Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Refund for Miley

Yesterday and today, there have been a lot of media splash about Miley Cyrus's performance at the MTV VMAs. (Just typing that sounds like painful inoculations!) And watching the performance on the news proved to be, well painful. Painfully awkward. Painfully ridiculous. Painfully embarrassing for many of her former fans. There has been a lot of speculation as to why Miley did this. It's like seeing someone open their mouth when their dog gives them "kisses." Yuck! And it is natural to question the freaky. And people, it was FrEaKy!!

As I scrolled through my Facebook account, I saw no less than five blog postings and a slew of comments about Miley's latest behavior. People were posting these as:

"I have daughters and I don't want them to do anything so disgusting,"
"Did anyone ever tell Miley, no?"
"Miley is trying to be Britney Spears and announce her impending adulthood"
"Shame on America and the world for idolizing child stars"
"Miley needs Jesus"

All of these topics have merit and someone should or should have addressed these with Miley long before she was old enough to own her own house, drive her Ferrari, or become engaged to her former fiance who was seriously older. Obviously, if someone did discuss appropriate behavior with her it either didn't sink in or no one revisited the topic before she was turned loose. As I watched parts of the performance on The Today Show, I kept looking for someone with a leash, a net, or a lasso. Will Smith and his wife looked like they were saying, "Someone just stop her!" And someone probably should have done just that. Should we be so surprised? I mean, it's MTV and I wouldn't have been surprised if Snooki had ripped off one of the pink bear costumes and joined her.

Personally, I love the comments from people who said that Miley was just trying to do what Britney did years ago to assert her maturity during her MTV Awards strip performance. Well, let's just think about that subject and how well it went for poor Britney. (Pause) Uhmmm... She seems to be doing better, now, but it was rocky for a while. I wonder if Britney wished for a do-over from time-to-time about some of her early adulthood antics. She made Mickey Mouse cry!

I strongly feel that Miley or any future media idol would benefit from a long and cloistered stay at the Convent of Holy Obedience, run by the Carmelite Nuns who practice devoted silence before their debut as a new adult. Rising at daybreak for vespers/prayers, scrubbing tile floors on your boney little knees when it's not time for vespers/prayers,and in bed by nightfall might give a young woman in need of asserting her adulthood time to reflect on just what that might include. Regular progress reports could be made by the Mother Superior. Yes, I think that Miley (or insert name) is grasping the responsibility her actions or No, Miley (or insert name) needs more time to scrape the paint off the outside of the Convent with a nail file as she is not ready to be behave in public.

One comment or blog post is missing, though, but I know what a lot of people are thinking because I was thinking it, too. Many of us were thinking, if that was my daughter I would have...
thrown myself on the stage, dragged (insert daughter's name) off the stage, kicking and screaming (me), and possibly whipping until we were off camera. Of course, I would have done this in total love for my child because we all know that sometimes love hurts. I didn't see her parents cheering her on from the front row, but maybe they couldn't sit there because Billy Ray is not an "A Lister." But even sitting on the last row wouldn't have stopped me from making my way up to the stage to stop the tragedy.

If this is the price for fame, Miley needs her money back.

Monday, June 10, 2013

30 Things About Me or Would My Kids Be Able to Answer Jeopardy Questions About Me

I was stealing Pinterest pins tonight and I saw a pin titled "30 Things My Children Should Know About Me." Naturally curious, I opened what was a blog page by someone who calls herself, "Baby-maker." This would normally scare me or at least cause me to click out off the page, especially when I saw a picture of a very earthy looking young woman, but the macabre is always intriguing and I decided to read her blog page. She was not as granola as I anticipated, and her list was intended for young women with young children, which ruled me out on both counts. As most of you know, my kids are grownish being that Meg is 29 (which she had declared to stay for sometime) and Jordan is 24. Baby-maker's list made me wonder if my kids could pass a factoid test about me without a cheat sheet so I took her list and decided to adapt her list to suit my own time table and needs.


1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears (graphic version)
3. Describe your relationship with your spouse. (graphic version)
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
15. Describe when you knew your spouse was the one or how I fell in love.
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What do you think your spouse loves most about you?
19. How did you feel the moment you became a parent?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. Describe your relationship with your parents.
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. What’s your favorite holiday and why?
24. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about parenthood?
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What’s your favorite quality in your spouse?
29. What are your hopes and dreams for your prosperity?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

1. List 5 random facts about yourself. (Who has time to list 20 things?)
My hair color is a mystery. The colorist does have it written a a secret notebook in the closet of her salon. It could be a national secret.
There are Haribo Gummy Bears hidden in my bedroom. I started hiding them from both kids and now it's just a habit.
I watch trash tv late at night after Bosco has gone to bed. The Housewives of New Jersey scare me, but as I mentioned, the macabre is always intriguing.
I haven't cleaned out the warranty file in our filing cabinet and there is paperwork for our 1987 Honda Accord in there as well.
There is a voo-doo doll named Guadalupe in the back of the top left drawer of my sewing cabinet. Don't ask questions and don't remove the black pin from her belt.

2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have.
Large spiders and cockroaches
Public restrooms that are not regularly cleaned.
Losing a family member to death, anger, or amnesia.

3. Describe your relationship with your spouse.
Bosco is patient, kind, caring, and loses his temper with me quite often. He loves me in spite of my faults!
4. List 3 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
Study and show yourself how smart you really are.
Stand-up straight. If tall is their problem, then they are losers.
Savor every memory of Little Rock, because in a short few years your parents will move to Houston and you will move to Arizona.

5. What are the 3 things that make you most happy right now?
Being retired and deciding to do things in my own time.
An icecream bar from the Michocana on a hot summer afternoon.
Seeing how my kids are turning out.

6. If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
Health, happiness and security for all my family and friends.
7. What is your dream job, and why?
Singing back-up for someone like Aretha Franklin or James Taylor. Duh, that would be pretty amazing!
8. What are 3 passions you have?
Civil Rights, dancing, and having fun.
9. List 5 people who have influenced you.
My parents (2)
My brother
My 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Davies
My sweet friend, Judy Herbert

10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
There are too many to count, but I am certain it had to do with being outspoken.
11. Describe 5 pet peeves you have.
Mean people
Bad hair days
Finding my shirts too tight
Indiscriminate farters

12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
Staying up late, sleeping until 8:00, hanging out with Bosco, or just doing regular summer stuff.
13. What’s the hardest part of growing up?
Responsibility, taxes, not regretting decisions, and knowing there are no do-overs.
14. Describe 5 and weaknesses strengths you have.
I am outspoken, trusting, creative, sensitive, and strong-willed. On a good day, they are all strengths, on a bad day they can be heck to live with!
15. Describe when you knew your spouse was the one or how I fell in love.
There wasn't a magic moment when "zing" I was hit with the love bomb, it just grew. He made me laugh, he made me smile, and he still does. I love how he loves me and I love how he loves our kids. He is even nice to my cat.
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
My kids (2)
My friends
My career
My life

17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
Cooking. Those shows on the Food Channel really make me feel inadequate. I feel like I could shoot an alligator on Swamp People before I could make paella.
18. What do you think your spouse loves most about you?
Are you kidding? The list is endless! LOL
19. How did you feel the moment you became a parent?
A little overwhelmed and terrified at the same time.
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
My time on my grandparent's farm
Moving and the trauma that goes with it all
Math terrors

21. Describe your relationship with your parents.
They are two of my very best friends and I will probably lose one or both before long. I try not to think about that happening.
22. Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
Hopefully still alive, enjoying a healthy and active life with Bosco, and being a grandparent to some wild and crazy little rugrats.
23. What’s your favorite holiday and why?
Everyone who knows me well knows that I love Halloween. What's not to love about costumes, parties, and candy??

24. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about parenthood?
Letting your kids go. It's the happiest and saddest part of your life.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
I would have dinner with Mr. Rogers. We would eat pasta.
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
Judging a person is ever right.
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
My green eyes.
28. What’s your favorite quality in your spouse?
He reassures me and encourages me to do my own thing.
29. What are your hopes and dreams for your prosperity?
To do no harm, to make the world a better place for having lived, to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone I encounter, and to be remembered fondly.
30. List 2 things you would hope to be remembered for.
Teaching someone something they could use to make their lives better
Making others smile or laugh

After reading my answers, my kids would probably score a 75% on the quiz!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

God Speed Jordan

Many of you know that one of my "wanna be comedians" aka my kids is Jordan. He has asked me from time to time if I would ever write a blog post about him. So, "Boy," this is for you.

Jordan was born on June 1, 1989. It was a hot summer day, school was out, and I was ready for this baby. (His precocious sister was five and we felt we could handle another child.) He was born in Bisbee, which is about 25 miles from home and if we had had a flat tire, Jordan would have been born on the highway. He came into the world 30 minutes after Bosco screeched to a stop in front of the Copper Queen Hospital. The doctor did not have time to change out of his gardening clothes, but he did wash his hands. There were no pain killers, no soft music, and no Lamaze transitions. I took a shower about an hour after I delivered him and took him home about 15 hours later. No frills, no fuss.

As a baby and as a child he was extremely funny. It was hard to scold him because we wanted to laugh at some of the things he did. But we tried. We had to call Poison Control a few times with him because he was always into something. He knocked flea powder off a shelf and it hit him square on the head, covering him from top to bottom. Lucky for us it was the "good kind" and we just had to give him a good bath and he never had fleas or ticks. When he was about three years old, he usually had dry dogfood in his pants pockets as a little snack and his sister and her friends could easily talk him into taking a bite out of a dog biscuit. He spray painted a wide streak of green on our first Labrador, Gussie. He made chute out of the dog door in the garage and chute-dogged our second Labrador, Poppy, until we had to put a stop to it. He could cartwheel and round-off better than his sister, the cheerleader, and did this at the most inopportune moment--like in front of the cheerleaders during a high school basketball game. He and two other friends "mooned" Meghan and her boyfriend as they sat on .the swing outside on our porch. He blew an electrical circuit or two when he tried to fix the cord on his electric sander and crossed the wires (he was in the fifth grade). There are more stories for other blog posts, but I am sure you get an idea of how life with this child was anything but boring or ho-hum!

School was not always easy. He was never phonetic when phonics was cool. He didn't love math and it was usually a struggle during homework time at the kitchen table. He didn't make bad grades, but when all his friends were getting the ribbons and awards for reading the most or the fastest or being a math-whiz, Jordan went unnoticed. They don't give school awards for teaching the substitute teacher how to use the vcr or finishing your homework at 5:30 in the morning because you feel asleep at the table at 10:00 the night before. His best friend, Tanner, stood by him when elementary and middle school kids humiliated him because he wasn't on the A-B honor roll and would tell him he was stupid or dumb. It was so hard helping him see that it all takes time, and that he was not the image of their small perspectives. One teacher in seventh grade almost did him in, but he was loved by some great teachers, who helped him see that they cared. They always reassured us that he would find his way. I worried that his way would be difficult and he would give up, but he is tougher than his obstacles.

Jordan followed his sister's path into 4-H. We should have really paid attention to the signs when he was signing up for the Horse Project and the Cattle Project when he first joined. We lived in town and had no plans to buy a horse or pasture a cow, but he went to the meetings and learned all he could. He did show rabbits for a year or two, which wasn't so productive. His first rabbit was eaten by a neighbor's dog, the second died of heat-stroke, his breeding pair wouldn't breed and when they did the doe gave birth to one large baby that didn't live, and one rabbit honestly seemed to die from choking on a carrot. Seriously. Jordan loves our county fair and it was there he made friends with a girl whose father would play a big role in Jordan's future. During weekends, summers, school breaks, the Zamudios would invite Jordan to hang-out on their farm and help-out with their day-to-day chores. He worked with their animals, helped clean pens, bag feed, bathe and groom their show animals, assist in birthing goats, and go to nearby livestock shows with them. So, after years of being nagged, begged, and pleaded with, we told him he could raise a pig IF he raised the money to buy his animal, his set-up equipment, and his feed. Six months later, he had his money, a place to raise his animal, and we were off to the pig sale. One pig led to another which led to another, and then a pig and a steer, and then another steer, and another pig. We started going with him to livestock shows and our spare time was spent around loading animals into trailers, moving steers to pens, working along side him when one needed an inoculation, and even not smelling the pig poop when we ate pizza outside the show-ring. It wasn't on a football field or the baseball field where we saw him grow gracefully from an awkward middle schooler into a confident young man. It was smoothly backing his pick-up and hitching up the stock trailer or driving his pig past the judge with a wink for me standing on the rails, cheering him on. When he graduated from high school, he wore an FFA stole around his neck and we knew the direction he was headed, but we weren't sure about his destination.

He landed at the University of Arizona after Cochise College. As I said earlier, school was not always easy, but along the way, he figured out how to make it work and as his teachers predicted, he has found his way. He majored in Agriculture Education and minored in Animal Sciences. He has been alone and found friends. He has played and he has worked. He has lost at love and found the right love. He still has the same best friend, Tanner, and he will stand next to him as Tanner's best man on May 25. His boss at the U of A told me that he has never had a harder worker or a better worker as Jordan. On May 11, at 8:00, Jordan will march into McHale Center with the University of Arizona graduating class of 2013. I cried like a baby when his sister made the big march, but I have cried all week about this one. I know this is just one of the many milestones he will pass and as his mother, I have been so lucky to have been there to see it happen. I know he will struggle as we all do, but it will be okay because he has done it in his own time and his own way. We are so proud of our boy, our man.

God bless you, Jordan. God speed.

"Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)"
by Radney Foster

Dragon tales and the "water is wide"
Pirate's sail and lost boys fly
Fish bite moonbeams every night
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

The rocket racer's all tuckered out
Superman's in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, will find the mouse
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God hears "Amen," wherever we are
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

Friday, February 22, 2013

Home Invasion

Those of you who really know me know that my parents live in Houston, Texas. They are in their 80's and they are still living unassisted. In this day and time, this is an unusual circumstance, but this is what they choose to do and are really not doing too badly. Both still drive, which can be frightening to their passengers, but they stay close to home and my dad is the night driver. They are self-reliable, but my brother is a phone call away should they need stitches, a ride home from the hospital, or someone to crawl around in the attic. My brother and I do our best to protect their freedom of choice, but living over a thousand miles away is hard when your parents get old.

Like today.

This afternoon, Bosco brought me my cell phone and I saw my brother's name on the screen. Thinking it was a call about the Tucson Match Play, I answered it with the usual, "Heyyy," but immediately, I knew something was up when I heard the tone in his voice. "Mom and Dad have been robbed," he very seriously told me. My heart stopped and suddenly I felt like I needed to sit down. He told me he had received a call from Mom, who was crying, telling him that they had been robbed. Gary was on his way to their home and would call me later. He didn't know what had happened, but he did say someone had come into their home, taken all her jewelry and their cash, and they had called the police. End of call.

An awfully lot goes through your mind when you are sitting on your couch in Douglas, Arizona, and you are waiting for a phone call. My brother sent me a text asking if they keep any cash hidden in the house. I sent him a list of all the places to look and a list of all her jewelry that I could see in my mind's eye so she could report them for the police if they had been taken. But mostly, I sat and prayed and wondered what type of person does this to two old people.

My parents do not lie, steal, or cheat in ANY way. When I was a child, upon receiving too much change at the bakery, my father marched me into the store and made me return the extra money. I never dreamed of taking money that wasn't mine nor did I ever consider taking anything else without asking. To be caught lying by my parents meant that I had broken the code of trust and understanding with the two people who would give their lives for me. I was admonished for being rude/hateful/snarky/witchy, but I was punished for lying. It was drilled into my head that behavior like this was WRONG WRONG WRONG. I was anything but perfect but my parents modeled the correct way for me to grow.

My mother and father are extremely generous. I cannot not count the number of times that they have given money to someone who was struggling, be it family or strangers. They have sponsored teenagers to go to church camps, mission trips, choir tours, and more. If there is a cake auction at church, you can bet S.E. Hill is going to buy several cakes and give them away because he can't eat them due to his Diabetes. My mother made quilts and crocheted receiving blankets for young women at the Houston Pregnancy Center because she felt like all mothers should take their babies home from the hospital in something made from love. She makes afgans for young girls who are graduating from high school so they will have something warm and snuggly to wrap-up in when they are away from home at college. Over and over they have given because they firmly believe that this is what they are supposed to do.

My parents are devoted Christians. They not only read their Bibles and go to church regularly, they live it. Each keeps a prayer list and it would not surprise me to learn that your name or your situation may have been on that list from time-to-time. The honestly believe in forgiveness and unconditional love. They practice forgiveness and unconditional love.

They are not perfect, but they are good people.

A little while later, Gary called and told me that everything was okay and they were safe. He gave the phone to my mother and it broke my heart to hear her sniffle and tell me how it had all happened. At the end of their garage sale, there were three people in their garage. One man showed an interest in buying an old television and said he would be back with the money. He walked away to his car that he had parked at a neighbor's home. One person engaged my dad in a conversation about landscaping and off they walked so Dad could show him some plants. The third started a conversation with my mother about her shrubs right outside the garage. The first person probably used this time to go in the unlocked door to the house and moved quickly, taking her jewelry and their garage sale money. When they closed the garage door for the day, they found their front door ajar and figured out what happened. It probably took minutes. My mother cried as she told me how hard my dad had worked to get ready for the garage sale and how he had sat in the cold damp air all day. She cried when she told me how hard he had worked to buy her nice things and in a minute's time, they were gone. When I told her that all that mattered was that they were safe and it could have been worse, she very sweetly told me that now she couldn't give me those things that my daddy had given to her with so much love. I assured her it would all work out and that she had given me more than she could ever dream. When Dad got on the phone, he listened while I said I was sorry this had happened to them and said, "Jan, it's all just things and things don't matter." He told me that he would be back in the garage again tomorrow for day 2, but he would lock all the doors. I could have argued, pleaded, and demanded that they not continue with the yard sale, but I would just be wasting my breath and time. They are going to do what they are going to do.

When my parents were out of ear shot, I told my brother that I wanted horrible things to happen to these people who would victimize two old people. I even described some horrendous death situations which would include intense suffering and life long pain should they survive. Gary said that really terrible things usually happen to thieves. Then, I remembered who my parents are and if I know them like I think I know them then they have probably already prayed for these people. They are hurt and probably still scared, but they'll let God handle it.

Mom was worried about giving me her jewelry. Doesn't she know they have given me so much more?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fighting Fake-Cake

Lately, I have had a desire for a chocolate cupcake with buttercream icing. Or two. Or four. Yes, it has been weighing heavily on my mind.

So, last night, I convinced Bosco to go to Food City and buy cupcakes or a small cake from the bakery. When I saw a chocolate cake on the counter I absolutely danced around the kitchen! I was sooooo excited! I have been wanting this for about two weeks now and it was finally here! CAKE DELIGHT!!!

Bosco cut a piece of the cake, took a bite, and said,"It tastes weird." I took one look at the icing and saw that it was that horrible, fake, imposter icing--whipping cream icing. YUCK!

There is something you should know... I am an icing snob. Icing is not an accessory to the baked good, it is the focus of the baked good.

Early in life, I understood the value of icing. When my mother made a cake, I didn't lick the mixer-beaters with the cake batter, I licked the beaters with the icing. When my cousin Judy scraped the icing off her cake, she gave it to me and I put it on top of my cake to have double icing. It was so simple because all icing was basically all the same, sugary, soft, and delicious. Until that fateful day that some sicko decided to add Coolwhip to the recipe.

I remember the first time I ate a piece of cake with whipped topping icing. It was missing something...like flavor. I didn't finish the piece of cake. More and more, at social events these fake-cakes started making appearances. At school and church potlucks, showers, birthday parties, they were popping up everywhere! I started checking out the icing before I would place a piece of cake on my plate in case it was "faux." Luckily, one of my friends joined my team and we started cruising the cake before it was offered to us so we wouldn't take a bite and fight the urge to spit it out on our plates. I have left many pieces of fake-cake hidden by napkins on my plates. Such a waste!

Now, bakeries are trying to pass it off as real cake. When Jordan was about five, I ordered a bakery cake for him and made the mistake of not writing BUTTERCREAM in all caps with large sharpie marker on the order form because someone in the bakery department assumed that children would want to eat an animation themed birthday cake made from something other than sugary, soft, lovely frosting. When I picked-up the cake before the party, I saw that it didn't look right. I asked the lady at the counter if it was buttercream and she said that it wasn't. I tried very hard not to react too much and I asked her why my order hadn't been followed. She told me that she was sorry, but with a huge smile continued to say that everyone just loves their whipped topping icing. So, I took the cake home and didn't tell Jordan. Imagine five or six little boys sitting OUTSIDE on June 1 in the summer heat and I pull the cake from its box. Imagine the look on their faces as their cake's icing does not just melt, but is sucked into the cake right in front of their eyes. My child looked at me and said, "Do we have to eat it? Some happy birthday, huh?" We are lucky he didn't need therapy.

So, I have been on a quiet mission to help others understand the wrongness of faux icing. Okay, I am not so quiet. At a Central Office potluck, I looked at this huge cake and asked, "Does this cake have fake icing?" Everyone standing around turned and looked at the fake-cake like it was a communist spy. Except for the baker. She looked like I had spit on her mother and proceeded to tell me that she used a special whipped topping and condensed milk to make the icing. She went on to say that it tastes so much like buttercream and I should try it. Okay, what is wrong with this picture? She is trying to make it like the real thing? But as I had already insulted her publicly by bringing attention to her counterfeit cake, I felt obligated to give it a try. Honestly, when I took the bite, I fought letting it drop out of my mouth onto my plate like I was a toddler eating spinach for the first time. YUCK! Needless to say, I left another piece of cake covered with a napkin like a shroud on a corpse.

PEOPLE, STOP MESSING WITH THE CAKE!!! Mark it with a warning lable like they do on cigarettes, alcohol soaked food, and toys with sharp edges. Because some of us want our icing! As Moses told the Egyptians, "Let my people go!" I am saying, "Leave my icing alone!"

Enough! It's time for Weight Watchers. Later!