Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm Dreaming A Little Dream

I've been taking a little bit of blog vacation this week. I'm not doing it because it is the middle of the summer (well, technically speaking summer started just this week, but who really goes by the calendar, anyway?). I'm not doing it because I have too many other things going on. No, mostly this week I just really didn't have anything to say. I know it's hard to believe, but it's true.

I didn't have any world changing viewpoints about what I saw on TV. I have no complaints about how my laundry appliances are working. I had a great time hanging with some great friends at our place over the weekend, but you pretty much had to be there. Telling you about the incessant giggling is not nearly as fun as experiencing it. I didn't even have anything earth shattering to say about the Presidential Address last night. I'm failing you as a blogger.

Worse things have happened. You'll survive. I'll survive. No harm done. It's not the first time it's happened and I can just about guarantee it won't be the last. Still, thanks for pretending to care and to miss me.

Anyway, what I am about to say now isn't earth shattering either, but here goes: I want to go to the beach. I don't want to drive. I don't want to have to pay for a hotel. I don't even really want to have to pay for food. I just want to lie on a towel or a lounge chair in the sun. I want to walk on white sand and stare out beautiful blue waves as they turn emerald in the sunlight and then crash against the shore while the breeze that drives them cools me.

Basically, I want a free trip to the beach. It's not going to happen, but a girl can dream can't she? It's just not the same to sit in a tailgate chair in the back yard while the dog runs in circles around you until his panting is louder than the hum of the air conditioning unit. Even with a nice breeze to cool me off, it's not the same. There is no white sand. No beautiful waves crashing against a shore. And I do get a little kissed by the sun, but since I'm not actually laying out, but sitting and reading, I generally only get tan on one side of my body. It's not the same.

I would settle for a trip to the pool, really. Except that we don't have one and the thought of being in a swimsuit in front of the entire community at a local pool is nothing short of mortifying. So for now, book reading in the back yard with a panting dog and (God willing) a continuous breeze will have to do. It's not so bad really. I mean, I could be so busy with things that I have no time to spend outside enjoying God's creation. So I am thankful for that.

Still, a free trip to the beach....can't you just feel the daiquiri in your hand, the sand between your toes, and the breeze on your face? I can. I can almost smell the sunscreen, too. It's always nice to dream.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Things I Learned From My Dad

My dad has always been a major part of my life. I may complain on occasion about things he may say or do, but the truth is when I need serious counsel, or just when I am feeling at odds with life, I still turn to him. There are so many things I learned from my dad over the course of my life that I can't really begin to count them all, but I can share some of them with you. Y'know, in honor of Father's Day this weekend.

1. Like and love are two completely different emotions. They are not always mutually inclusive and they are not always mutually exclusive. In other words, you can like someone and not be in love with them, but you can also love somebody and not like them very much. On the other hand, when you find somebody who you like and love, it's a big deal.

2. You have to earn trust. You have to earn respect. And once earned, it is still possible to lose both.

3. A wood file is called a rasp.

4. You shouldn't go all winter without washing your car. The salt they put down on the roads will eat away at your paint and your undercarriage.

5. There is a big difference between "I want" and "I need" and you should learn it early.

6. Asking for help isn't always easy, but there is no shame in it.

7. It is important to say things like "I love you" and "I'm proud of you", but only say it when you mean it.

8. You are never too old to dream.

9. Take care of your car. It is less expensive to do the little things you need to do along the way than it is to repair the damage that is caused by not doing all the little things. Also, you may want a brand new car, but it is far more practical to buy a newer, but still used, car. It will still be new to you and it won't depreciate as quickly as a new car. And you don't need a new car until the one you have becomes unreliable, even with regular maintenance. This goes back to the difference between want and need.

10. You don't have to learn everything the hard way. It is just as easy to learn from somebody else's mistakes as it is to make those same mistakes on your own, but far less painful.

11. Money may seem important, and it certainly does make things easier, but at the end of your life your children will remember how many times you said "I love you" and the time you spent with them more than they will remember that awesome iPod (or whatever else) you bought for them.

12. Life is not fair. Anybody who says differently is either selling something or too stupid for you to be associated with.

13. Never underestimate the value of a good education.

14. If you would be ashamed to tell your parents, your spouse, your kids, etc. about it, you probably shouldn't do it in the first place.

15. There is a big difference between a friend and an acquaintance. Don't confuse the two. A friend is far more valuable.

16. When you make a promise to God, you better mean every word you say.

17. Prejudice is another word for ignorance.

18. If anyone ever hands you a paycheck you didn't earn, hand it back.

19. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

20. The words "right" and "privilege" are not entirely interchangeable.

And so much more. Thanks, Daddy. I love you.

But what about the rest of you? Are there any lessons from your dad that you would like to share?

Monday, June 13, 2011

10 Interesting Things About Mississippi

While there are far more than ten interesting tidbits I could share with you about Mississippi, I have decided to limit myself and make this a quick post. So sit back and get your learn on.

1. Many people know that Morgan Freeman, Jim Henson and Oprah Winfrey were originally from Mississippi, but you may not know that Lacey Chabert and James Earl Jones are also from Mississippi, and Parker Posey (while not born there), grew up in Laurel, MS.

2. Again, while many know that athletic stars such at the Mannings and Brett Favre are from Mississippi, you may not know that Cool Papa Bell (said to be one of the fastest players to ever play baseball), Steve McNair, Travis Outlaw, Walter Payton, and Jerry Rice were all born in MS.

3. Musicians from the state include 3 Doors Down, Lance Bass, Brandy, Ray J, Jimmy Buffet, Bo Diddley, Faith Hill, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Denise LaSalle, Elvis Presley (he moved to Memphis as an adult, but is from Tupelo, MS), Leontyne Price, Charlie Patton, Charlie Pride, LeAnn Rimes, Conway Twitty, Muddy Waters, Tammy Wynette, and Hayley Williams. This list is, of course, not all inclusive.

4. Root Beer was invented in Biloxi, MS in 1898 by Edward Adolf Barq.

5. The Teddy Bear gets its name from President Theodore "Teddy Roosevelt". President Roosevelt was invited on a hunting trip in Mississippi, when the party caught a bear, they offered to let the President fire the kill shot, but he deemed the situation unsportsmanlike and refused to fire the shot. The toy, originally called "Teddy's Bear" appeared on the market almost immediately after the story hit newspapers.

6. Burnita Shelton Matthews, the first woman appointed as a judge of a U.S. district court (in 1949), was from Mississippi.

7. Dr. James D. Hardy performed the first human lung transplant in 1963 in Jackson, MS.

8. The X-Men Comic Book character Rogue was a self declared Southern Belle from Mississippi.

9. Now competing in the Year 3 Finals of the 3 year EcoCar Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and GM, among others, the team from Mississippi State University won top honors during the portion of the competition that takes place in Year 2.

10. William Faulkner, John Grisham, and Eudora Welty are well known writers from Mississippi, and contrary to what his nickname might suggest, Tennessee Williams is also from Mississippi.

So there you have it. A lot of very talented and very smart people, not to mention some cute toys and delicious drinks, hail from Mississippi. There are many other interesting facts about the people and places of Mississippi, this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface, but I thought I would share a few things with you to wet your appetite. Don't let the drawl, or even the sometimes sordid past, fool you, we're kind of awesome.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Relay For Life

This weekend I participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in my area. For those of you who may not know, there are many Relay for Life events all across the country. The events are designed to help raise funds and awareness. They also serve to honor cancer survivors in the area.

The American Cancer Society does more than fund cancer research. They also help get cancer patients to and from appointments, offer lodging during treatments if the treatments are away from the patient's area of residence, and they help with other things so that the patient does not have to go through it alone.

To participate in the event, which is from 6 PM to 6 AM (you read that right, it's an all night event), your team raises money by selling goods or services to the other participants during the event and at least one member of your team must be on the track at all times. The event is held through the night to represent the idea that cancer never sleeps. It doesn't stop to rest, and so we can't stop fighting, trying, learning, researching and doing whatever else we can to find new treatments and cures.

Our team set up a projector and played movies and sold cold drinks (it was sticky with humidity and hot like you wouldn't believe, by 2 AM it was still eighty-four degrees - Fahrenheit, that is) and popcorn. Other booths did face painting, water bottles, volleyball tournaments (you had to pay for your team to play), rock climbing walls, moon bounces, massages, pancakes, burgers, ice cream, if you can dream it up, somebody was giving it a shot.

It was my first year to participate, but it is my understanding that our area's event was a little less organized that it had been in the past. Thankfully, we still raised a lot of money. And that's all that really matters, it is a fundraiser, after all.

You want to know something else? It was fun. Don't get me wrong, by the time I got home and showered off the sweat and dirt and finally got in the bed I was just plain exhausted, but I did enjoy the experience. If the Relay event for your area hasn't happened yet, check it out.

If you are interested in donating to the American Cancer Society, but missed the event for your area, or if there isn't an event near you, visit their website. You can donate directly from the website. You can also learn more about what they do, and find out how to get involved.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tackling Dummy

Terrelle Pryor, when asked in a recent ESPN interview whether or not he knew he was breaking NCAA regulations with his recent indiscretions responded, "I didn't care. It was either sell it or get evicted." Hmmm, that's an interesting response for someone who showed up to a recent team meeting in a brand new car, valued at approximately $30,000.

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that if he can supposedly make regular car payments, then he ought to be able to make regular rent payments. Of course, the argument in his favor is that the car is registered to his mother, but who is that really fooling? This is not the first new car he has shown up in during his time as a buckeye. And even if his mother is willing to buy the boy a new car, you would think she would be willing to lend him rent money. I'm just sayin'.

If I were Jim Tressel, I wouldn't have risked my career to protect an entitled brat such as Pryor, but then again, I'm not a college football coach.

And as far as his punishment goes, you gotta be joking. He is suspended for five games? I have a better idea. There are a lot of guys on his team who are probably pretty ticked off at him right now. I say his punishment ought to be that between now and the final game of his suspension he ought to be used as a tackling dummy in practice so his teammates can let him know how they feel about it. Of course, I know he was not the only one who broke the rules, so I say line them all up and let the games begin.

Or, just to make it simpler, let the rest of the team take a free shot at each of them, each practice day, from now until the end of their suspension. Too harsh? Maybe. But he, and the other players in question, didn't just hurt themselves (Hurt? It's a five game suspension and they still got to play in the bowl game last year which was after this came to light, what a joke), they hurt the whole team, nay, the entire university. I'd be willing to bet there are a lot of guys who share a locker room with them that would really like to, how shall I say this delicately, express their anger. Yes, express their anger. I think that's a decent euphemism for beat the tar out of them.

Anyway, if the kid really can get a new car, but can't seem to pay rent without selling his stuff, I think he needs to take a personal finance class because his money management skills are seriously pathetic.

But I think the NCAA should really consider the tackling dummy approach to punishment. Don't worry, I don't need any credit..., but I would like a seat to that press conference just to see the look on everybody's faces.