Friday, July 4, 2008

It's Our Independence Day!

"Freedom is Not Free". No truer words were ever spoken. Here in America, an alarming number of us think freedom is something we're born with, not something we fight to have and to hold. For those Americans, I'm here to tell're wrong. See this fine young man in the picture below? The one holding his infant daughter? Look at him closely...
That's the face of a man who is mere days away from heading back into the fray of the War on Terror. It's the face of a man who is leaving his wife and child and going back to a region of the world where bullets fly, bombs explode, missiles are launched. It's the face of a man who stands up for you and me and everyone else in the world who craves freedom. It's the face of a man who does what has to be done because it's the right thing to do. It's the face of a man who has volunteered to go back into the hotspots of this war, not because he is a warmonger, but because the battle still rages and his job is to help win it. For us. For you and for me. It's the face of my son. I'm proud of my son. I'm proud of the job he does, just as I'm proud of all the other men and women who are fighting for our freedom and for the freedom of other human beings on this planet. Those military men and women all have this one thing in common; they're willing to sacrifice their comforts, their joys and their well-being to pay for our freedom. Thank you. Thank you, Nick, and thank you to all the others who have done, are doing and will do this. As an American, I appreciate what you do. As a mom, my heart aches with fear and pride and worry and wonder because you're my baby and I want you safe at home. Everytime you head into harms way, Nick, I realize anew the truth of that saying; freedom really is not free -
If you'd like, you can leave messages for Nick and for his wife, Jodie, at her blog. Click here.. They're currently stationed in Okinawa, so while Nick's deployed, Jodie will be there alone - away from family - with little Kara. As a military spouse, she's paying a price for our freedom, too.
Happy Independence Day everyone. While you're out celebrating (and I hope you are!), take some time to remember and thank all of those who are paying for our freedom.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mine isn't a "feature", but this one apparently is....

I was doing a little shopping on the other day, checking nightstand styles for our bedroom. I found one that I sort of liked the looks of, so I investigated further to ascertain its attributes. Here's what Amazon told me about it: Ass? Since when is an ass a feature? Is it giving me a new ass? That might be a good selling point. I mean if they listed me, personally, on Amazon, I'm pretty sure my ass wouldn't make the list of "Kari's Features". But this ass did make it onto a list so it must be special, right? But exactly what kind of ass are we talking about here? A jackass? A big ass? A smart ass? The dreaded...dumbass? This nightstand actually features an ass like it's a good thing so you'd think it'd be an ass worth having, but isn't the likability of an ass a personal preference? Amazon may think it's a perfectly fine ass, but I might hate it when it arrives. And let's face it, if you could return an ass "to sender", wouldn't a lot of us have already sent our gluteus maximus-es back to Ben & Jerry's or McDonald's or Taco Bell or where ever it is we got them from in the first place? No, no, no....take it from me if you haven't already learned it yourself, an ass is just too hard to get rid of. Better to work on the one you've got than to risk getting a worse one. So yeah, I passed on that particular nightstand.
But just wait'll you see what I did pick out (although not from Amazon - didn't want them slipping me a little something extra into my package, if you know what I mean)! The nightstands I got are slim and trim and by all appearances, completely ass-free. Pictures will follow upon their arrival.

P.S. I am so sorry for this post. Even as I write it, I know I shouldn't. I'm punch drunk from painting our bedroom all afternoon. I think I've inhaled too many fumes. Yeah. That's the excuse I'm sticking with...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Check-Writing: It's a Lost Art Form. AS. IT. SHOULD. BE.

I know you've all seen those commercials for Visa where everyone is dancing around, swiping their debit cards like mad and then some bozo comes along and disrupts the flow by writing a check. Irritating little commerical, eh? But it's even more irritating when it happens in real life. And for whatever reason, it seems to be happening to me a lot lately. I mentioned this pet peeve to Sue, a new blogging acquaintance, the other day. It drives me insane to have to sit and wait for someone to write out a flippin' check. The world has moved beyond checks, people. Get with the program! I mean I try, I really do, not to be so snarky when the check writer is an elderly person. I know that a lot of them don't trust those new-fangled check cards. But for pity's sake, at least they could reach into that ever-so-organized purse and pull that trusty checkbook out at some point prior to the cashier telling them their total. And they could probably even write the check out and then enter it into their register, after they've handed it to the cashier to process. And they might even could fold that receipt into a neat little strip sometime before half of my order is rung up. I have actually had almost my complete purchase rung up while the sweet, little ol' white haired lady in front of me was still standing there organizing her purse. I know, I know, I know....I'm going to hell for being so impatient with the elderly. But I beg of you people! If you know of someone who doesn't understand the beauty of a debit card, tell them about it! Don't let them waste another moment of their lives (or mine, for that matter) on writing a check out in public! I was behind a woman the other day who almost gave me a stroke from the blood pressure spike. First of all, she looked to be about 30 maybe. And she had legs the size of Redwoods (width-wise, not height-wise!). I mean, WOW! When I made the mistake of getting in line behind her, she was standing - in front of the motorized cart she apparently had done her shopping in. Why was she standing? Because, as it turns out, she was writing a damn check, but not before she walked back and forth, looking at the endcaps, trying to find "the perfect" gift card that she wanted to purchase (thereby proving she could walk, when necessary). She finally gets the right gift card, gives it to the cashier (who, unfortunately, was singularly dense and had to be told 4 times how much money to put on the gift card) and then patiently waits until her whole, entire $180 some odd dollars worth of merchandise was all scanned and bagged. Then she breaks out her checkbook. Which she then proceeded to read as if it was the most recent number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. Maybe she was reliving the joys of all her previous purchases, who knows. Once she finally finished reliving past shopping glories and then took a moment to ascertain that her pen worked and her checks were ready for action, she starting writing out the check. (Okay, so here's a clue for you, lady! We were at Wal-Mart. You don't have to write your checks out at Wal-Mart. You hand it to the cashier and she runs it thru her machine and it writes the darn thing for you.) But this forward thinking individual was out to win a penmanship contest because she wrote that whole entire check out like she was penning the Declaration of Independence. She finally finishes, with a big flourish, ...and then turns to her register and transcribes the information off the check into the register - while still holding the check in her chubby little hand. At long last, she's done. Progress is being made. She gives the check to the cashier and I start to cheer. Of course, by now, much time has passed since this check-out odyssey began; cobwebs have set in, wrinkles have appeared on everyone's faces and her young child, a sweet-faced but sadly obese, little boy of approximately 10 years of age could no longer contain his boredom. So he hops on her motorized cart and takes off. Gleefully. The woman, brought out of her stupor by the sound of the motor (and maybe the kid's cackling laughter) promptly takes off after him. Running. As an aside to the whole check writing issue? let me ask you this...if that woman could churn those stumpy legs as fast as she did while chasing that kid down, why in the heck does she need that cart to begin with? Maybe if she spent a little less time on the cart and a little more time walking around, her legs might not be quite so stumpy! But I digress. The cashier is still standing there waiting to hand the woman her receipt and her check back, so I'm still standing there, too, waiting for my turn. I watched the woman instruct her kid to get off the cart, at which point, she got on it and drove it back to the cashier stand. Drove that damn cart the 20 feet back to pick up her receipt. Which she stood up and walked over to get, once she got to the right lane. She made the kid push her shopping cart out, while she drove her motorized cart in front of him. You know, guys, I'm a fairly big woman myself. I've got some bo-hunkus legs and an arse to match. I get winded sometimes when I've shopped too exuberantly, I even get a little tired when I've had to bend over or stretch high to get my groceries off the shelves. But I will be damned if I will ride around on one of those motorized carts when the only thing that ails me is my ginormous appetite. I mean honestly! If you are so big that you can't function like a normal person, do something about it! There are alternatives. I've chosen one of those alternatives myself (I'll go into that on another day, perhaps). Being fat isn't a curse of nature or even just your "lot" in life. It's a choice. A choice of eating that Godiva chocolate or eating that nice, cool salad. I knows I luvs me some Godiva, yumm-o, yessir, I do! And I can chose to eat it (which I frequently do) or I can chose not to. I can chose to sit on my arse reading a book or watching TV (which again, I frequently do) or I can chose to get up and take a walk. I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't made so many of the easy choices (chocolate and tv), my body wouldn't look like a 1st grader's art sculpting project (lumpy and hard to identify!). But there I go, digressing again. I was ranting about check writers, not overweight people who ride on carts because they're convinced they're handicapped, right? So where was I?....oh to heck with it. I'm so ticked off right now thinking of that stupid woman and her cart (I won't EVEN get into what foods she was buying - suffice it to say, it's obvious why her legs are like tree trunks and her arse practically qualifies for it's own zip code). And yes, I know. If I wasn't going to hell for being snarky about the elderly, I've probably sealed my fate with my attitude about the chunky. If I were skinny - heck, if I were even normal sized - I wouldn't dare open my mouth. But seeing as how I'm an veteran plus sized woman, I feel like I can say what I feel. I know how I got this big (and it wasn't from jumping rope or swimming laps, I can tell you that much). And I know that riding all over Wal-Mart instead of walking isn't helping that 30 something year old woman with her weight issues. Just like me standing behind her as she writes a stupid, archaic, time-consuming check isn't good for my blood-pressure!
Okay. I'm done. Rain the criticism down upon my head with your comments. Go ahead, I can take it. Well I mean I can take a little criticism. Don't get crazy with it. No need for harshness and no need to get ugly. I'm just venting here. I'm sure I'll be overcome with shame soon enough. Maybe. It could happen, you know. Yeah. All right. I doubt it, too.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my One Year Blog-iversary giveaway! Leave a comment on the previous post about the giveaway to be entered.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My One Year Blog-iversary Giveaway

I'm finding it hard to believe, but I've been blogging now for over a year! A year, people! One. Whole. Year! Isn't that something? I mean, I always knew I could jabber on and on forever; I'm just shocked to realize that you guys are still reading my blog after all this time! lol But thank you, thank you, thank you for doing so. My contact with all of you is something I look forward to every morning. I check my e-mail first thing to see if anyone's left me a comment and then I go around and try to read all of your blogs. I'm fascinated by our differences and amazed at some of the things we have in common. Blogging has done so much for me and my life. I've learned to really look at all the things around me ('cause you never knew when a good photo opportunity might be staring you right in the face!), I've learned that I shouldn't take myself so seriously most of the time - the things I think are so hugely insurmountable in my life are really just hiccups along the way. I've learned that good health is a blessing and that bad health can strike at even the best among us. I've learned that feeling happy can be contagious and I've learned that ranting and raving every now and again can not only relieve the pressures that build up over time, but it can also give others a little laugh and a place to say "hey, that's happened to me, too!". I could go on and on even more than this with all the reasons I've enjoyed this past year of blogging, but then I might start to bore YOU (yeah, you!), and I'm sure I've done that enough times over the twelve months I've been in Blogland. So let's get to the giveaway.
When we were traveling on our recent vacation, I kept trying to find the "perfect" Blog-iversary giveaway gift. But I kept getting distracted by snow and old presidents and beautiful scenery. (Hey, what can I say? I have focus issues!). Then I came across these little dolls:
They're each about 2 1/2" tall and are made of ceramic/porcelain (like I would know the difference!). They represent the 4 seasons I've been blogging. From left to right, in case you can't tell which is which, is Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. 'Course, seeing as how they're so tiny and all, I can't just give them away without spicing it up a bit, so I shopped until my feet nearly fell off and found these things, too (Gosh, I'm such a lying little drama queen, eh?):
An 8"x8" metal "&" sign, a Morenci Bundt Cake scented candle (Morenci's are THE BEST scented candles I have ever had, bar none!) and a little resin birdie (which I so wanted to keep for myself, but how crummy would that be for me to do?). As a bonus, I'm throwing in 2 audio books; "Shiver" by Lisa Jackson and "Pop Goes the Weasel" by James Patterson. Okay, okay, I have a confession to make here. The audio books aren't new - the packages have been opened and they've been listened to - once - by me. But what in the heck do you do with an audio book after you've already listened to it? (Unless it's a Harry Potter or a Star Wars or maybe even a Dan Brown. I listen to those audios over and over and over and won't even think about parting with them!!) Everytime I go to put a "regular" audio with the Goodwill stuff once I've listened to it, I start thinking that maybe someone I know would want a chance to listen to them, too. (And then I forget to give them to anyone at all so they just sit on the table in the guest room forever.) So....I figured I'd just throw them in with the giveaway stuff. And if I get any flack about it, peeps, rest assured I won't ever do it again (I'll just slip them in the very next package I send out and pretend I don't know where in the heck they came from. lol). Just leave a comment on this post and on Saturday, July 5, I'll draw a winner. (And YES, this giveaway is open to the U.S. - of course - and Canada, the U.K. and APO/FPO addresses (little ol' customs forms don't scare me none! lol).
Thank you all so much for visiting with me time after time and thank you for showing me so much more of the world and the people in it than I ever would have been able to see otherwise.