Riding Life!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

RANT WARNING, C: Adding to the Hall of Infamy

razorback V and I live in the grand state of Arkansas.  U of A Razorback football is huge throughout the state, although I don’t care two hoots and a holler about it.  Around here you see Razorback clothing, Razorback purses, Razorback s%*t on cars,  Razorback everything.  Silliness

I remain mostly clueless about the entire sports program, thankfully.  I cannot think of any more boring activity than watching a Razorback game on television unless it’s being dragged to one in person.

A couple of weeks ago at work my brother said, “Can you believe it about Petrino?” 

Who?”  (yes, I am that clueless). Turns out it’s “our” head coach. (er, now former head coach).

Petrino!” he chided.  “Don’t you follow any news?  He had a motorcycle wreck and had a young sweetie on the back. I think it’s going to be a big deal.”

It was a big deal.  An investigation was launched and he was dismissed, losing a contract worth $2.3 million a year (amazing, our priorities).

And, yes, he did have a young sweetie on the bike with him.  Here’s the happy couple:

petrine

She’s, oh, half his age—maybe closer to a third his age.  And, by the way, she was an employee of the university.  He hired her!, which makes this really bad, legally as well as morally.

Athletic Director Jeff Long did a stellar job explaining the University’s position concerning the firing.  I did not know who he was, either, prior to this.  I have a great deal of respect for what he had to say. 

Here is the press conference, if you care to spend the five minutes or so to watch.  Toward the end, Mr. Long becomes very emotional as he addresses the topic of our duty to the young people on our sports teams.  I agree wholeheartedly with him and applaud his actions, especially when he pointedly says that Petrino does not have the character to lead our students.  (The video is more interesting than a football game, I promise…)

What I hear in Mr. Long’s talk is a tale of total arrogance by this Petrino dude.  On MY money (as a citizen of the state).

This guy had it all…a lovely wife, children, a cushy job in a state which practically (idiotically, in my humble opinion) worships its football coach.  It never ceases to amaze me that someone will throw everything away for a “relationship” that could not have much of a chance to be anything more than amoney fling.

Of course, it comes out that he also gave this chick $20,000.00.  My, money can buy the ego boost, can’t it?  Look at him…what else can she see in him except money and power?  Amazing. (And, by the way, what does that make her?)

I tend to disapprove of the over-emphasis of sports in our institutes of higher learning.  I am somewhat persuaded that they have their place when I hear how much money they rake in for the schools (so long as I am not forced to watch the games).  But then things like this make me rethink.  If the “importance” of the sport is so great that we attract and ncaa to some extent tolerate (until there is a public scandal too open to ignore) giant egos that lead to this kind of family-wrecking antics, I’m not sure it’s worth it.  If this is higher education, then I”m not for it.  Are we modeling that money/power can allow any behavior?

But, then, I’m just an old grouch when it comes to football, anyway…C.

PS - For other “Hall of Infamy” inductees, do a search on this blog for John Edwards (that trial is interesting, isn’t it?); Tiger Woods; Mel Gibson; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Anthony Weiner, to name a few of my inductees.

Monday, April 23, 2012

C: The Times, They Are A-Changin’

the-times-they-are-a-changin-broadway-poster V and I were musing about the changes we have seen in our long lives.  Our conversation centered on our society’s (V and me included) need to stay connected.  This came about as we were fiddling with V’s new Kindle Fire which will, of course, connect to her Facebook, Blog, E mail, Internet, Library, etc., etc..  And this is in addition to her I-Phone and computer.  I’m in the same boat—toting the I-Phone and I-Pad wherever I go.

When V and I were growing up, there was nary a thought of a personal cell phone.  My mother and mother-in-law did not have cells until they were in their seventies, and yet all of us—those two octogenarians, too—think we cannot leave the house without a cell phone.  Furthermore, I get irritated as all get-out when Son either has let his run down or if he has left it where he cannot hear it.

I think back to the days when we would just have hphone-interview-nervesad to wait until we either saw the person we wished to reach or when they were at home where they could hear the phone—landlines only, of course.

I think we’d all die of impatience if we had to return to this sporadic contact. We’ve forgotten what it is to “wait by the phone” since the phone is always either in our purse or on our person.

And then there’s the internet.  What a wonderful tool it has been for me.  It has revolutionized my law practice in so many ways.  I remember the days when my research needs would expand further than our set of state reporter books.  I’d have to get in the car and head to the Supreme Court library or the law school library for research that I now have at law librarymy fingertips twenty-four/seven.

This is wonderful.  But it has also resulted in my working closer to twenty-four/seven, too.  My case load seems to have expanded far beyond what I could carry before and, as a result, I think I feel more overworked than before I had this internet convenience.

V and I talked about the speed of the change we have seen in our lives and how even more radical it had to have appeared to my grandmother who went from horse-and-buggy to television, air-conditioning, and man on the moon (although she never believed the latter—said it looked too much like Arizona desert to her).  She also went from floor-length dresses to mini-skirts (not HER, of course—she also heartily disapproved of women in slacks).

I really think that we are living in a time of lightning-fast change as compared to other eras.  How much different, fourteenth century really, was twelfth century Europe than fourteenth century Europe (you history buffs feel free to jump on me here).  I don’t think their lives changed anywhere near as radically as my grandmother’s did in her lifetime.

Things V and I remembered that our children will never relate to:

  • The “importance” of long-distance phone calls or of using “the operator” to place one or placing/receiving a “collect” call;
  • The excitement of receiving hand-written letters in the mail—or theletter tension of going to the mailbox each day expecting one. (Remember penpals?)  My aunt wrote me a letter a couple of weeks ago.  It was a warm, unexpected surprise, and I read it over several times.
  • The lack of microwaves and the necessity of reheating left0vers (ever so slowly by today’s standards) on the stovetop or in the oven.
  • Not having world news at your fingertips.  Remember waiting on the 6 and 10 news?  Or on the morning and evening newspapers—which are quickly disappearing.
  • Coffee pots that “perked” either on the stove top (watch that clear glass bulb on the top!) or one of the percolator new-fangled electric percolators.  Either way we had to wait (horrors!) far longer on our cups of coffee than would be tolerated today.  (remember the Maxwell house television commercial featuring the percolator sound?)

I guess I’m feeling old and curmudgeonly today, but I don’t know that all these conveniences have necessarily led to less work.  Like any other vacuum, the time saved has left a void only to be filled by more hustle and bustle.  I’m living proof…C

Friday, April 20, 2012

C: The Quintessential Western

godfather There are a few movies that draw me into them no matter how many times I have seen them.  Some that come to mind: The Godfather (either of the first two); Ol’ Yeller; Casablanca.  If any of these happen to be on the tube and I am passing through the room, I will be drawn to watch as long as I can, even if just a few minutes through a scene I recognize.

It happened to me again this past weekend.  This time it was Lonesome Dove.  Oh, my.  When this mini-series comes on, I literally become absorbed in the expansive scenery, the exquisite McMurtry dialogue, the phenomenal acting.  Robert Duvall will always be Augustus McCrae for me; Tommy Lee Jones is Woodrow Call.  The rest lonesomedove of the cast is equally superb.

This movie moves me emotionally, and I’ve tried to pinpoint why.  It is, in my opinion, the quintessential western saga; it is also quintessentially “American,” the embodiment of our spirit.  The men are men, by golly; and the women, well they’re strong, honest survivors (except for that crazy Ellie…).  I simply love, love this movie.

The storyline is based on the Charles Goodnight/Oliver Loving cattle drive in 1867 and incorporates historical figures and events.

The book is a wonderful read, too, winning the 1985 Pulitzer,  as it should have.

How ‘bout some quotes:

I hate rude behavior in a man.  I won’t tolerate it. “ Woodrow Call.

If you want any one thing too badly, it's likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things, like a sigus and callp of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.” Augustus McCrae to Lorie

He had known several men who blew their heads off, and he had pondered it much. It seemed to him it was probably because they could not take enough happiness just from the sky and the moon to carry them over the low feelings that came to all men.”  (from the book)

Occasionally the very youngness of the young moved him to charity--they had no sense of the swiftness of life, nor of its limits. The years would pass like weeks, and loves would pass too, or else grow sour.” (from the book)

sigh. to be able to write like that…

If you have not seen this movie or read the book, I highly recommend both.

Moving day I’m moving toward the weekend and glad to be doing it.  You would not believe all the junk I am going through.  Son pulled boxes down from the attic for me last weekend and I’ve been combing through them, trying to be ruthless to myself in throwing things away or piling them to the side for the church rummage sale.  I am hoping to list the house in the next month, and I simply must weed things out.  Right now the house looks like a bomb went off.  It is amazing what we can accumulate. 

C

Sunday, April 15, 2012

RANT WARNING! C: SAHM vs. “Working Woman”

Well, for once it is not the liberal women up in arms, but the stay-at-home-moms!  Have you heard Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney?  (Who the H is Hilary anyway?  Wikipedia says she’s a “lobbyist and Democrat pundit.)

Here’s what she said:

And here is what I have to say:

I grew up in the sixties.  I married in 1970 at the ripe old age of 18, but I proudly wore a t-shirt that said “A woman fish bicycle without a man is like fish without a bicycle.”  Yes, I was/am a feminist in many senses of the word.

I am a big believer in traditional marriage, so please do not misunderstand me on that score.  But I do believe that a woman can have a very fulfilling life without a man.  I’m doing it now.

No woman should ever rely on a man in order to become who she wants to be/ who she should become.  In fact, as a divorce lawyer, I can tell you that it is absolutely a disastrous decision to rely on your husband totally for any aspect of life: emotional or financial.  “Grow your own wings” is my constant advice to women.  Following that advice will serve them in their marriages and, in the unfortunate case of divorce, it will serve even more.

Okay, now we’re clear on my philosophy (right?).  I find it so amazing that this Democrat pundit can so openly dis’ homemakers.  I have worked most of my adult life in a tough, male-dominated profession.  I did, however, take off time to raise my son while he was young.  I have been in both shoes.

I remember when I was  pregnant.  I had a trialbon-bons-adj scheduled on the very day that my son was born—didn’t make it, but you can see that I was working hard right up to delivery date. 

As I anticipated my time off with Son, I remember thinking: “I am sooooooo going to enjoy lying around the house, relaxing, loving on the baby, puttering, etc., etc., etc.”  I had fallen into the trap of  thinking that eating bon-bons was a favorite pastime of stay-at-home-moms.  Boy was I wrong!  Baby came, and I have never been so fatigued in all my born days.  Mothering is no walk in the park.

I learned that moms may turn to eating Bon-Bons, okay, but it’s likely to be some sort of coping mechanism rather than relaxed munching.

harried and frantic with mother and child in kitchenLong ago I learned not to ask women,”Do you work?” but rather the more accurate: “Do you work outside the home?”

Now, why is this pundit’s quip so offensive to me?  Well, for one thing, she is a self-styled liberal.  You will never hear her disrespecting someone because of their race (as well she should not).  Can you even imagine her saying, “What does he know?  He’s a plumber!”  Of course not.  It’s only the traditionally-woman homemaker that she disparages in this way.

There are so many politically-correct boundaries nowadays, especially for persons of the liberal persuasion.  But we women are fair game, aren’t we?  We have been for centuries.  We are blessed to live in an era and society of unprecedented opportunity for women.  But we’re still devalued.  In my work I hear (day after day) that

  • She’s never worked the last ten years of our marriage.”
  • “It’s my money” he says. “She never earned a dime of it.”

The attitude is devaluing and wrong.  All the time I see even women’s pastimes demeaned.  Hunting or golf seems important.  More traditional feminine hobbies are seen by husbands (often voiced to me) as trivial and unworthy of the same share of the family budget as are their big-ticket avocations.

What do I have to say about Ann Romney:Romneys Wife Georgia

  • She is, first and foremost, an American citizen.  She is entitled to her opinions, just as anyone else is.  If she happens to have the ear of her husband, a presidential candidate, well, it’s her right to speak it there, too.
  • She may not be an “expert” in some things, but she can still opine.  I opine all the time about what to do about Iran.  I will admit to you, however, that I don’t have a clue about diplomacy or how the military really works.  But I have an opinion, I express it.  If it is expressed in the presence of a policymaker, I would expect him/her to listen respectfully and weigh it properly.  I rely on those who know and are charged with those tasks to weigh my opinion in accordance with my expertise or ignorance on the subject, should they hear that opinion.  Same with Ann Romney’s opinion. 
  • And here is my final and most important point: If Ann Romney is going to be accused of not speaking on the economy in ignorance  (as a candidate’s wife, she probably knows more about it than I do), let’s pinpoint the reason why one would say this about her.  Is it true that a woman who has chosen mothering and homemaking cannot really know anything of value about the economy? I have moms in my office all the time who amaze me with their ability to squirrel away savings and manage a decent lifestyle on an income that I cannot imagine living on.  If they don’t know economics at the grassroots level, then I don’t know who does. 

It may be that Ann Romney doesn’t know about the  economy, but I don’t think it’s because she is a full-time wife/mother/homemaker necessarily.  And, if we’re going to hold her wealth against her opinion, then shouldn’t we do the same with wealthy men?  Should Donald Trump be discounted on his economic view just because he is wealthy and born to wealth? Ridiculous, isn’t it?

In short, the comment was demeaning to women, and Hilary should be ashamed of herself.  Especially since she is a woman—turncoat!traitor

So, Hilary, you are entitled to your opinion on the economy. You are entitled to decide to whom to turn for leadership on the subject. But don’t hold our stay-at-home moms in such disdain based on their chosen occupation. As my dad’s cousin “Dub” used to say: “T’ain’t right; ‘sides, it’s wrong.”

Here’s to who the moms I know as “managers” of our society.  I believe their role tells us much about how our society at its innermost cogs works—their experience can inform even the loftiest politician or policy-maker.  Moms are the ones squeezing out pennies in order to save for daughter’s prom dress when deadbeat dad has abandoned his duty.  Moms know how gasoline prices affect families.  Moms are the ones who know, firsthand, the cost of milk in dollars and cents and the cost ofcalm managing a family in terms of emotional distress.

And, when the going gets really tough, many of them react  with the common-sense-female wisdom of:

C

ps: told you ranting was coming.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

C: Back After a Long While

i'm back I hate to even look back to see how long it has been since I last wrote.  My work has been unbelievably busy.  I know that sounds like a cliché—we are all too busy—but this has been a time when I had very, very little down time, sometimes going weeks at a time without a real day off.  Writing in our blog has not seemed an option for the past few months.

Do I sound whiny?  Well, that probably fits.  I feel whiny.  And I feel too old for this pace!

But I am determined to pick my blogging back up.  It has, in times past, been a real lifesaver for me; which also sounds like a cliché but it is not much of an exaggeration.  It has been my therapy in times when I have needed it to get through my divorce situation and it has been my favorite pastime—a healthy outlet even when I no longer needed therapy!  So I have made it my goal to write more.  Everyone needs a healthy outlet,right?

Now for some updates:

First, I am divorced.  Yea!  For those many of you out there going through the same thing (several of our blogging friends…) I assure you, you can get past the hurt.  I did and have reached the “I’d never go back to that” stage. 

The finalization only happened just a little over a month ago and you would not believe the tussle I had getting the final paperwork from my ex.  Three-and-a-half years after the last time I kicked him out and nearly two years after he left divorce town with his honey and lovechild broke in the middle of the night to move a thousand miles away to her live with her family, he and I reached an agreement.  I dutifully typed up my own Decree and sent it to him and waited and waited and waited. 

Then silence came.  Six months of it.  He would not respond to e mails or calls.  I’d text him:  “Where’s your signature?  We need to get this over!”  No answer.

I finally picked up the phone and called his honey directly.  She still has the same cell number she had when he was calling her and texting to and receiving from her x-rated messages dozens of times a day.  When I identified myself, there was silence yet again on the other end.

I explained why I was calling: that hubby had had the paperwork for months now, that I was anxious to get it over with, that I cannot imagine why, on earth, he would not return the paperwork to me.  “Don’t you think this is a loose-end we need to tie up?” I asked.  After all, she has a baby she might like to legitimize after the fact.

Definitely,” she said.  “I’ll speak with him.”  This was about the extent of her side of the conversation.  [And,yes, I was polite—not to worry]

I had the papers within three days by Federal Express, and voila! we’re done.  Now to see if he is ever going to pay me.  Any bets?

Next: my mother has suffered quite a bit through the past months without energy and in and out of the hospital.  Finally tpacemakerhe decision was made to insert a pacemaker, and it has made all the difference.  I am so happy to report that her energy level is up and she is doing much better.  This pacemaker thing is really a miracle.  Now, if only  we could control her blood sugar better, but one thing at a time.

Finally: My mother-in-law and I have made the decision to sell our little farm.  Son has decided, rightly so, that he is way to old to live with Mom, although he has been a champ to come home in my time of need.  MIL and I want to find a  place (one level,please!) with easy upkeep and closer to town.  The task of sorting through my junk and winnowing it all down to what I need instead of what I have simply accumulated over fourteen years of living here is daunting.  I wish I could just blink my eyes and be done with it…for sale

I am happy to report that now that I am nearing the end of this post, it feels good—really good—to be writing again for pleasure instead of legal briefs and motions!  I have several “rant” posts saved up in me, with V urging me to write about one in particular, so I’ll see you again soon!  C

Monday, April 9, 2012

V: Easter at the Farm

 

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Saturday was a beautiful day with glorious weather!  Just perfect with temperatures in the 70’s and plenty of sunshine.  Easter Sunday was a little overcast, but not too bad for being outdoors.  Eldest daughter’s childhood best friend and her three boys joined us for a day of fun.  She lives in Texas now so it’s a treat when she comes to visit!

 

Grandson “J” loves to visit cousin “E” at the farm.  He loves the riding lawnmower, the little ATV’s, and most of all--- the “BIG AWESOME ORANGE TRACTOR!!!  Uncle J.P. took him for a ride.

 

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The St. Bernard is STILL growing!!!  He has an enormous appetite and will eat or chew up most anything!  He is almost as big as that pony!

 

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Ummm--Does this remind you of Jack and Rose on the Titanic?

 

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There have been new arrivals at the farm recently!

 

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Sweet chicks!  Some are under a light in the laundry room.

 

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A new hen house!  It has wheels so it can be pulled around to different areas.

 

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Hope this chicken venture works so we will have plenty of fresh eggs!

 

Somebody seems interested in the new arrivals!

 

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Scotch is the labradoodle who was dumped at the farm last summer when he was a puppy.  He is a real clown!  He is the one who carries off everything he can find—still a BIG puppy!  If you are working in the garden and put your digging trowel down for just a minute—he will make off with it! 

 

New bunnies at the farm too!  Eldest daughter started raising French Lop rabbits when she was 14 yrs. old and we lived in town.  She showed them at the State Fair and it was a fun hobby.  Her new lop just gave birth to 11 babies last week and they are all thriving.  Don’t worry they will look LOTS better in a week or so!  They’ll even be furry and CUTE!

 

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We spent some time indoors—I cooked –ALL DAY LONG Sunday after church for a big Easter dinner of lamb roast, ham, a fruit salad with pastel marshmallows, a coconut cake and a strawberry-lemon trifle.  “C” came over and enjoyed dinner with us.  Sorry, no photos of the dinner—I was too exhausted to even think of it!

Oh, yes –I must not forget our Easter dinner entertainment—the shrieks of KIWI the lilac crested Amazon parrot whose piercing shrieks got her banished to the bathtub!  No, there was no water in it!  We figured out that Kiwi has trained granddaughter “J” (who is her VERY favorite person in the world) to feed her the delicious pistachio nuts she loves—by SHRIEKING until you cannot bear it! 

 

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So back to the grind today and I’m retiring early so I can recover from all that cooking!  Have a great week!

V

Sunday, April 1, 2012

V: What Gives Us Strength to Endure

 

Rock Church

Today, my husband and I attended Psalm Sunday services.  No, this beautiful church is not where we attend, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if all churches were this lovely?

We attended church regularly most of our married life—dragging sleepy children out of their beds and enduring the getting everyone ready and into the car!  Oh, I do remember those days!   With daughter’s health issues and the demands on my free time—(what’s that???), we’ve gotten lazy (and tired), and church attendance has fallen by the wayside.  I’ve enjoyed my leisurely Sunday mornings --it is supposed to be day of rest, isn’t it?  I don’t think church attendance is mandatory, but it helps me keep my equilibrium in a turbulent world.  I’m thinking many of us have gotten this wrong thinking that by going to church we are doing G-d a favor.  I’m thinking that we go there to receive strength to endure and persevere the tribulations of life.

Psalm Sunday

 

I love the joy of children on Psalm Sunday.  Two toddler girls near us were dancing and waving their palm branches during the worship service.  I love the image of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey which fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy.  How fitting that the donkey represents peace and humility.   

 

Jesus on a donkey 

 

After church  I talked to “C” who is working at a furious pace with two trials coming up.  She has worked all weekend! ( She still promises new posts when things settle down at the office! )  During our conversation she told me some sad news.  While at the bank the other day, she saw the picture of a medical professional we have both used---and she realized that it was a memorial.  Inquiring, she learned that this 40 year old man had taken his own life.  I often don’t  read the newspaper anymore, so I had missed it.  It just made me sick to find this out.  I genuinely liked this person—he seemed to have everything going for him.  He was smart and handsome with an easy going manner.  Who knew that he struggled with addiction issues in his life?  I recalled a conversation he and I had when my son was recovering from a broken neck.  At the time my son’s neurosurgeon was murdered by her husband ( a resident physician) who then killed himself by jumping from a top floor of the medical school living quarters.  We mused about what caused such a tragedy to occur and then to learn that he ended his own life just last month makes me sad.  We really never know what burdens another person carries. Despair is a dangerous emotion.  Doing a little research, I was astounded to learn that there are 31,000 lives lost to suicide each year.  The surviving families are victims too.

 

suicide prevention

My son and youngest daughter both had classmates in high school who were lost to suicide.  I never had to face anything like that growing up.  My son’s classmate was in despair over his parent’s divorce.  A couple of years his later, his mother ended her life, unable to bear the pain.

Youngest daughter’s friend was illegitimate and rejected by his father.  His pain was so evident, even in the physical scars from cutting himself that I noticed on his arms when I drove him home one evening.  I don’t presume to know the mind of G-d, but somehow I don’t feel that all those who take their own lives are lost to G-d. 

vision of Jerusalem through the psalms

I’m remembering the tears Jesus shed over Jerusalem as he entered the city.  Surely this broken world grieves him still.  Lord have mercy.

In the midst of this troubled world, there is still hope.  Blessed Holy Week to all.

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