Thursday, September 10, 2009
Today while walking, I was thinking about 9/11.
Tomorrow is another 9/11, a day for rememberance.
A day to remember that Freedom isn't Free, and that lives have been surrendered in its cause.
A day to recall the souls and their loved ones who lost so much due to terrorism.
A day to remember our troops, who are serving the cause of freedom in lands far away.
We live in a country that has fought for its freedom since the beginning. Our forefathers risked everything they had, including their lives, for this country.
I thought of Frances Scott Key, standing all night at a ship's rail, despertate to see if our flag was still flying, and then putting his passions into words that became our national anthem.
Brilliant, desperate, heartfelt words. Simple, beautiful words. Words that do not require explanation or altering. Words that should move every heart who hears, and bring tears to every eye that beholds them and the flag.
They have taken out Pledge of Allegiance out of most of our schools, have dragged our flag through mud and dirt, and have burned her in effigy.
Our money says "In God We Trust", yet our children cannot pray in schools. Creches cannot be displayed in front of churches in fear of upsetting someone who is not Christian.
When our people went to war for WWll, women rolled up their sleeves and went to work in the factories, making war supplies for our troops. Movie stars and celebrities went overseas to entertain our exhausted soldiers, and there was no public outcry against the war. We were all Americans, and we were united in one cause. The cause of Freedom.
Little boys were taught to be silent along the streets when Old Glory passed, and they saluted. Everyone took off their hats as She passed by, and hands were held over hearts as a plege of allegiance.
Flags were displayed on public buildings and on private properties. Often one would see a flag with a single star in a window, depicting a soldier serving in war. The star was blue, for a live soldier, changed to red for a wounded soldier, and to gold for one who gave his life.
Soldiers carried the flag into battle. Children lined up in playgrounds before classes to watch the flag being raised and Pledge Allegiance. The history and meaning of our flag was taught in classrooms, and all knew what the white and red stripes indicated.
Then something changed. Parades became fewer and fewer, and when Old Glory passed by, the crowds continued to chatter, laugh, and shift. Fewer were those who stood silently, remembering what She represented.
Children no longer knew the Pledge of Allegiance. They no longer stood at attention and saluted or crossed their hearts when watching our flag pass. Adults no longer took off their hats, stopped talking, and showed honor for Her. Many never even looked at Her.
Our soldiers came home to hate groups shouting, spitting and throwing garbage on them. They wer dishonored on their own soil after fighting a futile war for peace and freedom for others. They were shamed. They were ridiculed. They were the unloved and unwanted.
No parades to celebrate their sacrifice and bravery. No welcome home.
Politicians began to be open about their disdain for our Constitution, lining their own pockets in place of serving the people. Millions were spent on campaigns for re-election, and the people began to believe their votes didn't matter, so they stopped voting by the thousands. Politicians began voting to abolish prayer in public places, and allowed other flags to fly above Old Glory. They voted against our native tongue, English, as being our official language.
As the division between politicians and The People widened, our country became something our forefathers would never recognize.
Free housing, free food, free education, welfare, free medical care and job priorities were made into law for the illegal people who crossed into our country. The demand that our teachers be bi-lingual and class books written and printed out in foreign languages became the norm. Illegals were rewarded rather than deported.
It became law that companies and colleges meet a "quota" of minorities, regardless of their credentials, legal status, or abilities.
Segregation brought much blood and tears to our streets, but the rights of blacks to eat in any restaurant, drink from any public faucet, attend any school was granted. This should have been the beginning of the end of prejudice, and for a while, it was. Blacks had as much right to our freedom as anyone, as it should be.
Our National Guard troops lined the streets and sidewalks so black students could enter schools. The troops stood between the new laws and the violent intentions of some in the crowds.
As America became more and more prosperous, more and more of the people became more and more "conspicuous consumers", taking their eyes off what was going on in our nation and the world, and became "all about me". Morals and standards were set aside in favor of "more, more, more!".
Gadgets had found the hearts of Americans. We needed ever newer and faster computers, the very latest in cell phones, digital cameras because we didn't want to wait to see our pictures. Cars were a status symbol, and who would be caught DEAD without wearing designer jeans and shoes? Ads and promotions for sexual enhancement replaced modesty.
The love of more, more, more led to Mothers leaving homes to go out and work, earning another paycheck to pay for houses, cars, vacations which were beyond the family budget. Children became "latch key kids". Saving accounts were "old fashioned" in place of dot com stocks, which ultimately resulted in complete failure and loss.
Church attendance dwindled, profanity became the norm in the theatres, juvenile crime skyrocketed. Divorce was on the up-climb, animals had to have pedigrees, and no one could understand any of the words of the popular music that did its best to destroy our hearing.
People wore clothes inside out, and girls wore their underwear on the outside. Birth control pills were given to teenagers, and sex "education" was taught in schools in place of history or geography.
More and more people were "on the dole", and our education system standards were lowered to pathetic levels. Kids who couldn't read were graduated from high school, and the division between job opportunites widened. Gone were the interests in learning a trade such as carpentry, cabinet making or masonry. In were the "liberal education degrees".
Our young lost interest in serving our country, and entering the military was frequently ordered by a judge in lieu of going to jail. Our heroes were pop stars with no morals or decency, and many people couldn't begin to say who was Secretary of State, or even who their Representavies, Senators and Congressman's name was.
Adn then 9/11/01 happened. We were stunned and shocked to realize our nation could be attacked by terrorists. We watched our TV screens in horror as we saw the deadly destruction happening here on our own soil.
We saw true heroes in firefighters, police men and women, and the people who risked their own lives to save others.
We Americans became Americans again. Our flag was flown from buildings, parks, cars, trucks and windows. People wore T shirts and jackets with Old Glory proudly displayed. There was no room for segregation, discrimination or hatred of another's religion.
The tragedy of 9/11 brought on Unity.
Our country sent troops to fight off repeated terrorists attempts, and we watched as other countries joined the battle, forging unlikely alliances.
And we watched our young men and women don uniforms and make pledges to defend our country with their lives, if necessary. How proud we were of those who took the mantle of being our protectors and freedom fighters!
Our newscasts don't mention much about the war our young are battling any more. There just isn't time enough to talk about what is actually going on in Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan, because of some celebriety getting a divorce, having a baby, or whatever Juicy scandal is the latest in "news". Our media doesn't report truth or facts, and feeds off sensationalism.
And our troops continue to fight for freedom.
A lot of changes are taking place in America right now, and it is uncertain just what we shall wind up with for our future.
Let us not forget the greatness of our nation. Let us remember the fighters for freedom. Your freedom and mine. Let us all rekindle the patriotism and heroism required to turn our nation back into one of unity, pride and production.
Let us remember the fallen, and let us teach love for our flag. Let us insist upon the Constitution being our legal standard, and let us, once again, become a nation of hard workers, God fearing and God loving people who believe kindness, common sense and decency as a desired way of living. Let us return to demanding sanity and honesty in our politicians, and let us stop apologizing for the "bad guys" who break our laws. Let's put them in jail where they belong. And keep them there.
Let us become soft on religous rights, and hard on those who would destroy them.
Let us look to our troops with pride and gratitude. To our flag with passion and respect. To each other with mercy.
Let us be Americans.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
This is my walking buddy, Winsten. He is really getting used to this idea of us going out every morning and walking. He scouts the trails ahead, then runs back to get me and show his latest "find!".
It all began when Darcey and Shirley brought up the idea of walking a mile each day for September as a SP challenge. I timidly joined the challenge, never believing for a moment that I could keep up with them.
But Day One, and I put on the pedometer and shoes, and bravely faced the great out doors. Determindedly, Winsten and I headed up the driveway to the road, and we began what was to become a new obsession.
As I walked, I began to remember the days (years ago) when I went out and ran every day. I hated it at first, and could barely get my feet unglued from the road for each step. I continued, and after a bit could actually lift those feet up quite easily.
I began then to tell myself "I will jog to the next light pole". Then I would walk to the next one after that, alternating with jogging and walking. It didn't take long before I was jogging farther than I was walking, and finally I was jogging all the way, really enjoying it.
As I jogged, I would solve any disturbances in my life, make good decisions about life in general, and I felt FREE. I really loved doing those runs every day.
And then came Winter. The Spoil Sport. Winter brought along her friend, Excuses. Excuses comes up with all these wonderful reasons as to why I should stay in the house.
"It's raining. You'll get a cold if you run in this!"
"It's too cold. Do you want to get sick?"
"With all that WET out there, you could slip and fall".
"It's too foggy. Cars may not see you". (I was running on side walks)
By the time Spring rolled around, the jogging was a distant (waaaaaay distant) memory.
Too much to do.
Planting had to be done, but the beds had to be cleared first!
Any excuse would do.
Years passed, and once in a while, I would think about walking. I would be too tired to do any of it TODAY, but maybe tomorrow..............
Yeah, right. More years passed. Excuse was always with me. We moved into the mountains, and Excuse said
"It might be dangerous to jog in these woods".
"There are Cougar in these woods".
"The road is too steep to run".
"You'll be late for work".
"It's too late to run tonight."
"It's time to make dinner."
yadda, yadda, yadda. And I believed every word of it!
Again, years passed, I moved, and walked a big hill at least twice a day down to the horses and back for feeding. I gardened. I went to WW, and lost weight. I was feeling fit and energized.
Then my horse crab-jumped into my right knee. Blew that knee all to hell.
I started taking the golf cart up and down the hill for the feedings. I had an excuse to not do my gardening. I lost my incentive to keep up with the WW program, and I found the pounds I had misplaced.
Time to move again, this time to Washington. While busy with the unpacking and new gardening, my weight began to go lower, and I felt very good.
Then Winter came. Yep. With her Buddy, Excuses.
"it's too cold"
"The road is probably slippery"
"The driveway is too steep"
The clothes got tighter, the scale read higher, and the couch was ever so comfy. And I had another reason to sit all day...........Ally Cat Quilts by Krackers!
Now that is a wonderful thing I do, and I love those kids. But I was using them and the quilts as an excuse for not taking care of myself and get any exercise in.
Along comes Bossy Daughter and says I have to join Spark People. She harrangues me until I do. THEN she starts reading my blogs every day, checking to see if I am actually doing it.
You have to know Bossy Daughter to understand that when she tells you to do something, you don't wait around until you feel like it. The woman can be a total Harpie until the deed is done!!! You can read my earlier blogs for more information on her.
Needless to say, I am active on SP, and doing my workouts. Otherwise I wouldn't be writing all this..........DUH!
Winsten and I are on Day 8 of our September Challenge. We have now logged in 14.5 miles on the trail.
Today I decided to make sure I had my camera, because I got the idea I wanted to take a photo of my feet actually moving.
What do you MEAN?? You've never wanted to take a photo of your feet actually MOVING? C'mon. Get honest. Hasn't EVERYONE always wanted a photo of their feet moving???
Well, anyway, I WANTED A PHOTO OF MY FEET MOVING.
So I thought, I'll get a photo, and maybe Winsten and I will only do a one miler today. I can post the photo on my web page and then we will just finish this one mile and go home.
I am just about totally decided to do just that, when Winsten turns around and says "C'mon already" in his doggie kind of way. Ok Ok, Now I have a Bossy DOG as well as Bossy Daughter!
Ok. Just up to the mailbox and then home. It won't hurt if I just make it a short walk, right?!
I get about 50 feet up the road, and then Nature gives me the message.
Down at my feet is a SLUG. A fat, lazy slug. A fat Blimp shaped slug. Blimp shaped like I was when I started SP. The tubby blimp shape I was in when I couldn't get my jeans on any more..........before I gave up inches and tonnage from working out with SP and now-can- get- my jeans- on- all -the -way --AND zipped up -without- laying -on -the- bed -new- me.
Ok. Winsten!! We will do 2 AND A HALF miles today! ONWARD at a faster clip!!
I can feel Bossy Daughter giving me a High Five!
Monday, September 07, 2009
It's a rainy day. I did manage to get in my walk, and am doing quilting. My sister just sent this one to me, and I thought we can all use a little humor, so.......
God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael, the archangel, found him, resting on the seventh day.
He inquired, "Where have you been?"
God smiled deeply and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael. Look what I've made."
Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said. "What is it?"
"It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a place to test Balance."
"Balance?" inquired Michael, "I'm still confused."
God explained, pointing to different parts of earth. "For example, Northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while Southern Europe is going to be poor. Over here I've placed a continent of white people, and over there is a continent of black people. Balance in all things."
God continued pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."
The Archangel , impressed by God's work, then pointed to a land area and said, "What's that one?"
"That's Washington State , the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills, and plains. The people from Washington State are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to travel the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, carriers of peace, and producers of software."
Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then asked, "But what about balance, God? You said there would be balance."
God smiled, "There's another Washington . Wait till you see the idiots I put there."
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Hey there, Sports Fans! As some of you know, I joined a challenge within sp for walking one mile a day for the month of September. My pedometer now is reading a total of 8 miles.
I can already feel the difference in mind, body and spirit. I am happier, body is getting firmer (especially the booty and calves!) and my spirit is soaring.
today I did 2 .25 miles. I began with my usual track within my neighborhood with DH and Winsten, then DH spotted a deer trail. He encouraged us to veer off the path and follow the trail.
Off the beaten path, we head up the hill. And I mean UP THE HILL!! We are following the path, so a lot of the briars were already tred upon by the deer, so I didn't get too many scratches on my bare legs. Enough, but not too many.
We keep climbing, and come to a huge open meadow. Winsten is having a ball, sniffing all those deer prints, and I walk the circumference of the meadow. DH stays with Winsten.
DH is not into walking like I am, but he at least goes with us. He has been having some problems with his ticker, so the walking, even at a slower pace than mine, can only do him good.
While I am walking the meadow, I look off to my right, and here is what I see :
The deer are not afraid of us one little bit. They study us for a few minutes, then calmly go back to grazing. Winsten doesn't spy them, so he does not go dashing on over to meet them and make friends.
Winsten makes friends with everybody and every thing. He is a Golden Retriever, after all. When we first moved up here, he would chase the deer. They would all go bounding away for the first year, then they got wise to him when the Elk herd tromped through the property.
Winsten went charging off toward the elk, most of which trotted at a quick pace to get away from him. But one of them had other ideas. That elk wanted to eat those apples from the trees, andwasn't about to let a mere DOG chase it away.
It turned around, faced Winsten, lowered its head and charged! At first, Winsten thought the elk was playing. But then the charge began to become more aggressive. The elk was not playing, and Winsten found out after being head butted and rolled across the yard.
Winsten no longer really chases deer, and certainly not elk! He makes a little show of going to charge them, but then just comes back home, staying away from them all.
Back to the trail. As we are hiking around, we hear this loud "scree!!!!!". It is an American Eagle flying overhead, probably hunting that meadow.
As we turn our faces toward home, we admire the beginning of the changing colors, the seed pockets, and the incredible beauty.
Once I reach the road again, I pick up my pace and continue on to complete 2.25 miles for today, bringing my Sept. challenge miles up to 8.
In just five days, I can already see and feel the difference. My calves are firmer and even are beginning to show dileniation. My butt doesn't jiggle quite as much, and my abs are feeling firmer.
I have lost inches in the hips, thighs and chest. My weight, however, went up one pound.
Perhaps those cookies at the quilt class have something to do with that?? Or maybe it was that piece of chocolate Bundt cake last night? Nah! It's gotta be that intentionally harmful scale, right?!
I need a shower, and am taking Winsten in with me. We both are in need of one, since I did all that walking and hiking, and Winsten found horse poop along the way today. Enough said.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Yesterday I did a quilt class with Marsha McCloskey. That is not where the story really starts, though.
I am Education Chairperson for our quilt club, so I get to choose our visiting teachers, communicate with them, negotiate contracts, find their lodgings, feed them, entertain them if necessary, and set up and take down the class rooms. It is a very fun job, but also a bit challenging at times. Yesterday was one of those times.
I have a committee of three other people who usually are available to help me during the classes. Yesterday was not one of those times. One was heartbroken over having to put her doggie, Scarlett, down the day before. Another was loaded down with out of town guests. The third had to work. That left me.
First, I had to go get all the supplies from our regular meeting place and haul them to the church where the class was meeting.
I loaded irons, ironing boards and coffee pots. I hauled baskets of kitchen supplies and power cords. I packed fruit for the teacher's and my lunches, and stopped at Quizno's and bought her a ham and cheese sandwich. I did NOT get a sandwich for me.....Woo Hoo!
I manage to get everything in the back seat and trunk of my car in one load! I have a 92 Cadillac De Ville, which comes with a trunk about the size of a small pickup. LOVE that car!!
Swinging in to Home Depot, I make the mad dash for the paint section where I find the rolls of blue tape, of which there was none in our supply closet and I need them to tape down the cords so no one trips over them. There is a special sale going, so I grab one of the 1 1/2 inch packages of six rolls, and run to the check out counter.
Wouldn't you know it?! There is a lady in front of me in the only line open. She has one of those flat carts that is loaded to the gills. I try to catch her eye so I can let her know I only have one item and need to set up a quilt class, which I am sure would take precedence over whatever project SHE has going, but she is GOOD! She KNOWS I only have one item, but she avoids eye contact until after the checker has started her truckload of stuff. Then she turns to me and says "Guess you must be in a hurry, because I saw you running up here". I dare not open my mouth! And I even avoid doing the deep sighs.
I get to the church, start unloading the car, beginning with the kitchen supplies and coffee pot. Coffee is now on, cups are out and so is the creamer, sugar and sugar substitutes.
I dash into the big room, and see that I need to set up all the tables for the teacher (3), and for 20 students. The tables are those long kind that are heavier than heck and almost impossible to handle alone. I sweat my way through getting them up and then sprint for the chairs. Four chairs per table, two quilters per table.
Ooops! Nearly forgot about setting up tables for the lunches! Break four nails in getting those puppies up. Slam the chairs around them, too.
Back to the car, to hoist the irons and ironing boards in. These have to be done with one iron and one board at a time, totalling four of each. Got them set up North, South, East and West walls.
Back to the kitchen I jog, and set up the snack bar, tea supplies, cups. stirrers, and smack the fruit on plates. Then take the plastic wrap off the cookies. Eat one cookie.
Leaping out to the car, I grab my own sewing machine and fabric. This takes two trips, too. I fling all this on the table closest to the teacher's so I will be handy for her at any moment's notice.
Blasting my way back to the beginning of the room, I drag the huge box of cords to the middle and get ready to begin taping them down for the quilters.
I turn around and look, and here comes the quilters and their thousand questions and needs! YIKES! It has begun!!
Now I am bolting from one end of the huge room to the other, shooting off in all directions like a bezerk ping pong ball. I have at least six different people all calling to me at the same time, and I am keeping up as much as I can when in walks Marsha McCloskey, the teacher!
Great! I am out of breath, sweating, holding two rolls of blue tape in one hand while hanging on to some cords with the other, and this is how the poor thing is greeted!
I can see the questions in her eyes, and know she is a bit startled at me, and then she lets me know she would like some help in getting herself set up. Ok.
I put rolls of tape on the front tables, and shout to the group "TAPE YOUR OWN CORDS DOWN, AND I WILL CHECK THEM LATER. YES, COFFEE IS MADE. THE THREE TABLES UP FRONT HERE ARE FOR MARSHA, SO DO NOT USE THEM!". I'm not kidding about the shouting thing.
After more stretching, bolting, running, jogging, crawling on all fours and even managing to slow down to a walk at times, everything is finally all set up, and the class begins. I grab a cookie.
I make it to my chair and realize I don't have any of my own stuff set up and ready to go, and there it all sits in one big pile. SHEESH! The class doesn't wait for me, so I am setting myself up as quietly as I can, knowing that my activity is a bit distrubing to Marsha, to whom I cast apologetic looks at. Ok. NOW I am ready!
I look at my pedometer, and see that I have logged over three miles since leaving the house today! I take the pedometer off, put it in my bag and go on withthe rest of the class. It is now just 9 o'clock.
The class is about Blended Quilts. This is much more difficult than it looks, because I am used to the old rule of light, medium and dark. This time I am going to attempt BLENDING the fabrics. I am an in-your-face-with-color kind of gal, and here are all those muted, soft colors to deal with.
The class lasts for six hours. I get one Ohio Star block done in between helping others and the teacher. I grab a cookie.
Now it is time to take down everything I set up for the class and get it back to the club building and put away.
The quilters are great in helping me do most of the stuff. Vicki cleans the kitchen for me, and hauls out the kitchen supplies to my car. Loretta does most of the sweeping. I wipe down tables, empty trash, and put away tables and chairs. I grab a cookie.
With my car loaded, I head to the club building, unload it all, and then head home. I am tired, exhausted and satisfied that this was definitely a productive day. I grab a cookie.
Then DH comes strolling in to the kitchen and says "What's for dinner?". I must have looked rather dangerous, because he says "Never mind. I will put together something", which saves his life.
I am in bed by 8:45. I'll clean the kitchen tomorrow. The cookies are gone.
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