Story Time – Who Was Your Hero?

Today I’m seeing headlines about some “challenge” posed by a “TV Star” and the dangers young girls are putting themselves in trying to emulate the girl. This famous girl is no one particularly special. She just happens to have been born into a wealthy family who has made their fortunes mostly by parading their “glamorous” life on “reality” television. The father wishes he were a woman, the mother was previously married to a lawyer who defended a former sports-hero who was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her lover. The girl’s sisters have made themselves famous – or infamous – through “reality” TV and other endeavors by which they actually have shown some business acumen.

But why do our kids today want to emulate these types of “stars?” What is so impressive about today’s celebrities that we, as a society, indulge them any credibility as people of interest, let alone role models?

When I was a kid, the only “reality” TV was the local news or perhaps a game show where some “regular” person might win a wash machine. Our “heroes” came from comic books and TV shows that where fiction. Little boys might want to be Superman or Captain America. We little girls wanted to be like Wonder Woman or even the Bionic Woman. We wanted our pretend boyfriends to be one of the Monkees or maybe one of the men from “S.W.A.T.”

I am not a fan of any form of today’s “reality” TV (even “Survivor” has jumped the shark for me), and I have a hard time understanding what attracts others to watch the seemingly endless parade of train wrecks that have replaced entertainment as we used to know it. I am thankful that my husband and I canceled our satellite service years ago every time I pass by the TV in our break room at work and someone is watching a program about “My 600 Pound Life” or “Neighbors with Benefits.” Whoever consents to being on a program about how sex landed them in the emergency room is NOT a celebrity in the making. These people, in my opinion, are either very sad attention whores, or they think they have found an easy way to make some money.

But at what cost?

Well, if you ask me, the cost is their integrity. People of good character aren’t going to put every aspect of their lives under a microscope for the rest of society to judge. Those that do risk extensive ridicule and humiliation. And, those that allow their worlds to be scrutinized by the masses have no right to complain later about their mistreatment.

In the mean time, if you are a parent, are you monitoring what your children are watching on television? What are they reading in magazines or viewing on the internet? Do you think it’s okay for your daughters to want to inject foreign substances into their lips so they are nice and plump like some spoiled brat on TV whose parents clearly do not have their own children’s best interests in mind?

Introduce your kids to some of your local firemen, policemen, or veterans. Let them see what a real hero looks like and encourage them to emulate people of high moral character and integrity. Turn off the TV. Disable the internet. Teach your kids that their self-worth should be based on what they can accomplish without trying to mimic the UN-reality of what they are exposed to in the media.

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Story Time 11/29/2014

Wow, it’s been a very long time since I posted to this blog.  I had so many projects going on this year that I featured on my other blog, preppinwolf.wordpress.com, that I neglected adding any thoughts here.

I wanted to take a moment to sing the praises of my younger son, Sean.

Sean was quite a busy boy all his life. He was never the type to wake up and come into his mom and dad’s bedroom for some snuggle time.  He was the boy that peeked in our door, hoped we were still asleep, then snuck off downstairs to explore, also known as getting into everything!  Oh, the stories I could tell about his little adventures!

But today, I want to talk about the content of his character.

You see, Sean lost his grandmother recently.  She was not what I’d call a nice person.  Oh, she was cordial enough to “others” so few people knew the not-so-nice side of her.  But Sean did.  Grandma was the type of woman to play favorites, though she would never admit it to herself or others.  Between her own children, it was clear she favored her son (my kids’ father) over her daughter.  She claims she “raised them both the same” and couldn’t understand how they turned out so differently. My ex-sister-in-law has made some questionable choices in her life that would leave many people scratching or shaking their head in judgment of her.  Ironically, she’s actually got a terrific personality, but I didn’t get so spend much time with her to know her very well.

Still, Grandma’s favoritism extends to her grandchildren, too.  She had six grandkids from her daughter before my boys came along and the first-born of that bunch was always her favorite. When my two came along, the first-born, too, became her favorite. She doted on him more, spent more time with him, and spent more money on him. When it came to Sean, she seemed to merely tolerate him if she wasn’t scolding him.  Now, I know he’s always been a handful, and I, too, spent way more time scolding him than scolding his brother.

Yet, Sean’s gift was that he, unlike many in his family, isn’t one to hold a grudge. He seems to love unconditionally. When he heard his grandmother was in the hospital and not likely to recover, he insisted on spending what little money he had for a train ticket home to see her. His father suggested he not spend the money or make the trip, but Sean’s response was that he loved his grandmother and wanted to see her again before she passed.

How incredible is that!

Sean warms my heart with his kindness. He spent so many years crying over the way she treated him, yet, in the end, he chose to honor her instead of ignoring her.

This Christmas I hope everyone choses to remember others with love and forgiveness. I shall strive to emulate my son’s example.

God bless, and Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Too busy to think!

I’ve been busy with a lot of projects lately, and all of those stories are posted over on my other blog page www.preppinwolf.wordpress.com.  Feel free to check it out.  Because of all those projects, or the time I’ve spent in the research and planning phases of those projects, I’ve not done any more scrapping, and my photography has been limited to documenting the progress of activity around the house.  I can’t even muster up enough thought for a good “Story Time” post!

There’s all the same drama going on in the world that has me concerned and disgusted for the road our government is travelling, but rather than whine about it, I figured getting some of these self-sustaining projects up and running is the best recourse for me and my family at this time.  The people who understand what is really happening in the world already agree with my thoughts and feelings on various subjects from gun control to GMO-laced products, and the people that don’t get it aren’t likely reading my words anyway.  Those types aren’t going to wake up in time to become useful so I no longer feel the need to try and help them along.

On a more personal note, Lyle’s mom recently underwent open heart surgery. She spent a week in the hospital and another week in a care facility that offers therapy or “rehab.”  She’s been home now for almost a week and seems to be doing well.  All the folks who sent a prayer her way, we thank you!

Everything else has been “status quo” as far as I know.  I’m the negligent child in that I haven’t talked to my mom in a while (guess I’ll call her today! I think it’s her nap time, though so I’d better wait a little longer).  Usually, if something’s up, she or my brother will call me. My older son is taking after me and not calling his mother very often.  Guess that falls under the “no news is good news” banner.  My younger son calls more often and seems to be doing well.  He’s planning a garden up there in Wisconsin when the weather is more cooperative.  I plan to visit with him for a few days this summer, maybe around his birthday.

Work is work, for both Lyle and me.  Lyle’s not as thrilled with his job anymore – I think he misses the airplanes more than he thought he would.  Still, he doesn’t give up.  He works hard and doesn’t complain – much. 🙂

So, there you have it.  A moment in the life of me.   And, no, you can’t get these 2 minutes of your life back.

Have a great day!

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Scrapping for the New Year

Well, I’ve slacked off again, and not scrapped much in the last couple months. Today, I got six layouts done, all with sketches designed by the Ladies at “Let’s Scrap.” The sketches are from December 2013 to February 2014 (but in no particular order here):

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Some of the layouts are, of course Ripley last summer on Norris Lake. One is more selfies from Sean, along with some attempt to lighten his hair with peroxide last August. The last layout is just from things around my house (plus Scott’s car, a photo he took and posted on Facebook).

Hope you enjoy looking at my scrapbook pages.

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Story Time

I’m having a few confused days here lately. Scott has been at his Coast Guard boot camp since January 14th. Last Wednesday night, I got a call from his dad that he’s coming home by the weekend because the physical demands are too high for him. By Sunday I’d heard nothing, so sent the ex a text requesting an update only to get no response. Scott’s phone is presumably still turned off as a call to it went straight to voice mail and he also did not return my texts. I left a voice mail and an email for his recruiter today, hoping for some information. Then, God bless my Mom! She called the ex-MIL who said they were giving Scott another week to see how he does. Now I have to wait some more!

In the mean time, I continue to review all sorts of news articles that cross my facebook and yahoo pages. Much of it is disheartening, but when it comes to our President and Congress, there’s never much of anything uplifting to read about.

I find that there are some folks who, while completely justified in their disappointment, probably hope to open the eyes, hearts, and minds of a few more liberals by continually bringing up certain aspects of the President’s life of which we should all be appalled. If he truly is not an appropriately-documented citizen, of course it’s criminal that he remains in the Oval Office. If his wife lists the children as “senior staff” in order to justify our tax dollars paying hundreds of thousands for them to vacation in far-off places, we should be outraged. There are countless other sins the President, his wife, and the rest of this administration are guilty of, and we should all regret what our leadership has come to.

But the sad reality is that our concern and disillusionment over these types of offenses has netted us nothing in terms of any corrective action. The very people who could – SHOULD – be doing something about it simply don’t care. If they do care, then they are somehow being cowed into doing nothing, to look away, by their inaction to allow these crimes to continue.

Obama has three more years to propagate more indignities upon our country, and I fear there is really no value in trying to see him over-run. While I would do my utmost to stand behind and support any patriots who would step up to defend our constitution and correct the wrongs done to us over the last five years, I would much rather see an enormous effort being waged to prevent Hillary Clinton from gaining the Presidency next. If she were to run and win, I fear there would never be another conservative, constitutional president in the White House ever again. Our Republic would become a true democracy where the majority will always win. That is NOT how this country is supposed to be run. Anyone who’s sat through high school government and history class knows this, but somehow, too many Americans have forgotten the rules. Too many Americans have become too lazy to work for a living and prefer to allow our ever-expanding government to provide for them. Soon, it will be too late to turn back that tide and the country will be irreversibly broken. Government will win and freedom will be lost.

So, while my son does his damnedest to persevere through the second most difficult boot camp training course our military has to offer, the very country that he’s fighting for is crumbling around him. Even should he fail to complete this training, he’ll still have done more than the majority of his peers in terms of working hard and trying to support not just himself but this country. I am saddened that he has chosen to enter service at a time when our nation barely deserves his commitment, his pain and suffering, but I remain proud that he made the commitment anyway.

I sit and I wait. I wait for news of my son. I wait for news of a revolution. And I pray. God watch over and bless my son and this country. Give us all the strength to persevere.

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Scott’s Story Time – Swearing In

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This is the story of my son joining the military. I am so proud! It began with his buddy, JD, starting the process of enlisting last April (2013). JD was joining the Coast Guard Reserves and Scott decided to join him. He started seeing the recruiter in September. He was required to take a computerized test (ASFAB) to ensure he scored high enough in various knowledge and skill sets for the job he was hoping to get. Then he had a physical. The boy weighs less than me and I’m at least four inches shorter than him (sigh).

Eventually he was accepted into the same Coast Guard Reserve unit as JD, up in Sandusky, Ohio, ultimately to be trained in law enforcement. Scott seems pretty excited about patrolling on a boat with guns! You go defend us from those Canadians trying to sneak into the U.S. by way of Put-In-Bay!

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(Thanks to Josh for this wonderful photo!)

They decided to wait until after the holidays to enter basic training, which is in Cape May, New Jersey. Basic Training for eight weeks, in New Jersey, in winter.

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Not sure what these guys were thinking!

They were supposed to leave on January 7th, but we had some bitterly cold, record low temperatures, and flights out of Port Columbus were grounded. Their departure was rescheduled to January 14th.

So, Monday afternoon, Scott and JD came to my house and from here I drove them up to the Embassy Suites by the airport. Let me tell you, it’s a damned good thing that Uncle Sam got discount rates and covered their rooms. All the little recruits were put up in style for the night!

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The only difference between my room and Scott’s was that they had two queen beds to my one king. With my military discount, and adding tax, it still was over $200 for maybe twelve hours’ stay! The recruits all got a free dinner and breakfast to round out the nice accommodations. Now, I will admit that, having been prior Air Force, myself, and on flying status, I got to stay in some pretty nice hotels during my career. The Coast Guard may treat their members just as nice. I feel sorry for all the kids who leave for Army or Navy basic training this day! I don’t think they will have it so nice again in their enlistments!

Speaking of enlistments, Scott and JD joined up for eight years! Because of that commitment, they will get to come out of basic training at the E-3 pay grade.

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So, the boys were given an 0430 wake-up call with an 0435 repeat call to be sure they were up. They had to check out, report for breakfast and be done eating by 0530 when the busses left for the MEPS station. Sounded like very few kids in the crowd got much sleep. I know I didn’t. I had worked night shift on Sunday, got about a three-hour nap Monday morning, and tried to go to bed Monday night at around eight o’clock. I was awake again by eleven and tossed and turned all night hoping for a few more z’s. They never came back.

I followed the bus to the MEPS building.

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From there, it was more waiting (for me) while the recruits went through various stages of in-processing and out-processing. Most had another quick check by the physician and Scott was, again, scolded for his lack of weight! I told him he had better plan on eating everything he can shove in his mouth each and every meal while he’s gone! I want to see a few more pounds on him by the time he graduates!

Finally it was time for the recruits to swear in. Scott and JD were in the first group. They gave us family members a lot of freedom to take pictures and video if we wanted. Scott was so very serious this whole time!

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I opted to video the actual swearing in instead of taking still shots, as I thought that would make a better memory than just a few photos in a scrapbook (you know I’ll be making him a scrapbook!).

We got to spend a few more minutes with them before we were ushered out.

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(Wow, I really did need some sleep!)

Scott signed his life away and his enlistment was final. (He got a copy of this certificate a few weeks back, but it’s all I have to include in his scrapbook later)

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I could have driven myself over to the airport to spend a few more moments with him, but they wouldn’t be outside of the secured area for long, not to mention I’d still have to deal with airport parking! I was running on vapors (I did not get breakfast), and the pups were waiting for me to get home and let them out. I gave Scott some last hugs and best wishes then headed home.

Not sure what time he got to the airport or left from there, but the itinerary has them only flying as far as Philadelphia, then getting on another bus for a couple more hours’ drive. Apparently there are no airports any closer to Cape May than Philly. I figure I will just drive out there for Scott’s graduation. He’s allowed to drive back home with me then, as his technical school training got pushed back to September. If he flew, we’d still have to pick him up from whatever airport they let him fly into.

I can’t wait to see him in eight weeks! I want him to do well, but, I gotta say, as the second-hardest basic training of all the branches, I feel for him! He’s got a pounding ahead of him! (This is why I joined the Air Force!!)

But when it’s all said and done, he will proudly wear the uniform of a Coast Guard seaman!

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God bless you, Scott and JD! Stay strong. Stay safe. See you in eight weeks!

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Story Time – Linguistic, and other Remeniscences

Not too long ago, I saw a post on my facebook newsfeed for a quiz in which you were asked about how you referred to various objects, or what phrase you used to describe something. The “test” was for the program to see if it could tell what part of the country you lived in (or grew up in) based on your answers. It started with whether you might say “you guys”, “yous”, or “y’all” (among a few others). It asked whether that house diagonally across the intersection from yours is “catty-corner” or “kitty-corner”, and whether you call freshwater lobsters “crawdads”, “mudbugs”, or “crayfish.”

Oddly, part of me wanted the program to fail. I mean, with the NSA spying on everyone already, do we really need another method with which to be identified? After taking this quiz twice, it was unclear if the program is really accurate or not; the first time I was given three cities that is said were “close” to where the program thought I lived, none of which were close. The second time I took the quiz, believing I answered everything the same as I had before, it gave me three new cities, one of which was remarkably closer to being correct. If you’d like to take the quiz, use this link:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/12/20/sunday-review/dialect-quiz-map.mobile.html?_r=1&

In any event, it got me thinking about things I grew up “knowing” and saying, and wondering if I’d taught my kids to use the same words, or if they picked up different sayings through their peers, teachers, and other folks in their worlds. I also wonder how much I’ve told them about things we had in the past that no longer exist, at least not in the sense that they would consider using them nowadays.

One thing I remember saying and doing was spotting the cars driving with one headlight out while cruising after dark. We called them “pididdles”, and if you saw three in a row, you got to make a wish. To this day, I “collect” my pididdle wishes just like I wish on the first star I see on a clear night.

While I grew up calling any submarine sandwich a “hoagie”, I have expanded my vocabulary and will alternate that with “sub” at times. My first exposure to such sandwiches was with a local restaurant the used the them “hoagie” and Subway, Jersey Mikes, and Jimmy John’s weren’t around yet. There are other word and phrases I have come to say differently as my own personal horizons have expanded. There is a convenience store called United Dairy Farmers around here. I grew up calling it “the Dairy Farmers” as that how everyone in my neighborhood referred to it. After moving away, and even after returning to my area, I now, more often, call it “UDF” like everyone else does.

“Pop” and “soda” have always been interchangeable, and I will waffle between “y’all” and “you all” depending on the company I am in, or how lazy or tired I might be.

As a kid, when playing hide-n-seek or any other game where you want to call all the players back in, we never yelled out “olly olly oxen free” – we yelled “olly olly in come free”. Seemed to make more sense as a kid that if you called the others in that way, they knew they weren’t going to be “it” for coming in out of hiding.

Of course, as society and technology advances, certain things are lost forever that our kids and grandkids won’t have the pleasure of knowing anything about lest they read about them, or we elders continue telling them all about it. I would like to think that my boys, both in their early twenties, know a bit more about some “lost treasures” than their peers. But will they pass on the tales to their own children or grandchildren some day?

Eight-track tapes where still around when I was growing up. The players didn’t come standard in cars, but my brother installed one in his car and tortured me with the alarm clock bells of Pink Floyd every morning as we drove to school. Even cassette tapes are a thing of the past that many young people these days are unaware of. I remember having an old reel-to-reel tape deck, using it to record songs off the radio because buying an actual vinyl LP was expensive to a kid with no real allowance or job to speak of. I hated that the DJs always talked over the intro and ending of my favorite songs! Of course, the little 45s were cheaper, but you still had to get your mom to take you to the store, as there was no “downloading” any tunes electronically.
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Betamax was a competitor of VHS when it came to video tapes. The physical dimensions of the beta tapes were smaller, so certainly not interchangeable with a VHS player. For reasons I don’t really remember, beta didn’t last, kind of like laser discs when CDs and DVDs became the next best thing. Some folks still have VHS players/recorders and there are ways to connect those to your computer if you want to convert the videos to a DVD format, or just keep them stored digitally on your computer.
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Of course, how many homes still have old rotary phones with a hand-set that you can satisfyingly slam down when you want to end a call dramatically? Even the push-button style still allowed for that wonderful feeling that disconnecting a cell phone – or even a cordless phone – cannot achieve. Most kids don’t have a clue that the alphabet on the phone’s keypad actually meant something totally different in “old days” than a means of sending text messages. Phone number exchanges actually were words rather than numbers. The first two letters of the word were paired with four or five numerals to make your home phone number, but folks used the whole word when giving out their phone number to friends, who all knew exactly what they meant. “I can be reached at ENglewood 3-1234.” You didn’t even have to dial it all yourself – you could just have the operator connect you. And many people had “party lines” in order to save money on phone bills. This was like having multiple telephones in your home – if you picked up the extension in one room, not knowing someone in another room in the house was using the phone, you would be able to listen in or be part of their conversations. Party lines worked the same way, only the phones were in different houses. As a kid, if we wanted to make prank calls, but the neighbor was using the phone, our fun was spoiled…unless we could manage to lift the receiver again, quietly so they did not realize we were listening in. Of course, giggles or other sounds would give us away, and we would hang up quickly before scolding ensued!
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If you have favorite words or phrases that are unique to where you live, but are fading out of use, take note of them and share them with your kids. Tell them about stuff you had and used that no one sees, let alone uses anymore. If nothing else, they may learn something new and interesting (maybe!).

Tell them about the little aluminum trays with a hole, rubber ring, and wooden stick that you filled with chocolate milk and stuck in the freezer to make your own popsicles.
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(I used these a lot!)

Share the games you played as kids that maybe aren’t around anymore – “Green light, Yellow light, Red light, STOP!”, and “Mother May I?” come to mind. Did you play “Ghost in the Graveyard” or “Kick the can”?

Share TV programs that you loved as a kid, or that you remember watching with your grandparents even though you may not have loved those shows! Who sat through and hour of “Lawrence Welk” because you knew that you’d get to watch “Hee Haw” later?

Is any of this important? Not really.
Is any of this interesting? Perhaps even less so.

But I am amused by it all, and so I am sharing. I want my kids to remember me and all the things that made me “tick.” Some of my best memories were of times when all these things were simpler and we enjoyed life more. I want my kids to know that less really can be more. That wishing on pididdles is just as legitimate as wishing on stars.

And I want their wishes to come true.

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