Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Up in Smoke

"A Pentagon-commissioned report urges the Defense Department to ban smoking in the military, even by combat troops in battle zones, a proposal that quickly ignited a controversy among service members."

I don't smoke and have never smoked cigarettes, but this shit is really pissing me off! Where in the hell do they get these ridiculous ideas? As if the stress levels of soldiers in battle or high stress combat type situations needs to be any higher. They want to take away what might possibly be the only stress reliever that they have in their day. Lord knows they can't drink so who cares if they want to smoke!!

We are talking about adults here folks. If they want to smoke then who has the right to tell them that they can not. This is getting too out of control. The smoking Nazi's have killed off much of the smaller pubs and bars, unless they have put in an outdoor patio area where smokers can hang out, and now they want to tell the folks putting their lives on the line in foreign countries that they too must put out their butts!! Insane.

IT appears that they are trying to use the costs to the VA as part of their argument. Maybe these last few wars have a little more to do with the rising costs to the VA and the new ways in which wars are being fought and the types of weaponry that is being used. Let's blame it on cigarettes anyway.

"The bottom line, it said, is that while the Pentagon and the VA have made strides toward reducing smoking and chewing, “tobacco use continues to impair military readiness.”"
Smoking impairs their readiness!! Are they kidding with this? Well, I guess they must set their weapon down to light up, take their hands off the wheel to take a drag. Just another example of wasted money on a wasted study. How about more time and money spent on improving the services that the VA gives to these people when they return home? How about better mental health treatment and maybe so many returning vets would not be committing suicide. There is much more the VA could be doing for these vets rather than take away something .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Camp Pics & Stories

Great weekend camping. Even though a big storm came through, and we came home early, there was still enough fun , relaxation, drinking and trail hiking to make it all worth setting up tents and getting fire wood.

It was quite warm Friday and Sue & I got there early to set up tents and wait for the rest of the group to arrive. I had brought along a nice chilled Pinot Grigio, a very good hot weather summer white, and she had vodka and something. between setting up tents and playing with poles and rain flys we would sit down and have some more beverage. I was sweating like crazy!! It was hot and humid.

Once we were all there we sat and talked while I was chopping peppers, red & yellow, along with onions to put in the foil meal with chicken, kielbasa and various seasoning. Sue had brought a large quantity of potatoes already wrapped and seasoned in foil. I put the five pound bag of charcoal into the fire pit and we sat to talk and drink some more while waiting for the fire to be ready.

An important lesson was to be learned at this point. I now know why drinking was not an option when I was with the Boy Scouts. You simply can not cook a decent meal when intoxicated!! The potatoes fell apart and we could not save them from the fire. The chicken foil meals were a mess! The chicken was burnt so black that we were able to get maybe two bites out of the centers and the sausage was more like small charcoal briquettes. Lucky for us that we were all smashed and laughed until we all cried.....then we went to the snack box and made it do for dinner.

About midnight I simply was done. I had finished my wine and was ready for serious sleep. I guess they all sat up a bit longer and my friend Vince took a night hike until three in the morning and then went to bed.

I was up first and knew I had to get some water on to make coffee! I brought my French Press and a really good coffee. If you have never had a press let me tell you that it is an excellent way to have your cup 'a Joe. The flavor is the best and it also will kick your caffeination butt!! There were still hot coals in the fire ring so I just got it going again and put the pot of water on to boil. Sue brought some Starbucks cups to use. They have a Bux in the hospital where she works. Just the ticket, along with some almond cookies, to take off the hangover edge!!

Then Vince and I hit a few trails before the storm arrived. How I love walking through the woods. Surrounded by all the green. The trees, the moss, the ferns....I could have gone for miles! We finally had some time to discuss various topics such as cap and trade, the Obama and military smoking debacle, as well as a book that he going to give me to read about the secret societies/religion/Catholic church/Freemasons and the beginnings of man and this country. I can not remember the title, but he says that it is a fascinating read! I am looking forward to reading it. Vince was a political science major so he really knows his stuff, but we rarely have time to talk at work except for a few snippets here and there.

Now I am home and already looking forward to an August weekend. John will be laid off by then and we'll be able to take the dog. It is just too much for me to do without him along. It was amazing how much mental cleansing just that short time was able to give me. I know that I will be able to carry that with me for at least several days now!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gone Camping

Hitting the trail today!! For this past week I have been airing out my tent, that has not seen daylight since our backpacking trip to New Mexico in 2004, cleaned out the pack and have been making shopping lists etc. to get ready for this weekend. Not going too far or anywhere special. Just a local state park, but one that I have never camped at or near in all the years I was actively camping/hiking.

I wish I had been able to take the entire weekend off, but it is hard to do right now as my boss is having personal issues and I don't want to cause too much motion in the ocean, so two days will have to do! I am just excited to get out there and sit around a fire and sleep in a tent.

I am going with some friends who also love to camp, got the camp site and invited me. I am going to show them how to cook some good foil meals and they are bringing some nice white wine for me. Sounds like a fair trade!! I will only have my crappy cell phone camera, but if I take any picture worthy of showing I will post it sometime on Sunday!!

Have a great weekend all!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I Am a Mermaid

"Well, where DO the Mermaids stand? All the "Mermaids"--all those who are different, who do not fit the norm and who do not accept the available boxes and pigeonholes?"

Robert Fulghum, from the article, " Mermaids".

Lately I have been wondering many things about myself. I have been coming close to my class reunion and that has sparked a few random thoughts. Like, why don't I look and dress more like the other women/girls that I graduated with, or why don't I look more like the moms of the girls that I work with? Why do I listen to music that is out of touch with where most of them are and what they listen to?

This whole reunion things has me asking myself why I am not more like them as if it makes me less grown up.

I have seen a few of them on Facebook and they remind me of bank tellers or even the stereotypical school teacher. They have their smart little wedge or short hair cuts, sweater sets with matching Keds sneakers and "mom jeans". This never used to phase me, but now, as I approach the 30th reunion, I am wondering why .......

I loved the fact that I am still so unconventional and quirky. That I only wear clothing in black, white and a bit of red. It has sure made dressing easier! That my musical interests span a wide array of styles and bands with names like the Sick Puppies.

I used to yearn to "fit in". Maybe that was another reason why I "church shopped". because I thought that in order to fit in I also had to have the traditional belief system like the rest of them.

As I read this article today, about the mermaid it made me realize how lucky I am to be unique and not fit into any hole or anyone's idea of who I am , or should be, and what I should be doing with my life. I can not tell you how many people have berated me for not going back out and getting a teaching job! I have stopped trying to explain myself and justify what I am doing.

For those of us who are mermaids I say that it feels good to swim against the current and I like it!!

Marriage, Affairs & Economics

On my day off I usually like to read through many of the news publications that I don't often have time to read. Time, Newsweek, and the like. There was a particularly interesting article, at Time, that caught my attention. It is about the state of the American marriage.

I found this to be interesting because as I was reading other news about the various senators and their extramarital affairs it got me thinking.
How much easier it is for these guys, who have unlimited funds to find easy ways, and have the funds to do so, cheat and do it for longer periods of time and not get caught.

Now, bear with me here, I am not thinking about it myself, but just realized how much harder it would be for the poorer of us to find ways to do such a thing. In order to cheat you must be able to go places, where you think you can not be discovered and when finances are quite limited that is not an option. One must have various electronic gadgets to communicate with said dalliance and if you are poor you might just have a basic cell phone with limited technology. Yes, technology would also seem to be important when one is considering an affair.

You must also have the ability to travel and/or get to out of the way places or countries where you risk less chance of being seen by friends, neighbors and colleagues. This would require sums of money. When one is barley able to afford McDonalds or a cheap bottle of wine getting out of town, let alone out of the country, city, or state, is out of the question.

What is the point? The Time article asks the question why do people still get married. It's not like it was in the old days when people were in arranged marriages, or needed to have many children to toil and till the family farm. Today you can choose to live together without the legal ties of marriage.

"The fundamental question we must ask ourselves at the beginning of the century is this: What is the purpose of marriage? Is it — given the game-changing realities of birth control, female equality and the fact that motherhood outside of marriage is no longer stigmatized — simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it? If so, we might as well hold the wake now: there probably aren't many people whose idea of 24-hour-a-day good times consists of being yoked to the same romantic partner, through bouts of stomach flu and depression, financial setbacks and emotional upsets, until after many a long decade, one or the other eventually dies in harness.

Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function — to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood? Think of it this way: the current generation of children, the one watching commitments between adults snap like dry twigs and observing parents who simply can't be bothered to marry each other and who hence drift in and out of their children's lives — that's the generation who will be taking care of us when we are old."

I never asked myself that question before John & I got married. This week we will have been together for 16 years. It wasn't for the continuation of a family name, or just to have kids, you don't really have to be married for that. It was because we were both tired of the "dating" scene and wanted someone to "be with". Not someone different every night, week or month. We were both tired of everything else that was out there and now we are beginning to share the other side of life. The part where your crap starts to fall apart and the aches and pains begin. We have also seen each other through several down cycles and poorer times. Another which is due to begin in a few weeks when he returns from what is supposed to be his last job.

We are now so comfortable together that we have become quite similar in thoughts and actions. I am still more outgoing and he more introspective, but the way we react to the outside world is becoming quite the same. Maybe that is what marriage is all about. That the two people involved become really one. Maybe that is why it is so much easier if you do have less in the way of money and possessions. This way you do not yearn for things/people that you do not or can not have. You become happy and content with the things you do have and recognize their intrinsic value as opposed to yearning for the bigger, better or best.

I know many younger people who are still marrying or planning to marry. Yet, many can not tell you why. Aside from the fact that they want the fairy tale wedding or because it is what their parents or God want/expect them to do. I am not sure that I would again. I am not sure that it is even necessary. You can, and I would, still live together within the same boundries that I am living now. There would still be the commitment that I have now. There would just be no legal paper stating that fact. Although that does raise questions of ownership and other misc. if the partner should become ill etc. Insurance is another issue altogether.

No, in this day and age I am not sure that marriage is as important or as necessary as it used to be.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Simple Honesty

I like the simple and honest labels that they have put on the cigarettes that John is buying in India.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Who's Blue

It has happened to many before me. It must just be my turn. I am blue. In a nasty funk. As a matter of fact I believe that I have hit a new low. I have had several drinks and have been under a blanket watching a terrible Lifetime movie. Complete with all the terrible actors that have maintained their careers on this network.

Even though I asked for the promotion at work emotionally it is wreaking havoc right now. Some asshole almost made me cry the other day. Over a stupid cup of coffee!! Can you imagine? Because I could not hear his order, over the grinder, steaming milk and other 20 people in line, he got really nasty and for some reason it just nearly brought me to tears. I have been such a hormonal pile of mush these last two weeks!

My patience has been very short and I can hardly tolerate anyone I work with. My kid is making me crazy and John is close to his final days at work. The adjustment to the pay cut has been drastic and I am not sure how it will work with unemployment. I had really hoped that things would turn around before it came to this. Alas......... reality rears its ugly head! Change is hard.