Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

I used to think there was something sad about New Year's Eve and the moment when the clock struck twelve. I think it has a lot to do with my fascination with Cinderella growing up, and it's affected my thinking in a perverse sort of way. See, at midnight, the magic ends, the princess returns to her ho-hum life and for unknown reasons, she must maintain her silence about the ordeal instead of showing up at the castle the next day and saying, "Hey, princey - it's me, Rella. Get me out of this joke I call my life and schedule me a mani and pedi, stat."

And then there's the fact that I've not had that NYEve moments like the ones you see on TV. You know, ballgown, champagne, and clever conversations about art and great books. Well, I've had the last two, but not together, and not on NYEve, and NOT in a ballgown. My eve's were more like everyone else's, I guess, spent with family, or in one sad case, trolling a parking lot at Spy Club, trying to decide if we want to pay $50 for parking and then doing it anyway because it's 11:45 and we need time to get a drink so we can TOAST, damnit. The moment always springs up on me, catching me quite unaware and unprepared frankly. Of course, with my linear brain, that makes sense. In the mad little world that exists inside my head, my Oompa Loompas would remind me it's time to reflect, then to appreciate, then to blog, then to pour the champagne, and then to have the magical kiss. Problem with Oopma Loompas is that they've been on strike since the orange skin debacle.
And speaking of kisses, I must say that I've become a lot more comfortable with my husband's train of thought when it comes to New Year's Eve. I may not agree with him about the importance of celebrating birthdays and Christmas in a grand style, but I do see his point about the silliness that the ticking of a clock from one second to the next being heralded as the most important celebratory event of the year. And resolutions? Never really set any.

Bringing you down? Well, I'll bring you home now. See? You can trust me. The Oompa Loompas are serving cider and donut holes now and one of them just showed up with Scrabble.

The new year is so much more than that moment to me, and it doesn't happen on schedule for me. It's the moment that you go from one child to two and realize you've become part of a plan bigger than dreams that used to burn inside you. When you go from Trying to Go Out to Happy Staying In. When you are finally free of debt because you worked on it together. When you FINALLY finish the renovations you wanted for so long on the house you have loved together.

It's that moment when you stop worrying about what your mother-in-law thinks and you just get drunk once and for all. When you realize that God gave you family so you can practice friendship with them FIRST. A new year comes to me each time I hear my husband pick up his guitar and stay true to who he is. When my 3 year old writes songs to his playing and my 6-month old dances along.

It is learning that holding on to the pain is so much more detrimental to your life that just saying what hurts. It is finding old friends and telling them you miss and need them and doing something about it. For me, it's as simple as getting to sit outside at night for a moment when the moon is out and the wind is dancing through the trees.

It is knowing why you go to church and learning how freeing forgiveness can feel. It's recognizing that at many points along the way in the journey that has been your life, things didn't turn out as you expected. And that you should thank God for it.

It's telling your daughter to put socks on and having her tell you she already did. It's cupcakes with sprinkles and mess in your kitchen that will just have to wait because it's time to get ready for the party . . . the New Year's Eve party.

I appreciate that it's going to be a new calendar year, but see, I'm working hard to pack in as many years into that calendar year as I can. And that means that I'm looking for those moments in every day. I'm watching and waiting and ready to record them in any way I can so that my daughters can one day go through my memories and know what I know - that it's the little moments that mean the most. And so my husband will know how much I'm putting into that kiss at midnight . . . as much as I do every day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Life Tip of the Day #3

Life Tip of the Day - (Formerly "Mexican Tip of the Day" But Changed Suddenly Because I Have Always Typed Z instead of X and I'm Getting Tired of Backspacing to Correct This Every Day and Also, "Life" is a Shorter Word.)


I don't want to have a conversation about this. I don't want to be politically correct and say things properly just so someone's delicate sensibilities are not offended. Frankly, the more I offend, the better I'll feel, because then at least I'll be able to clearly identify those people who have so radically altered the course of American progress that I truly don't know where we will go from here or how we will return to the core values upon which this nation was founded.

See, the election is over, and all that feel-good-hopeychangey-star-shine has faded enough for intelligent people to start answering questions about the issues. I don't want to hear that this administration thinks outside the box or is challenging the good ole' boy system for a change. I don't want to hear that Obama is a good speaker because he can read a teleprompter exceptionally well or that his wife is a role model for all women because she has toned arms. I want to hear where people stand on the issues that have existed long before this presidency and will exist long after - the issues that test our collective moral compass. If a person cannot say in one sentence or less where they stand on the issues and they voted in the last election . . . well, at least we will know with some degree of certainty that the country is, for lack of a (desire to use a politically correct word), screwed.

Today's irritations:

KSM - THE TERRORIST who masterminded 9/11 being tried in civilian court instead of in a military tribunal. That is the biggest wrong - the wrongest wrong - the equivalent of lining up dump trucks of sea salt to pour into the wounds of all who lost loved ones on that day and after.

Health care overhaul - A plan is needed. This is NOT the right plan. But hey, when you call in because you have a sinus infection and they say they can see you in 2012, you'll get it.

Bowing to other presidents/foreign leaders - WE DON'T DO THAT.

Well, I feel better. If you do nothing else today, look up KSM. And imagine that possible scenario that he could represent himself and have a podium upon which to stand and air his grievances against our great country and try to justify how he helped obliterate 3000 people who were doing something as heinous to him as arriving to work or dropping off their kids at day care.

Oh, by the way, this is a blog on a site. So, if you receive these in email form and want to see the pretty page with photos and flowers and butterflies and my old blogs, short stories and poems, please visit At some point, I'm going to roll all this over into a site where I can also post my music. Yes, world domination is just around the corner.

And feel free to forward my link to anyone you think would enjoy it or who would like to pay me obscene amounts of money to do a daily column.

Tomorrow's Possible Topic Ideas: Why I Don't Straighten My Hair, Why You Should Never Befriend A Possum, Let Your Kids Be Bored, or Don't Make a Pot of Beans When You're Doing Yard Work.

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - Barry Obama

I remember watching Obama speak at the DNC a few years ago. I just happened to catch him just as he was REALLLY getting into his speech and forging, forever, his love affair with his teleprompter. And I remember being impressed. I thought, "Now this is someone who seems to have some passion. What a speaker! Wow! Check out those ears! What are we doing for dinner?" It was a fleeting moment of admiration for someone who could wax eloquent. I'm a speaker, I'm a writer, and I'm madly in love with words and those who know how to use just the right ones. I was impressed. And then I moved away from the moment and on about my day . . .

And here I am today, and this eloquent albeit heavily-dependent-on-devices-that-tell him-to-say-what-someone-else-wrote-for-him-to-say speaker is now our president. And even though I love words, I have a lot of trouble with the word "president" since a few months before the election. It's hard for me to say these days; I choke on it. To follow it up with "Obama" seems, I don't know, wrong somehow. I can tell you today that I have NOT said (out loud) "President O . . . . . Oh NO." Just can't do it.

Why is this hard for me? That's what you should be asking. Because I'll tell you:

I grew up in poverty. It was a miracle I did not succumb to teen pregnancy or serious drug and alcohol abuse, so I believe in the power of people lending a hand to those in need. BUT, when someone lent ME a hand, it was because I proved I was working hard. I proved I deserved it. And now that's how I feel about passing along this favor - reward the hard working. This man in office doesn't seem to believe in doing that. I don't need to prove that to you. If you sit and think intelligently for a while, you can see for yourself that he wants everyone to be equal regardless of how hard they work or what they have sacrificed to get ahead. Which brings me to point two:

My husband and I have paid off all our credit card debt - between 20 and 30K. Then we made better decisions about how we spent our money and where we chose to work. We're still on the path to financial freedom - owing only our home and one vehicle - and we have higher paying jobs, and in another year, we're going to be taxed out the wazoo because of it. We did a lot of sacrificing. We fought a lot. We said "no" a lot to fun times. And we're better for it - trust me. Here we are now, poised to truly live like no one else as Dave Ramsey says, due to our hard work and diligence, and Obama makes speeches about how taking care of your brother. Don't fault me for saying this - hear me instead - I'll take care of my brother alright. As long as I see him grinding his nose right along with me. My brother had better be working 40 hours a week like I am. My brother had better be following the law like I am. My brother had better be paying taxes like I am. And if my brother lost his job due to the financial crisis that was much more than 8 years in the making (for those of you who want to blame everything on Bush), then I want to see him working two or three jobs like I did at one time to make ends meet. I was pregnant, an assistant principal by day, and a college professor by night for a while there. And I was selling life insurance on the nights I was not teaching. My brother had better be working his happy arse off - just like I did and do.

OH, I hear you, too. What about the elderly, what about the infirm, what about the children? Glad you asked!

The elderly: I'm Hispanic, so I clearly believe families take care of family. If my grandmother or mother or father need me to care for them one day, I'll do it. That's just how it is. Additionally, I believe in Medicare. I know it's broken, but the concept is right. Care for the elderly. But I'm going to say something here - gonna put a bee in your bonnet for a bit. I have a problem with people who have lived off the government their whole lives just because they could. I was poor once, so I know it happens that way. And that goes for old people, too. I'm all for taking care of folks who need help, but if you're 70 and 50 years of government cheese has done its damage, I'm just not sorry that you have to wait in long lines for medical care. The majority of people have ample opportunities to get out of bad situations. It's just about doing it. I did it. I was an educator for 13 years, and I saw countless kids do it over the years.

The young: Medicaid aids the needy. And by needy, I mean, the young and the infirm. But I DON'T believe the needy means the children of illegal immigrants. No sir. I don't. There's a process for coming to this country. And yes, it sucks to be poor, and it sucks to be poor in Mexico, but Mexico has a responsibility to aid their needy, too. I was never poor in Mexico, but I was a poor Mexican American, and that's just a hop, skip, and a bean taco away.

What I don't get about the Obots is that they seem to have forgotten there have been government programs all along. And I especially don't understand the middle class Americans who have never stood in line for welfare or at a government funded clinic. If you've never walked this path, how can you so blindly do a double-dutch with the man who wants MORE of that?

The point is this - he talked pretty. And you fell for it. Or you talk pretty, too. Or you're just a mooch and that's all you ever will be, so the fact that he supports you is merciful validation. But he's not talking pretty anymore. He's sounding more like John Wayne now. "We're gonna round 'em up, and we're gonna put 'em in the corral." That's what Americans are being reduced to - cattle to be led.

Government run ANYTHING is problematic, but we have what we have, and many conservatives would agree that we need to focus on fixing what we have before we go off and create another system for people to learn to manipulate.

Obama said the other day "ya'll thinking for yourselves" of Democrats, and he said it proudly. And if you don't know why that's so scary to so many of us, then take your number, pretty sheep, and get into the appropriate line . . . you're going to be there for the rest of your lives.