Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 311 - Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

So I've joined a website called Pinterest. It is one of those sites that you can get lost in for days, years and never eat or sleep.  There are different interests but mine is the DIY Do It Yourself Craft and Art projects.  I've waited until Christmas day to post this because it shows some of the crafts I made for some of you for christmas.  Enjoy and feel free to check my arts out by clicking the link on this blog or by going to

I'm still trying to figure it out but I'm giving it my best effort!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 310 - Son of America What is a Mother to Do?

I went to school in a rural town on top of a mountain Clarion Pennsylvania.  If you wanted to leave,  any way you went, you had to descend down the road and ascend up the next mountain.  I remember going to a bluegrass concert for the first time where the Corbin Hanner band performed.  I immediately fell smitten to this music.  Songs like Dinosaur, The Working Song, from the album with the feature hit Son of America would be easily on our lips as soon as we left.  The easy lyrics and fun atmosphere of being outside in the a field sitting on a blanket, surrounded by trees just made you feel good.

Son of America
words & music by Bob Corbin pub. by Sabal Music Inc. (ASCAP)
You can ride the roads from Chicago to New Orleans  

And all points in between California to the coast of Maine  
And Florida keys to the western plains 
And I'll be there around every corner  

(Chorus) I'm a son of America, child of the heart land  
And I know where my heart lies now Where it's always been  
I'm a son of America, child of the heart land  
And when I die lay me down Deep in my homeland  

I work in the mill, I work in the shop  
I ride the range, I stand alone in the rain at a lonely crossroads 
I live in the city, I live on the farm 
I raise a family, I live alone  

With my dreams, they're all my own  
Like others before me I make my living with my hands  
I've been right and I've been wrong  
But when the feelin's strong You know I'll take a stand  

(Chorus) I'm a son of America, child of the heart land  
And when I die lay me down Deep in my homeland

Little did I know that I would live to give birth to two sons.  Sons of America.  I felt for a time that I was losing them. One of my sons ran away three times and until this year claimed that he raised himself.  Right.  I laughed.  You fed yourself with the money you made from your first job that paid for your house and heat and shelter and clothing straight out of my womb.  Naive.  I gave up finally at the age of twenty-one when I told him he needed to trust in God when his response was Fuck God!  What is a mother to do?

I'm at that place now with my other son.  What is a mother to do when my own son won't answer my phone calls, voice mails, texts, messages from other relatives and e-mails while living in another city?  The right thing to do as I learned with my first son is to let them go and pray to God to watch over him.  

With the recent shootings in Newton Connecticut, I empathize with Nancy Lanza although conflicted with her choice to buy guns, shoot guns, teach her mentally challenged son about guns, and let her son play video games that use these weapons as propaganda.  This was a big source of contention within my parenting styles that conflicted with my husbands.  I never bought these video games for my sons, their father did.  I made them at least turn off the blood to stop the desensitization that occurs from seeing this for hours and hearing the moaning from the injured.  I also didn't agree to buy their own tv's so that they could shelter themselves in their bedrooms.  I wanted us to view TV in the living room TOGETHER as a family.  It wasn't me.  

I never allowed toy guns, rifles, or any weapons or GI Joes in the house.  My boys had plenty to play with that didn't include Barbie dolls (not that there is anything wrong with that) but I couldn't protect them from the friends they chose who had parents who did allow play guns.  When they did get a hold of them, they tried to play like normal kids and I quickly went out and I'm sure to their embarrassment yelled, "Don't point those things at people!  Point them at the ground!"  I always asked parents of the kids they chose to stay over night with about their guns.  Again to their embarrassment.  It wasn't until about two years ago that my oldest son told me that he was in a room with his teenage friends at the age of fourteen that his friend pulled out a real gun to impress the other boys in the room.  When he started waving it around, it was my son who told him, "Hey  don't point that at us, watch what your are doing, point it to the ground."  A REAL GUN!  All those years of being the odd parent, the over protective, mean parent had paid off.  It may have saved his life or the life of his friends.  

My other son plays online video games and I believe he is addicted to them.  He used to play them so much, he didn't eat, sleep or go to school.  I've had to let go and Let God and wait for the day he hits rock bottom so that he too can turn into a Son of America like my oldest son who through the grace of God and the steady direction of his extended family has a great job and is self supporting.  

With my dreams, they're all my own  
Like others before me I make my living with my hands  
I've been right and I've been wrong  
But when the feelin's strong You know I'll take a stand   

He lives in the city, has dreams of his own and at some point took a stand.  I pray that the other mothers of sons and the other sons take a stand so that the young innocent children who perished last Friday will never be forgotten.  Its not just gun control, its parenting, its mental illness and it is those DAMN VIDEO GAMES of war, weaponry and destruction that just condition them to hit the reset button when they lose.  Life isn't like that, we don't have a reset button, we have to work and toil to recover from failures, from tragedies, from devastation.  I wonder if Nancy ever told her son Adam not to EVER point the gun at a person let alone at her, his mother! ...I'm not judging, but I doubt it. 

- Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
- Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
- James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
- Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

Let Go and Let God redeem us from this mess. But yet at some point I have to admit as much as I want to call Adam Lanza evil, and the mark of the devil. I still feel he is a product of our society.  He is one of us too. He and his mother are our brother and our sister.  I feel guilty just saying this.  It is like calling the murderers of my cousin Tammy as she pleaded for her life with her four month child inside her Zachary brothers. It was my brother who shot her in the head, as he shot his Christian sister and unborn brother.  It doesn't feel good but it still is true. I internally argue with myself about the death penalty when this topic enters my thoughts. I don't believe they are Sons of America, but I somehow rely on my faith and know that this place is temporary and know they are my brothers forever. 

I hope that we can all stand with the victim's mothers and fathers and pray for them every day for the rest of our life.  It is the least that we can do, when we wake up every morning knowing we still have OUR children. Like the mountain where I went to school, we are traveling down the mountain and are standing in the valley screaming for redemption as we ascend our next mountain with only our faith and a little hope.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 309 - The Lines Around Us and Within Us

Line (n)  a long narrow mark or band.  We have all heard the saying, the shortest route between two points is a straight line.  I've been thinking about this word quite a bit lately and it all started with a leaf dangling what seemed like in midair.  I was riding my bike and as I came closer i saw that the leaf was suspended in air held by the tiniest spider web line.  I rode by and the leaf moved from the wind I created as I cycled by and it returned to its space held in suspension, spinning slowly.

This line was invisible but yet strong.  Thin but holding an object many times its weight.  Flexible but unwilling to let go.  I thought of our tiny connection to God.  Is it not the same?  Invisible yet strong and flexible but unwilling to let go. He will slowly stretch to allow us to return to safety when we are hanging without protection in midair.

I've envisioned other lines invisible to me before I see them in my past.  While riding my bike some time ago, I had this weird thought as I approached the highway underpass.  What would happen if a fishing line was tied across the path at just the right height, would I be able to see it before it did damage to me?  Would it clothesline me? As I approached on an early Saturday morning, I saw a fishing line had been tied from one side to the other side of the sidewalk at my neck level.  I stopped, called 911 on my cell phone and told dispatcher where fishing line was located.  By the time I returned on the second half of my bike ride, the fishing line had been cut down. 

What was it about that time that made me think of this and then there it was?  I like to think that it is intuition.  I don't have these thoughts on many occasions but when I do, I listen to them, they are inevitably always right.  This line wasn't holding anything, it was a tied to make a horizontal line and it was supported by its ends and its knots. Like a clothesline holds clothes.  In a weird way it makes me think of being a parent.  Here we are stretched but still strong enough to hold our young.  Sometimes by just a clothes pin.  Until the time comes that they will be removed. We support them while they need changed from a wet status to a dry status.  A child that is not ready who has with sun and wind and support changed to a ready status.  Off they go. 

And there are lines that are boundaries, places to tread, places not to tread, things to say, things not to say, lines in the sand if you will. Lines in the roads, the paths of life, the path on which I ride that bike, I go back to the leaf hanging on the spider line, invisible and strong, I think of the word line as a verb. Line: (v) Cover the inside surface with a layer of different material.  And I wonder if its through the lines which are invisible, flexible and strong that God lines us with his protective guidelines that actually do define us as individuals. Because it is clear to me that the boundaries others set up around us surely don't define us. Intuitively we know this but like the fish line, actually seeing it is believing it. This is where faith should line our thoughts.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 308 - Flowers Take Water, Sunlight and Fertilizer to grow

I read in one of my magazines over the Thanksgiving vacation an article written by a woman who believes that everyone should at some point be one with nature.  Whether it be (forgive my boldness here) peeing out in the woods, gardening, birdwatching, making things from wood, or skinny dipping in the lake.  She feels that without that singular sensation of getting in touch with our animalistic side, we miss the beauty in nature and thus the natural beauty within ourselves.  I knew what she meant.  Over that same holiday, I was able to walk up around the pond, pick crab apples off the ground and from the tree and take them over to feed the goats.  I saved a piece of old weather-worn, chipped painted piece of wood from the fire wood pile and made it into a centerpiece.  This same centerpiece contained abandoned blue robin eggs, the nest they were laid in and pine cones that I had gathered.  

There is just something good that comes from this whole process.  Returning to home, as the Rascal Flatts wrote a song about, we all just need "A Little Bit of Home."  We  return to the same food we ate as children, the same room we slept in as a child and speak of memories of the way things were.  Only to be refueled or recharged to leave the nest once again to continue living our own lives.

For my current time as a parent, my boys have left and are discovering both the reality of life and finding their own lives in that process.  Returning home is not as important as they have just left.  I long for the days that they return and bring new family members.  I long for the days that we will all sit as one family at one big long table and break bread that is made from scratch only to retire to the fire burning in a fireplace or a bonfire outside.  Either way fire is always part of this process too.  Fire destroys and then rebirth takes place.  It is a cycle.  This is what I learn the most over and over again, that just as it is said in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything, a season for everything.  The process of life and learning and love and trust are ever evolving.  

Being one with nature, remembering that seeds are distributed all over the ground and it is God who decides which one grows and which ones don't. God and parents water the seeds, put fertilizer on them and around them, encourage them with sunshine and somehow these seeds crack, open up, stretch in darkness through dirt and rock and grow.  We wash our hands from the toil and dirt and know that we have labored. Sometimes we get to see the blossoms and sometimes we don't.  We only can know that we had a hand in part of the process.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 307 - Election Day Ten Days Too Early

After 2 billion dollars have been raised and spent, the TV executives, print company owners and Radio Station owners are richer.  The American people are deaf from all the ads and tired from the battle.  I only wish Election day was ten more days after today.  This is when the movie Lincoln comes out.  Lincoln is the reason why I'm a Republican.  Having personally stood on the Sacred Ground of Gettysburg and stood where Lincoln gave the infamous Gettysburg Address and also stood in the Lincoln Memorial and read his reasoning for not allowing the South to succeed from the union, one gets a true sense of what Lincoln, the man stood for.

People forget that he was a Republican, by today's standards he committed a liberal act because he freed the slaves.  An act associated by today's critics as a "liberal" move.  Lib-er-al as defined as an ADJECTIVE, not a noun, by the Oxford English Dictionary: Willing to respect or accept behavior different than our own.  This is where I think today's typical Republican gets it wrong and what angers me the most about my own party.  I as a woman by the American Constitution and God Given Right have the choice to make decisions about my own body.  I don't agree with abortions for myself, with that being said, having been pregnant three times and given birth twice to two wonderful sons of American freedom, don't impose this view upon other women.  How can Republicans scream and shout for freedom FROM government when it is these SAME MEN in Congress who make these rules telling me what I can and what I can't do with my OWN body?  It was a woman who gave them birth, just let God give ONE man the opportunity to have a "teachable moment" by allowing him to get pregnant, carry the fetus, and give birth to life with a head bigger than the original opening! I'm sure their opinion would be "willing to respect or accept behavior different than their own"  What you say?  The exact meaning of a Liberal which is what they want all Republicans to fear most.

Lincoln got it right and lead the Republican Congress in 1863 to pass via the democratic procedure.  We are a Republic with a democratic system.  Democracy defined by Webster; Liberal: of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.  Lincoln got this right too...from the Gettysburg address, "...a government by the people, for the people and of the people, shall not perish from this earth."  Lincoln also said in that same address, we would not remember what he said there.  On the contrary, we can never forget it, particularly the statement about our devotion to remember it: It is for us the living, rather to be dedicated here, to the unfinished work, for they who fought here have thus far have nobly advanced. It is rather for us here to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us-- that from these honored dead we take increased  devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.--that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom....

In my opinion the basis of a conservative Republican...being free from big government and fiscally responsible.  We can't leave our children and grandchildren and other descendants with a mess we created in the first place.  We as parents are supposed to always give a hand UP to our children, not a hand out.  And when we can't, it is nice for us as a MORAL PEOPLE to help others when we can and ask for help when we need it.  If we as an American people did more of this for our own (other Americans) than we wouldn't need governmental services.  We as a people without resolve have let our brothers and sisters flounder like fish out of water.  How many of us have knocked on the door of our neighbor and invited them for dinner knowing they have been out of work for over two years?  How many of us with jobs have told our employer when an opening has come open that we know someone who would be great at that job?

I've been told by a friend of twenty years who looking back I guess really doesn't "know" me that she is not interested in reading my blog.  She says shes not "that philosophical."  I don't see how you can read and understand our American history and not be philosophical.  However that is her right and I respect it.  Just like not agreeing with abortion for myself but unwilling to tell another person what they can and cannot do.  If you know me I'm not sanctimonious enough to believe that what is right for me is right for you.  Just call me a liberal...willing to respect or accept behavior different than my own.  If I come across that way, please understand I'm not telling people in the blog what "should be" I'm stating my opinion of what "could be"  I strive to see our full potential as humans, as people, as women, as men, as students, as workers, as mothers, as fathers, as business owners, as Americans.

In Gettysburg there is the monument that was dedicated with an Eternal Light Peace Memorial to the 1800 living Civil War heroes who gathered from both the North and the South seventy-five years after the war.
The memorial was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt on July 3rd, 1938, the 75th anniversary of the battle. One Union and one Confederate veteran unveiled the 47 1/2 foot tall shaft. Roosevelt compared the task of the men of the 1860's with the men of his day: "All of them we honor, not asking under which Flag they fought then - thankful that they stand together under one Flag now." 

When we travel outside of the USA, internationally people don't care if we are Republican or Democrat, we are Americans.  And although they call us American Pigs, they silently wished they could be an American because you see, we are really two sides of the same coin....a shiny new penny with Lincoln on it.

Lincoln comes out November 16th, please go watch it.

Whoever you voted for, reach across the aisle and accept and respect the behavior that is different than  your own.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 306 - So you want to be a host parent? Have No Regrets

Every time I say, "I'm never going to do this again." in response to having a foreign alien in my home commonly known as a teenager.  Cupboard doors left open, beds not made, forgetting to lock the door, or forgetting their purse, or just plain forgetting! We set out in the beginning to open our home to someone's daughter or son from across the globe with hopes of making a difference.  I feel that giving a host daughter or host son from another country not only expands my views but completely changes theirs.  The honeymoon begins when they enter your world via the airport.  Simple things amaze me that they don't know.  We all as Americans know that since 9/11, we can't meet you at the gate, we meet in baggage claim.  This is a little detail with huge importance.  Their phones don't work in America when they get here so how else will we find them.  Parents love their children sooo much they don't think to pay the additional $25 to have them escorted to meet the host parents who must show their ID.

They don't know how to unload the dishwasher, clean, cook, address a postcard, how much a stamp costs (they know the price of shoes!), how to catch a frog, plant a flower, or what kind of birds are native to their country and region. They don't know we don't speak British and are constantly having a problem with the past perfect tense of verbs.  "They taught us that way" they say! We've also been called American Pigs by Australian relatives (young and ignorant relatives, not the wiser and older relatives)

This time, when meeting our Australian daughter, her parents did just that, they paid to have her meet with me and I was escorted to her.  The time prior to that I was trying to find out where my host son from Germany was.  Nobody would give me any information because his German parents who are a doctor and heathcare sales rep respectively didn't pay the nominal fee to secure his arrival.  Despite their ignorance, I found him. The parents sign a waiver that they will not contact their son or daughter while in America.  They must abide by the American host parents rules. In theory this is "nice" but in reality they do whatever they want.  And as a result this causes many American parents real problems.  And thus my statement, "I'm never going to do this again."

I know this is tough on ANY parent so personally I allow emails as often as you'd like and skyping once a month home to share all the exciting things we do in America.  We candidly let the Birth parents know that we do however institute a 30-day moratorium of no contact what-so-ever particularly for the non-English speaking students. This assures their total absorption of the English language and forces them to learn quickly.  With our Australian daughter, it was the American culture we wanted her to absorb.  We as host parents make sure the kids maximize their stay in our lives and in America by teaching them and showing them as much as we can.  Places that most Americans have never been cumulatively in a lifetime, they will visit in six to ten months. 

Sam and Steve in Pennsylvania Monument built to honor the highest number of Civil War Casualties
It has been a learning experience for us as we didn't understand the attitude that would come with already knowing English.  Our host daughter thinks that just because she speaks the language she knows how to live in America and insists on doing things HER way.  And I always smack myself in the head and think, why do these kids even come to America when they don't want to broaden their horizons and learn as much as they can while they are here? "That's not the way WE do it!" as she metaphorically slaps us in the face. They would rather get on the internet and tell all their friends back home for hours on the internet instead of spending time with their host parents who have been kind enough to invite them into our homes, stop our lives and revolve around our new "son" or "daughter, like the earth revolves around it's sun.

They test our boundaries, misplace things, break things,etc. just like our own American birth sons and daughters and are typical teenagers.  But do they really get it?  I've heard many times from other American Host parents that we feel like they treat us as their "hotel."  They don't pay rent so maybe we should start charging?  It is so rude in our culture to come into our homes and not want to talk to you.  Closing their bedroom door and staying in there for hours.    Only to tell their friends at home what a great time they are having. 

I learned from the German son that technology has put other limitations on what parents can do.  With the iPhone once they have your code for your wireless internet, you have no control.  They do whatever they want, talk to whomever they want whenever they want.  I stopped this with the next host daughter and didn't give the access code.  I now monitor the wireless to ensure that the kids don't get sucked into this black hole of Facebook and Facetime and Instant Chat instead of talking to us.  It is amazing to me that they will come home and answer the question of "How was your day?" with "OK, normal, etc" only to overhear them tell a friend about a fight that broke out in school and this is Spirit Week, Homecoming, etc. That is NOT a NORMAL, OK Day!  The parents back home want to hear all about it but don't realize this interferes with the bonding process with the parents who are kind enough to take them in.  It is better for parents to talk to parents during this time.  Google Translator and Skype provide this segway and technology is great for this.

Sam and BJ at Gettysburg above Devil's Den

Sam in NY Monument to 2nd most Civil War Soldiers Killed
So we try to be the guiding force and gently prod them to do new things and think the way we know ALL parents want (with the exception of the German Parents who told their son he didn't have to listen to our rules!) and that is to learn kindness, critical thinking skills and open their minds to what can be instead of what they think the world already is. We hear many times from the parents upon our host daughters and host sons return, that they left a girl or boy and returned a young woman or man!  What a compliment, just a few words that let us know that we did the right thing and have no regrets.  Good parents are good parents around the world in every language and country.  Our common bond.  The old adage is true.  If you let something go and it comes back to you, it was yours all along.  We can't be ready for the next step until we let go of something or someone.  Thankfully for the host daughters and sons, their parents loved them enough to let them go and grow.  They always come back, and this short time in America will but only be a memory.  Parents who really let go temporarily and give their children space, ultimately give their children memories of a better and more lasting kind.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 305 - Moving through the Corn Maze of Life

So as it goes, I continue to stretch my comfort zone and try new things.  I've scratched off another item on the bucket list by visiting a corn maze.  It still is amazing to me that at the age of forty-eight, and growing up in farm country of Pennsylvania, I still haven't experienced this event.  So being the great planner that I am, I obtained a map of the maze and drew out the "escape route" in advance.  I was leading two young girls from Australia and Brazil and I wanted to make an impression.  On the way there, Sam said, "We're gonna dieeeee!"  I mentioned to her, I went during the day so it wouldn't be so scary and what could possibly go wrong since my friend from my childhood, suggested I bring a flashlight.  I had the flash light but of course as life does, played a small joke on me.  After I made sure I had new batteries, on the way, learned that the bulb was broken!  No problem, let's make sure we go through the maze when the sun is still up!This was the first year that Cowart's Blueberry Farm owners have constructed the corn maze and it was so much fun!  We entered as I had planned through the A-mazing Time sign.  We were told that if we got lost we could just have the young man on the platform in the middle of the field help us.  I thought to myself, he didn't even know he was God of the corn maze.  God does this, if we take the time in our troubles to look up, he will show us the direction we need to take.  If only we could stop long enough to stop looking at the way we continue on our lost path staring at the same corn stalks of life.  If we've been there before, we recognize the corn stalks but seem to have trouble remembering our way out last time.  Look up we remember and suddenly an opening appears.

I was glad the girls had each other through this maze.  It reminded me so much of my childhood friend.  She has always been there for me and I for her.  We know each other. We can go five, ten, twenty years and not talk but when we do, we just pick up as if we had just talked to each other the day before.  She has lead me through this maze of life many times and I her just to find an opening or remind each other of the God up on the stand in the middle of our own life maze.  Recently we have discussed the issue of visiting a therapist.  She struggles with the thought as we all know it's good for OTHER people.  Therapists connect the dots within our brains that we can't see due to living in our maze.  Sometimes the friends are ok but they are IN there with us.  We need an experienced maze navigator to help us navigate through the corn ourselves.  And there are openings in the maze that need to  be traveled alone.  Going back to our own demons of darkness and trying to get out before the sun sets.  Its tough but when we do, who awaits us?  Our friend and our God.   Sometimes its our family but too often it is the family that built the maze to which we must navigate.  Other times our family sends us in the maze because they know we will emerge a different and better person. 
Sam Aquilina and Beatriz, Australia,  Brazil

Our brain is like this corn maze.  We have connections that are blocked.  Sometimes due to perfect design and others due to chemical imbalances or due to misfiring of neurotransmitters.  The brain is a fascinating place, a place of solace or madness depending on the nature of our connections.  We battle the paths and keep on navigating our thoughts to reach the end.  Struggle becomes part of the travel and facing our fears of being trapped are constantly among us.  Fear is an emotion that stands us still, frozen in our tracks, yet it is only when we face these fears are we able to move forward.  Standing still will not get us out.  Moving with direction, purpose, and most of all a map and purposeful guidance will we make all the connections within our brain work. 

As we reached the end of the corn maze, we found others who had come in the way we were navigating to leave.  They asked for us to navigate them back to where they started.  What a enter a place without a map and never get to the destination...hoping along the way  you could at least have help getting you back to where you started.  This is what therapy is, we go back to our childhood, and hopefully have a good therapist to start over with a map. This leads us to our purposeful path of connections to navigate to where we're going to begin with... journeys of a lifetime without traps along the way to keep us from them.  Little detours that we didn't see coming that sidetrack our future based on our unfinished travels within our brain from our childhood.  

We emerged and were able to enjoy the wonderful other activities that one gets to experience in the country such as, a petting zoo, a rubber ducky race, a bonfire, a game of cornhole, a hayride and good clean air.  Next time I'll be brave enough to go in the dark but I'm always going to look at my map prior to going.  I could answer the questions on the signs that they had had along the trail and if correct could figure my way out, but I believe in doing things the easy way and I really don't like feeling afraid. I had enough of that in my childhood.  Finding my faith has alleviated that and living my faith has made me forget about more fear, only faith.  I know my path and have my connection in the corn maze of life.  Look up!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 304 - The Letter Z.....Australian Speak

When we informed our Foreign Exchange student Association's Local Representative of our choice of an Australian child, we justified our decision by saying it was only for five months and she speaks English.  How hard could THAT be?  He replied kindly, "You call THAT English?"  Little did I know that he was right.  We have found that Australians are unconsciously in love with the letter Z.  They trunk the first Syllable (or as my english teacher used to emphasize Syl LAAAAA  ble) and then add the letter Z to it, making their Australian version of the english essence bastardizing it.  For example....Mosquito becomes Mozzy, Underwear are Undies pronounced Undeez, Australians are self-proclaimed Auzzies, and the flannel shirts they wear are Flannies.

I've learned we put our spare tires in the boot of the car, we call the trunk, and the bonnet that we lift in the front of the car to check our oil is known as a hood in American English.  The bench is where I cook and place my groceries, which we call the counter.  They put r's where there are none and don't pronounce the r's that are there.  Burger becomes Bahgah and Worg is spelled Wog and means the type of food found in the Mediterranean.  Tucker (pronounced Tuckah) means good food and that the food we think we are eating at Outback Steakhouse Restaurant is really American!

We're not allowed to drive in Australia because we don't have an Australian license (I need a fact check here on this one) and besides that we can't figure out how to drive on the other side of the road.  I guess we as Americans are smart enough in the northern hemisphere to figure it out in London, but our brains just turn upside down when we travel south of the equator to countries like Australia and messes us all up.  I mean down, ohh see I'm so confused just thinking about it.

The Winwood Family Flags
My student, affectionately known as Samzie now for obvious reasons, keeps asking for her thongs.  I explain she can't wear those here!!! Phew, relief, she means her FLIP FLOPS, not the no butt (or no bum in her English) underwear (undies translated for all you Auzzies) with a single string.  So I leave you with a translation of some of the words that a bushman, bloke, mate posted for those of us who fail to understand...



Australian English — American English

Ad or advertisement (ad break), TV — Commercial (commercial break)
Autumn — fall
Bag — sack
Barrack (for your team) — root
Bedside cabinet, cupboard or table — nightstand
Beetle — bug
Biro (a brand) — ballpoint
Blackboard — chalkboard or blackboard
Blackboard duster — chalkboard or blackboard eraser
Bloke (or fella [fellow]) — guy
Booking — reservation
Bum (backside or bottom) — butt
Bushfire — forest fire, wildfire
Bushwalk/bushwalking — hike/hiking (NZ — tramping)
Bucket — pail
Caretaker — janitor
Carrybag — tote
CBD (Central Business District) — downtown. Australians will also say they are 'going into town' — meaning going into the centre of the town (the CBD).
Chemist shop — drug store
Chook shed or yard — chicken coop
Clever — neat ('neat' in Australia is only used to mean 'tidy/well organised')
Conference — congress
Curtains — drapes
Cyclone — hurricane
Dad — pop ('pop' in Australia means grandfather, but more commonly referred to as 'grandad')
Deb (debutante) ball (formal coming-of-age dance for girls [and boys] of a certain age; run by community organisations, such as a Masonic Lodge or Rotary — not specifically related to schools — with proceeds going to charity) — school prom (closest equivalent)
Diary or journal (for recording appointment times and/or the day's details) — date book or (daily) planner
Dinner suit or 'black tie' or tails (coat with 'tails') — tux (tuxedo)
Doona — duvet
Door frame — door jam
Drawing pins — thumb tacks
Dummy — pacifier
Film (film star, film producer etc) — movie (movie star, movie producer etc)
Finish — quit
Flat or unit — apartment
Footpath, pavement — sidewalk
Footy — football (In Australia, what sort of football it is depends on where you are. In Tasmania, Victoria, southern NSW, SA, WA, & the NT it'll probably be Aussie Rules [AFL]; in Qld and central & northern NSW it'll be rugby ('union' or 'league'), however soccer is also referred to as footy, and it's increasingly played in primary schools, as well as professionally. Rugby has also sneaked into Victoria, but it only has a toe-hold.)
Freight (or postage) — shipping (in Australia, 'shipping' is only used when an actual ship is involved; postage is via the postal system, freight is via other carriers)
Friends or mates (usually a bloke's friends) — buddies
Fringe — bangs
Greeting card — note card
Grid iron — American football
Ground floor (floor level with the ground) — first floor
Guillotine — paper cutter
Guinea pigs — hamsters
Holiday — vacation
Hang around together — hang out together
Jokes — gags
Jug - pitcher
Lawyer/solicitor — attorney
Lift — elevator
Lucerne - alfalfa
Medicine — drugs (in Australia, when the general public talk about 'drugs' they're referring to illegal drugs — only members of the medical profession refer to medicine as 'drugs')
Mozzy — mosquito
Newsagency — newsstand (In Australia, the person running the newsagency — the owner and/or manager — is called a newsagent. An Australian newsagency business primarily sells newspapers & magazines; and usually basic stationery, greeting cards, and often lottery tickets.)
Noticeboard — bulletin board
Pay tv — cable tv
Pegs — clothes pins
Portaloo — portajohn (brands, but used as nouns)
Primary school — elementary school
Prime mover (semi-trailer) - tractor
Postcode — zipcode
Powerpoint — wall plug
Queue — line
Real estate agent — realtor
Reception (motel/hotel) — lobby
Resign — quit
Ride-on mower - ride-on tractor
Roadtrain — 'trailer truck' or 'big rig' etc
Rubber (for pencils) — eraser
Rubbish bin (& rubbish tip) — trash can or garbage can (& garbage dump)
Sacked — fired
Sandpit — sandbox
Semi-trailer (truck) - semi-trailer but also tractor-trailer
Sent — shipped
Shop — store
Shopping centre — shopping mall
Shopping trolley — shopping cart
Skip — dumpster
Sunbake — sunbathe (U.S. & U.K.) (The difference is very appropriate if you think about it. Australia has the highest incidence of skincancer in the world — so 'bake' instead of 'bathe' is very appropriate.)
Survey — poll
Tap - spigot
Teatowel - dish towel
The pictures (as in let's go to the pictures) — the movies
Tick (the box) — check (the box)
Track (eg Kokoda track is the Australian term) — trail (eg trail riding is a U.S. term)
Trolley (as in shopping trolley) — cart
Turf (turf farm) — sod (sod farm)
Send (sent) — ship (shipped)
Spa — jacuzzi
Tap — faucet
Torch — flashlight
Verandah (groundfloor; if it's raised up, it's a balcony) — porch
Wardrobe — closet
Weatherboard (timber clad housing) — clap board
Whinge — complain
Whiteboard — dry erase board
For emergency services in Australia, you dial 000 (triple zero), whereas it is 911 in the U.S.

Clothing-related words

Australian English — American English

Duds - clothes
G-string (bum floss) — thong
Jumper — sweater
Nappy - diaper
Sandshoes or gym shoes — trainers, track shoes or joggers
Strides (not common) - slacks, long pants (trousers - English)
Thongs — flip flops (jandals — New Zealand). Australian thongs are made of a rubber sole and a single v-shaped strap that connects at 3 points to the sole — between the big toe and neighbouring toe, and either side of the start of the heel. This simple but eminently practical design originated in traditional Japanese footwear (where you can even by warm socks especially designed for wearing with thongs). Thongs are not sandals! Thongs do not have a strap at the back tying them onto your feet! These are only worn by non-Aussies who grew up in cold climates, who didn't develop sufficient muscles in their toes to be able to keep thongs on. (It's probably this lot that insist on calling Australian thongs 'flip flops'.) Sandals are also worn by Aussies who are pretending they're dressed up. There are all sorts of sparkly colours available these days, so accurate colour co-ordination of outfits is possible. 'Double pluggers' is the nickname for thongs that have two plugs on either side of the foot connecting the strap to the sole — they're stronger than 'single pluggers'. ('Pluggers' for short; but this really is bogan-speak.) Dunlop commenced production in 1960 and they made the very best thongs, they took forever to wear out and were virtually bindi-proof, but unfortunately Dunlop stopped manufacturing these tough tropical gumboots a few years ago. Like many imported terms such as the U.S. equivalents for 'fringe', 'barrack' and 'bum bag', 'flip flops' doesn't conjure up pleasant mental pictures in the minds of most Aussies. They're perhaps mostly likely to think of a bloke jogging along a nudist beach or some equally undignified sight...
Tie — neck tie
'Togs' - the most common term for the gear you wear swimming, in most of Australia, except for in Sydney & surrounds, where they like to make complete goats of themselves by referring instead to 'cossies' (short for bathing 'costume'). Some Australians use the very mundane term of 'swimmers' or 'bathers', also. Togs is probably the one word that is used by most Australians to refer to swimming gear, but it has more regional variations than any other commony used term.
Tracksuit (trackie dacks etc) — sweat suit
Ugg (ug or ugh) boots — generic Australian terms, short for 'ugly' or 'ugh' (as in 'yuck, that's beauty-challenged footwear), used to refer to footwear made from 100% sheepskin (tanned sheepskin on the outside, sheeps wool on the inside).
Undies (underpants or pants) - panties, underwear (knickers - English)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 303 - Lets talk about Porn and Leadership

I'm reading the book by Colin Powell about Life and Leadership, It Worked for Me.  He has said so many good things, without giving away the book here are a few of them:

His Thirteen Rules
1. It ain't as bad as you think.  It will look better in the morning
2. Get mad, then get over it
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it
4. It can be done
5. Be careful what you choose: you may get it
6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision
7. You can't make someone else's choices.  You shouldn't let someone else make yours
8. Check small things
9. Share Credit
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding
12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

So I'm going to apply the general theme of my blog using these thirteen rules as it relates to men and women who view porn.

1. Is life so bad that one has to view porn (defined as....Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter. Pornography may use a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. A pornographic model poses for still photographs. A pornographic actor or porn star performs in pornographic films. If dramatic skills are not involved, a performer in porn films may be also be called a model....Wikipedia)?  Self gratification in this form is not Godly or of leadership quality.  For what ever reason one choose to view it, curiosity, self-satisfaction, whatever, it has no life long value to make the next day better.  Hell if this is the case, one drink can make everything look better in the morning.

2. If your significant other discovers your interest in porn, get mad and then get over it.  It is your problem, not theirs because they discovered it.  Colin explains a soldier who pleaded that Colin not punish him for a DUI, stating, "You will ruin my career, my family life."  To which Colin responded, "No YOU did this to yourself, not me!"

3. If your position is that you have the "god given right" or freedom to view porn.  Consider the affect it has on your partners and children.  Adult children don't like knowing their fathers/mothers view porn just like young adults.  It is embarrassing to them.  So if your position is "I can do as I want" then you must accept that people don't want to be around people like this.  It leads to divorces, separations, arguments, etc. Is it of quality leadership is the real question?

4. Stopping this habit can be done. Filling that time with commitments that are long overdue, reading a book, working on a project, praying, spending time with your family as a fully-engaged family member, etc.

5. Be careful what you seek, you might end up like Fatal Attraction and meet somebody online who stalks you.  Or like Talhotblond who portrays that they are somebody they are not.

6. A good decision is to lead a clean wholesome life of leadership quality. Porn is not part of either of these two equations...clean and wholesome and leadership quality.

7. You can't do this because someone wants you to, you have to expect better for yourself.  You have to make this decision to be a leader and know that people watch you all the time.  If one wants to be a leader, one must exhibit behavior to be followed.

8. Check small things.  Well I'll let that one speak for itself.

9. Share credit, when people ask you why you quit, tell them.  Was it you, your faith, your partner?  Be fully disclosing so the wolves that hide in sheeps clothing can continue to see that they are not the only ones who can be strong enough to quit.  Lead the rest of the wolf pack to freedom of this grip of seduction.

10. Remain calm.  Be kind to the people who call you out and recognize that they love you for who you are, not your money, not your good looks, not your great personality.  They are only looking out for your best interest.

11. Have a vision.  Be demanding of yourself.  Set higher standards, get out of the gutter where Leaders don't dwell.

12. Don't let the wolves or crabs pull you back down.  Listen to the people who support you.

13. Believe in yourself.  If you don't, nobody else will.

The bottom line is if one professes to have experience, knowledge, and motivation to be a leader, they must exhibit leadership qualities when nobody's looking.  This is where character is born, lives and flourishes.  Leaders have character and exhibit it at all times.  Justification for porn, or any connection with it for any manner is below such leadership standards.

Do the right thing. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 302 - Reflections of Gossip

re·flec·tion  (r-flkshn)  n.
1. The act of reflecting or the state of being reflected.
2. Something, such as light, radiant heat, sound, or an image, that is reflected.
3.a. Mental concentration; careful consideration.  b. A thought or an opinion resulting from such consideration

As I watch our new host daughter Sam riding her new bike on the bike trail after having just arrived in America from Australia, I can only imagine the thoughts that must be going through her mind.  It so different she keeps saying.  To wake up in a new bed with new smells and new sounds around you as a young adult must be a little intimidating. There are new rules and even though the language is the same we have found that English is not always the same.  I'm sure she's doing a lot of thinking and processing her new environment. I'm sure she is reflecting upon the choice she made in one big decision to step out of her comfort zone and experience another culture without the safety net of family and country. She must be carefully considering her next move and mentally concentrating to fit in.  

I've been doing my own reflecting lately as I was recently told that someone told this person who told me that I was gossiping.  I hardly have time to gossip so it was a little unsettling to hear this from anyone about myself.  So I reflected on my own for about three days and as the universe usually does, sent me the answers I was looking for on a tv show I value.  They defined gossip is when you have malice of intent or mindless, third-party conversation about someone, something you haven't said to that someone.  So there it was. First I never have malicious intent when talking about anyone, it isn't the right thing to do and it just isn't in my nature.  Second, my problem is quite the opposite, I say things to people's face and definitely not behind their back and that is usually my problem, I'm brutally honest, it is a curse if I'm around unlike people but a benefit when around people who are like myself and secure in their own skin.  Third, I have found that talking in third persons about "general" situations has suited me more. So this was really hard to hear that someone was gossiping about me gossiping about somebody else.  Neither which was true! 

The show continued on and said that people usually gossip to take the focus off of themselves.  The type of people that gossip usually don't have much going on in their own lives. For me, that is sooo true, I have so much in my life I don't have time to gossip let alone the need to make myself feel better, bigger, happier, more secure.  I'm big enough already (hee hee) and happy and secure.  I've been blessed with a good life and have made a difference in many people's lives.  As I strolled in the park with my new host daughter from Australia, it reminded me of this and I have to know that in my heart of hearts, that this battle wasn't meant for me to defend, the universe will take care of this one for me.  Just Stand, when there's nothing left, Just Stand, no weapon formed against me shall prosper as the great words of Christian Hymns say.

An egret and its reflection
So as Sam and I Just Stood watching the Egret and its reflection, we walked away from the beautiful park and commented about the beauty in nature and how our lives were pretty good.  We watched as another Egret flew over and beckoned the first Egret in the water to join it.  The Egret in the water did just that, and off they went together....I'm guessing to catch up on the reflect.  I'm hoping they don't gossip as it isn't natural in a balanced ecosystem.

Here are a few photos of Sam and her adventures in America and the new Bra I've made to be auctioned off at the annual Bosom Buddy Auction in Connecticut to support Breast Cancer.  I've been too busy to miss the person that accused me of gossiping.

Sam and a Blue Man after the show

Sam and BJ before the show!

Spanish Moth photo on left

Spanish Moth Bra with antennas!
Other quotes from that show:

Comparison is an act of violence against oneself.  ~Iyanla Vanzant

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are    ~Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 301 - The Problem Is.....I said No.

When I was working as a SME in the Printing Industry, I would say the problem is...when an idea was brought to our attention and I legitimately was able to spot waaaay in advance a potential problem.  Ninety percent of the time I was right about my foresight and people realized when it was UPON us and particularly male co-workers who had dismissed my preemptive advice at the beginning of the implementation of a process, procedure, and/or idea.  I used the term sparingly but I've noticed that there are many people now in the work place that use this like they say hello and good bye.  It is an everyday occurrence and used without regard to the perception that one is a doubting Thomas.  If every idea is perceived by a person with the first thought being....."The problem is...." it comes across negatively and the person stating this has a bad attitude or legitimately wants to get out of doing something...laziness if you will.

So as you know if you've been introduced and reading my blog for sometime, I'm a pretty open and positive person.  And I had this brilliant idea that I would try to capitalize on renting out some space in the house so that we could make a few dollars and someone could save a hell of a lot of money for a really nice place to stay with all the amenities of resort!  A gentleman starting e-mailing me and there were inconsistencies in the e-mail so I was reserved with giving out my telephone number.  I sent photos of the house, and repeatedly asked what he wanted to pay.  I was being open to an "author" who just needed 2-3 months to stay while he  wrapped up a book he was writing.  He wouldn't answer the question.  He wouldn't give me his last name...he was famous and didn't want to prejudice me.  He wanted to see if our "energies" matched and if he  felt comfortable after that, he would tell me.  So he mentioned a trade and I cut and pasted his original advertisement looking for a room and there was NO MENTION OF A TRADE!!  So again I felt like this was a waste of time to go forward as we were clearly not on the same page.

It is that ole gut that tells you that one and one doesn't equal three.  There were just so many problems. And as I've mentioned, I believe that if a relationship starts rocky, it probably will continue bumpy and end up in disaster because we didn't listen to our own intuition.  Randy Pausch told us that we should watch what people do not only what they say.  So here were a few inconsistencies that arose even after I gave him my phone number and we talked:

2-3 months became 3-6 months
a famous millionaire author didn't want me to know his last name
a famous millionaire author didn't want to pay $600/month

he said he was an energy healer, a shaman.  When I mentioned my second cousin was a shaman, he said....The problem with that is that anyone can go to a class and say they are a shaman.  I can heal people by sending energy to the water you drink. Kinetically.  I'm working on communicating telepathically with animals.

he said he only ate organic food so when I mentioned I have a service that brings organic food to your door for $20, he said....The problem with that is it is waaay over priced and it is not always truly organic.

He said he was in Charlotte NC and would be flying into Orlando but when I did an IP lookup on his e-mail address, he was routing his identity via 30 diff servers originating in Oklahoma.

His name was ed but his e-mail address was dave

So it was when I asked him again for his last name and he refused that I went with my gut and sent him a nice e-mail basically stating my philosophy about if things are this difficult on the front end, this has no positive way to go.  He told me  "I appreciate who you are and get a clear sense of that....and its you, not me nor anyone else....Expecting all to be like you will make you very disappointed quite often...and this is another imposition which is grossly misaligned with the universe. If you really own your integrity...this would not be your reaction...just a thought."

So I wasn't like him and he was telling me I should own my integrity...really?  

I had told him the universe would send me another teacher (he knew yoga and as you know I just blogged about getting in shape and Yoga was something new I was going to try) and he again responded with this:

"You want a teacher?  or a roommate?  You expect a public figure to reveal all knowing the internet as it is?  without respecting his privacy?  and if he doesn't  you refuse to look deeper.."

So then he sent an e-mail to Steve using the word FUCKFACE.  So these are the facts and I ask you what your gut tells you about Ed Strachar who claims to be an energy healer and speed reader.  If he was a speed reader I still haven't figured out why he felt the need to "talk to me" to see if our energies were compatible, for God's sake my blog says everything about me.  From what little I know about zen and peace and healers, negativity doesn't exist in their world.  So would you trust this person to come into your home?

There was no problem here...I trusted my gut, my intuition, and once a manipulator is told they can't have their own way, their true colors are exposed.  And a millionaire who is a con artist knows there truly IS a problem when they can't get their own way or make money off the easily manipulated among us.  Be aware and be diligent.  A true shaman, seeks first to understand and then to be understood.  I'm going to use this phrase "the problem is" sparingly in the future...