Sunday, May 2, 2010

Got My Baby Girl's Back...Always!

Well, well, well, the little blogger has been at it again. Blogging AND forgetting to tell her mother she had done so!

I will admit while I have a number of thoughts, especially on the whole AZ issue and thanking Mother Nature, I cannot find a valid reason for attempting to say all the things I am thinking. Many of you have hit the nail so on the head.

HOWEVER, (my favorite leftover law school word!) I do have some things I want to say (surprised, huh?). Unfortunately, for us all, the America we knew, know and will know, wanted, want, and will wish for, no longer exists. Bells cannot be "unrung" (another little law school residue). WARNING: This will not be pleasant to some, the truth rarely is.

This journey of a thousand miles began with many little steps. Steps like Unionized Labor, which paid, pays and will pay those who, by circumstances and/or personal choices are not educated, trained, or otherwise qualified, outrageous salaries for standing on a production line when they in many cases cannot read nor write. Please do not point out all the overly educated, trained people you know who do the same...I get it. I know those people as well. That does not change the fact that as a society, in many cases, we pay Union controlled laborers more per hour than those men and women who protect our homes, our families, our lives, our country. We pay athletes more to kick, throw, dunk, hit, and run objects than we do doctors and surgeons who care for and heal mankind. The SYSTEM of AMERICA is broken...period. Like it or not, while there is truth that there are a number of jobs it appears "American Citizens" will not do..the truth is we, our system, trained them to think that you should be compensated handsomely b/c you work, no matter the job. We broke the system. When a high school drop out KNOWS he can "get on at________" (you can fill in that blank with so many corporations, companies, etc., you will never name them all)for some ridiculous hourly rate of pay with full benefits, then you bet he is not going to work 8-10-12 hours a day roofing a house for minimum wage...THAT is training and changing the system.

While I appreciate the fact there are many "stations in this life"...I do not believe in, endorse, nor support taking systems that are built on integrity, values, morals, ethics, or standards and "watering down" the same so that all can reach equal levels of success and/or achievement(s). We have "watered down" what it means to be an "American." America was the "melting pot"...we assimilated, we became "one"..the UNITED States of language, one judicial system, one flag, one anthem, one Nation Under it or not..THAT WAS AMERICA.

Do not preach to me about ancestry, predecessors, family immigrants. My grandfather dropped out of school in the 3rd grade. He could barely read, he could hardly write, he was pulled out of a field at 16 years old to be a "sparring partner" for boxers and wrestlers. He had worked in those fields 12-14 hours a day for one dollar a day...a dollar.

He was not angry, he was not bitter. He knew if his children did not want to do virtually the same they had to change the course and direction of their lives. His son, my father, worked 3 jobs while going to medical school with 4 children, one who was critically ill and spent most of his childhood hospitalized. My father EARNED the "American Dream." He is the last of a dying generation(s), people who knew what "Let Freedom Ring" means. People who understood the theory of hard work, education, dedication, people who understood being paid according to your worth (spare me the whole "worth of a soul" sermon...I get that one, too. I am talking work, occupation, job)and whether we want to admit it or not, those people built this country! If you don't believe me then listen to the stories upon stories of the immigrants who came here, who learned to speak English, broken it might have been, but they learned, immigrants who opened shops, brought skills, trades, arts and crafts, immigrants who worshipped the God that brought them here, many times at great peril, immigrants who came because they sought more than they could find in their own countries. Immigrants who would not want to break the law, but sought to uphold and live by the law(s)...the very law(s) that secured their freedom to do all of the above.

I don't think the color of your skin, the church pew you sit in, or the accents you carry should demonize or "profile", I don't. However, why did they come then and why do they come now if what is here is not more?

I will be the first to say there was a time in this country that the color of your skin was demonized and many, many innocent people suffered at the hands of those who ignored "and justice for all." That was a time of shame for us all. We have learned and we have grown, no one can deny that...there is evidence of that growth all around.

The proverbial bell has rung loudly. You nor I can "unring" that bell. WE have allowed our "system" to be watered down, to be "accommodating", to give what is not earned. We, you and I, have allowed our standards and values to be "Unionized." Somehow, we are gradually being desensitized to words like "illegal." We are allowing, slowly but surely, those who have done nothing to earn "their pay", "their benefit(s)" of being part of the system, the right to be paid or rewarded handsomely for just showing up. That is not the America I want to live in.

Nor is the America I want to live in the one where I worry that I cannot fly in a plane without checking every one's shoes, or walk the streets of New York with out fearing what is in a car parked on the street. No, that is NOT the America I want to live in. I want to live in the one where people came here for the same things their ancestors came and would come for...the America where a mother found some comfort, as minuscule as it may be, that her son or daughter died fighting for the freedom of future generations.

I am saddened that with the passing of law(s) and/or the implementation of the same there is a possibility that there are those "enforcers" who may abuse their power. I recognize that...but, there is a part of me that still believes in the "system." The "system" we call America...a land of opportunity, a place where all men/women can dream...and where those dreams can become reality. A land where we can hold onto the belief(s) and tradition(s) that made us great, yet, learn to let go of those that were demons.

I am not sure what the solution is in AZ...I don't believe there is a fool-proof answer. The only way to "fool-proof" something is the removal of all fools...good luck with that one! So, in light of that...the fact that the solution is NOT fool proof does not mean that you don't try to solve the problem. The operative word is "illegal." I do not want words like "illegal" watered down. I want those who are sworn to uphold the law to do so with integrity. I want the country that was preserved to thrive...I want my "America" back...and if you do not want to follow the rules to be here and you want to be rewarded b/c you "showed up"...I will be damned before I say that is o.k.. Far too many lives were lost and too high a price has been paid for this piece of land to be cheapened. Either you come with the willingness to stand beside me, regardless of MY skin color, and fight WITH me to preserve this land, choice above all others, regardless of YOUR skin color and that, just like for me, includes the DESIRE to obey the law and do so with respect for OUR flag, OUR forefathers, OUR language, OUR freedom. That's right...YOU, ME should EQUAL "OURS"...ONE NATION assimilated together with a rainbow of colors standing side by side to keep this the greatest nation on earth! If you are not willing to do that, do not come at all.

YOU, no matter who you are, sir or m'am, are not above the law! You are no better than those who came before seeking a land of opportunity.

That torch held high for all to see still stands as a symbol of liberty...the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free...but, you must be willing to, at the very least, do so legally..........

Oh, and Mother Nature, thank you for everything green and B-E-A-U-tiful...but could you please let up on the whole stormy "tornadic" are starting to scare me!
aaaaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhhhhh, it feels good to be back!

Thanks, Snarky!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


So, as we speak...Snarky Belle and Little Brothers 1 & 2 are on their way to see "HIM" Music Man...Adam Eyeliner and all!

Yep, today is the day. See, they think I did them a favor. They think I made the ultimate sacrifice by giving them our two tickets to the American Idol Concert. (If you hear a sigh of relief in the background, that would be Snarky Papa...he doesn't love "HIM" quite like I do. BUT, he DOES love me, so you bet he would go and sit with me through the whole darn thing! He is an extraordinary day I will tell you just how extraordinary).

Never mind that in just a few hours they will be sitting on the 5th row/center watching "HIM." I understand there will be nine other people performing, as well. Don't know who they are and honestly don't care. I understand one of them actually won which, to me, is still hysterically comical. WHAT WAS HIS NAME....told you I can NEVER remember...couldn't when he won, still can't today!

Oh well...anyway. I really did not make a sacrifice. (This part, we will not tell Snarky...let her feel that overwhelming feeling of guilt and the need to "pay my mother back"...really, it will be good for her). :):)

Today, I am a happy woman. My three adult children are together. They took a road trip. They are doing something together that they have wanted to do for a very long time. We used to live in the Memphis area many years ago. Snarky and other Little Brother say those times made for the greatest memories of their entire childhood. Baby Little Brother does not remember much about those years. He was quite small. (Boy, do things change...he is only 6'5" tall). But, Snarky and other Little Brother, they "loved" Memphis.

Snarky Papa and I always chuckle to ourselves as they re-count and recall "those good old days when we lived in Memphis." We were so broke, they were just little kids, and there really weren't any extraordinary events or super fun vacations, or fantastic moments. Just a little family living life.

Snarky began the 6th grade and other Little Brother started Kindergarten the August we moved there. Baby Little Brother was just that, a baby, beginning the toddler phase. We rented a house in a neighborhood where there were numerous young families with a lot of little children. We lived on a corner on the main street. Our neighbors behind us had a garage, we had a carport, they had a fishing boat, we couldn't float a boat, they had stairs in their house and we were just glad to have a house. Somehow, in other Little Brother's mind this was how you KNEW if people were rich....a garage (with doors), a boat (even if it was a little three bencher fishing boat), and stairs that went up in their house! We never really figured out where he came up with that, but then again, we have not figured out a lot of things that rattle around in that amazingly gorgeous head of his.

I was the PTA President of their school. I was way too young to have such an overwhelming position. I was a young mother, new to the area, had no idea what I was doing, how difficult it is to get parents involved without letting them "take over" and had absolutely never spear-headed a fund-raiser in my life. (Now that I think about it...that was EXACTLY why they picked me! If I had known any of the above, there would not have been a snowball's chance I would have said "yes." But, PTA President I was).

I dragged Baby Little Brother to that school more times than any "under-age" child should have ever been dragged to school. Of course, back in that day, every one took their smaller children while they "worked" at the school. Little kids knew how to behave. They took their colors and coloring books, pencils and paper, with a snack, sat down, closed their mouths and waited, patiently, while you got your job done. However, I would like to add that Baby Little Brother has chosen the "every other year" college plan, due to the fact, he HATES school!....Maybe, that wasn't such a good idea after all. He is brilliant though...hates school, but, he is one smart human!

The years spent in the halls of that old country school were some of the best days of my life. I loved the principal. I loved the teachers, most of them. Other Little Brother's kindergarten teacher was one of the most naturally grouchy, grumpy and downright mean people I had ever met then. She still holds her ranking although, through the years, I have encountered a few more with which she could keep good company. She was a beast! If she has changed, thank goodness, for those who had to live with her. Seriously, some people simply do not need to teach school, especially kindergarten. And if they do and are surprised as to how stressful and taxing teaching 5 year olds can be....hellooooooooooooo, the clue is "Kindergarten=5 year olds."

But, all in all, I loved that place. My kids loved that place. School was school the way it was meant to be. The rules were simple. The people were simple. We looked out for each other's children and we loved each other's children. We were a little family. There were some disagreements. There were some parents who couldn't be happy with other people's children having success. But, for the most part, we laughed with each other, cried with each other, praised each other's kids and cared what happened to each other. I have not stayed in touch with those people. I am sad about that. There are some of them I truly loved as deep as I have ever loved a friend.

We moved away, time passed and I neglected to take the steps to stay in touch. Someone has to do it....nobody did.

I loved our neighborhood. I loved our neighbors. I trusted our neighbors. I left my children with my neighbors when necessary. They did the same. We played tricks on each other. We cooked out. We went for Friday night Pizza Hut nights together. We took care of each other. We were "friends" not just neighbors. I have good neighbors today. I have lived in the same house, now, for over 21 years....I have "neighbors."

So, today, Snarky and both Little Brothers are headed back there. They are excited about going to the American Idol tour. Although, I can tell you that was not the whole "drawing card" for them. I could see the excitement the past few days as they looked forward to being together, taking a road trip, and going back to their "good old days in Memphis."

The two older ones could not wait to "show" Baby Little Brother where they and he lived. They plan to go see the house, see the school and spend the day reminiscing. For some reason I think those moments had much more appeal than "HIM" Music Man. I think they miss each other. A lot. I am glad for that....I am glad they wish they could spend more time together.

Don't get me wrong. I love our lives, today. I have a wonderful son-in-law, "The Captain" and a beautiful daughter-in-law, our own CA grown beauty. I adore my grandchildren. Baby Little Brother has a precious girlfriend, "P." But, today is a "magic day" for me. As it turned out, The Captain is "on duty." CA beauty and those grandchildren are visiting the OC. I have the rest of Snarky Belle's, the timing was perfect.

This morning they headed north...."P" got lucky...(after all, she is the one who sat waiting and watching until the tickets to Idol went on sale and snagged the 5th row seats). She earned her spot in the car for the road trip. Plus, since Baby Little Brother does not remember too much, we thought it would be extra fun for him to have her to experience the "show and tell."

This morning as I watched the car pull away....I was jealous. REALLY jealous of my own flesh and blood. (NO...not b/c of "HIM"...although I have to do a self check on that one, every now and then....WHAT was I thinking? I gave my tickets away!). I was jealous that they have grown up and the desire to be together still burns within them. They love each other so deeply. They are the epitome of what siblings everywhere should be. They live their own lives. They are independent of each other, yet so dependent on each other for the other(s) love. They are proud for each other. They are excited when something good comes to one of them. They hurt if the other one hurts. They adore each other's children. Baby Little Brother loves his nieces and nephews beyond words. He thinks about them. He does things for them. He plays with them. He is a great uncle. "P" is an amazing "uncle's girlfriend." Their children love their aunt(s) and uncle(s).

They are happy. They laugh. They cry. They argue (debate is a better word, although if you could hear them it sounds like arguing). They are family. I miss that with my siblings. We love each other, very much. But, we are an "event" family. We have let life and its interruptions keep us distracted. We don't make a lot of effort to be with each other. We make efforts to be with my aging parents, but not each other. I am sad about that. Somebody has to do it...nobody does. We are "too busy." I know they love me...I know they know I love them. But, we just don't work very hard at interacting. We need to do better. I need to do better. I need to be the "somebody who does it."

As far as my "sacrifice" ...yeah, let's just keep that one between us. I like Snarky thinking she owes me BIG TIME....

I will pretend today was the ultimate "What a Mother Will Do for Her Children" sacrifice. But, you and I know that today was just the was what my children did for me today.....they were together. Older, wiser and stronger as people, but the same as brothers and sister. They were friends today taking a road trip.

And you know they are right...."those were good old days in Memphis." We didn't have a garage with doors or a fishing boat or even stairs, but we had each other. We were so rich then and even more so now. We were and are a "family."

Snarky and Little Brothers....have fun....these are treasured memories and that is what life is all about.

Love you,

p.s. I better at least get a dang t-shirt or something!!!! :)

Y'all come back now!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


So, here it first "official" blog on Snarky Mama! If you are looking for all the "cutesy stuff" like Snarky Belle has on her site, well then, aren't you the disappointed one?!?!

I don't know how to do anything more than write on a computer. After all, by the time I even learned to use a computer, my "technological clock" had almost stopped ticking. However, I am living proof that there a few tricks you can still teach an old dog!

I can't sleep. That simple, I just can't sleep. The last time I had one of these completely restless nights where I up and decided to do something "out there"...I got up, got online and registered to take the LSAT. Yep, at 4:30 a.m. one morning several years ago I couldn't think of anything more productive to do, so that's what I did. I woke Snarky Papa up and said, "Alrighty then, I have done it, now." (This always makes him a little more than nervous, he has known me a very long time and for some reason when he hears those words, he never knows what damage control measures he might have to take!) "I am going to Law School, well, at least I am taking the test that says whether or not there is a snow ball's chance in you know where that they will let me in Law School."

Several weeks later, I took the test, several weeks after that I received my scores, and the next fall I was in! Yep, right there, sitting ever so snugly between people who graduated from high school and college with my kids! WHAT was I thinking? I wasn't. If I had thought about it then there would not be much more to my law school career. I would have never done it, had I thought too long about doing it!

That is my Snarky Mama M.O...I can typically talk myself right out of whatever I talked myself right into if I think about it long enough. That big, ugly, nasty word grabs me with it's death grip and chokes the very life out of any good idea(s) ((sometimes bad idea(s)) that I might have had in my head...FEAR! Geez, I HATE FEAR!

I have a dear friend from law school who said every time she looked at me all she could think was "oxymoron." I definitely got the "moron" part...she is brilliant. I hoped I didn't get the "oxy" part...anything with "ox" in it makes me immediately think "large" "big" "not attractive" and my family knows NEVER, NEVER do you use the words "big" or "large" when referring to anything about me! (Those are stories for another day...I have mastered the art of "poor self imagery" and I know it. No, counseling will not help. But, alas, I digress, although it will make for some great posts in the future!). SO, back to the oxymoron, apparently, I am a complete and total "contradiction" from what I might appear to others. I am still not certain in what context she meant the term, we never really discussed the matter. After she assured me it had nothing to do with my physical appearance, but rather my personality, I did not much care. She liked me and we became forever friends, despite the fact that I was twice her age, literally.

Thus, enters the four letter word I hate: "FEAR"...I don't like being afraid. And lately, I always seem "afraid." Maybe it is the political fervor and unrest. Maybe it is that I realize even if I live another 53 years, my guess is that my life is 1/2 over. Maybe it is that I know my parents cannot live another 53 years and that makes me so sad I cannot even think about it. Maybe it is that I see my children are faced with raising up my grandchildren in what seems to be a moral forsaken, integrity depleated, godless world. Maybe it is that it seems as though every time I turn around someone I love is sick, struggling, angry, or depressed. Maybe it is that I live in the hottest dang part of this country and it is getting hotter every summer. I don't know. I just know that I don't like it!

I like being happy. I actually like waking up every day in a good mood. Maybe that is it. Nobody ever seems happy anymore. People seem so angry. I know when people are angry nothing good ever seems to happen. Maybe that is the fear. The fear that we, as Americans, as brothers and sisters, are so caught up in some sick "sibling rivalry" that we have forgotten we are here to help each other, not kill each other, literally or figuratively speaking. It seems like everything that used to be fun is not anymore.

When Snarky and Little Brothers were growing up, we had fun. (At least, I did...I certainly hope they did). Sure, there were some "not so fun" days, but over all life was fun. We were always broke, so you can't tell me money is the difference. We never had any. We just worked from can until can't to raise three exceptionally beautiful and talented kids who were always doing something and involved in everything. But, they seemed....happy.

We have spent the last three week-ends watching Little League Baseball. (Yes, the tradition continues...we now have exceptionally beautiful and talented grandchildren...and yes, you will hear about them, all of them. So if it bothers you, don't bother coming back. There is nothing I find more pleasure in than my family...period).

Everyone just seemed angry. These are 8 year olds, people, 8 year olds. This is NOT the Major League World Series and NO, 99% of your kids that you think are Hank Aarons, they are NOT! Can they please just play baseball and have fun?

Do not get me wrong...I LOVE winning. Winning is a good thing. I do not believe in nor do I remotely subscribe to the "everyone is a winner" theory. No, the people who have the most runs at the end of the game are the winners. The other team, operative word, "team"...are the losers. See, it is o.k. to say the word. Your team "lost." Your kid is not a loser as a person. The two are NOT the same. That is what is wrong with your kid. You have somehow taught him/her to equate not "winning" every time with their self-esteem. How do you that? How do you tie self-esteem to the most runs on a score board at the end of a game? And what are you so mad about? If your kid is stomping the dirt, making faces, and being rude and disrespectful to you because of a lost baseball game, who's problem is that, really? Helloooooooo, YOU are the parent.

The whole event has been most interesting to watch. I know people get disappointed. I understand. My only question is why do you people seem so miserable? I know it is hot. I know that not every thing is "fair." How many times did I hear, "That's not fair." Oh My Gosh!

But, for the most part, y'all just seemed miserable. I wish you knew how many of you walked right by me on the way to the concession stand and/or bathroom. I smiled, said hello, and most of you grunted something that with a great stretch of imagination might could have been interpreted as a "hello." I honestly began to wonder how many of you know what fun these days are, really. Do you have any idea how much you will miss these moments in time? Sure, they are hectic, crazy, and stressful. That is part of this journey. But, it is still fun! What are you wanting? Nothing but wins? Well, you ain't gonna get 'em! So, why not enjoy the journey? Why not be thankful your child is out there on the field...running, playing, healthy? For me, that was the best! To watch my daughter and my sons "growing up." To be able to be there and enjoy watching them.

I cannot tell you how many "wins" or "loses" there were. I can only tell you I was there and they had fun. We had fun. We were not "angry" all the time.

I don't know...Maybe as I climb this mountain called life I get a little better view. The "anger" I see makes me "afraid." I "fear" people, especially the younger generations, are letting their "anger" at realizing that life is not always calm and perfect take over their "fun."

Try it, for me...just try it. Tomorrow wake up and be happy. No, your day may not be perfect. You may have to adjust a little, take hit or two, but even a bad day can be better if you will look for the "wins" in your life. Count your blessings. Smile at someone who smiles at you. Better yet, smile at someone who doesn't. You might be the only bright spot in their day. Most of all, know that in some small way you are helping relieve a little of Snarky Mama's FEAR....fear that one day I will wake up and the whole world really is angry and bitter. I don't want that for you, for me, for your children, grandchildren or mine.

Seriously, don't think about it. If you do, you will talk yourself right out of doing it. You will be afraid...what if they don't smile back, what if they think I am a nut? See, how easy it is to talk yourself right out of good thing.

People used to be happier. I know it. Somehow we talked ourselves right out of it...happiness!

We were afraid one day we might be disappointed so we got mad about all the things that are not perfect. The scoreboard might have us behind a little. There are a lot of "not so fun" things out there right now. There is no reason we can't put on our "rally caps" and turn this game around.

WE, as a team, can stop being angry, stop being afraid, and savor the moments...Life is not a game, but it sure as heck can be FUN!

Well, I can't promise when I will post again. There will never be much of a platform here. Just my thoughts that day. I can't promise you will be any more intelligent or inspired by reading them. But, I hope they will, at least for the most part, make you smile. Come on over and enjoy the journey with Snarky Mama!

Y'all come back now, ya hear!