Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Preppers Some Idea’s Make Sense

For many people if you say the word Preppers they get uncomfortable, laugh, insist they must all be nuts, or  get quiet. The truth is preppers have been around longer than many people seem to realize. In the 50's they had atomic fall out shelters. In pioneer times people canned to get through the harsher times.  They can be your neighbor, friends, even your family. Most people wouldn't know a prepper if they stepped on one. They are everywhere, and come from every walk of life, many are extremely intelligent and of course there are some that are nuts. But hey lets face it there are some people each of us knows who are nuts and aren't preppers.

One of the interesting things I learned when I started reading about preppers and prepping, was that our own government now feels that we should each have an emergency grab bag, in case we have to leave our homes due to natural disasters. After the Hurricane that hit Louisiana, or the fires that raged across California, even the snowstorms that have actually left people stranded that one small bag could make a huge difference in how you get through it. It can be the difference between eating or not eating for a day, having water, staying dry or warm.

Sometimes things do actually make sense. I now keep an emergency kit in each of our cars. No I’m not planning on taking a long trip or driving in a storm, but the fact is when things like that do
happen i would rather not be the one caught with my pants down. If you have the intelligence to put a set of jumper cables in your car and flares for the possibility of breaking down why wouldn’t you do the same to take care of your family and yourself?

So the question is are the preppers right or wrong to prep? I’m not willing to set myself up as anyone’s judge in this. Some things do make sense and to ignore them doesn't put you above it all, it just means that  if the poo were to hit the fan you would be the dope stranded in your car with no food or water. Hurricane Katrina should be looked at as a lesson in what can go wrong when you're not prepared.I’m sure the preppers living in Louisiana were hanging out with there food an generators waiting for their world to get back to normal. Because they were prepared.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Barbecue Gone Wrong.............

Good Barbecue will make your
mouth water before
you even see it.

Barbecue Gone Bad............

It isn’t often that I will mention restaurants or food establishments, but I felt it was only fair tell about the bad as well as the good. I have always been a huge fan of good barbecue, from Texas to the Carolina’s Tom and I both love good barbecue. I always hesitate to try barbecue in New Jersey just for the simple fact that although New Jerseyans know how to do make many great things to eat they haven’t grasped what it means to make good slow cooked smoked barbecued meats.

You may be asking yourself what is she talking about, well its in the rub. no matter what state you go to down south or midwest they know how to pull it all together from the rub to the sauce.
From the Carolina’s with their tangy vinegar based sauce to the midwest with their thicker and often hotter sauces it comes together so well you can't help but get messy as you feast on it.

So this past week we decided to try one of the local Barbecue places that opened in town and to be blunt it was very very disappointing and expensive. The meat was cooked enough but the only thing you tasted without smothering it in sauce was plain meat with a smoke taste. I give them props for tenderness, but a - 10 for lack of real seasoning. We tried one of their meat plates which gave us a choice of four items we shared there pulled pork, ribs and sausage links.  The sausage was homemade but very overcooked, and had a strong cinnamon flavor that was overpowering. It was hot but we each only at a bite or two. The ribs as I said were cooked not perfectly but the meat came off the bone easily, the only issue we both had was it had absolutely no flavor except for the smoke. The pulled pork was the best of the three, it was juicy and tender but again no rub/ flavor.

We also tried their fried pickles which weren’t bad, the sauce that went with them was watery and disappointing. The best part of the meal was the onion rings which were made perfectly. One would think that an establishment called the Meat BBQ Co would take the time to get it right. BBQ isn’t one of those things you do half way it takes a full on commitment and love for what you're making. I can't honestly recommend this food and I feel bad about that. Truthfully though for what they charge I expected better. They claim to have award winning BBQ but I wonder where they won their award.

So for now, I guess I will keep making my own Barbecue instead of trying take out. When we have barbecue in our house the table groans as the food is laid out. By the end of dinner the chairs are groaning from all the full belly’s at the table. For me it should make everyone feel good, because sharing a good barbeque meal with friends and family is about as american as you can get when it comes to cooking. If someone walks away disappointed I know I take it seriously, wouldn’t you?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Roads We Travel..

Life affects each of us in different ways, for some when something serious happens we want the people we love around us. For others we want our solitude to digest and deal with what is going on. Life isn’t always easy if it was we wouldn’t have anything to fight for.

Back when I was married to my first husband we had our own fight with cancer, and no it wasn’t easy or fun. I can remember when the doctors made it clear that if the cancer had metastasized into his system there wouldn’t be anything for anyone to do. As a young mother with three kids and family over  2 hours away, there was a strong feeling of isolation for us both.

Looking back I believe that was a turning point for us both. For me it was a point when I realized I couldn’t fix everything and that I had to commit completely to the marriage I was in. For him I'm not sure  if he realized just how close he came to having a bigger problem. I don't think I will ever know just what went  through his head. Perhaps that was the point when he realized he wanted more from a marriage then what he had. It was both the beginning and end for us both and no not together.

What I do remember was sitting in that waiting room. The million thoughts that went through my head. What if the procedure didn’t work and they couldn’t get it all. What if they had to take a more drastic action. Would I be happy or sad? Had I been the person I was supposed to be for him? What would I do if something went wrong? What would he do if it didn’t go as planned? How would he deal with it?  

Each of us in our own way deal with what life gives us, whether its a divorce, cancer, death, or long term illness we cope and we survive. There are so many survivors now it's hard not to bump into someone who hasn’t survived something in their life.

A friend of mine is dealing with her own life issues, and I am thankful that the worst has seemed to pass. Out of respect for her own privacy, I have avoided speaking about what she is going through because it is her personal story and not mine to share. It’s a blessing, that I know in my heart that things turned out the right way for a wonderful lady and her husband. Sometimes it is the people who we think are the toughest that show a strength of character yet maintain the ability to bend in times of adversity. Their strength is a lesson to us all, their courage in those private moments that no one sees allow them to share the true beauty of their spirit with others. She and her husband are two of those people. Always in my thoughts and prayers, as they face life head on, with blunt courage and laughter.

Two people couldn’t be more suited to each other if they tried, and it makes me glad to know that sometimes adversity does bring two people closer together. That it is finding that right person for you, who fits who you are that will get you through those hard times.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Respect, Responsibility and Accountability A Lesson Many Kids Are Missing


One of the things that always amazes me as a parent, is that we all never seem to learn from our mistakes. As a grown woman in hindsight I can see the merit of the punishments my parents distributed as needed. Groundings, spankings when I was younger, being put into the corner. Each one of these things did in fact help to teach me that there were consequences for our actions. I know there are many parents today who will probably disagree with me on this, and lord knows there are acres of psychologists who would say that this sort of disaplin must have scarred me for life. 

My generation grew up getting smacked when we were fresh or disrespectful to adults, we weren’t allowed to backtalk our parents, teachers or we got the crap beaten out of us. If we didn't make the team, oh well work at it and try harder next year. We weren't babied when life let us down. We didn't get presents at our sister or brothers birthday so we didn't feel left out, and we didn't interrupt adult conversations.

I think each of us if we are honest with ourselves when we hear about these kids and young people having melt downs and shooting up movie theaters or opening fire on their classmates, aren’t we saying to ourselves in the back of our minds “I’d never let my kid get so messed up.”
or, “My Johnny knows that violence isn’t the answer.”

The truth is we, "meaning my generation" in our 40’s, 30's and younger have all pretty  much turned our kids into spineless, selfish little wussies who don’t know how to lose or work harder to become better when they do fail. We are all too afraid to punish our kids when they act up because it isn't "politically correct".Yet many of these young people coming into adulthood now are not respectful of anyone, least of all themselves. They feel entitled because we told them that they were. They feel like they are too good to flip burgers at McDonalds or Wendy’s because we, made them that way.

We as a society, changed the rules and made sure that everyone made the team. We told ourselves that the only way to raise good kids was to be sensitive to little Johnny’s needs, and give him whatever he wanted. We gave in, we gave up and we threw all the lessons our parents showed us out the window as not good enough for our kids, because we had all the answers.

Well here is what I think and you may agree or disagree its up to you. 

1. Spankings hurt feelings, they don’t scar you for life not unless you're an idiot. (no that doesn’t mean beating your kids)
2. Everyone needs to learn how to lose, because it does build character and make us strive to succeed.
3. Bullies are a reality, ALL OVER THE WORLD instead of making laws to make it illegal show your children how to stand up for themselves. Don't make your kids a victim because its easier all these laws are not going to stop a bully from being a bully. But a good butt kicking may just show them your not there victim.
4. Stop making excuses for bad behavior, yes kids do need to learn how to work, they do need to learn what a budget its and here’s another small truth. “I remember the first time I bought something with the money I earned as a kid, and I felt proud because I paid for it.” We are not giving that gift to our kids when we foot the bill for everything.
5. A bar of soap goes a long way to stopping a potty mouth on a kid and FYI it won't kill them but believe me they will remember it.
A little soap goes a long long way.

I’m not telling you how to raise your kids, because we all have made mistakes along the way. What I am saying is we are making a problem that anyone with half a brain can see. We are not preparing our kids for life anymore. We are not preparing them to succeed or teaching them that its important to work hard. We are not teaching them respect for others. We are raising a society of hoochies and punks who think its your job to support them so they can hang out with their friends, party at the clubs and not take responsibility for their actions.Oh yeah and treat you with disrespect because we let them believe it was OK to do so.  

We can be part of the solution, or we can be part of the problem. As parents it is our job to prepare our kids for life which is sometimes good and sometime bad. What we teach them will make a difference in whether they learn to bend when life knocks them down or whether they will break and shatter.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

You May Have A Problem When.........

Can you say denial? Its that one thought  that so many stubbornly cling to when it comes to drinking. So here's a clue, if you go to a party and the first thing you do is grab a beer or wine cooler that you drink down so you can catch up to everyone else,odds are you got a problem. If you have to sneak a few in your squad car and then go plow into two empty cars ya might just have a drinking problem. If you know which bars have the best food because you spend your lunch  chugging down a few frosty ones, you might just have a problem.

Culturally as Americans we seem to ignore it when someone is an alcoholic. At least until they hit bottom then its finger pointing all the way. “Oh did you hear about so and so what a shame.”
“I cant believe she put her family through that.” “His poor kids, they must be so messed up.”

Today it isn’t uncommon for a family to have at least one relation who abuses alcohol. For me it was an uncle who drank away his career and his life. It was watching a grown man try to hide his drinking from his family. The pity and disgust you feel when you realize they aren’t the person you thought they were. It's that silent heartbreak of realizing that person you idolized is a lie. That almost everything about them is a lie.

As a sixteen years old I couldn’t help but to feel both ashamed and embarrassed by the man my uncle had become. That such a  brilliant musician and music teacher had thrown away his life and crawled inside a bottle. That this funny intelligent person I grew up adoring didn’t have the strength to just quit. 

We are taught to look at an alcoholic as a person with a disease, and it is. What I am talking about is the road to that point. That person who lies to his or her family and swears up and down that they only party a little but put them in a social gathering with their peers and they can't remember what happened the night before. They often wind up sleeping with strangers, and hung over the next day. Yes if you're that person  who goes to a party, and drinks until you get sick, pass out or can't remember how you got home. Ya might just have a problem.  

Here's a little FYI,  if you're the jerk that makes an ass out of yourself, socially when you drink. You're that person that people talk about behind your back, often saying, what a loser you are for not being able to hold your liquor.
If you're the man or woman with that person “You lucky dog you.” You get to hear the comments, and see just how pathetic your partner is. Oh yes thats who I want to grow old with.

Here’s the thing, if you're young and partying with your friends. If you're that guy or girl who honestly can't have just one, two, or even three drinks at a party and stop there you're headed in a bad direction. I say this with the complete memory of what it means to be young and stupid, once myself. The average person gets totally blitzed at least one to three times in their life, because throwing up in a toilet and then having to go to work is no fun. Its a lesson that many people do actually learn.

For the knuckleheads that don’t get that. You need a wake up call. You too could become that sad pathetic fiftysomething person who tells his or her kids that your booze is your medicine. Or you dont give up the keys until you do destroy yourself or someone else's life.  No one wants to become an alcoholic. No one wants to admit they have a problem.

Your decision, is hurting the people in your life. You may pass the buck, blame your loved ones, or flat out deny it but it is on you. No one makes you pick up a drink just like no one makes a smoker smoke. Its a choice. The next time you go to a bar look for the old drunk sitting on a stool at the bar,  you may laugh now but when it's your turn to sit there  in his seat you’ll be the fool looking into a glass of sad memories of what you did choose to do with your life. The thing is you do get to go back and do it over again.You don't get to take back the hurt you have caused your kids, your family and friends.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Open Birthday Letter To My Daughter

Yes you were cool even then...
Milestones are those moments in our lives when we need to stop and pause for a moment and look at where we are. Today is one of those days. Twenty-one years ago today my life changed forever as you came rushing out to meet the world. There are people who come into your life who have such a profound effect and make you stop and laugh and find the joy in every single day.

For me  it was from the moment you where born. 

Your happiness with the world around you and your natural curiosity can still make me smile when I think about it. You have always had a daring and zeal for life that is unstoppable. Your smile and laughter  that has the unique ability to make those around you smile as well. From the time you were small not even two your personality was already well established. People new when you were around even then.  Your ability to charm and cause absolute chaos  made you legendary in both sides of your family tree.
Whether you were stealing bottles from your little sister, or climbing on anything and everything you could. There was no stopping you as a little girl. I can remember plucking you off the fence at 3 as you precariously walked along the top most rail saying hi to each and every neighbor we had. (yes I still have the greys to prove it)

You are a dynamo, an unstoppable force that is such a gift to this world. As your mother I could only be thankful that I was fortunate enough to be able to watch you grow into the lovely strong young woman  you are today. It is wonder to me to see 
the woman you now are. I am truly  thankful I was able to be a 
part of that.

Yes its true even though there have been times I’ve rolled my eyes in frustration, or listened to you tell me why your way was right and I was mistaken in my thinking as a parent. I can honestly say I would not change a thing. Not one moment.
Its hard to forget your sheer determination at times. I can only say it is an  important part of who you are and I was glad to do my part in protecting that part of you. You have the courage to want to stand on your own two feet standing tall against all obstacles.  

Yet the vulnerability that allows you to feel things more deeply than many realize is also a strength that makes you, you. Your open your heart towards others, which is one of those amazing things about you. In a world where so many are jaded or out for themselves you still care.  Enough to make sure a single mom wasn’t forgotten on special days. Your love for your sisters, son, and family you're blind devotion to those you love shows a giving and beautiful character that is unique to you. You are one of those people who is beautiful inside as well as out and I am so proud to call you my daughter.  

Each time I see you hold your son and make him laugh it is hard to miss just how much you love him and he loves you in return. Every step you take as a parent makes me proud of who you are. As you continue to pursue your dreams of a college education I know you will succeed because you really are that strong. 

 You are an adult now in every sense of the word. No matter how many times life has knocked you down, you get back up and continue on not unlike the women of your family who came before. I can see their strength and courage when I look into your eyes from both sides of your family tree.
My wish for you on this special day is that you find everything your heart truly needs. May good fortune shine on your door, and keep you and those you love safe from harm. You are a gift to us all. 

I love you more then you know, 
Happy Brithday  My Treasure.
Love Mommy Dearest.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Teen Pregnancy Glamorizing Parenthood

Normally I don't talk about teen pregnancy, but for me it is a subject that is very very personal. For those who know me or grew up with me then they already know that I myself was a teenage mother. No things weren’t like they are today, for starters there was still a social stigma attached to being an unwed mother. Socially girls were still expected to give a child up for adoption and quietly go away until afterwards. Yes pretty archaic but true.

What I remember most was that at a time when young women didn’t buck the system, I was one who did. Learning tolerance, patience and humility at the same time because of that choice.  My friends were the kind of friends who stuck around and were supportive. For that small gift I will always be extremely grateful to those who did, and didn’t turn away out of pier pressure. For those who didn't there is no animosity in me toward them.  Do I regret it, no not for one second. Everything happens for a reason and although ignorance isn’t an excuse it is sometimes a reason why things do happen.

My beautiful daughter turned into a beautiful young woman of strength and character who was able to follow her own path as an adult and become successful in her own life. We both came through it as stronger human beings and I have only to look to my friends and family who gave their support unselfishly to know I was lucky.

Now for the flip side in all of this, what breaks my heart today is watching these young girls on TV who are becoming mothers all too often for the wrong reasons. Yes, you are taking on an adult responsibility and there is a price that you pay for that choice. It is called giving up your selfishness, your I/me mentality because that small person you created is not just a baby but a person that you are now responsible for and will be for many years to come. You're the parent but you are also still just a kid who has taken on responsibilities that most teens are not ready for. It isn’t your mom or dad’s job to raise your kids while you go out and party all night with your friends. Its yours.

Your choices and decisions do not affect just you. They affect the child that you brought into this world. So when you behave  irresponsibly or are running around with someone you know is trouble it is going to have an affect  on your son or daughter. Think before you act.

The wisest advice I received came from both my grandmother and father when I had my daughter. They told me that every decision good or bad was going to affect her, and that I needed to stop and think about how those choices would affect our life 3 months down the road then 1 year down the road and then 5 years down the road. I had to learn to look beyond the here and now as a parent and the need for instant gratification that comes with being a teenager.

Being a teen mom isn’t about being cool, or even an adult. It's not an excuse to have someone to love because you may feel lost or alone. Believe me there are so many other ways to show your an adult that will benefit you personally in the long run and give you the time to grow up before becoming a parent. It is the most life changing decision that won't just change your life, but will also change the life of your child.

For you ninnys with all the answers who think you're ready, think about this. Who is in your support system? Are your parents on board, how are you going to support yourself and your child? Because it isn’t the worlds job, are you ready to work double shifts at 16 and on, still trying to go to school to graduate? Are you ready to get up night after night when your child’s teething or sick? Are you ready for guys to look at you differently? Are you ready to drop everything because that small person may need you more then your friends do even though you're having fun.

Having lived through being a teenage mother it makes me extremely sad when I see how these shows glamorize being a teen parent. Reality is much harder than what they portray, and it isn’t your mother’s job to raise your child because you aren’t ready. For you moms with issues out there it isn’t fair  to encourage your child to have a child so you can go through being a parent again. That one just really pisses me off as a parent.  

It isn’t a game but a choice that is a lifelong commitment and responsibility, it won't go away because you decided it's too hard.So please think! Your decisions do matter.

Some helpful sites with facts on teen pregnancy in the US.

Middle Class An Endangered Species

Is The Middle Class Disappearing?
In this country having grown up in a middle class family it isn’t hard to see the changes going on in suburbia today. That classic dream we all bought  into of going to school, working towards retirement and actually getting to retire,or sending our kids to college and having that home in the suburbs with 2.5 children has slowly become a thing of the past. Yes in part we can blame it on the economy but is that the real culprit or have we done this to ourselves.

The biggest change that many of us in our 40’s saw the beginning of was a rise in divorce rates. Our parents weren’t sticking together turning many of us into latch-key kids. Who came home from school to one parent households,and would then look out for ourselves after school until mom or dad got home from work. Many learned early to take care of themselves. Well somewhat, while mom or dad was at work. Were Americans, so of course this didn’t kill us, kids became a little more street savvy at an earlier age. The long term effect of that change has changed the outlook many adults have about marriage, and commitment and just what a family unit is.

Another thing that also changed for all of us is that the homes and cars  we used to dream of owning as young adults are now so far out of reach for many, unless you over extend yourself like far too many have. If you weren’t fortunate enough to buy before the market skyrocketed you may still be struggling. If you didn’t stay with the husband or wife you had, odds are you're probably struggling to make the ends meet now. But the truth is you're not alone.

The number of middle class Americans is dropping, as prices for gas, food, housing, and everyday necessities are quickly outpacing the average person’s yearly income increases in salary. I keep hearing the politicians talking about how much the economy has turned around, but I have seen friends and family both struggle in frustration trying to hold onto the American dream until they slip into what the number crunchers call the lower middle class to poor in this country.

Yet it is also interesting to note that the ultra rich are still getting richer which  is almost reminiscent of the French Revolution. "Vive La France". When the gap between the classes grew into the haves and have nots. Today it doesn’t matter how hard you work, or even how smart you think you are. That gap is growing into a chasm between the classes and FYI if you make around $100K a year you're not in the upper class anymore you're down here with us peon’s struggling.

So ask yourself, how do you fix a problem we all created with our hip decisions that taught our younger generations that there really is nothing to strive for or hold on to anymore. We have poo pooed marriage, job security, health care, and the dream of owning a home. Is it any wonder so many of our young have no real ambition or drive? Or that we as a society may very well live to see the end of the middle class American.

Its More then Just a Dream

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As a recently married 46 year old I am in the process of finishing my degree. Working to take care of my family and live my life.Blogging, working, writing, and chugging along like most of us.  Who am I ? I am you, I am me, I am your mother, friend, the best and worst that we each have inside of us. I am a different perspective and find myself fascinated by the interesting moments in life.

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