Friday, May 30, 2008

Offer on New Home Accepted... and My Condo is in Process

OK, we're getting seriously excited now. The offer on our favorite choice of new home has been accepted and all is proceeding well with the condo sale (so far). I'm getting boxes from grocers and Jackie and I are packing 4-8 boxes every night. WAHOO! (Slow and steady wins the race. She won't let me pack without her going through everything first, so I have to wait until she's home evenings and weekends to get anything done.)

We'll be having the inspection done on Tuesday, with an electrician, home inspector and other parties, to be sure the home (built in 1959) is in good shape (wiring-wise and in other ways). The people who owned it remodeled just a few years ago and it looks fabulous, but the inspector needs to crawl around (underneath and overhead) and be sure that everything is in order so we can proceed with the plan to move there.

The inspection on my condo will be done soon -- if it hasn't already happened. I'm giving a one-year home warranty on it, because I know it's in fantabulous shape and that the buyers want to feel confident that it is.

When Jackie gives me the listing of the new place, I'll place a hyperlink to it from here so you can see it in all its glory. It has a HUGE back yard -- there's over an acre of property, so we're getting the former owners' riding lawnmower, too. (Even then, it'll take upwards of half an hour to mow it.)

Other than that, I've had a number of Elance gigs last week and this, so I'm semi-self-employed and am already getting repeat business... so over the next few months it's likely I'll be getting into a ballpark where I'll have substantial part-time income even if
-- I mean when! -- I land a full-time job here in the Tacoma area.

I need to apply for a business license as soon as we get moved, since I will have made almost $1K (possibly more) by then as a freelance writer. I'm waiting to get the business license until I have a stable address I can claim as the business address; don't want to put the cart before the horse. Besides, there's enough to do right now, just getting ready to move two households in a little less than a month. One thing at a time!

It feels so great to have my life coming back together, and to see the freelancing thing coming along so nicely (and so fast!). It gives me great hope and keeps my confidence-level high. (Most people who have been unemployed for six months have a confidence level of about -0.05. It's a humbling experience, even when there's no underlying cause for the work separation, as in my case.) If there's anything I'm sure I can do with excellence, it's stringing words together!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Top o' the morning, troops!

I stayed in a recliner on the back porch last night, acclimating my two kitties to back porch living (in a fenced back yard with two teensy weensy dogs) because we're going to be needing the garage from now on, to start putting the boxes that Jackie and I load up out there. It was a very pleasant night, luckily. Archie and Ashley were delighted to have me in their presence all night again. Proof: I had one or the other of them on my tummy and chest most of the night. They'd wander the yard, scoping it out, and then would come trotting back to jump up and sit with me before heading off again.

The change is more traumatic on the wee dogs than it is on the cats. Kokomo (all of two pounds, if that) raced under the porch to confront the "intruders" to his domain, but the moment Archie hissed at him, he yelped and came running over to me to complain, in a rush of little whimpers, "There's a MONSTER under the porch! With fangs and a really unfriendly attitude, Auntie!" (You weren't aware I was fluent in dog, were you?)

Before the afternoon was over, there was a cat (Ashley) and a dog (Kiki, who's even smaller than Kokomo) on my chest, more or less ignoring each other, so the "introduction" has gone well. I expect in the next few days the dogs will ignore the cats completely.

In the meanwhile, I have a demilitarized zone set up on the porch that only the cats can get into, to separate themselves from dogs and visiting grand nieces. It's the cat's sanctuary. I feed them there and they have all the amenities of the rich and famous therein, so they can get away without even seeing the dogs whenever they want to. (I have to keep the cats happiest, because they have the option of jumping the fence if they don't like the arrangements; the dogs don't.)

This afternoon Jackie and I are going to look at two houses again that we've already seen, and then one more we've only seen from the outside, and decide which one to place a bid on. Jackie wants to bid tomorrow.

This evening I need to go to the condos for a meeting at 7. That won't take more than an hour. I'll bring packing tape back with me from my garage.

This morning I took a drive to a print shop and a liquor store to load up on empty boxes, so Jackie has something to put stuff in. (Liquor store boxes are great because they come with cardboard separators, so glassware and fragile stuff can go into them without wrapping them first and nothing will break.) I'll visit the print shop every couple days until Jackie has as many as she'll need to get everything boxed that needs it. I'll help box stuff, of course, but she says she has to go through everything first because she's going to donate and dump some stuff, and I can't help her decide that.

The longer I've lived without my stuff, stashed away in my condo garage, the less I want to keep any of it, but I do have over 250 journals and lots of De stuff that I have to keep -- the De stuff for a museum someday; the journals so I can re-visit them when I get old and feeble and forget everything that happened in my life, ha ha ha. (Not really. I will probably never read them again.) I figure my journals might be of some value to people in ages hence. Everybody is so busy writing (and not saving) emails that I think individuals in my generation won't have much written down that's gonna survive. Someday I might go through it all and pitch a lot of the miscellaneous memories, but some of it may be of value to someone someday... and if not, hey, someone else can throw it away! I spent too much time creating all of it to feel much like burning it!

That's about it for this time, unless some breaking news happens sometime later today.

Have a terrific day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

House-Hunting Follow-Up...

Jackie and I have three places we're interested in now. We need to look at one of them tomorrow and then decide on which of the three to bid on. They're all terrific.

If my condo sale closes on June 23rd, I have to load the garage stuff on the 21st or 22nd; then will probably keep the U-Haul loaded with the stuff until Jackie and family return from Hawaii, at which time our new place will likely be available to move into. (It'll be cheaper to keep the U-Haul, and easier on our muscles and bones, than unloading my stuff into a storage unit and then loading and unloading it again a week or so later.)

If possible, we'd like our new place to close the day after my place does, so we can get most of the stuff moved from both of our places to the new place before Jackie and all fly to Hawaii. That would give me a week to get my place in order before they return and we all work on getting her place in order. But even if it closes shortly after July 4th, we'll be all right. I can keep my stuff in a U-Haul for two weeks more cheaply than I can keep it in storage for what their minimum amount of time is... I think. I'll cheeck to make sure.

Decisions, decisions...

But we're getting mighty excited now - that's for sure!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wallflower Stay-in-the-Corner Kris Breaks Out!

I'm laughing at myself, suddenly realizing that over the course of the past year "Kris, the former mouse-in-the-corner" has boldly gone where few mice have gone before, proclaiming an inordinate interest in two of the most-controversial (and least-discussed-in-polite-company) topics: religion and politics!

This, from a person whose ethos is "Live and let live," "Don't make waves," "Do to others what you would have them do to you."

Eegads! Is it possible that I'm a peacemaker with a peacekeeper's agenda? hee hee hee (Not really.) Perhaps I'd better have my head examined! What'cha think?

I'm not a public, drop-of-the-hat "street evangelist" -- too frightening. While I love discussing the saving knowledge and power of Jesus Christ with the already-aware (sisters and brothers in Christ), I can be a real wuss when it comes to introducing the topic while out in the secular world. I think, "I'd hate it if someone came up to me and started yapping about their God." I still feel that way sometimes (depending on the denomination doing the yapping, since I know scripture well enough by now to know of so-called Christian denominations so "out there" as to be totally unbiblical). So I generally steer clear -- except when blogging (because people elect to come to blogs to read, ponder, and consider the topics in them).

And only recently have I become a political activist again (for the first time since 1972, which was the first time I could actually vote in an election). I was so bummed by the drubbing McGovern got against Richard Nixon in the '72 election, despite Nixon's obvious culpability in the Watergate scandal, that I slowly backed away from going out and campaigning hard for future candidates. McGovern won only one state (Massachusetts) -- and a parish in Louisiana where my fellow co-laborers in politics that year and I worked our hearts out to make sure he won. And I campaigned for him primarily because Bobby Kennedy (who had been assassinated four years earlier) had sincerely introduced McGovern once as, "the most decent man in the Senate --" and then had added, joking, "in fact, the only one!"

So it should come as no surprise that this year I've gone all out for Barack Obama. I'm a left-leaning conservative (as was RFK, contrary to public perception), feeling that we need to be sure that even the concerns of "the least of these" (in Christ's words -- the underrepresented poor, ill, lost, and multiply-challenged) are addressed and that ways are found to lift them up and make sure they are not left behind to suffer in our land and abroad. Only when every family can find work that sustains them and that blesses them and others can we say we are on the road Christ trod and wants us to be treading right along with him these days. While we "liberals" may sometimes lean over so far as to lose our balance in fighting for the rights and well-being of those less fortunate, it has been our efforts over the past forty years that has brought us to a time in our history when a black man can run for the highest office in the land and have some chance of actually getting it. While there is residual, deep-seated resentment of this fact in some folks more elderly and their impressionable progeny, I see great hope in knowing that the old way of thinking is definitely on its way out and that America's future will now rest in every hue and both genders of capable hands, hearts and minds.

A lot of folks are under the impression that if someone is religious, that automatically means ultra-conservative and Republican. A reading of God's Politics by Jim Wallis will quickly prove otherwise. I have SPIRIT 105.3 (a Christian radio station in the Seattle-Tacoma area) and Obama bumper stickers on my car. I'm sure more than a few people do a double-take when they see the two co-existing in peace and harmony on the fender! That's good, as long as they don't drive off the road and hit a tree or a pedestrian.

Christians come in all shapes, colors, sizes and political parties. And we talk to each other and disagree without coming to blows! Imagine that! ("By this shall they know you are My people -- by your love one for another.") (That might not be an exact quote of the scripture; I'm writing this off the top of my noggin.)

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Hot off the press! I just received an offer on my condo! It'll soon go into PENDING mode. WAHOO!

Friday, May 23, 2008

HALLELUJAH! I Think My Condo Has Sold!

Great news! It looks like I'll be getting a bid on my condo tomorrow morning. I'm very excited. Keep me in your prayers that it all goes well and that in a month Jackie and I will be moving to the place we found that we love -- my Realtor is checking in on that possibility right now...

There are two we really like... and the prices are coming down and there are literally dozens of other options. Getting the money for my condo was the hard part, in this economy, but it looks like it's going to happen now.

I'm so happy!


Surprise, Surprise! One of My Poems is in the Current Issue of the Shambala Newsletter!

I was mighty pleased -- and wildly surprised -- to open the latest issue of the Shambala newsletter and find one of my poems (LEO) emblazoned across the inside front cover! Tippi placed it on her own editorial page and wrote around it, so yes, it's a major honor!

If you go to the following URL, you can register as a member of Shambala and help out this worthy cause... and they'll promptly send you the current newsletter, chock full of great stuff, including my heart-rending poem about the status of lions from ancient Greece to now!!!

I volunteered at Shambala for a number of years and cannot recommend a non-profit organization more highly than I can Shambala.

If you love captive wild animals (or their wild counterparts, living free) and want to help Tippi's wild ones thrive in luxurious, open fields (she rescues them), logon today and find out more about her and her Roar Foundation.

You'll be glad you did. Prepare to be wowed: Bill Dow's photos of Tippi's wild wards are breath-taking!
Top o' the mawrnin' to ye all!

My sister is on her way to Cle Elum with a friend this morning for a two-day visit with a lots of school chums from days of yore. She was excited-as-a-school girl when she took out of here this morning. I hope they all have an absolute blast.

Yesterday I took a break from writing and bidding at Elance for an hour and went to see grand niece Isabella (age almost 6, in July) in her school play. She was a flower, so I wasn't expecting a whole lot. But she was absolutely the best flower there -- knew all her lines, reminded the girl next to her of her lines the time she forgot them, looked as sunny as the flower she played, and did everything she was supposed to -- without it looking at all rehearsed. Methinks she's a natural. Watch out, Hollywood!

There isn't much other news. I'm blogging at Writer's Edge (Christian writer's blog) as well, so if you want to find out where I am spiritually, that's the place to be frequently. (Not that you won't find it here, but I'm all over the place with this blog, so you may have to hunt to find my spiritual ponderings here!)

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. It's a solemn occasion, remembering those we've lost, but they'd all want us to enjoy the weekend the rest of the time, as they would if they were here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"You're Gonna Make It, After All!"

No two ways about it -- God is 110% amazing -- all the time!!!

He closes one door and opens all the windows, lets air in, lets sanity in, lets love in, lets me wait (fully funded) until I finally do what He created me to do all along: What I love most in all the world! WRITE! COMMUNICATE! CONNECT!

I've been straddling the fence for so long I'm saddle sore. I've been listening to the old tapes play in my head ("Making a decent living as a writer is almost impossible," "Get your head out of the clouds and your feet back on the ground," "Get a real job and stop this nonsense...") and distancing myself from them, recognizing them for what they are: the expressed fears of two parents who were rock solid practical and worried that I'd starve to death trying to do what I have loved doing since I first put words together into a sentence and made something come alive that didn't exist before I wrote it down and made it happen. They had no faith that I could compete in the realm of writers -- and win often enough to feed, clothe and shelter myself adequately.

The past few months have given me the time I needed to try things out --, and other types of outreach. And every day recently something new has come in that's EXACTLY what needs to happen in order for me to reach my destination on earth: full employment doing exactly what I love in all the areas where my passion lies: for Christian folks, for animals, for elders, for small businesses on small budgets that need a world-class copywriter, and can't afford one.

Recently I've done four small projects and one larger one. And today I was contacted by a fellow on the east coast who wants me to be his copywriter and write ads similar to what I did all of 2007 in my last position -- for ten dollars more an hour than I was getting! Providence!

And there's a copywriting agency that has seen press releases I wrote to tout my books and my convention appearances. The people there want me to be "on call" to write press releases for their clients as they come in (since press releases aren't their bailiwick and they want to be a full-service agency). Other people want me to write e-books on pet care. How perfect is that? I grew up with animals -- every kind available to me, from naked, unfledged birds, fallen from nests, to an African serval! Two Christian entertainers had me write press releases for them, and another live entertainment venue had me write a marketing article and will have me writing their press release and their website content soon.

And I can do all these projcts from the comfort of my own home! No gasoline costs. No commute. Just glorious writing, doing what I love!

I feel a sense of adequacy -- even extreme competency -- when I write that I feel at no other time. I've been an exemplary secretary and administrative assistant, but put those careers side-by-side to what I can produce as a writer, and there's no just comparison: I am, far and away, better as a communicator (on paper) than I ever was in any other capacity.

God gave me a passion to write as far back as second grade. That should have been one huge hint about the destiny He placed me here to pursue, wouldn't you think? Heck, it should have clinched the matter! I should have stopped trying to be a people-pleaser and dedicated myself to being a God-pleaser... to using the passion He gave me, to run with it, no holds barred, no looking back, no listening to the fears and worries of loved ones who just didn't get it.

I now realize I have been more or less "occupationally and emotionally depressed" for most of my life, living a life of quiet desperation (except when joyfully lost in a writing project), doing what was "expected" of me by the naysayers, what I had proven myself "good" at during all the years I was afraid my folks were right about my prospects as a writer. Yeah, I was "good" at that other stuff, but I'm BEST at THIS!

No more. I feel a sense of joy and expectation now as a direct result of turning myself loose ("Damn the torpodoes! Full speed ahead!") and seeing where my enthusiasm for the written word can take me.

I'm humming the Mary Tyler Moore theme and thinking every word relates to me as long as I'm "in the zone" in front of my keyboard "wordsmithing" every day -- and blogging every night.

Who can turn the world on with a smile?
Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Well, it's you, girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement, you show it.

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can never tell, why don't you taste it?
You're gonna make it after all.

You're gonna make it after all!

What a lunatic I've been all my life, listening to old tapes in my head when I should have been moving full speed ahead!

Hey, I'm a late bloomer, what can I say?

It's never too late to have a happy future!

If you have a passion you're not pursuing, and it's not harmful to anyone else and can be viewed as a blessing by other people -- STOP LISTENING TO WHY YOU CAN'T OR SHOULDN'T PURSUE IT AND PURSUE IT ANYWAY!

It'll rock your world!

Prayers for Steven Curtis Chapman and Family

Very sad news for the Chapman family.

Please send prayers for the Chapman family, and include the relative who hit the little girl and killed her with his vehicle.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kennedy Paralysis...

I sent a letter to Senator Kennedy this morning, wishing him all the best and promising frequent prayers for a miraculous healing. Writing it made me think back to the time when my boss ... well, here's the story (as expressed to Sentaor Kennedy as part of my letter)

From 1981-1985, I worked as a Field Services Rep and Field Services Director for the Animal Protection Institute of America, an animal welfare agency, from my home in the Pacific Northwest and from API’s headquarters in Sacramento.

During that time I was mentored by Ted Crail, Creative Services Director, a man some said was “impossible” to work for. I never found him that way. He was simply a perfectionist and wanted everyone to work and strive for their full potential. He was lovely to me, because he knew I always was striving to be top-notch.

I was assisting him one day, researching a bill sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy. He asked a question I couldn’t answer, so he said, “Call Senator Kennedy’s office and get the answer.”


“Oh, my God in heaven!” I thought. “I can’t do that!”

Since he didn’t hear me grab for the receiver right away, and I was inordinately silent suddenly, he turned to me, to find me in Kennedy paralysis.

“Hello?” he inquired.

“Call Senator Kennedy’s office?” I tried not to squeak.



“What’s the problem?”


Did I dare say, “I don’t recall ever being asked or expected to phone an icon”?

He finally “got it,” without my saying another word.

“Look, Kris, Senator Kennedy is a public servant. He has an office phone that rings at least a hundred times a day. I’m not asking you to do anything that a hundred other people don’t do every day. It’s no big deal.”

I finally confessed, “It’s a big deal to me.”

I had never refused to carry out a single direction of his – until now. He had a deer caught in his headlights, unable to process the information in a sane, rational manner. I heard the words. My motor functions simply froze and I became catatonic.

“OK,” he finally conceded. “I’ll do it. Sit there and watch how easy it is.”

I sat there. I watched how easy it was. Masterful. Fun. Interactive. Even a laugh or two!

Never did try it myself, though… Too, too scary!

It was a humbling experience, to realize the high regard in which I held someone – to a point that actually speaking to him would have paralyzed my vocal chords and stayed all physical movement in my chair…

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Senator Kennedy, consider this my once-in-a-lifetime “phone call” to you. I will darken your door no more.

I just want you to know… you mean the world to me… and you are in my prayers hourly (often, more often)!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kennedy diagnosed with malignant brain tumor

Disturbing news about Senator Ted Kennedy. My own mother passed away from a malignant brain tumor (glioblastoma multiforme) nine years ago. I'm very saddened to hear that Senator Kennedy has been diagnosed with a glioma, which is only phase one of a more complete diagnosis.

Senator Kennedy and his family are in my prayers that the tumor is both operable and eradicable.

He has been in the Senate since he took over his brother John's unexpired term in 1962. Far from a perfect man, he has never let that stop him from doing a lot of great things for people. I believe his place in American history is already secured and that his achievements in the Senate will be honored for generations to come.

My heart is heavy today, upon learning this sad news.

From Alison in England.. Supporting Obama from Afar!

From Alison Winter in the U.K.:

"I hope you are OK. It's tough being uprooted. But I think it's good that you are so passionately behind Obama. Outside the U.S., we all want a Democrat because U.S. foreign policy under the Republicans has been just wrong, frankly. Hillary has gone for too many cheap shots, I think.

"I don't know anyone here who doesn't want Obama to win. If the Democrats don't get behind him fully, then their race is just too weak. As lovely as having a 'change' is, be it for the Democrats, a woman or a black man, it makes John McCain the safe and secure option. In your current economy that's going to appeal to many people.

"On behalf of the foreigners, please do everything in your power to promote Obama (I know you are, but I want you to know just about everyone outside the U.S. is behind you). We can't vote, but we still have to deal with the consequences. Maybe this is why your current situation has occurred - to use your writing to really promote him. What do you think? I love what you've written so far."

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Thanks, Alison. Glad to hear (in an earlier part of your email) that your fortunes are changing for the better. You deserve it and have earned it!

I do have one disagreement with something she said above. I don't think there's a snowflake's chance in Hades that a Republican will win this time. McCain is not a "safe and secure option" unless we want an extended Bush philosophy out there tripping up our chance to redeem ourselves globally and knee-capping ourselves domestically. And he doesn't seem to have much of a clue about how to help the economy, either. I just don't see voters choosing him. The Republicans have had their day for eight years and it has brought us little else but misery in nearly every aspect.

McCain, too, has taken cheap shots, seeming to indicate that Obama is a Hamas darling. Hamas has said they'd like to see him as the next President, yes -- but that's because (they went on to say) he was like JFK -- a statesman and a strong, no-nonsense, admirable opponent when it comes to foreign policy. That hardly qualifies as a Hamas "endorsement"; it's a viewpoint shared by much of the world. Just because Hamas sees in Obama what the rest of the world sees in him is not scandalous; it seems to me even a wee bit hopeful. A calming of saber-rattling.

I see two sides to the same coin here, not to disparage McCain too much. He, too, is a staunch patriot and a great American. But he's a peacekeeper, a warrior, where Obama is a peacemaker. McCain is a hammer and addresses most things that need to be addressed the way a hammer addresses a nail: Ouch! (I can be a bit of a hammer myself at times -- an aspect I deplore in myself and have worked hard to alter. And most of the time, I succeed, thank God -- just by giving space to the predominant "warrior" emotion and letting it run its course before I run my mouth.)

Here's the fundamental difference:

Peacekeepers are usually international military powers whose paradigm is
"Power is king. Power keeps people in line. Power wins." They are viewed globally by many as dangerous, provocative, blinders-on strategists: How do we "win" this thing?

Peacemakers calm the rhetoric, the protocol, the intense emotional battering that goes on when there's a right and a wrong, an agenda to fulfill, a "war to be won." Peacemakers find ways to compromise without giving away the farm. They work hard, usually behind the scenes, to discover diplomatic and humane solutions that honor the fact that we all are God's children, whether we acknowledge it or not. (God sees it this way, and I for one do not argue with the Almighty.) Religions divide; relationships unite.

The world is a dangerous place right now. We have to fix things on many fronts: environmentally, economically, ideologically, globally and locally.

My sense is that the person best-suited to lead this great effort should be a peacemaker -- someone well-versed in respectfully understanding and listening to everyone who feels passionately about surviving in the world. And that person, in my well-considerated and studied opinion, is Barack Obama.

Yeah, I know: this means that, at times, he's going to be listening to and interacting with people that many would like to see blown to smithereens for their intolerance, dangerous passions, and past and proposed aggressions.

I didn't say he was going to agree with or condone all he hears; nor do I think he'll act foolishly on what he hears. But he is the man most likely and best-trained to open dialogue, calm the rhetoric, respect differences (again, without giving away the farm), and find a way forward -- to a future that embraces diversity, finds common ground, and treats people with respect, and the love expressed in the heavens.

That's my take on this.

Ciao for now!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good Newsweek Article...

Check it out...


Happy Mother's Day, all you mommies out there!

Bright and early (and I mean bright and early) I left my bed to go to a hardware store to be there at 7 a.m. SHARP to get in on the best choices of fuchsias; wanted to get the creme de la creme for my sister, Jackie.


I was there ten minutes early. The parking lot was empty except for employees who were filing in at what seemed to be a snail's pace. I felt so fortunate to have so little competition this morning. (Only for my sister would I undergo competition of this type, let me tell you!)

At 6:57 I meandered toward the front door of the store. Emblazoned across it was GIANT PLANT SALE! Begins....

Saturday, May 10th at 7 a.m.

I was right 0n time, 24 hours late. The store doesn't open until 8 a.m. today. And I'm sure all the best fuchsias are already long gone.


So I came home empty-handed and told her that we can go out again this afternoon when the grandkids go home and I will let her pick the best plant, of whatever kind, in town and I'll get it for her.

Then I realized, as she did... there won't BE any great plants later today -- the best plants will have been picked through yesterday and this morning. So I said we'll do it on some other weekend when it isn't Mother's Day. That suits her fine...

And frustrates the living daylights out of me.

I was watching the clock half the night to be sure I didn't oversleep the sale!

ARGHHHHH! Carumbah! Sugar jets! and.... pickles!

"Kris, if this is the worst thing that happens to you in your whole life, you'll be lucky." -- Dorothea Smith (our own dear mother, God rest her soul)

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And speaking of mothers -- let's do that today.

My mom and dad had three daughters, three years apart. Mom was also Dad's business partner in his construction business, so she was one of the original Super Moms.

Since three years separated her kids, she was forever taking us in three different directions for activities except for when we'd all go to the YWCA for swimming lessons and fun -- and even then we were in different swim classes. Laurel, Jackie and I all had different interests. I remember playing in kids' baseball (our team was called The Ponytails, so we all had pony tails!). Our wonderful neighbor, Mary Jane Cooper, was the coach. Her daughters -- Penny and Judi -- and Jackie and I were on the team. (I was their designated "power hitter" -- because I kept breaking the wooden bats we were using! Not part of the plan, I'm sure!)

It was Mary Jane Cooper who busted me the time I was out in the middle of Spanaway Lake on an inner tube headed for a raft to look for caterpillars. I couldn't swim yet. She called me in and told me to go directly home, where Mom would be waiting for me.

Oh, boy. Mom was waiting for me. And Dad attended to me when he got home, too. Lesson learned: do not swim, float, or even approach a body of water alone. EVER!

To this day I ask permission to take a bath...

Anyway... My mom ferried her contentious, often-obnoxious brood all over Tacoma for various functions... in between her business duties. I don't remember ever missing a piano lesson, a tap dancing lesson, a ballet lesson, plays we wanted to see. You name it. Magic Mom made it happen!

I do recall one time, early on, when I approached her at her desk and let her know I "needed" her. (I have no idea why.) She was focused on the task at hand and ignored me several times. I persisted (as young children always do, as far as I can tell). I was five or six or maybe seven and by golly, I NEEDED HER! NOW!

She couldn't discern an injury -- I wasn't crying -- and the house didn't smell of smoke, so she told me, "I'm too busy right now."


I tell you, my li'l ego rebelled! I was insulted. I was indignant. I was mortified.

I was deeply hurt. Deeply hurt. I remember the moment to this very day when Mom calmly informed me, via this outrageous statement, that I WAS NOT THE CENTER OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE!

It was a rude awakening, let me tell you. But it was time, and it was a lesson I needed to learn. Some people, it seems, never do learn it. I've met a few and seen a number of them on TV and they're all pretty unbearable.

So, thanks, too, Mom, for that. Even though it hurt. More than a little. Ouch!

Truth to tell, from the moment Mom became a mom, her family was her universe. That's why she was so busy at her desk, ferrying us around, being there to swat us when we ventured beyond the limits of safety or decency.

Mary Jane Cooper was also a great mom. She took restless neighborhood kids and marshalled them into a fine little baseball team, and chaperoned us whenever we swam off her dock in Spanaway Lake. I'm sure that gave Mom a break she sorely needed. It truly does take a village to raise a child...

I watched (and helped sometimes) my sister raise her only son into a fine young man with good values, who shunned peer pressure as a matter of course and found a wife who is the apple of everyone's eye. Jackie was a great mom -- even though she has regrets because she wasn't a "perfect" mom. (Good gracious -- has there ever been a perfect mom?) She was as perfect for Phil as our mom was for us -- I can tell by the results! Perfect enough to grow a child (children) that more often than not make their parents proud!

I watch Wendy and Phil (Phil is Jackie's son) care for their two daughters with dedicated patience and grace and know the apple will not fall far from their tree, either...

Dawn's kids, Lizzie and Isabella, are growing into fine young people even as Dawn struggles as a single parent (as did Jackie) to keep their world as stable and as filled with love and nourishment as possible. In addition to holding down a job and the fort, she's getting the kids to school, to soccer, baseball, basketball, swimming and track, birthday parties, skiing, you name it (with the help of "the Foxley Village" during the hours she has to work, same as Jackie relied on the "Smith/McNiven Village as a single parent).

I watch these current parents doing their thing as parents and as creators of the next generation of thinking, caring people and I realize, with greater impact than ever, what it took for my Mom to do all of that for us -- long before cell phones and TV/DVD's in the SUV...

I remember a particular trip to Disneyland (1200 miles distant) where the endless, echoing refrain (every thirty miles of so) was, "Are we there yet?" For 1200 miles. Nowadays the kids can watch ten videos instead of playing "Slug Bug" and "I Spy," which they still do sometimes -- to the dismay of the drivers. Those games are important, too -- but not 1200 miles at a stretch.

I'm amazed the three of us Smith kids weren't drowned in the Adventureland Lagoon or thrown off the Matterhorn when we "finally" arrived at Disneyland.

It would have made Mom's and Dad's return trip a whole lot easier on their nerves and ears, for sure!!!

Gawd Awmighty!

Parents are unlike any other category on earth.

I stand utterly amazed...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Here We Go Again -- Unfounded Accusations Against Obama -- This Time From McCain!

Please read this (it's pretty short) and cease to fret about Obama's attitude toward Hamas and other terror organizations:

Good Lord... I, too, think Senator McCain may be losing his bearings after reading and hearing about this... (and I'm not referring to his age, any more than Senator Obama was)

Study the candidates, people -- study the candidates! Don't take pundits word -- or their opponent's words -- for where they stand on issues.

Let's make a GOOD choice this time and see what happens!


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Get Off My Case! hee hee hee

Gads, folks... gimme a break! A couple people have emailed to wonder why I haven't updated the blog in a while.

Bottom line: I haven't been blogging because there hasn't been much to blog about. All is status quo -- still looking for a job, still looking to sell my condo and find a place that Jackie (my sister) and I both like. We've found one. Now we have to sell my condo to get it. These things take time. I'll re-list it tomorrow with a third Realtor. (This time I'll use one with at least six years experience, as recommended wherever I read about finding a reputable, successful realtor.)

The Demo race looks to be falling to Obama -- saints be praised! I am so jazzed. Of course, my heart breaks for Hillary... I like both candidates, but disagree that she'd be best for the country and best against McCain. She is a dedicated, gutsy woman and I hope they get on the ticket together. That would be terrific.

Friday, May 2, 2008

It's Friday!!!! HURRAY!!!

I know I shouldn't care this much, being unemployed at present, but... IT'S FRIDAY for all you worker bees out there, so I'm happy for you. (I'll be happier when I'm employed again and can share in your joy more than vicariously!)

My condo is off the market again... it may go back on.... we're deciding in the next few days. In the meantime, I've gone over there and spruced it up (painted walls, replaced aging grout, dusted and vacuumed) and will have Stanley Steemer, or some other company, go in and do the carpets professionally, since all but two pieces of furniture (a bed and a dresser) are out in the garage at the moment so it will be easy and less expensive when very little furniture has to be moved. I'd do the carpet cleaning myself, but don't really know how good I am at it. I've done it twice a year for the past four years, so it looks pretty decent still, but I think every few years it should be done professionally anyway... If it doesn't look better afterward than when I do it, I won't ever have it done professionally again. How's that? I do a darned good job, but let's see if a professional company blows me out of the water when they do it. I want to be impressed if someone else does it, for sure!

This morning the "Brownie fairy" in me (I used to be a Brownie) saw that I could spend about 40 minutes sprucing up Jackie's place (where I'm also residing at present) and make it look darn-tootin' great, so I did that. I guess it was a hold-over from being my own Brownie fairy at the condo yesterday and not being there to enjoy it today after having worked so diligently. And it's also a bit of cabin fever, since I'm not working.

I try to spruce up at least a couple days a week around here, and especially on Fridays, so Jackie can feel there's very little to do when she gets home on Friday night. It always makes her smile. She's managing two bank branches and often has little ones (grandchildren) here during the week (evenings) and weekends. Kids and grandkids can trash a place faster than you can blink. Have you ever noticed? So I'll go around and consolidate the mailbox stuff, pick up errant toys, water the plants, put away dishes, and do whatever else needs doing, except in her bedroom. I figure her bedroom is hers to handle, as my bedroom is mine. I just do all the "common areas," which is all the rest of the house.

I'm feeling really bad for Obama right now. I hope the past few weeks haven't dampened his spirits or his dedication to lifting up low and middle-income earners and their dependents, although I can see how they might! (Thankfully, it's in his DNA to keep plugging, or he wouldn't have gotten as far as fast as he has.) We really need him. I'd hate to see him lose the momentum he needs to become the Democratic candidate in November. I'd vote for Hillary if he doesn't -- the alternative is too "Bushy" for me -- but I think more people will be energized and will engage in changing the things that need to be changed if Obama is the President. Not only here, but across the globe, it appears that Obama is the man people want to see holding the highest office in our land for the next period of time... and obviously, I agree or I'd be touting some other candidate right now! I've been donating to his campaign ($25 here, $25 there) even though unemployed. The people are powering his campaign. They expect great things when he gets in. And I do believe they will be happy to continue to support him and enter in and get involved if he wins
-- as never before in recent memory.

I'm all for that!