Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 229 - My Only Hero - Stetson Kennedy, 1916 - 2011

I called Stetson to discuss some common experiences such as separating from your family as a result of racial convictions. He answered the phone and I asked if I could have a moment of his time.  He replied, "BJ I was just sitting here waiting for you to call."  At that time, I had felt like I finally had someone who really understood my convictions as a white mother of biracial children. A mother who was disowned by her family after being taught about Christian brotherly love. I didn't believe that we couldn't get along with other races and I didn't understand the illogical explanations of my own family
for disowning me for marrying a man that was black and having children that were not "all white."  Stetson went on to explain that he too had been separated from his parents but it was by his own choosing.  He explained the scene at Thanksgiving Dinner in which his father clearly disapproving of Stetson's talk of racial equality was told that if he didn't like what his father was saying that
he could leave the table and go eat with some colored family for Thanksgiving if he liked them better than him. Stetson told his father, "Dad, You are right.  I do think I would rather be with any black folk than to continue to sit here and listen to this nonsense."   As he promptly got up from the table of thirteen and left, never to return. In Stetson's case he had chosen to leave his family for his own beliefs. 

He also told me of having to teach guests when they first arrived where the loaded rifles were, how to be able to hit the floor in the event of a drive by and how to use these rifles as many times his house was filled with bullet holes by men of the Klan who drove by and emptied rounds of bullets into his house.

I believe that Stetson did the right thing by living his daily life filled with moments of doing the right thing. He has been, is and will always be an inspiration to me. He risked his life to tell the ugly truth about the white men who were cowardly hidden behind white masks. In my case I didn't chose to leave my family, they disowned me.  With the recent death of my Grandmother and the rest of the family not telling me so that I wouldn't show up to the funeral with some "colored" person, I am reminded that the cause for which Mr. Kennedy has stood, continues to be valid and the pain seeping from our wounds will continue unless more people are as courageous as Stetson.

God be with you Stetson, and be sure to tell my Grandmother in heaven that God doesn't like Ugly.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 228 - Padiddle!

It amazes me that I learned so much about car games growing up that other people didn't.  For example in Pennsylvania when we drive through tunnels, we press on our horn as we go through them.  Although this is just for fun, it arrived from the time when tunnels were only wide enough for one car.  If you heard a horn in the tunnel, you knew to wait until the car emerged before entering from your end.  Now we just continue the tradition even though the roads aren't as narrow and can accommodate two lanes or more.  [side note, I believe this is a Pennsylvania thing as traveling in West Virginia and Tennessee and North Carolina, I noticed that they made their roads up and over the mountains.  In Pennsylvania, we just blasted through the mountains.]

We also played "Punch Buggy."  When you saw a VW beetle, you were the first to punch another rider and this prevented you from being punched.  And how about "Padiddle."  When you see a car with only one headlight, you are the first to punch the ceiling and yell out Padiddle.  You score one point.  There are variations of this game that allow you to use it in a form of strip poker.  We never did this version but apparently young people do and post photos of their naked bodies in the back seat of cars on the internet after losing at this form of Padiddle.

The right thing to do to pass the time is have some fun when you are in a car with others you like for long rides.  It makes the trip short and fun. Click here to see other rules to this game.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 227 - Chinese Firedrill

Ahhhh, those crazy Americans!  Hosting foreign exchange students again, reminds me of how much we just do without thought.  Gabriele wanted to celebrate his birthday in the American way and asked for Apple pie!  I told him that is not what we do.  But I couldn't help but to comply with his wish when he reasoned, but I have never had an American Apple Pie and this is what I want.  Ok then, that is what we did. 

Since arriving, we have tried to give Gabriele and Malte the American Experience by watching the Little League world series and explaining the American game of basketball.  We then took them to a double A Cubs game and have introduced them to hamburgers, rootbeer floats and chinese firedrills.  This always makes them laugh and we even got the parents of Felipe and Jula to enjoy such crazy American cultural experiences. 

[From Wikipedia] A Chinese fire drill is a gag performed by a vehicle's occupants when stopped at a traffic light, especially when there is a need to change drivers or procure something from the trunk: Before the light changes to green, each occupant gets out, runs around the vehicle, and gets back inside (but not necessarily in their original seat). If one of the participants lags, the others may drive off without them.

Figuratively, a Chinese fire drill is an act—especially, any large, ineffective, and chaotic exercise—by a group of individuals that accomplishes nothing.

I make sure to note that I don't like the ethnic overtone of the Chinese being stupid or chaotic by what we call this event but it is what we call it.  Click here to view a YouTube video of a chinese firedrill and release some tension at the next red light you stop at.  This is always sure to get a laugh from anyone and everyone...its the right thing to do. 

Here is a Chinese Fire Drill on a Whole Notha' Level!

Day 226 - Bike Friendly

The newspaper confirmed my worst nightmares this past week.  Two bicyclists were struck by vehicles within miles of my house.  Since retiring from officiating, I've gained weight and feel another heel spur coming on.  With no health insurance, I know that I can't get it fixed and don't want to start running again as I'm afraid if I break something or fall, I will ruin my credit rating.  So I try to make due with riding my bike AS SOON AS THE FREAKING WEATHER is better.  It is so hot, I feel like I'm on the Spike Lee's Movie Doing the Right Thing set.  Remember when they were sitting outside and opening the fire hydrants just to cool down in New York City?

So the first time I rode my bike in this area, I was a little concerned when I couldn't find any bike lanes near my subdivision.  I have since found bike trails in the area, really nice bike trails and use them when the weather cools down.  One morning I went out for a 6AM bike ride and was surprised to see that the tale that I had been told was true.  At the end of the trail in the AM there are between 20-30 wild boar pigs that are every color imaginable.  Pink, White, Brown, Black, Brown with pink spots, White with Black Spots, etc!  It is crazy.

They are more afraid of me than I of them, but you just happen upon them and they start scattering all over the place and squealing of fear.  I always try to get a photo but they are lightning fast.

I have also tried to ride on the main road into my subdivision and found that due to no bike lines (although I'm not sure this would help either) that people ride right beside you.  Doesn't matter that they have another lane on the four lane road, they want to scare you, don't see the fluorescent orange shirt I wear, or are texting and will kill you out of ignorance.  So I decided this one time was too close for comfort and have decided to go on the trails.  I knew it would happen one day but a 15 year old was riding his bike on this same road on Friday night without lights on his bike, no sidewalk and probably wearing all black.  I've seen them do this many times.  He was struck by a driver who didn't see him and critically injured and is in the hospital as we speak. [Note: He died yesterday.]  A forty-seven year old man was riding on the country road route 11 and a twenty-three year old didn't see him at 6:30 in the morning and hit him with a van and killed him instantly.  The right thing to do is to slow down when you see a bicyclist and go around them in another lane if at all possible.

Steve had asked a bicyclist why he chose to ride on a street instead of a sidewalk as he didn't understand this logic.   The avid bicyclist told us that going 22mph it was safer for him to ride on the road than the sidewalk because people can't get out of his way fast enough and he would injure or kill not only himself but a pedestrian if he rode on the sidewalk.

The other problem is bike etiquette.  When other bicyclists ride, they should ride on the right side of the trail.  When you pass another bike, you yell track which signals to the rider to move to the right because the other bike will pass you on the left.  Many people do not know this and ride up the left side of the trail.  Now that I think about it, the right thing for me to do would be to also get a helmet.  I had one but don't know where it went to.  I guess sweat isn't as bad as being killed.  Of course you wouldn't need insurance for this event.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 225 - The Swarm of Bees

Swarm of Honey Bees
Recently there was a story about a group of kids playing basketball and the basketball rebounded off the back of the rim and hit a bunch of bees and were stung by a "swarm of bees."  This story was told to us by Ed Williams a local Beekeeper who gives information sessions at the local Lyonia Preserve.  He explained that when approximately 10,000 - 15,000 bees break off of a hive to form their own hive, they are in a swarm.  When in  the swarm they have nothing to defend or protect and are actually quite defenseless.  Truth was in the story about the kids was the basketball had hit their HIVE.  Different Story.  It is amazing how we think we know the story and are quick to judge and by giving us just one more piece to the puzzle, the complete view changes.  The right thing to do when you hear a story that just doesn't sit right in your gut, is to keep asking questions...eventually that one final piece will be in the right empty spot and the completed puzzle shows itself in a different light.

Honey Worker Bees FEMALE!

We listened to Ed talk about these amazing creatures.  He was specifically talking about the European Honey Bees which were brought from Germany.  He explained how during the six weeks of the bees life, they know what to do on day one or three or twenty three or forty-one.  The numbered day of their life determines what there role is for the day.  Queen Bees are fed royal jelly while the other working bees (all females) are fed royal jelly for their first two day and the third day are fed a different food so that they stay small.  The males or drones are only fertilized by the Queen Bee if she needs them to mate.  Once they have mated, they die.  As Ed explains it, they are only good for drinking beer, watching football and mating.

When the collective mind of the bees makes a decisions, they do what is best for the hive.  Nobody is the leader, not even the Queen Bee.  For the survival of the hive, if a Queen is sick, they will kill the Queen and start feeding royal jelly to the next bee they select to hatch and they will be a healthy community once again. If the hive gets too large, they will stop feeding the Queen Bee as she is too fat to fly if they don't.  Once she gets fit because they start to chase her around, they fly off in a swarm to a branch on a tree while the scout bees fly off to find a new hive.  They come back and do what is called a waggle dance in a figure eight.  The direction of the middle of the eight tells the other bees and scout bees where the place may be that is a good place for the next hive.

By vibration only this is communicated from the waggle dance.  Once the BORG-like mind decides ok, this is where we will go, all 15,000 bees fly with the Queen in the middle and start a new hive.  The Six Million dollar question is HOW DO THEY KNOW HOW AND WHEN TO DO THIS????  If you can figure it out, then you win the Nobel Peace Prize.

We don't know but what we do know is that the more we find out about these amazing creatures and how much we have to thank them for our food, we realize how much more we don't know.  They are docile bees.  They live all year round unlike Yellow Jackets or Killer Bees (African) which live for one year and then bury a queen for the winter.  She will lay her eggs in the Spring and start a new brood of bees unlike the Honey Bees which are self-staining and docile.

Female Bald Eagle

Male Bald Eagle
Imagine our surprise when we went this morning to view the American Bald Eagle Male and Female that had returned to Holly Hill, FL to their nest and we happened upon a swarm of bees.  We had just learned that you could hypothetically put your hand or arm in the swarm and they will not harm  you.  Ed didn't recommend this or recommend that the males who have Queen Bees at home to starve their Queen and chase her around the house to get her to lose weight either.  But he said they are full of honey in a swarm and quite vulnerable.  It is remarkable to see and quite fascinating.  If you are interested in findout more, you can read Honeybee Democracy by Dr. Thomas Seely.

While honey lies in every flower, it takes a bee to get the honey out. ~ Unknown.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 224 - Save the Ta Tas

Boobs, Breasts, Nipples, Ta Tas, Brick House [from the song, she's a brick ....hooouuuussse, she's young and naked, and letting it all hang out] Knockers, you know all the names for the female mammary glands.  I figured if I just said all of the names, than this blog won't be so shocking later.  We all take these wonderful tools God gave mothers to feed their young for granted.  There's one group who doesn't and that is the women and men who are affected by Breast Cancer.  I think all of us know of someone who has had breast cancer or who has been affected knowing someone else who knows someone who had, is fighting or currently has been diagnosed with this incurable disease.

Now, again this is just my personal opinion, but I believe if we can send a MAN to the moon and we can give a little blue pill to get a MANs penis erect, than why is it so hard for the male and female scientists of the world to get together and come up with a cure for Breast Cancer.  It certainly is the right thing to do.  I have an acquaintance who started a support group for women and MEN with breast cancer (yes men can get this too!) called Bosom Buddies.  They give the women makeovers, recycle wigs and generally support one another through such an alarming diagnosis, process and recovery where applicable.

See you can do it too, with a head of cabbage

This was the inspiration for my bra below

Seedless Watermelon?
I've Got Game - The pink whistle and pink wrist bands go great with the bra!

This is my Grin and "Bare" It Bra

Three of my entries

"I am the Vine - Now pass the Wine" Bra Art
There was an article in the paper that stated that a local chapter was being formed and that they were calling out to all  artists.  So since I don't have to go back to school until Monday, I had a little time and consider myself artistic at times and did a little research.  The right thing for me to do was to answer there call for "bra art" so that they can sell these in a silent auction and people will buy them. the money then goes to help their organization.  The fabric was either laying around the house or I go it from Goodwill for $2.  I got the bras from Goodwill for $1.95 each.  A little bit of thread, a little bit of sweat and a little bit of glue and wahhhlahhh!  The possibilities are endless.  These bras will be auctioned off in Deland at the Elusive Grape on September 17th.  I'm hoping someone will like my entries well enough to buy my Tat to save somebody else's Tit[s]!

My personal favorites are below but I didn't create these...

Super woman!

MoBo Bra (motherboard)

B is for Breasts Of which ladies have two; Once prized for the function, Now for the view. ~Robert Paul Smith

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 223 - The Power of Paper Money

Before Europe had the one-money-fits-all-Euro, there were different currencies for each country.  The exchange rates fluctuated and it was a full-time job just to keep up with all of the rates.  I remember for our Senior class trip we traveled to Niagara Falls on the Canada side and had to do the math.  We ended up doubling our money because one dollar was equal to two Canadian dollars.  In India, the common currency is a Rupee.  Recently I read that India has printed free money.  Sounds insane right?

The truth of the statement if we dig a little deeper is actually quite fascinating.  The currency is designed to look like a standard Indian currency but the notes are larger than the actual rupee bill and printed on thicker paper.  This design is with a specific purpose to discourage the folding of the Zero Rupee.  The reason is in India, bribes are passed with folded rupee bills.  5th Pillar is Grassroot group created by Vijay Anand and he is trying to discourage illegal demands that are deeply ingrained in the Indian culture from police and bureaucrats.  By printing and passing out the zero rupee worth nothing at all, this is a polite protest to these officials who are trying to be corrupt and feel entitled to rip off the general public of rightful public services.

The effect has been to shame or even scare some public servants who are trying to squeeze extra payment for routine services like issuing drivers licenses or loans.  These same officials can go to jail if they're caught.  So far the group 5th Pillar has distributed 1.3 million of these Zero Rupees. This is the right thing to do for the customs of India.  In America, we have whistle blowers protection and consumer protection agencies.  In India it is their custom to be docile, so this is a nonviolent resistance.  Gandhi would have been proud [taken from National Geographic] after all his photo is on the bill.  So money can actually buy integrity for the price of Zero Rupees.  Now that is my kind of deal.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 222 - The Illusion of Wisdom and Knowledge and Pink Moths

This sunday at church, the pastor's message was about wisdom. The reference to having wisdom and its the benefits that please God are endless in the Bible.  Particularly in the book of Proverbs 4:7-13

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her.

She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.

When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. 

Knowledge is knowing something and Wisdom is knowing it, acting upon it and living it.  I know a lot of things but I must admit I'm not wise about many of those same things.  A recent event confirmed this.

An e-mail I opened asked me to with a link to a scientific model to show you that what you see isn't what you really see.  Click here to view it before reading the rest of the blog:  After viewing the science simulation I had to view it again.  Even after the second time, and squinting my eyes to make sure I hadn't missed something, I realized that it was an illusion and the brain sometimes plays tricks on itself.  It is a little alarming.  I know that I'm seeing something that isn't something it should be but I can't make my brain see the truth.  It is so illogical that it befuddles my tongue to find the words to describe the frustration I feel even trying to explain it.

It reminds me of the time I just came out of the grocery store.  As I walked to my car, I passed something bright pink on the concrete wall.  It stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was this bright pink moth with a black body and fuzzy black eyes. Sounds like I'm lying doesn't it.  I couldn't have seen such a thing, I thought this same exact thing so I returned to the store to ask an associate to come and witness it with me because I couldn't believe it myself.  Just as I was, the associate was stunned and had also never seen such a sight.  I didn't have a camera on me or my cell phone so the memory was my only reference.

For me the right thing to do is to research and find out what I saw.  I searched the images under the google image search for "pink moths."  Nothing.  I couldn't find anything for over a year.  After reading my latest issue of Birds and Blooms I read an article by Sally Roth who loves bugs and photographs them.  I thought, I'll e-mail an expert or fanatic which ever you prefer, and find out what that thing was. Before I sent the e-mail I tried one more time to search the internet and waalllaaaa.  I found one blog who obviously is a fan of moths. 
Click here to see it too:

It is called a Spanish Moth.  Now armed with the correct name and its scientific name as well [Xanthopastis timais], I was able to find many photos.  Now you can see what I saw.  It wasn't an illusion after all.  Hopefully you can see what I mean by the shock of the mother nature's use of the colors pink and black with a paintbrush of vision. Next time however, I'm going to keep my cell phone with me to take a photo.  I'm thankful to God for his words of wisdom and his glory of his use of color.  As each day I live on this earth, I have more knowledge of the fact that the more I know, the more I realize that I don't know. 

A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance. ~Gian Carlo Menotti

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 221 - Jackie Robinson - Taken from Jackie Robinson Website

at UCLAGrowing up in a large, single-parent family, Jackie excelled early at all sports and learned to make his own way in life. At UCLA, Jackie became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. In 1941, he was named to the All-American football team. Due to financial difficulties, he was forced to leave college, and eventually decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. After two years in the army, he had progressed to second lieutenant. Jackie's army career was cut short when he was court-martialed in relation to his objections with incidents of racial discrimination. In the end, Jackie left the Army with an honorable discharge.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers. His mother, Mallie Robinson, single-handedly raised Jackie and her four other children. They were the only black family on their block, and the prejudice they encountered only strengthened their bond. From this humble beginning would grow the first baseball player to break Major League Baseball's color barrier that segregated the sport for more than 50 years.
In 1945, Jackie played one season in the Negro Baseball League, traveling all over the Midwest with the Kansas City Monarchs. But greater challenges and achievements were in store for him. In 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey approached Jackie about joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Major Leagues had not had an African-American player since 1889, when baseball became segregated. When Jackie first donned a Brooklyn Dodger uniform, he pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America. By breaking the color barrier in baseball, the nation's preeminent sport, he courageously challenged the deeply rooted custom of racial segregation in both the North and the South.
Jackie sliding into home plateAt the end of Robinson's rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he had become National League Rookie of the Year with 12 homers, a league-leading 29 steals, and a .297 average. In 1949, he was selected as the NL's Most Valuable player of the Year and also won the batting title with a .342 average that same year. As a result of his great success, Jackie was eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Jackie married Rachel Isum, a nursing student he met at UCLA, in 1946. As an African-American baseball player, Jackie was on display for the whole country to judge. Rachel and their three children, Jackie Jr., Sharon and David, provided Jackie with the emotional support and sense of purpose essential for bearing the pressure during the early years of baseball.
Jackie Robinson stampJackie Robinson's life and legacy will be remembered as one of the most important in American history. In 1997, the world celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Jackie's breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier. In doing so, we honored the man who stood defiantly against those who would work against racial equality and acknowledged the profound influence of one man's life on the American culture. On the date of Robinson's historic debut, all Major League teams across the nation celebrated this milestone. Also that year, on United States Post Office honored Robinson by making him the subject of a commemorative postage stamp. On Tuesday, April 15 President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Jackie at Shea Stadium in New York in a special ceremony.

So imagine the pride in which we were able to take our new students to the Jackie Robinson Stadium.  They experienced their first American Baseball game here in Daytona and watched the minor league team the Daytona Cubs.  They had been learning the game by watching the Little League World Series. Ironically, in a town in which I worked across the street from this ball park and worked at the McDonalds down the street as my second job to pay off debts after graduating from college.  I was proud to show Malte and Gabriele the American game.  It ended with an international show of fireworks.  A perfect ending to the night and it all was captured because of our previous student Felipe, because he taught ME how to use my camera with a special setting to take photos of fireworks!

Malte, Cub Mascot and Gabriele

Gabriele with Malte's Finger

Gabriele and BJ
Jackie, I'm sorry what was done to you in the sixties, but please know that your stories of struggle will be told forever, at least in our home as I want us to learn from this history and for it never ever ever repeat itself.

 There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free. ~ Jackie Robinson

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 220 - Time to Make the Donuts!

Remember the commercial for Dunkin Donuts?  Time to make the dooooonuttttssss. Click here to view it.  There is just something about donuts as a child that make you feel like everything in the world is right.  I remember when I was a child that Grandpa would buy donuts on Sunday morning and after we got home from church, we were given this treat as Grandpa laughed as we got powdered sugar on our noses.  He would be reading the paper and even though we could not see his face behind the paper, we heard his snickering.  He got such satisfaction from seeing us happy.

I guess that is why the first time my boys got a spanking from their dad, he put them in a car and rode to the doughnut shop and bought a dozen donuts.  He felt so bad he wanted to bring joy back into their life.  It was not a clear message of discipline and a consequence for bad behavior.  But I suppose it was more for his healing then for the boys.

In the North, Dunkin' Donuts is the place of choice. It seems that internationally, Dunkin' Donuts has the market also. But,in the South, Krispy Kreme is the place of choice.

Malte begged me to stop at Dunkin Donuts so that he could buy a doughnut, I obliged but told him that in America, particularly in the south that Krispy Kreme was more of the doughnut shop of choice.  I bought him and Gabriele each Krispy Kreme doughnuts and after eating these sugary delights, they were bouncing off the walls.  I sent them outside to ride bikes and they ended up playing basketball to burn off their extra energy.  Seems to me, I think Grandpa did the same thing to us after we ate all those donuts.  Then we promptly came in and took a nap...maybe that was why Grandpa was really smiling.

Time to make more doooonuuuttts!

“Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughtnut; the pessimist the hole!” ~Oscar Wilde

Day 219 - Reverse Search and Star Codes

I've been stalked before and it is not a pleasant feeling.  When I was six months pregnant with my first son, I would come home and take a nap after working the 5AM-1PM shift. A man called and asked who he was speaking to?  Since I was not awake, I answered without having any defenses up and I told him my name.  He asked me if I liked hotdogs as I was gaining my wits and I asked, "Who is this?"  He started talking with sexual innuendos and I said that I was pregnant and to my naive amazement, this made his words even more sexual!  I hung up the phone. I was very scared especially because I was in a vulnerable state.  The phone rang as soon as I hung it up.  This continued for over twenty-four hours.  We had to unplug the phones to my roommates dismay.  We couldn't even use the phone because as soon as we placed the handset on the cradle, the phone would ring.

We called the police and they couldn't do anything about it.  We ended up changing our phone number.  Today there are resources.  If someone calls you in this abusive manner, you can dial *69 and the number will be revealed.  You also can hide your calls from the person you are calling by dialing *67 before you dial their number.  You can forward your calls by dialing *72 from your home phone and entering the number you wish the calls to be forwarded to while you are gone.  When you return, you can dial *73 to deactivate this call forwarding service.  There are a host of star codes like this and you can click on the link here to find out more about them.

There are so many tools at our disposal now to find out the owners of numbers.  One of these is the website that replaces the whitepages.  You can go to and then click on the tab that says reverse search, enter a phone number and the owner will come up if it is a land line.  Cell phone numbers are listed as just this "a cell phone" and have not been publicly listed ....yet. 

The right thing to do is to stop mentally ill people who use the telephone as a tool to harass an innocent person.  These tools were not available to me when I was stalked.  But today they are, so share this knowledge with others who may be in this situation.  I wonder what kind of person who would do this but the bottom line is there is no rational explanation for this irrational behavior.  I wish I could have reversed the situation on this perpetrator and made him feel like the victim.  Sometimes bullies just need to be bullied by someone who fights back.  I was defenseless and vulnerable.  If people try to intimidate me to this day, I don't let them cross this line.  Being in a male dominated field for over twenty years, I know that by standing up for myself, this creates the label of a "bitch."  If I were a man, I would be labeled as a "go-getter" an assertive person. 

Its life and I get the double standard in this culture.  The only thing that helps me get past this part of our inequality of gender in America is the fact that men can never know the pride of knowing a body can create and cradle and carry another human being.  A woman can endure the most painful natural birth and that simply cannot be experienced by the male gender.  I don't need to do a reverse search for that. No star codes for that either.  The only part that is missing is that my sons will NEVER EVER EVER understand what it took to do this and create them.  They can try, but understanding is not possible if you have not endured the same situation with the same circumstances.  I only hope they can come as close as do this, they have to really respect mother nature and love....truly love...and sometimes that means using that technology by picking up the phone and calling your mother.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 218 - What are the Chances?

We've all had our share of the immunization shots.  I remember standing in line in third grade to get my first immunization shot along with the other thirty or so kids from my classroom.  We all had to roll up our sleeves and they pressed this gun to the back of our shoulder blade.  We were forever scarred by this technique of immunizations but it was for a good reason.  It was better to be introduced to the tiny virus so that our bodies would create the necessary immunities to prevent us from developing the full blown disease that could kill us as children.  This had happened to many American children in the form of Polio or Rubella or Chicken Pox.  Something as simple as Chicken Pox could kill.  Its hard to believe.

I recently heard a story about a woman who got the childhood disease Chicken Pox as an adult for the second time.  They said the chances of that happening were one in 1,000,000. That is one million!  The lady ended up having to get a lobotomy, the removal of half of her brain and her parents were told that she would not live.  Not only did she live, she paints now and can talk and communicate fully.  Not at her full potential but having a different potential.  This is something I've always wanted to do, take a painting class.  So many of us who are analytical have had experiences that have made major changes in the brain and the right side of the brain begins to take over and many more creative ideas are developed as a result.

The lobotomy was one of a series of radical and invasive physical therapies developed in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. These psychiatric innovations signaled a break with a culture relegating psychiatric patients to asylums, which had prevailed because most serious forms of mental illness were treated only unsatisfactorily by extreme measure, or as unamenable to treatment.

I'm thankful for this procedure not being so common particularly in the case of having chicken pox for a second time.  When I was a Public Relations Intern at the headquarters of Hammermill Paper Company (since bought by International Paper Company) I had to go into the public schools and talk to social studies classes and talk to students about an approved subject of my choice.  I decided to give speeches to the students ages ranging from 12-19 about self-confidence and the skills needed to make a good impression at a first interview.  It was very successful.

While coming in contact with these students, somehow I was exposed to the Chicken Pox and got it for the second time at the age of twenty-one.  It was so weird getting it the second time.  My sister had it so bad, she has a scar on her face to this day from her childhood exposure to this disease.  I had gotten by unscathed as a child. The red spots and subsequent scabs on my face were not the worst, it was the sores in my hair and in my mouth and throat that were the part that bothered me the most.  But in this case, I have to reframe this part and realize that it was better than having to have a lobotomy and that one in a million is a very special reference.  I'm if I could only find my paintbrush. Should I play lotto tonight?

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  ~Judy Garland

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 217 - Cheers to Wine Glasses

One of the first things we learn when we are visiting with friends from other countries is how to say cheers when we toast before drinking alcohol.  It is a universal tradition.  We learned the Germans say Post.  The Russians say Chin Chin.  The Italians say Salute.  The Brazilians say Saute or Tim Tim.  There is even a website that tells you how to say "Cheers" in any language:  There is just something about having an alcoholic beverage to break the ice with people that are different than we are.

President Obama uses this technique when getting together people from opposite ends of the spectrum.  He has often stated that he really looked up to Abraham Lincoln and this was the same technique President Lincoln also used.  When I traveled to Gettysburg, it is this quote that caught my attention and that I bought a souvenir of trip.  "I am a firm believer in the people.  If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.  The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer." ~Abraham Lincoln.  There is some truth to that statement.  After a drink of alcohol (notice I'm not saying many drinks here as this would have the opposite effect) we are not so quick to be on the defense to defend our own positions but to be in a better position to open our ear canals which are normally closed.

There is something to drinking out or of a wine glass.  I know that I like grapes and wine so that this may be a prejudice or a particular liking to wine glasses for this simple reason.  The truth is, that there is an air of aristocracy to  drinking out of them.  Sometimes I cut a slice or two of lemon and pour my ice water and lemon into a wine glass.  I don't have a lot of money, but it is the right thing to do to brighten my day.  It makes me "feel" like I have more money than I have.  The other day I saw somebody who obviously thinks this way too.  A man was carrying his wine glass to the truck to leave for the day.  I noticed the drink in the glass that wasn't the usual color of wine or water.  He had poured his COFFEE in the wine glass.  Now that was taking my idea to a "whole 'nother level!"
I had to smile and just thought to myself Post!, Tim Tim!, Salute!, Cheers! as this was a great way to start the morning.  And to think I was just thinking about coffee cups and their meanings, this has brought my awareness of wine glasses to a new level.  I wonder if they have any wine glasses with basketballs or referee sayings on them?

Brazil, Germany, USA Flags
Here are a few photos to show  you what happens when you drink too much when you are in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee!  Salud!

Steve noticed that we don't wear shoes in Tennessee!
Rubber ducky......Crazy Germans!

A REAL man!
Most of us had Chocolate Masks on our face, but just like Sesame Street, there always has to be ONE that is NOT like the others!