Saturday, October 29, 2016

It's Time To Fall Waaaaaaaaay Back!

I have been waiting for this since earlier in the year when it was taken from me. Stolen right out from under me, just like a thief in the night, while I slept. Literally. And when I awoke, I looked over to the side of the bed towards my nightstand, squinting my eyes as I always do when I first wake-up, like you do when the first light of day busts you in the eyes through your windshield if you’re driving East on your way to work. And there it was – or should I say – there it wasn’t. Anymore. It was gone. Just gone.

But I’m fixing to get it back by golly! In just a few weeks, I’ll lay down at night to rest my head and relax my tired bones, and the next morning it will feel just like Christmas! I’ll wake-up, go through my whole waking-up routine, and there it will be. Just like Santa Claus read my letter, and brought me just what I wanted and asked for, except it’s sitting on my nightstand, instead of under the tree.

I’ll glance over, squint once more, and then smile. Smile the biggest smile you have ever seen, then flop my messy-haired-head right back down on that soft, cool pillow, knowing that in that minute – I won. It’s my time to shine – such exaltation – because I GOT IT BACK!! That hour that was stolen from me nearly eight months ago, was rightfully returned and it’s right back on my clock where it belongs.

This weekend has also marked the preemptive setting for all of the upcoming changes as well. It’s as if the weather and the world’s time-clock are running in perfect rhythm with one another. Because everybody in the Big Bend area woke-up to temperatures down in the 40’s and the highs of the day, only to hit the mid 80’s.

My neighbor across the street was up early this morning chopping wood for his fireplace, and I’ve seen more than one Face Book picture posted of late-night fire pits, folks sitting around in jackets and vests, roasting marshmallow’s and making s’mores. As well as pictures of early bow-hunters sitting in tree-stands hoping for that first deer of the season.

But of course with ALL of these things, comes for me at least, my annual hay fever symptoms. The sneezing, wheezing and coughing that takes much of the fun out of what everyone else seems to be able to enjoy.

There is no riding with my truck windows down, no letting the windows in the house up, and no sitting on my front porch in the cool, night air or actually, outside period if the wind is blowing; at least not until the first freeze comes that will kill off all the fall pollination.

But that’s alright. Once it gets dark earlier, I won’t feel so left out, because everyone else will be inside with me, instead of enjoying the activities that spring always affords.

Break out the slow cookers, soup and chili recipes – it’s just about that time folks! Bundle-up!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pumpkin, Peppermint, Party-Punch, OH MY!

Is everybody ready? Do you all have your feet firmly planted onto the ground? Because the whirlwind of holidays that are about to be upon us will sweep you off your feet, spin your head around on the top of your shoulders, and carry your body as light as the air all the way into the New Year – without you ever knowing what hit you.

About two week weeks ago everything pumpkin started showing up. Pumpkin latte’s, pumpkin-filled doughnuts with sprinkles on top, pumpkin-spice pancakes, pumpkin flavored creamer for coffee and the list goes on and on. Not to mention all the pumpkin spice candles and potpourri that are sending your mouth and nose sensoria’s into pumpkin orbit!

And none of that has anything to do with all the pumpkin bread, pies, and cakes people will be baking from now all the way into Thanksgiving which is a month and a half away. I mean seriously folks, I have zero memory of pumpkins being so popular when I was growing up.

I mean there were fields of them, stands selling them, and places you could go to have your child’s picture taken among them. And somebody’s aunt always seemed to make a pumpkin pie and bring it to Thanksgiving dinner to contribute to the spread; but that was it. In the last five years or so the world has gone crazy for holiday flavors.

Finally, the last of the pumpkins will still be in the grocery store bins when they break out all the Christmas candy and spread it among the items to gorge over. Then the peppermint phase will start the cycle all over again when Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts begin making a killing off all the specialty coffees that they pour-up and serve this time of the year.

The transition from one holiday to the other will be so smooth, so nonchalant, you’ll never see it
coming. One day Walgreens will have Pumpkin Reece’s Cup’s lining the shelf, the next day, it will be Christmas Tree Reece’s cups and your hands and eyes will never know what hit them.

The ghosts and goblins will be gone and the Christmas lights, decorations and wreaths will be hanging in their place. You’ll be so transfixed with the beauty and sight of it all, you’ll unconsciously roll with the flow just as they intended.

Yes sir, those merchants know exactly what they’re doing. They know just how long they can string all you pumpkin addicts along and then seamlessly and successfully transfer your addiction right into peppermint and eggnog as if it was your idea all along. It’s the most perfect example of ebb and flow that exists – the holidays move up and down like waves in a warm ocean, calling, “follow me, follow me,” and you mesmerizingly do so.

Then finally New Year’s Eve is here, and that’s a whole nother awakening. That’s the King Daddy Dog realization that life can start anew, and you have another chance to get it right this time.

Hang on folks – cause that ride is about to begin!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Winning The Battle

As I sat and watched both professional and college football this weekend, I was once again so proud to see how much the world has evolved. I of course didn’t see every team participating, but there are still several weekends left in October and this whole month is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Several teams were wearing pink gloves and pink socks and the breast cancer symbol across their helmets and jerseys.  I saw several commercials of grown 200+ pound young men with tears in their eyes, talking about their mothers, grandmothers and aunts who have been stricken with this horrible disease; some who battled and overcame it, some who did not.

Last March I had my own scare for about 30 days or better. The steps you take to come to a conclusion, to a definitive prognosis are long and nerve wracking to say the least. But several mammograms and a biopsy later – almost a month later - my personal ending was negative and I was as grateful as you could imagine.

So many women are not so lucky. But there are still so many women who are not even getting themselves checked. I shudder to think what the odds of survival are for those women who discover their cancer in ways that could have been otherwise prevented with prior check-ups.

No it’s not fun, and no I’m not about to tell you it’s not downright uncomfortable and sometimes painful – BUT IS SO NECESSARY. I say to women all the time, you cannot fight a war when you have no ammunition. Every day that a possible disease continues to grow inside your body is another day that you’re behind the curve in winning the battle.

We can all walk a million miles/raise millions of dollars to try and help find a cure – but ladies – you HAVE to be proactive in taking control of your own lives, your own bodies. My mother will be 76 years old this December and she STILL has her mammograms every single year. Breast cancer has no age limit – and she is well aware of that – as she has friends in her own circle who have fought that particular battle and won as well.

Precaution, prevention, and protection are the names of the game we call WINNING. There are free clinics everywhere who will help you if you do not have or cannot afford a healthcare program. Don’t let being embarrassed or without funds/having to ask for help, stop you from taking care of yourselves. There are also hospitals that offer free screenings throughout the year – pay attention and get on the list.

Right this minute I know women who starve themselves trying to stay thin, lay in the sun trying to
stay tan, but if I ask them when they had their last mammogram, they can’t tell me. They either don’t remember or they just haven’t done it. Skinny and tan won’t matter when you’re dead.

This is a strong/harsh message. I want it to be an awakening. Get yourselves checked. Please. If not for the people who love you – then love yourself.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Buckle Up!

I’m going to start where I left off last week. By stating the obvious once more and say that our nation has absolutely no priorities. None.

I also said that I had no clear thoughts about what is happening to us or why – but I do. I do have one real and clear thought. Lack of leadership.

Let me take you back about 12 years – to the National Conventions – when they called out the name Barack Obama – and he headed to the stage to speak. Just as if it were yesterday, I can remember listening to this smart and beyond-his-years wise-sounding man and thinking to myself, he will be President one day. He SHOULD be president one day.

Then 4 years later he is elected. And good gosh almighty what a mess he walked into. We were slowly climbing out of the deep, dark hole of 9/11, the recession that followed for years afterward, and were just coming up for air. People were starting to think we might see daylight again and that maybe the worst was over.

But the nation was so far in debt, in such a shambles, how could he have possibly “repaired” all of that in just four short years. So we elected him again, and here we are four years later and we have not seen sunshine yet.

I watched the first live debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton week before last and I’ve got to tell you folks – I’m not sure we’ll ever see real sunshine again. It’s always normal to see political satire and comedy acts replicating/imitating presidential nominees during campaign season. 

But when the real life stuff becomes so outlandish and comedic – that it reaches far beyond anything some artist or actor could create for a picture or a skit – well that pretty much sums up the state of our union.

When the debate battles become screeching/smirking/lying/accusing contests between two grown people – one of whom by the time the elections roll around in November, will be running our COUNTRY in January – well I don’t know about you, but that just scares the bejezzus out of me.

I mean seriously people, we can’t get past the point about what he hasn’t paid to the federal government (and how smart he apparently is for getting away with it) and her (I didn’t know) illegal use of an email server, to talk about much of anything that is going to straighten out our country and all the cracks in its foundation.  I for one, am not entirely sure there’s enough Spackle in the world.

But the most disappointing and horrifying fact is this: we are a more divided nation than ever right now. I hear very few conversations about definitive votes in either direction. But I hear a LOT of conversations about voting for “the lesser of two evils” in regards to one candidate or another.

Again I leave you with another thought: how did we get here – to voting for the least scary monster? Because make no doubt – WE DID IT. Buckle-up your seatbelts - the worst is yet to come. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What Is The Solution?

I’d like to write about my thoughts and concerns regarding all the pull-over and stop deaths seemingly only occurring with people of color and the men in blue. But the problem is, I don’t have one single clear thought about any of it. The percentages of these happenings appear to be so lopsided – it’s impossible to know what is real and what is not.

Between the hundreds of phone video’s streaming live on FB before the bullet is cold, the eye-witness accounts in which none are amazingly the same, and the grieving relative accounts of what a wonderful person such and such was – we have still yet to see an official report from the police.

Because folks, official reports take time to gather, the facts take time to gather, the reasons why someone in blue pulled a trigger take time to gather. No one is going to give ANY kind of an official statement before the facts are in. Before the video cams associated with the men in blue are reviewed and studied for the information they need to reach a factual decision about what happened and why.

I believe that the majority of all men and women in blue go out every day to serve and protect just as they gave an oath to do. I’d like to say all – but we’re talking about human beings, not super heroes and where you have human beings you will have bad apples.

But I also believe that we’re being led to believe there are more than a fair share of bad apples with all of the occurrences of late. So I sit here wondering are they really bad apples, or just a combination of bad decisions/split-second time to-think, decisions.

As I said when I started out, I don’t have many clear thoughts about all of this. It saddens to me no end to believe that men of color are being targeted and shot simply because their skin is black. It would also make me question our entire legal system that begins with the men in blue – and what real law and order means.

You will not ever convince me that riots are the answer/solution to anything. Emotions are on level red for everybody concerned, and many people might as well mentally commit to a death sentence before they even begin. Because lives are lost every single time almost any demonstration has been done in the last 12 months.

But if I had to sum-up one of the biggest problems from this past week between the shooting in Tulsa and the shooting in Charlotte, I’d have to say, regardless of the cause and result, both of those events were over-shadowed by the pending divorce between Angelia Jolie and Brad Pitt.

On the night of the Charlotte shooting, the very first story out-of-the-gate on the CBS National News was about “Brangelina” and their break-up. Who on God’s green earth thought THAT was the story to lead-off with? AND WHO CARES?

That my friends is my most clear thought regarding what is wrong with our nation – priorities. We seem to have absolutely none.