Quagmire

I’m sitting here debating with myself whether or not to wade into this quagmire… But I have to ask, because I am genuinely wondering, what does anyone expect to accomplish by looting, vandalising, and terrorising neighborhoods, people, or entire cities?

The other question I have is, why does the media find it necessary to sensationalize and stir the pot, only adding fuel to the fire. What happened to responsible, ethical reporting?

I’m finding the older I get, the more questions I have and the less answers I’m able to find.

New York Times Mock Up

Sadly this is such a true commentary of life these days. Credit to @joeveix on Twitter

What’s That Smell?

In keeping with the theme that I seem to have been creating here lately, I kept on thinking more about the things that trigger certain memories. Smells seem to be the most compelling trigger for me.

We have two rose bushes in front of the house. I didn’t plant them, they were here when we moved in. I had no idea what color they were going to bloom, so I was awaiting the display once spring came around. They turned out to be a beautiful yellow with just a hint of pink on the buds before they opened and very fragrant. In this case it was the color that brought back to mind my first “crush” in 4th or maybe 5th grade. For my birthday that year he gave me a choker necklace – I’m sure his mom picked it out – but it was a gold wire with 3 beads in the middle. They were heart shaped white beads with yellow roses painted on either side. To this day when I see yellow roses I am reminded of him.

Any time I smell burnt toast I am reminded of childhood and our neighbors across the street. They had a big family, 5 or 6 kids depending on who was home from school at the time. When ever I would go to their house, no matter the time of day, there was a lingering smell of burnt toast. When I smell that today, I can vividly picture their house in my mind, the plastic slip covers over the furniture, the vinyl chairs around the kitchen table, the laughter and shouting that came along with such a big family.

Honeysuckle is one of my all time favorite scents. The memories that surround that smell are many. Ask my parents or other close family members and they will certainly relate the story of my trying to make honeysuckle flower honey and wanting to sell it to the neighbors. When the process became to tedious, the friend that was helping me and I came up with the plan to stuff the baby food jars we were using with the blossoms and sell them as “do it yourself” kits. 5 cents a piece, it was a bargain for sure. And don’t you know, we sold out of those kits that same afternoon.

The late summer nights spent playing with friends, the air heavy with the scent of honeysuckle, cut grass, a charcoal grill, and the many other fragrances of flowers blooming around the neighborhood – any of those take me back to a simpler time. Because we lived close enough to the zoo we could hear the lions roar at night and the peacocks squawk during the day. The animal noises from the zoo, along with the whirring of the box fan in my window, was the soundtrack to my childhood bedtime routine.

Tell me, what are some of the smells, sounds, or tastes that bring back memories for you?

honeysuckle

Memories, regrets, and choices…

A dear friend sent me a text a while back that said “Guess who I saw at my school today?” Now this is someone I have known for almost 30 years so the possibilities were many. When she told me who it was (and all the people in most of this story will remain nameless so as to not embarrass anyone other than myself), it brought back a flood of memories. Some good, some funny, some sad, and some that made me sit and wonder “what were you thinking?”

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, those experiences made me who I am today. While I may not have made great choices during this particular time in my life, I wouldn’t change those decisions. I didn’t break any laws, (unless you count the time I ran that red light with a cop behind me and another one next to me and somehow didn’t get a ticket), but I did break some hearts, I did manage to screw up the trust between people, and I did put myself through some hurt.

Even so, there were good things that came out of this time as well. Friendships that have stood the test, not only of time, but of good and bad judgment, or many miles and years in between. These are the friends that I know will always be there, till the end of our days, regardless of where life may take us. These are also the friends that will keep the secrets that we shared, the tears that were shed, the fears that were faced, and know where the bodies are buried. I treasure them all and I hope that they know that too.

Then there are those that should probably stay in the past. They say you should never google old loves. For the most part, they are right. There is usually a good reason they are “old” loves and the past should stay in the past. But over the past week I’ve been looking up childhood friends, reconnecting with some on facebook, and finding some have gone on to do some pretty cool things. This of course led me down the rabbit trail of googling said old boyfriends. Some have almost zero digital footprint, which I find amazing in these days of oversharing and everything being online. Others have volumes written about them, that fills many of the results pages of the google search. And then there was Harry.

Harry will be the only one I name because I came across this.

h stauffer (Click here to read the entire tribute)

I met Harry during my “Rocky Horror” days, or should I say weekends, in the early to mid 1980’s. I spent many Friday and Saturday nights at the old Kings Court Theater, dressing up in costume, acting out various parts or just participating in the audience. Many friendships were forged in this misfit band that came together for this crazy cult classic. And over time some of these friendships blossomed into more romantic relationships.

Regardless of how risque and revealing the costumes were, Harry was always the gentleman. Looking back on it, his was probably the most revealing of all, since he was pretty much running around in a gold speedo most of the night. But he always looked out for the girls in the group. He made sure we were walked to our cars, he hung out nearby, watching, and if it seemed like a guy was trying something inappropriate, he stepped in and made sure everything was okay. We dated for less than a year, and then I went off to college out of town. We tried to make the long distance relationship work, but it didn’t happen. It ended rather abruptly, a phone message on the dorm phone, saying goodbye. I was hurt, angry, miserable, and then life went on. Other guys came and went, school ended for the year, I went home, dropping out for the time and moving on to what would be the next phase in life.

About a year later, he called again on day, out of the blue, asking if we could meet. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, the old hurt came back to haunt me. But I agreed. We met up where I was working at the time and had a polite conversation, catching up on what had happened in both our lives. It made me realize just how much growing up I had done in that years time, and how much it seemed he hadn’t changed. I suppose the age difference between us (7 years) was a part of that. But the other part was just life experiences that I had gone through, both good and bad, that made me the person I was becoming. Abruptly I asked him to leave and not contact me again. I could see the hurt in his eyes, but he agreed and wished me well. With a hug, he was gone.

Fast forward 25+ years and you find me googling him, purely out of curiosity as to what ever became of him, hoping for the best, not knowing what I would find. I was saddened to read of his passing, even though it’s been over 10 years since he died and over 25 since the last time we spoke, the news was fresh to me. Reading over the tribute I see he lived a full life. He accomplished what he set out to do, making his part of the world a better place. His life and memory still touch many due to the fact that a scholarship has been created in his name.

And I think back over the time we had together, and I realize I have no regrets. I have memories of good times, funny stories, and the impact he made on my life. Because he was a part of my life, I made choices that have brought me to where I am today. And this is true of all of those that have crossed my path over the past 48 years. So I can honestly say, no regrets, just the memories are what I take with me throughout my life.

Miss me?

Okay, so I said a while ago that I was making some changes. Then life happened. And this little corner of my world was neglected and set aside. I did make some behind the scenes changes. Nothing that the average reader would notice. Yet, for some strange reason there has been a lot of traffic through here lately. Not sure why. But hello again. I’m back.

dandelion_small

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about memories. Not anything on a scientific level, as in what makes a memory, why do we remember some things but not others. But of actual memories. Events from my childhood, my high school years, and into my adult years. Although I’m still  not convinced I’m actually an adult yet. But that’s for another post.

I grew up in an amazing neighborhood. It was a dead end street. Everyone knew each other, all the kids played together. The older kids would babysit the younger kids, and as the younger ones grew up, the responsibility was passed on. We would walk to the zoo, play in the park nearby, run in and out of each others houses whenever we were awake. The parents would get together on someone’s front porch during summer evenings while the kids tore up and down the street on their bikes, played kick the can, hide and seek or any other game we could come up with. We weren’t worried about kidnappers, predators, or any other scary monster, other than the old man that lived in that house. I don’t know why all the kids were afraid of him. I’m sure he was a very nice man.

We had block parties every 4th of July. The street would be closed off, the kids would decorate their bikes for a parade, games were organized, the fire hydrant opened up for everyone to cool off in, and food would be served. One side of the street was responsible for dessert, the other side for the vegetable/salad/side dish. That responsibility would alternate every year, and you could always count on certain families to bring their specialty creations. Each house would bring their own meat to grill. Hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, kielbasa, chicken, anything that could be cooked on grill probably was represented there. We would set up tables and chairs in big rows. Families combining to make even bigger groups, until you couldn’t tell where one ended and the next one began. After the fun and festivities of the day, the evening would be filled with more games, a pinata, square dancing, sparklers, and even some fireworks. Laughter filled the night air, and no one wanted the day to end. I’m happy to say the tradition of the block party continues, with the old families that remain sharing the tradition with the new families that have embraced the neighborhood.

It definitely was a different time back then, and the neighborhood has gone through some changes. I’ve been gone from there for many years, as have many of the other families I grew up with. But taking a trip back through, walking down the old cobblestone street, there are still certain aspects that remain the same.  And while the street looks smaller to my grown up eyes, the memories are just as big as if it was yesterday, and not so many years ago.

Random Observations

Complete randomness from this week…

~ While shopping at Fred Meyer I overheard two associates talking while they were restocking shelves. The one was complaining about a customer who claimed she was overcharged by $6.00 for something she was buying. This associate went on to say that she didn’t think it was a big deal, it was only $6.00. When the customer called her out on that, she got defensive and started making excuses. Finally relenting because she didn’t want the supervisor to get involved she credited the customer back the money. – Now as a customer overhearing this conversation a few things went through my mind. The first being, shut up. If you are going to complain about your job, then do it where others, especially customers, are not going to overhear you. Second, you are in a customer service job. If you don’t like people, quit and let someone else take your job who will be thankful for the paycheck. Third, any amount of overcharging, whether it be six dollars or sixty dollars is still overcharging. If the register is not ringing something up correctly for you, then it’s probably not ringing up correctly for other customers. This adds up quickly. And you have no idea what a difference $6 can make in someones life. It may be 3 days worth of school lunches, it could be gas to get to and from a job, it could be the difference between having a roof over your head or living on the street. I wish I had the awareness to pull out my phone and record this conversation when it was happening so I could have gone to a manager about this. Sadly I didn’t and this associate will continue to probably not provide the best customer service experience.

~ Orange sherbet melts faster than regular ice cream in a power outage, even when it’s left in the freezer with the door closed.  After having two, almost three, glorious weeks of weather, Seattle has reverted back to her normal ways. Well with the exception of this past Monday. Then we actually had thunderstorms. Not a common occurrence here. At first I thought it was just a loud truck or some other noise, until I saw the flash of lightning. The poor dog, who has been enjoying not having these storms, went in to her usual hiding and attaching herself to my legs if I got up and walked around the house. In addition to the storms we did have a power outage too. Thankfully PSE was quick to respond and we were only without electric for about 2 hours. Of course when you have an electric stove and oven and are in the midst of cooking dinner it does create a bit of a hic-cup.

~ Jalapeños vary in heat dramatically and there is no good way to tell which will be a mild heat and which one will burn your entire mouth. And when cutting and cleaning said peppers, don’t make the mistake of rubbing your nose or eyes. Fortunately I had enough sense to not touch my eyes, but my nose got the brunt of it last night.

~ Watching a squirrel fall off the bird bath is cheap entertainment. He jumped up to take a drink, lost his footing and fell back down. After a quick look around as if to see if anyone had seen that, he went to the other side where there is a little stone pagoda, used that as an alternate way to get up to the bird bath and take his drink. Just one of many squirrel antics we have seen in our backyard this spring.

So what randomness did you observe this week?

Gay Marriage Legalization

Note – this was written by my 13 year old daughter as a persuasive essay assignment for her language arts class. The only help she was given from me was proof-reading and a couple of grammatical corrections. This is her research, her voice, and her opinion. If you choose to leave a comment, please be respectful.

Gay Marriage Legalization

Should gay/lesbian marriage be legal everywhere in the U.S.? In my opinion, it should be. Our Declaration of Independence gives us the freedom to pursue happiness, but homosexuals don’t always have that freedom. As of January 2013, nine states- ConnecticutIowaMaineMarylandMassachusettsNew HampshireNew YorkVermontWashington and the District of Columbia, legalize same-sex marriage. That is only representing 15.7% of the U.S. population! If gay marriage was legalized, more adoptions would take place, people may feel free to be themselves, and bullying might happen less. Marriage isn’t even that sacred anymore.

“Being gay is unnatural.” “It’s a sin.” “You’re disgusting.” These are all phrases that gay people are exposed to on a regular basis. Some people believe gay marriage imposes its acceptance on all society [1], but it doesn’t. We as American citizens, have the right to our own opinions. Just because the state you’re living in legalizes gay marriage, doesn’t in the slightest, mean that you have to agree with it. The government wouldn’t be telling you, “You have to agree with this.” They’re just granting gay couples the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

Secondly in some religions, it offends God. Most religions use their doctrine as a rationale for a reason to detest homosexuals and gay marriage. [1] In Genesis 1:28-29 is states,“God created man in His image; in the Divine image he created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’”Nowadays, not everyone is getting married or having children even if they are straight. By this logic, even some straight people are offending God.

America the Brave still fears what we don’t know [2]. It’s almost like we can’t accept this because it’s new; just now coming into play. And because it’s new, we don’t know how to handle it. We don’t know if we should accept it. So are you really going to hate someone just because they’re different?

A survey was conducted with a group of 36 seventh grade students. The question, “Do you think gay/lesbian marriage is okay?” was asked in which the student would respond with “Yes,” “No,” or “Undecided.” As you can see, most students in Washington State think that gay marriage is okay.

In the Declaration of Independence, it states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienableRights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. Homosexuals aren’treally earning these rights and it’s not fair. America is supposed to be the land of the free, and yet gays are treated poorly and can’t be married or raise a family together in most states.

The whole controversial matter about gay and lesbian marriage is almost like the civil rights movement in the ‘60s. Blacks weren’t allowed to eat, drink, learn, and even use the restroom in the same places as Whites! But now, a black woman can marry a white man without it being “strange” or “weird” or “wrong.” There will come a point when gay and lesbian marriage won’t be viewed as unacceptable and the matter won’t be such a big deal.

Also, about half of the marriages that take place in the U.S. end in divorce, second marriages have a 60% chance of divorce and the third, a 73% chance [3]. Marriage really isn’t high in values these days. So it certainly shouldn’t be a problem that gays and lesbians are getting married. If we’re losing the will to try and work out problems in a “straight” marriage, why not at least let gays have a chance at it?

Also, studies show that if same-sex marriage was allowed in more states, more adoptions would take place. If more adoptions were taking place, more kids around the whole world would be cared for and loved by a couple that might not be able to have a child of their own. Other studies also show that kids that grow up with gay parents don’t necessarily become gay too.

Lastly, if society was more accepting of gay/lesbian marriages, less bullying would take place. People could let out their true personalities and not have to hide who they really are. Words like “faggot” or “fag” wouldn’t be tossed around so nonchalantly. Kids and teens that are gay or lesbian are 2 to 3 times more likely to be bullied at school [4]. Kids all over are dealing with bullying, physically and mentally, because of their sexuality, and suicide rates all overAmerica are jumping way up. It can be really hurtful to others struggling to find out who they really are.

If people were just more accepting in general and were willing to allow people in their own states to be who they really are, people could be happy, homosexuals could get married, more adoptions would take place, and bullying could have a chance of going back down. When you vote, check “yes” to gay marriage in your state and think about your actions. Let gays try.

Websites

[1] 10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Apposed. ©2013 TFP Student Action, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2013. http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/homosexuality/10-reasons-why-homosexual-marriage-is-harmful-and-must-be-opposed.html.

[2] “Same Love”. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/macklemore/samelove.html.

[3]  Divorce Rate. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. http://www.divorcerate.org.

[4] Gay Bullying Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/gay-bullying-statistics.html