Tuesday, December 13, 2016

There Aren't Enough Shopping Carts

As I sit here at my desk at work on a daily basis I have a view to the outside world through my window. I’ve sat here since 2008 and just the changes to my little section of the world have been significant. But nothing has changed more than the people that walk by.

We are not too far from a high school, so I see lots of students walking to and from school. Sometimes a cross country running team will run by, I see school buses. We’re in a business district so I see people walking to and from work or walking by to pick up something from the local restaurants for lunch.

Across the street there are apartments and homes and a retirement village, so I see people of all ages out walking their dogs or doing yard work, just carrying on with their normal day to day routine.

In the past couple of years one thing that I have noticed more and more of, that I never saw before, are homeless people with shopping carts filled with all their worldly treasures and items like cans and bottles that they can recycle for a little bit of money here and there. Sometimes alone, sometimes with a mate, very often with a dog.

Today as I looked across the street I saw a tall, thin, young man walking slowly, pushing a shopping cart busting at the seams with “stuff”.  My mind instantly went to the thought that I constantly have about how lucky I am to have my job, my family, my family’s support, a roof over my head and the heads of my children and how that could just as easily be me.

It could be me. Like everyone else I’m just a few paychecks away from poverty. What would I do if I lost my job and I used up my savings? Would I have to be homeless? Would I have to get a shopping cart and what would be most important to me to fill my shopping cart with? 

That led me to think about everyone else and the Apocalypse and how that poor man is already living the Apocalypse. What will we do when we all have to start living like that? Where will we each find a shopping cart? There’s a huge Vons Grocery Store right across the street and around the corner, but there are barely enough shopping carts for all of us employed in this building alone. If we all took one where would the other people get theirs?

Now my mind is really racing. People…there are not enough shopping carts in the world! If things don’t get better and we are all out on the street…there aren’t enough shopping carts, what will we do?

I’m normally a positive thinking person, but every once in a while things like this hit me hard and scare the crap out of me. Don’t they scare you? How sad that I have come to this point in my life where I am actually concerned that I will have a shopping cart when and if I am homeless.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mom's Surprise 80th Birthday Party

Mom will be turning 80 this year in December, but she doesn't do winter well. As soon as the temperature dip below 80 degrees she hibernates! She doesn't go out other than to morning Mass and to pick up prescriptions at the drugstore. You can't get her to go out for dinner or even Christmas Shopping! She's really happy that I've helped her to do her shopping online.

So knowing this we felt that it would not be a good idea to try to schedule any type of birthday party for her. We knew if we planned a party on her actual December birthday in her home she would insist on cooking, cause that's what she does! So we tricked her, we tricked her good! We scheduled a surprise birthday party for her on October 22nd! 

Her daughter in law Connie has a birthday on October 19th so we told mom that Connie's family was throwing a surprise party for Connie, we were sure that she would go to that because the weather was still nice. And we really surprised her! Here's the video of her coming in the door at the ballroom of the hotel where the party was held.

You can see she was very surprised. That is me trying to get in behind her. I'm so glad that my nephew sent me this video since I was behind her I didn't really see her expression!

Here's the dress she wore. I post this not only because she looked gorgeous but because there is a whole big story behind this dress and some drama as well! Although she does look gorgeous doesn't she? Mom has always dressed very elegantly and she's so tall and slender and regal....she makes me feel like an Oompa Loompa!

Mom's favorite color her whole life has been red. She dressed all her children in red as often as possible. She wore red all the time. When she sewed clothing for her grandchildren she made them red. Red, red, red! But the day came when she felt that she was too old to wear a bright red color and she started wearing a burgundy red instead, but we all loved that she loved red so much. The color theme for her party was Red, Black and Gold. So we all wanted her to wear a beautiful red dress and it became my duty to make sure she found the perfect red dress.

But mom is very stubborn and she didn't want a red, red dress, so she found a burgundy dress that was quite beautiful but it was not red! I could not talk her out of it, she loved her dress. So my sister tried to talk her out of it and mom came to me and begged me to make my sister let her wear her dress, so we gave up, we decided to let her wear the dress that made her happy.

The dress she loved was purchased in a vintage dress shop, so before she felt comfortable wearing it she took it to the dry cleaners. Guess what happened? The dry cleaners ruined it. The dress had a silk ruched waist that draped beautifully but the dry cleaners for some odd reason flat ironed it so it just laid there perfectly straight and it ruined the line of the dress and there was no way mom could wear it. 

She decided she was going to fix it because she's a wonderful seamstress, but I talked her into going to look for a dress again just one more time and you have no idea how much arm twisting it took to get her to try that red dress on that she is wearing. She still was not very happy with it, but I talked her into taking it home just in case she couldn't fix her burgundy dress. When she came home she remembered she had a beautiful red sequined kimono-like cape and she put it over the dress and the rest is history, she fell in love with her dress! And we were thrilled because it was red, red, red!

We were so happy that her brother Tino who is 86 years old was able to make the trip from Arizona. It'a about a 10 hour drive, no small feat, but my cousins made sure their dad was there. Have to love family!

Here's a picture of mom with her brother Tino and her sister Casi. Tino is 86, Casi is 82, mom is 80 or will be in December and there is one more living sister named Maria who was unable to come. I'm not sure of her age, but mom is the baby of the family.

Lots of other family members made the trip to celebrate with us and we were so happy to have them come to show mom how much she is loved.

We are so blessed and lucky to have this wonderful lady with us and we hope to all be able to gather to celebrate again when she gets to age 90!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Is Faster Better? Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

I recently found an interesting blogger that I’m liking, Betty from A Bench With a ViewHer most recent post that I read was titled Self Check-Out and you can read that post HERE

I thought it was an interesting post and I left her a comment that said: “Recently I purchased a new car that has a little icon that comes on every time the tire pressure isn't absolutely perfect, which means that I have to find someone to check my tires because it terrifies me to put air in myself. I feel I'm going to overfill and they will blow up in my face! It prompted me to think about those days when I first started driving and I'd pull up to the gas pump and a friendly attendant would come running out and he'd clean my windshield and check my oil and my tires, I really miss the good ol' days! I don't do self check out! I already feel like the stores have made me do too much work in making me bag my own groceries, the least they can do is make an effort to have a live human taking my money! Great post!

This post made me stop to think about a recent shopping trip with my daughter April. We went to a Ross Store and I bought a few painting supplies and April bought a few clothing items. As usual at Ross you go to the cash registers and there’s a rope barrier that you wait behind that loops snakelike until you get to the front to wait your turn.

It doesn’t take very long as the line moves quickly. The reason that the line moves quickly is that Ross Employees are timed on how quickly they can get a customer taken care of.

When you get to the front and it’s your turn they still have the previous customer in front of them trying to gather their purchases and secure their wallet in their purse and they are already shouting “Next on Check-Out #4!”

I feel rude when I walk up and the previous customer is still standing there, helplessly trying to gather everything up!

When it’s my turn the cashier is polite in saying “Hi, did you find everything you need?” But you can tell that they really don’t expect a response, they don’t really care, they are already looking to the next customer!

Once they were done checking me out, they handed me my bag while I was still trying to get my ATM card situated in my purse and they ask me to please take my receipt. There is even a sign there asking me to take my receipt, they don’t even bother to hand it to me.

I once asked a Ross Cashier why they do that and she said it’s part of their process to get us in and out quickly so we don’t have to wait in line. I guess it saves them a few extra seconds of not having to make eye contact with you while they are yelling out for the next customer!

As we were leaving I mentioned to April that being rushed through like cattle to slaughter was the one thing that I really didn’t like about Ross. I fully expected her to agree but was very surprised when she said that’s her favorite reason for going to Ross, she can get in and out fast! I wonder what her generation would think about stopping to pump gas and having to wait for the attendant? Her generation is used to faster is better and they are not as concerned with etiquette and cashiers trying hard to build a rapport with you. 

Do you remember the good ol' days fondly or are you ok with self checkout and fast and unfriendly customer service?

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Artist in Me

So it's been a while since I've done a post and my excuse is I've been busy living life and having fun! When I do get some down time, I'm too exhausted from living life and having fun to blog, I just want to sleep!

One of the things that has been keeping me busy is my Monday Art Class. I love it! Oh my gosh! Where has Art been all my life? I thought writing was my calling! I thought I was going to write the great American Novel or at least be Blogger of the Year at a Blogher Convention someday! But now...now I know that I am meant to be the next Bob Ross! Remember Bob Ross? I loved watching him paint, it was effortless for him and I knew that I could never do anything like that!

But I think I can! Well, maybe not be the next Bob Ross, but I think I can be a halfway decent artist. Well, maybe not "sell my art for a million dollars" kind of artist, but a happy artist that can create some nice little pieces to give as gifts to friends and family (if I can ever make myself part with them)!

I need to share some of these with you all.

First, my owls. I'm not an owl person, but somehow I keep getting owls in my head! I love these two little guys and the way they are cocking their heads. It reminds me of our dog Chorizo and the way she cocks her head when you ask her a question. These were drawn free hand from a photo. 

On the weekend of October 6th, my sister Lisa and I went to her semi-annual conference in Lake Tahoe. The last time we went was October of 2014 and you can read about that adventure HERE

I took my drawing pencils and pad hoping to get some time to sketch, but we made a stop at a Ross Store and I was able to pick up a set of Acrylic Paints, a set of paint brushes and (2) 12 x 12 canvases for about $20! One afternoon while Lisa was in her classes I set up a little paint studio for myself in the hotel room and came up with this pretty little background. I almost wanted to leave it like this, so bright and cheerful!

But that was not what I had in store for this canvas so the next day I added a bit more in the morning ...

and a bit more in the afternoon ...

I had not really had time to do anything further until last night when I finished this little guy up. I say little guy, but with those flirty lashes, this has to be a girl owl right?

And in keeping with the upcoming Halloween Season, I've done two more paintings. Our instructor wanted us to do something abstract, so I did this painting and then at the last minute added the pumpkin just for fun!

As I kept looking at it afterward it looked to me like a blue sky with a harvest colored mountain, so I added a witch flying through that beautiful sky.

And I loved her! Flying on her broom just enjoying the harvest night without a care in the world; but it looked a little bare. I needed something on the bottom and once I added some headstones I realized that she needed some flying companions and Voila! Bats!

My mom, who does not like Halloween things because they scare her actually loved this so much that she went Goodwilling and found me the perfect frame for it. This was so much fun! And the more creative you get, the more the creative juices flow!

This past Monday our instructor wanted us to paint a Sugar Skull. It's a two hour class and this is as much as I completed. He needs a dental visit badly, but other than that I think he's kinda cute!

The first picture is almost the completed project. I say almost because a friend asked me to try adding some white dots around the eyes. I was at work and didn't have the actual piece with me, so I used a computer program to appease him and he had a great idea because I loved it with the white dots. I don't have a picture of the white dots I actually did, but they are almost identical to the computer generated dots shown below.

You can see how that one detail really made those eyes pop!

So you can see why I've been too busy to blog. Not to mention that I have been taking a line dancing class on Tuesday nights as well and planning a surprise birthday party for my mom, plus a full time job! The job, I'm finding is really cramping my style! Can't wait for retirement!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Regressive Progress - Things I wonder about

I fear for the fate of our civilization and in many ways am glad that I won’t be around to see how things end. Well at least I believe I won’t, but you never know considering how rapidly the world seems to be coasting downhill!

My reason for this post and that last sentence? The latest iPhone update and it’s new and “improved” messaging app. I just sent a text message to a friend about another friend that will not be able to join us because she’s sick and has no one to watch her children.

I typed out the message and iPhone automatically substituted some of the words with pictures instead! See for yourself.

So what’s the problem with this text message? It made the message a little brighter with the icon of the little smiley face with a mask on and instead of just the boring old word “watch” it gave me a cute little icon of a watch and look how adorable her children are. 

But people….it’s dumbing us down. Now we don’t even have to type out whole words! It's a world gone mad with Icons - Emoticons!

Does this look familiar? This is a photo of an actual caveman drawing. 

No words, just drawings of items to tell a story. We’re regressing people! Regression – “a return to a former or less developed state.”

Another example that is glaringly obvious to me is the new Facebook “like” buttons. Since Facebook started there has been a “like” button like the one over there on the left, and a comment box. 

Most people would hit the like button and then leave a comment. The ratio of like was always slightly above the amount of comments left but several people felt moved to comment if only to explain why they liked that post.

Then Facebook “improves” the “like” button and we now have this:

At first they were cute and I enjoyed using them. I would “love” almost everything that I used to only “like” before! The Haha was definitely much more fun that having to read “lol” or “LOL” depending on how funny the post was. 

The “wow” was pretty cool because I do often see something and say “wow”, but sometimes I would see a video of a bad car accident or read a news story about a child being abandoned and some people would “wow” it and some would “sad” it and some would “angry” it. It made me wonder what thoughts and feelings prompted the choice of icon? I would rather they had voiced their wow/sad/angry thought into words!

I also notice that whereas before I would get 30 comments on a post, now I would only get the icons. People don't actually feel like now they have to voice their opinion because they have more options as to the icons. I really miss reading the comments.

Maybe I should try blogging using just icons? Who knows, maybe my readership would grow and I'd go viral! But no, I raised in the era of "use your words". I know I tend to use more than others, but it's a burden you will all have to bear!

I know it’s just a petty thing to be worried about, especially considering all the other things going on in the world, but it just makes me pause and wonder about how regressive progress can be. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Blogging Daily and How I Didn't Do It

I mentioned in my last post that I was attempting to publish a post daily based on the September Writing Prompts from Blogher's Writing Lab. And of course once you mention something it loses it's magic and I haven't done one since then! Shame on me!

Monday's prompt was, "Do you read the opinion section of the newspaper?" I don't even read any of the newspaper. In fact I haven't read a newspaper since probably 2005, so it was tough to become inspired by that question. Even when I did read the paper, I never read the opinion section, mostly just the funnies, Ann Landers and the want ads. Does anyone even read newspapers anymore? Do you?

Tuesday's prompt sounds promising so I may actually write a post about that one after I finish this one. 

Wednesday's prompt is, "Do you prefer to read editorials (opinion pieces generated by the staff of a publication) or op-eds (opinion pieces written by an outside expert)? Do you see a difference between the two?" I am definitely going to pass on that one!

Instead I am going to tell you that on Monday I started that new Art Class I was telling you about in previous posts, Beginning Painting. I am loving it!

I have still continued to draw and sketch, but not as much as I should be doing. You can only get better by practicing, so I really need to buckle down and turn off that TV and get busy.

Here's a couple of drawings I've done since the class ended. I'm really into the ballerina thing, not sure why but it just calls to me.

I've even picked out some gorgeous ballerina art to take to next weeks painting class as he said we could bring something we think we would like to attempt. If you'd like you could check out my Art Board on Pinterest as I've save them there.

For the first class he helped us to draw a sunset. Here's mine.

This was done using acrylic paints. It was such fun creating this and I realized that you have to lose your fear of messing it up or of it not being perfect. Just enjoy it, let loose and paint for the sheer joy of it. It was so relaxing and I can't wait to go again next week!

That's it from my neck of the woods. I'm still going to attempt to write daily using the writing prompts or perhaps at times just writing about art or food, whatever strikes my mood at the time.

How do you come up with idea on what to post about? Do you post ahead of time, do thoughts and ideas just flood your mind all the time and you can't keep up? Does blogging daily help you to make it a habit or does it seem a bit contrived when you force yourself to write something? Please share.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mawage, The Princess Bride, and Opinions

 Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv. 

That is a line from what is probably my favorite movie ever! The Princess Bride.  The Clergyman is joining together in mawage (marriage) Princess Buttercup and Prince Humperdinck. I just want to scream at her “Don’t do it!” Actually I’m glad I don’t attend many weddings because I will always want to scream, “Don’t do it!” If you are planning a wedding the near future and you intend to invite me you may want to think again!

Just kidding. I will be screaming it in my head but my mama raised me right and I know better than to “act-up” in public. So you’re safe, go ahead and invite me! Just don’t give me Vodka…I can’t be held accountable when I drink Vodka! You’re fore-warned!

In explanation to the fact that it looks like I typed that quote while under the influence of Vodka, I really am sober, but the clergyman has some type of speech impediment that causes him to speak that way.

But my real reason for bringing up The Princess Bride is mawage, that bwessed awangment.

Marriage…ahhh marriage, what can I say about marriage except that it’s probably the hardest thing ever. Some might say raising kids is harder, but kids will be raised regardless and you love your kids pretty much unconditionally so there is hardly anything they can do or say that you don’t forgive. But getting along with a spouse and making a marriage work is much more difficult.

Usually in life when you bring two people together one of them has more authority than the other. In a job you have a boss or a supervisor and an employee. On a sports team you have a team captain or coach and the player. On a project or committee you have a project manager or committee chairperson. Granted there are exceptions but pretty much there is always one with more authority. Even in the parent/child relationship the parent is in authority, or at least should be. 

In a marriage you’re supposed to be equal…but does it ever really turn out that way? Does it?

This month I am using the writing prompts from Blogher’s Writing Lab. The theme of these writing prompts for September is OPINIONS and the prompt for today is “What would you do if your opinion clashed with the opinion of someone you trusted implicitly? Would you yield your opinion or still stick to it?”

When I was married I can remember this coming up many times. A situation would come up where we each had an opinion and they didn’t always (hardly ever) match.  My spouses answer as to who the tiebreaker would be was always him. He said that if it came down to a situation where we could not agree then we would go by his decision. Cut and dry he’s the boss. Of course this was the same man who once told me my job was just a hobby and therefore I was not an equal breadwinner, so needless to say since I am in fact divorced, that I did not yield my opinion. 

If I had I would probably still be married and maybe he would have mellowed out as he got older or maybe I would have killed him in his sleep…we will never know as I opted to get out of the marriage instead.

So tell me your thoughts, either about mawage or how you make your marriage work, how you’ve dealt with coming to a decision in which you don’t agree, how do you compromise. Or even outside of marriage, do you yield your opinion or stick to your guns?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Whose Opinion Do You Value

Advice from someone with special knowledge; advice from an expert.

We all have those people whose expertise we just accept, like doctors, accountants, attorney's, insurance agents. Those people would obviously be the experts so we know that they have the education and knowledge to backup whatever advice they may give us.

But what about opinions from the people in our lives? Friends, family members, those in our social circles? Do you have anyone whose opinion you can truck implicitly out of those named?

We all talk to certain people about certain things, but do we really talk to them in order to gain their advice and wisdom or do we simply do so because we want to voice, out loud, our dilemmas? 

Have we already made up our mind about something when we approach someone to ask for their opinion? I know several people that will talk to everyone and their mother and they already made their mind up days ago and are going to go ahead with their decision, yet they still insist on getting the opinion of others. Why do they do that?

It is difficult for me to seek advice from others, mostly because I am not a worrier. I don't ponder problems for days and stay up sleepless at night. I pretty much know how I am going to handle something and then I just let it go and face it when the time comes.

I also know when I am faced with an impossible problem, one to which there is no answer or fix...so I don't continue to deliberate and drive others crazy trying to find an answer. I've very realistic in things like that.

I do however like to share thoughts with my sister Lisa. She's probably my closest ally in this world. She's what I call a fixer. If I share a problem with her, she doesn't just listen, she starts telling me how to fix it, or says "Here's what we're going to do!" While it's great to know that if she can she will fix things for me...sometimes you just need someone to listen.

Do you have someone whose opinion you trust implicitly or is it difficult for you to seek opinions?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In My Opinion and Other Trigger Sentences

"Here's what we're going to do..."

I hear this sentence a lot in my line of work and it always makes me cringe because it means trouble. Well not actually trouble, but work. I know when I hear this sentence that what it really means is, "Here's what YOU'RE going to do..." and that means work to me; often times unnecessary work that is not going to be profitable or successful. Bosses seem to really like that sentence!

Another sentence that may cause you to run for the hills is, "In my opinion". That's an Uh-Oh moment right there. That usually means that someone is going to give you a dressing down and tell you how you failed at something you did, or how you will fail...unless you take their opinion and run with it. 

Then there's the ever popular, "Can you do me a favor?" Has that ever ended well? How can you say no? It's a favor, they aren't demanding that you do something for them, simply asking for a favor. If you say, "No, I can't do you a favor" then you come off as a selfish jerk, yet I would say that the person that asked the question is the selfish jerk for putting you in that position. 

How about the ever famous, "Can I give you some advice?" Uh...no, not unless I'm asking for advice. This question can ruin a friendship, let alone a working relationship.

I have to admit that I say "Here's what I think" quite a bit. I would say that's one of those trigger sentences like the ones above. I'm going to try to make sure that I don't use it as often anymore. It won't be easy because I really value my opinion and I'm usually right, but I'm going to wait to be asked (she said tongue in cheek)!

What sentences, when you hear them, cause you to cringe and wish you were a hundred miles away? Do you find yourself using any of the sentences above often? How do you respond when you hear them?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

This One Thing I Know is True - Change is Inevitable

“Understand that not everything is meant to be understood. Live, let go, and don’t worry about what you can’t change.”

If there is one thing that I know to be true, it is that change is inevitable. That’s it. That’s the one thing that I know to be true. The only thing we can do is to learn to let go of things we can’t change.

That is one of the hardest lessons that I have had to learn. You see…I’ve always been a black and white person. Things are either right or wrong. I’ve also always been a very opinionated person and when I thought something was wrong it was wrong and there was no acceptable argument. One might say I was very close minded.

But with age comes wisdom and I have learned that there are many shades of grey and that the more you stop and just shut up and listen to someone, the more you learn and the more you realize that you aren’t always right and even if you still believe you are right, someone else has a different idea of what right is. 

Not everyone can be right of course and that is why there should be open dialogue about different ideas and opinions. That is why there are laws and rules and majority rule; for those times when everyone thinks THEY are right and they won’t be swayed.

It is difficult watching changes in our lives, seeing our children grow up and follow paths that we wouldn't have chosen for them. It's difficult watching our society change and having to be tolerant of others thoughts and lifestyles. It's difficult to get older and be unable to do some of the things that used to be so easy to do.

The main thing is to understand that we can't understand everything and sometimes it's best to let go, let live and don't worry so much about things that you can't change.

The Stone Soup Story and the Stone Soup Music Festival at Grover Beach, California

Last weekend my sister Lisa and our friend Lupe and I had a girls camping weekend at Pismo Beach. We had a blast and I'll post separately about that and what we did and share pictures.

While we were there, we attended the Stone Soup Music Festival in Grover Beach and we had such fun! I think it's going to become an annual thing for us!

We didn't give a thought to what a Stone Soup Music Festival even was, it just sounded like something really fun to do and there would be music, what else did we need to know? We forgot about the Story of Stone Soup. It wasn't until we were unable to find any Stone Soup that we remembered the story! Were our faces red!

In case you have never heard of the story, here you go!

Stone Soup
An Old Tale Retold
Text by Marcia Brown

Three soldiers trudged down a road in a strange country. They were on their way home from the wars. Besides being tired, they were hungry. In fact, they had eaten nothing for two days.

"How I would like a good dinner tonight," said the first.  "And a bed to sleep in," said the second. "But all that is impossible," said the third. "We must march on."

On they marched. Suddenly ahead of them they saw the lights of a village. "Maybe we'll find a bite to eat there," said the first. "And a loft to sleep in," said the second. "No harm in asking," said the third.

Now the peasants of that village feared strangers. When they heard that three soldiers were coming down the road, they talked amongst themselves.

"Here come three soldiers. Soldiers are always hungry. But we have little enough for ourselves." 

And they hurried to hide their food. They pushed the sacks of barley under the hay in the lofts. They lowered buckets of milk down the wells. They spread old quilts over the carrot bins. They hid their cabbages and potatoes under the beds. They hung their meat in the cellars. They hid all they had to eat. Then - they waited.

The soldiers stopped first at the house of Paul and Francoise. "Good evening to you," they said. "Could you spare a bit of food for three hungry soldiers?"

"We have had no food for ourselves for three days," said Paul. Francoise made a sad face. "It has been a poor harvest."

The three soldiers went on to the house of Albert and Louise.

"Could you spare a bit of food? And have you some corner where we could sleep for the night?"

"Oh no," said Albert. "We gave all we could spare to soldiers who came before you." "Our beds are full," said Louise.

At Vincent and Marie's the answer was the same. It had been a poor harvest and all the grain must be kept for seed. So it went all throughout the village. Not a peasant had any food to give away. They all had good reasons. One family had to use the grain for feed. Another had an old sick father to care for. All had too many mouths to fill.

The villagers stood in the street and sighed. They looked as hungry as they could. The three soldiers talked together. Then the first soldier called out, "Good People!" The peasants drew near.

"We are three hungry soldiers in a strange land. We have asked you for food and you have no food. Well then, we'll have to make stone soup." The peasants stared. Stone soup? That would be something to know about.

"First, we'll need a large iron pot," the soldiers said. The peasants brought them the largest pot they could find. How else to cook enough?

"That's none too large," said the soldiers. "But it will have to do. And now, water to fill it and a fire to heat it." It took many buckets of water to fill the pot. A fire was built on the village square and the pot was set to boil.

"And now, if you please, three round, smooth stones." Those were easy enough to find. The peasants' eyes grew round as they watched the soldiers drop the stones into the pot.

"Any soup needs salt and pepper," said the soldiers, as they began to stir. Children ran to fetch salt and pepper. 

"Stones like these generally make good soup, but oh, if there were carrots, it would be much better." "Why, I think I have a carrot or two," said Francoise, and off she ran. She came back with her apron full of carrots from the bin beneath the red quilt.

"A good stone soup should have cabbage, " said the soldiers as they sliced the carrots into the pot. "But no use asking for what you don't have." "I think I could find a cabbage somewhere," said Marie and she hurried home. She came back with three cabbages from the cupboard under the bed.

"If we only had a bit of beef and a few potatoes, this soup would be good enough for a rich man's table."

The peasants thought that over. They remembered their potatoes and the side of beef hanging in the cellars. They ran to fetch them. A rich man's soup - and all from a few stones! It seemed like magic!

"Ah," sighed the soldiers as they stirred in the beef and potatoes. "if we only had a little barley and a cup of milk! This would be fit for the King himself. Indeed he asked for just such a soup when last he dined with us."

The peasants looked at each other. These soldiers had entertained the king! Well!

"But - no use asking for what you don't have." the soldiers sighed. The peasants brought their barley from the lofts, they brought their milk from the wells. The soldiers stirred the barley and milk into the steaming broth while the peasants stared.

At last the soup was ready. "All of you shall taste," the soldiers said. "But first a table must be set." Great tables were placed in the square. And all around were lighted torches. Such a soup! How good it smelled! Truly fit for a king!

But then the peasants asked themselves, "Would not such a soup require bread and a roast - and cider?" Soon a banquet was spread and everyone sat down to eat. Never had there been such a feast. Never had the peasants tasted such soup. And fancy, made from stones!

They ate and drank and ate and drank. And after that they dance. They danced and sang far into the night. At last they were tired. Then the three soldiers asked, "Is there not a loft where we could sleep?" "Let three such wise and splendid gentlemen sleep in a loft? Indeed! they must have the best beds in the village!"

So the first soldier slept in the priest's house. The second soldier slept in the baker's house and the third soldier slept in the mayor's house.

In the morning, the whole village gathered in the square to give them a send-off. 

"Many thanks for what you have taught us," the peasants said to the soldiers. "We shall never go hungry, now that we know how to make soup from stones."

"Oh, it's all in knowing how," said the soldiers, and off they went down the road.

Great story right? And a good lesson. So although we didn't find any soup at this festival, we remembered a great story!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Strong Opinions or Wishy Washy? How do you Rate?

My son was raving about a movie a few years back, telling me “Mom, you have to watch it, you would really like it!” So one day I had the opportunity to watch it on NetFlix, perhaps you have heard of this movie? It’s Slum Dog Millionaire. 

I couldn’t watch it. In the very beginning of the movie there is a torture scene and it was just too real, too painful. To this day I have refused to watch that movie.

Torture Scene from Slum Dog Millionaire 
I’ve watched many movies with torture scenes, not that I make a habit of it, they just take place in certain movies…but I just could not make myself watch this one, for some reason it just touched my very soul and I felt every pain myself.  I’ve never had such a strong reaction to a movie.

A few other movies that I can’t bring myself to watch are certain movies with Jim Carey in them. Movies like Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura and Mask. Just to see Jim Carey, whom I like as an actor being such a buffoon is mind numbing! He’s another actor that my son just can’t understand my not loving, but like I said, I do like him, just not when he portrays certain types of characters.

I don’t often have such strong opinions of movies, but I guess when I don’t like one I just don’t like it!

Books on the other hand I have a harder time with. There have been times that I start a book and I know right away I’m not going to like it, but I feel bad stopping and not finishing it because I feel like the writer went to a lot of trouble to write it and it would be disrespectful to not finish it. Crazy I know, but that’s just me.

There have been times that I refused to give up on a book and maybe three quarters of the way it finally comes to life for me and I end up thoroughly enjoying it…maybe that’s why I don’t give up on them?

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan was one of those books that I did just not enjoy. I enjoy Gaffigan as a comedian on stage, but somehow could not buy into his book. I have to admit I didn’t read more than a few pages, sorry Jim.

I try to not be too judgmental or opinionated, although people that know me probably wouldn't agree with that statement. But I do like to give things the benefit of the doubt, like music and even people. Even now, knowing that I have been very opinionated about the movies and books above I would never discourage YOU from watching or reading them. 

That’s why it would be difficult for me to be a book editor or movie reviewer…I know that people have different likes and interests so live and let live right?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Right to an Opinion - Are you Opinionated?

Image Credit - Quotesgram.com

“A Right to an Opinion doesn’t make the Opinion right!” 

I don’t remember where I heard this, but I think that more people in this world need to hear it and take it to heart. During this point in the History of our country, nay…our world, it would benefit us greatly to remember this quote.

I love my Facebook Feed, love my Facebook friends and family, but I am so sick of the bickering and fighting and downright rude comments of some people that I used to respect, people whose opinions I used to value. Let alone the comments I read from complete strangers!

The controversy and rudeness over every single little thing going on in the world is tiring! Michael Phelps and his expression of pride in himself when he won the gold, was he entitled to hold up his arms in glory stating definitively that he is #1 or was he glorifying himself and being boastful and arrogant? The opinions and the name calling and spiteful words on Facebook and Twitter comments were chilling!

Photo Credit - edition.cnn.com 

Then Ryan Lochte had his moment of shame and everyone forgot about Phelps and jumped on the bandwagon asking for the head of Lochte on a silver platter. And those that felt that Lochte just displayed bad judgment and should not be ostracized and his sponsors should not have dropped him were themselves “ripped a new one”!

Photo Credit - www.today.com 

Now there’s Colin Kaepernick and the controversy he’s currently causing by refusing to stand during the National Anthem in protest of something that he believes in.

Image Credit - NFL.com
My goodness! The viciousness of the comments as relates to Colin are just frightening. Truly, I am not being a drama queen, but people are saying such ugly things towards Colin and towards each other that it makes me fearful for survival of the human race!

I know that these things are short lived, that now everyone is talking about Trumps visit to Mexico and the “wall” and his immigration plan and that down the road in a few days, weeks or month there will be something new for the beasts to feed on. Someone new they can tear down while they tear down each other as well. 

People will be unfriended on Facebook and life will go on, but it makes me unbearably sad to know that if these people can turn against each other; friends and family members, because of the small controversies like those listed above, how will they react when it truly is something of substance and importance?

I have an opinion about all those things above, and if asked I will voice it but I will ask for yours as well and listen with an open mind. The key point is I will listen to YOU. And I won't simply let you talk while I prepare an attack to your opinion in my mind. I also won’t just attack you and then refuse to listen to you. Maybe we all need to take a debate class like I did in high school to realize that we can debate things openly and intelligently and without anger, hatred, and disgusting words.

Do we all have a right to an opinion? Maybe, but remember “A Right to an Opinion doesn’t make the Opinion Right!”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throw Back Thursday - What I Was Thinking About Back in 2010 - Vagazzling!

I've been trying to blog more often and as such have been going back and reading some of my past posts and I found this one and thought it hilarious and thought I would re-share it. Here's a post from March of 2010. Enjoy!

I've been hearing a couple of things on the news lately that have captured my interest.

First...and I bring up this subject tentatively, wondering which way to go with it. Have you all heard about Vagazzling?

It seems to be all I've been hearing; on late night, online, early morning radio, emails.

On the way to work I listen to the Bob and Tom Show and for the past three days it's been all about the Vagazzle.

Apparently Jennifer Love Hewitt was on the George Lopez Show and she happened to mention that her private parts are ahem...decorated. Decorated with Crystals, making her private part look like a big Disco Ball (her words, not mine).

So I went to Bob and Tom's website to get more information and they have a youtube video of Bryce Gruber from the website The Luxury Spot being filmed while she gets  vagazzled.

Here's the video in case you want to watch it. It's not risque or anything, very tastefully done and you get to see what this is all about.

Doesn't that just beat all? My biggest issue with it is that I'm just tired, tired of having to be decorated up all the time. Already every morning I have to apply makeup, foundation, powder, blush, eye shadows, mascara, eye liner, etc. Then I have to do my hair. Then I have to get dressed and choose a nice outfit, earrings, necklace, shoes, purse (aren't you exhausted just reading this?). Then there's lipstick.

Plus now you have to decorate your va-jay-jay? I don't think so! It's all well and good for Jennifer Love Hewitt and it beats getting a tattoo down there (and I know of someone that has a tattoo down there that says "Feelin Lucky"). At least with a Vagazzle it washes off eventually and doesn't harm anything except maybe snag your panties, right?

What are your thoughts on this? Yay or Nay on the vagazzling of the va-jay-jay?

The second thing that captured my interest this week is about the air traffic controller that let his children direct air traffic. Have you heard about this?

The story is that a veteran air traffic controller took both his son and his daughter; on separate days; to work with him and allowed them to direct air traffic. The kids are recorded repeating word for word what their father tells them. The audio clips have played over and over on many news stations. The dad has been suspended by the FAA while they review the situation.

Now ok, the dad was a dufus-head to do this, but c'mon. Does he deserve to lose his job over this? It was definitely a lapse in judgement but according to everything I've read, no one was hurt, no damage done. Slap him on the hands and make a rule that no one can bring their children to work and let them direct air traffic and let the poor guy get on with his life. Geesh!

But of course, there are many people with very valid reasons as to why he should be terminated...what do you think?

These are just two items that I kept thinking about throughout the day for the past two days. Your thoughts?