Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Freedom

"We inherit our freedom, but now is the time to fight for it." ~"Red Dawn" (2012)
This week, a couple of news stories depressed me a wee bit about the state of our United States.

Merriam-Webster defines patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country." 

Some of America's citizens now shun even children's patriotic ideas. (See "Administrators reverse ban on American celebration at Fort Collins, CO, high school") What kind of a country has America become where the idea of celebrating being an American IN AMERICA will offend others who live here but may be from another country? 

And why would Coca Cola pick "America the Beautiful" to be sung in so many different languages? (Search for "America the Beautiful coke ad") I understand showing all kinds of images of our diverse population with a very American song such as "America the Beautiful" being sung in ENGLISH. What makes my blood boil is how Coke's ad actually causes divisiveness. What's even worse is that Coke, projecting an image of being for immigration, is sadly exploiting the topic of immigration to expand their market and make more money. It is about the bottom line for that very American company.

Even though my blood boils over with anger at these two news stories from this week, I'm tired of being so angry at the anti-patriotic sentiment. I don't think I even have much left to feel disgusted.

My feeling is sadness. Pure sadness. So, as soon as my supply of diet Coke runs out, I will no longer purchase anything from that company. I needed to cut back anyway.

Or maybe, after having a flag pole put into our front lawn, I'll watch Lonnie raise the United States of America's flag every morning. Over a bullhorn, we will say the "Pledge of Allegiance", too. And like Lloyd Dobler from "Say Anything", I'll hook up a "jam box" so large that the entire subdivision will hear "America the Beautiful" blaring out IN ENGLISH every morning. I'll be quenching my thirst with water, hot chocolate, diet Pepsi, or even mud. Anything would be better than a Coke.

Monday, December 16, 2013

O Christmas Tree

There is something so peaceful about a Christmas tree. This year, we put smaller one in our bedroom, decorated it with some small, glass ornaments that we can't put on the main Christmas tree (one word: cats), and topped it with an angel.

I think we've created a new tradition. Every night since Lonnie set it up in our bedroom, we've turned the lights on, and even now, as I write this, I look at it and am instantly calmed. A Christmas tree really is a beautiful thing. And it represents so much more than the lights, the branches, or even the memories that adorn it in the forms of all kinds of dangling ornaments.

So, I decided to renew my (forgotten) knowledge of the history of the Christmas tree on history.com and this paragraph stood out:

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
 I never knew (probably forgot) that the Christmas tree tradition began in Germany. Americans actually thought the trees were odd. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania. I love all kinds of Christmas trees, and I tend to think most are beautiful in their own way. If children decorate a tree, it's beautiful because children decorated it. If there are popcorn-cranberry strands of garland, I think that's also beautiful in an old-fashioned way. On our main tree, I still hang ornaments that I made from when I was in elementary school. Two of them are covered in tin foil. (Lonnie promised me he'll get his childhood ornaments at my father-in-law's house this year.)

Big, small, flocked, or green, fat, skinny, all white lights, colored lights, blinking or still lights...a Christmas tree is a flood of happiness and peace. It's a beautiful night light, too.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dog Barking

Tonight, after finishing dinner, we watched a show. After a few minutes, I stood up and used the back of one of our chairs to hold steady while doing some of my physical therapy exercises. Nagini, our black lab mix (with some Great Dane in him, too) started growling like we've never heard from him before.

He growled at one of our menacing living room windows. By this point, it was already dark outside, too. And we all know it's a fact that the scariest times happen at night. He started ferociously barking, we hope to protect us from whatever imaginary threat he thought he saw through or reflected from the window. I looked out into the back yard, cupping my hands around my eyes to better see anything he might find threatening. I looked once, twice, nothing.

There was an extension cord wrapped and sitting on the window sill. Perhaps Nagini thought the tan snake was coiling, preparing to strike him at a moment's notice. To show him how tame the extension cord was, I picked it up and dropped it on the floor. His big-bad-dog barking continued.

It might've been the reflection he saw of Lonnie and me in the window itself. I raised the blinds thinking that might calm him. No matter how many times I looked, each time finding nothing but our back yard right where it was supposed to be, he continued to bark.

I didn't think of this at the time, but maybe he was seeing a spirit. It is Halloween Eve, not that that's the time they all come out, especially to be peeking in our windows. Still...creepy. And now I will find some way to go to sleep while my wild imagination works toward a goal of no sleep for me at all, mulling over what could be lurking in our back yard. The stories in my mind are endless. My mind is like a bad neighborhood...you don't go in there alone.

*tingling and shivering*


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Learning to Walk Again

Today's surprises all had to do with my knee, the one I injured resulting in surgery. I found out at physical therapy that they would unlock my brace so that I don't have to keep my leg locked out straight at extension. I've been walking around with a peg-leg. All that's missing is the parrot and the eye patch. Today, though, unlocking the brace so that I can bend my knee while in it was a little scary. I hadn't really put much pressure on that leg since July 30. So hearing that I would be walking through on that leg, even if slowly, freaked me out a bit.

My physical therapist, who's awesome, literally showed me how to walk again. I've been walking for almost 44 years. I think I have the hang of it. Or do I? It was an unsteady feeling to begin walking, even slowly, on my gimpy leg. I'm getting the hang of it, but it's harder than it seems after an injury and surgery like what I've been through.

I even went grocery shopping all by myself and drove for the first time since the surgery today. The driving itself was so freeing, but being able to walk left me giddy with delight.

To top it off, I no longer have to sleep with the freakin' leg brace. WHOOOOOOOOOOP!

I'm far more appreciative now of my capabilities and have an even deeper respect for those who are limited physically or mentally.

It reminds me of that quote: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their own battles."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tonight's "cross-country" adventure

Lonnie and I had an errand to run earlier this evening. It was more of a frustrating/eventually comical 20-minute trip in "the 'burbs".

1. Someone almost rear-ended us in the CVS parking lot as we backed out of the spot.
2. Lonnie wanted to go through Taco Bell and get something to eat. Right before the girl (and I do mean GIRL) handed the bag of food to us, she and a fellow employee were having a "discussion" (a.k.a., argument). The fellow employee walked away, and we're waiting in the car.Still.Waiting. We had the food but no drink. Finally, I check the bag to make sure all of the order was there, and I asked Lonnie, "What're we waiting on other than your drink?" Finally, I leaned over Lonnie and said, "Hello!! Hellooooooo!" to the girl (did I mention GIRL?) who was standing right there at the window. She FINALLY heard me and said, "Yes?" I said, "We're waiting on our drink." She grabbed the drink, said, "Oh, I'm sorry" and handed it to Lonnie. I asked her, "Why did it take so long to get a drink?" And she said something about listening to the next person's order (this is how heard it, though, "blah blah blah") and apologized again saying she forgot. Lonnie said, "Well, if you hadn't been having that little 'pow-wow' with your co-worker, you might have realized we still didn't have our order." More apologies. I said, "Who is your manager?" WAIT.FOR.IT. "I'm the manager" she said. *rolling my eyes*
3. We drove to a different place (because I wanted plain tortillas since my stomach is kind of messed up, and let's face it, Taco Bell's tortillas are merely vehicles to put food in. Their tortillas aren't to be eaten all by themselves 'cause they aren't stars, but more like cameos in the Taco Bell fast food movie...wow, that was a stretch, even for me, but you get the picture). When we got to "almost-star-quality tortillas" establishment, Lonnie placed the order after hearing the woman ask through the tall metal speaker box, "May I take your order?" Next thing, a man's voice (apparently, someone's performing sex changes in nanoseconds these days) said, "Can you say it again?" Lonnie, frustrated with previous ordeals of this little adventure, said, "Are you gonna pay attention this time?" and placed his order. Once again *poof--sex change* the woman repeated the order back and told us to drive to the window. When I asked what the deal was, she stated that the first voice we heard was a recording, that they have to greet the customer within the first three seconds of arriving at the drive-thru. THAT I believe; however, you can usually tell a)that those are recordings and b)they don't match anyone else's voice who works at the place, and c)the "electronic recorded greeting"'s voice was the exact same as the woman at the end of the exchange. I'd rather wait and have them actually listen to my order ONCE than have someone ask me to repeat it.
4. Finally, there was a VERY aggressive driver in some little sedan (BMW, Honda, Kia, who knows?) who pretty much almost took off the end of our car (different from the CVS driver) while zigzagging between the car in the left lane a little behind us and us in the right lane. He risked all of that just to get 10 feet in front of us right before the light to turn right. Wow. That saved a LOT of time for him. I think I may have blinked once during that, so it was worth it, right, to save a "blink's worth" of time?

I'm tired now. I'm going to bed.
As a friend of mine would say, "I don't have time for all this foolishness!"
-a-

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