Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Amazing Son

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fairness in the Work Place

So when is it too much? When do you we say enough in an atmosphere that used to be innocent. Or was it ever innocent? When is it okay for one employer to treat an employee differently than has than other employees? This is the question I find myself faced with today.

For example, if an employer goes to hug and employee and said employee makes the comment she is hot and sweaty and the employer says “that’s just the way I like you”, it’s not appropriate. Or does the shoulder hug alone comprise the sexual harassment statute?

What about fair treatment for all employees? If there is no rule in place regarding say, hair color, tattoos or piercings, and one or more employees have them without incident and one comes in with a red streak in his hair and is singled out and forced to be taken off the floor for not complying to a rule that was never there in the first place without justification or explanation, is that worthy of a complaint?

What about a potentially dangerous situation when a drug influenced patron walks in and makes the staff uncomfortable. The lead employee refuses further service and the employee is reprimanded for poor customer service and the patron is invited back with a gift certificate?

Or what if an employee overlooks a duty and the employer helps themselves to the employee’s tip jar as a punishment for the oversight without asking?

And what if the employee takes a minority employee and pushes them with duties that no one can do in the allotted time and for such little pay and then tells them this is a good job for them, they are lucky to have it?

These are examples I have seen in the work place and in thinking about it, have gone to the Bureau of Labor and Industry for my state. There is a complaint system in place but, as I’m sure it is in most states, is extensive. That’s good in some ways. Otherwise, everyone would be bitching about every little nuance in the work place whether it’s merited or not. But when you are looking at having to file the complaint and then be confronted with the person you are filing against, it can be a frightening and daunting experience most likely leaving most employees to just quit and leave the offending boss to keep up his ways.

So how do we make these offending bosses responsible for their actions? What is the recourse of action that can be taken or is there one? Quit. For sure if you are financially able, but then without bringing the employer to the table on his actions, it only continues for the next one. In the past I have found myself saying as I’m sure others before me did, “well, someone is going to make him accountable….it just can’t be me”. Then what?

I think it takes standing up to the boss in the situation and letting him know your boundaries. The problem with that is risk losing your job. If you are in the mode to file a complaint, then your job is most likely over. Is there financial compensation for doing such a thing knowing that your employment at the establishment is through? And is there a way to find out if the employer has done the same thing in other establishments in the past? I am truly asking to find answers. I know a great deal of people who can benefit from this information. Have you run across this in your work space and what solutions did you come up with? Was your offender brought to justice? If so how? I wish this were one of my blogs where I gave insightful solutions and go get ‘em pep talks but I am truly at a loss on how to advise here. Always your comments are welcome but particularly here. In a day where most are lucky to find themselves, employed, how do you handle strife in the work place?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Single Brown Female Seeks Adult

I don’t date. Let me take that back. I haven’t found anyone worthy to make me want to date. Not for a very long time. And I’m alright with that. I really like my life right now which seems to freak a lot of people out. Especially since I like just fine how it is, solo. So recently during a big reunion back in town, I shared a little kiss with new friend in highly charged emotional gathering. Lots of drinks, hugs and kisses were to be had by all. And now “new friend” sends me the occasional text asking about my day which is nice. He lives a long way away so that makes it even nicer. So today he asked me how I like the kiss. Odd. I said it was nice. Then he says, (I kid you not) “so how good on a scale of 1-10”. Okay. Now I’m kind of losing it. How old are we? In my entire 46 years (15 of them were married) I have never had anyone ask me to rate their kiss. So I asked if he wanted to know because his ego was that big or because he was that insecure. He said he was just curious. Then he wanted to know what my friend thought of his kisses. WHAT????? As I write this I just got another text asking me what my friend thought.

Now you see why I don’t date. Seriously? Okay fellas. Don’t ask us that. You will force us to lie or be unnecessarily mean. That’s like asking us if these jeans make us look fat. We just want to appreciate the moment and savor the memory or, in some cases, look forward to more.

I, for one, am ready to put away little boy’s games. I don’t want to kiss and tell and I don’t my kissers to either. I want a gentleman to pursue me. To take the time to learn about me. Here’s another example. The reverse stalker. I have an older man very interested in taking me out. We did have a cocktail together. He was way to needy and way too aggressive. Though I politely explained that I am not able to provide him with all he needs at this time, he continues to call and text. I don’t respond as to not encourage. He doesn’t need me to. They keep coming. The thing is, I am 99% sure he hasn’t done one thing to learn anything about me except we are possibly the only two single people in my rural town who haven’t dated each other yet.

I love the notion of dating. Of lying awake at night not being able to stop thinking about someone. To look forward to the next time together and yet not letting it consume you. To find someone happy in life to share with is not easy. I’m told its harder the older we get. Maybe I’m too old fashioned for my time. But I want someone to want to know about me. I want to know about him. I want us to share things but be happy with who we are in our own lives. And most important is someone who lets you be you. Does it exist? A flower at my door. A note on my car. A dinner and a peck on the cheek at the end of the night. Maturity without infirmary. Playfulness without games. Chemistry. Doesn’t sound that hard does it? And yet its darn near impossible. Dating. Is it a lost term in today’s high speed world? It seems we can’t get “there” fast enough. Happily Single Brown Female Might Some Day Be Interested In Someone Just to Share the Ride. Think it will happen?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stupid Stunts or Responsible Tutorial?

Talk about being lumped into the same category! So my son is experiencing 15 minutes of fame once again this week. This news coming to us via his You Tube account where several people told him one of his fire tutorials had been featured on CBS The Early Show. Sure enough. Our excitement was soon diminished slightly when we saw the clip and how it was labeled Stupid Stunts.

As you see, the clip shows various “hey dude…watch this” type of stunts. Then the segment takes you to my son’s tutorial where it is determined my son is teaching children how to swallow fire. Um no. Oh, where to begin.

First of all…my son spends a great deal of time in his tutorial discussing safety. My son is currently 18 years old and began this hobby at 17 with my supervision. In fact, the boy made me sit down and watch his safety video so that I would know what to do in the event he had an accident. Anyone one who wants to learn from my son must first hear about safety just as my son did with his fire mentors.

Second. Would you like to know where I was when my son shot this video? On the other side of that wall in my house where I could hear everything and was on hand should a problem arise. Where were those children’s parents when they were making their vinegar and baking soda concoction? Or when they were car surfing?

There is a vast difference in the style of these You Tube clips that were presented in this segment. A difference in safety, age and supervision. I agree that there is a danger in children emulating what they see on You Tube that could be dangerous. But how is it different then what they see on television on a daily basis or at the theater? Again, discussions should begin at home and if your child is of appropriate age and wants to experiment in a hobby that can be construed as dangerous, do your homework and learn the safety issues that are involved and by all means, SUPERVISE!

As a mother of a child with a diverse hobby, every fiber in my body wanted to send him to his room and tell him to put the flame out. I spent the first 17 years of his life teaching him NOT to play with fire. He had to convince me that his practice was safe and always supervised by myself or someone else he is close to with a fire blanket at hand.

I’m not angry for CBS for using my son’s tutorial for this segment. In fact, I thank them for drawing attention to a responsible young man who has learned and teaches others safety in his craft. His You Tube hits have gone through the roof! But what I would like to have seen is the use of this video as an example different from those he was compared to. And example of responsibility and safety. CBS, if you are reading this, we are trying to contact you about safety on You Tube. Let us know if you are interested in a rebuttal.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Paralyzed and Pregnant - What We Take For Granted

Awhile back, maybe even a year ago, I watched a show called Paralyzed and Pregnant. It was a moving documentary about Michelle, woman who in her early 20's dove off a dock and broke her neck, leaving her a quadrapalegic. That alone is hard to think about. But she went on to fall in love, marry and give birth to her son, Pierce. Part Two of the story goes on to tell how the birth of their son along with the pressures of her medical issues were too much for the young marriage to last and the couple divorced. The last update I saw was Pierce's 4th birthday party where Mom Michelle had apparently gone all out with blow up jumpy toys in the yard to a whole host of guests which included children and adults alike. Now here is where it got me. She says how much help it required to do this. And how while everyone was outside playing with her son; running and jumping, she watched through a window inside.

If you read my blog very often you how I work very hard at being greatful for everything in my life. I just don't think I can be greatful enough for every little thing I take for granted in my day. I had the blessings of the overwhelming tasks of every birthday party for my two kids. I have two functioning legs and arms in which to do it. I got to run with them. Serve their cake. Hand them their gifts and complain while I did all the clean up. Wow am I self centered. I don't have to think about what it would be like to be unable to do those things and have those moments. I reach out to them and touch them at my very will. Not once do I think about what it would be like if I couldn't feel them. I got to dress them when they were little. I didn't have to have an assistant who did it for me. I could take them to the park. Complain because they wanted to swing a little longer and it was making me nauscious. I took cupcakes to school that I had stayed up way to late making and I sewed the dress for the Christmas program (that I really enjoyed). Not once did it cross my mind what IF I couldn't do these things.

In being honest I wondered who she brought this little person into the world for. If it was selfish of her to have a child she couldn't raise without help. In retrospect, I think its more selfish to have a beautiful child or children and take for granted how completely wonderful each little menial task truly is. All of Michelle's reasons shouldn't matter to me. They matter only to her. But what I come away from watching this is, her story could be mine. It could be yours. Unlucky for her and lucky for us, it isn't our story. But can we think for just a moment, what if it was? Maybe we can cherish that little kiss as they run out the door or that hug just a little longer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Welcome Baby Andre'

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Do You Say Good-Bye

Saying good bye to our four legged friends is beyond hard. It’s almost impossible. Most of my friends will tell you they prefer the company of their animals over most people. Present company included. So how do we get through this unimaginable task. Maybe I can help.

The law allows us to give this gift to our fur friends. Where euthanization is not acceptable for humans yet, it’s a gift we can give to our pets. They don’t have to suffer. We sadly watch the humans in our life struggle with no quality of life but we can assist our friends into the next step. But how.

When it’s time, try to have the vet come to your home. Most animals hate to go to the vet and they will be far more comfortable if they can be in their familiar surroundings. And for you, Mom? You don’t have to be alone. Call on your friends to be there with you. And if you can’t be there for the moment, it’s okay. Give yourself a break. But if at all possible, arrange with your vet to have this done where your pet can be most at ease.

Let your pet know you will be okay. The majority of time, animals will cross over without difficulty. But an animal may have a harder time if they are worried about you. If you can, reassure your pet that you will be alright. Tell her you will miss her but that you will be okay. Give your animal permission to go.

As I mentioned earlier, most animals know there is more than this one life. They don’t have the fear that humans have in crossing over. What your animal wants to know is how is this going to happen. Have a pet communicator or you can try to explain to your pet the steps that will be taken in the process. Like us, they just want to know what to expect. That will take a lot of the fear out of the process for your friend.

I will be assisting my dear friend Sharry in helping her beloved chocolate lab, Avery cross over this afternoon. Not a task that I look forward to, but at times like this, someone else’s pain is much greater than your own. Avery has the mind of a puppy yet but her body is failing her. She needs to go where she can run and play the way her heart and mind still want to. She has a journey to follow. All of our fur friends do.

Much to our sadness, only a small part of their journey is with us. They have greater work to do that goes beyond their time in our homes. They never completely leave us. They remain with us as long as our memories do. And, if it’s in the universe’s plan, they will return to us for another brief moment of love and devotion. And then once again, it is our job to help them move to the next step of their journey. Often we vow, no more. That is all I can take. Until we hear that soft kitten’s meow or look into the mournful eyes of that dog that has chosen us. And…it’s love. Here we go again.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

And Oh No You Didn't

How much farther with this go? I truly thought that once health care was instated and the hulabaloo was over, the conservative right would calm the freak down, possibly regroup for their next strategy for whatever non productive stance they wanted to take on next and move on. Wow was I wrong.
The death threats are ridiculous. The hatred is absurd and non serving to anyone. And the lies are rampant. I think that’s the part that has my anger up more than anything. It seems that the lambs of the GOP are willing to believe anything they are told regardless as to whether it’s the truth or not. Listen up lambs and listen up good. KNOW YOUR FACTS BEFORE YOU SPEW VENOM.

The one that slays me the most is that health care reform was done behind closed doors. This was brought to the light again by a recent CNN clip that is currently viral on Facebook and other social media sites. Funny, if it was so secretive, why did I watch it all live stream on my computer at work? Why is it I could find the bipartisan summit on most major networks and CNN? I watched that live stream from work as well.

How many of those who are buying into the BS bothered to listen to the State of the Union address explaining health care reform? The Congress vote? The health care reform summit? How many of the naysayers have read any of the reform bill itself? I’m betting none or very few. I have followed its entire journey from the get go and am pleased to say that other than the comprises that were agreed upon and made public, the bill stands as it was originally presented. There are no hidden agendas. There are no behind closed door decisions. It was all out there. As someone who works roughly 60 hours per week, if I can take the time to be educated, anyone can.

But here’s the rub. They don’t want to be. They don’t want to know the truth and they don’t want you to know it either. And it doesn’t make very interesting copy for the media to report, Health Care Reform Passes ~ Everyone is Happy! And no one wants to look back and say they are wrong. People think it’s better to keep the pot stirred than to sit back and see what happens and how it benefits the populous. Or doesn’t. But in the meantime, the anger, aggression and flat out confrontational lies get no one anywhere.

Here are some facts for you. After HCR passed, recent polls showed that the popularity of the bill increased by 9% over GOP opinion previously stated. Another fact. The DOW and NASDAQ finished higher than it had in years the day the bill was signed. I got bad news for the GOP. America is happy.

I have some things to ask of you. Don’t believe every thing you hear. Take some time and do your homework. I recently asked someone who said to me…..”well Obama is going to …[fill in your favorite]….” I asked them, show me where he said that. They said, …“well I can’t. All I know is what I’m told..” And who told you? Rush Limbaugh or someone else who is obviously misinformed? The next time someone spews the trash at you, simply ask them to show you where that is stated. I have found that shuts the majority of the ignorant down on the spot and hopefully gets them to think. A great source is the internet and That’s another great source to share with folks. But again, this will only work on those who want to be educated. That is worth saying again. FACTS ARE ONLY FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BE EDUCATED. Let’s face it. There are plenty who and enjoying the fray and you will not change their minds. I live in a very red county and I should know. There is saying out there and you can make up your own mind if it’s worth it. One of my dearest friends once told me this. Don’t wrestle with a pig because the pig likes it and you just get muddy.

This girl is wiping off the mud and will continue to live in the truth and (dare I say it) be happy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh Yes He Did!

What an amazing day in America’s history. For the first time in a long time, legislation recognizes the little guy and not big business. Also for the first time in a long time, I am so proud to be a part of this country and this process.

Two years ago I had the privilege of listening to presidential candidate Barack Obama speak here in Eastern Oregon. He spoke of changing health care and giving the opportunity for affordable health care coverage to millions of Americans who are struggling without. He spoke of how he would make discussions viewable to the public by putting it on CSPAN. How he would give everyone in congress the chance to have a say regardless of your party line. I looked at my son as the gymnasium erupted with applause and shrugged, “beautiful thought if he can do it”. Guess what folks. He did it.

Not only did he do it, he did it just how he said he would. Even as I type that I can hardly believe it. In my lifetime, I had yet to witness a true declaration and follow through quite as this one. I think maybe that is why so many on both party lines were shocked at his audacity and conviction in getting health care not only done, but just the way he said he would. Are we truly so jaded that we cannot see that we for once have a leader that has kept good on the promises he made on his campaign platform? I think so. Even I, Mary Poppins that I tend to be, had doubts that it would be as he said.

Barack Obama campaigned on change we could believe in. He promised to pay attention to the little man and do what he could to change outdated policies that no longer were working. He campaigned on a promise of Yes We Can. Oh yes we did.

Through it all the conservatives for big business did all they could but pull knives to get this stopped (and maybe a little of that, too) through lies, tainting, slander and just all around bad behavior that were not factually based. Our President went above and beyond what I felt was reasonable in including all sides in the debate and hearing everyone. He worked tirelessly toward compromise but when it became clear that if our President said the sky was blue the GOP would argue it was grey, that the show must go on with or without bipartisan support. And he did it.

The best part? Unlike politicians of the past, it’s not win at any cost for Obama. He has stated that he would rather be a one term president to do what is right rather than to do what is popular with the GOP. I don’t think this will happen. Especially once people begin to reap the benefit of this bill. But the fact that he’s willing to hang that out there in order to make a difference for the little guy makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Unique? Oh yes, oh yes folks. We have someone who cares. How lucky are we to see this and feel the benefits of this time and to know that our children and grandchildren will not be without health care coverage. This makes a difference not only for me but for my college age children.

Congratulations, Americans. Not just Yes We Can….but Oh Yes We Did! And the best is yet to come.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BMHA Benefit Polo Tournament

Awwww….spring is in the air. And for this little girl, that means one thing. Polo season! In fact, with a few rides under my belt already, the season for me is looking hopeful.

Every year my polo club sponsors at least two tournaments. And every year we talk about how we “shoulda” done a big benefit tournament. We are done talking about it. We actually have the wheels in motion and are doing it! And it’s going to be impressive.

Mark your calendars for August 13-15 for a time you won’t want to miss out on. Starting on Friday August 13, we will have TooBamBoo playing; a beer garden and a salsa cook off. More details on these events are emerging every day so stay tuned. We kick off that night at 5 PM and will go until 8 PM.

Saturday, tournament play begins at 9 AM. So far, I have almost 4 full teams planning to attend and compete. These athletes are coming from Corvallis, Spokane, Northwestern Washington and Boise, Idaho. Noon on this same day will have a celebrity walk/trot match with local celebrities. We have some committed, some declined and some who need to be committed. I’ll have that list for you as time draws closer. Then after our celebs knock it out of the park, we’ll go back to tournament play.

Sunday we will have championship matches and then a parade of hats! Keep those derby hats out, Ladies after the derby. We have some great prizes starting with a $99 pearl and silver necklace from La Grande Gold and Silver. We also have a $25 gift certificate and gift basket from Cat’s Meow compliments of Erin Wylam. From Grande Ronde Med Spa we have a $50 gift certificate. So Ladies, it’s well worth it to come out and strut your stuff! This will be followed by more tournament play and our awards ceremony at 4 PM.

Admission to this event is $10 per car, a bag of dog food, cat food or a bag of cat litter. Vendors will be on hand including Joe and Sugars with healthy breakfast and lunch entrée’s so plan on spending the day. The La Grande Philly kids will be there and we are currently talking to some wonderful art and wine vendors as well. There will be games for the kids and a chance to win a bottle of soda from Pepsi, divot stomps, booths and of course, exciting polo action right here in Union County.

We still need sponsors for this event. Your tax deductable contribution will go a long way to cover expenses and put money in the pocket of the Blue Mountain Humane Society. Your dollars stay right here and benefit Union County. If you want more information on how you can be a part of this great event, please call Christy at 541.786.1613 and visit Every little bit helps. See you at the polo match!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Diary of a Mad Brown Waitress

I am a waitress. I am a good waitress and 99% of the time, a happy waitress. I was a cheerleader so I know how to do perma-grin. I have Botox® so I cannot frown. I treat people as I would want to be treated if I were the customer. Yes, before you say it, I know not every waitress embodies this philosophy but I believe the majority do. So with that in mind, I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to be just as good of a customer.

First of all, $2 is not a tip. It is a suggestion of a tip. The only time $2 is a good tip is if your total ticket price is only $10. And while we are on the topic of tipping, let me help you with that. It’s not rocket science. A good tip is $2 for every $10 spent. If your total ticket price is $50, then a suggested tip is $10. For $60, $12. For $65, its $13. Its pretty easy to figure out but it’s amazing to me how many people struggle with what to tip. This, of course is based on whether your server is a good server. But let me tell you, if you consistently tip $2 for a $50 ticket, word spreads and your service will not be anything over basic. On the contrary, word spreads if you’re a good tipper and we’ll bend over backwards to earn it. This of course is all based on the fact that your waitress is not crappy. I’m not a crappy waitress.

If your children cannot sit in a chair for the course of a meal, consider hiring a babysitter. This is not to be mean. I love well behaved children and I’ll go the extra mile for them. I am a mom and I get it. But for the sake of all they need to remain seated. I find parents of toddlers let them run around. This puts your kids at risk of having a waitress accidently not see them and knock them over or causing another accident. And if your children throw crayons all over the floor, please make an effort to pick them up. Chances are I will tell its fine and I’ll get it, but make an effort. Please don’t let your kids drag big rocking horses from the play area to your table. This creates a hazard for me and your child when trying to serve you.

If I am taking your order, please look at me. It’s inconsiderate of a customer to not make eye contact with their server. It helps us understand what your needs are and if we can see your eyes.

Please do not shake your glass, beer bottle or other beverage container at me. I will be by to check on you. And if I get behind, a simple “Oh Miss….” will suffice.

When someone in your party asks for an extra and I ask if anyone else needs anything, don’t wait until I come back to tell me. Please give me the opportunity to get it all in one trip.

Please understand that mistakes happen. It’s not on purpose. We truly do our best to get it 100% right. But if a mistake does occur, yelling at me does nothing but make me really angry or make me cry. Is the fact that your dinner is a little late really worth it? People are losing their loved ones in hospitals and many people don’t have enough to eat in general. And you are going to get upset because something with your meal is just a little wrong? Perspective, people. It’s just not that heavy. We will do our best to correct the issue, I promise. I want you to be happy. I want you to come back. Unless you are mean. Then I never want to see you again I don’t care how big you tip. Meanness is inexcusable.

Sometimes the kitchen gets behind when we are really busy or we have a big group. They are trying. I promise. But me hounding them only makes them mad at me and you glaring at me all the time will not make it come out faster. Your ticket is not lost, we are trying. And if my service is good but your food is slow, reducing my tip does not send any sort of a message to the kitchen. Just sayin’…

Please don’t come in 15 minutes prior to closing or right at closing. Most of us have day jobs and we are ready to go home to our families. If you are a late table, and you know you are a late table, at the least, don’t be as inconsiderate to sit there and sit there and sit there after your meal has ended. It holds up the entire staff and we get cranky.

If you have more than 4 in your party and your restaurant accepts reservations, please make them. That way we are ready for you and your table will be ready and your server prepared for your group. Life is better for all.

The most important thing I want you to know is that we are people just like you. The 13th amendment abolished slavery therefore treating us as such does nothing but make us dislike you. Speaking for myself, I am a professional in my day jobs. Waitressing is fun and it affords met the ability to keep my horse and keep my one hobby going. I am not less than you. I work hard to make sure your experience is good. Please look at me as an equal and I will look at you as a guest in my home.

On a final note, I enjoy the majority of my tables. If you have had a bad day, I want to make it just a little better. These are just some recommendations that I see day to day that helps you and helps me to help you to best of my ability.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Does Your Mama Take Her Coffee?

The other morning while I was getting my first cup of coffee ready, I thought of my mom. I don’t know why. I put the non fat milk in my cup and took an eager sip and immediately shuddered from the bitterness. After I added my non calorie sweetener to my cup and relaxed into it, I remembered how my mother would drink her percolated coffee black. And rarely would she take a moment to enjoy it.

I smiled as I thought of terms I had heard that described her. “Salt of the Earth”, was one term that her former boss used to describe her and a statement he still makes to me whenever I see him.

Born in the late 1920’s she grew up in he days of the Great Depression. I didn’t know much about her and how she grew up. I know, as many like her, she never really got over those days of the Depression. It was not uncommon for her to cut paper napkins in half or make you wear clothes two or three times before you washed them. She hung our clothes out on the line to dry and our house was always spotless.

She didn’t work outside the home until my teen years but when she did, it was no office job she took. She cleaned rooms in a local motel and later worked in the laundry room. Not a promotion in my opinion as I would often stop to see her and the heat in that little room in the summer months was stifling.

She didn’t think she would live to be very old or she didn’t want to, I was never sure which. She died five and half years ago at 75 years of age, the last 10 of which she struggled with health issues and dementia. I realized as her time here ended how little I really knew about her or maybe how little she wanted me to know. She didn’t speak a lot about the bad things in her past but did tell the happy stories over and over again. She said you can’t take back hurtful things you say and you always had the feeling there was a story that came with that but what it was I was never told. She was hard on me. And I’m sure I repaid the favor over and over again in my teen years. I’m sorry was not in her vocabulary but she loved the people in her life dearly. Especially my dad. She didn’t marry until her early 30’s and my father was the undisputable love of her life. She and my father had a child pass when she was only two and half. I think she felt like there was very little you could count on in life other than dying.

But every morning, you could count on that deep black cup of coffee that was as bitter as the days of the Depression. Thinking back now, I wonder if she really liked it that way or if she was used to a punishing way of life for so many years that she embraced the biting flavor. I will never know. Even my dad took a little sugar in his. I wonder what that says about him? That will have to wait for another day. But for just a moment, I sure did miss you, Mom.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

La Herida Abierta or The Gaping Wound

I can no longer be silent. I’m angry. In fact I am so angry it took me awhile to sit down and write this. I wanted to write a factual blog on immigration not to offend anyone and leave my emotions out of it but I can’t. Immigration issues were brought to my attention several years ago and my passion regarding the issue has begun to increase.

First of all, let’s look at the crusade to “shore up” our borders. From what? From dark skin? From immigration workers who will gladly take the work that no one else wants? From people who inhabited this continent long before anyone with fair skin and blue eyes ever thought about being here? Not sure what we are trying to “shore up” our borders from. Let’s go back even a little further.

NAFTA, our country’s wonderful Fair Trade Agreement has screwed our Mexican neighbors. I said it. It screwed them. Once the corn industry supported our friends south of the border but no more. With this agreement came the ability for corn to be bought from the US for less than Hispanics can grow and sell it for in their own country leaving the Mexican people with no real way to make a prosperous living. Their journey is full of danger and fear. Hundreds of immigrants are shot in fields and buried without a word and no one hears about them again.

Drugs? Yes drugs are an issue in Mexico just like they are in any country. In a bad economy the problem only increases. The US’s drug problem does not solely come from Mexico. Plenty of blonde, blue eyed people manufacture meth in their kitchens with their children sitting at the dining room table. This evil entity knows no boundaries or borders.

A few months ago I was told a story about an immigrant who was working a hard job 6 days a week for minimum wage. Her work load continued to increase as more and more labor was piled on to her day. When she fairly asked for a raise, he boss told her that he would not give her a raise. He told her that since she was Mexican this was a good job for her and she should just be glad to have it. When I heard this story I felt as if I had just been punched. Being here most likely illegally, she had no recourse of action for the prejudice that was just handed to her. Would this boss have said no to a white worker? And if the boss couldn’t afford the raise, then just say so. But to tell her it was because she is Mexican is criminal.

Some say if they want to be here, they should be legal. How naïve. My son had a girl dropped into his high school that knew no English. They handed her a schedule and sent her on her terrified little way. A few hours into the day, someone knew my son was advanced in his Spanish classes and brought her to him to help her. Let me repeat that. A student brought her to my son, another student for help. No adult or administrative professional offered to help her in any way.
Okay….for the sake of argument, let’s enforce them being legal. Do you know what it costs for an immigrant to become legal? How about you look into that and ask yourself if you could afford it. Now, let’s lay a citizenship test in front of you. Can you pass it? Could you pass it in a language that was second to you? Okay. Let’s force them to become citizens. But MAKE IT FAIR.

Bottom line, Hispanic immigrants (the one’s who make it) are in this country to make a living at jobs that most whites do not want and they are hired by people who can pay them less than they can pay whites. And they are here because our governments fair trade law have drove them out of their own country because they can’t make a living there any longer. So when you start talking about keeping them south of the border, imagine someone coming in to your home, taking away your ability to make a living, forcing you to separate from your family and loved ones. In your new location, no one will help you with your new language, the only job you get is long hours with hard labor and no hope of advancement. But you are glad to do it because you have no other options and you know this will be your life for the rest of your days. Glass ceiling? How about low ceiling. How about a boot on your forehead forever. No retirement. No health care. No luxuries. This is it. Forever and always. Last I saw, the 13th Amendment was abolished. Apparently not.

If what I have said here makes you angry, good. If you are angry because you disagree with me, what is your heritage? Did your family stop at a little place called Ellis Island? If so than you were given a fair chance in the greatest country in the world. Our southern neighbors deserve the same. And if you’re angry because you didn’t realize things were so bad for your employee, friend, or neighbor than do what you can to get their voices heard. It is 2010 in the greatest, wealthiest country on the planet. Doesn’t this all seem a little ridiculous? End the bigotry. End the unfairness. Let them work and earn a living and pay taxes and contribute the economy where they can work, earn a living, pay taxes and contribute. It’s time to stop the slavery.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Regis Opens House to Public

Open House Showcases Regis’ Competitive Edge
Parents considering high school options
should attend on Jan. 31st

On Sunday, January 31, 2010 Regis High School will host an open house for families who are considering education options for their children’s schooling. The Regis Open House will be held at 550 West Regis Street in Stayton from 1 to 3 p.m.

The purpose of this open house event is to let the public see first-hand the quality of education delivered at Regis High School. Parents and prospective students will get the chance to meet teachers, coaches and current students. Students who represent clubs will be available, as well as coaches who lead athletic teams. Clubs such as the Regis Fly Fishers the Blazers will have interactive and educational booths.

There will be student hosts acting as personal tour guides. “Last year, I really loved working with the incoming freshmen. It’s a lot of fun to get to know them before everyone else does. I look forward to meeting more students this year!” said eleventh grade student Michael Ripp.

There will be displays featuring student’s work in science, art, physics and more. In addition, the school will feature Picturing America, a set of 36 large prints that are a traveling art display provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

The public is welcome to attend this open house. For more information, call the school at 503.769.2159.

About Regis High School
In 1963 Regis High School was built by a group of dedicated families from the surrounding area. Regis is a Catholic educational community that is open and accessible to any student who is looking for values-based education. For more than 30 years, the Regis High School Foundation has provided financial stability to the school and has granted merit based scholarships to more than 123 students totaling $34,300 since 2004. Regis affirms the uniqueness and dignity of individuals, inspires the pursuit of excellence, fosters faith and develops a commitment to service and justice through a balanced academic and co-curricular program. To learn more, visit or call 503.769.2159.

# # #

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When the World Gives You Lemons...

Manifesting is something that's been new to me in this past year. It's true that they say people pray more when times are tough and they are up against a wall. We will try anything. Beg, plead and borrow to get out of whatever jam we have currently got ourselves into. That deserves some ephasis. Whatever jam we have gotten ourselves into.

It was just one of these situations I found myself in this time last year. I got a hold of a book at a used book store called "Ask and It Is Given". Okay. I'll be honest. I got the book awhile ago. But circumstances being what they were, I finally got it out. Being honest again, a little churchy for me. The beginning has the biggest skeptic cringing just a bit as to whether or not this is even possible. But as you go through the book and they talk more and more about manifesting your future, I found many jewels inside that I could use in my every day life. It even gives you different scenarios to focus on for different situations in your life.

One of the best jewels I received from this book is not to focus on money but rather focus on what money brings to you. In my particular case (and many others), money brings security. So in my meditations, rather than ask for money, I would envision what security would feel like. A warm house, food in the refridgerator, reliable get the idea. It works!

This book also states that for a manifestion to take hold in the universe, it needs to be a steady vision for at least 90 seconds. This really is harder than you think it is. To hold one thought in your mind without distraction for 90 seconds. I'm getting better at it but it's not easy. Again, it works.

Also, you need to know that the Universe has a sense of humor. You need to be very specific in your requests. For example, you may not want to envision a new car without adding that you would like that new car without the old one being wrecked, stolen or (worse yet) reposessed.

Another thing is that we as humans tend to focus on the negative. I don't know why. Negative thoughts creep in all the time. We can't help ourselves. But the next time one of those negative thoughts enters your mind, make sure you let the Universe know that that is NOT the outcome you desire.

And always, always end your manifesting and meditating with gratitude. Gratitude is the key. Without it, you cannot expect the Universe to give you more. And give it time. And trust. Put the wheels in motion. Do your part and watch it all unfold. What a beautiful thing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

There is Always Next Year

I have been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan for the past 34 years. It is hard to think of a time where I was more proud of my boys than today. Yes, our playoff hopes are all but dashed at the time that I write this, but the courage, compassion and heart my team showed today could not have left me more proud of my boys and the Steelers organization.

Ike Taylor delivered a most unfortunate hit on off balance Miami 3rd string QB Pat White that left him with yet unidentified injuries. Ike Taylor was there at his side as the cart carried him off the field. His remorse still evident on the sideline plays later. What a contrast to the dark days of Jack Tatum who delivered a paralyzing blow to Daryl Stingley without a word of regret or concern to Stingley or his family at the time of the injury or years later.

Always first to defend my team when they call the Steelers “dirty”, I will concede hard hitting but never dirty. One of the reasons I have been a Steeler fan as long as I have is the organization itself and the Rooney family and their unwillingness to put up with less than class players for the sake of wins like so many other teams in the league.

Even Joe Greene did not like the term “Mean Joe Greene” in his playing days. And you would be hard pressed to find a man with more compassion than him. Play the game? Yes. Mean? No.

Now, to look at the courage of the day. Ben Rothlisberger was hit by former teammate Joey Porter in what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. In obvious pain, Rothlisberger still returned to the game to throw accurate strikes that eventually led to the Steelers defeating the battered Dolphins. I haven’t seen this in a Pittsburgh QB since Terry Bradshaw led his team in the playoffs with a cast on his wrist. You did not see Ben complain and it was obvious the amount of pain he was playing with. Since the success of Ben Rothlisberger, it has been my belief that as Ben goes, so goes this Steeler team.

Are we in the playoffs? Miracles are needed. Most likely not. It was tough year riddled with injuries and a less than strong offensive line. But can the Steelers hold their heads high? In my opinion, absolutely. Looking forward to next season. Steeler fans never die. We just grow older.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Good-bye Gingerbread ~ Hello Crafts

One of the corners in my house is now empty. I hate that. Putting up Christmas trees is always much more fun than taking them down. We love the pretty right out of them around here. When they do come down, they are closed up and crunchy making a pine needle mess from their temporary home to the front lawn.

It’s the first step. Now begins the phase of taking one thing down a day leaving the snowmen for last. I can’t take it down if it makes me sad. Gingerbread tree came down first as it was absolutely necessary. So how does one (who is known as Christmas Christy) begin to wean herself off of the holiday? Here is what I have discovered works for me.

Each year I am often a little disappointed in the lack of homemade items I have contributed to the season. January and February are great opportunities to begin those craft items I’m not in the mood to do in the spring and summer and do not have the time to begin in the fall. Perfect! Out come the craft books, the sewing machine and organizing the craft box which is no easy feat in itself.

This years project? Santa horse blankets! You’ll be able to buy them on Etsy once I have them completed! I’ll let you know when. Also more crocheting! My issue with beginning to crochet again is the last time I did a lot of it, the joints in my hands didn’t get sore and I could see. So even with the new challenge, it’s a great little night time project. What else, what else? Any suggestions for me? Keep in mind the gratification needs to come fairly swiftly as my craft kit is full of unfinished counted cross stitch projects.

Sources of inspiration are everywhere and winters here are long. I am keeping my mind open to the possibilities and as you all know, I will keep you posted.