Archive for the ‘Life Lessons’ Category

One of the wisest men I know, who was once described by a business associate as a man with “impeccable integrity,” my father, wrote this:

Today is my birthday, so I think I will do something I do not usually do.  I will blog. I had hoped…even believed…that I would get my greatest birthday gift ever, a new President.  But I learned a long time ago that we don’t always get what we want, at 62 I am old enough to know that.
I have paid close attention to politics since I was in college.  The first presidential election I was eligible to vote in was 1972, Nixon vs. McGovern.  I did not like McGovern’s policies and I couldn’t understand how this man, McGovern, who admittedly started with nothing when he entered politics ended up quite well to do, but that is another story.  At the time, I was young and idealistic and I thought the biggest disservice a President could do to the public was to lie to them.  In a democracy you need information to make proper voting choices, so lying to the public, to me, was worse than bad policies.  I voted for McGovern, it was a protest vote.
I knew Nixon was lying big time.  His Watergate lies hadn’t been exposed yet, but the evidence was overwhelming if you were paying attention.  I grew up in a very conservative neighborhood.  All my friends, and especially their parents, were behind Nixon.  I was the maverick. They were kind to me, but they couldn’t believe the President of the United States was out right lying to them.  I knew he was, and in fact he was.  That revelation to the country came after the landslide election victory that Nixon won, and led to his later resigning from office.  I mark that as a turning point in American society, the time when respect for authority suffered a great blow that it has never recovered from.
Indeed, now many people assume their government routinely lies to them, and I believe they are often right.  But there is something worse than a government that lies to the public, and that is a public that accepts the lies, either out of indifference, ignorance or too often, convenience.  Just recently we had a former President who had explicitly lied to the public on national television, then later to a court of law under oath, complain that we shouldn’t trust a man who would lie to us to become President.  The saddest part of that sorry episode is how few people paid attention or cared what he had just said.  Just more of the same.  Too inconvenient to hold him to account; he is after all a popular fellow and agrees with the majority’s world view, so what difference does a lie make?
I think that is where we are today, and I think that is one of the major reasons the biggest con man in American history has just been re-elected President of the United States.  A majority of the public no longer care much about the truth. To quote another great con man, “the truth is inconvenient.”  No, a majority of the public is happy to go along with the free lunch propaganda.  We are all Greeks now.A majority of the public and most of the media are all too happy to look the other way while great lies are told and honorable men have their reputations trashed because that is easier than telling the truth or addressing real issues.  My friends and their parents in 1972 looked the other way and we re-elected a liar whose lies had a profound impact on the morality of the entire country.Many in the government have been lying to us for years.  They do not tell the truth about how they spend our tax money.  They do not tell us the truth about who pays the taxes.  They use budgetary gimmicks or simply ignore accounting for it all together (off budget items).  That other great con man, Al Gore, lied to us about many things, but I think my favorite was the Social Security “lock box”.  We will soon be opening that lock box and the assets big Al promised us won’t be there.  The lock box is filled with slips of paper, mere promises from a lying government.

We just went through a campaign where one candidate simply made up false stories about what the other believed and a majority bought it.  Too much work for the press and public to actually pay attention, but then paying attention would be inconvenient to their world view.

We just went through a campaign where one of the most honorable men in our political history was willing to run the gauntlet of lies and distortions because he wanted to help his country.  He didn’t need the job.  He doesn’t need any job.  He didn’t need it for his resume; he already had one of the most impressive resumes of any man to run for President.  He didn’t need it for a cool address, he already owns one of the coolest houses on the planet.  He didn’t need it for his ego, so unlike the great vanity of his opponent.  He was a man who understood that his many and great accomplishments were not the most important measure of him.  He was the best kind of humble, he chose to be that way.  He was truly a man prepared and ready for this difficult time.

But the lies had it, the motion carried.  We were conned again.  The country just made a huge mistake because a majority is willing to accept being lied to by their government and press.  They say you can’t fix stupid, maybe they are right.

So do I think the Country is going to hell in a hand basket?  No, not yet.  We are blessed to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. Our economy is the biggest and provides the best standard of living to the most people of any in the world.  It will take a lot to wreck it.  It can be wrecked, and if we don’t eventually change course we will ruin it.

I feel most sad now for the people who are already struggling, who can’t find good work…whose homes and businesses are sinking.  The country has just chosen to make it much more difficult to fix our problems.  There is going to be a lot more pain before things get really better.  It didn’t need to be this way but if you are willing to be lied to and still want to believe in Santa Claus, then you get the government you deserve.

What will turn this around?  When it becomes more inconvenient to continue believing the lies and in the free lunch that Government Santa is supposed to bring.

The Soviet Union and the former Eastern European Block (not to mention innumerable banana republics) went through this already and died.  They sought to redistribute income and only redistributed poverty.  Santa really is make believe.  Their demise was prolonged and delayed through brute force, but they eventually collapsed.  Much of Europe is going through this now; but they are merely socialistic, not communistic so it will take longer to unfold.  It is only a question of degree.  We are perhaps a generation behind them, so we have more time.  But our time will come if we stay on this course.  If it does, I trust in the basic goodness and resilience of the people of this great country to get back on track.  It won’t be pretty, but I believe we will make it.  I believe we will still remain the greatest country in the history of the world and the greatest hope for mankind.

This is a great country, and that is no lie.


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Please don’t be alarmed by the title of this post; my husband and I are madly in love with each other and have a great marriage.  But I just stumbled upon this other blog post We All Married the Wrong Person, and I was so intrigued by that title that I read on.

When my husband and I were engaged we traveled to Colorado, where he had grown up, for an engagement party.   While we were there we spent some time with one of my (then) finance’s old high school buddies.  It was the first time this guy and I had ever met, and after about an hour he looked at my finance and me and asked, “Do you two have anything in common?”  I think he may have been wondering what on earth had brought us together and if our marriage would end up lasting very long.

True, my husband and I had far less in common when we met and married than we do now.  In fact, there were some things about him that drove me positively crazy.  He may have had similar feelings about me, but if so he was far too kind to ever mention anything.  It was after we were married, in that glorious First Year, that those things we didn’t have in common…those issues that we each came down so far apart on…came out into the open.  From the article:

Dr. Haltzman says even if we think we know a person well when we marry them, we are temporarily blinded by our love, which tends to minimize or ignore attributes that would make the relationship complicated or downright difficult.”

My Honey and I just celebrated our ninth anniversary.  And as a simple matter of fact, the ninth year of our marriage was the hardest year for us yet (closely edging out year eight), excepting of course The First Year.  I take some poetic license in capitalizing The First Year because it was such a stand apart year in our marriage, in terms of difficulty, as I am assuming it is in most marriages.  Am I wrong about that?  Or am I right?  You may think I am crazy for saying that becuase your first year of marriage was pure bliss.  I don’t want to give the wrong impression here:  I am not saying that there was no bliss in our first year…it was a paradox really; it was on the one hand purely delightful…a bed of roses, and on the other hand so terribly difficult and emotionally draining.  It was knowing that I had chosen the perfect man for me, and the next moment plagued with doubt…wondering how I had ever gotten myself into this thing called marriage, and was it really forever?

The last couple of years were nothing like The First Year.  Our marriage was very strong by the time we stumbled into all that year eight and nine held in store.  These years were difficult for us not so much becuase we were unsure of each other or how we were supposed to properly mesh our interests and reconcile our differences.  They were difficult because we happened upon trying circumstances that simply came our way, external forces that had nothing to do with he or me or our relationship with each other.  Together we worried and cried and vented…and laughed, not becuase of each other but with each other.  We were a well oiled machine that worked through the difficulty with a single purpose, we were one at this point in our marriage.  That is not to say that all of the crap we endured did not test our relationship.  To be sure, it did.  But our marriage passed that test with flying colors and came out the stronger for it, and the machine kept on plowing through the crap without its different parts doubting each other, the parts working together rather than against each other…which is the most efficient way to deal with crap.

If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” says Dr. Haltzman, adding that today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction, he says.

Dr.  Haltzman shared some research with me about the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction…I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose. With too many choices, we can become overburdened and regretful and constantly question our decision. Today, individuals may feel they have many choices of mates, and fear lost opportunities with potential ‘right’ partners. This may happen even after a person is married, as he or she questions the decision to marry with each bump in the road.”

It is funny when I think back to the observation that my husband’s high school buddy made of us as an early couple.  The truth is, I totally know where the guy was coming from.  There were a lot of things that we didn’t have in common, that we were the polar opposites of each other on, really.  Maybe we were blinded by love at first.  I don’t know.  Or maybe it’s just that opposites do attract (lest I lead you astray, we had the most important fundamentals in common:  religion, our familial backgrounds, etc.)  The observation that I have made through the past nine years is that marriage can close more than a few gaps.  My husband and I have so much in common now that I doubt if we weren’t made for each other.  We have pulled each other towards the other and met in a very agreeable middle.  We prefer each other’s company  to that of any other.  We have such good, fun, quite frequently boring…no, perfectly comfortable…times together that we just can’t get enough.  And we are happy.  We are happy with each other.  We are happy with our life together.  In short, life is hard, but we are happy to be plowing through it together.

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My seven-year-old posed this question the other day, totally out the blue:

“So, I’m still wondering…are we rich or are we poor?”

I told him we were neither.  “We’re in the middle.”  His younger brother excitedly exclaimed, “We’re in the middle!”  I thought to myself, actually we’re poor…but that’s not something a mother should tell her kids. Actually, we’re not poor…at least not compared to many, many people in this world.  It’s all relative.  Everything is relative.  But I feel poor.  We live in one of the most expensive areas in the country, which has a lot to do with the financial frustration I am feeling.  Our dollars do not go far here…not far at all.  If we had these same dollars and were living somewhere in the Midwest, or in Texas or Utah (in almost any “red” state, really), I would feel much better off.  We would, in fact, be much better off.  But we’re not. We are here, not because we want to be, but rather because the recession hit us personally in July 2008 and began a chain of events that are still unfolding for our family…the impact of which we will continue to feel for years to come.

I came across this U.S. News article (“7 Stressors Sapping the Middle Class”) the day after the above exchange with my boy.  There has been a lot of talk in the past several years about the “shrinking middle class.”  It’s a favorite line of politicians who want people to feel disgruntled and then look to them [the politicians] to help make things better.  Well, I feel disgruntled all right, but I blame the politicians. (more…)

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My Honey was away last night and I found myself, as I often do when he is away for the night, vegging in front of the computer in an effort to stall the unpleasant inevitable:  going to bed alone.  After checking my email I perused the Yahoo! headlines and saw one regarding Kim Kardashian.  I have heard that name before, and have also seen one Khloe Kardashian plastered on the front page of magazines in the checkout line at the grocery store.  But I had no idea who either of them were.  Who are they, I wondered, and why are they famous? I had time to kill as I was very interested in further procrastinating the chore of retiring for the night, alone.  So I followed the link and read the article, then Googled a bit, and twenty minutes later I knew far more than anyone really needs to know about the “Dash”ing Kim, yet sadly much of America surely knows far more about her than I learned in my twenty minutes of mind-numbing internet surfing.  Actually, I would have…should have…spent far less time trying to figure out why this girl is famous except that a fact in her biography caught my interest:  she was born less than two weeks before I was, less than an hour from where I was was born.  We both grew up in Southern California at the same time, we were the same age during the Rodney King Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial…and the Clinton years.  This simple parallel intrigued me, and I wondered how our individual experiences differed and how we both ended up in our present circumstances at the age of 29…she rich and famous, and me…not.

And so I Googled and perused.  And then, afterward, the thought occurred to me that I can never reclaim those lost twenty minutes of my life.  What a waste. For those of you who, like me, before now knew nothing about Kim or why she and her family are famous, I will briefly enlighten you.  She grew up wealthy and fairly well know in L.A., due largely to her lawyer father’s role in defending O.J. Simpson, but was “cut off” by her parents at 18 in order for her to develop work ethic.  To acquire such “ethic” she made friends with famous socialites and sluts, such as Paris Hilton, and she herself in turn became a famous socialite and slut…with her very own internet sex tape and reality show!  She even sounds almost as ditsy as Paris Hilton, but not quite.  She progressed in her career by posing nude for Play Boy, opening a clothing boutique, DASH, which became an instant success with its star-studded clientele, and acquiring a “reality” T.V. show on E! (most of this was done in business partnership with her family, primarily her two sisters and her mother…but not the Play Boy Part, which she did alone).  And she continued to garner attention from her dating escapades and her butt…yes, she may in fact be most famous for her voluptuous behind.

Wow.  All that by the tender age of 29.  I, in contrast, have neither fame nor fortune.  I don’t have my own fashion line or my own T.V. show (as a side note, reality television is such a sad commentary on our culture).  And I am most certainly NOT famous for my butt, thank Heaven.  I have loved (and kissed) only one man, whom I married at the very young age of twenty (almost 21), and whom I have forged a blissfully happy and undying relationship with over the past eight plus years.  I have borne three remarkably handsome, intelligent, delightful, and sometimes raucous boys who are an endless source of joy in my life, and who love me unconditionally.  Sometimes life can seem a bit dull in the day in and day out routine of a stay-at-home wife and mother, but a tight squeeze from my Honey or a priceless smile or spontaneous “I love you, Mom,” from my boys always brings the bright luster of my life back into view.  It’s not the luster of fame and money that Kim enjoys, but I KNOW that that luster would be truly dull and even empty inside for me, not to mention uncomfortable.  I am nothing but relieved that no one can Google my name and find pictures of my butt or video of me being a total ditz (which I sometimes am, by the way, but I am glad that no one can Google to find evidence of it).

Although the actual time I spent learning about Kim, and her kind and kindred, seemed at first a total waste of time to me, I am now realizing that the reflection upon it has actually been very refreshing for me.  I am now a little more grateful for the life that I have led and lead, and for the place I find myself at the age of 29.


In somewhat related news, after all of the above, I stumbled upon this very captivating blog.  I spent far more than twenty minutes reading old posts here and found it to be far more interesting than the above matter as well.  This is a well written and well informed blog with an aim at preserving freedom, something near and dear to my heart.  The time I spent here was time well spent.  If I linked every post worth linking then nobody would follow any links, so I will link just one…and it is a very good one, so please DO follow the link and read :-).

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A New View

I stepped out to get the mail late one afternoon last week and thought, wow, that is a gorgeous view.

This is the view I enjoyed previously, June through September of this year.  Spanish Fork, Utah…it was an incredible view.  It was a wonderful place to be, and I am very happy for the time the boys and I spent there.

This is my favorite view.  RED ROCK.  Oh, how I miss this view.  Oh, how I loved Las Vegas, specifically Summerlin.  It is so strange to me that this is no longer “home” to our family.

I’m having a little bit of a tough time adjusting to my new view.  I read through some old posts tonight, and was sobered by this one, humored by this one.  Our family certainly has been through the blender these past several months…and our family has emerged stronger for it.  I am a bit melancholy, though.  I never asked for a new view, for a new home…for all of this change.  I am adjusting though; I always do.  Part of adjusting for me is trying to bury the cruel fact that homes in Las Vegas are finally affordable, now that we no longer live there…the fact that the bottom of the market here is more expensive than the top of the market was there.  Facts can be very cruel.

Along with the view, my perspective is changing.  It’s hard to explain; it’s hard for me to fully understand.  But my perspective on life has been affected with this move.  In any case, this is my home now, so I had better enjoy the view.

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I should have listened to my four-year-old as he sat upon my lap, helping me in a Chess match up against his six-year-old brother.  He kept begging me to make use of my queen (I was letting him move my pieces after I decided where they should be moved to, and he wanted nothing more than to move the queen out into the open).  I kept responding that I prefer to keep my queen tucked safely away in the back row, where she can’t be made vulnerable too quickly.  For at least twenty minutes we moved our players methodically around the board without a single slaying, highly unusual when playing Chess with my eldest.

As demonstrated in the just previous game, he really delights in as much bloodshed as possible as quickly as possible.  He would knowingly walk into traps because he just couldn’t resist killing another of my pieces, and the game went quickly…with high causalities on both sides, and me triumphant in the end.  In this second game, however, he stunned me with his sudden maturity as a player.  He avoided rash decisions and the urge to annihilate.  Maybe that’s why his younger brother was anxious for me to move my queen…some action please! Even I was getting bored.

Eventually, my daring…and darling…opponent took the advice from his younger brother that I had ignored…and moved his queen aggressively into the open.  I hardly saw her coming, and I was certainly unprepared.  My boy used his queen to make havoc of my defensive line, taking both bishops, a rook and a knight, as well as a couple of pawns, in just a few short minutes.  I was running for the hills!  Though I eventually managed to take his queen and to preserve my own queen until nearly the end, I finally found myself in checkmate, having been outplayed by a six-year-old.  This second game lasted a good forty five minutes, and I was more than a little impressed with the early restraint and the clever thinking my boy employed to win it.  He is a very smart kid, and if he slows down and really puts his mind to something, his potential is exponential.

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