Wednesday, March 26, 2008

School Fund Raisers Suck.

I hate the way that schools put kids into indentured service with these daggone fund raisers.

I can remember doing this when I was a kid. Bugging all my neighbors and relatives to buy calendars, candy bars, wrapping paper, crocks of cheese, cookbooks, all kinds of stuff. Nowadays, kids are still selling the same things, and more - flower flats, magazines, candles, even pizzas and subs!

I guess it's a good thing. I mean, it earns the school programs some money for new computers or sports equipment or band uniforms or whatever, and it teaches the kids something about hard work and responsibility (assuming their parents don't do all the work for them). But it's a little over the top. It seems like every month there's something else the kids from some school or another have to peddle.

I had to work extra hard at my sales when I was a kid. While my friends' moms and dads took their order forms into the office or the bowling alley and sold 250 units of crap FOR them, I had to collect my own sales. My parents told me they didn't want to bug their coworkers with what was my job to begin with. It was discouraging, especially when the prizes were handed out to the kids who didn't have to do a thing to gather all those sales. But it taught me a lot about working hard and following through.

Now that I'm a parent, I really don't ask my coworkers to buy anything from my son's fundraisers. I'll admit I do bring the order forms in and mention there's a thing going on (we all do) - but just one time, and I don't even announce when the sale is ending because I feel like I'm pushing people to buy the junk. I figure if they want to buy something, they will. I'm not going to bug them about it.

Even so, it's like you the parent need to buy stuff regardless. This latest catalog at least has a nice variety of things. Strawberry garden starter kits, windchimes, a barbecue set, dog treats. I really don't need any of it. But if I don't buy something I feel like a chump.

And I'm not even including the little booth they set up by the front door every so often, selling books and puzzles and things like that. I don't mean to be cheap, but I almost feel like I'm being extorted.

The most irriatating thing about these catalogs and forms with blatantly generous ordering line space is, Incrediboy is a preschooler. COME ON. Isn't this a little much?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Weekend

I usually put up a little Easter greeting for anyone who happens by, but I didn't do it in time this year. Things have been out of sorts in Clewland, so I'm sorry about that. Hope everyone had a nice Easter!

Ours was all right. We didn't go to church, and I feel bad about that. And we didn't go to my brother-in-law's house, due to too many things going on in their world - which is certainly fine, but seemed very weird. Incrediboy loved his Easter basket, which was more toy-centered than candy (we still have Halloween candy hanging around, for Pete's sake). And MBDog enjoyed his Easter Busy Bone. MBDog is funny when he gets a treat like that. He'll prance laps around the room with the bone in his mouth, crying excitedly, for a good 10 or 15 minutes before finally settling down to enjoy it. Silly pup.

I cooked a small ham and mashed potatoes and we went to my mother in law's house for a nice Easter meal. Incrediboy babbled all the way to Grandma's that he wanted to say the Easter grace, but then when it was time he refused. *shrug*. Whatever. That boy was cantankerous in general all weekend, to be honest.

The absence of the traditional egg hunt annually held at his cousins didn't go unnoticed. Hub and I were discussing having a little hunt for him in the back yard tonight, but I really don't have anything to put in his plastic eggs and I don't know if I feel organized enough to throw it together on the fly at Target on the way home today. We'll see. The commercial side of Easter was never really a big whoop while I was growing up, so I tend to forget a lot of details surrounding the secular angle of this holiday. Coloring eggs was always the highlight for me, and we got a small basket each year, but that was it. No trips to see the Bunny at the mall, no egg hunts, nothing like that. Deprived child, eh?

And because I like to gripe ... I was reading an article in the paper yesterday about 3 college kids who were killed in a car accident. They were all from China, a country which enacted a one child per family law in the seventies to help control the rapidly expanding population. Three families on the other side of the world lost their only children. The man who was responsible for the accident was doing 98 mph and crashed into the back of the students' Taurus. It pancaked between him and the car in front of them. What's more, is he not only had 11 points on his record and had also killed two other people in an accident a few years before, but he reportedly has epilepsy and often blacks out. Excuse me, but exactly WHY does this man have a license to begin with?

What. The. Hell.

Apparently the blood of two people on his hands made no matter to him - he had to add three more. Worthless waste of space. It's lucky for him that I have no say in the consequences for his actions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cold-Nosed Angels

I work for a small company. We've all worked together for nearly 10 years, and in that time we've become extended family.

My bosses had to put their dog down yesterday morning. The atmosphere in the office has been so heavy - She was a sweet, gentle dog, and we had all grown to love her. But she was old ... Her hips were giving out, she'd been having trouble breathing, had stopped eating and drinking several days before, and had spent the last few days looking for quiet places to just ... lay down and seemingly let go.

Her folks decided it was time.

But even knowing when the time is right does not make the pain of saying goodbye any less sharp.

I was borne to a family which included a gentle-spirited border collie. He considered me his own and I dare to say no one in the house loved me more. He lived to be 17, and died at home on a Sunday morning. Naturally we were all devastated.

In time, my brother and I recovered from the loss. But my mother, while she learned to cope, never quite got the pain behind her.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love my dog to a ridiculous degree. He's a royal pain in the a$$ and at times has practically given us a nervous breakdown. But Hub and I love him with ALL our hearts. He's our oldest boy, our sweet pup, and the closest thing we have to eyewitnessing God's perfect unconditional love. And from the time we brought MBDog into our lives, I've prayed a secret prayer in earnest. I know it sounds morbid, but I've asked the Lord that when it's MBDog's time, that he releases his soul after a wonderful, love-filled day like any other. That he doesn't become ill, or suffer, and more to the point, that we won't be faced with the decision to put him to sleep. I can't even bear the thought of facing that decision without choking up. I hope with all my being that God will make the decision for me.

Herein lies the understanding for my Mother's torch for our sweet border collie. My brother and I shared the family with him - he was indeed a part of it as much as everyone else. But he was MOM's dog. SHE had adopted and raised him as her canine child. HE was HER boy. And she'd lost her boy.

My puppy, who once NEVER slept, now naps much of the time - and I've noticed the once distinct division of his white snout and brown cheeks is recenty becoming smudged with increasing amounts of gray. He's far from old, though - and statistically he still has many many years to go. But the past 5 1/2 have gone so fast. Too fast. I am glad that Incrediboy will know the happiness of growing up with a wonderful family dog. I know he'll remember MBDog always, even when he's an old man. But he will get over losing MBDog much faster than Hub and I will. If we ever do.

Opening your heart to a dog is one of the greatest blessings and learning opportunities granted to humans. They limit your freedom. They cramp your style. They can often be a burden on your budget. But they are worth it.

The only problem is they are here for such a short time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Waxing, Waning, and Cleaning House

So, my cronies and I were talking recently, and the whole wad of us have seemingly lost our blogging mojo. In fact, one of us almost deleted their blog not too long ago, and another one of us actually DID, just today. That made me a little sad ... but I can't say as I blame her, seeing that, as it was put, she just wasn't feeling it anymore. Truth be told, I've considered doing the same thing myself, more than once, and for the same reason.

Not in every case, but it seems like so many people get into blogging for a year or two, and then just - to place it in a catchall phrase - lose interest. Some blogs get deleted, while others are merely abandoned, having a swipe of dust knocked off of it every now and then by the occasional visitor.

Why did I get into blogging? Those who've been around since the early years will confirm that even I didn't know that answer. Mainly because I was processing a handful of deaths and needed some sort of journaling outlet to help me sort out my grief. As time went on, my blog helped me rekindle my love of creative writing, and my posts flowed into a more narrative, magic in the little things, daily observations style - sprinkled with semi-fictional stories. And nearly always introspective, even if only obvious to me.

This blog has been a great tool of healing and growth for me. There was a time when I was posting twice a day, I had so many things to get out. Blogging was my biggest and most rewarding hobby, and I "met" wonderful, fascinating people I visited regularly and grew to love. Some have even become real honest-to-God figures in my actual life.

About a year or so ago, my inspiration for blogging suddenly fizzled. I now found it difficult to come up with anything to even talk about, let alone sculpt into an interesting metaphor of some sort. I waited, thinking and hoping that my muses would return. But they still have not.

Why have I lost my spark? Has this method of self-healing and creative indulgence served its purpose?

I thought of deleting this blog, but decided not to. Among the fluff and pointless spacewaste are a few bits of shine that I want to keep. Some I'm actually proud of. I could copy these things into a file so I could keep them - but I wonder if I'd change my mind one day and want this blog back. It's much easier to let a blog sit than to re-enter it (ha). But at the very least I've got an urge to put on my overalls and do some spring cleaning within my post files. In the next few weeks, I plan on doing just that.

If I delete a bunch of the stupid junk and leave only what I consider worthy of saving for something other than filler, maybe I'll be reinspired to do some good quality blogging again. Lord knows I want to - I miss it.

Many thanks to those who have been visiting me, riding along with me, and checking in on me even when I've taken long leaves of absence. You are a huge factor too in my decision not to delete my blog. I don't know when I'll get back to posting, but I'll continue to visit you, continue to pray for you, and continue to cherish your friendships.

I'm still here!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Top 5 Things Learned at Blogarita 3

Pearls of Wisdom gathered this past weekend ...

5.) There will always be something - a catch phrase, a song, something - that will manifest and become synonymous with any gathering you have with your best friends.

4.) It's a good idea to check the flue BEFORE you light a fire.

3.) There may indeed be more than one petrified forest.

2.) The silence can be as enriching as the gut-busting laughter.

1.) Piercing cartilage hurts. A lot.

I miss you girls!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tuesday Reminiscing

I know, I'm slacking again. Sorry.

I snagged this survey from my bff Chesneygirl, who incidentally I will be par-tay-ing with this weekend along with Nelly and Naive, my other bff's. I know, you're all jealous!

1. Age on January 1st, 1980. – Young - but old enough to remember LOTS of stuff.

2. Favorite song of the 80’s. – How can you pick just one? The 80’s RULED for music!

3. Favorite rock band of the 80’s. – Def Leppard. And KISS of course but since they started in the 70’s I’ll say Def Leppard. I was a total Leppie.

4. Favorite dance/R&B band of the 80’s. – Midnight Star :)

5. Favorite TV show of the 80’s. – I LOVED Cosby – Bill Cosby ALWAYS cracked me up. And later that decade I was a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast. Vincent was SO cool.

6. Favorite male and female TV actors of the 80’s. – Tom Selleck – I Loved Magnum P.I. As for a female … I don’t know. :/

7. Favorite comedy movie of the 80’s. -- Ferris Bueller's Day Off and This is Spinal Tap.

8. Favorite action/drama film of the 80’s. – Raiders of the Lost Ark – definitely!

9. Favorite personal event, social gathering or political event during the 1980’s.—I’m not sure about FAVORITES. But the things I remember most vividly are John Lennon getting shot, the space shuttle’s first mission, and of course the Challenger’s final mission. Getting a booklet and letter from Ronald Reagan when I wrote him a letter. The Berlin Wall coming down. And all the activism in music: Band Aid (Do They Know it’s Christmas), Hands Across America, Hear’n’Aid, Farm Aid, USA for Africa, etc.

Sooo ... what do YOU remember about the 80's?