Posts Tagged ‘Commentary’
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Let's honor the planet for our kids and grandkids and because it's the right thing to do!
[That's one of my sons (Michael) and my granddaughter (Gracie) - just in case you're new to my blog!]
I’ve begun to wonder lately if Mother Earth is trying to shake us off – like a dog shaking off excess water or trying to eject a pesky flea. With all the tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes and the most recent volcanic eruption in Iceland it makes me wonder, “Is Mother Earth trying to rid herself of us, her annoying parasites?”
Let’s face it with every passing day we continue to pollute this beautiful planet. After doing a little Internet researching I discovered that the average American produces 4.4 pounds of garbage per day. Doesn’t sound like much until you cipher it out: 4.4 pounds per day is 9 pounds per week and 1,600 pounds a year!
Think of it, according to a 2006 ESPN article, “The average weight in the NFL has grown… to a current average of 248 pounds.” So that 1,600 pounds of garbage is equal to 6.45 professional football players for every person in America. They’re big… that’s a lot of trash. What’s more I understand that these figures do not include industrial waste or commercial trash!
I can tell you that as I have begun to pack for our impending move the stuff I’ve relegated to the trash is significant. It became obvious to me that much of this refuse comes from impulse purchases for substandard quality products. Purchasing things I did not need in the first place has resulted in wasted money and more landfiller.
It’s time to stop the cycle of waste and what better day to start than Earth Day. Here are a few things we can start doing today (compliments of the United States Environmental Protection Agencies’ website www.epa.gov).
Learn ways to reduce household and industrial waste. Three primary strategies for effectively managing materials and waste are ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’.
· Reduce waste by making smart decisions when purchasing products, including the consideration of product packaging.
· Reuse containers and products.
· Recycle materials ranging from paper to food scraps, yard trimmings, and electronics.
· Purchase products manufactured with recycled content.
Today is the day for us to start making our contribution to save The Mother. Let’s not become like Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout who would not take the garbage out!
I think I’ll hug a tree today and tomorrow and the next day.
Thursday, April 8th, 2010
"For the Birds," Watercolor Sketch
How much, how long, how old? What’s your weight, waistline and bank balance? What’s the time, how far is it and how long will it take?
Living life by the numbers is stressing me out lately and since I’m the artistic type I despise being restricted by rules like one plus one equals two. I much prefer abstract thinking and creative answers.
The truth is I’ve never been much for mathematics, which is quite an irony considering I’m a keeper of the books at my place of employment.
Lately though there seems to be no way of avoiding the numbers. Just last week when my friend SG and I met for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory we were surprised to find the calorie count listed for every dish on the menu.
I knew there was a new calorie count law coming down the pike that would require certain eateries to include this information, but why now – just as I was about to order the white chocolate caramel macadamia nut cheese cake!?
I spent more than ten minutes browsing the menu – not to choose a entree, but distracted by the number of calories in each and every dish on the menu. At the end of day both SG and I decided to ignore this helpful numerical data and dig in to our respective dinner choices followed by our 1220 calorie dessert. I suppose we could have split one dessert, but neither of us wanted to.
So as SG and I left the restaurant after having consumed at least two days worth of calories I can see that there really is no way of avoiding the numbers game.
I’m going to try though. For the next four days (I’m on vacation Friday and Monday) I intend to refrain from balancing my checkbook, weighing myself, counting calories and driving the speed limit. I’m such a rebel! And incidentially for me – won plus won always equals victory!
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
As I watch yet one more high-profile man [Jesse James] exposed for being a cheating, philanderer it makes me wonder why? Why would you betray someone you have vowed to love? Why not just get out if you find the relationship you’re in so unfulfilling? More to the point, does it really matter why?
I recall just a few months ago when Tiger Woods’ multiple extra-martial affairs came to light and I heard more than one person (woman) say, “You might be able to forgive one, but ten, fifteen and eighteen…” With that one more question comes to mind. Are there degrees of betrayal, one being less of an infraction than all the others?
Then just last week it was revealed Sandra Bullock‘s husband screwed around with some tattooed bimbo. All the more heartbreaking is the fact that Sandra had just days before referred to him as someone, “who had my back.” This latest betrayal has left me more disappointed and disillusioned than ever. Watching another woman burned by some self-absorbed, self-important man it frankly getting old and I can see that every betrayal – whether it’s one, a dozen or more – exacts a price.
Every romantic relationship, friendship or human connection experiences some kind of disappointment from time-to-time. We’re not exempt from being inconsiderate and unfeeling at times and each level of betrayal leaves its own damage to repair. Whether you’ve experienced betrayal in the first-degree with limited injury to the surface layers of your relationship or second-degree betrayal where the damage is deeper, but still repairable the idea is to exhibit behavior that is honorable and respectful.
I believe that betrayal in the third-degree leaves behind such deep and injurious destruction as to be unrepairable. I’m not saying that forgiveness should be withheld, but I have a zero tolerance level for this type of egotistic behavior. Extend forgiveness? Yes, and then give the bastards the boot!
[On a side note: My friend AB brought to my attention a story on ABC News, "Wife Wins $9 Million From Mistress," so if all else fails it's time to sue the bimbos who are horning into relationships where they have no business. Maybe if these strumpets are kept tied up in court it will keep them out of the beds of married men.]
Monday, November 9th, 2009
Being without a functional Internet connection over the weekend made me realize that I really am addicted to the World Wide Web. While I don’t partake of chatting, dating or questionable content sites, I find the Internet is chocked full of other things that I find irresistible – news, entertainment, shopping, email and, of course, my blog.
I had planned to use all the extra time I knew I’d have this past weekend (while being forced off the Web) to write, creating a backlog of profound postings for my blog. I went and retrieved my Mead Five Star ***** composition notebook, got a pen and then proceeded not to write a word. Nothing. . . and what’s more I didn’t force myself to write. I just closed my notebook and moved on to who knows what.
I wonder now why I so easily abandoned my writing when, truth be told, if I was connected to our new “information superhighway” I would surely have pounded out some keen observation on some interesting subject with my insightful opinion added as a bonus and then gleefully left-clicked “publish” in my WordPress Blog. Trust me. . . keen, interesting, insightful and gleefully!
I remember it wasn’t so long ago that I didn’t even know what the Internet was or how to use the thing. Now here I am muted without my left-click, right-click and send button. All this makes me question my reasons for writing to begin with.
I’ve been a journal keeper for years and years. Those journals always included my observations, ranting, raving and such, but I’ve found since I’ve been posting on my blog that the things I write are more organized and thoughtful. Instead of unending rants, I now rant and then attempt to find some explanation or meaning. But, do I need the Internet to do that? Of course not!
So. . . tonight, since I’m still disconnected from the Internet, I plan to write something. Something profound, life-changing, Pulitzer Prize winning and I’m thinking I’ll not share it with a soul. No begging please!
Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Autumn Riot, Original Oil, Image Size 5"x7"
I sat nervously on my blue plastic and metal chair along with all the other potential jurors. Finally, the tall attractive woman, who had identified herself as the Commissioner of Jurors, walked in and reported the judge was ready. We were instructed to head across the hallway into the courtroom.
The courtroom was smaller than I expected. There were ten or twelve benches – pews really, without kneelers – made from oak facing the front of the room. Oak, a sturdy, honest wood. Oak, perfect for a courtroom where you would expect the truth to emerge and be the last word spoken.
In this room there were two armed police officers standing along the wall near one of the doors. Close enough to the others in attendance – just in case. There was a bailiff or two, a court clerk at a computer, the court reporter with her stenotype machine and the judge in his black robe perched above us all. In this room too, hanging on the wall just behind the Judge, was the New York Unified Court System Seal and just below that, a bit to the right, was a frame filled with these words in large lettering, “In God We Trust.”
The prosecution sat alone at a large wooden table on the right side of the room facing the judge. Papers were stacked high on the table tucked into a redwell folder, a canary legal pad with a pen lay beside it ready for use. And finally, the defendant with his attorney sitting together at a large wooden table on the left side of the room. He sat quietly with his hands folded, fingers intertwined. At first I avoided looking at him all together. Then I glanced quickly at him and then away as I sat a few rows behind.
The judge, a lean, dark-haired, mid-forties man, began by welcoming us all and then thanking us for our service (that was nice). He continued on with more details. This was criminal trial, there would be twelve jurors and two alternates chosen and then he revealed the trial would last three or four days.
“Oh no,” I thought. My financial hardship excuse just flew out the window. Our state law requires each employer to pay for three days of jury duty. My mind reeled trying to think of another viable excuse.
The judge asked if anyone needed to be excused and that they should approach the bench to confer with him somewhat privately. About a half dozen people approached and all but one left the room through the rear door.
The process continued with 19 names being randomly chosen from a tumbler. These jurors would be questioned to reveal any prejudices and to determine their appropriateness to be a juror in this particular case.
As I sat on the hard, oak bench I silently repeated, “Not me… not me… not me.”
With that the court clerk drew out a slip and called out, “Juror 93, Lorraine Mulligan.”
I rose with a nervousness I’ve not experienced in many moons. All eyes watching as I walked to the front of the room and joined the others in the jury box. We the 19 were seated, each stated their name, occupation, marital status, etc. We were asked questions, lots of questions.
Can you promise to convict if you find the defendant has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? Can you promise not to be swayed if you feel the evidence and testimony has been persuasive enough? Can you promise not to be pressured into changing your opinion if you feel your position is correct? Do you have any reason why you may not be able to fairly judge or convict for moral or religious reasons? I sat quietly. Could I?
Once the questioning was complete we returned to Room 37 to wait while the attorneys and judge conferred. It didn’t take long before we were herded again into the courtroom. Twelve plus two had been selected from this first group of 19 – very unusual we were told. Names were called off. Stand all whose names have been called. I stand with the rest. Twelve plus two.
(To be continued. . .)
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Full Moon, Watercolor, Image Size 4.5" x 5.75"
I received a summons for jury duty a few weeks ago. Throwing it, unopened, into a pile of papers on the kitchen table, I completely forgot about it. That is until I received a letter notifying me that I was Juror 93.
I had intended to call in and make some excuse (financial hardship, that would work) in the hope of being relieved of duty. But it was too late for calling and making excuses. As Juror 93 it was my responsibility to call in for the recorded message and if selected it was my obligation to be at the courthouse on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. Not only that, the jury duty summons is a bit scary and I think you get in big trouble if you don’t show up.
I can’t say I was surprised when the voice on the recorded message informed me that my number was up. It was my turn to be a part of our process of justice.
On Sunday afternoon Tom and I took a drive to find out just where the courthouse was located. I’ve never had an occasion to visit our county offices or the courthouse so a field trip was in order. Finding out just where I needed to be and how long it would take to get there would remove a little of the stress I knew I’d be feeling the next morning.
I showed up at the courthouse with plenty of time to spare and stepped through the front door only to be greeted by two uniformed officers. My purse was placed on a conveyor belt that would take it for a ride through an x-ray machine as I walked through the metal detector.
Once we were both were cleared for entry, the tall brown-haired officer asked, “Are you here for jury duty?”
“Yes,” I replied in my most honest and upstanding citizen voice.
“Down the hall, take a left, through the double doors into room 37,” I was instructed.
Room 37 was classroom style, blue plastic and metal chairs arranged in rows, with more chairs lined up all along the walls. A large wooden desk, perched on a platform, sat right in front. Hung on the wall right behind the desk was the New York Unified Court System Seal and just below that a frame filled with these words in large lettering, “In God We Trust.”
The room was about half full when I arrived and quickly took my seat. Not in the front and not in the back. I guess that’s who I really am. Not a radical and not a kiss ass. On each chair was a clipboard, a pencil and a form to be completed with your name, address, place of employment, etc. After completing my form the woman beside me and I struck up a conversation. Small talk, of course, mostly about how we hoped not to be chosen. Or maybe it was just me saying that I hoped not to be chosen. She was more concerned about whether we’d be fed lunch.
As the clock edged toward 9:30 and the room was filled to capacity, a tall attractive woman, who identified herself as the Commissioner of Jurors, began giving a brief explanation of the process and answered any questions we had. We would only be fed lunch if we were on the jury and in the midst of deliberations. Otherwise, we’d all be on our own for lunch and lunch would be on our dime.
I sat ready with my excuse – financial hardship.
(to be continued…)
Monday, September 21st, 2009
Another Monday is at hand and I am happy, albeit surprised, to report that my letter to the CEO of DirecTV netted a positive result. The CEO’s assistant telephoned last evening and things seem to be resolved. Tom tells me the CEO probably has many assistants, but I don’t care. It’s the results matter most.
I remember just one week ago stewing in anger. What’s more, that day was spent stressing, anxiously obsessing and then, ultimately, maddeningly wasted. Looking back now, the best course of action was to write a letter, send all my negative energy away and await a response. No amount of worry or brooding would bring about a desired outcome. I know all that is easy to say now on the heels of my telephone call.
I suppose what I’ve learned from all this is that if you see or experience some kind of injustice, it’s important to “speak out.” With pen and paper or with computer and printer, speak out. There are lots of things that happen in our lives that give good reason to complain, but complaints thrown to the wind or complaints vented to a friend can net few, if any, results.
As I’ve gotten older and more aware of national and global issues, I can see injustices all around. Perhaps it’s time to send a well-thought out missive addressing those issues to “the people in charge.” I haven’t ever been a real “political” person. Most of the time my day-to-day life is all I can handle, but maybe the time has come for me to be a little more political and a little more verbal.
I’d almost forgotten how important written communication could be. And while we’re at it, why restrict communication to complaints, how about some gratitude, kudos and encouragement. Sending thanks, well wishes or just telling someone you love them can bring a smile and make a day. Imagine how you’d feel, opening your mailbox and finding some unexpected note with love inside. I can imagine it and I know it feels good.
Anyway, this Monday has not been a day wasted and the day isn’t over yet! I’m glad of that as our time here is too precious to waste a minute. So tonight I’m going to enjoy a movie with “The Girls,” and only productive complaining is allowed!
Friday, August 21st, 2009
One day you’re a diamond and then you’re a stone. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. Sometimes you’re strolling through Downtown Albany, wearing your crisp, new, white jacket with over-sized black buttons and a bird craps on your lapel.
It’s always risky for me to wear white. I’m very aware of that fact. Truth is I’m prone to dripping, dropping and drooling so avoiding light colored shirts, sweaters and tees is a must most of the time. Since I’d successfully worn a white sweater a few weeks ago (in spite lunching out with my co-workers), caution got thrown to the wind.
So on Wednesday morning when my new white jacket with the big black buttons called out from the closet, “Pick me,” I just couldn’t resist. The new me could handle the responsibility required to wear white. I recall taking great pains to stay pressed and clean as I readied for work. My strategy for the rest of the day, refrain from having coffee while in the car, pay special attention when drinking my cup of Yemen Mocha Java at the office and act like a lady (not to imply that I don’t act like a lady most days). As the day progressed, the courage to wear white enveloped me.
I was reveling in my whiteness as I left the office to pick up my new favorite salad at my new favorite deli. With salad in hand, I stopped briefly to window shop on the way back to the office. As I was eyeing up a little green teapot I thought would be perfect for a friend (the new me thinking already about Christmas), I was assaulted, “Plop!” At first I thought it was a large droplet of water and since I was wearing my hair braided with the long braided tail slung stylishly over my left shoulder I didn’t readily realize a pigeon pooped on my lapel. When I scooted my hair out of the way I found a large, greenish-brown, slimy, oozing blob on my new white jacket.
What had I done to deserve this humiliation?! I was innocently thinking of someone else, “Why Me?!” Honestly, the pigeon poop was so large and hit so hard that I thought I might have to see a doctor for a dislocated shoulder.
Okay I know I’m overacting and exaggerating just a bit, acting as if this malicious pigeon just had it in for me, stalking me as I walked innocently from my office building, getting me in his slights and then waiting for the perfect moment. “PLOP!” “HA!”
I know. . . I know. . . sometimes shit just happens in life. Get over it.
Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
Here it is, the white-knuckle, hair-raising, frightening...... Ferris Wheel!
Finally, on Saturday we got a day filled with sunshine! It’s been raining here almost every day since June 2nd and I’ve considered ordering lumber to begin building an ark. Don’t be alarmed, I’ve not gotten word from the Big Guy upstairs, but sometimes circumstances dictate the best course of action. And then the sun came out. What a welcome relief to finally get some sunshine and just in time for country fair season.
The Cobleskill Sunshine Fair is so prestigious that Elvis even made an appearance and was nice enough to pose for a pic with my husband, Tom!
Last Friday was the first day of our local county fair, the Cobleskill Sunshine Fair. Our Sunshine Fair is (in my opinion) one of the best around. This area is predominantly agricultural, a place where the “right-to-farm” law prevails, so here you’ll find the fairground barns filled to capacity. Cows, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and horses (my favorite) all at the fair for more than a week to be shown off by their proud and hardworking caretakers.
Tom and I took advantage of this break in the rain to visit the fair on Saturday. From the moment we arrived at the fairgrounds we were greeted with a grand mixture of visual and aromatic stimuli. From manure to fried dough, from sky-high, heart pumping rides to fish in a dish, ready to be taken home should you toss enough rings around the neck of a bottle, and enticing stuffed animals begging to be won, but once home more of a nuisance than a prize.
Tom and I would take a ride on the Ferris Wheel, our second year for this daredevil feat. No big deal you might say… well I say since neither Tom or I would consider ourselves the daredevil type we find this ride tantamount to skydiving or climbing Everest (slight exaggeration acknowledged).
How nice that we were lucky enough this year to enjoy sunshine at the fair, but I do recall one rainy day many years ago, Jonathan and Michael were kids, and we’d made plans to meet Bet and Conrad with their kids in-tow at the Fair. The Sunshine Fair had become our yearly tradition by then and when the rain started we decided not to be deterred.
Boy did it rain, not just rain, it poured! So with umbrellas in hand and improvised rain gear, we went to the fair. We strolled around all day, each of us enjoying our fair favorites – Bethy the cow barn, me the horses and the kids enjoyed the rides and junk for sale with the aroma of sausage, peppers and onions, fried dough, popcorn and cotton candy wafting through the air. We all immune to it’s allure knowing we’d packed our own picnic for a tailgating party later.
Oh we were wet, but what fun we had together. The rain did subside long enough for us to enjoy our tailgating picnic and a few cold beers. What fun. If it hadn’t rained, we would have enjoyed ourselves, yes, but the memory wouldn’t stand out. The memory would be just another sunny day at the fair, but a rainy day that ended well taught me a valuable lesson.
Since that day I try to make the best of things whatever they might be. Since that day whenever there is an event planned I no longer hover around the television for the long or short range weather forecast. I always hope for the best, but plan for the variables. That’s my approach these days so while I enjoyed the sun I won’t curse the rain. Sunshine is fine, but rain is okay too.
Get out to your local fair, you'll have a ball. Here... let the littlest Cowboy will lead the way.
Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
Happy Tuesday All. . . yawnnnn. . .! My apology for the lateness of this posting. I’m sure you all were waiting with bated breath for my Monday post (as I’d promised). Remember that forgiveness is divine. . . (Thanks!)
Anyway. . .
On my way to work yesterday morning I was listening to WGNA, our local country music radio station. WGNA sponsors an annual country music festival that also took place this past weekend. As the DJs were rehashing the weekend event they mentioned that the weather had been great, breezy, perfect weather for the festival. Though it did rain later in the day, there was no mention of the rain.
I experienced pretty much the same weather, being around 40 or so miles away, but for me – at an art show – the breeze was an irritation. For them it was considered refreshing and perfect. That’s when I realized it’s all about our perspective, how we see things, and then our reaction to those things.
I recall having a conversation with my sister recently. We were discussing our aging eyesight and she remarked, “As you get older you have to decide what you want to see. Close up or distance, your choice.” Choose what you want to see and choose how you want to see it. My sister has a gift of insight and here was another profound morsel to ponder.
I believe in the midst of my high expectations, mixed with even higher hopes and dreams, I overlooked the blessings all around me – choosing to see the disappointment instead of the gifts.
My love of art is a gift, my ability to paint and draw is a gift, my supportive family and friends are a gift. The fact that I was able to attend the art show with relative ease was a gift. These things I’d forgotten, as if blown away with a gust of wind. But now I am remembering, choosing to see the blessing in the day. Choosing to see the breeze as refreshing.
There were more blessings that day. The kind people who cared enough to remark, an old friend stopped by to chat, my parents joined me later – all these things were good. But because the day didn’t measure up to my hopes and expectations it was deemed (in my mind) a failure.
I’m choosing to stop right there and choosing to see things in a new light. Seeing the breeze for what it is – a weather front – and knowing that life can be messy and unpredictable. That’s life – an adventure to be learned from and adapted to.
On the heels of a sluggish art show, I suppose it would be easy to fall into a “give up” attitude. It’s my choice of how to proceed from here. This is a crossroads where many of us may tend to give up and throw in the towel. I am, myself, guilty of being a quitter in the past. But something has changed inside me. I believe I’m on the right track and won’t be derailed by a gust of wind and too few sales.
The answers we’re looking for may not come just when we expect them, but that’s the twist and the excitement of this thing we call life. It’s our job to learn and choose wisely. I’m choosing. . .