a flash.  Got them kids up and outta bed, dressed ‘em and dropped them at the bus stop before I came here.  And I’m standin’ here looking out at the snow falling and wondering if that bus was even running today!”

Nope.”  I answered.  “Schools were closed last night, so there will be no bus to get your kids.  How old are they?”

In my mind’s eye I was seeing something like this:

girlinsnow

I just hoped this woman had the presence of mind to make sure they had coats.

Aw,” she dismissed the worry in my voice, “They’re ten and twelve—old enough to get themselves home and get in through a window.  They’re fine.

Really?  I would have been absolutely panicked, and I said a little prayer for these children.  Something tells me that they probably are resourceful enough to get themselves to warmth, because something also tells me this is not the first time they’ve had to take care of themselves.

How do some kids grow up?  By God’s grace alone, some of them.

By the time I got my groceries, the parking lot was white and the air was full of falling snow.  We’ll be in all day today—maybe tomorrow, too.

After an hour of snow (with hours more to go), the roads were treacherous coming home.  This is the view right now from my front porch.

DSCN1304

And here is my backyard through my picture window.

DSCN1303

And “they” tell us, it’s only just started.

Hope you all stay warm!  We intend to—got plenty of coffee now!  C

Sunday, February 6, 2011

C: Tragedy Sometimes Just Happens—It Just Does…

random-thoughts Here’s the way my rabbit-trail brain works:  Yesterday I finished up a divorce case that closely paralleled my own life.  It started me thinking this morning of the strange twists that life takes, totally out of our control.  Then, I started thinking back to things that I have witnessed over the years, instances where life just took off on its own; and one childhood memory came to the forefront of my thoughts.  I talked about it with Son over breakfast this morning and, surprisingly, he said, “Write about that, Mom.”

In 1962 I was ten years old.  John Kennedy was president, we were terrified of communism, gasoline was $0.28 per gamarilyn-death-431x300llon and Marilyn Monroe died.  (Confession: I had to look some of this up—my memory is  not that good!).

Notwithstanding a fair amount of adult turmoil in my home, I was living a pretty good childhood.  An integral part of that was my friend down the road, whom I will call “Jeannie.”

Jeannie was another budding equestrienne.  She and I would saddle up as early as we could each morning and spend entire days together on our horses.  We rode every, single day that the weather permitted.

Jeannie’s parents were an anomaly in my circle: they both had college degrees.  Her mother was a registered nurse and her father, “JC” a reporter for ounurse_clipart_picturer local newspaper.  I spent lots of time at her house, as she did at mine.  Remember starched, white nurses’ uniforms with white stockings,  shoes and caps?  Well, I remember Jeannie’s mother wearing these.

I was vaguely aware of adult problems in that house, too—JC was almost never without a can of Schlitz beer.  But at that age, we left those issues to parents.  Jeannie and I were bent on having a great growing-up.

One year Jeannie had a “bunking party” with four other friends and me to celebrate her December birthday.  Her parents had just added a new den to their home, complete with fireplace, and we girls snuggled down there in sleeping bags and on pallets of blankets—that is, we did way into the night.  It was traditional at these parties for us to stay awake just as long as we could, and woe be unto the girl who was first asleep, as pranks abounded for her.

So, when morning came, we were all exhausted and fast asleep on the floor of the den.  JCsleep came down through the den to get his Sunday morning paper.

The new den door had one of those locks that you can open from the inside without noticing that it is locked, but it locks you tight-as-a-drum out if you don’t unlock before you pull the door shut.  And that is just what happened to “JC” when he went out that cold December morning.

When JC turned to come in and found himself locked out it apparently infuriated him, but instead of ringing the doorbell to wake one of us to let him in, he marched himself to his workshop and grabbed an axe.

Imagine being a ten-year-old girl and awakening from an exhausted sleep to a man splintering the door in with an axe, shouting obscenities at the door as if it were a live enemy, and occasionally just screaming primal utterances of rage!  We had no idea who it was. 

I clearly remember us all sitting up, stock still without the presence of mind to run—not a one of the six of us.  I recall seeing the brass door knob fly off the door, skittering across the tile floor of the den in pieces.  I remember the axe blade showing at one point, coming through between the door jamb and the door, which was splintering with each blow.  Many years later, when I saw “The Shining,” I’m sure it had a deeper impact on  me than on most…

shiningukquadsmall

Jeannie’s mother had also been asleep, so it took her a minute or two to register the noise and get to us.  She herded us up the two steps through the kitchen, into the living room.  I remember the fright I felt as she calmly told us to stay quiet but if she instructed it, we were to run out the living room door and to my house, which was the nearest of any of the girls’ homes.  All through this, we could hear the sounds of rage and the hammering at the door.

I don’t know how, but Jeannie’s mother was able to calm JC, making him coffee in the kitchen while we huddled together out of sight just around the living room wall.

I don’t recall how we got home that day, and I can only imagine how the other parents felt when Jeannie’s mom and their daughters filled them in on the events of that morning.  It was the last time I stayed with Jeannie overnight (Duh!).

Very shortly, before school started up again after Christmas, Jeannie, her mother and her brother moved 250 miles north to be with Jeannie’s grandparents.  Their house went up for sale.  Her horse was sold and another purchased from near her new home—a beautiful paint I remember named “Chief.”

Jeannie’s mother filed for divorce and JC was hospitalized, receiving a diagnosis of Schizophrenia.  Within the year he was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot.

Later I learned what I had thought from observation: that JC had not always been so sick.  He had been a charming, great guy when Jeannie’s mom and he married.  He had been an attentive, loving father.  His children loved him dearly. But he began to slide into illness over the several years prior to this tragedy.

My own mother recalls Jeannie’s mom confiding in her of the deepening of JC’s illness and her quandary over what to do.  Do you stay by the side of the man you love, trying to find help that he constantly resists?  What about the children?  This axe-to-the-door event was probably one of the the proverbial last straws, a clear message that she had to get her children to safety.  My mother remembers the last time they spoke of this, Jeannie’s mom saying, “I promised God last night that if He allowed us to live through the night, I would get my children out of this.”

Years later, after high school, Jeannie showed up at my father’s law office, seeking—and getting—JC’s medical records.  She was, it seemed, fearful that she, too, would fall victim to this madness, afraid it runs in families and that she or her children might succumb.  Sadly, I have lost touch with Jeannie, so I don’t know the turns her adult life has taken.

It’s just life, isn’t it?  Any illusion of control we have is just that: an illusion.  These children did not deserve a sick father, no one—not even JC, himself—did anything to bring it on.  It’s a symptom of a fallen world and a warning to us all that we do not know what’s around the next corner.

illusion

Best to try to hold onto something solid…it’s a great recommendation for faith that Someone Else, a higher power who is wiser than we, has some kind of plan that can make sense of this sometimes senseless life.  I admit, that raises the question of why Someone Else would let such things happen, but that’s a whole ‘nother post, isn’t it? 

So much for childhood memories…C

Saturday, February 5, 2011

C: Can this be True?

I ran across this picture of Sophia Loren at age (are you ready for this?) SEVENTY-FIVE!

sofialoren

Can this be for real?  How does this happen?  Makeup?  Surely there’s not that much make up in the world… Photoshop?  Well, probably.

Plastic surgery? Oh, for sure.  And there is that telltale scarf to hide a saggy neck.  (See how catty I am?).

Good genes and God?  Taking care of herself?  Absolutely.

Still, the picture is amazing.  She is one beautiful woman.

And those boobs don’t look saggy at all—now I KNOW they’ve had some help.

C

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