1halffull's Blog


The Surprises of Life…
April 4, 2010, 5:05 am
Filed under: Change, Dad, Friends, God, Happiness, Humor, Jesus, Kids, Legacy, Life, Love, Memories, Nostalgia, Parents, Travel

For the average person, there are very few really big events that take place in our lives.  You’re born – but you probably don’t remember that.  You learn to walk – don’t remember that either.  Your first day at school – maybe.  Your first visit from the tooth fairy – yep, pretty sure you remember that.

 The first date…the first kiss….the first ‘real’ boyfriend.  High school graduation then college.  Getting engaged then the big (or small) wedding day.  The birth of your first child, and every child after that.  The death of your mom, then your dad; your grandmas and grandpas if you were fortunate to know them at all.  There goes your favorite aunt and suddenly you’re so much older than you’d have thought you could get when you were 20.

 For me, most of that happened in the first 30 years.  It was a lot to pack in there.  They were all a big deal at the time….some remain a big deal in my heart, my head, even now.

 Someone once said that it’s the little things that sneak up and grab a hold of you.  They were right.

 Some of my ‘little things’ include, in random order….

 Going fishing with my dad and catching more fish than him.  He let me.  I loved the lake.  Still do.

 My friend deciding that I wouldn’t be able to deal with a club meeting when I got home after my dad’s death.  She put herself in my place and took care of it so I didn’t have to.  A little, but thoughtful thing.

 My dad poking his head into my room, handing me a $20 bill as he told me that he knew all I’d been doing around the house to help out.  Demonstrated appreciation that meant so much to me under the circumstances.

 Aunt Betty who invited me to visit her in the summers and allowed me to see myself as a valuable person like few others did.

 Learning that my friend Avis daily sang ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’ in the final weeks of her life.  I’d always hoped she would.

 Playing a game of ‘keep the car moving till the light turns green’ when taking kids home from church – it’s a fun game – you should try it.

 Having a mother-in-law who patiently listened over the years, didn’t butt in, and has spent hours on the phone with me, talking about anything and nothing.  If we were running the world, it would be a much better place.  Thanks, mom.

 Going to the beach with the whole clan; all the kids playing together; sunburns radiating.  Sea creatures scurrying out of the bucket of sand while one child screamed and the others all laughed.

 My sister-in-law and I in the ocean – without our contacts in – screaming at ‘jaws’ coming for us then laughing our faces off when we finally could tell they were just shadows.  Another time laughing ourselves silly so hard in the card section that a man ‘just had to come see why we were so hysterical’.  “There are two sides to every divorce” the outside of the card said.  “Yours and the s— head’s.” (not my words – but how we howled and promptly sent it to a sibling who may still have it today)!

 Two little faces pressed against the window waving and calling ‘bye mommy’ as I’d pull out of the driveway on my way to somewhere else.

 The surprise 40th birthday party my husband gave me where I was totally surprised.

 The kids so excited to sleep in the van the night before a vacation started.

 All the Christmas videos we made that could be Christmas any year except for the changes in sizes, hairdos, glasses and voices.

 Howling at the moon from the causeway with my daughter.

 Taking my son for his first tattoo.

 Oh, the list goes on and on and is my way of saying, let the little things grab on to you and you hold on tight to them.  In the end, they’re really the only things that matter.



Gubmint and How Gubmint Works

I did not write this.  I got it via email from a friend who also did not write it.  However, we both think it’s worth the read and is very indicative about how our ‘gubmint’ works.  Read on and feel free to copy it and send it to anyone you think might care or those who are too gullible to actually think this is the way it really is.  Maybe they’ll finally ‘get it’.

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people; one person to write the instructions and one person to do time studies.

Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?” So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people; one to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So they created the following positions: a time keeper and a payroll officer, and then hired two people.

Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?” So they created an administrative section and hired three people; an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $18,000 over budget. We must cutback overall cost.” So they laid off the night watchman.

NOW slowly…let it sink in. Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during the Carter Administration?

Anybody? Anything? No?

Bottom line. We’ve spent several hundred billion dollars in support of this agency…the reason for which hardly any person who reads this can remember!

Ready?

It was very simple…and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate.

The Department of Energy was instituted on 8-04-1977, TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.  Hey, pretty efficient, huh???

And now it’s 2010 — 33 years later — and the budget for this “necessary” department is at $24.2 billion a year.

They have 16,000 federal employees and approximately 100,000 contract employees; and look at the job they have done! (this is where you slap your forehead and say, “what were they thinking?”)

Thirty-three years ago, 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports.

Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports — good ‘ole bureaucracy.

And now, we are going to turn the banking system, health care, and the auto industry over to the same government?

Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter.



Threats are Not Surprising
March 27, 2010, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Bankruptcy, Barack Obama, Change, Democrats, Government, Healthcare, Jobs, Legacy, Politics, Taxes

I’ve been hearing, and then reading in today’s paper, about various of our representatives and senators who are being threatened by members of our populace.  While it is regrettable, it should not be unexpected.

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”   ~  Thomas Jefferson

When there is talk of overhauling anything, you will never hear our federal government mentioned and yet the federal government is probably the most antiquated, out of touch, cumbersome, greedy, chaff-like bunch of blowhards grouped together anywhere on earth.

While they depend on us, their constituents to elect them to office, often that is the end of their relationship with us.  While they are trying to be elected they say things that they think we want to hear.  However, there is no connection between what they say to us and what they actually do for us.  Doing for us is the least of their concerns once elected to office.  Making bigger and larger government, lining their pockets with lobbyist dollars, and living a lifestyle only they are privy to is what consumes them once in office.

It is paramount these days that if you plan on walking into the Capitol Building you must automatically leave your integrity and the desires of your constituents outside the door!  It doesn’t matter how many of your constituents jam your phone lines or how many thousands of emails you get asking, no begging you to vote a big fat NO on a subject, your seem to think that your job as a representative of the people is only to do whatever the nearest lobbyist or senior senator or representative wants you to do.

Regardless of how many times we vote you out and vote someone new in, we fail to effect any change and that’s because there is no longer even one good person who can stand firm, stick with the constituents, do as they ask.  To a man, everyone can now be bought.  Every man has his price and isn’t afraid to ask for it.  Constituents?  Who are they?

“States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions.”  ~  Noam Chomsky

To our discredit, we, the voters have sat back infinitely too many years allowing these shenanigans to go on.  I think we did it because we weren’t so much affected – we still had our jobs, our bank accounts.  Life was comfortable.

Well, life is changing.  Life is no longer comfortable for us.  Suddenly we see what you’re doing over there, how well you are living.  We recognize, even if you don’t, that the $1.5 trillion that you’ve thrown at cheating, lying banks and car companies is coming out of our over picked pockets.  Now, against all sanity, you’ve managed to throw another gazillion billion at a health care plan that is past the ridiculous – even though we asked you not to.  Next on the horizon?  Taking over the educational system and loans for higher education!

Other countries are getting tired of your approaches for more loans, more money.  Your interest rates are going higher as you pass out money you don’t have.  You think you can just tax us; but we can no longer afford to give you our money because you’ve worked it out wonderfully that most of our jobs, and our income, have evaporated into the Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican air through the world treaties that you’ve created!

“It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”   ~ Samuel Adams

Americans are holding tea parties because we are now angry:  angry at ourselves for having allowed you to hoodwink us for so long; angry that we’ve let you get away with it all.  Americans want to take our country back, out of your misshapen hands and darkened minds and put it back on keel before we all find ourselves as the first of a new form of third world nation – the bankrupt, bereft, 300 million victims of choices made by 535 men and women!

You won’t listen.  You won’t pay attention.  You don’t vote according to what your constituents desire.  In your pit of avarice you convince yourselves that you know better what we need here in the Mahoning Valley (or Anywhere, USA) than we do. Well, you don’t and in the current climate, sooner or later, you will pay a price.  There is a consequence for every action; the choice of that consequence is yours.

“You can only govern men by serving them. The rule is without exception.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln



Asking the wrong questions
December 11, 2009, 3:15 am
Filed under: Ecology, Food, Global Warming, Government, Legacy, Pollution, Storms

This morning, well actually for the last few days, the talking heads were batting global warming around like a tennis ball made of silly putty. 

Here’s how the ball bounces:  The Al Gore-ites are all for it.  A number of scientists are skeptical. 

Big Al has looked into it via the internet that he invented.  He pretty much knows what’s going on and even made a documentary that got on public TV and won him a peace prize.  He wanted us to know so we’d stop doing the stuff that caused global warming in the first place.

The scientists, on the other hand, are skeptical of Big Al’s contention.  Their point is that it’s difficult to prove that current weather patterns are caused by global warming.  They contend that it’s very possible that the current weather patterns are nothing more than part of a recurring, historical cycle.  This cycle is not very well documented because Al Gore didn’t invent the internet till the mid-1950’s, so people didn’t have many concrete methods to make note of previous weather cycles.  At least not by methods that stand up to scientific examination.  Pictures on cave walls don’t seem to count for much.

But I digress….

Here’s what I think:  People are asking the wrong questions and concerned about the wrong stuff.

Sit down for a moment.  Now, write down all the names of people who you know have cancer or had cancer in the last 10 years even if they are already dead.  Next, if you’re over age 35, write down the names of all the people you remember who had cancer 25 years ago.   Compare the list. 

If you’re like me, your list of currently knowns with cancer (or recently deceased from the disease) is much longer than the list from 25 years ago.  Hmmmm….

For an interesting road trip that will add more information to our sudo-scientific search, go out for a ride through the countryside.  Tell me how many new ‘mountains’ (or at the minimum, very large hills) you see that you don’t remember being there when you were a kid.  I’m thinking you’ll see a significant number. 

Those are garbage dumps that are buried to look like mountains.  They’re springing up everywhere!  Their stench in some places pollutes the air; their decay leaches into our water systems.  One of these days, Columbus will no longer be nestled on the flat plains of Ohio.  It will rest among the mountains.

If you live in the Youngstown area, stand outside for an hour and count how many very large C planes use your house as landing directionals in take off and landing maneuvers from the local air base.  If it’s a clear day, tell me what you see as they fly over.  If you said a cascading gray emission coming out of the back of the engines, you’d be correct! 

What is that?  It’s the exhaust debris.  Where is it going?  Into our watershed, onto our crops, into the grass that cows are eating and consequently, into our bellies to be spread throughout our bodies.  It’s called toxic waste and it messes with something in our bodies known as ‘free radicals’.  Not good.

I”m not picking on the Air Force.  Their gunk is just more visible. 

We also need to be highly aware of all the pesticides used on crops and even our lawns. 

Here’s what we’re told about that:  As long as you wash the produce, the fruit, the potatoes, etc., you’ll be fine.  Uh, I don’t think so.  That stuff they put on the crops to kill the weeds, kill the bugs, grow uber tomatoes (that taste like straw) and delicious apples the size of a baby’s head, is sprayed across the crops, lands in the ground, is sucked up by the plant’s roots, embedding itself in something that you’re going to buy at the store or the local farm market then eat.  Where will it go? Into your belly to ‘nourish’ your body.

So, what’s the problem?  The problem is that your body doesn’t recognize that junk.  Your body wasn’t created knowing what to do with the unrecognizable.  Sometimes it will manage to expel it; unfortunately, more often the junk is deposited into your body tissue, your organs – pancreas, liver, kidneys, lungs.  The body tries very hard to deal with it and does for awhile.  But then it can’t deal anymore. 

Next thing you know, you’re on the list you just made of people you know who have cancer or MS, or MD, or any number of diseases that can’t deal with a ruptured ecology.

So how’d we get here?  Greed.   People learned that if they used chemicals, they could improve their produce, improve their crop sales, make more money.  Steel and oil barons learned that they could build empires worth billions while easily forgetting that their sludge and run off was going directly into our water sources.  The tobacco companies started with a cigarette then built a ‘better’ one, filled with 10 times the nicotine our parents got from each puff.  They used their technology to hook in more consumers, get more sales, fill their greedy coffers with more dollars. 

Americans, in an effort to make life simpler, have created a need for fast foods, bright packaging that sells more products, plastics that won’t break down for thousands of years, and a hellish host of things, including TV’s, computers, furniture and good old every day garbage, that ends up in dumps that are turned into mountains.

The earth shudders.  The weather changes.  The earthquakes come.  The K-Mart closes; the building is torn down; the parking lot is empty.  The earth gets her chance and if you watch carefully, you’ll see her begin to reclaim what is hers.  All’s she needs is a chance.

Will we give her that chance before it’s too late?



What will your legacy be?
November 30, 2009, 1:49 am
Filed under: alcohol abuse, drugs, Legacy, Life, News, Sadness

photo Tribune Chronicle

     Friday night, five young people, four men and a woman, got into a Mustang and went on what would be a last ride for some. By the time the ride was over, two of them were dead. Two more were in critical condition in local hospitals. The driver lived; but he, too, was in critical condition.

     The speed of the car was so high that when it hit the pole, the car literally split in two. The newspaper said bodies were thrown everywhere. How could they not be?

     All of this caused me to think about the belief that many young (and some not so young) people seem to have that they are invincible, that nothing can stop them when in fact, everything can stop them. In a mere heartbeat, with the next breath, life can change forever, just as it has for these five.

     Was alcohol involved? Most likely and it is suspected that other substances played a part as well. Not to say that the same thing could not have happened without those influences; they could. But the likelihood goes up 100 fold when you add alcohol or drugs.

     One of the reasons people, young or old, use drugs of choice is because it reduces their inhibitions, makes them feel free. It also adds to their already overblown sense of indestructibility. Next thing you know, you’re trying feats of madness you’d never dream of in a sober state. You look for the next big thrill and the bigger one after that.

     While you may get the thrill you’re looking for, you may also get more than you bargained for, like these kids did.

     Though we might think that death is the worst part of what has happened, I think there’s a large case to be made for the aftermath that will follow those who were ‘merely’ critically injured. Paralysis, mental deficiencies, speech defects, many reconstructive surgeries, future arthritic conditions, a life of physical pain, not to mention the emotional pain that will most likely linger, especially for the driver.

     If it only affected those who are now in hospital, it would be one thing. But every single thing that they will have to go through to recover from that joy ride (funny how fast joy riding turns into death, isn’t it?) will also be visited on their families who will bear the brunt of all the care, the worry, the sadness, the questions of ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ to be spoken and thought of time and time again. Every family member will become the sad witnesses of how a night of folly, drowning in the sea of alcohol and drug excess, changes everything. They will be forced to trade their peaceful lives for a life of being a caregiver to someone who thought they were invincible.

     Friends, we are not invincible, be we 18 or 88. The choices we make have consequences, consequences that should keep us ever mindful of how our lives can change in the next breath.

     So, dare to be ‘thrilled’. Dare to be maimed. Dare to be dead. But remember: what you do may end up unexpectedly affecting every single person who knows or loves you in some, possibly terrible, way. Can you live with that?

     If you die, is that the legacy you want to leave behind?