"Any arbitrary turn along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different." ~ Frances Mayes

After losing 112 pounds in almost a year and a half, I have come to realize how very much I was missing. I may be Late to the Party, but I am doing my best to catch up in my own unique way!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Catching my breath and catching up....

Spring break week is over, as well as Easter and a visit from the Big Bunny with 2 of the Fab 5.  The other three are back home safe and sound in South Carolina.  Sorry I haven't posted much in almost two weeks but grands take up a lot of time.  And what fun we had!

Since today is a state holiday here in Georgia, I am at home trying to resurrect my house.  I am on my way to the kitchen and breakfast room area to mop and mop and mop....yes, I have quite a workout waiting for me.  But it was worth every minute of it....spills, crumbs, and all. 

So once I get caught up today, I will be back posting some fun observations and things that make me and you think and laugh and occasionally cry.  In the meantime,  enjoy the lovely spring weather. 

Oh, one more thing......just FIVE more followers until I hit FIFTY!  I am tired of looking at this candy.....it needs to go out to some lucky person SOON!  I already have plans for a NEW giveaway that I want to announce, but not before this one is completed.  Spread the word!  Thanks......now I have a mop waiting for me.......

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Five more to go!

Just need six  FIVE more followers and the chocolate will be winging its way to someone.....one chance =Be a follower. Second chance= leave a comment. And I will put in an extra chance for each time my faithful followers have commented on the blog!  It's time to reward a lucky follower!  And then on to the next goal......with a brand new giveaway!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On My Lifeboat

I am in the process of reading  In the Fullness of Time - 32 Women On Life After 50, edited by Emily W. Upham and Linda Gravenson.  I have had it on my list to read for over six months.  I have barely cracked the cover and I am already laughing at, pondering over and now writing about the first few pages.   

Ms. Gravenson introduces the book by allowing us a peek of some of the contributors and their offerings.  At the very end of her introduction, she comments that "these are the women I'd want in my lifeboat."  Which got me to thinking.......somehow this rang a bell with me.  So I googled "people in my lifeboat" and got some very interesting results.  Just as I suspected, this Google search revealed a "social exercise", if you will, in which you pose the question that basically goes like this: If I were to be set out adrift on the ocean in a lifeboat, who would I want to have in that raft with me?

An article by Dr. Juliann Mitchell, PhD on the website BC Culture gives this premise - you have to chose 9 other people to be in your lifeboat.  The two rules are pretty simple.  You must REALLY want the people you choose to be in this (mis)adventure with you.  Just because someone is family shouldn't obligate you to choose them over anyone else.  Rule number 2 is that all the other people you MUST know personally.  They can be either alive at the present time or passed on, the requirement is that you have known them personally.  You should be totally honest with yourself and examine the reasons you would want to include these nine people in your boat.  Remember that your survival may depend on those you choose.

So those are the basic rules.  But you know me.....I don't always like to go by the rules.  So let's bend one.  I think we can drop the "must have personally known them" rule.  In fact, according to MY rules, these people must be complete strangers.  In addition, let's add or revise the rules so that, just like in Ms. Gravenson's introduction, all the people in your lifeboat must be women. 

Now this will require some thought......

but here's my nine fellow lifeboat mates:

1)  Margaret Thatcher:  This lady, the first and only woman to serve as Prime Minister of Great Britain, is nicknamed "The Iron Lady."  Anyone that can stand up to the Soviet Union, lead England through the Falkland Islands War, survive the "slings and arrows" of British politics without ruffling her perfectly coiffed hair, and issue quotes on freedom and politics like this - "Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?'"  is not only going to be in MY lifeboat, but I say we elect her Captain!

2)  Joan Rivers:  Yes, brash and outspoken, full of Botox and Queen of the Facelift Joan.  She didn't win Celebrity Apprentice a few seasons ago for nothing.  Rather, she outworked all the younger folks with a stamina that an Olympic athlete would envy.  She used common sense and tenacity and could give tit for tat to put people in their place.  And she makes me laugh.  If I'm adrift on the open sea, God knows that I want someone handy with a joke!

3) Golda Meir: Another "Iron Lady", Ms. Meir was cut from the same cloth as Maggie Thatcher.  She was the fourth prime minister of Israel and was described by her colleague, former prime minister David Ben-Gurion as "the best man in government".  She was born in Russia, moved to America with her family, married and went to Israel to join a kibbutz.  At one point in her political career, she survived a bombing.  At another time she was diagnosed with lymphoma. As Prime Minister, she ordered the special services to apprehend the terroists that planned and carried out the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes.  She led the Israelis in the Yom Kippur War. Made of strong stuff, that woman. 

4) Lee Smith: Southern author.... She was born in Virginia, has written 12 novels and numerous short stories, and has won a number of literary rewards. Indefinitely floating out at sea, there had better be a storyteller on that raft, that's all I'm saying!

5) Marie Curie:  Recipient of two Nobel prizes, one in Chemistry, the other in Physics, she was a scientific pioneer in radiology.  A woman that smart deserves to be in my virtual lifeboat.  If anything needed to be invented, discovered, dissected, fused, studied, probed....you name it...Madame Curie would be our gal!

6) Amelia Earhart:  At an early age, Amelia was called a tomboy.  She pretended to go on adventures and exploration even then.  She was trained as a Red Cross nursing aide, enrolled in college and showed little interest in flying until she went to several flying exhibitions. At the time there were few women pilots and she wanted to spread the word that it was possible for women to fly planes.  When Amelia was approached to be the first woman to fly the Atlantic following the feat of Charles Limburgh, she flew on a plane with two men to say she was the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air by keeping the flight log but she never was the pilot.  She worked as a sales rep for an airplane manufacturing company, had her own designer clothes line, was the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, and a vice-president of National Airlines which was the predecessor of Northeast Airlines. Later, Amelia became the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic.  Of course, everyone knows about her unfulfilled quest to fly around the world. She was a gutsy lady, full of life.  Who wouldn't want her in their lifeboat?

7) Julia Child:  An easy choice! If you don't know who Julia is, then you must have been born on a remote island.  I imagine fish or shark would be eaten to survive on this lifeboat trip and Julia would be the person I would want to prepare it....even if it is sushi!  Not to mention that she led a completely fascinating life.  More stories to hear.  And recipes to share...... Oh, and I bet that even on the open sea in a life raft that she would still wear pearls!

8) Katherine Hepburn:  Born into a wealthy New England family, Kate Hepburn was anything but conventional.  She was educated in all the "right" establishments fitting her background, but chose acting as her career which spanned six decades.  She starred on Broadway and in Hollywood films.  She defied the image of a typical Hollywood starlet, wearing men's suits because, in her words, they were "comfortable".  Without trying to, she started a fashion revolution.  Women began to wear trousers at a time when wearing pants was still a no-no.  She was brash, outspoken and even into her 80's, swam in the ocean at her home in Connecticut every day at dawn.  Kate Hepburn is in my life boat because she would cold-cock another woman should they become hysterical or, even worst, demanding.

9) Mother Teresa:  I figure that if ten women are adrift on the sea in a tiny boat, there'd better be a direct line to The Almighty.  Enough said, Amen!

So there you have it.....my lifeboat mates!  So tell me...Who's in YOUR lifeboat?  Leave a comment and share who your nine women mates are and why!  Happy sailing.....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chocolate giveaway still going on!

Just a reminder that as soon as I get 50 followers the Chocolate will be going to some lucky person.  I really thought that I would have that 50 milestone by now.  As of now, there are 40 faithful followers and I thank each of you!  Not sure how long it will take to get that last 10, but as soon as I get to the "Magic 50" there will be another giveaway announced!  In the meantime, I will keep writing.  I sometimes wonder if I am just writing for myself, but whether other people read it or not, I am compelled to keep putting the words on this screen. I'll continue to write; I hope you continue to read.

As for the chance to win the chocolates, for every comment since the very beginning, you get an entry for a chance to win!  And if you follow, that's an entry, too!  I am SO ready to give this chocolate away!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Word of the Month - Tiny Pieces

"Courage is tiny pieces of fear all glued together."
~ Terri Guillemets

Courage comes in many forms.  Today I am going to tell you about a few.

My oldest daughter is one of the bravest people I have the privilege to know. As with most young parents, she knew in her heart of hearts all was not right with her toddler son.  Until the formal confirmation of her greatest fears, there was, at least, hope - hope that whatever she perceived was wrong was all in her imagination.  Reality can be devastating.  But Courage is surviving the diagnosis of Autism.  Courage is facing the facts and getting up the next morning, drying the tears, and beginning the long journey of the parent of a special needs child.  Courage is letting go of all the normal hopes and dreams a parent has for that child, replacing them with much different expectations..  Courage is being relentless in the pursuit of information, making hard decisions and sacrifices for that child that will resonate down the years, into the future. Courage is never giving up on that child, recognizing the potential that lies silent within him.  Courage is fighting for him, educating others, seeking the best possible outcomes, never settling for the path of least resistance.  Courage is having therapists in your home for hours, five days a week for three years. Courage comes in celebrating small victories.

This is the picture of courage, too.  This little boy was once lost - lost in his own world, practically non-verbal.  Screaming meltdowns happened constantly.  He was in a battle to be heard, to emerge.  For his mother, it was the wish to hear him say, "Mom" and "I love you."  Courage is enduring three years of endless ABA therapy with strangers in his home, strangers that soon become like family.  Courage is going to school and coming home to work with therapists 6 more hours of the day.  Courage is piecing the puzzle of language together slowly, methodically.  Courage is overcoming panic attacks that occur when going to new places, around loud crowds.  Courage is recognizing you are different but not giving up.

This is what courage looks like three years later.

But there's more that I want to show you.  Below are the faces of true courage.  Courage is being spit at, kicked, slapped, and punched and showing up the next day to do it all over again. Courage is sitting for hours in the floor holding a screaming child in your arms. Courage is loving that child unconditionally.  Courage is repeating the same word or picture or just simply making a child sit in a chair over and over and over until the behavior or word or emotion is learned.  Courage is supporting a desperate mother and father when they think all hope is lost.  Courage is never giving up.  Courage is saving children, one child at a time, every day for three straight years.  Courage is doing this despite the growing numbers of Autistic children, the low pay,  Sometimes, courage pays off in little ways.  Sometimes, courage pays off enormously.

These are a few of the therapists that have helped Walker, my grandson:

These are our heroes.  Last week there was a grand celebration party at my oldest daughter's home.  You see, Walker's three years of therapy are at an end.  These wonderful people are moving on to other goals, other Autistic kids.  Mr. Shawn, the one with the beard, is going back to get his Masters Degree, in what else?  Special education in Autism.  He is part of our family.  He will be missed.  But his courage and tenacity remain behind in the bright eyes of a little boy who was once lost.  To all the therapists that have had a role in saving Walker, it is a debt that his parents, his siblings and his grandparents and all those who love him can never repay.  Thank you from the depths of our hearts.

April is Autism Awareness Month.  The statistics are grim.  One in every 110 children will develop some form of Autism.  For boys, it is 1 in 70.  And yet, we bury our heads in the sand.  I can only tell you that early detection is vital.  And getting therapy is essential.  We had better, as a society, take a hard look at funding for these children NOW.  I would rather save these children NOW than face caring for them all through their adulthood.  Which do you think is more expensive? Three or four years of therapy or a lifetime of  institutional living?  The choice is ours........

And one last message to Walker, my little courageous boy and to his mother:

"Promise me you'll always remember.  You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~ Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne

If only I had half your courage.......

P.S. Paige got her wish.  Walker has found his voice. "I love you, Mom," is a commonplace thing in his vernacular.  Hopes and dreams may change their forms, but sometimes they are fulfilled. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Confession Friday - Looney gets me every time

"If an interesting monster can't have an interesting hairdo I don't know what this world is coming to." ~ Bugs Bunny

It's been two weeks since I have confessed!  Can you believe it? Time to 'fess up!

I feel sorry for the kids of today.  The age of innocence ends way too early for them.  My grandchildren cannot imagine the world as I knew it when I was their ages.  Even the college interns that work here at the House of Representatives each session haven't a clue of some of the things my generation experienced in our childhoods that no longer exist, at least the way we knew it.

In risk of sounding ancient, which to the youngest generations I guess I am, let's take a look at a memory I have.  Most towns had a local theater, including my hometown in Middle Tennessee.  On Saturdays, it was a common practice for the theaters to have either a morning or afternoon kids matinee.  If I remember correctly, it cost less than 50 cents to get in, a dime would buy you popcorn and another dime a Coke.  For less than a dollar, you could go with other unattended children to watch a movie, not a first-run show granted, but a movie, eat your popcorn till you wanted to puke, and never be threatened that Carl, the kid molester, was lurking in the restrooms. And even more mind-blowing is that, for the most part, the kids were pretty well behaved!  I venture to say in today's society that 100 or more kids left unsupervised in a theater is a recipe for disaster!  But after all, we were the generation that believed it when our teachers repeated the unsettling mantra with dire warnings, "It will go on your PERMANENT record!"

On those Saturdays, my choice of snack was a HUGE dill pickle that came from a enormous jar that sat on the counter of the snack bar.  HUGE, did I say?  It would last all through the picture show if I didn't bite into it and sucked all that dill goodness out the entire afternoon.  It would be shriveled up and limp as a dirty dishrag before I would succumb to actually sinking my teeth into it, usually on the ride home.  It was a glorious tradition, that Saturday kids' matinee.

The Crockett Theater in my hubby's hometown of Lawrenceburg, TN.
Going to the movie theater at night was a different experience.  It was SPECIAL. A TREAT.  A rare occurrence. It was NOT of your everyday routine, but an event to be reckoned with. We would actually get dressed up to go sit in the dark for two hours.  Oh, the magic of the movies!  The chasing lights on the theater marquee at night screamed Hollywood - okay, as close as we would ever get to Tinsel Town.

I am sure that on any given night or Saturday afternoon across America in any given town, this experience was shared.  And all across America, there was one common denominator at either the kids' matinee or the first-run movie event in the evenings - after the movie trailers of upcoming shows, after the badly produced and animated "reminders" to go to the snack bar - THE CARTOON.  Sometimes, the cartoon was better than the actual movie.  Those cartoons are where my generation cut our teeth on such characters as Woody Woodpecker, Popeye the Sailor Man, Superman, and the Disney characters.  But more likely than not, the cartoon of the week or night was a Looney Tunes featured funny.

Looney Tunes were a Warner Brothers production, but they weren't the only cartoons that Warner Brothers made.  There was also Merrie Melodies.  In the 1930's Warner Brothers wanted to promote their music library and they developed the short feature cartoon to do so.  The development of these film funnies was in direct competition with the Walt Disney's cartoon series Silly Symphonies. From 1934 to 1943, Looney Tunes were filmed in black and white, Merrie Melodies in color.  But then in 1943, they began to make both series in color.  Once both were produced in color, the only basic differences were the music pieces at the beginning and, of course, the opening titles.

Did you know that the name of the all too familiar Looney Tunes theme is "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" and the Merrie Melodies is "Merrily We Roll Along"?

The ending of each Looney Tunes cartoon from 1937 to 1946 was Porky Pig bursting through a drum with his "th-th-th-that's all, folks!", except for two where Bugs Bunny took the closing role.  During the earlier years, several of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies  characters were a popular success.  It was Porky Pig that made his debut and stole the show in 1935 in a cartoon with Beans the cat.  Porky, who became an established character of  Looney Tunes,  was the first superstar of the series. Beans, bless his heart, wasn't as popular and was eventually phased out as were several other characters.  Porky carried a heavy load as the only star in the cartoon stable.

But then came Daffy Duck, that spit-spraying, lisp-talking, irritating fowl, in 1937.  But the most famous star in all of the Warner Brothers cartoon-dom arrived in 1940.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the one and only, the incomparable, the lovingly annoying, the irascible BUGS BUNNY.

Bugs isn't the only Looney Tunes character that makes me laugh.  Who can forget Yosemite Sam, FogHorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat, Pepe Le Pew, the Tasmanian Devil and Marvin the Martian just to name a few? 

"Boy, you cover about as much as a flapper's skirt in a high wind." ~ Foghorn Leghorn

Looney Tunes produced its original series for theater run from 1930 until 1969.  The later productions in the 1960's lacked the spark and zanier moments that the 1930's, 40's and 50's shorts had, which seems to be related to the closing of the Warner Brothers animation studios. But oh how fun those earlier Looney Tunes are.
Recently I found at a yard sale (imagine that!) a whole collection of Looney Tunes VHS tapes.  Since the Fab 5 have never really seen these wonderfully funny cartoons, I bought them, of course.  It has been worth every cent spent.  I had forgotten just how zany Bugs and the whole crew can be.  They remind me of the "a-ha" moment in childhood when I realized that there was adult humor in these silly stories.  It is humor that is underlying and subtle in the twist of a phrase or a look.  What a pleasure it is for me to hear the grandkids laugh with the pure delight only a child can have when they experience something they have never seen before!  I love to watch the old Looney Tunes with them, piled up in my bed.  Three of the Fab 5, who haven't been introduced to the Looney Tunes collection as of yet, are coming for spring break in a couple of weeks.  Bet you can't guess what we will do one evening, bowls of popcorn in hand?

So that's my confession:  I like cartoons.  I LOVE Looney Tunes!  I think we should start a petition to have the pre-movie cartoon short brought back to the movie experience.  How much more fun that would be than the inane pop movie trivia questions that play across the big screen these days!  If you haven't seen a Merrie Melody or Looney Tunes feature in a while, go here and take a few minutes to watch one.  I guarantee you'll find a smile on your face and some good memories, too. 

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!