Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gun Laws.....

For the record, I HATE what happened in Newtown.  I was so shattered by the events of that day that I wrote a letter to the ENTIRE teaching and administrative staff of my kids’ school to THANK them for caring for and loving my children.  I cried for hours watching those beautiful, innocent faces flash on the screens of every TV and computer I crossed that day, and most days since.  I HATE that a sicko got ahold of those guns and did what he did.  But, the fact remains, those guns were obtained legally by someone OTHER than him.  As were the weapons used at Columbine and probably every other school massacre in recent history.  So, someone with intent took weapons that were not their own and used them incorrectly.  Therefore, the fault needs to be on the gun owners themselves, right?  ALL gun owners, right? 
When I was young, the little boy across the street got into his father’s gun closet and one of the guns fired.  He was killed.  I remember that night so vividly.  I remember the lights from the emergency vehicles flashing through our living room window and my parents shuttling me away from the window before they brought the gurney out so I wouldn’t see.  That father is to blame, right?  He was careless, and someone, a child, died. That father never went to prison yet he is being punished for the rest of his life.   I don’t remember there being debate on our street, in our town or on the national news about how guns or the Constitutional rights of gun owners should be taken away because this little boy died.

Even after that tragedy, my dad kept guns in our house.  I never once touched them, before that incident or after, without permission and education.  They were always in a gun case, “safe” from everyone.  When, in all honesty they weren’t.  When I was in college, criminals broke into our locked home and into that locked gun case and stole all my dad’s guns.  They then proceeded to hold him at gun point in our living room.  Thankfully, that day did not end in tragedy but the intent of those boys was to use those weapons in a crime that would end in tragedy.  My dad had military training, hunter safety training and a clean bill of health (mental or otherwise).  He would have passed an across-the-board background check with flying colors.  He was a responsible gun owner who kept his guns locked up and his children educated.  Did that keep sickos with intent from using his weapons irresponsibly?  No, it didn’t.  So, why then should my dad, a law-abiding, educated, safe, healthy citizen have to undergo an arduous background check? 

With school shootings, with the little boy across the street and with my dad being held at gunpoint in our family home, you would think I would be scared to be around guns, have them in my home and near my children.  But...I am trained to carry concealed and I own my own gun.  My husband owns several guns.  Our kids know they are in the house and they know where they are.  They have shot some of them.  They also know about gun safety and we do EVERYTHING we can to be responsible gun owners.  (And, to be honest, I bet the dad from across the street did the same thing )

Yes, guns are powerful and deadly.  Yes, they can kill quickly and en masse.  But, taking them away, regulating them out of existence, isn’t going to keep people from  finding ways to get guns.  And even if they can't, it won't stop them from finding other ways to do harm, create tragedy.

I am not a professional butcher, but I have knives, A LOT of them, in my home sitting on the counter (eek) in a wooden block.  I am not a hair dresser, but I have several pairs of sharp scissors in unlocked (gasp) drawers in my home.  I am not a chef but I have a pressure cooker in my house, sitting on a shelf in my pantry (what gall!) and ball bearings and nails in my garage (OMG!).  Not to mention any number of other “tools” that can be harmful to almost anyone, if used incorrectly or with malice, sitting on shelves and in drawers in my house and garage and barn.  I also have a bar stocked full of alcohol and a couple of vehicles in my garage.  And you know what, I have never thought once that I should take one of these items and use them to massacre someone.  So, I guess if there were across-the-board background checks I would probably “pass”.  I keep my house locked and my guns in a safe.  So I, and everyone around me, is “safe”.  Phew, that’s a relief!  Ummm....tell that to my dad!
Where is the national debate, call to action, on owning knives? Scissors? Pressure cookers? Nails? Ball bearings? Rope? Matches? A motor vehicle?
The debate comes down to responsibility and the government cannot MAKE people responsible.  They can’t make laws that keep the stupid from being stupid!  You know if you have sex without protection, you risk pregnancy and disease.  However, have you been careful 100% of the time you have had intercourse?  And even if you had, will it keep you from being raped?  Seat belts and helmets save lives….tell that to the little girl, who’s story I watched on Oprah, who had her head decapitated because the seat belt sliced it off because the drunk driver in the OTHER car hit her family’s car with such force.  I guess it's time we should reconsider cars, seat belts and alcohol nation-wide.

The tool/weapon of choice is not to blame.  Therefore, should not be regulated out of existence for the majority of the population.  The person, irresponsible, with intent and malice, is to blame.  Timothy McVeigh; car bomb.  Children dead.  Jim Jones; Flavor Aid.  Children dead.  Osama bin Laden;  Airplanes.  Children dead.

People die.  Children die.  It’s a fact of life.  It hurts because time is fleeting.  It hurts when it is the innocent.  But, it happens and has happened throughout history.   My uncle died, when he was 12 years old, from a brain tumor.  A friend of a friend lost her toddler when the babysitter shook him to death, with her bare hands.  Our neighbors lost a 4 year old cousin from the flu.  A girl at my niece’s high school killed herself because she was raped and couldn’t deal with the torture in her head.  None of these were with guns.  Children die and it is TRAGIC every time, in every way, no matter how it happens!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Town Mouse and Country Mouse

So, my BFF lives 2000 miles away.  I can't live where she lives and she couldn't live where I live, but we still manage to stay besties.  Through life's ups and downs and common love of food, we have decided to collaborate on a blog.   We thought it would be a fun way to do something “together” even across the great divide so, we decided our common love of food and cooking would be a great thing to share.  It can be found here  Check it out, follow it, let us know what you think. 

It, like everything in my life, is a work in progress!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My latest "Starting Conversations" published piece

Sisterhood is nothing new to me. I am one of three sisters, and I have daughters. Also, three! I get it. I always have. But, the older I get and the more I watch my little legacies grow, the more I come to realize that their sisterhoods branch further out than just our home. Sisterhood starts young, from the time they start to socialize with other children.

My seven year old, has been best friends with her BFF since they were four year old Pre-Ks. Fluke. Maybe not! My youngest, who we call “Squeaks,” already has a BFF. Squeaks and “She-She” (as she calls Jaycie) are inseparable. They are two years old! Having been a military brat, and never having had a childhood friend for longer than the two years we lived anywhere, it never dawned on me that sisterhood is almost a subconscious power. It’s innate. I think this is why sororities have survived the tests of time. We women have a calling to spend time with, bolster successes and support other women.

It’s easy for me to see, and encourage the development of deep sisterhood in my own children. But, equally interesting, entertaining and all the more fulfilling, is watching sisterhoods growing between girls who have no biological connections. Even more compelling is being able to foster these relationships and build stronger ties between them.

In addition to my time spent as an Alpha Chi Omega national volunteer, I am the head Girl Scout leader for the largest scout troop in our entire council. Most people think me and my seven co-leaders (which is what is required to support our troop!) are insane. But, watching these girls grow, develop and build life long friendships is more fulfilling for me than I ever could have anticipated. I obviously don’t spend my troop time being an Alpha Chi Omega “recruiter” but it is my job as a leader to “recruit” these young girls into being the women our community wants, and needs them to be.

According to, more than 50 million American women enjoyed Girl Scouts in their childhood. Many of these are notable, including our very own Condoleezza Rice, and some not so notable like me! Every school year that number grows, as more future leaders step foot into their first troop meetings. We have an opportunity as Alpha Chi Omegas, as women, to make an impact. Whether through Girl Scouts of the USA or another organization established to encourage strength, independence and leadership in little girls, I feel it is our job to do so.

I remember a quote, “We are Alpha Chi Omega sisters. We seek the heights of this experience called Life.” I think my time with the Girl Scouts is exactly that. I am seeking the heights of my life experiences. In doing so, I am giving back to my children, a community and an entire generation. I could sit here all day and list the reasons why it is important to volunteer. But, I feel more compelling are the reasons to foster young girls into strong women. Aside from what our genetics have offered us, our fraternity has taught us lifelong skills, not limited to the importance of owning your responsibilities, having a good moral fiber and cultivating friendships. Shouldn’t we pass this on?

Each of us, whether we are raising our own legacies, has the “tools” and innate abilities to teach the real, strong women of the future. Focus for a minute on this. Then, however you choose to do so, make the rewarding choice, to take action! If, in the end you have had an impact on just one little girl who chooses to go the way of the golden lyre, more power to us!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Freedom, only when FREE

I am entering this online essay and photo contest just now.  Not likely I would win, but who wants to pass up the chance to be photographed for a magazine and an all expenses paid trip to New York City?  Not me!

So, fingers crossed and silent prayer, I hit SUBMIT.  Up pops the most ridiculous message I have ever (maybe not EVER, but certainly recently) seen!  "The States of XX, XX, XX, CO and XX do not allow their residents to enter contests with an entry fee."  Hold the phone....ALLOW?!?!?!?  Seriously!!!!  Do I not live in the United States of America?  Am I not granted the rights of life, libery and the pursuit of happiness? 

What if winning this contest would have made me REALLY happy?  Well, too bad for me and my fellow Coloradoans.  Makes me ponder what other crazy laws we have going on.  I guess, at least in Colorado, Freedom is truly only when it's FREE!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I suck!

I have decided I pretty much just suck at blogging!  I can chat up a storm. I can Facebook with the best of them.  But, when I (occassionally) come to my blog, I end up just staring blankly at the screen.  Why is it I worry so much about what to say, when it comes time to post something.....anything!  I guess I really do care what people think of me.  I guess it matters to me that I have something AMAZING to say, if I am going to go to the effort of writing an "article".  Who wants to know how many snotty noses I cleaned up today?  Who gives a flying patoot how many times I yelled at my children to stop kicking the table while they "sit on your butt and eat your dinner!"?  Who cares that I quit my job of nearly 5 years for something different....wait, what?!?!

Yep, I got a new job!!!  Woohooo.  Yeahhhhhh meeeee!  I am nervous about moving on.  I am nervous about starting over.  I will miss some of my peers.  Yet, I am excited for the new adventure.

Now that I have given the standard, 2-weeks notice, I have no idea what to do with my days.  It's not like I feel the need to start new projects.  It's not like I plan to take on any huge initiatives.  It's not like I am going to negotiate pricing and terms with vendors I won't be around to keep in compliance.  I spent the day I gave notice cleaning my office, clearing my computer of all "personal" stuff and generally dotting all i's and crossing all t's because I didn't know if I would just be flat out asked to get out of the building.  Needless to say, I was so efficient I now have nothing to do but interview and try to find my replacement.  Can you say BORED!  B-O-R-E-D, BORED!!!

My boss didn't even make an announcment to the staff that I was leaving.  Mind you, I am literally the "Second in Command" around here, and I had to make the announcement myself.  I didn't get a thank you, we will miss you, how will we ever survive without you.  I got a "well, we will just keep moving along like we always will."  Literally!  After nearly 5 years of blood, sweat, 12 hour days-six days a week and tears (all literally), that is what the staff heard him say to me.  I was really nervous and upset to walk in and tell him I was moving on.  I felt bad for him after I left the office that Friday afternoon.  But, after a Monday morning that started like, I feel no obligation to do much of anything. 

I am going to stick it out the full two weeks because I am a professional and I follow through on my word.  I am going to document, to the best of my abilities, everything I do so whomever takes over will have an easy-enough time of filling the void I will be leaving.  I am going to get all my employees lined up as best I can because I feel a personal pull towards most of them and truly care that my leaving is as minimally catastrophic as it can be.

When it comes to blogging, yep, I pretty much suck.  But, I guess it's ok because being a good person means I don't suck at much else!  :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No Taxation without Representation

We had our mid-term elections last night.  The whole campaign process is likely to turn anybody off to voting all together!  Advertisements are geared toward the lowest common denominator, the "idiot" voter.  They are mean, ugly, self-centered and all are flat-out liars.  I commend the Gubernatorial candidates in my state.  I didn't hear/see/witness a single negative ad during the entire process.  And you know what, a clean campaign has the same result.  There is a winner and there are losers.  

I am excited about the Tea Party Movement.  I love that people have broken from their party and have spoken up against the corruption that has become our Government.  This is what makes our country great!  We have the choice.  I don't vote party line and I didn't vote for every Tea Party candidate put on my state's ballot just "because" I believe in the movement.  I am NOT the lowest common denominator, as a voting citizen.  I value my civic duty.  I respect that it is my job to educate myself, research as much information as I can obtain and make as educated a choice as I can, based on my beliefs in smaller government, fiscal conservatism and social reform.  But, media outlets don't help in this endeavor.  I have yet to find an outlet that is fair and unbiased, even though, some claim to be.  Our local newspaper had a full page spread on all the candidates they "endorse".  WTF?!?!  I don't want your opinion, I want the news.  I want facts!

I believe in the right to life but that is my, PERSONAL, CHOICE! I don't think it is the Government's job to tell a woman what she can and can not do with her own body.  SHE is the person who must live with the consequences of her choices.  SHE is the one who has to answer to a higher much higher than the Government of the United States!  The fact that this has been a hot-topic in elections for more than 30 years is maddening!  

I believe a person should be allowed to choose their life partner and not have to hide his/her choice in a closet.  I don't think it is my business what a person does with their own life's choices as long as they are a law-abiding, contributing members of society.  

I believe in term limits!  What is up with being able to be a Representative until death do you part?!?!  No wonder nothing changes, its the same old boys club until the end of time.  When one dies off, his son or wife takes his spot.  URGH!!!

I believe in our military but I feel, in this day and age, their interests are best served focusing on protecting OUR freedoms and not trying to force immature nations into thinking our way.  Unfortunately, too many of our brothers and sisters have died trying to get the rest of the world on board with our way of thinking.  This is not their way of life, this is not about politics but rather a 2000+ year war about religion. I say, bring safely home our brothers and sisters.  Then, PRAISE them, HONOR them when they step foot back on sovereign soil!  But, we do not take demands from terrorists and we do not roll over and play dead so, when the world ASKS for help (and you know they will), THEN step up to the plate and be the LEADER of the free world!   

I believe the United States of America is the greatest nation in the world.  Ours is a country, beautiful and rich in resources, industry and physical appeal.  It is a great place to live.  I understand why we are the melting-pot of the world and why people flock to our shores to get in.  But, I also believe there should be rules to how one gets in.   I do not believe an illegal alien deserves the same rights as me.  I do not believe they should be protected under our laws until they have become a citizen (through proper channels), who is dedicated to those laws.  I believe they should be required to read, speak and understand our language.  I do not see Americans able to immigrate into any other country in the world, illegally, and have granted all the rights of that countries citizens.  I am the daughter of an immigrant.

Yes, Democrats still hold 2/3s of Government.  But, how much is actually going to move forward if people just stick to party lines and vote with the party?  A GREAT President is able to reach across the aisle.  Reagan was good at this.  Even Clinton did well.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with party politics.  The President of the United States should be party-less, he is elected by the people! In my personal opinion, in the end, this one will fail miserably.  

I respect the office but I don't like the man. The current President certainly is charismatic.  But, he is "all hat and no cattle".  I think his promise of Hope and Change went down the toilet about two minutes into his Inauguration speech, when he already set himself up for a re-election run..."they will not be met in a short span of time".  Bye-bye Hope.  And, WHEN can I expect Change, if not in 4 years?  I don't believe in much of what he has done in the last 2years and according to his own speech, I know not to expect much more in the next 2 years.  Do I think we have to get out of debt, yes!  But, I don't think putting us TRILLIONS of dollars more in debt is going to help.  Do I think our health care system needs reformed, absolutely!  But, taking away the choice of business owners and individuals and forcing the medical profession into something so lop-sided is not the way to go about it.  Do I want a doctor who is my pick of the draw, NOT the BEST of the BEST working on me..nope!  I am a contributing member of society.  I have no problems working hard to "earn" something better for myself.  I also have no issues giving to those less fortunate.  But, I am not willing to work hard to give a free-loader a leg up, either.  Against his own Inauguration speech words, he is failing miserably because he has not, "remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents." 

Whether you want to believe it or not, The Constitution is our country's governing document.  They are our "10 Commandments", to put it in basic terms (I KNOW there are more than 10 amendments).  You don't like it, change it.  That's the beauty of being an American.  You have a right to your opinion, its the FIRST Amendment, even IF you don't vote (but shame on you if you don't!).

So, Mr. (and yes, it is still mostly Mr.) Politician.  Don't assume we are all stupid.  Don't assume we can't read, research and form educated opinions.  Don't assume we don't know and understand The Constitution of the United States.  Don't assume we will always take the easy road and vote for you because you carry the "title" of our chosen party.  I will not stand idly by and have "taxation without representation".  You work for ME, not the other way around.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A "Perspective" piece I wrote and was published in Alpha Chi Omega's Fall Lyre Magazine

I am the first-born child of teen-aged parents, a first generation American and first generation university graduate.  My father was a US Navy SEAL therefore I’m also a “military brat”.  Growing up, I lived in countless houses, in different states and countries.  Including my enrollment at UCLA, I attended 12 schools.  Very little in my life, besides family, was familiar or constant, until I was granted the privilege of membership in Alpha Chi Omega.  My 16 years, as an Alpha Chi, have been an honor, with continual opportunities to enjoy the society of my sisters.

I feel strongly that our open motto means we should be committed to seeking the heights of friendship. As I grow older and it becomes more difficult to meet people with whom I have something in common, I have come to recognize, with Alpha Chi Omega, opportunity for new kinships are always there.  No matter where I have been, across the United States, I have had the connection to our Fraternity.  The “network” promised, when I first joined, has come through for me, time and time again.

Our “society” is vast.  Since before graduation, I have enjoyed the network.  First, I joined Gamma Theta Gamma, in Southern California.  When I moved 3000 miles from home and everyone I knew, I connected with sisters in New Jersey through Theta Tau Chapter at Rutger’s University, as a way to meet people.  One of my very best friends, in the entire world, came as a result.  I have sisters in Denver in the Nu Nu Alumnae Chapter.  It was through this group, as a first time mother, I was granted the kinship of sisters in the bond of motherhood.  I now live in a small town in Western Colorado, where there is no immediate access to Alpha Chi Omega.  But, just last summer I happened across an email looking for women interested in volunteering with the Fraternity.  Because of my location I wasn’t expecting much.  Yet, an opportunity was still granted to me, and I have become friends, and joke regularly, with women I have never met face to face! 

Just the other day, while pointing at my sweatpants, my 7-year old daughter asked me what “A – X – horseshoe” stood for.  I continue to wear my letters proudly because the longevity and familiarity of my friendship with Alpha Chi Omega, and its impact continues to shape me.  It has been my privilege to have been introduced to so many wonderful sisters, I call friends.  My friendships, with this ever-growing group of women, make it very easy to declare a lifetime commitment to give back to Alpha Chi Omega.  In accord with our symphony, I try “to shed the light of love and friendship round me”, as thanks for the opportunities of friendship Alpha Chi Omega has granted me.  I feel I have done my very best to always be a good sister.  Still, all that being said, I think AXO has gotten the shorter end of the stick!