Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Oh, hi! Got your attention, I see...

I'd like to talk about boobs for a bit. They really annoy me. I don't like them very much. I think they're stupid and useless things. They come in all different sizes, but I have no use for any of them.

Wait... you probably think I meant "boobs" as in "women's breasts." Nah, I was talking about real boobs. Stupid people. Idiots. Those that muster outrage at two television talking heads over supposed slights at a woman, yet allow obvious misogyny to continue in the next breath.

I just have one question for those who would have those two men drummed off the stage: why is it also acceptable for someone to highlight another woman flying a military jet for the UK and it be perfectly fine?

I mean really, why are you not shocked and disgusted that she was singled out as a FEMALE fighter jet pilot? Have we not come so far in our struggles as women that we can't BE fighter jet pilots without someone drawing attention to it? Where the outrage at the GALL that someone would have to MENTION that the pilot was female? Can't we be expected to perform at the level of male pilots, and not have to have our BOOBS distract everyone from the fact that we are capable WOMEN? Why a special article about a FEMALE pilot with BOOBS, why can't she just be referred to as a PILOT?!?!?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Hypocrisy. It's what's for dinner.

If anyone ever expects to be treated equally, we have to also stop the whole "glass ceiling", "first woman XXX", "first female WHATEVER".... we have to be judged on our merits, not our BOOBS. I won't settle for being the best "woman", I want to be the best. Period. Leave my BOOBS out of it. 

Day 19

Day 19...

Following up on the "OMG someone said something and I'm offended" theme of the past few days... I'm still pondering the whole "reaction" thing. I guess I must be Hard Hearted Hannah since most things don't bother me to that level. I don't understand how words said by someone else about someone else are supposed to upset me so much that I change my behavior, social interaction and even political philosophy.

Why do we care so much about what others think? It's a big world, lots of different opinions. Unless someone has some sort of power over me (the ability to hire/fire, government or law enforcement, etc.) I don't see how their POV has many repercussions for me. Unless I let them. And why would I do that?

Makes me think about the gay rights movement. It's a smaller portion of the population here in the US, according to the most recent census. Gay marriage is legal in a handful of states, most of which had it enacted legislatively and not via public referendum. A few years back when NC voters said no to it, I had a Facebook friend that thought since they were pro-gay marriage they could bash the voters here over our decision. Yeah, that's how you lose me as a friend. I don't have to like how you vote to be your friend, but you must like how I vote or I'm a stupid redneck hick. Whatever.

Firstly, I never discussed how I voted on Amendment One. I never discussed how I felt about gay marriage at all, that I remember. So for someone who lives in another state to decide I'm an intolerant ass over something they know nothing about and weren't involved in, pretty presumptuous. How can someone make such a leap?

Secondly, this person wasn't affected by my voting either way. They're in a heterosexual relationship with two kids by their partner. My vote here in NC wouldn't matter. Why the outrage? Why care so much about something that doesn't affect you that you alienate others? Speaking as someone who rarely says things that need taken back, I can't see why anyone risks even just an online friendship over a cause they bear no cross for.

If asked, I could have set the record straight on my stance. But I was never asked. Someone just assumed I was part of group they considered intolerant, and under the bus I went. And I went fairly quietly. One comment about not being lumped into a group, and I was done. No ranting from me about how offended I was at being called a bigot, no boo-hooing about being treated poorly. I kept the power, and walked away.

Lesson Nineteen: Are you someone or do you know someone who "rushes to judgement?" Do you try and temper your responses by taking time to think about your reaction? What matters more to you, relationships or your perception of someones stance on an issue? Think about the last time you felt "outraged": was it justified or did you jump to a conclusion?

711 to go...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 18

Day 18...

Another lonely park, Another Sunday... wait. It's Monday. Never mind. Just another Manic Monday.... that's more like it. Random thought day, it seems. Which isn't really THAT unusual, I just don't write them all down. When I started blogging again, I had that thought. Then I realized I might scare people. So I'm trying to keep them reined in a bit. Yesterday we talked about being offended/hurt by things people say. Not people we know, but people we see or read about. You know my feelings on it, I really don't care much about what others say. Making themselves look stupid is their choice. Letting them hurt me with their words is mine.

Remember that book, Illusions? The author, Richard Bach, is probably more famous for Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but he has other books as well. One. no, that's the title. It talks about relationships, soulmates, love. One of the lessons in it is that other people can't hurt you unless you give them that power. That's kind of where I was going yesterday. People are stupid sometimes. They say stupid things. Sometimes they do them on purpose, to hurt others. I've said before you can never truly forgive someone, and this is another reason why you have to think before you speak. If your words do cause someone pain, its on you to deal with the consequences. Your responsibility is to not let you hurt them. If you never give anyone the power to hurt you, they never will. Growing up with a parent that beat the crap out of me for just breathing, I learned not to show pain or fear. The more someone realizes they can't hurt you, the weaker they become. Fighting back isn't always an option, but fighting from the inside is always a choice. If they can't reach you, they can't hurt you.

We do have to be careful with building walls to keep out the pain. Walls don't just protect us, they also isolate us. We can't hide behind them, we can't stop loving some just because others hurt us. We need to allow those who would comfort us, protect us, love us to get inside the walls. Be sure and give them the key to the secret entrance, and don't ever let the bad guys inside. It will be like a live game of Castle Defense. The bad guys will keep coming. Sometimes they'll turn out to be someone you gave a key to once. Not your fault, people are tricky. But don't ever doubt that everyone you let inside the walls might not stay there forever. Sometimes there really is an enemy within. Heck, sometimes the enemy is even ourselves.

We all fight to protect the innocent, the scared. We can become victims of ourselves, if we isolate ourselves too far within our walls. I've done that before. To keep from getting hurt, I withdraw. I start going through the motions, basically "faking" life to keep from getting hurt. Instead of confronting my fear, I let it define me. Not my proudest moments, but I've been learning how not to do that. I've said before that you have to run the risk of losing everything to gain what you really want in life. Don't let your walls minimize that risk for you.

Lesson Eighteen: Do you use your walls as defense or offense? Do you let people inside your "circle of trust" easily, or do you hold back? Have you been hurt by someone and later realized that you let them do it? What can you teach yourself by not being so worried about others opinions and more concerned with your personal growth? Think about how people use words to control each other.

712 to go..

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 17

Day 17...

This would normally be a lazy Sunday morning, but I'm inspired to write so here we go...

Stirred up about politics overnight, I've been thinking about what motivates people to do the things they do, say the things they say, act the way they do.

There's quite the ruckus this weekend about commentary made on an afternoon talk show by two Conservative men (who are actually both Libertarians), where they have been accused of (not in my opinion) degrading women. Even though they have both since apologized (unnecessarily in my opinion), there's still plenty of vitriol against them both. I don't get the whole fuss about it.

Since when did we start to care so much about what someone on television said? These guys are both media personalities: one is a financial advisor/investment banker type, the other is an early morning show host that happens to be one of the most sarcastically funny guys on the planet. They aren't running for any office. They aren't endorsing any candidates. They don't control any funding groups. They get paid to talk about things on television. I'd hate to GUESS what I'd say and how I'd be maligned and run off the screen.

The whole dust-up got me thinking about why we get upset at what others say. "Sticks and stones" was one of the first lessons we learn as children. Have we forgotten those teachings so quickly? And for that matter, they weren't talking about any of us. Who are we to be offended at what someone said about someone else? Shouldn't that right be reserved to the actual "victim" as it were? Why do we need to rush to their aid, crying foul and threatening to remove our loyalty from the political party they support (which in this case is being nothing short of dramatic, see my statement about them being Libertarians above) and abandoning them for others who will not disparage us? Really? Are we so naive as to think that no one has ever or will never say anything negative about someone?

Let's ask..... Paula Deen. You remember her? Looks like the ordinary Southern grandma, cooking wonderful food full of love and butter. She once uttered a phrase in the presence of others that offended someone. That statement was brought to light some twenty years later. By a former employee of her brother's business who had filed a lawsuit against what she believed wrongful termination. In an effort to make Paula appear racist, the media rushed out that statement. Food Network cancelled their contract with her, as did Smithfield Foods. Paula made a heartfelt apology (again, in my opinion, unnecessary) on television. Then she went to ground.

Later, we find out that the statement was made in the days just after Paula Deen was mugged. By a black man. She didn't call anyone in her presence a derogatory name. She expressed her anger at the man who had attacked her. Yet twenty years later, a participant in the conversation was so upset by it that she felt she should mention it in court. Twenty years later. And Paula wasn't talking to her. Who gave that woman the right to be offended? Unless she was involved in the mugging, it wasn't directed at her.

Same with the co-hosts of The Five. Were they talking to me? Nope. I didn't even hear the first comment, so I know that didn't bother me. And it shouldn't have even if I did. I did hear the second one. Sorry, "boobs on the ground" was funny. I'd wager the majority of those complaining aren't even considering voting for Conservative candidates in a few weeks. So why the outrage? Who's hurt by this?

I don't really get upset when Al Sharpton calls some Conservatives "tea-baggers." I could care less what he thinks or says. It doesn't bother me when Bill Maher rants about politics: he gets paid to do so. I don't watch his show anyway, so HBO doesn't make money from me for that.

Lesson Seventeen: Think about who gets you steamed. Then think about if you really should even be bothered by what they say at all. Were they talking to you? Are they in a position of power? Unless they are, they hold no sway over your life. Water off a duck's back. If they are an elected official, business owner, etc., you can vote with a ballot or your wallet. Television personalities, celebrities, athletes: they don't deserve the power you give them when you allow them to upset your life.

713 to go...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day 16

Day 16...

Yesterday was an awesome day, talking about love. Congrats again to the happy couple Brandi and Charles. While you're celebrating the start of a new life together, the rest of us are plodding along with our regularly scheduled programming....

Life does seem programmed at times. We get up, go to work, come home, do some chores, have dinner, take a shower, go to sleep, get up got to work.... well, you get the picture. It doesn't have to be that way, but it's nice and comfortable for most of us. We like routine.

I have a lot of routine, but I don't think I have a programmed life. I leave wide bands of time open for things to happen. Not that they often do, but by golly I am ready when they are. I don't like making plans way ahead of time, the more spur of the moment the better. Last minute shopping with a friend, dinner out with coworkers, I'm game.

I think we're happy with our little routines. It's comforting to know that on Saturday afternoon, you'll be going to the same restaurant with the same people every week. It might sound boring, but Chinese food on Friday night is an exciting part of my life these days. I think maybe we enjoy the routine because we're all a bit OCD, and the routine keeps it at bay. We feel in control when we can count on going to the grocery store on Saturday mornings, when we look forward to going to church every Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, bad habits are also routines. Like leaving the dishes in the sink, saying we'll do them tomorrow. Then we complain tomorrow when the dishes are in the sink. I try to break those habits, but I usually just replace them with something else. I hate laundry, but I somehow manage to always find time on Sunday afternoons while watching a Nascar race or a football game to working in the weekly chore of washing, drying and folding. The putting away part is the worst.

We love our programmed lives, but we should always be ready for change. That new restaurant isn't going to succeed if we never try it out. Those old shoes won't get replaced if we never hit the mall. And how will anyone ever tell us how nice we look with our new shoes if we don't go dancing sometime? Maybe even a new haircut or color to shake things up. I feel almost rebellious that I'm letting my fingernails grow out, for the first time in years. It's driving me crazy, but I'm doing it!

Lesson Sixteen: Are you pre-planned? Do you change plans suddenly when something new and interesting comes up, or do you go strictly by your daily planner? Have you ever just said "screw it" and skipped doing something so you could catch an afternoon movie all by yourself? Why not? Think about the way you've planned your life, and don't let yourself miss out on the fun things that pop into it. Live a little. Nah. live a LOT.

714 to go...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 15

Day 15...

Every day is special. Some days are more special than others. Today is special. But not as special for me as it is for my dear friend Brandi. Something special is happening for her today.

She's acting on love. She's taking the final step forward in her relationship with Charles. They're getting married today. They are ALL IN.

One of the things people liked about my previous writing was some of the things I've written about being ALL IN. I've discussed it at length on my Facebook page. It's not just something I say, it truly is how I live my life. It's the only way I know how.

Having faced the fires that God thought I could put out (I'm glad HE has faith in me, I have certainly doubted myself), I can stand today because I was always ALL IN. I've never been able to do things halfway, no such thing as half-measures, 50%, "good enough". If you want the desired result, you have to put in the required effort.

Loving someone is actually pretty easy. You just have to let it happen. You can't pre-judge them. You can't compare them to anyone else: it's not fair to them or to you. You have to allow them to show you the full potential you can reach together, without pain from the past coloring the future. All you have to do is be ALL IN. I can say it's easy because I've done it. More than once. Hopefully again. Loving someone is easy. There, I said it again.

I've watched my friend Brandi grow up, albeit from a distance. I've known her nearly 10 years, but we've never met. I've seen her grow from a young woman who was starting her first real job, having her first serious relationship. I've watched her through the loss of loved ones and worldly possessions, watched her dust herself off after that relationship was over. I've been there when she cried, when she laughed, and when she found love. I saw her open herself to new people and things, and smiled to myself as I read her Facebook posts along the way. The whole time, I knew she was ALL IN.

Earlier this year, she picked herself up from a life-changing event, wiped off her knees and started over. Never expecting to be where she ended up, but she's not a quitter. Then along came this person from her past, a soldier that found his way back into her life, and into her heart. I don't know him either, but he has to be an awesome guy to have found her and made it work. I guess he never stopped looking.

No one ever knows what the future will bring, so the step they take today only start them on the path of a life together. They'll make it work. They did the most difficult part already: finding each other. Remember, loving someone is easy. Finding the one you're supposed to love, that's what's hard.

Lesson Fifteen: I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about "It's Only Words".... I'm still not sure if my message from it was received, but I'm still optimistic. In my effort to be ALL IN, I did exactly what I meant to do: I laid bare my soul, I opened my life, I gave my best. One can ever only hope that's enough. Have YOU done enough? Are you ALL IN?

Congratulations, Brandi and Charles. I'll wish you lots of luck and much happiness, you already have the love you need to start your journey.

715 to go...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 14

Day 14...

I've enjoyed the past two days, remembering the people I've met over the years, both the normal and the crazies. Glad to be amongst the crazies, personally. If you're still reading along, I count you there as well. We're in good company.

I've also been thinking about music again. Finding a song to fit your mood isn't that difficult, but finding one that pulls at your heart for years can be. I've got a few that stuck with me, if we're friends on Facebook you've seen some of the favorites posted there.

I'm a Motown fan. The original stuff and the remakes. I think because you can sing along with most of them easily, having heard them so many times over the years. The standards like My Girl and Ain't No Mountain High Enough, everyone can groove to them. Come on, admit it: you've sang them into a hairbrush like in that movie Stepmom. The best love songs are from the Motown days. Marvin Gaye, Let's Get It On. Sexual Healing. Percy Sledge, When A Man Loves A Woman.

The Eagles are also a favorite. Not quite as huge a fan as my pal Joanie, but I know most of the words to most of the songs. I thought they wrote Wasted Time while spying on my life. Which is sad, it was a long time ago and things haven't changed too much. Except I'm working harder NOT to waste time. Peaceful Easy Feelin.... Seven Bridges Road.... good tunes for good times.

Country music is probably my go-to for meaningful songs. Travis Tritt, Can I Trust You With My Heart?, Best of Intentions, really serious lyrics around basic country rhythms. Some good old George Jones like He Stopped Loving Her Today will bring a tear to your eye, if you have even just a little Grinch-sized heart.

If I had to single out one song, just one, that if I could never hear again I'd be very sad about, it would probably be one that I'd never heard until last winter. My dear friend Jethro shared it with me, and I listen to it almost daily. I knew James Blount was "somebody", but this song just.... moves me.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you... Bonfire Heart .

Your mouth is a revolver
Firing bullets in the sky
Your love is like a soldier,
Loyal 'til you die
And I’ve been looking at the stars
For a long, long time
I’ve been putting out fires
All my life

Everybody wants a flame,
They don’t want to get burnt
And today is our turn

Days like these lead to...
Nights like this lead to
Love like ours.
You light the spark in my bonfire heart.
People like us—we don’t
Need that much, just someone that starts,
Starts the spark in our bonfire hearts

This world is getting colder.
Strangers passing by
No one offers you a shoulder.
No one looks you in the eye.
But I’ve been looking at you
For a long, long time
Just trying to break through,
Trying to make you mine

Everybody wants a flame,
They don’t want to get burnt
Well, today is our turn

Days like these lead to...
Nights like this lead to
Love like ours.
You light the spark in my bonfire heart.
People like us—we don’t
Need that much, just someone that starts,
Starts the spark in our bonfire hearts

Lesson Fourteen: Got music? It's something you can hold onto when you need a friend, miss a lover, want to cry and laugh while you're alone. Think about your "songs".... what's on your playlist, and why? Does your music make you happy, or melancholy? Do you choose your music to fit a mood, or does the music choose your mood for you?

716 to go...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day 13

Day 13...

After a frustating half hour getting Blogger to work, here I am.... Usually I'm done writing by now, hopefully I'm not punch drunk and this makes sense... well, as much as I ever do.

More about friends and freaks today, from more current times.

Real life friends and neighbors, I've had some champs. Not many duds. Myron and Tim, man I miss the times with those guys. We spent many nights at the dirt track in Taylorsville watching Myron be the cheese in the sandwich in turn three. Lots of laughs at Waffle House afterwards, and on weekends when we didn't go racing we had food and played poker at the house. Red Dog Beer, with the cool sayings under the caps, and if you found a new one the bets were on! I was doing some catering back then, so I always had really high class snacks for my low class friends. An ex-wfe or two made things crappy sometimes, but the smoked shrimps and laughing at Tim's mom's dog PeeWee carrying around Tim's drawers from the laundry basket made it fun.

I've been lucky to find a great job outside the aviation field, and great people to go with it. People that are oddly amused by my humor, they still laugh at my jokes after five years. They've also seen me through bad times, and I am grateful for that. We've had some fun times: going out for food and drinks in the hopping town of Lexington, I won't mention who's nickname became Baby Bladder after he went to the bathroom every half hour on one occasion. The haunted trail from HELL back in 2012, there were a few of us that were a little..... tipsy. When you end up with dirty hands, stained knees and a rip in your jeans, you know it was a wild time on the trail. Tequila is our friend though, right?

Then there's the internet friends. My first internet adventures were on the old style bulletin boards and forums. Nascar fans are the best. I made friends with a group of fellow Mr. Excitement Jimmy Spencer fans back in the late 90s, and there's a good sized group of us still together. We had a nice meetup in Bristol, met again in Charlotte. Went on vacation to PA to visit my late friend Mark VG, met even more of the group and had a blast with our friend Redbird. Trout farm my friends Joan and Strap work at was gorgeous, and right near where I spent time as a kid.

During the camping event in Charlotte I did find out that people with money can be jerks, and you only think you heard the worst karoke in the world: we did that Saturday night, unless you were in the same campground as us, you missed the worst ever. And my friend Belinda will do ANYTHING for me, she dressed up as a fairy and let me take her picture. It was the costume for Skurt Busch, our cardboard mascot. We all hated him, you see, so we mocked him. Lots of pics of all of us at various racetracks flipping off his hauler. I even got Jimmy to sign him once. We were on tv on Nascar Raceday a number of times with him, thanks to our pal Rutledge Woods.

Political friends met on the internet ROCK. Had the chance to meet two groups already, looking forward to more. Excellent times, good memories. Now if someone will just listen to us and straighten the country out, it'll be all good....

Lesson Thirteen: The older memories become, the more you realize just how much fun life is. Think back on recent memories, and you get smiles. Older ones, belly laughs. Do you miss friends you've lost touch with? Why don't you try and find one? Social media, baby. Look for someone you didn't realize you missed until we started this journey. Make sure it's not the crazy lady who wore pantyhose under her shorts to a Nascar race in August, though. Yikes.

717 to go...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day 12

Day 12...

Back to a regular format of sorts, we're going to skip from our prompts from Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah and talk a little more personally. Yeah, I know, you thought I was getting personally involved already? Not quite as much as I planned, so here goes...

"It was a dark and stormy night"... no, wait. That's a scene from Peanuts.

"And they lived happily ever after".... dang. Fairytale ending.

Who knew writing could be so... easy? I guess when you have a lot of random thoughts, along with a lot of life experiences you're not afraid to share, combined with the internet, it is somewhat easy. Even more so when you're not concerned how many people are reading, as long as one other person does I am fine with writing more.

I was thinking earlier about how it takes all kinds of people to make this "life" thing work. I've been lucky in that I've known a wide variety of people in my lifetime. School, work, hobbies: I've made friends from each that I am still close with, and there's some I'd run screaming from if I ever saw them again.

School friends? Not so much. I got along well with everyone (I think?) since I was the Class Clown.Yeah, imagine that. One hundred and thirty two people in our graduating class, and I got 130 votes for female Class Clown. Not too shabby, people even then thought I was humorous. I remember getting the picture made for the yearbook. Robin Ferrell, a preacher's son, and me. We posed in the men's bathroom, I stood on top of the toilet in the last stall and he sat on my shoulders, and my crocheted Mr. Bill doll sat on my head. LOVE me some Mr. Bill.

Work friends: yeah, some keepers and some creepers. Still friends with the kids of the people my Grandma Jarvis worked for back in the 70s, I worked there in the summers and then after high school for a few years. There was one kinda crazy woman we worked with, Vanessa something.... she once asked us if we had any old false teeth laying around at home (WTH?) coz she wanted to pull one out and replace one she was missing from her partial. Yeah, not looking her up ever.

Facebook helped me find some friends from my Broyhill furniture days. Girls I played softball with, guys on the company team I kept score for and helped coach. The kids loved those days, they made friends with the other players kids and Mike is even still in touch with one or two of them I think. We had a blast at the company tournaments, LOVED the year the dummy in HR gave me a signed check that was blank so we could go to lunch wherever. Western Steer in Lenoir, where I convinced the cashier to write it for $40 over the cost of the meals because it was all the money the company gave us for the day. So we went and bought beer later. Another crazy chick from that place too: the woman who brought unbaked Brown and Serve Rolls to every company meal. Really?

Mountain Air Cargo days.... I just can't quit you people. Made a lot of friends there, still in touch with many of them. Good times on the lake with Robin and Cindy and whatever pilots/mechanics were in town for training. Nights out on the town with Mrs. Brockman's little Peter, Rob Butler before he hit the lotto, Tim Bastian of aerobatic fame, Frankie the Stud Proctor. All kinds of fun, in spite of the occasional complaint from management when people showed up hung over. Hey, they're adults, not our fault they couldn't handle their booze. Halloween parties almost every year, and the company Christmas parties were LEGEND. After-party water gun fight in the hallway at the Adams Mark, seeing a VP chasing a billing clerk around while he was in his boxers and her in her nightie? Good times, but we got asked not to come back. Fuddy duddies. The crazy man there? Had to be the weekend Maintenance Controller. No name, but everyone knew old Bill was loony. I'll never forget the "guy with a machete and an automatic weapon" that he told us about on a Monday, which turned out to be a drunk squirrel hunter with a knife and a shotgun, poor guy got lost and showed up at the airport. Bet Bill scared him worse than he scared Bill.

Piedmont Aviation. God, I love you people. I miss you every day. Well, most of you. There's a few jerks still around, lots of good people too though. That Arnold Booth guy, Milton, Dean-o, Petree. Miss the ones that left since I did, but I still stay in touch with you. Markus, Sweets, Schwartzie, Andy McBaker, Hudson Hawk. God knows half the highlights were from Don Allen. We could tell stories for days about him. He wasn't crazy, but he was nuts.

That's just a few of the tales from my earlier years, I'll save some good stuff about my current job and the friends I've met through racing and the internet for tomorrow.

Lesson 12: Never take for granted the friendships you made over the years. And with any luck, your experiences also taught you which weirdos to cross the street to avoid.

718 to go....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Day 11

Day 11...

From Illusions: The simplest questions are the most profound: Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in a while, and watch your answers change.

We've talked about the first three questions above the past few days. Have you seen how your answers are different now than they might've been five years ago? Twenty years ago? 

The last question might be the one that changes the most. "What are you doing?" Sometimes the answer is "heck if I know!" And how strange that it can actually be true.

I'm a pretty spontaneous person. I don't make long range plans, don/t like "to do" lists at all. I like being able to say yes when someone calls with last minute events, without having to plan around other things. "What are you doing?" is a pretty easy "nothing" for me most of the time.

Life isn't always easy to arrange so you are doing "nothing." As a child, you have nothing but free time. Filling it up with play is easy to do. Then as a teenager, you become interested in sports, the opposite sex, school activities, it gets more difficult. By the time college rolls around, your day is pretty well planned. Then there's usually marriage and kids, and there went any hope of free time for the next 20 years. An empty nest is something many people can't wait to have.

Sometimes you kick the little birds out and they come back. Then you find yourself as a grandparent, helping them with daycare needs, running errands while they work, and the cycle has repeated itself. I have a retired friend that says she doesn't know how she worked and had hobbies, much less if she'd had kids. Now she finally has time for herself, and wonders how everything got done before she retired. Fairies, I bet. I'm still waiting on mine.

Right now, I'm watching football. Typing this blog post. Listening to the rain. Wondering if the dogs can possibly wait til after the rain to go out. Hoping my hair dries before I go to be, else I look a bag lady tomorrow. What I'm "doing" is pretty uneventful. Exactly how I like it. Unless you hear about me on the evening news, it was a good weekend.

What you "do" for a living hopefully something you love. The best job in the world might not pay much, but if it's something you love, it's awesome. I'd probably own a small restaurant where I could cook for just a few dozen people each night, taking time to serve them something I cooked with love. That'd be my perfect job. Probably wouldn't make a lot of money, but I'd really be happy making them happy.

Lesson Eleven: Are you doing what you want to be right now? Or are you slaving away, chasing the almighty dollar? Even if you catch it, will you have time to do what you want with it? If you slow down, take life a little easier, love a little harder, work a little smarter, don't stress over things, will that make your life better? Will you and those you love do things together? Isn't making memories better than making money?

719 to go...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Day 10

Day 10...

Woohoo, double digits! Thanks for sticking with me on the journey.

Moving on to the third part of the quote from Illusions: Where are you going? 

I thought I had that one answered more than once. I thought my die cast, my role set. Fate intervened, so here I am at 52, starting a whole new phase of life. I'm sure everyone has felt secure in their present, having survived their past, but you also have to be looking out the windshield and avoid those glances in the rearview mirror. We are who we are today because of things that shaped us, usually in spite of them and not because we gave in to them.

I was content in my other roles. I guess. The kids grown, I wasn't as involved in their lives as before, but Kathie not being a part of it now means I'm going another direction. Mike's too much like me and doesn't need "mothered", so I have to resist the urge to harass him. In particular on the grandparent front. Someday, I reckon. Or not. No pressure, kiddo. LOL. No, really. I'll live through the stories my friends tell me about theirs.

My role as a spouse is now past. After almost 22 years, I find it easier to adjust to that than I expected. I have accepted that I couldn't have done anything else to show my love, and if he didn't know I loved him then that was his weakness, not mine. I was ALL IN til the end. Now I try and figure out how to cook for one, where the damn leak under the sink is coming from, and why can't the stupid UPS guy deliver things right so I don't have to carry heavy stuff very far. All good, life doesn't deal you cards you can't play. Doesn't mean I can't look forward to maybe someday sharing things with someone new, if that's how the hand plays out. I don't know where tomorrow leads me, but I know I am driving instead of riding shotgun from now on.

I think for now, I'm going.... to be me. A bit of new me, some of the old will always remain, but going for a change in look more than attitude. Changing my hair, trying different clothing styles outside my comfort zone, trying to get in shape by actually working at it. I was treading water a long time, living to make other people happy at my own peril sometimes. I'm a giver, a lover, a friend, and I need to take time to think about me as well. You can still have the shirt off my back, but I need to run to Walmart and buy another one. Or eBay. :)

I'm also going to do more things I put on the back burner. We all do things for the ones we love, things we think they want us to do. And you know what? TRUE STORY: DRINK! Sometimes the only thing they want is US. The nice house, the new car, the money in the bank?  They don't want any of that. All they want is for us to be beside them when they go to sleep, and still there beside them when they wake up. Day to day stuff, like fixing breakfast together, cuddling on the couch during a movie neither of you is really watching.A life shared is a life well lived. All the money in the world won't take the place of TIME.

Writing more is just one of the things I put aside to be a spouse. Learning the guitar FOR REAL THIS TIME. Doing more artsy stuff, I have the supplies and never made the time for painting and needlework I love. Traveling to see friends and family out of state: I seriously need to see my Pop and sister, and my friends and family in PA. Plus all the Facebook people I love so much, I have lots of beers to buy for the Moron Horde. In due time, I'll get to all these things and more.

Not really a bucket list but I've had a mantra of "stuff" I want to accomplish. Had plans to do it with someone I was going to grow old with, and still have the same plans. Not afraid to try them alone, but hopeful I'll still find someone to hold hands with as we watch the sun glisten off the Taj Mahal. See giraffes run free in Africa. Stand in the shadow of the Great Pyramid. Walk on the Great Wall of China. Drink real Russian vodka in a little restaurant opposite St. Basil's Cathedral. Kiss the Blarney Stone. Get our picture made with mo'ai on Easter Island. Feel the water spray from Victoria Falls.

We as humans have what seems as never enough time to do the things we want, be with the ones we love, doing the things we enjoy. You can't replace an hour of love with a gift card. You can never get back that baseball game of your grandson's that you missed, or your grandaughter's first dance recital. The moment your son marries his soulmate? You won't get that back as you sit behind your desk, pulling some overtime so you can pay down the bills quicker. Spend the time with someone you love, doing something that you love. The return on that investment is immeasurable.

Lesson 10: Do you know where you're going? Have you thought about if your life now became impossible where you'd go, what you'd do? Are there things you want to see and do that are just dreams? Do you have a plan to make them a reality? Have you put your own feelings aside, thinking you were helping by working harder and playing less, when you were really just losing time with those you love? Can you trust that you're making the right moves now for the future, or just doing what you've been taught needs done? Let your hair down. Or color it. Live a little. Nah, live a lot. Love a lot.

720 to go...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Day 9

Day 9...

It's Friday night, and I don't have to get up early tomorrow. Does that mean I'll be slacking and not have a big lesson to start your day? Nope. We began a discussion about how your answers to basic questions can change over your lifetime. Let's dig into that more.

From yesterday's quote from Illusions: Where is your home? 

Home. Usually we think that's where we currently live, with our family and our "stuff" that makes us happy. Sometimes home is where you grew up, if you still have connections there. Or even just fond memories.

I spent some of my best times in Southeastern PA, with my dad's parents. I feel a strong connection there to this day, despite my laziness in visiting the family and friends I have in the area.

I remember arriving at my Gramma Sweitzer's for the annual Fourth of July week vacation and immediately heading for her cherry tree. She kept the ladder there just for me, knowing it'd be the first place I went. Straight up the ladder, for those delicious fruits that had just started to ripen that week.

I remember standing in the upstairs bathroom at my Gramma Tut's: an old railroad station house, Sells Station in Littlestown. So close to the tracks when the train went by and you were in that bathroom you could feel the room shake. Grampa George was a brilliant self-made man, but he lost TWO garages to the sparks from the coal fires from the tracks. Then there were the miniature partridges he was going to raise and serve in his restaurant The Trotting Inn. Nah, they weren't the prolific breeders he was promised, so I had lots of little pets when I went to visit.

I remember going to Aunt Rosemary and Uncle Sonny's house: another railroad station house, Starner's Station in Gardners. My kitchen today is decorated like hers that I loved so well, with apples. She worked for Musselman's, so she sorta liked apples. We just lost him recently, after a long and happy 83 years. I remember his laugh. He laughed a lot.

As I got older, I had the occasion to go to Harrisburg on business. Made lots of friends in that area, even though we aren't in the same industry now I still count them as close friends. Then there were the race friends, fellow Jimmy Spencer fans strewn from Biglerville to Selinsgrove to Mount Pocono.
I lost one of those good friends recently as well, a wonderful man who is very much missed by the humans and the animals he left behind.

Crap. Now I'm sad. Maybe those memories of home aren't as great as I thought.

Nah, they are. Anywhere you go, everywhere you live, there will be good and sad memories.

I grew up on Lake Norman, here in NC. Lots of good times during high school, family times, Nascar memories. I really didn't mind not living there anymore after we moved to Lexington in 2006. It felt.... incomplete. Without Kathie, and Mike had been away in the Navy, it just didn't feel.... right.

Having moved to be closer to work, I didn't really know many people here. Being kinda homebodies for many reasons, just the circle of work friends was all I had. We had fun times: a hilarious Halloween haunted trail, Karaoke and pool at a redneck bar that was so redneck the smoking area out back was called the Chicken Coop since they had to close it in with chicken wire so people couldn't take drinks off-premises, sparklers in the parking lot at a club in Clemmons on New Years Eve, sushi with Miss Joanie.

This is home now. For now it's just me, the critters, and the woods. Well, and you people on the interwebs. I feel.... grounded here. Safe. Yes, even with the dang rogue possum passing through. Got my garden, my pets, my hobbies, my work, all right here in a ten mile radius.

Three states, more than a few residences. People in and out of my life. Events happening and changing things in the blink of an eye. Good thing I found a place to call home.

Lesson Nine: Think about your "home." Does your childhood home bring back fond memories? How about your first place as an adult, your first real "home" of your own? Do you have someplace special that just feels "right"? Where do you call "home?"

721 days left...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Day 8

Day 8...

Now that we've figured out who we've surrounded ourselves with, and why the events that shape our lives are happening.... we need to find out who "we" are.

From Illusions: The simplest questions are the most profound: Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in a while, and watch your answers change.

Really? How can "where I was born" change? Are you sure you know what "born" really means?  To the enlightened mind, being born doesn't just mean a physical location.

A religious person would say being born again spiritually is a turning point in one's life. Would that not override some hospital room at 4am, with your mother probably screaming in pain and your dad trying not to faint? I think the acceptance of Christ as your Lord and Saviour would certain become a focal point over that. I can check that box off as "changed."

How about those of us who've had "experiences" but don't really quantify them as religious? I feel like a different person from a different place than I did a year ago. I've opened myself to new experiences, new people, new adventures that I probably wouldn't have then. Yup, that one gets a check mark too, I was reborn with a fresh perspective.

Maybe you are one of the people that have lived before, and sometimes don't feel at home in the present day. Ever feel like you were born too late? Songs from the 50s and 60s speak to you? Victorian clothing more your style? Have you read a historical accounting of events and felt drawn to them, like they were familiar? Okay, check that one off for me as well, I'm at least a dozen years too young.

So you see, being "born" can mean different things. You just have to open yourself up to thinking "outside the box." Your experiences have taught you otherwise, but we're learning new things here, so live a little....

Lesson Eight: Think about where you were born. I know you were too young to remember your physical birth, but maybe you had another kind of "entrance" into the world. Have you had a religious experience and given yourself to God? Did you have a breakthrough from some obstacle that was holding you back, and gotten past it? Do you daydream about living in a different time, where you "fit" better?

722 days left...

722 days left...

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I normally don't talk much on Islam as I have a different perspective than many people I know. But I've got something to say about this "ISIL" or ISIS bit that I need to talk about...

I have a dear friend. A woman I consider a sister. She lives halfway around the world. She brings much happiness to her family, friends, animals and customers. Way down on list of things she is: Muslim.

I don't go with the ordinary view that many people have that "all devout Muslims want to kill all non-Muslims." I almost ripped apart a guy in a Facebook group who basically said that my friend is not a good Muslim but a decent person. Don't be judging what you don't know, dood. But maybe he's right? I don't know. I don't know enough about the Quran to know what the "literal" interpretation is. What I do know is my dear friend's heart. So don't be lumping "all" anything in with "all" anything else.

Anyway, back to this "ISIL" or "ISIS" thing... I did get a little perturbed about why the current Administration seems to think "ISIL" is the proper term to use, when it seems everyone else in the world including "ISIS" themselves doesn't. So I did some research. I'm a good little Glenn Beck fan, I find my own facts.

ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Semantics for some, but then you find out what the Levant means.

In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The term “al-Sham” refers to a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt (also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan). The standard English term for this territory is “the Levant”.

 The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area. Which I guess you notices includes Israel. Some have taken the use of "ISIL" to be a slam at Israel, insinuating that they will be ruled as well. Yeah, good luck with that one.

My gut says it's being called "ISIL" to avoid having anyone with a brain and hearing the "ISIS" being able to figure out that Syria being included would be an admission of the administration's massive FAILURE in that country.

Their president, Bashar al-Assad, has overseen a three-year civil war that has accounted for nearly 200,000 dead, and over 4 million refugees.

Pretty sure we don't need an acronym to tell us what's right there on the faces of the Syrian people.

Day 7

Day 7. Week One is complete.

This first week was about the people and events of our lives. The ones we chose. We drew them to us, like hungry moths to a flame. Searching for that someone, that something, that would make our lives better.

I've shared a lot with you this week. I've learned a lot as I did. I've remembered things that made me smile. And oddly, very few that made me want to cry. I guess I'm "over" the bad things to some extent? Not sure exactly what's going on with that, but I'm going with it. I said I was "rolling" recently, and I mean that.

I don't know what's changed, but I am glad for it. I don't want to be "that person" that brings everyone around me down into the dumps. I've never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me, or to wish things were different for me. I dig my own holes, I climb my own mountains. I GOT THIS! Why? ALL IN.

All the people in my life, I was ALL IN. I never go into anything halfway. Always reaching for the brass ring, I lay my soul there for all to see.

All the events in my life, I was ALL IN. I didn't go skydiving or para-sailing thinking something would go wrong, I just went for it.

Did I win? Well, my life isn't over yet, so I can't tally a final score. But I think I'm ahead of the game at this point. I don't think God keeps score anyway, but if He does, I hope he likes a fighter. I guess He does, because that's how he made me.

Lesson Seven: Take a moment tonight to think about the things we talked about the last 7 days. We talked about love, loss, being true to yourself, never giving up. Do you feel differently now about the things you've done, the people you have in your life? Do you realize how lucky you are to be living the lifetime you have? Are there changes you want to make to improve things? Do you even know why you waited to make them?

Silly students. You didn't know how to be ALL IN before now. Let's keep learning.

723 days left....

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 6

Day 6...

Okay, enough with the depressing stuff. We've talked about people we loved and lost, people we wish we'd never met. Events that made us smile, events that made us cry. Let's move on to what these things combined mean for us.

Original lesson, from Illusions: Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.

I choose to honor the memories of those I loved that have passed before me by trying to be the best I can be. I choose to teach others about my experiences with love, in the hope that their hearts will be open and they too can know how it feels to be ALL IN. I choose to place the events in perspective, knowing that all good times and the heights we reach may be shattered like glass with a stone. I choose to learn from both happy and sad, not letting one take my spirit too high nor the other too low. 

In one of Richard Bach's other novels, he speaks of relationships and how he believes they can be successful. Never two balloons. Never two anvils. One of each is required. Balance. I believe you can have that and still be ALL IN. It takes work, but anything great is worth it.

I've had the chance to love on many levels. Family. Friends. Children. Spouse. All different, yet all the same. Love doesn't come easy in any form, the tests get harder as we move through the phases. Yet if we learn from the people we love (and the people we don't), if we learn from the events that worked out for us (and the ones that didn't go so well), it gets easier.

Remember your first love, probably when you were a teenager? You thought nothing could ever compare, yet when it ended (if it did) you thought you'd never get over it. Yet, here you stand. Remember your first win at sports? How about your first loss? Yep, got over them both, didn't you? You brought new people, new events into your life.

Lesson Six: What do you choose? Do you take what you gained from the people that you brought into your life and apply it to future relationships? Did you learn from past events to work harder, try a different approach when you start something new? Or did you choose to wipe them all from your slate, and try anew? You have that choice, you know. It's up to you. 

724 days left...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sean Smith

Born in 1978. San Diego, California. United States Air Force veteran. Married, with two children. Transitioned from military to civil service in 2002. Based in the Hague, Netherlands.

Died September 11, 2012. Benghazi, Libya. An American hero.

Sean was an active online gamer. During game play that night, he sent a message to to a friend: "Assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures." His friends probably weren't quite sure how to take that message, I know it would've befuddled me. He should have been safely tucked away inside the American consulate, protected by former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, along with local militia the State Department he and Ambassador Chris Stevens worked for had hired.

The same State Department that listened to a phone call from the consulate ring the line in Tripoli, but didn't answer "because we didn't recognize the number." The same State Department that held operators on the compound where they stood, knowing their friends were dying. The same State Department that sat on their hands in DC and watched the live feed and did nothing.  The same State Department who allowed talking points to mislead not only the press but the public into thinking some crappy video that nobody ever heard of was the cause of the "protest" that wasn't a protest. The same State Department that watched their Secretary sit before Congress and ask "At this point, what difference does it make?" when asked about who was to blame.

Some of these State Department employees, past and present, will be testifying in front of a Select Committee of the House of Representative tomorrow. Chaired by Trey Gowdy (R-SC), they are tasked with finding the truth amongst the lies. There are many of the latter, and little of the former has been found thus far.

Pray for the Select Committee members. Pray for the witnesses. Above all, pray for the families of the ones lost. They deserve much more, but will settle for the truth.

The justice sought may never be found, but God's justice finds all who are guilty. Longfellow wrote:

Though the mills of God grind slowly;
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting,
With exactness grinds he all.

May his words be true, beginning tomorrow. Sean Smith deserves it. 

Day 5

Day 5...

Another day, another lesson. Hope you're enjoying our time, I know I am. I'm trying to approach this by teaching you the way I learned, through personal experiences. Let me know if its working. :)

Let's talk about the events in your life. The ones you have drawn to you, that are in your life because you chose them.

I look back over my half century plus two years, and for the most part smile. I've had some craptastic things happen that put me on my knees, and I've had some wonderful things happen that lifted my heart. All in all, the good does outnumber the bad.

I was there when my daughter took her first breath, and I held mine when I got the news of her death. The times between them? Immeasurable joy. I choose to remember her last phone call, giggling about giving some puppies a bath. I choose to remember her coming home from work at The Landing smelling like french fries. I choose to remember that leopard skin rug she just HAD to have for her room, and protecting it with her bare hands when her BFF Sheena had a bad wine cooler episode. I choose to remember her big hazel eyes that were full of mischief, some of which we never caught her at, I'm sure. Those are the great events I chose. I think I chose well.

My teenage years were.... interesting. In spite of being a really good student, I was also a pretty heavy drinker. Not something most of my family knew, I doubt they even suspected. I had plenty of "events" related to that, including skinny-dipping at the lake and getting caught be the game warden, who threatened to arrest us since three of us were over 18. High school friends pushing the dress code, wearing our "Right in The Nuts/Night in The Ruts" Aerosmith t-shirts after the concert. Awesome events. Awesome memories. I haven't seen most of them for over a decade, but I remember.

The middle of my life was full of fun. Working for an airline, I got to travel a bit. I saw a lot of the country for very little money. Something I never could have done otherwise. I saw Prince at a club in Minneapolis, was awed by the meeting of night sky and lake as I flew over Lake Michigan at midnight, partied with my friends Robin and Cindy at Mama Doris' house on the lake and had MANY an excellent meal. Even the one where Avery ate the shrimp tails in the fajitas. More fun events, shared with friends.

From Illusions: Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.

 Lesson Five: Think back on the events in your life. Do you realize how many good times you actually had? Or have the bad times you drew into your life made you sad? Do you realize that you are the master of your own happiness? You will have choices to make, and which path you choose is entirely up to you. Be prepared to face the joy and pain they bring you in equal manner: they are both important in who you become.

725 days...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sharyl Attkisson

Untouchable Subjects. Fearless Reporting.

That's the title of her website, and it's absolutely true.

She left her job at CBS after being handcuffed into reporting only the "good news". She's out on her own now, and still blazing a trail.

Two days from now, the House Select Committee will open their hearings on Benghazi. I have real faith that former Federal prosecutor Trey Gowdy will hold accountable those who failed our Nation that night. Four Americans lost their lives and someone is accountable for the lapse in security that allowed it to happen. Yes, the murderers are just that, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

Today, Sharyl added to her great work by releasing portions of an interview with a former State Department official who says documents the ARB (Accountability Review Board) had access to were "cherry-picked". Ones that were damaging to Hillary Clinton and her reportables were culled into a separate pile. Cheryl Mills, Clinton's Chief of Staff, and Deputy Chief Jake Sullivan were coordinating the effort.

Feet to the fire, Mr. Gowdy. I'll be listening. And the world will be watching.

Day 4

Day 4...

So having thought about the people you have in your life that you care about, and the ones that aren't there even though you still love them... how about the ones you released from your illusion? Yes, illusion. You don't really think that every lifetime is real, do you? Only an advanced soul realizes that we are given many lifetimes, all with the illusion that each is the only one. More on that another day...

In my current lifetime, I managed to allow a lot of people in that I wanted to be with me forever. We all know that's not possible, forever is way too long for the human soul to survive here on Earth. I'm optimistic I can meet the expectations of our Creator and rejoin those I loved in another life someday. Without that hope, I'd surely not be the bit of sane I am now. The thought of seeing them again brings me great joy.

With that great joy, I've opened myself up for even greater disappointment. I have to stay on the straight and narrow path that God has set for me, and I know I've walked just a wee bit to the port side my whole life. Maybe I'll be stuck with the people I didn't really want in my life forever instead, the price of making the wrong choices being easier to pay.

I chose poorly several times. I've had people I thought were friends that eventually disappointed me by betraying our friendship. I've had partners who didn't live up to their end of the commitments we made. I grew up with a parent that I felt hated me by their words and deeds every day.

I eventually learned who was "ALL IN" and who wasn't. It's not difficult to tell, but you have to be willing to take that hard look at yourself and others before you can figure it out. You won't like looking for the signs, watching for the betrayals, waiting for that excuse as to why someone failed to keep up their end of your bargain. You'll even be disappointed in yourself, having let someone have enough power over you to hurt you. I truly believe that you can't be hurt if you don't give others the power to hurt you. You control your life, not them.

Part of being "ALL IN" is that you never give up on something or someone. You have to give 100% all the time. You can't just decide that "oh well, things will work out", because they never do. You will get your heart broken, your spirit bashed in, but you will be rewarded:

From Illusions: There is never a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.

 Lesson Four: Critique your choices. Do you have people in your life that you want there forever? Or do you have those for which you just "settle"? Have you given any thought to why you chose poorly, when you do? (It's okay, we all do.) Can you somehow avoid those mistakes by keeping the power to hurt you away from them? This is your illusion, after all. Why let someone else spoil it?

726 days left...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Anthony Johnson

Who? Never heard of him....

Anthony Johnson was a farmer in Virginia in the early 17th century. In 1651 he held a total of 250 acres and owned five indentured servants. Slavery was still thriving near Northampton, and when the time came for his servants to be released, Johnson fought to keep them.

Prior to 1655, owners were only allowed to keep indentured servants for seven years, then they had to be released. Same rules for black and white, upon their release they were granted 50 acres of land.

Johnson filed suit in Northampton County when John Castor left his farm and went to work for Robert Parker. Johnson had told Castor he was extending his time, and Castor left anyway. The lawsuit began in 1654 and in 1655, the court made a ruling that would change our history.

The court ruled that a a black man could own other blacks as slaves. Johnson became the first legal slave owner in the United States.

What? You didn't know that Anthony Johnson was black? History classes never taught his story? Yes, the first legal slave owner was a black man. He was brought to America in 1619 from Angola. He worked a tobacco farm until he was freed, and granted his own lands. During his employment, he survived an attack on the farm by Powhatan Indians and was one of five people of 57 to survive the attack.

In 1670, whites and Indians were granted the right by the colonial assembly to own slaves. Five years after the first slave owner was declared. A black man.

All those years ago, Anthony Johnson set a course that he didn't sail alone. By 1830 there were several thousand black slave owners in the South. After the Civil War, many of them had to free their slaves just as others did. They were responsible for the enslavement of tens of thousands over the previous 100 years.

As we look at current events in the US, we can see shouting about how blacks have been "oppressed", :held back", even references to current "slavery" by whites. "Second class citizens", unable to achieve greater things because of events over 150 years ago. Robbed of proper education, made to live in inhumane conditions. Reduced to taking handouts from the government, unable to care for their families.

Here's a mirror, America. Look closely. Who's holding you back?

Y'all can close your mouths now. You knew I was gonna teach about all kinds of things.

Day 3

So what have we learned so far? We've learned that this is gonna take awhile, a couple years it seems. And that we have control over the people we share our life with and the events that shape us, even though it seems quite the opposite.

Today's lesson is more about those "people" in our lives. You know, the ones you chose to be there? Yeah, them.

I like to think I'm a decent judge of character. You'd think as much crap as had happened to me, I'd be scared to be close to anyone, worried about getting run aground when something bad happened like it always seemed to do. I'm actually quite the opposite. Because, you know, ALL IN.

I don't think we do people any favors when we only accept them halfway into our lives. How can they even begin to be our friends, our family, if they don't have our whole stories? That old saying about "never met a stranger" is true for me: I talk to everyone. I chat up the old ladies in the grocery store. I talk to people waiting in line at the bank. I introduce myself to newcomers at work. I'm sure a lot of them all mutter under their breath about "that crazy woman with the braid" that was talking to them. Know what? I don't care. They're not strangers, just friends I haven't met yet.

I think back on the people that have come and gone from my life. My Pennsylvania Dutch great-grandparents. Man, they were great. Honest people, Pappy who kept beer hid amongst the sarsaparilla in the cellar, Gramma that made sugar cookies the size of her poodle. My NC grandparents. They helped raise me, at a time I needed someone to do that. I hope I didn't get ALL the Jarvis crazy, but I know I have some of it. I also have my Mamaw's cooking and gardening genes. My good friend Sherry in high school. Man, did we have fun hanging out with Mark and Kevin on the weekends, going to see Rocky Horror every Friday and Saturday night for two years plus. My old coworkers from the Broyhill softball team. We had some times, going to Papa's pizza after the games on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and hanging on "the corner" in Newton.

Where are they now? Can't tell you about some of them, a few are returned to the earth from which they came. Do I miss some of them more than others? Not really. Anyone I ever loved, I still love. There are no degrees of love with me. ALL IN, remember?

Lesson Three: Think about those you've had in your life that aren't part of it now. Did they know how you felt about them when you were together? Are you sure? Did you tell them you loved them every day, or did you just figure they knew it? How about the ones that are in your life, are you sure of your footing with them? Things unsaid, grievances unaired, things that can make a wedge of something the size of a pebble. Best thing you can do is chunk that pebble into the pond and get on with loving the one you chose to be in your life. While they're still there.

727 days left.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Day 2

Your mission, should you choose to accept it.... well, you sort of already did that, by even  knowing to be here reading this. So let's get this thing started...

The only way I know to teach is by example. So I'll show you my mistakes, and you try not to make the same ones. It's okay if you do, I've made some of them over and over myself. The important thing is to never give up, even when you get kicked down. Or when you throw yourself to the ground. Or when you find yourself hanging by a thread. Don't quit. Ever.

From Illusions: Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.

I've been some dark places in life. But for each of those, I've climbed an equal mountain. I've soared with joy at the birth of my kids, I drowned myself with the pain of losing one of them. I've been made to feel like a family member by most of my friends, and I've cried at the loss of beloved grandparents. I've mourned the loss of special men I thought I'd spend forever with, yet my heart is full of hope that somewhere, magic waits for me.

I never wanted any of those things. I never expected anything from life. I realized the good things were gifts. I never knew the soaring of my heart hearing my daughter giggle about giving some puppies a bath would be the last time I heard her laugh. I wasn't sure I'd have the chance to reconcile with my grandparents after family crap got in the way for years, but I did. I certainly didn't expect to be cooking for one at this point in my life, yet there in my freezer is plenty of tasty frozen pizza.

I also realize the bad things are gifts. I wouldn't have the open heart and mind that I value so much if I hadn't been hurt by life. You can't know love without knowing pain. The abuse, the loneliness, the loss. All those things formed me

What did I choose to do with the people in my life? I chose to love them. Well, most of them. The toxic ones, I chose to get the heck away from as soon as I could. I sure didn't know I was drawing them to me. I reckon I needed a shower more often than I realized. But without both the people I love and the ones I didn't, I wouldn't be who I am.

Lesson One: Think about who you have chosen to be in your life. Think about the events that have shaped your life. Did you make good choices? Is there still time to change your mind? Do you need to move past relationships, things that have grown cold? Do you need to get out more, experience things?

Only you can answer those questions, and there are no right or wrong answers. I found mine over the last couple decades. Some little late, but hey, I'm kinda new at this.

728 days left.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 1

Day 1.

A new and revived spirit. Combined with a solid plan, good friends and family behind us, let's start this journey. I'm gonna teach you all to fly, remember? A journey of a thousand steps. Or in our case, I'm going with 730 days.

That will take us to 9-11-2016. Surely that'll be long enough to mend our hearts. By then, we will be a stronger nation. At that time, we will be able to look back at these times and smile. The memory of our pain will be reduced. The agony we feel looking at the graphic images, hearing the stories, that will have passed, right?

Hell no. We will NEVER forget what happened that day. We will NEVER forget what took place in New York City, at the Pentagon, or in a field in rural Pennsylvania. That's one of the reasons I picked 9-11. As an ending, but even more importantly, a beginning. A journey of 730 days, starting today. 9-11 is the perfect day to take the first step in our new "skin", while leaving behind the old tattered and worn out shell. Let the burdens of the past feed off what's left behind, we're learning to fly with new wings.

Part of learning to fly involves remembering. Remembering the bad times right beside the good times. Hopefully we'll have enough of the good to help us get through the bad. I know it doesn't always work that way, but there's a lesson to be learned from it. To say I've had some craptastic things happen in my life is probably an understatement to those who know me. To me, it's just life. There's nothing can be changed to ever undo the past, so I try and learn as much as I can, so I can avoid another bite of the same rotten apple.

I've lost people that meant everything to me, but I've also gained people that are irreplaceable. I've learned that blood does not a family make, but the power of family never goes away. I have realized that my gut instinct is right more often that I gave it credit for, and I hope I've learned to listen to it. I know now that I am capable of anything, I just had to find the courage to try.

I'm making it a personal goal to spend the next 729 days teaching others how to fly. It's harder than I imagined, I wanted to be further into the lessons much sooner than now. But as time passed in early 2014, I realized I couldn't teach anyone something I hadn't finished learning.

Quoting my favorite book "Illusions" again, "How can you tell if your work here on Earth is done? If you're still alive, it isn't." That means I still have time. Time to teach you the lessons it took me over half a century to learn. Hopefully you'll be a better student, which will make me a better teacher. I had to learn it alone, the only teacher I had was a little paperback book that was written 30 years ago. I think that's why it took me so long.

I hope these 729 days will be enough. I'll do my best to teach you something you need to learn. Coz I know you're ready to learn.

Today was Day 1.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

13 years....

September 11, 2001. Out of time.

Most likely you'll read articles about that day. You'll see television shows remembering the victims. Someone might ask you if you remember what you were doing that day. Maybe the subject comes up at work during lunch.

I have one special memory from 9-11. There have been articles written about it. Movies made. That memory is of The Falling Man.

Taken at 9:41 am, a man dressed in dark pants and a light-colored jacket freed himself from a hopeless situation. The Associated Press photographer took 12 photos, as he tumbled through the sky. Knee bent, arms to his sides. Over and over, watching the world spinning as he went down.

To this day, there's no factual information on who it actually was. Many believe it was Jonathan Brinley, a 43 year old employee of the Windows on the World restaurant. No one can be sure, but several people described his clothing that day as a match.  Others said it was Norberto Hernandez, but no one is positive.

To me, it doesn't matter who the Falling Man may have been in life. He represents the very thing that makes America great: free will. He died as he lived, on his own terms. Not bound by rules, not held back by convention, he chose to use his free will and make that leap into the sky. He knew the outcome, but it was acceptable, given the alternative. I can't judge him for taking his own life, he had every right to end things any way he chose. He saw freedom, he reached out and grabbed it.

On that beautiful autumn day, where the sky was brilliant blue and you could see forever, even when everything around him was on fire and there was no escape, the Falling Man did the one thing he could. He exercised his God-given right of free will, and leaped to his fate. He played the last card in his deck, instead of waiting 45 minutes for the North Tower to fall. He had no good choices, but he chose for himself.

A quote someone shared with me last year came to mind while I was thinking what to write for today.

"When you fall, God does one of two things: He either catches you, or teaches you to fly."

 The Falling Man took that one step further. He chose to fall. By his own actions, he reached deep inside his own soul and asked God "bend me to thy will." He trusted God in his last moments, by writing his own ending. The only question remains is did God catch him, or teach him to fly. Private moments like that are between a man and his Maker. Either way, the Falling Man won.

Faith teaches us to turn things over to God. He is a much better decision maker than any human who has walked the Earth. He trusts us to listen to him. Even when things are at their worst, we can trust in Him. We just have to make that leap. He will catch us. Or teach us to fly.

You can do it too. Let yourself fall. See what His plan is for you. Free will gives you that ability. Go ahead. Try it.

I did. And I was sure up until a few weeks ago that He caught me. I was wrong. He taught me to fly.

Want me to teach you? Today's the day. Let's get started.

While we still have time....

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

13 years.... minus 1 day

1 day...

Monday, September 10, 2001. The beginning of the work week for most of America, we shook off the weekend like a pair of old shoes and headed back to the grindstone. Mondays were always busy then for me, the guys would be working to finish up all the maintenance done last week so the owners could pick up their aircraft to depart for parts unknown. Lots of people with kids going to Wake Forest, WSSU, High Point University, etc. would fly into KINT for the weekend, and as football season had just kicked off there was lots hopping at the airport. That would change in a little over 24 hours.

The only personal experience I have with someone closely connected to the events at the Pentagon were from a high school graduation speech in 2005. Frank Huffman spoke at the high school he attended. Same one I graduated from 25 years before. He had a powerful story, which I'll try to capture for you all.

Frank drove his longtime girlfriend Sandy Teague to the airport that morning, on her way to a much needed vacation in Hawaii. They had planned to go together, but as a JAG officer who had just taken on a new assignment he had to cancel. It would be a perfect honeymoon spot later on, they said, as they discussed taking their relationship to the next level. He then reported to his office in a USN building adjacent to the Pentagon. Other than the extra trip to the airport, it was just another Monday. Until 9:37 am.

That's when American Airlines Flight 77 came crashing into the five-sided home of the Department of Defense. As the sirens sounded and every available man and woman rushed to the Pentagon to do what they could to help those trapped inside, Frank joined them. He helped search the building for people he knew that were trapped in their offices, behind doors that were jammed and took several men to break down. In the chaos on the ground, Frank rushed to help. He knew people in the building, and was frantic to help. They were his coworkers, people he worked with daily.

What Frank didn't find out until after noon that day, what news took him to his knees, what horrible fact came to light from a rescue worker giving them updates on what had went on with the attacks? The airline and the flight number. You see, Flight 77 was Sandy's flight. Dulles to Los Angeles to Honolulu. While he was working to free the people trapped inside the Pentagon, the woman he had planned to spend his life with was in the wreckage. And but for his new assignment as a liaison to Vietnam to assist in recovering and identifying MIA and POW remains, he would have been beside her.

Cold chills yet? I had them, that early June day, even in the auditorium packed with parents and graduates.

Frank paused during his story, had a drink of water from a bottle under the podium, then continued. He told of how he and Sandy's family had struggled with the loss. He in particular, since he was THISCLOSE to her and didn't know it. And could have been seated next to her, without what must've been divine intervention.

He finished his speech with a call to the graduates to consider military service. Forget about college, go see the world, learn some skills, show you are proud to be an American. He talked about his Navy fighter pilot friends that painted a pinup girl named Sandy on the nose of their aircraft, in her memory. The same aircraft using in bomb runs just a year after the attack, taking vengeance on the ideology that prompted them.

At that point, the audience was..... dead quiet. Not a peep. I imagined they were not thrilled he had just asked their kids and grand kids to go fight a war where they might too pay that ultimate price. Me? I was proud as hell, and stood up and cheered him. So did Dave. Then another guy stood up. Then another. Before it was done, there were a couple hundred of the thousand or so standing in appreciation for this man's service and for the sacrifice. The sacrifice Sandy made, unwittingly. The same price thousands more paid that same day. Simply because they were Americans.

1 day...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

13 years.... minus 2 days

2 days...

Sunday, September 9th, 2001. Many Americans did a very American thing that morning. They got up early, had breakfast, put on their Sunday best and went to church. If they were lucky enough to get the kids ready in time, they made Sunday School. Some of them probably ducked in late as the first hymn was playing, and sat in the back, hoping no one noticed. The congregation at St. Paul's Chapel in NYC, tucked between Fulton and Vesey Streets, sat in their pews that morning with no premonition of what would happen in just two days. September 11, 2001 would bring devastation to their very door.

St. Paul's Chapel is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan, it's been in the business of saving souls and redeeming spirits since 1766. Only ten years later, the cozy building would survive the Great New York City Fire, while the more famous Trinity Church with its magnificent gallery and a quarter of the city burned to the ground.  The bloody Brits torched the city after the Battle of Long Island without discrimination.

The congregation in the early days included George Washington, our first President. He prayed there before his inauguration in 1789. He continued to worship at St. Paul's for his years in the NYC capital city. The church wouldn't host anyone so famous in 2001, but would become an important part of the 9-11 events.

The rear entrance of St. Paul's opens onto Church Street, opposite the east side of the World Trade Center site. During the days after the towers were hit, the church found itself with a new purpose. To serve the rescue workers, providing a place of prayer and rest during their long hours. The church became a food distribution center. A makeshift bunkhouse. Volunteers served meals to the rescuers during the 12-hour shifts.

As the months passed, the church became a place for reflection. Family members and the locals brought memorials to the church. They found teddy bears, photographs, and flowers. It became such a center for memorial items they built panels inside to house the items. They now have 400.

Many of the memorials remain in place today. As worshippers enter the sanctuary, they view items brought by strangers in a time of healing. Books, letters, preserved flowers that remind them of that day. A special memorial entitled "Healing Hearts and Minds" displays firefighter and police patches sent in from all over the world. To a little church in Manhattan that stood, while giant towers fell yards away.

People believe an ancient sycamore tree blocked most of the debris from reaching the church. The tree was felled by the massive forces that day, but in such a way as to seem to wrap its arms around the blast. Not even a broken window.

Some faithful see the protection of the tree as a sign that God protected the church that day. Others see biblical signs coming to fruition. Isaiah 9:10 says "The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars." The sixth sign. You can judge for yourself.

2 days...

Monday, September 8, 2014

13 years.... minus 3 days

3 days...

September 8th, 2001. A Saturday. I'm sure I was doing my best to sleep in, but probably wasn't successful. Nothing stands out about that day for me, weekends were pretty much catching up on chores, maybe watching some racing on television (since Mr. Excitement Jimmy Spencer was still racing, I didn't miss a race). I really don't remember where I was, or what I was doing.

Abe Zelmanowitz was busy that night. As a devout Orthodox Jew, he certainly was joined in celebrating Shabbat. He would have enjoyed the traditional Saturday afternoon meal with his family, dining on the slightly sweet Challah followed by dishes reheated from Friday's dinner as is Jewish custom. The evening would be filled with companionship and song.

Abe was a computer programmer for Empire BCBS. He worked in a cubicle near his friend, Edward Beyea. They were together every day for many years, but on Saturday the 8th neither knew they would end their lives the same way. On the 27th floor of Tower One.

Abe, described by friends as a "kippa-wearing Jewish-American with a lifelong sense of self-sacrifice and commitment, would stay with his friend Edward until the very end. There was no choice to be made, that was how it was to be.

You see, Abe's friend Edward was a quadriplegic. Abe sent Edward's caregiver out of the building in the first minutes after the plane struck. He would stay behind with Edward, she had a family to get home to. He would make sure they were ready when the rescue team arrived. That help never came.

President George W. Bush remembered Abe's heroism in one of the many post 9-11 speeches he gave.  "And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end and at the side of his quadriplegic friend."

Abe Zelmanowitz's remains were identified nearly a year later.

Abe Zelmanowitz, friend of Edward Bey, was laid to rest beside his parents in the Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery in Jerusalem.

Abe Zelmanowitz, who coworkers said was praying with his Roman Catholic friend before Tower One collapsed, had come home.

3 days...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's Only Words....

And words are all I have. To take your heart away.

Hellish thing to have to quote the Bee Gees. But here we go....

I'm a word person. I love to talk. I love to write. I love communicating with people. But sometimes, I fail at it. I think I've done that recently. And I have to clarify what I meant. And I have to apologize. I can't ask for forgiveness because I don't think we can ever truly grant that as humans, but I do hope to retain the trust I had earned. I hope I didn't break it..

You see, I sort of made a mistake with my words. I had neither time nor opportunity to fully explain myself. I just whipped out what I was feeling, and the words failed me. I've spent hours now thinking about and trying to explain myself better. I failed. I should have known I was capable of not explaining myself completely: in spite of all the words I use, it's happened before.

When my daughter Kathie was a teenager, she would ask me a zillion questions it seemed. Crazy stuff: "Momma, do you like this new Metallica song?". "Momma, can I go over to Sheena's this weekend?" "Momma, can we make some brownies?" Typical teenage questions, and as a busy, working mom I failed to answer them properly. I make no excuses now, I failed to take the time, more than once, to give a good answer. I committed a sin of omitting how I really felt. My answer most of the time? "I don't care." Short and sweet, and the truth. Then she called me out on it.

She told me once, maybe six months before her death at the too young age of 18, that she thought I didn't care about her. JAW DROP. "How in the world can you say that?" I asked her. "You know how much I love you." Her answer floored me. "Well, Momma, you were always telling me you didn't care about things I asked about. They were important things to me, so I thought you didn't care about me." Yeah. Mind blowing. She put me in my place BIG TIME. She didn't question my love for her, she thought I didn't care. Because I treated the things that were important to her so casually, she thought I didn't care about her. Two very different things, but both important.

I didn't learn my lesson, apparently. Open big mouth, insert big foot. AGAIN.

Conversations happen. Things are said, good times had by all. More conversations happen, even more fun. Chemistry, one might call it. THEN I GO AND OPEN MY STUPID MOUTH. I said I don't kid around about such matters, I am SERIOUS. What the hell I was thinking I could get away with (or not thinking) by not fully quantifying that, I do not know. That's a (pardon the pun) SERIOUS word to be tossing around. Talk about changing the tone from then on. YIKES.

I've spent hours this weekend trying to elaborate, to clarify, to explain, to bring that fragile beginning back from the ledge it's perched on, ready to leap and take all the air from my lungs that have now finally gotten a breath of something pure and beautiful and full of freedom that I don't want to let go of right now or maybe never.

Then it hit me this morning. I fucked up. I didn't learn from you, Kathie. You told me what I did wrong almost 13 years ago, and I did it again. I failed. I failed myself, but more importantly, I failed someone else. Someone that in a short period of time I had developed a trust with, a mutual sharing of crazy thoughts and fears, and I failed. I just tossed out that part about being SERIOUS, I fucked up. And I cannot say how much that pains me now.

In my effort to be honest, I said I was SERIOUS and didn't play games. That is a true statement. I keep everything real. What I should have said was that I am SERIOUS and have every intention of living up to the things I have said, and should opportunities present themselves at some point I would act accordingly. Back up my talk with actions. THAT'S what I meant by being SERIOUS. Yes, I do bare my entire soul for examination. Yes, I said you have to be willing to risk it all to be able to gain anything. Hell, I even said i was ALL IN, and people reading this know what that means.

In spite of having used a million words, I didn't use enough of them in this case, and I FUCKED UP. There, I said it. I try to never say anything that I don't mean with all my heart because you can NEVER take something back, I am now guilty of not saying enough. And I pray I can explain it now. .

13 years.... minus 4 days

4 days...

September 7th, 2001. It was a Friday, I'm sure there was the usual Friday night shopping and dinner out on the way home from work. Probably Logan's Steakhouse in Statesville, creatures of habit if nothing else. Yeast rolls with honey butter, the grilled pork chop and shrimp combo, a baked sweet potato and salad with blue cheese dressing to go along. And lots of sweet tea. Just another Friday night.

I wonder what the victims of 9-11 did that weekend. I've often heard that people "know" when they are going to die, and they subconsciously do things to prepare. 

Maybe they took their loved ones out to dinner, without knowing their celebration of the end of the workweek would be premature. Maybe some shopping, buying things for the fall season they wouldn't be there to enjoy. Maybe they took their kids to the park after work. Maybe they went to a movie. A few romantic comedies were out that night, maybe they went to see one of those, with the secret knowledge of the tragedy to come. Maybe they went to a high school football game, watching a son take the field for the last time, or a daughter full of school spirit and smiles that would soon turn to ashes.

I'm an optimist, so I'll go with those memories. I don't want to believe they knew the manner of their upcoming deaths, and were spared the horror until those final minutes.

One of the stories I followed after 9-11 was the tale of Todd Beamer, from UAL 93. All I ever needed to  know about him can be summed up in his last words to his fellow passengers as they made an attempt to save their lives: "Let's Roll."

Beamer, who was 33, joined a group of men that went against the odds and tried to overtake the cockpit of the Boeing 757 that had been hijacked and was heading back to DC to be crashed into something important. He tried making a phone call on the in-flight GTE system, but ended up route to Customer Service. He told the rep about the hijacking, the knives, the dead flight crew. 

The next to last thing he told the rep: "If I don't make it, please call my family and let them know how much I love them." Understandable, he knew the odds were slim and wanted them to have that last memory of his love for them.

His last words weren't to her, they were to his new-found friends on UAL 93. Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, Jeremy Glick, Lou Nacke, Rich Guadagno, Alan Beaven, Honor Elizabeth Wainio, Linda Gronlund, and William Cashman, along with flight attendants Sandra Bradshaw and Cee Cee Ross-Lyles,

"Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll."

Two months later, President Bush recalled Todd Beamer's words at a ceremony. Bush repeated Beamer's last-heard words, saying, "Some of our greatest moments have been acts of courage for which no one could have been prepared. But we have our marching orders. My fellow Americans, let's roll!"

4 days.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

13 years.... minus 5 days

Hard for me to believe that in 5 short days we will see the 13th anniversary of the 9-11 events. I really thought I would feel.... better by now. I realize every year around this time that I probably won't ever get over it. And I'm glad of that.

I've said before, I wasn't directly involved. I knew "of" the flight attendant from Greensboro that was killed, knowing a number of FA's from my days in aviation and working near USAirways training facility in Winston-Salem. I was "affected" in that I experienced firsthand what I think will be the most shocking part of a post-apocalyptic world: a sky without airplanes.

At the time, I worked for a maintenance facility with a large corporate aviation base, but we also did some airline maintenance. We had contracts with Delta and Skywest, USAirways and CCAir, PSA. We had their on-site reps in our building for weeks on end, baby-sitting and approving work cards. So we were "in" the airline business.

Looking back through the prism of memory, I realize what a beautiful Tuesday morning it would have been. The sun was shining, the sky was that shade we Tarheels call "Carolina Blue". I don't remember any clouds, or wind. It was shaping up to be a gorgeous late summer day, past the heat of the Dog Days of August and the start of school.The weather was an important thing in aviation, it changes the course of your workday. We would have had lots of work coming in, but for an evil plan come to be revealed that morning.

Starting at 846am, and ending less than two hours later, America changed forever. Understandably, the FAA closed our airspace. Planes in the air were given instructions to land immediately. Vice President Cheney gave the order to shoot down any aircraft that was verified as hijacked, but it was too late. Within hours, the skies were empty.

I look back through articles written about the attacks. NYC and the Twin Towers of course get the most attention, but the Pentagon and United Flight 93 were no less devastating. I watched the 9-11 hearings on tv. I've seen the movies, the documentaries, the television specials. I try and watch them each year, because I don't want to ever forget how I felt. I don't ever want to forget how the victims must've felt. Since they were Americans, I hope the one thing they didn't feel was fear. But looking at the response to what happened that September day, I realize that those of us who remain should be the ones who are fearful.

Our government passed up opportunities in the Clinton years to do something about UBL. Instead, Slick Willie blew up a tent with a camel inside and called it a day. They heard rumblings in the years after about "something big". And in typical Federal government fashion, they dicked around and let "something big" happen. And since then, on 9-11-2012, they let something else happen.

Who learned anything from what happened that day? Not the Feds. Not the intelligence agencies. Not the military. They seem no more capable of stopping an attack on America today than they were on that day. They harass grandmas with knitting needles and handicapped kids that might have an Uzi disguised as a crutch. Do people still have to take off their shoes at the airport? Why did that ever even need to be done?

I said earlier I was glad don't feel better in our post 9-11 world. I don't ever want to forget the anger I felt that day. Nothing has changed to prevent it again. 2,977 people gave their lives for nothing, And oh yes, screw you Wikipedia: you can count the 19 hijackers in the death toll if you want, Homey don't play that game.

5 days. 

5 days to make a difference and not let what sacrifices those people made be for naught.

5 days to make those military deaths since 9-11 mean something.

I'm doing my part, by reminding people of what it meant to me that day. Share your story. Make things matter again. Don't take being an American for granted. We are still under attack. At home and abroad.