Monday, May 28, 2012

Caring for Those That Didn't Die

“Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.” This is how a website dedicated to Memorial Day begins its explanation and history of what we are celebrating and honoring today.

While I am almost always against the wars our country chooses to wage, I am always grateful to those that serve in our military.  In my opinion, we will forever require a force to protect and fight for the rest of us, those who stay home, or by their very presence keep us out of war. I wish it wasn’t so, but I’m certain it is.  Those we honor today are the ones who put their lives on the line for their beliefs, each other and a huge body of US citizens, and thereby lost them.

Thankfully, I have never personally lost anyone in this manner but have enormous respect and caring for those who have.  Many years passed when I didn’t do anything towards honoring the many thousands of lives lost in the name of my country.

Today, I give to the Wounded Warriors Project on a regular basis because it is a wonderful organization and because I cannot think of a better way to honor those that died in the service of their country than to help care for those that didn’t die, but instead experience the after-effects of their sacrifice every day.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Life would be easier if...

Red and I were just lazing around the Veranda this morning, after a big breakfast at one of our favorite down-home restaurants and got into a discussion about the all the things that would make life a little easier. You won’t be surprised at what started the whole thing.

Kathy: You know what bugs me?

Red: I probably won’t be able to guess which one thing you’re thinking of. I mean, aren’t there multitudes…for everyone?

Kathy: Yeah, I guess you’re right. But here’s the one that bugs me every time I order coffee at a restaurant. Why don’t they put little garbage cans on the tables for the sugar and cream packets? I mean, I fix up my coffee and there’s this little pile of trash on the table for the rest of the meal!

Red: You have mentioned it before. In fact, I believe I was instrumental in keeping you from complaining about it to that one waitress. 

Kathy: Yes…yes, you were.

Red: Well, as long as we’re talking about restaurants, how about instead of the calorie counts that California requires on menus now that there were warnings about the consequences of eating that triple burger with extra cheese, huh?

Kathy: (laughing) And maybe disgusting pictures of clogged arteries! Or extra large tushies!

Red: You know what I’d like? (hesitating for effect) Adults only restaurants – or at least, adults only sections.

Kathy: For R rated meals? (Now in near hysterics)

Red: No! For quiet, restful meals. I love kids – you know I do – but sometimes! Oh, Lordy!  Sometimes I want to smack me some Mommy face. It isn’t really the kids’ fault. It’s practically on the job description for "child" under responsibilities – 1) Make as much noise as humanly possible.

Kathy: I know! We could start a movement to encourage Nannies in Public Places. They would have the authority to make the children chill or at least march them off to a time-out in a designated corner of the building. 

We fell into a lull, catching our breath from the raucous laughter. The neighbors were starting to come outside to see who was causing all the hullabaloo. Then it just started up again, on a more serious note. 

Kathy: You know what I want someone to invent? Caffeine patches! Why must I suffer through the ups and downs of caffeine intake?

Red: I think the world would be much better off if they’d come up with refrigerators that lecture you every time you approach it. I mean, why wait until you’ve already opened the door. Oh, oh…and exercise machines that praise you loudly, so the whole gym can hear it. A little light clapping would be good, too.

Kathy: What about cell phones that respond when you call them! They bark or say, “Over here!” until they are picked up!

Red: You know what would be really, really cool? Valet parking at WalMart!

We laughed so hard at that one that the neighbors came out again and sternly stared at us. Oh, well, a girl can dream, can’t she? 

We can’t help it if we dream loudly.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Garbage Galore!

So, this isn’t going to be the usual glamorous discussion we have on this blog (who am I trying to kid?), but garbage is something we can all relate to because we all make it.

Have you ever noticed how much of the stuff collects around your house in one day? It’s truly amazing. I live in a 23 ft. RV.  Not much room for garbage, you’d think. However, what prompted this subject was a day last week when I found I had taken three grocery bags out in the morning and still had two more by the end of the day. That’s one person’s accumulation in one day in a tiny living space.

I was flabbergasted (old fashioned word just to keep you on your toes)! How was it possible? Then I sat down and took inventory. Everything I consume comes in packaging. Those items are put into a bag before I leave the store (I don’t do cloth bags because I need the bags to use for garbage – ironic isn’t it?). Then there are the parts of the vegetables I don’t eat, the stems of the fruit, the fat and bones from the steak, etc. On top of that are the items that just get worn out or are no longer usable but not in good enough shape to be passed on to Goodwill or some other likely charity.

I have a friend who holds on to garbage. She can’t let go of it. There are piles of old papers, plastic bags, empty cardboard boxes. Her refrigerator is full to the brim with food that cannot be eaten and her shelves with scraps of this and that. Every corner is overflowing. She’s a relatively young person, not one of the Depression era folks we normally think of as having this affliction. My friend is a hoarder and garbage is her treasure.

Then there are those who look on everything they no longer want as garbage, without considering that it might be useful to someone else. I passed by a house today that had put out its garbage cans for pick up in the morning, and right alongside them was a perfectly good armchair and lamp (at least that’s how they looked to me as I rode by on the way to someplace else).

Many, many years ago, my husband at the time and I raised pigs. We were both going to school and money was extremely tight – rare even. We regularly raided the local grocery store garbage bins for things we could feed our pigs. One lucky night, we loaded the back of our pickup truck with 50 gallons of milk and so many loaves of bread that one fell over the side of the truck on the way home. We had very happy hogs the next morning.

So, garbage is a matter of perspective I guess. However, one thing is extremely clear to me. We are a wasteful and negligent society. I wonder just how many people could feed and clothe themselves, and furnish their homes from the stuff we simply toss out every day?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just a Little More Fun with Red

I was invited to do a guest blog for the ladies of @JungleReds – and it’s live today! All about the color Red – go figure!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mom Isn't Just My Mother

Most of my life, I lived away from my birth family. I make that distinction because once you go off and start your own family, the one you were born into becomes once removed, if you know what I mean. 

And once removed is a good way to describe my relationship with my mother, father and sisters. We may think we know each other, but unless you’re around for the hard stuff and the day to day struggles, you don’t really see the changes that come over the ones you love. They become frozen in time in a way.  The phone calls and occasional visits are not enough to continue to truly know the ones with whom you shared the beginning of your life.

Nothing has made that more apparent to me than the re-acquaintance I’ve experienced with my mother.  Mothers and daughters have that traditional thing, you know – where to be told we’re like our mother is the absolute worst thing you can tell us.  But for me, that’s not true anymore. 

I came back to California four years ago and began a new relationship with my family. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but for each one there was a renewal. With my mother, I’ve learned that I’m very much like her and I’m proud of that. 

She’s tough, brave, a hard-worker and very imaginative. We share the imagination. When she gets an idea in her head, she’s also hell-bent on doing it and woes be to the person who stands in her way. I also inherited that trait. 

The mother who sewed clothes for all of us – my three sisters and I – and did all the traditional 1950s mom stuff is not the woman I know now.  I’m sure she’s at the core of this new person, but I’m really having fun with the version I know now. She laughs and isn’t afraid to be silly. She’s up for almost anything.  If I have anything to be concerned about now, it’s that she may well work herself into the ground. 

What I’m seeing now that I couldn’t see for many years is that my mother is so much more than that. She’s a person, a woman in her own right, not defined by her motherhood, simply shaped by it in some ways. Now, after all these long years, she’s my friend. 

I love you, Mom.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Barbie - The Man-Eater

Red and I had this long conversation about inviting Barbie (the bimbo), from Red is an Attitude, to the Veranda and came to the conclusion that it would ruin the sanctity of our peaceful place to invite a woman we both consider a man-eater to join us on the Veranda. Therefore we did what any sane female would do when faced with a dilemma like this - we decided to talk about her instead!

Red: Seriously, she would have completely destroyed the karma of this spot with her floozy ways. All that blonde hair and exposed skin would generate a meltdown.

Kathy: Well, I remember she actively tried to add Joe to her trophy case. 

Red: Absolutely! And she was well on the way to breaking up Aggie's marriage. I mean, what would it say about us if we encouraged her by giving her the grand invitation to our sacred spot?

Kathy: I get your point. How about I just add a clip from the book in here so the readers can get the picture?

Red: Good idea – take it away.

Excerpt from Red is an Attitude:

My reverie was disturbed and my mind was drawn back to the ship when, suddenly, Mac leaned forward, his uncut ears perked and his nose wrinkling with the effort to locate a smell, when a couple of Labradors came out of the door to the ship’s doggy cafĂ©, Treats. There was a white female; quite a bit less muscled than her coal black male companion. The owner, who struggled to manage the two on separate leashes, was a lean and tanned blonde, a long-legged beauty with an impossibly narrow waist in a teeny white bikini. My love, Joe, had perked up, too and was watching “Barbie” trot her two pooches across the deck and right by our cluster of lounge chairs. 

I reached over and subtly punched Joe. I couldn’t do anything about Mac, except clutch his leash in my hand and hope he wouldn’t take off after the white Lab. 

I needn’t have worried. The lab liked what she saw and headed straight for Mac. 

“Indy! Indy, girl. Hold on,” Barbie hollered, ineffectually. She tossed her long locks over her shoulder and smiled a little too widely at Joe. 

“Sorry, about that!” Aiming her words not at me, the one holding the leash, but at my man.

Joe smiled back, “No problem.”

I piped up with a bit of an edge to my voice. “Yeah, I’ve got Mac under control here. If she’s Indy, who’s he?” I asked indicating the charcoal stud attached to her other hand.

She giggled. Of course, she did. “That’s Cabo! He’s just a big lug. They’re brother and sister – well, half-brother and sister. Two different litters and different daddies, but the same Mom.” She finished with a flash of white, which blinded me for a minute, but I was assuming it was her teeth. 

“Good thing they’re related, so Cabo won’t mind that Mac looks interested in Indy,” Joe threw in with an obnoxiously sexy grin. 

Both Barbie and I checked them out. It was definitely mutual. There was the usual sniffing going on and I could have sworn Mac smiled. Dogs do, you know. Smile, I mean. I decided if Mac and Indy were going to be dating, I should introduce myself to her owner. I stuck my hand out towards Barbie, who seemed surprised but shook it. 

“I’m Lydia Talbot. Most people call me Red,” I said.

She took in my flaming mass of wild hair and answered, “I can see why! I’m Cindi,” then she turned her attention back to Joe. “And you are?”

Joe nearly stumbled over himself, lifting his butt out of the chaise. But he finally stood and extended his hand, too. “Joe. I’m Joe.”

Cindi’s next question threw me. 

“Are you here by yourself?” she asked him. 

I looked around to make sure I wasn’t invisible and finally back at her when I noticed a guy along the railing checking me out, proof positive I wasn’t undetectable. I left it to Joe to find his way out of this one. He gulped, glanced my way and answered as firmly as he could manage.

“Nope, this fine woman is my lady.” He had recovered nicely. 

“Too bad,” she answered, smiling at me acidly. “No offense.”

“None taken. I’m more into developing a defensive strategy,” I answered with a frozen smile. 

She giggled again, pretending not to understand my reference, tossed that golden mane and tugged at her two companions.

“Come on, Indy. Cabo,” she urged as she waltzed off, watched by hoards of men, young and old alike.

“Well, she’s something!” I declared, emphatically.

Joe shook his head, “Isn’t she though? I wonder if Dad’s spotted her, yet.”

“He’s with Evelyn,” I answered indignantly. 

“Doesn’t keep him from looking. It’ll be good for his heart.”

I huffed a little and reached down to pat Mac.

“You still love me, don’t you, boy?”

Mac was too busy looking longingly after Indy to give me the lick on the cheek this question usually elicited. Damn! Lost both my boys in one fell swoop.


See what we mean?????????