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Friday, August 28, 2009

The Soldier

He had never thought of himself as having been a good soldier. He drank too much and partied too hard. He sometimes took his work too lightly and his fights too seriously. But he was old enough to fight in Vietnam and had no reason to run from what he considered his duty, so he went... and he fought. When he went home, he realized he no longer fit in. Seeing so many people worry about their jobs, their money, their small annoyances when every day the men and women he had known were dying so that they could worry about those things annoyed him. More than that, it hurt him.
They hated him. They hated what they thought he stood for and what they thought he had done. The cries of "baby killer" and murderer" tore at his heart. To have people think that he and his buddies were killers, that they killed just for the sake of it made him wonder where the spirit of the country had gone. He knew that his fathers war had been different. WWII soldiers had come home to cheers and people who thanked him for saving mom, apple pie and The American Dream. He, on the other hand, had come home to sneers, hatred and signs saying he was no better than a modern day Hitler.

So he went back. He went back to the swamps, to the mud, to the sweltering heat and to the people he now considered his. He went back to the women who treated him like a god as well as the ones who had bombs strapped to their chests as they took their own lives just so that they could kill soldiers like him.

He did this for two tours of Nam. By then the war was ending and they sent him stateside. But he no longer felt like he was at home. So he drank more. He took various drugs to help him forget. He had made it through over two years of Nam without a scratch physically. But the scars on his heart and his mind were irreparable. He no longer knew how to survive without somebody shooting at him. He tried to get help but no one would listen. He was just one more wounded soldier without a scar.

One day, he decided he had had enough. So in a small hotel room in Indiana, he took a gun and he put a bullet through his brain. He left behind one son and a handful of friends. He also left behind a note saying he was sorry. He asked everyone to forgive him but said that he could no longer handle the pictures in his head and the way the world treated him and others who had fought in what so many considered a losing battle. he also said something I have never forgotten. He asked that if this ever happened again that we remember that the soldiers were just doing their job and not to hate them for it.

Sometimes now I wonder... have we listened to him? Or are we repeating the sins of the past and hating the men and women who serve our country during a war that most of us hate?

Twenty Four years ago tomorrow Jerry killed himself. What legacy did he leave behind? What legacy did all the soldiers like him, who suffered for us, leave behind? Do YOU remember them? I do... every March and every time I hear about one more soldier dying. So next time you want to rant and rave over the war, please... can you remember Jerry for me? He was only 33 when he died.

Dear God...

The first thing I want to say is that I hope this letter finds you well and that the questions enclosed in this won't decrease my chances of getting that Godiva Chocolate from Santa later this year. I know you have some pull with him and could convince him to give me coal or even worse, Russell Stovers Candy *shudders*

So please keep in mind that as I write this, I do so with the utmost love. I just have some questions and some things I wanted to say. Some of it will be things you have probably heard 10 million times but I figure if anyone doesn't mind answering things over, it will be You. Some of this is serious stuff and some is just various things I've wondered about.

I have to start with this one. As I sit and drink my cup of Mocha Coffee with it's 30,000 calories per sip, I wonder why You decided to have food be the way it is. Couldn't You, in Your infinite wisdom, have made say, Cheetos, Chocolate cake, Twinkies and other tasty things be the ones that are good for us? Why does it have to be Liver? And Soybeans? And raw carrots? Would it have been so hard to make Liver bad for us? "No! Don't eat that liver! You'll get fat!" would be a wonderful thing to hear.

You know me Lord. You know the one thing I've wondered for almost 15 years now is a simple "Why"? Why is my boy like he is? Is he more special to you so You wanted to mark him? Is he disabled to teach something to me and others whose lives he has entered? But the thought just entered my head that Your son left this life with many marks on him. Maybe in a way, my son is blessed. He has been a blessing to me and many other people. But Lord you know I meant it when I said I would gladly go to You now if it would mean He could be normal. Just say when. I'll be there.

That boy who died in that crash, that drunk driver, those children who died at the hands of their parents, the woman killed by her ex husband... why God? Why? I know life can't be perfect but why do You take the innocent? Why must the weak and the defenseless be hurt? Please... when we meet, can You explain this one to me?

My sister is dying Lord. After two bouts with breast cancer, it has settled in her bones and is killing her. She is only 48 and will leave behind 8 children. She isn't perfect. She and I don't even have a relationship and she can't stand me but she is my sister and I love her. Why God? Why? If she dies, what purpose does it serve? She is one woman, no one important in the scheme of Your Creations. But she is important to people here. Can't you take her later?

I have to ask it. I know you've heard this one too but I'll ask anyway. Platypuses, God?? Ummm...why? Was it just to give us a giggle? They are adorable and all but certainly prove nothing other than you have one hell of a sense of humor. No offense with the hell part. On the subject of why did you make this creature, you know I'm wondering about mosquitoes. Yes yes I know other creatures eat them but they could enjoy a tasty dinner of gnats or fruit flies instead couldn't they?

God, I'm still waiting for You to tell me what You want from ME. You must have a plan for me, a way for me to touch the lives of others, to be of some use on this planet, this small corner of Your creations. I badly want to help people, to serve a purpose, to leave a footprint. So far I keep getting turned away from the places I thought might be where You were leading me. Please don't take too long ok Lord? I want to help... somewhere, someone, somehow.

If I could ask a favor, could you have an Angel who likes to play and read and likes Chocolate be the one who is in charge of those of my children who are up there? When I finally get to meet them again, I'd love knowing they had known of Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Where The Wild Things Are" as well as the joys of chocolate smeared hands. They didn't get to have that here.

Last but not least, thank you for the beautiful weather we've been having. My boys are loving it and Your world looks so fresh and clean. Thank You also for the people I love, this high calorie cup of coffee, the way I feel when I hear a bird sing or see the wind whispering through the branches of a tree on a Spring day. There are many more things I could name but somehow I think You know already. So thanks.

Oh yeah... before I forget. That thing with Your son? That was pretty damn cool of You. Thank you for that gift. I don't say it often enough but I appreciate it.

Love, Janet.

P.S.- You're gonna talk to Santa right? About the Godivas?

P.P.S.- Could you say hi to my dad for me? Maybe give him a hug? I miss him still. Every single day.

I Believe

I believe that cats are intelligent beings with distinct personalities. I also believe that dogs have the approximate IQ of a rock. Any animal that hangs it head out windows at 75 mph & drools & growls at passing cars needs help. I also believe that my first husbands’ family evolved from mutant pit bulls. No insults to any mutant Pit bulls who may be reading this.

I believe in God & Creationism in addition to The Big Bang Theory & evolution. I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive but that the first explains the second.

I believe that when God said we were made in His image, he simply meant as intelligent beings capable of rational thought and compassion. I also believe that He might have put sentient life on other planets that we may never find.

In saying that, I also believe in the egocentricity of the human race. Who are we to believe that we are the one & only or at least the first? Maybe when the Bible says "we" were made in His image, it was really referring to some being on planets light years and/or galaxies away and WE are the ones thought of as a lower species.

I believe Chocolate is better than Vanilla, but I also believe neither is as good as either Cherry Garcia or Baskin Robbins Winter White Chocolate. I believe chocolate CAN make you feel better, at least temporarily… until you get on the scale.

I believe real love of any kind can transcend all the laws of space & time if you are open to the possibility. I believe this because I have experienced being held by a person who was hundreds of miles away. That person also remembered it.

I believe forgiveness is sometimes easier said than done, but I also believe that if you don’t forgive, it becomes an open wound that festers & only poisons your own heart.

I believe that dreams can give you clues to what you need to do in your life & where you are headed. I also believe that this theory dies a quick death when confronted with the naked flying sort of dreams. THOSE are just weird.

I don’t believe Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, etc. etc. etc have green skin and large noses (well some might if they are ugly and hung over) but that they are your doctor, your bagger at the grocery store, your cousin whom you share many memories with or even your local journalist reporting on the world’s ills.

I believe that those who say their religion is the only correct one and if you don't believe it, you are damned (in whatever way their religion damns a person) prove my theory about the egocentricity of mankind.

I believe in alternative healing right along with Western medicine. I believe there is a plant to cure or at least treat any condition or diseases. I also believe we are killing most of them at a fast rate as our forests get cut down, thus killing ourselves ever so slowly.

I believe in the healing power of ones own mind, but not to the exclusion of getting help. I also believe those parents who watch their children die because they believe that if they wait God will heal them ought to be horsewhipped.

On the matter of another form of death, I don't believe in Capital Punishment because I don't believe that we have the right to make a judgment call like that, no matter how heinous the crime committed. That makes us no better than the criminal.

I believe that there are honest politicians, but sadly, I also believe power DOES corrupt and most people are eminently corruptible.

That said, I believe that the vast majority of people are inherently good with a few sick twisted minds turned evil thrown in for good measure to test the mettle of the rest of humanity throughout time.

I believe that a hot bath and a steaming cup of tea can make one feel better. Especially if you follow it up with the aforementioned chocolate.

I believe that children are instinctively the way we should all be but tend to forget when we reach an age where we learn that people are different & we learn to hate… don’t hit, if you’re nice to the others kids, they will be nice to you, share your belongings, and if someone is sad, give them a hug… it makes them feel better.

I believe that Racism is not dead; it has simply been given a nice media & governmental induced sweep under the rug because it is not politically correct right now. I also believe that someday in the future things will come to a very ugly head before we truly learn racial tolerance.

I also believe in Karma & know that sooner or later, it WILL catch up with all those sick twisted minds *cough...current administration...cough* him & they will learn what it is to fear. If not in this life, then in another.

I believe that Chicken Curry is the food of the Gods… along with a nice dessert of anything chocolate & highly caloric. I also believe anyone who doesn’t like Curried foods needs therapy, but I believe I may be being a bit harsh in that assessment.

I believe that the Natives of any developed country (translate… taken over by whites) are still, to this day, the most downtrodden forgotten races, be they American Indians or Aborigines or South African Blacks. They have the highest rates of poverty, illiteracy, preventable disease, death and suicide of any other races.

I believe in equal rights for women. I also believe that in our enlightened society, we still haven’t reached that point. Not when a woman only makes approximately 73 cents for every dollar a man makes for comparable work. That said I also believe most hard core feminists are lunatics (no offense to any hard core feminists reading this. I LIKE lunatics).

I believe I live in the best nation on Earth. I also believe that for too long, we haven’t acted like it. There are third world countries that take better care of their young & old, their disabled & their veterans than we do. With all the wealth and luxuries we have, we need to do more to shoulder the responsibility that entails and quit turning a blind eye thinking it is someone else is taking care of things.

I believe that anybody who can look at our world & see how meticulously it is all put together, how everything is worked out, or look at a gray sky while the sun tries to play peek a boo through the clouds or watch a baby smile up at them in innocent joy & still say that it was all just happenstance, all just a case of the right atom in the right place at the right time & that no higher power had a hand in it isn't seeing what i'm seeing but that's cool.

I believe that our friends can feel like family & we can love them as such & that family can sometimes not even be friends & we can react to them as we would a stranger on the streets. I also believe that when one finds a friend one truly cares for, you need to hold on with both hands because God alone knows when someone like that will come along again. This I also know from a losing experience that still hurts.

I believe that for every action there truly IS a reaction… I also believe in Fate & that fate has many different paths for each action, so the reaction we get depends on which road we follow.

I believe that a kiss from someone you love can make even a dark dreary cold day suddenly seem warm and bright. I know this one is true because I have experienced it.

I believe that there are many more things I could list from the mundane to the deep, but I would much prefer to hear what YOU believe and maybe I’ll elaborate on my beliefs some more some other time. Peace and God bless.

Cat Fight

This is an old post from my old journal. I wanted to post something silly but I'm too tired to think of anything hehe.

Cat Fight
No gentlemen, not THAT kind so put away the camera and the sex toys, you sickos.

If you've read my journal, you know I have three half grown kitten who thinks he is tough but still has a kitty screechy voice, one eunuch who is fat and no longer feels he has to prove anything other than he really is God, and one who is a bit** and is proud of it.

Well, Merlin, the kitten, has been practicing his pouncing "Yeah buddy i'm a tough dude" skills lately & I often find myself watching, belly hurting, as I laugh hysterically watching him get his butt whupped. Merlin weighs MAYBE two pounds and who does he pick for his opponent? Yep, you guessed it... Ferret, the 20 pound freak show cat. I have always said cats have very definite personalities and todays episode clinched that in my head. Merlin kept torturing Ferret, whose usual response is to raise one paw, lazily swat merlin into a wall, then walk away while merlin sits like a cartoon character shaking his head and whimpering. Today though, I guess Ferret had had enough and while this will sound unbelievable, I swear to you it really happened.

Merlin came over to Ferret and started his usual "my voice hasnt hit puberty yet" growling and hissing. Ferret looked at him and hissed a warning, just the ONE warning. Merlin did a two step backwards as if he couldn't believe his playmate was talking back, then while standing as far away from Ferret as he could manage, reached out his front paw and swatted Ferret on the face. He did this a few times, alternating it with the usual pounces that got him batted to the wall. Ferret had not moved from his spot and had not made one sound since the first warning, but the look in his eyes would make ME hesitant to meet him in a dark alley (my cat...the mafia goon).

Suddenly Merlin did one LAST pounce. Ferret jumped back (I didnt know blubber boy could move that fast), leapt into the air and landed on top of Merlin. He still uttered no sound... what did he do instead? He laid down... ON MERLIN. He then looked over at me laughing my ass off, meowed sweetly at me once, and lifted his paw and started cleaning himself. Merlin was stuck under fat boy, all I could see through my tears was a twitching tail and I could hear a muted whimpering meow. Ferrets belly kept bouncing up and down, and I'm not sure if it was him deliberately bouncing to increase the torture or Merlins wiggling to escape his furry tomb that was doing it. Not ONE bit of that cat was visible other than his tail LOL.

Ferret calmly continued to clean himself with a look on his face that can only be described as smug and satisfied lol. Finally, not expecting a response, I stopped laughing long enough to say to him to get off of Merlin before he smothered him. He looked at me, meowed again, got up without even one backwards glance and jumped on the computer keyboard (his way of saying hi). Merlin got up, walked in a crazy little circle for a sec, then staggered over to the couch, ostensibly to regain both his breath and his dignity. Personally, I think it's a lost cause. No way he is going to live this down. I am pretty sure he will be a headline on the 11 o clock kitty news.

An Experiment

Will you all try something for me? This is going to sound sappy& stupid but that's ok. I can take that reputation just fine :-D

You'd all seen or heard of the movie Pay it Forward right? Now what I'm suggesting isn't go out and change 500 lives by doing some drastic act for the good of mankind. No fiery protests, no giving your life savings to charity.

But try something for me. Today or tomorrow or in the next few days, do something for a stranger. Pay the bill for the person behind you in the drive through of McDonalds or the toll of the few cars behind you in the toll lane. Give that homeless man/woman you pass everyday a few dollars. Smile and hold the door open for a few people coming in at the same time as you somewhere. Find a journal or a profile here (preferably same gender or sexual orientation as yourself so it doesn't backfire) and just say something like "hi, just wanted to say I loved your profile and/or your picture. No response required. Not hitting on you. Just wanted to let you know. Hope you have a great day." Smile at that woman with the noisy kids and say "I've been where you are. It gets better" in the grocery instead of complaining loudly to make sure she hears it.

Just.... do something. Something that spreads the joy, that makes the people you do it for feel good that day. Then come back here and tell us how it made you feel.

We may not change the world, certainly not if it is a one time deal, but as sappy as it sounds (though those who know and like/love me deal with this nasty trait of mine, poor souls), maybe we can change somebodies viewpoint for a moment. Possibly even their life. Maybe even our own.

Will Human Beings Ever Change??

I had to get a little bit of groceries today. Got my stuff, paid etc. remembered I had forgotten cheese so ran to Kroger. The bagger was an elderly black gentleman.

The man in front of me seemed pleasant enough. He was polite to the cashier, a middle aged white woman. The gentleman bagging was moving rather slowly. He had to be about 70 years old and by all rights should have been lounging around his home playing with his grandchildren but we won't get into my feelings about how our elderly are being treated (well maybe we will in another entry now that I think of it).

The man in front of me made a big show of tapping his fingers on the little check writing counter and giving these deep sighs. When it came time for some unbagged fruit he had bought to be bagged up, he stopped the bagger, saying "do NOT touch that" and he grabbed the fruit and put it into a bag. The old man said nothing, didn't even look up.

When all the stuff was bagged, the man asked the lovely customer if he needed help out. The man gave a snide laugh and said "I don't have that kind of time. I'll do it myself." As he passed by the old man, I heard him say under his breath, "Stupid old ni****" I was stunned and the cashier stood there with her mouth open.

I looked up at the old man, feeling like I should apologize for the jackass who had just left. He was standing there, head down, tears dripping down onto the plastic bags. My urge to kill became red hot. I paid for my cheese, said "I'm so darn sorry for that, sir" to the bagger. He laid his hand over mine on the counter and said "it's not your fault honey." I practically ran outside searching for that man. I saw him two lanes over, putting his groceries away. I knew I had to control myself or I was going to end up in jail because what I wanted to do was go over and punch him in the face, which is totally unlike me. But he had committed two sins in my eyes. He was a racist and he picked on an old person, a group of people I have a soft spot for.

I ran over to him and said "sir, I was behind you in the line in there."

He said "yeah, I saw you. Can I help you with something?"

I couldn't control my mouth. I just said "yes you can. You can cease going out in public and embarrassing everybody in the world with white skin with your disgusting shows of bigotry. You and people like you make me sick to my stomach. That old man in there that you said that nasty word to is worth fifty of you. Do the world a favor and crawl back under whatever rock you came out from and just stay there."

I then turned around and walked away, shaking like a leaf. Other than my anger making me shake, I had just openly confronted a large man, something I am still not great at, though in all gratitude to Russell, I can say that without his respectful way of treating me, I never could have done that today. I heard him laugh and say "stupid cu**". I just kept walking back to my car

Did I change anything today? No, I know I didn't. But maybe, just maybe, that is one man, who while he will feel the same, will be less openly hurtful with it. Plus, please God, maybe that old gentleman can know that not everyone is like that.

Right now... i'm ashamed of my skin color.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bobby Kennedy Said It Well

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. - Robert F Kennedy