Saturday, February 9, 2013

I shot a gun once….by accident.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog.  Today I am inspired by a group of men that I saw waving various flags at a nearby busy intersection. Some flags were American flags, some of them said, “Come and get them” and some had pictures of guns on them.  I have to admit that my immediate reaction was more than a bit judgmental.  My first thought was “Really? How stupid can you be?  No one is trying to take away your guns, people!”  Fortunately, my higher self stepped in and my next thought was, “Maybe I’m the one who is ignorant.  I haven’t read up on current gun control legislation, who am I to judge until I educate myself.”  So, that’s what I did.

In all fairness to my many Fox News loving friends and family, I went straight to the conservative source to see what’s being said about gun control legislation.  I also checked out some other sites to verify some facts before writing this.   Turns out there is a LOT of legislation out there, some for looser gun control in some areas and some for overall tighter gun control but I didn’t find one thing that said the 2nd amendment was going to be repealed and no one would be allowed to own a gun anymore.

I did find the following quote from Fox News especially interesting:

The NRA is unlikely to be drowned out. The group has vocally come out against universal background checks, saying that while they've supported such a system in the past, the overall process is too flawed. The group claims a universal background check system will put gun buyers through needless hassle, with little in the way of results.”

So, reading this made me wonder why street drugs are illegal.  Basically it’s the same principle, it puts drug users through needless hassle, with little in the way of results.  I guess the main difference here would be that drug addicts typically kill themselves more than others with their purchases. 

Don’t get me wrong; I have a gun and one day I hope to know how to shoot it.  Thank God (yes, I believe in God) that gun safety classes are required in Texas or many of my friends and loved ones would be in danger.   The one and only time I shot the gun was by accident because I have no knowledge of guns, I didn’t go to a store to buy it so no one asked if I knew what I was doing, never mind to do a background check to see if I might be one of America’s most wanted or something.  Fortunately, I had a sense of intuition telling me that the gun could potentially fire by accident and that I should go outside and point it away from the house and toward the ground.   It’s a pretty funny story, if you want to hear it, I’m glad to tell it but probably not on the Internet.  I’m also very grateful to my good friend who is keeping it safe and is planning to help me learn to use it before I bring it across state lines.

I respect the right to bear arms, but to keep gun control laws loose so that no one is inconvenienced is ridiculous.   The legislation as far as I can tell primarily involves background checks, bans on assault weapons and Someone please tell me, what average American needs an assault rifle?  Is that for taking out a whole herd of deer in order to feed the poor more quickly?  People with guns kill people, sometimes on purpose but often by accident, in the heat of the moment or secondary to mental illness including depression. 

According to Fox News, President Obama made the following statement:

"No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe, but if there's even one thing we can do, if there's just one life we can save, we've got an obligation to try,"

Sorry, call me a liberal but I agree with the above statement 100%.   I also agree with the NRA’s position that “Criminals won’t comply.”  How many school shootings occurred at the hands of known criminals?  How many by mentally disturbed individuals who had easy access to a gun?  Could gun control laws, a better education system and increased mental health resources have saved any of these lives, I would say the answer to that is “Yes!” 

Hold on, the story I read on Fox News got even crazier, here’s another quote:

“In addition to the gun control measures, Obama's anti-violence proposals also included increasing mental health resources, boosting funding for school security, and lifting restrictions that prevent the government from studying the causes of gun violence. “
That’s just crazy talk, who voted for this guy? 

Okay, I’m beginning to feel stressed, so I am wrapping this up.  I feel better knowing that I am now up to date on current gun control legislation and that I am in no immediate danger of losing my right to pack heat.  I guess I’ll forget about my dream of owning an assault rifle.   Perhaps I’ll start dreaming of things such as huge amounts of money being thrown at the education system instead of to pro football and anti-gun control lobbying.
Call me Mary Freakin’ Poppins!

Oh, and by the way, I applaud Fox News for accurate reporting of gun control legislation.  Apparently, the people wasting their time on the street corner today don’t watch any news or they might know that no one is taking away their gun and the second amendment still stands strong.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Imagine....

This morning, the now viral KONY 2012 campaign landed on my cyber-doorstep.  It's funny but when you see the word viral, it always seems like a bad thing but in this case, viral is great.  Let this campaign stay viral.  I can't vouch for the people who started it or where my money goes if I donate etc. but that is a matter of faith and all that really matters is your intention when you get involved.

It seems that the world of what makes news these days is so inundated with the meaningless, the petty, the trashy, the vulgar, the pathetic that I sadly, no longer really pay any attention.   The only reason I payed attention to this campaign is because I received news of it from an organization that I subscribe to that is all about promoting the goodness of others.

I encourage you all to watch this video:  http://vimeo.com/invisible/kony2012  It is a bit of a tearjerker but not in the way that you might think.  The video really hits home by featuring the film-maker's son, who reminds me very much of one of my own nephews.  To see a child's face as he begins to understand a plot that is not only real but every bit as sinister as those of his favorite superhero movies.  But, this time, only real people can be the superhero.

What has been on my mind lately regarding politics is what would happen if one of our presidential candidates took all of his campaign fundraising dollars and a large portion of his own wealth and just decided to use it to support an honorable cause or to help fund many charities that are struggling to barely keep their heads above water in this economy.

The amount of money that is wasted on political propaganda, people bashing, promotion of hatred, etc...in the name of making this country a better place is absolutely disgusting.  I don't care which side you are on, if you believe in God, you can be sure that watching all this unfold feels like a knife to a man's heart.  Today if you really care about what's going on in the world that actually matters, donate $5 to someone else, watch something that will make a difference in your life, better yet, read something that will make a difference in your life or someone else's.

I'm all for enjoying life and having a little fun but when I get serious, I want it to matter.  I believe that 2012 could be a monumentally life altering year, but I believe that it may very well be in a good way.  Time spent worrying about what will happen on December 21, 2012 is a waste of time.  Whether it's something or nothing, it won't matter until it gets here.  Spend today making a difference in your own life or someone else's. 

http://vimeo.com/invisible/kony2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

And that's why we have Viagra!

I can't seem to get the thought of resistance to change out of my head.  It's not my own resistance, I embrace change, it's the only thing in life beside death and taxes that we can count on.  Today I had yet another conversation with someone in which the phrase, "We never used to do that" was repeated several times.  My final response after allowing myself to become mildly agitated was "That was then, and this is now"  Rules change, people change, and we must change accordingly.  Anyhoo, this is one will be brief.  As I was thinking about change and why we "never used to do that", I started thinking, "honey, that's why there's Viagra."  If things always worked the way they used to,  things such as Viagra, Oil of Olay, WD40 etc... would be completely unnecessary.  So to all you naysayers out there who want to keep you head stuck in the sand, my best wishes to you.  Without the possibility of change there is no hope, without hope there is no reason to live.  My hope for you all is that you will dream big dreams and embrace the changes necessary to achieve them.  Cheers!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Emotional Vomit...for lack of a better title

Life is so strange, or at least mine is.  I can't imagine living a "normal" life, whatever that is.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the large number of people in my life that I interact with on a regular basis and especially those who are truly near and dear to my heart.  It's so strange how people come in to our lives, and sometimes strange how they leave but what cannot be minimized is the fact that they were there or are still here, and the profound meaningfulness of it.

Last night I was at a "family" party with a bunch of people whom I've known in person for 4 years or less, but yet they are part of my family.  In ways being with them is easier than being with my own family that I've known for 43 years.  I guess because part of me ticks in ways that are more similar to the way that they do.  No offense intended to any of my lovely California family and friends reading this but my own sense of being a totally bizarre person makes sense when I'm with you guys. My poor aunt, (who's not really my aunt but her kids are cousins with my aunts kids), seemed so distraught at the end of the night by the behavior of her family but she was the only one not having fun.  The group I was with are crazy, but genuine and loving, unpretentious, deeply flawed but accepting of it and just seem to all truly love each other.  And as if that isn't enough, they have drawn me in with open arms and have treated me as one of their own.  I feel incredibly blessed by this experience.

I've never been a particularly social person and I definitely have a low comfort level when it comes to socialization en mass.  I'm also quite uncomfortable being one on one with someone I don't know very well.  I've gotten my small talk down a little, but the problem is...I greatly dislike small talk.   I want to know what makes you tick, what makes your spirit soar, what you are most afraid of, what your favorite scent is, if you like dogs or cats, etc....but yet when I have the chance to ask such questions, I often go blank.  I'm still working on this.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want to morph in to a social butterfly, I love my time alone to just reflect and relax.  I already have someone in my head who almost never shuts up so that uses up most of my social energy anyway.  I do want to have meaningful social interactions when they do occur.  That being said, sometimes just being in the presence of someone else without talking can speak volumes as well.

I think I've gotten away from the original point of this post.  I wanted to talk about friends, family, relationships, and how cool it is to have everyone in my life who is there.  I am so lucky, I have great amounts of love in my life but with love always comes pain, drama, sadness, disappointment, etc.
I once found it easier to just keep people at a distance and not allow myself to engage with too many people or to truly engage with more than a select few.  Its good protection from all the emotional bullshit.  But, due to circumstances of birth and everything that's happened since then, I've been forced to re-examine my own beliefs and thoughts on life, God, relationships, purpose, meaningfulness, and so on.  Maybe not forced, but compelled.  And thank God!!

I have lots of family in my immediate life that I've known and loved for years but then there are all these other people, some random and some not so much that have come in to my life.  It's as if I've been showered with incredible human experiences.   Last weekend I met up with some friends that have been such a Godsend to me in the past 2 years.  If it had not been for finding my biological father and Grandmother in Idaho, developing a relationship with them, and the subsequent death of my birth father, I would never have known these two very special friends the way that I do.  When we start to explain to people how we know each other, it just seems so unlikely that we could ever have met and become friends.  Things like this definitely confirm my belief in a power much greater than our own. 

There is no way I could ever believe that things just randomly happen, maybe they do but the elements must be tossed in to the wind with the intention that we will use our own sense of goodness to make the best of what we get and to learn to love or at least accept that things that we get that we don't like.  I've been forced out of my shell by people who believed in me more than I could ever have thought to believe in myself.  I've learned to love and appreciate people that I once had the ignorant nerve to look down on as lacking in some way or another.  Life is just so spectacular if you can open your eyes.

When I meet someone who seems to be lacking now, I feel an obligation to search for what I am lacking that makes me see them that way or to find ways that I can help them get what they need while accepting that with which they are truly content.  It's when I see people who truly are in pain or causing other people pain that I seem to have difficulty now.  Where once I could have blown them off as being helpless in some way that I didn't have time for, now I just want them to be able to find meaning and purpose and to be able to step back and see the wonder in the way that things unfold.

  Okay, I guess it's time to wrap this up.  I think I've said, to the best of my ability, the things that are in my heart and on my mind.  If you've read this far and are wondering if I've found some medical marijuana out here in California.  Unfortunately, I haven't yet, but if I do, I'll still stand in the certainty that we can never change anyone else but we can ALWAYs change ourselves if we want to.  Personal change is a catalyst and will lead to amazing changes either in your own perspective  or the perspective of others.  If nothing else, to be able to stay calm and present instead of engaging in an argument is such a gift.  Thank you God for all the crazy, amazing, loving, supportive people in my life.  Most of all, for those waiting for me at home and for those from all over who love me as if I were always here.

Karen, special thanks to you for being so instrumental in helping me with perspective.  You're awesome!



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Paula Dean, You're job is safe!!

This one's for you, Lafonne!  Just about the time, I'm ready to call Betty Crocker and see if she's hiring, I learned, once again, not to count your chickens before they hatch.  My BFF, Lisa, you know the one, gave me a boxed mix of Bruce's Bread Pudding over New Year's Weekend.  As determined as I was that we would make it that weekend, that didn't happen.  So, I decided that tonight was the night.  I'm making bread pudding!!  For me, the fact that it's from a box and not from Pappadeax counts as homestyle baking.   So I somewhat carefully followed the directions on the box, even making the recommended but optional rum sauce to go with it.  How proud I was of the yummy smelling mixture poured into the 8 inch x 2 inch glass dish (just as instructed), and placed it in the oven with care.
 
I began working on the the sauce and completed it successfully.   The sauce is always the tricky part, so at this point, I'm sure that I have a future as a boxed mix tester for Duncan Hines, if not the Betty Crocker herself.  I'm texting with Lisa, all proud of my accomplishments when lo and behold, I smell this horrible smell, like something burning.  I looked in the oven and much to my dismay, the bread pudding is boiling over!!  OMG!!  My brand new, barely 3 year old oven, is going to be scarred for life!!!!  I know it's supposed to be self cleaning but I'm sure that I'll have to find a manual for something like that.  So, there I go....Thank God for silicone.  I don my almost brand new, barely 5 year old silicone oven mitt and head in with a wet paper towel.  I'm not stupid, surely a dry one would catch on fire!!  Apparently wet ones can too, or I'm almost sure they can, as it came close to ignition but I pulled away from the orange coil just in time.  Finally the light bulb in my head went on.  I grabbed the BBQ tongs and used them to lift the coil as I continued to clean the oven ruining, nasty smelling mixture.  Oh, before all that, I placed a baking sheet under the casserole dish.  Smart huh?

So, here I am now, major oven cleaning crisis avoided, only a slight 1st degree burn to my right forearm, and the lovely bread pudding is still baking.  Unless this stuff turns out REALLY good, I'll be sticking to my Dove chocolate until someone else is doing the baking.   The house smells like burnt, God knows what, but my oven is minimally scarred and those silicone gloves really work (I just need longer ones).   If it turns out good,  then bread pudding out of a box is the best thing since sliced bread, if not,  ummmm....well.....I guess I'll keep my day job. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Embalmed Effect

So, back to indulging my BFF, Lisa...Today I would like to send a shout out to BareMinerals foundation.  I am often complimented on my skin, Thank God, because there's not a whole lot else going on aesthically here.  But anyhoo, I am blessed with good skin genetics but I am also blessed with great makeup products.  Last year, I had switched to another mineral based foundation and thought I was liking it better but when I ran out, I turned back to the remainder of a jar of Bare Minerals.   Yesterday, I used the last of it, so today,  I used the other kind in a lighter shade that I had left over and I have to say, I think I look like I've been embalmed.  I'm sure having been sick this week, not exercising in several days and a few of my other less than stellar habits aren't helping but the point is.....There is a lot to be said for a great product.  Bare Minerals, I love you!!!  You are expensive, messy, and if over-applied can cause someone to look like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, but when used correctly you are awesome!!!!!  So, there you go, Lisa, makeup endorsement number 2.  By the way, I don't use Bare Minerals concealer, there's another one that is FABULOUS, but we will save that for another day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

You get what you give.

Today,  I saw once again just how ugly people can be.  Where do we all get off thinking we are so all important that we can step on other people's feelings and demand our own way.   It's amazing how many people can recite John 3:16 but seem to have no idea whatsoever how to translate the meaning of this verse in the Bible.  We pray for what we want while we judge others for their non-Christian ways. We rant about what we want and how everyone else does everything wrong.  Where is the kindness, understanding and acceptance of others of being just as important even though no more flawed than our own selves.  Today I saw and heard of numerous reports of gossip, judgment and harsh treatment of others  Some who haven't even had a chance to learn what they are supposed to be doing, others trying to learn what they haven't yet mastered.  I saw others walking in to the personal space of their peers and demanding certain behaviors.  I guess I have failed to recognize the sheer perfection of some of those around me enough to recognize that their mistreatment of others is acceptable.  If that is blindness on my part then please God, let me not see.  How often to people quote the Golden Rule but yet act in ways that I cannot possibly imagine that they would want to be treated?  All I can say, is that you get what you give.  If you want kindness, give kindness; if you want respect, give respect; if you want someone to learn, teach them appropriately and without judgment.  There is no one who is secure in this world.  Just as surely as you mistreat others, you yourself will be mistreated but by then, I'm sure it will be everyone elses fault.  This is my rant of the day.
The flip side of this post is that I saw kindness today as well.  I saw people who's eyes were opened, maybe not as much as others would like but as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day.  Let's reinforce each other positively,  let's treat each other as if we all live with equal amounts of personal pain and difficulty in our lives.  Let's remember that no one ever said it would be easy or fair.  I believe that we were asked to love one another unconditionally.  To me,  emulating Christ's behaviour is to believe in him.   I am a Christian but I know many who aren't necessarily sure that Jesus is the son of God but yet they do a far better job of emulating his behaviour than many of those who profess to believe in Him as surely as they know themselves to exist on this earth. 
I suppose that I myself, would seem to be in judgment right now.  This is certainly not my intention. All I say is that you get what you give.   To all of my beautiful giving friends, co-workers and loved ones who make a daily effort to walk in someone elses shoes, Thank you!  To all of those whom I must encounter on a regular basis that wish to sit in judgment and worry about who is going to hell and for what reason, I wish you peace, understanding and love.  Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Finally, may the force be with you and may you find the right one.