Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family Airport Traditions

This past Easter, I was flying back into San Diego airport when I saw a woman standing in a full length chicken suit to greet her three children coming off the plane. They ranged in age from 8 to 14. I wasn’t able to see her children’s reactions when they initially saw her but I did see them at the baggage claim, laughing and joking about it. The kids didn’t seem all that embarrassed by her…. ahem…. display of affection…. Ok she was pecking their cheeks.  They were very good natured about it.

It brought back memories of my own family’s shenanigans when we pick each other up at the airport. One time, I was greeted by my family at the airport in Connecticut. They thought it would be funny to treat me like the “big California star” and they would be the “hometown hicks”. Complete with orange leisure suits with pant legs tucked into hosiery, overalls with ponytails, mismatched clothes, hats on sideways, etc.  I never got to the car so fast in my life. It took a day or two for my daughter to warm up to these people once we got there. Gotta love my family! I have to remind myself of that occasionally.
A few years later, my sister came to California with her three boys and we decided to greet them with just as much enthusiasm. My younger sister blew up pictures of all of their faces and glued them to popsicle sticks with their name labels “Prince Charles”, “Big Ben” “St. Patrick” and “Naughty Nesie” which we held in front of our faces as they got off the plane. She laughed so hard she cried. Between her tears and the crowd that had gathered, it scared her youngest son who joined in the crying. Of course, we don't have pictures as evidence....who would have thought I'd be blogging about it 12 years later.
It’s gone back and forth a few times. Often times, we don’t bother to ask anyone to pick us up at the airport anymore. It’s not worth the embarrassment.
I saw a new one the other day about a dad in Utah that greeted his teenage son everyday as he got off the school bus with a different costume. I so wish that I had come up with that idea. He’s got all the pictures on his blog…. Great idea!!!! Too bad my children are all grown. Click the link below to enjoy his blog.

Share your family traditions with me. I'll put them on my blog. These are the memories that we cherish and they need to be shared.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Messenger

I love when God uses us to be the messenger  for him….. here is a story of what happened to my daughter Jessica one night when she waited tables in a Mexican restaurant.
One evening a mother came in with her two children, a daughter about 9 or 10 and a son about 7 or 8 years old. They sat down and after a short time placed their order with Jessica. Now Jessica has worked in this restaurant for 6 years and she knows the menu thoroughly. She knows what dishes are supposed to look like and she knows what side dishes go with the orders.
This particular night, there was another table with two women seated near the mother and children. When the meals were ready,  Jess brought them out to their tables and continued on with her work. The table with the two women summoned her over and told her their order was wrong….one of them had ordered the Blackened Halibut but she received Mahi-Mahi. Confused by how she could have grabbed the wrong order, Jessica promised to correct the order and went away with the plate. She noticed her mistake when she saw that the woman with the children who had ordered Mahi-Mahi was eating the halibut. Red- faced she went to the woman to confess her mistake.
The woman and her children smiled and asked if they could tell her a story. Jessica stood while she told the story that she had recently lost her husband and the children’s father. This was the first time they had been out to dinner to this restaurant that they had always enjoyed as a family. The woman explained that her husband always used to order the blackened halibut while she ordered the Mahi-Mahi. Tonight she was given his usual order. She was giddy with laughter as she felt it was no mistake that Jessica had brought the wrong order.  In fact, as further confirmation to her, her daughter usually ordered the corn tortillas on the side and Jessica had brought her flour, again the father’s favorite. While Jessica was flustered by these “mistakes” she too had to admit that it was a little too coincidental for her to be mixing up these orders.

It is a wonderful feeling to be used to bring comfort to someone else. Yes, this could have been purely coincidental but I like to think someone hears our needs and uses others to get a message to us.

I'll be away next week....an amazing opportunity came up (working in the travel industry is a tough job! Honest)..... I'm hoping to blog from the wilds of Alaska....we'll see how good the internet connections are. Keep checking my blog for pictures that I upload. If not, I've got a back up blog ready to go.

Thank you everyone for reading my blog. We reached the 1000 hits mark this week. I don't think there's any prizes for that but I'm grateful that you still are tuning in to hear my babble.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just Be Nice

I had the opportunity the other day to witness an incredible display of stupidity human behavior. I was sitting in my car at the local warehouse superstore waiting at the gas pump along with close to 60 of my fellow citizens. I was parked behind a gold Cadillac with an older gentleman behind the wheel (here after referred to as Mr. Cadillac). To my left was a minivan with a father and son also waiting for their turn to fill up (hereafter referred to as Minivan Dad).

Now, Mr. Cadillac was smoking a cigarette and proceeds to toss the butt out the window of his car. HELLOOOOOOOO….. we are 60 cars deep at a gas station and you’re going to throw out a lit butt. Can someone say…..stupid??? I’m pretty sure the NO-Smoking sign pertains to also throwing the butt onto the gas soaked pavement.

Well, it didn’t dawn on me at first what he had done but it did to Minivan Dad. He proceeds to get out of his minivan, walk over pick up the butt and toss it back in the window of Mr. Cadillac’s car. I’m not sure what he said. Minivan Dad goes back to his vehicle and gets back in. Now I’m not saying that this was the proper way to handle the situation…perhaps a few kind (or stern) words would have sufficed.
Mr. Cadillac gets out of his car with the cigarette butt in hand, walks right over to Minivan Dad’s windshield and proceeds to stomp out his cigarette butt on his windshield. I’m not making this up. I had the best view.  I sat speechless with mouth gaping open. He then calls Minivan Dad a “Stupid, Son of a …..” and leaves the butt on the hood of the car and gets back into his car.

Now, I’m just a-waiting for everyone to get out of their cars when we all get closer to the pumps and have a good old brawl but fortunately, Mr. Cadillac got pumped quickly and was out of there before Minivan Dad and I got our turn. I asked Minivan Dad what just happened to which he reconfirmed what I had just witnessed. We discussed the danger of what  Mr. Cadillac had done and hoped that he would think twice next time he puts a bunch of peoples’ lives in danger. But unfortunately by his show of arrogance, I doubt he’ll change.
I drove off to my next errand and found myself behind another minivan. She had a bumper sticker on it that said:

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Father's Day tribute to my husband

In honor of Father’s day, I’m going to devote this post to my wonderfully awesome husband. The man that has kept me laughing for the last 28 years and the inspiration for several of my posts. Now, if you recall my earlier posts about how he kills the English language or how he almost killed me during a televised soccer game, you’d think I was less than crazy about him. That would not be the truth. I’m going to tell you why I think he’s so special and since he doesn’t spend much time on the computer unless it is to shop on Craigslist… I’m pretty sure he won’t be reading this so it will be our little secret.

If you think about it, it’s pretty incredible how God took a young man from Ecuador and a young woman from Connecticut and dropped them both in Southern California and they met and fell in love. He worked with my cousin and I went in to borrow her car soon after I moved here to go job-hunting. She locked her keys in the car that day and my “future” spouse came to pick the lock for us. A trait that I didn’t realize I’d be looking for in a future husband. Now this is where the story changes a bit….he says we did it on purpose. I blame my cousin and of course, my story is the right one.

I knew I was falling in love the night he took me to dinner at a fancy restaurant a few months into our dating. This was back in the 80’s when big hair and bow blouses were in fashion. If you remember them….bow blouses were button up blouses with lots of fabric in the front which could be tied into a bow. The problem was they were usually made from silky fabric and the bows often came untied. This particular night, we were deep in conversation and it was my turn to speak. Being extra polite, I reached down for my napkin to wipe the corners of my mouth and without realizing it grabbed the ends of the bow that had untied and wiped my face with my shirt. Pure class…. That is so me!! He kept a straight face but his smiling little eyes told a different story. He asked me out again so I knew then that any man that could look past all my faults (there’s quite a few) was a keeper.  

Meeting each other’s families was….. exciting, interesting, challenging. He flew back to Connecticut and during a campfire sing-a-long managed to teach my dad to sing “La Cucaracha”….ok there may have been a bit of alcohol involved.

A few years into our marriage, he took me to Ecuador for the first time. Never having been out of the country, I never stopped to think there were very few blonde haired, green eyed people from his country. While at the airport, my husband chased after the taxi driver who was piling our luggage into his car and left me standing in the middle of his family while they touched my hair and spoke in Spanish about my green eyes. The thought “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy” came to mind. Great people….very warm and welcoming if you understand Spanish….which I didn’t.

We had our two beautiful daughters and he proved to be a great dad and a great provider. The day after our first was born, he broke his leg at work and he was able to spend a few weeks at home while we learned how to parent together. Not many men go to that extreme to be able to be home and bond with his child.

He would dance around the living room with one daughter on each foot. When they acted un-ladylike, he would proudly exclaim “That’s my boy!” He would smother them with kisses when they were little until they giggled….ok….he still does this and it drives them crazy now. He would get off work early to always make it to their away games to celebrate their victories (and losses) with them.

I would constantly hear.... "I want Daddy to do it for me." Fine by me, girls!!

As the girls got older and started to get interested in boys, my husband became a different man. Let me just say that our girls were less than thrilled when dad became active in helping them plan their wardrobes. One of the girls came out one day in a silky lacy shirt to which he insisted she change it or he would staple her sweater shut over it. (See….he’s just as awesome in his parenting skills as I am)

This is them at the annual Father/Daughter dance that he good-naturedly went to at my urging. OK, I'm being nice here about the good-naturedly part.

He’s always told them they could do anything and be anything they wanted as long as they kept God first in their lives. He instilled great morals and values into our family. Something he models for them and also for me…time and time again. Happy Father’s Day, honey!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Working with Teens

God has a way of keeping us humble, especially if you are working for him in ministry. There was no way I was going to feel more superior than anyone else as God would make sure that I messed up to show people that I was real and human. Let me tell you how I messed up with a whole room full of high school students.
We had decided to train about 6 high school students to be leaders in our classes that year. I worked with them….helping them to plan lessons and get discussions started. Some weeks, the other teens were really receptive and discussions ran smoothly and other weeks….we couldn’t extract a conversation if our lives depended on it.
I had the opportunity to take one teen leader with me to a “Chastity Luncheon” offered by the Diocese. It was a wonderful luncheon at the Hotel Del Coronado along with a presentation by a young couple that  have devoted their lives’ work to producing videos and giving talks about the virtues of chastity. This one young man was up for the challenge of bringing back the information to the class and leading a talk about it. How courageous I thought he was!!! Tough subject matter to approach with your peers.
Let me first define chastity because most people only see it as refraining from sexual activity for a single person. From Websters Dictionary:1: the quality or state of being chaste: as a : abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse b : abstention from all sexual intercourse c : purity in conduct and intention d : restraint and simplicity in design or expression 2: personal integrity
This young man, I’ll call him Tom, tried to get the discussion started by asking if anyone can define chastity. Of course, the answer that came out was to refrain from sexual activity. Tom then tried to get them to elaborate on that definition, he was trying to get them to realize that it meant purity in conduct for all persons not just unmarried but nothing was coming. So…… feeling like I needed to save him…..I stepped in.

 Note to self….when teens are discussing sex…..say nothing…do nothing….let them talk. DOUBLE NOTE to self….. when your own teen is part of the discussion….double shut up and do nothing!!  I opened my mouth and this is what came out…. “I’m a married woman and I practice chastity.” Then I said….”Think about what that would mean.”

 I immediately heard a deep guttural groan come out of my lovely daughter. To her….it sounded like I was asking her peers to think of her mother in a sexual way? NOT COOL MOM!!!!
 I immediately backpedaled and tried to save the discussion which now erupted into complete and utter chaos.
It was a silent ride home as she hissed “Don’t ever do that again.”

Friday, June 10, 2011

How I got my nickname....well one of them.

I’m going to share a little secret with you….apparently I’m not alone in my secret. I’m not proud of it but when you Google it….there are lots of pictures of people who have done the same thing. I’m not sure how I did it…other than I was in a hurry and not paying attention.
When I used to work as a Director of Religious Education at my local parish, I would leave for church earlier than my family to get things set up for religion classes or meet with people that couldn’t meet during the week. One Sunday, I was particularly rushed and ran out the door without one final check. I had 2 meetings before Mass, set up classrooms, and greeted lots of people without noticing anything was askew.
I took my place inside the church next to my family who had now arrived and sat down to center myself before mass when I looked down at my feet and gasped. At that exact moment, my then teenage daughters also noticed……I had on two different shoes!!!! They were both brown slip-ons with a very slight heel.

Well, you know what happens when you try to suppress a laugh…..snorts, guffaws and the like just burst out of us. At this time, me, the woman who usually is the one giving people the dirty looks for talking in church, (Really….it was required of me by the pastor to….ahem….silence them) was given the dirty look from her husband for fooling around in church. Ok….I can get thru this….really I can….I can do this... almost...Nope….losing it again!!!  We managed to pull it together for Mass as long as we did not so much as glance at each other. A simple glance put us over the edge again and again for the next hour. I sat there wondering how I was going to get through the rest of my morning without anyone noticing. I was supposed to speak in the high school classroom that morning. I’d never hear the end of it.
Mass finished and just as the children were dismissed to go to their respective religion classes, I high tailed it over to the high school classroom….thinking I could find a way to hide my feet. We had lots of bean bags and throw pillows on the floor so I very cleverly kept one foot hidden underneath while I spoke. They never suspected a thing except my teenage daughter who still could not look me without breaking out into laughter. I made it…. I did my talk and left to go back and hide in my office until class time was over. I was feeling very good about myself…I had pulled it off!!! Yes!!
Nope!!! Out on the patio, my good friend Connie, notices that I’m hobbling (I had recently pulled a tendon and was walking with a slight limp) and says what’s wrong with your foot. And then she notices…. My shoes!! Now there are friends you can count on to support you when you are down and there are friends you can count on to laugh with/at you. What kind do you think Connie is? You guessed it…. That’s how I got my nickname….(she calls it  my “Indian name”) Princess Two Shoes!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hey y'all!!

My girls out did themselves this year with my Mother’s Day gift. As I said on an earlier post, they often tease me about having a “Mom’s hates it” face when I open gifts. This year, I was especially nervous when I opened my gift from them. It was flat and wrapped in tissue paper and felt like there was nothing in it. They waited anxiously for my reaction. Figuring that the only thing that could come in that shape and weight would be an 8x10 photo, I was expecting to burst into tears with emotion. Instead, I received 4 identical pieces of paper printed from the computer. Quickly scanning for some clue as to what the papers revealed…..I hit on the words “Emotional Traffic” and jumped to the “logical” conclusion….they think I’ve lost it and they are committing me to some sort of therapy???? What I didn’t realize was that this is how concert tickets come now-a-days, you order online and print them yourself….not the little 2x4 inch tickets on card stock of my day. It slowly sunk in (OK….they had to explain it to me) that they were taking me to a Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan and Band Perry concert. YEEHAW!!! I was so excited.
Now it’s been more than a few years since the hubby and I have been concert going folk. So…. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I came out dressed in what I thought appropriate (ok it was a joke….not really going out like that) but was told “Go back and change, Reba, you’re not going out with us like that!!” Hubby came out dressed for a luau... they didn't like that either. My, how times have changed….the kids are telling us how to dress????

We decided to get a bucket of chicken, drink some beer (wine in my case) and tailgate like the other  folks do it. I may have had more fun with the tailgate part….that is until the girls figured out that my zealous picture taking was not because I was having such fun but as fuel for this here blog!!! I was instructed to put my cell phone away before I got us into some serious trouble but here’s a few shots of what I saw….

                                                   Lots of this stuff!!
                      Parking lot line dancing class! Notice...boots with shorts.
Jessica and Blaine....that's the young man that converted her to country..... it took a while but she's finally come over to our side. Thanks Blaine!

I also learned a few good tips for going to concerts. Apparently, you do not need a cup to make mixed drinks….if you take a swig of Jack Daniels and then a swig of Coca Cola….you only need to shake your head and it’s mixed.  Isn’t that cool? Probably very environmentally friendly too….no need to waste cups.  (I wasn’t allowed to photograph this….again girls were concerned we’d get our you-know-what’s kicked.)
When they have only 3 port-a-potties for a whole parking lot of people consuming beverages….drastic measures have to be taken.  Maybe that’s why they wear boots with shorts….to climb that hill?

Lots of fashion tips:
1.       Daisy dukes are still very much in fashion…with cowboy boots.
2.       No shirts if you are buff and caucasian….even though it was at night and colder than the dickens…as long as you have a cowboy hat on. No cowboy hat? Put on a shirt then.

3.       Why yes…those are camouflaged overalls. Maybe our military should get some of these. Nothing says American more than overalls.

4.       And oh yes…..the raccoon cap. Very classy touch.
I also learned a new expression…. “He’s baked” does not mean he sat out in the sun too long… apparently your children will laugh at you when you suggest that he doesn’t look sunburned?? 
The concert was wonderful. Great music by all the bands but…. I do have one complaint….. How come they don’t have a “No Cowboy Hat” section at country concerts? Or a short people section? This was my view of Tim McGraw. He’s the white blob in the middle with the black hat on….. I don’t blame you if you can’t see him….with all those hats blocking my view…neither could I.

Better view when I crop the pic? Nope...this camera is so lifelike....it's like my real vision.

Thanks girls!!! I loved it. Where are you gonna take momma next?  

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm angry today!!!

If you’ve been following my blog then you know that I try to see the funny side of just about everything. Today is not going to be my usual blog…. I’m on a soapbox. Something has set me off and I’m angry and I have good reason. Anger can be healthy when used proactively and anger can be unhealthy when held in. I’m choosing to use my anger today in a healthy way in the hopes that it will change the views of even just one person, someone, anyone? You also have a choice…. If you don’t want to read today’s blog….hit that little red X button up there on the right of your screen. I won’t be offended. That’s not the stuff that offends me and if you keep reading….you’ll see what does. (On a side note….this is not a blog condemning my spouse….. his momma taught him right and he is probably THE most respectful man I have ever met…and I get to be married to him. Yeah me!!)

This is going to speak to the men who choose not to treat women correctly and the women who allow it. Over the span of my working years….I have experienced more than my share of inferior treatment and I’ve heard stories of women who have experienced even worse than I have. From the drive-thru window where the man exposes himself to the young cashier, to the guy that left his DNA sample in the office bathroom, to the obscene phone call with the disturbing sexual message from someone you know, to the sexual innuendo when a woman is just trying to do her job….and worse things have happened to a lot of good women.   Where does it stop? I’m only talking today about the sexual abuses but workplace violence and discrimination run rampant as well.  While it may seem like it is ok to brush off as “that’s just the way guys are”…. It’s not ok. It is abusive no matter if it happens once or on a recurring basis.
 Abuse is defined as: (thefreedictionary.com)
1. To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
2. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
3. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
4. To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.
5. Obsolete To deceive or trick.

All these speak to using power over someone else in a wrong or injuring way. Yet, we as a society, tend to see it as “boys will be boys” and/or “nothing we can do to stop it”. We minimize it in avoidance of dealing with something unpleasant. Just like everything else…. Talking about it, standing up for oneself, and demanding more from the men we associate with will help to open up the eyes of some. Unfortunately, when women do speak up for themselves, it is commonly said “She must be PMS-ing” or what a “b” she is. In my opinion, this is just another way to make a woman feel inferior. To make her feel like her opinion doesn’t matter. Since when does assertive mean PMS? Women stand up for yourselves!!!! So what if they think it is hormone related!!! Let them be afraid you will go on a hormonal tirade.

1 in 4 girls will experience some form of sexual abuse before she reaches 18.
There are more than 39 million sexual abuse survivors in the US.
More than 60% of pregnant teens have been sexually abused.
20% of sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8.

My message to you:
Women stand up for yourselves. Teach your daughters to demand respect for themselves.
Men….those statistics above….it could be your daughter.