Saturday, May 26, 2012

Worth a Thousand Words




The Green Fields of France


Well, how do you do, Private William McBride, 
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside? 
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun, 
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done. 
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19 
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916, 
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean 
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene? 

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly? 
Did the rifles fir o'er you as they lowered you down? 
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus? 
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest? 

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind 
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined? 
And, though you died back in 1916, 
To that loyal heart are you forever 19? 
Or are you a stranger without even a name, 
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane, 
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained, 
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame? 

The sun's shining down on these green fields of France; 
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance. 
The trenches have vanished long under the plow; 
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now. 
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land 
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand 
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man. 
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned. 

And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride, 
Do all those who lie here know why they died? 
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?" 
Did you really believe that this war would end wars? 
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame 
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain, 
For Willie McBride, it all happened again, 
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

0017

 

Toblerone and Snarky Science Experiments

Fair warning this blog is about to enter a new realm of things to discuss…

Alright in all serious snarkiness this topic means something to me. It should mean something to all you wonderful Belles out there! The matter seems to be getting out of control and I can no longer, with a straight face, feign any dismissal of men trying to explain why they get confused, or dislike…

THE GIRLIE AISLE.

smiths-aisle

Something has happened on the lady aisle, something I find disturbing and a bit revolting. I find it so upsetting that I almost do not want to go down said aisle anymore myself! Yesterday I made that trip to Target to pick up some needed supplies for the upcoming TOP SECRET: OPERATION MOM’S BIRTHDAY… more on that later.

Then I remembered I should probably “restock” the stores my feminine products; you can honestly never have too many.

Costco-Always-Feminine-Product

I found myself on the infamous aisle of male shame and fear. Seriously it is like a black hole. black_holeI have seen men accidently turn down the aisle only to look like a stunned deer and freeze momentarily; you can see the wheels turning in their head as to what they can do, act casual, back away slowly, or if they have been shell-shockedmarried long enough… pick up the phone, call the wife and ask for a pic of the brand of preference so he MIGHT match it up correctly.

These days, however, it is becoming harder and harder to match it up, even for us ladies that have been going through this since puberty. It seems every time I make the trip to the girlie aisle everything has changed and thus the prices have gone up, because supposedly the technology is better. How much better or technologically advanced can absorption get? That’s really all we are talking about here right?

This time the Always brand has a new line called “Radiant”. Seriously? I do not know anything about how others feel about Auntie Flow… but there is nothing friggin’ radiant about it, for me. IMG-20120523-00059

See guys, if you are still reading here, this is something women do not typically discuss amongst themselves. We may know every detail of our friend’s sex lives, and the shape of their bikini line but we are not going to discuss our periods or our personal preference in products… and not with our mom’s either.

I am standing there looking at the radiant line packages… and they are all shiny and sparkly looking and several dollars more than the price of the old line; which is now suddenly as outdated as the iPhone 4. I find myself asking “What exactly is this going to do for me?” is this somehow going to make my period feel like glowing rainbows and unicorn glitter farts? Unicorns_Fart_Rainbows__3_by_thunderwolf900What exactly about this magnificent pad is going to be “Radiant”? Does it glow in the dark? That would be different… awkward but different. I mean you would be limited to where you could go with glow in the dark girlie products tucked up against you lady bits. There would be NO yoga pants or shorts in movie theaters… let us not even broach the terrible subject of what passes for leggings these days; which is frankly little more than panty hose.

535164_403399393011202_173570305994113_1511706_2052750027_n

I venture a bit further past the new RADIANT display and find the not so new black boxes of the U line by Kotex. Not really sure what the idea behind that was, as the difference between the previous line of Kotex and the U line is simply packaging, and you can get it slightly cheaper on the lower shelf where it is not packaged in the special black boxes. Oh! They do have a new “Tween” line… The box is glittered…which leads me to wonder if we as a society are comfortable letting girls wear training pads like they wear training bras?katy-perry-last-friday-night-training-bra My mother once bought me a training bra , and I think she scared those puppies into non-development for a good decade or so. That is another topic, for another day.

Confused and irritated I turn to try my luck at tampons and I am presented with a larger plethora of options. Pearls, Sport, again with the Tween (in tampon form it really made my stomach ache), some claiming to be “organic” and recyclable which kind of freaks me out and now I find myself wanting to sit down in the middle of the aisle and rock back and forth crying.

In the interest of science and for the benefit of my readers I picked up a box of the new Radiant Infinity Pads and a box of the “Sport” tampons. The box actually says it is for bodies in motion… I am hoping they make me jump faster and run higher.IMG-20120523-00058

I searched for the Playtex tampons for the comatose or the paralyzed but they did not have that, I guess there is a specialty store or something. My point is, aren’t all bodies in motion? At least the bodies I would assume would be using tampons… I digress.

 

 

201_Sam_Jazz_HandsSo the Radiant box with all its sparkle and pizazz made me do jazz hands all the way to the check out. Also on the back are some SWEET instructions on how to take a plain white shirt and make it into a Radiant shirt by gluing some craft gems to it. In my old age…of 24-ish I thought is that not just “Bedazzling” and who needs instructions for this? People have been gluing shit to other shit for a really long time; instruction for this behavior usually begins with some macaroni and colored paper in preschool. No one need look any further than Etsy to find that the trend of gluing crap together did not ever die with the infomercials of the Bedazzler, but the box of radiant period pillows tells me this how to be radiant. Please note: at this time I have not made my radiant period shirt so my assessment of the radiant menstrual mattresses may not be entirely through.

IMG-20120523-00060

Sorry.

unicornThe wrapper of these magnificent Radiant Infinity pads is a happy little yellow shade with a wicked sweet design on it; I certainly felt so much more radiant just by looking at it. Oh and they were lightly scented it was like a box of Unicorn and Fairy breath was unleashed on the world. The inner wrapper gave me a direction as to which end of this dazzling feminine product was the front.

GOOD THING TOO… It shames me to admit how often I get that shit mixed up. Nothing like having your pad turned round backward; seriously though I once, did not get a pad stuck down correctly and it flipped back on me. Let me just say that is not an experience that is:

1. Describable and

2. Not something I will ever, EVER do again.

So far I have not had any of my hypothesized Radiant things happen. I have not floated, I do not glow in the dark (either all over or just radiating from my bits) it did not make my cramps magically stop and I have not seen any magical creatures. As I mentioned before though I have not fully joined the radiant sisterhood by making my bedazzled… shit, I mean my Radiant t shirt so maybe then…. I will have the full experience.

Today I have tried the Sporty tampons… because well I moved today. As I do most days… the sport aspect of the non-organic tampon was according to the box appropriate. I did not, however, actually play a sport.

393194_270013556376527_249469905097559_833370_1642035039_n

These period poppers are made of Rayon in case you have never actually read the boxes. I have now so you will never have to go there. Did you know that absorbencies of all tampon brands have been standardized? Sweet tea and baby Jesus who the hell had that job? The box also gives you a range of z212604990how many grams of absorption the sporty cork can hold. Which is helpful because I have a period gauge, I store it next to my rain gauge. Ladies please write me and let me know if you somehow know how many effing grams of “flow” you go through. I will retract all statements about the ridiculousness of knowing this. Instead of giving me grams how about you give me a chart that says:


  • Regular: for the days when you could really get by without feeling like you need to check every twenty minutes for leakage.
  • Super: for those days that you are thinking duct taping two together might make life easier.
  • Super Plus: for the days you will bleed to death without this rayon and/or cotton fiber, polyester and cotton string plug to keep it all in.

original (1)

I was also grateful for the clear instructions that clearly reminded me to change the Sporty Stopper and remove it when the monthly bill has been paid, so to speak. Then there was the long blunt warning page about all the horrible things that could happen should I forget about my Sport Cork. wine-corksBasically my Wahoo could fall off/out and have a seizure and then walk off giving me the finger. (*That’s totally not true… but because I tend to freak out when I read warnings like that… that is what I tell myself could happen*) There was no scent in this box which I found refreshing, because I was a bit worried about what Sporty might smell like….and whether I wanted that anywhere near my lady parts. There has to be a reason no one ever really liked Sporty Spice… Just saying.

melc10a

So there it is two fabulous reviews of two products that I know every woman with a vajayjay that has not seized and left her, uses. Perhaps it clears up some of the mystery of the aisle for the mens out there… basically it does not really matter what you buy her she probably will not like it. She is having her period for God’s sake women are happy with nothing during this time of their lives. Well to tell the truth I found myself perfectly happy when I found a huge Toblerone at check out. Honestly that was the most radiant part of this whole damn experience… I think I will go finish that bad boy off and wash it down with some Guinness.

toblerone6

Always,

~a

Remember how awesome they were…. yeah well I suddenly did too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

0103

Amendment One

and Hypocrisy

 

550526_365949146804497_268330443233035_987696_1867142830_nOops.... forgot to keep reading the Old Testament rules huh?
You'll have none of that "love thy neighbor" crap... not you... in fact you will ink it into your skin! Sadly you kept reading as the buzz of that tattoo needle marked you for life.... <insert eye roll and sigh> and then... God Bless Your Heart.... you remember that there is a New Testament where this really rad dude named Jesus said a bunch of great stuff!
Great stuff we all should pretty much follow Christian or not... because well... it makes sense and has been passed down as practical wisdom through the ages;  and well since you appear to be Christian, by your choice of book quotations.  Jesus will forgive you for being a bigoted, ignorant, asshole, hiding behind your freedom of religion and speech to take away the rights of others. 45333_307662292649378_171788062903469_669998_522569040_n


I am no one's judge... but you dear sir, are not either.


I am southern, proud, Christian, straight, and American.  I believe in the Civil Rights of all, let me repeat, ALL people.  I am not anyone's God, nor will I be waiting at the gates of heaven to read you your list of sins and ask you to account for them.  Who you love is none of my business... as a Christian I am commanded to Love my neighbor, it gives no further instruction on loving them based on who they love.  This instruction is one I will follow for the rest of my days as best I can, sure I have my moments in traffic when I love no one and they KNOW IT.  The point is I try.  I will go to my grave TRYING.


There are TEN rules God asked us to specifically live by.... if you are not Christian, look up Sumerian Code.... nearly the same.... 551135_393835410659162_152560524786653_76233892_104083603_nthey are ten solid rules of conduct that have been accepted by nearly every culture I have ever heard of... NOT one of them says anything about whom to love and how.  We are only instructed to LOVE. How hard is that as a task?  Love, simply love.  Like a child in the womb or a devoted pet waiting for your return home; just love... with all your heart and soul love one another because God made each of us.  As momma likes to remind me, "Does God ever make mistakes?"  to which I usually point out the Platypus.... but only as a funny.... God does not make mistakes.  God creates love and life.

74775_358267967556500_239318682784763_946038_845936936_n
Thank goodness all these "Christians" who went and decided they knew better than God and Jesus Himself and voted on Amendment One here in North Carolina passing a state constitutional amendment that not only bans gay marriage but547900_440640732630840_196601040368145_1583187_2083477567_n dissolves any type of civil union; which will end up with dire consequences on both sides of the sexuality fence. Setting a dangerous legal precedent and setting us back nearly forty years in the civil rights arena. I pray that forty years from now when this civil rights battle has passed they will feel as stupid as those bigots who crowded the lunch counters in Greensboro, NC to attempt to force out the black students who refused to leave.   
Jesus died for these bigots though, and asked God with his last breath to "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."  Thank you dear North Carolinians for proving how childish and under evolved our race truly is.  

It’s a bit late now… but it lays out the facts.

Click her to sign the petition against the Amendment.... YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AN NC RESIDENT!


always,
~a

Friday, May 18, 2012

25 Things:

I Bet You Did Not Know About Me

1. I think the Beatles are likely the greatest band in the history of the world. (Most Days…)

2. I was the first born girl on my father’s side of the family in at least fifty years.

3. I hate my hair shorter than my shoulders.

4. I never ate a S’more in my whole life until just a couple weeks ago.

5. I have a security blanket. It has a name, and I know where it is at all times… for security purposes only of course.

6. I have never dated anyone longer than 18 months.

7. I wonder if I have commitment issues

8. It is very likely that I own more hair, makeup, and skincare products than you and your momma put together.

9. I literally have a trunk filled with the entire front pages of newspapers when significant events have happened, and any special section that may have been done.

10. I am terrified of spiders, and large crowds.

11. I hate sleeping alone. Thus a large dog takes up more than his half of the bed.

12. I pray for the dead animals on the side of the road.

13. I kick ass at Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

14. I fully believe that I should have a running soundtrack for my life; as such I keep my iPod in my ears a lot. You can frequently tell what I am feeling by the choice of songs.

15. I have all songs neatly divided and sorted into different categories on my iTunes.

16. I own more than 4000 CDs. I stopped counting. I have no idea what to do with them now.

17. I love to write letters, real letters, with an ink pen, on nice paper, and seal it with wax and my seal.

18. I talk to myself…. Probably more than I should.

19. Most every emotion I have is expressed with tears. I hate that.

20. If a movie makes me cry I will likely never watch it again… only exception is the Notebook.

21. I generally hate sappy love stories, in either movies or books…. Again the only exception has been the Notebook.

22. I used to write a lot of poetry, and it was kind of something I was known for in junior high.

23. I am addicted perfume. I buy different scents all the time. I have a few standards but love perfume… I think it is the bottles.

24. I cannot physically walk in high heels. I think they are beautiful, but I really hate them.

25. I am obsessed with Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Walk On....

I know I am biased... but... this is amazing... and I will call anyone a liar if they do not admit that they got a bit teared up... or sniffly... after you watch this...

The little boy was born with cerebral palsy and they were told he would likely never walk.  His dad deployed and while gone the six year old worked so hard to learn to walk so that when his father came home... He could walk to welcome him back.   There are heroes everywhere... and that child is one.

always, ~a


Thursday, May 10, 2012

0416

Ten Years Too Late

“Better never to have met you in my dream than to wake and reach for hands that are not there.” ~Otomo No Yakamochi

Do you ever find yourself listening to a song and memories of a place or time come flooding into your mind? Sometimes the memory is so vivid you can almost smell it, touch it, taste the air… want to reach out and touch the people or person you are with… say something you meant to say but did not. I do not want to sound as though I lay awake at night fighting demons of regrets. mc-random-272I have other demons I fight at night and they have little to do with regrets… but my anxiety and constant analysis of every conversation of the day have nothing to do with this post. I made the choices that I felt were best for me at the time I made them, not always fully thought through or analyzed sometimes just purely instinctual for better or worse; I tried to live in my moment.

Isn’t that what you are supposed to do? Live in the moment?

Then why is it that sometimes a song, sometimes not even a song remotely connected to that moment brings the whole moment back again? So fresh and new… the closest to time travel man beautiful-photos-18may ever get. In just the span of a twinkling of a star you would have done anything to maybe change that instant to throw open the gates and lay bare your soul, or shut your mouth any remain silent, or perhaps kiss that person you wanted to and never did... the list of possibilities are as endless as the individuals out there that many read this. (All 10 of my readers…)

Tonight love haunts me… a lost chance, an instant passed before I could stop it. Youth in all its glory and obliviousness but movie-gifs-11bounded in insecurity and arrogance at times causes you to make a choice in your moment that given proper thought and consideration you would do differently; or just given age and perspective. They say time heals all wounds; in this case time has only deepened this wound.

I have been so vulnerable with you my beloved readers recently I will tell you this tale, my fairy tale, as un-lengthy as possible. I will throw open the gates and lay bare my soul in hopes that the light of day will shine in and perhaps heal what will never be… and maybe, just maybe I will learn to believe in fairy tales again.

There is a man, who lives far away from me… as in an ocean away. sb-random-482We met by chance; complete fluke, discussing the events and political ramifications of September 11th… on September 12th, 2001. Somehow what started as a simple discussion that broadened my horizons beyond America and helped me see the world in a bigger picture became a full on enchanted relationship. It seemed so amazing at the time; so unbelievable; so crazy. In fact as my mother and I waited for him to arrive at the airport that Christmas to visit I recall looking at her and asking if I was insane. She told me that I perhaps was, but sometimes magic is found in insanity.

Then there he was. His accent, his eyes and the way they crinkled when he smiled, his easy nature and quick wit made my stomach repeatedly drop through the floor.mc-random-14 He was a gentleman like I had never known, and have not known since. The truth was he terrified me; in all the best and scary ways. I was barely 21 and I had only had my crappy relationships… I did not know what to do with this Prince Charming.

I went to see him, in his country, stayed in his home. Fell head over heels for a place I do not live, and standing on a hillside watching a train pass in the distance and the sea beyond I knew love for the first time. Real honest love… pure and simple, easy and whole… then I felt the gates slam shut and my heart scream at my mind. My mind was right though… love had only ever meant hurt both emotional and sadly in some cases physical.

This was a man standing next to me, not the boys I had dated before. A man, full of confidence and goals; he radiated assurance and safety. He was so foreign to me and so far from everything I knew and was comfortable with. The entire time I was there in March/April of 2002 I battled with myself to the point of exhaustion. The adult thing to do of course would be to discuss this with him. I look back now when a song trips the memories and realize at 21 we are still such children… at least I was.

As he stood with me in line at the checkpoint for outgoing international flights, I felt I might explode. Split in half straight down the center. My heart screaming to turn to him and kiss him full on, with all the passion in heart everything I felt and tell him I was not going to leave. mc-random-131I would stay with him, follow him wherever he might go, that his path would be mine. My brain reminding me of all my responsibilities at home, the results of such a decision, the pain my family would feel… The risk, more than anything the risk and so with a hesitant hand and the briefest of pauses and small glance in his direction I handed my passport over to the agent. I walked away. If I have any regrets in this life, it was that walk… that lost moment, chance.

The long flight home locked those gates tighter and tighter and at home it got harder and harder to shut off my mind and my fears. So I hurt him. I hurt him like I have never hurt anyone. I behaved as a child and turned away without as much as a whisper.

A decade has passed and I went back to see him. Hoping that some magic was still there; that somehow the old adage held true: “If you love something let it go, if it returns to you it is yours forever.” The thing that adage does not tell you is what happens if the person who let you go is no longer waiting when you come back. DSCN1540

We are great friends. In fact he may be one of the greatest friends I have ever known he has rescued me in true Princely fashion more than once. I can say truthfully I love him in more ways than he may ever know or understand. I laid my soul, my heart, my fears, my hopes at his feet on this last visit. A decade of change between the two of us and that hurt, that insurmountable hurt like an elephant in the room. I cannot tell you if it is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all. I think I hold to the ignorance is bliss policy a bit more. I wonder now sometimes when I travel back if love knocks twice… if real love, like I felt and have felt for so long comes around again. Do you get a second chance at it? Or do you just settle for something that resembles it the best?

If he had asked me to stay, this last time, I would have without any hesitation or second guessing because I know now it is okay to love and allow yourself to be loved… ten years too late.

love always ~a

 

Just one of the many that pulls me back, time travel.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hero

1802

This Friday night will likely resemble most Friday nights; me sifting through the many social events I have been asked to attend and trying to decide which one is the best choice based on a variety of considerations, my parents bickering over which show to watch or whether it is a re-run, the dogs barking at the slightest hint of someone breathing four miles away…. But something will be different. Life as we have known it for going on half a lifetime will have changed.

Sure we will go about our duties and motions as we have always but a piece of the picture will be somewhere else. His Lordship is leaving us; no big deal right? He has left before it is not like he does not know his way home. This leave though, will change him and when he comes home… well my heart aches at what to expect. I cannot write about him or my family directly upon their requests so let me say this introduction is about life in general and the rest will be about my thoughts and feelings on the matter.
I am angry. Though not the first emotion I felt it has remained the constant. I am angry that my country is sending my brother or for that matter anyone’s brothers off to a war that has become redundant, unfocused, and unwinnable. There is no outcome that I can see where either side wins. Truthfully though, in war does anyone win? Is it not all such a waste of effort, time, and life?

Students of history will recognize almost a mirror image of the current war with the one our parents fought. Afghanistan is our generation’s Vietnam. Upon entry to the country I concede our intentions were well placed and perhaps good. The waters muddied when we split our fronts to invade Iraq for no other reason that a pack of propaganda and vanity. We left the Afghan front terribly marginalized and to our detriment have created a quagmire. Another lesson already taught in history… but apparently unlearned by some of the supposedly greatest minds in our land. I think perhaps what has happened is, the greatest minds, now realize that politics are a waste of their great mind’s usage.

I am selfish and prideful. How much of a jerk do I have to be to cry tears over this when so many have sacrificed and many sacrificed more than once and I quibble over the first call to duty? So many of my friends, now wives and mothers, have sent their husbands off to multiple deployments and if it was killing them inside I rarely saw it, knew it, or heard them speak of it. Naturally I had a couple closer to me than others and did get more of an inside view. Even that I find, did not prepare me for the roller coaster my family has ridden since we found out. I suppose every family has their journey own based on their individual dynamics and relationships; we all must endure this ride the best we can for “God and country” as they say.

I am proud. My brother is brave, but not overly so, courageous is a better word. He has grown into this man I do not know so well; a man I can be proud of. A man we can all be proud of. Despite your opinion or my opinion of the “cause” he is willing to go and face a foe that is often faceless and does not play by the same “rules” we know. He is prepared to face the horrors of war, the real not CGI or fake horrors of Hollywood, but the real life in your face horrors of war. Things he will never speak of, that will change him as a person and I pray help him become a better man. My brother is a man you can all be honored to know serves your country; strong, full of conviction, patriotic, driven, all American…. Loves baseball and barbeque, a good burger or his momma’s spaghetti, and he is fiercely proud of his heritage as a Scot Irish American with a strong history of soldiers. He has not even left the house yet, but he is already a Hero.

play

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

God bless and God’s speed to my brother and all the men and women he travels with.

always ~a