Saturday, September 29, 2012

Read All About It

Well it's Good news/Bad news time.

Our CEO has discovered our charity has landed in the "Needs more information" pile at Tax Exempt Land.  

Boo!  Hiss!  

No...I am NOT crying.  Yet.
 
Hopefully that won't put us in the "Now serving those from Nov. 2011" pile.  It's possible we landed somewhere in the middle, meaning that as we were bold enough to file before we had 27 months under our belt, we just need to show them we're legit.  

We can do that.  And we have some Army folks who'll back us up.

In the meantime, it appears that although I want to cling to that often mumbled, "Leap of faith girl, leap of faith!" it's difficult.  And just when I want to start issuing invitations to a pity party, something happens which keeps me going.  Like the package that was hand delivered yesterday.

 
The title of this magazine is "The U.S. and International Archer".   This is the Paralympic issue, which is cool in itself.  And just under the gold medal winner's bow are the words, "Wounded Warriors.  Changing lives."

Yep, that's us.  On page 8.  In living, shiny color.  
It's a reprint of the local newspaper article done for our June "Fun Shoot".  You know the one where we all almost melted in record setting heat?  I'm proud because it was a collaborative effort; meaning I've known the Reporter for years, she has asthma so bad she couldn't get out in the heat, so I provided some quotes, a little info and a photo or two.  She joked that we should've shared the byline.

I'm smiling again, even though a thunderstorm is rumbling and shaking the windows. Why?

Because now the WORLD of archery knows what we're doing to aid soldiers who protect our freedom.  

Good publicity?  Sure.  Better yet?  It puts a good feeling in my heart that the taxman can't touch.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday 55

Dragging myself back to the computer I suggest that no one else consider intestinal flu as a method for weight loss.  So I cheerfully point you in the direction of the G-man to share your 55 wise words.



Politicians. 
Verbal sticks and stones. 
Mud fights where the only thing clean
were pearly white teeth through forced smiles.

Ambassador killed in riot
over stupid, badly made movie
whose actors are suing.

Freedom of speech?

Freedom from speech.

She switched off the t.v. and radio.
No  wonder 55 words were all she could tolerate.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My 2 Cents Worth

Mom and I were talking today (yes, by e-mail because both of us have been under the weather and don't want to trade medical symptoms) about politics.
I realized that if I were in charge of American politics, the rules would change.  How?  Well, common sense would be rewarded for starters.  Then I would:

Check a candidate's resume.  What?  You and I have to present a resume to be hired, why shouldn't they?  And yes, I'd check for plagiarism and actually phone a few of those references, plus the candidate's high school English and History teachers to see if they paid attention in class.  Not so much interested in SAT scores as the one for I.Q..
No candidate would be allowed to to run for office more than 3 months prior to the actual election. Those caught attempting otherwise would be placed in striped suits, complete with ball and chain, and made to literally clean the roadsides of America. Length of sentence commensurate with how many attempts he/she made to campaign early.
Absolutely NO PAC money. Period.  Candidates in need of money are free to open their own Lemonade stand or have their Mommy bake cookies for them to sell. And no, they could not sell the cookies for more than the Girl Scouts get for selling theirs.

Candidates would be limited to 5 "people".  As in "have your people call my people."  A candidate isn't a rapper or rock star, therefore he/she does not need a posse to keep the rest of us at arm's length.  I'm not heartless though; each candidate should have a shoulder to lean on and/or cry on; whether that's their spouse, religious leader or best friend since 1st grade is up to the candidate. 
NO t.v. ads. (Because I'm pretty sure most candidates are allergic to radio or perhaps too young to know it's for more than entertainment on the morning commute).  For 3 months prior to an election, all qualified candidates (See Item 1) would be invited to address the American public on a monthly program which would be carried on all methods of media at the same day/time each month. And yes, it would be mandatory for the media to run it.  This would aid in keeping the candidates from becoming confused due to the new regulations.  Each candidate would then have 15 minutes to outline their plan to “save us”.  At any point should a candidate feel the need to badmouth or sling mud, the floor beneath the podium would open and swallow them whole.  The offender would then be placed in "Time Out" until the next monthly meeting with the Public Who Pays The President's Salary.

There would be no Question and Answer period until the third and final session. Each candidate would then be tasked with writing an essay on “How I Would Like To Serve The American Public.”  It would then be graded by their most feared childhood English teacher.  Public vote in November would serve as the candidate's final grade. 

Voters would do homework.  Why yes, I do mean it.  You can't complain if you don't spend the time to understand what your favorite candidate stands for.  I figure without all the extra people around throwing money and mud at candidates, what he/she believes would be easier to figure out. 
Of course if I was really in charge, there would be no parties. More work “for the people” gets done when groups are non-partisan. Truly non-partisan. Not just saying they are for the nightly news sound bite. 
I have some reading to do.  Just as soon as I get the mud off the cover of my magazine article. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Color Me Amazed

Originally this was titled, “Color Me Frustrated”.   Hubby’s got a horrible ear infection.   Mom is doing that annoying tango with the doctor where they do lab work, wait 10 days to tell you the Doc needs to talk to you about your lab work, but they can’t see you for another 10 days.  And the dog needs a bath.  With LOTS of soap.  And maybe some mouthwash.
                                                    

My original frustration was courtesy of the American government…and TIME magazine.  Oh, it wasn’t TIME's fault for reporting the truth.  But that political truth clashed with my own government reality of going nowhere fast. 

Short version. (Because you don’t want to get me started.  I like you people.) As a non-profit charity, we filed for tax exempt status.  Apparently people with “big” money like making contributions they can write off.  People like me, with considerably less money, don't require a receipt.  We sent in the paperwork, enclosed the $850 fee and waited 90 days for the IRS to make a determination.  There are 4 levels of determination,from “Here you go, good luck!” to “Oh boy, do YOU have a problem!”  The word “approximately” does appear in front of 90 days.  You guessed it.  90 days have come and gone.  Nothing.

They did, however, cash our check within 7 days of me writing it.

My frustration over a government which has our money while we have nothing to show for it has grown.  Our “official” letter, which came a week after the check cashing, explained the 90 day wait period.  It bears no resemblance to the explanation on their website.  Kindly pray we aren't classified Level 4. They assign an agent to "help" those people.  They're currently assigning agents for paperwork submitted in November 2011.  Yes, 2011.

Sigh.

Since what I wanted wasn’t in the mail, I tried to get my mind off things by paging through the new TIME magazine.  I read half an article before disgustedly dropping the magazine into the reading basket.   Oh, alright.  I SLUNG it.  With gusto.

TIME’s contribution to my mood was the fact Obama and Romney will spend close to $2.2 BILLION dollars on their campaigns.  Not to aid Americans or encourage us to hang tough together.  Nope.  Money to point fingers and bad mouth one another.  Once again well meaning Americans are funding the world’s most expensive mud slinging contest.  Personally I think if politicians are so fond of dirt, they should forgo PAC money and just mud wrestle each other on Pay Per View.

Just think how many soldiers we could help with even a sliver of that! My frustration grew at the Catch 22 of it all.   Potential donors want to help, but they also want a tax write off.  We could use their help, but we’re hogtied by government regulations bringing us to a standstill.  We’re working to help heal soldiers whose employer sent them into harm’s way, then appeared annoyed when some of them came back injured.  If we had a national attic, I fear that’s where those soldiers would be sequestered.  Hidden and forgotten…while the moneyed masses secretly film candidates they don’t like. 

Honestly, it all seems so…childish.

Which is why I entered Monday morning without my happy face.  Frustrated and slightly depressed…yet too stubborn to actually give up.  Angrily I wondered when people had stopped caring about each other simply because it was the right thing to do?  Had money and power seduced people into becoming self centered and socially blind?

Today an Inmate helped me see that’s not true.

Yes, inmate.  Prisoner.  Individual housed by court order at the “County Hilton” who’s allowed out daily for supervised Work Release as cheap labor for my employer.  Most are polite, if standoffish.  Can’t blame them.  I love my senior citizens, but it took me years to convince them that you can’t walk up to an Inmate and begin the conversation with, “So, what did you do?”

Having been in our “temporary” home for almost a year now, we’ve seen a parade of Inmates come and go.  Most were silent shadows in the background emptying trashcans or mopping.   Few uttered more than a word or two, others simply treated us as nonexistent.  But H. and D.  are different.  They’re polite and treat the seniors like celebrities.  H. whistles all the time, singing out, “Good morning!” With feeling.

This morning as I mentally mumbled about the widening great divide between the Haves and the Have-Nots,  H. said to me, “Sorry I won’t be here for the seniors’ birthday party tomorrow.  I couldn’t find the Birthday Banner, so we hope this is okay.”

I walked into the dining room to discover that our 2 Inmates have turned that drab, high school cafeteria of my youth into tables set with party color.  See for yourself.




H. is missing the party because tomorrow he gets released.  He’s actually a little bummed that he won't get to see the seniors' smile and giggle over the decorations he's left behind.  Before I could even say thanks, D. offered, “We’ve been talking.   We’ve watched how you are with these old people.  And you’re good with them.  Good to them.  That’s a special talent.  The way you work with them…that just takes a special person.”

I always saw it as just doing my job.

Sometimes we forget the world is watching. Sometimes I wonder if I'm accomplishing my goal to do the right thing, for the right reason. Hey, it’s the way I’m wired.  Being charitable is in my DNA. Pushing myself to take the high road is harder.  And it can be a lonely road.  But one thing you don't find there is politicians...and mud. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday 55

Welcome to the world of stories told in 55 words.  Make sure you share your creation with our ring leader, the G-man.


“May I speak to your Dad?” the man inquired politely.

“Who are you?” the little girl demanded.

“Joe DiMaggio.”

“Daddy!” she yelled into the phone.  “Joe somebody.”

A week later DiMaggio stood at their door,
smiling down at the girl.   
Her eyes widened in amazement.

Now she remembers.

“Daddy!” she screamed. “Mr. Coffee is here!”



True story.  I grew up with the kids of Yankee baseball great Bobby Richardson.  When I was in college, Richardson ran for Senator and had some of his old teammates come to a fundraiser dinner. I campaigned for him.

At the time Joe DiMaggio was retired from both the Yankees and being Mr. Marilyn Monroe.  He was also doing television ads for a coffeemaker called, “Mr. Coffee”, so his face was on t.v. at least six times a day.  Richardson’s daughter was 5 years old at the time.  The above story was told at the fundraiser for Richardson, who I’m glad to say lost…because he was TOO NICE to win. 

Yep, I got to shake hands with Joe DiMaggio.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday 55

Just like magic, you can create a story in 55 words. When you do, please share with the Ring Master of our little circus, the G-man.



Sam glared.

He’d tried his childhood pet, mother’s maiden name, elementary school.

Nothing.

“Honey!” he yelled in frustration.  “What is it now?!”

Walking into the room, she typed “Open sesame” . 
The computer sprang to life.

“Why?” he sighed.

“I was reading ‘Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves’.”

“No magic books.  I can’t spell abracadabra.”

 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering...with a smile

While most of the world thinks of today as, "the day before Sept. 11th...the worse day ever", it holds a different connotation for me.  Sept. 10th is the date my Dad died.  How in the world can that have happened 17 years ago already?

Hold on, it's not going to be one of those morbid posts.  Can't be.  Dad and I shared the same silly sense of humor, so that's not allowed.  He had cancer and we handled it together, sometimes while actually giggling...which made the medical staff question each other over what drugs had been prescribed.  And to whom.  The only moment, other than the reality of the diagnosis itself, that I ever wanted to take back was one of those Freudian slips of the tongue which happened out of sheer anger braided with frustration.  

We walked out of the initial diagnosis and I didn't know what to do.  I was the KID for heaven's sake, even if I was in my 30s.  I was use to a parent reassuring me that everything would be okay.  I'd never had to come up with something reassuring, with a side order of encouragement, minus any sappy sweetness that would smack of the insensitive.

My mouth opened and went straight to insensitive, minus the sugar, as I muttered, "Life's a bitch."

To which my Dad responded, without missing a beat,"...and then you die."

If ever life needed a reverse button, that was it. 

The truth is, Dad should only have been around six months past that day.  The doctor would tell me later it was the fact Dad and I refused to put away our sense of humor that made the man stay around for almost five more years. My guilty secret?  At his funeral, I didn't cry.  I smiled.  I'm sure many people thought it was some sort of hysterical reaction.  It wasn't.  Dad and I had talked about what to do when that day came... Sept. 10th, as it turned out.  My Mona Lisa smile was because rather than be caught up in life's sudden rush of funeral homes, caskets, suits, flowers, music and burial plot, it wasn't a shock filled blur.  We'd done that planning years before.  Once Dad finished the pre-emptive strike of planning, we concentrated on the LIVING part.  The here and now.  Walks down Memory Lane.  I didn't miss my chance to say anything I wanted, or needed to say... and neither did Dad.  

During that time Dad once mused that he wouldn't be able to leave us a large sum of money.  I remember replying that he earned his money and I wished he'd spend it all on HIMSELF before the ride was over.  He didn't.  But I did talk him into a new car.  And the boat, motor and trailer he'd always wanted.

Dad left me more than some financial security, his sinus problems or verbal instructions on how to change a flat tire.  He left me memories.  And even in this economy, those are still valuable and not subject to taxes. 

So today I salute the Wisdom...and Sense of Humor... of Dad.

DAD
The man who instilled the message, "Safety first!"
yet let me stand on the front seat of the car 
and hand him newspapers when he had a Sunday route. 
Then again, that car was built like a tank.

Plus, you had to know Dad's "younger" version of safety.
During his 4 year stint in the Navy, 
he took this from the deck of his ship
DURING Hurricane Hazel. 
(Why yes, the deck IS sideways and almost in the ocean). 


To be fair, 
 I once asked him what was at the edge of the ocean,
(the horizon...for all you adults out there)
to which he replied, "Wonderful lands.  Wonderful people!" 

I believed him because he'd been in the Navy.
(And he was Dad)
I'd seen photos of Naples and Casablanca...
long before my existence was even a passing thought. 
Having "met" all of you, 
my invisible cyber friends,
I'd say Dad was right.
(He's also the only sailor wearing clothes in this photo!)


Dad told me to be careful and never get on a motorcycle.
Interestingly, 
Hubby (then Boyfriend) had one of those.
They were dangerous, Dad declared.
I chose to interpret that as "motorcycles", not the Boyfriend.
And then I found this. 


It wasn't bad enough I found this in Grandma's photo album. 
Oh no.  I had to add...
"How could it be dangerous if you took puppies for a ride?"


Grandma's photo album, by the way, 
was a wealth of humorous material.
If your parents declared they couldn't afford a horse,
what could a guy do but put his sense of humor into play?


Dad, 
as your First Born ,
I always knew we had a special bond.
Cool thing is, I always knew you had my back.
Even when telling me to stay off motorcycles. 

I hope you felt like I had your back 
when the time came for me to return the favor.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday 55

Time to entertain the G-man with stories written in 55 words...don't forget to let him know you played. 

“Ever get a tune stuck in your head?” Jack sighed.

“An ear worm,” Sam nodded.

“Worse.  My subconscious is singing.”

“What?”

“I started whistling while getting ready for work.”

“So?”

“Whistling, ‘If I Only Had A Brain’.

“It’s hot.  Maybe your brain equates Scarecrows with a cooler autumn.”

Exchanging glances they declared in unison, “Career change.”

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Go Ireland! And Oscar P.!


It has an grand opening ceremony.  Royals wave enthusiastically.  Athletes from around the world participate.

But NBC doesn't have time for coverage.  I can only watch online.

Here's to the athletes of the 2012 Paralympics, now competing in London.  Check here to see what Ireland did!

And from now on, the phrase "Oscar winner" won't have a thing to do with film...just Oscar Pistorius.  Hope my friend Tracy is having a blast as she's covering it for the Warrior Transition Unit out of Ft. Stewart, GA.