Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Very Last Day....

Yes, yes ya'll...


'Tis the very last day of the Obama Presidency.

I must admit, I have gotten a bit teary-eyed here and there.

Then I read a few posts on Facebook and I broke out crying.  Ugh.

Sometimes, I just think I have to get it all out.

This has been a good eight years for me. There were ups and downs, as there have been all my life.

But it meant something to see, on a daily basis, something I didn't think I would ever see in my lifetime: someone who had skin the color of mine as the most powerful man in the world and leader of this nation. That might sound trivial, I suppose. But I wish I would've had that example when I was younger. I am in my mid-40's, approaching late 40s, but when I was a child, I wish that I could've seen that. Maybe I would have done more with my life. I don't know.

But all I know... he was there and he did his term. And he lives to tell about it. He has been disgraced over and over, and he handled it with grace. That in itself is a fitting example, for me at least. I am more likely to shrug off bad treatment than I use to be, that's for sure. And it is because I have seen him and our First Lady do the same.

Job well done, President Obama. I have no complaints.

I look at my life over the last eight years. I have no complaints. I make more money, I have been promoted, on the job. I save more money. I have grown mentally. So much more has gone on. Like I said, ups and downs, basically, the joy of life.

And that will continue.

I now have something burned into my subconscious mind.

No one will EVER be able to tell me that I won't be able to accomplish something because I am black. Sorry. Not gonna happen.

I have had a black president, who accomplished some great things.

This means I can accomplish great things.

Never mind me though...

One of my favorite photographs from the past 8 years:


You, me or no one else will be able to tell that little boy that he is less than because of the color of his skin.  No one will ever be able to tell him that he cannot be or do whatever he wants to do in life. No one.

You can NOT put the genie back into the bottle.

Nope.

With that said, thank you Mr. President.

Job well done.

You will have your place in history.

And oh what a great place it will be. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Different Kind of Chip

During my visit with my sister in the UAE, I would get so excited when we need to stop for gas.

(Well, once I got past the fact that you don't pump your own gas. They have attendants who do it for you and wash your windows).

She would always end up going inside the gas station store for a soda or cappuccino, and I would run right in there behind her.

I was so fascinated with the foreign snacks. I always heard how they are different from here in the USA. And there I was, seeing it for myself.

Some of my favorites:


Those were good. And hot. I think we have something similar in the USA.

This chip was odd, though.
What in the world is "french cheese"?

Still good. But I think the equivalent at home is the cheddar sour cream chips (Does Lays make that?)

Hot and Spicy Pringles!



They were good. Not super hot, though. I haven't seen these in the USA. (And I haven't had Pringles in years, so hot pringles may exist).

Now for some chips indigenous to that area...

Lebanese mix Baked Lays


Those were good. There's some odd spice called "zaatar" that I absolutely loved. I wanted to bring some home, but it looked too much like weed, and this Oldgirl was not trying to be held up in custom. (Amazon has it, so I will order it. Really). But zaatar is made up of sumac, thyme and a few other spices. Odd flavor, but I was all over it. It was good on these chips, too.

Another baked Lays: Labneh and Mint.



Labneh (which is also an ingredient in the lebanese mix above) is basically yogurt. My sister said that it is drinkable yogurt (so I guess that is like "keifer" at home?)  I was skeptical about the mint, though. Mint on potato chips? Ick. But it was... okay. I couldn't taste the mint, so I guess that is a good thing. But it tasted like a sour cream potato chip. Interesting. Let's just say, I didn't buy it again.

I was all over those chili and french cheese chips, though! Those were good!

Monday, January 09, 2017

For the Love of ICE

There is one thing that I thought I'd NEVER ever take for granted in life.

ICE


Big beautiful bags of ice, readily available at every grocery store and gas station in my city.

Why do I say this? And who cares?

Because something interesting happened, and it was funny when I think about it (after the fact).

I should've known I was in for some problems when I was on my 13 hour flight to visit my sister Kentucky in the UAE when I would stop a stewardess on my Qatar airlines flight and and ask for something simple.

"Can I have a cup of ice?"

"Why?" the stewardess would ask each and every time.

I'd blink and hesitate before answering. "I just want a cup of ice. I want to chew some ice."

And that would be followed by a deer-in-the-headlights look from the stewardesses.

One even asked me... "Are you sick? Is something wrong?"

"No. I just want some ice."

Listen... the way they were looking at me, you would've thought I asked for a cigarette...

...while pointing up at the no smoking symbol up on the ceiling of the airplane.

Man. I just needed something cold. They kept bringing around water every 2-3 hours. But I was hot. Or anemic. Who knows. I just wanted some ice. I think part of it was just me wanting to entertain myself on such a LONG flight. Ugh.

They would eventually bring a cup of ice. But it would be in a 4 ounce plastic cup. I wanted to ask if they had in 20 ounce Solo cups in the back of the airplane, but that would be asking too much.

So when I finally made it to my sister's place, and she said we needed to go grocery shopping, I was happy about that. We could get a bag of ice.

Well let's just say I didn't see any bags of ice.

On our second grocery shopping trip, I did see some....ice. We were passing a freezer section and I spotted it out the corner of my eye.

A box of ice.

A BOX of ice.

"There go some ice," I said to my sister as I snatched up the box and threw it in the shopping cart.

I could understand why the ice was available in such a small quantity. My sister's fridge is about half the size of a regular sized fridge at home. I have a huge fridge that has french doors and a freezer at the bottom. My sister's fridge is about as tall, but half the width.

So I wasn't surprised at the idea of "boxed ice".

But when I opened the box, there it was, my ice.

Individually wrapped ice cubes, that is.

*crickets*

A closer look revealed how individual these cubes of ice were.

"Betchu won't chew on that," my sister said as she watched me examine the neatly packed cubes of ice.

She laughed. I wasn't amused.

"Whatever, man," I said as I fought to open the package. "I can let it melt down and then I can chew it."

And that's what I did. It was a fight, though. Opening the packs wasn't that bad. Popping them out the package took a bit of finesse. But I worked it out.

And my sister heard me holler a few times when I saw her headed for the kitchen, "Hey, brang me a package of ice from the freezer!"

LOL

The ice thing went on the whole time I was there. Let's just say they aren't big on ice in the UAE. Not like we are here in the USA. The only time I could get a substantial amount of ice was when I would order it at a fast food spot. Beverages were served cold at sit down restaurants, but I had to still ask for cups of ice.

"But the drink is cold already," one waiter said.

"I know," I said, already familiar with this scenario. "I just want a cup of ice."

Now the boxed ice worked out well for my sister, as it fit perfectly in my sister's tall slender fridge. It was definitely a space saver.

The scenario was the same on the 15 HOUR flight back home, me asking for cups of ice, them looking at me like I'm crazy.

You best believe once I got back home I picked up a bag of my FAVORITE ice from the Whole Foods.


Bags of ice made from spring water. SOOOOO GOOD.

YES. All I could do was just stare at the open freezer of ice in Whole Foods. I even took a picture.

Never again will I take simple ice for granted. I was even happy to see the dry ice container at my local grocery store.


I have NO idea what I would do with a block of dry ice.

No idea.

I was just glad it was available.

And I know I will not take ice for granted ever again.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Last Post of the Year 2016

Tis the night before New Years Day 
And all through the house
Callie Jo was acting a fool
Mitch was quiet as a mouse. 

Actually that's everyday life in my house. Callie Jo is always running around trying to get into something. Right now she's on a quest to unlock the front door. Sigh.

Anyway, I am surprised that I have only managed to do a couple of posts this month, if that much. I have been SUPER busy, which in all actuality is a good thing. Spread on top of that the fact that I took my first vacation in three or four years, and that means no posting for me. However, I have scribbled a few thoughts in my journal from time to time.

But this is the last day of 2016, and I wanted to journal before the year is out.

I am still a bit jetlagged from the vacation, knocking out cold at around nine in the evening and waking up bright eyed and ready to go at two in the morning. I get a bit woozy around three in the afternoon. I hope this is over before I have to go back to work. And I'm not going back until Tuesday or Wednesday.

I am still thinking about vacation, this wonderful vacation halfway around the world. I've never been further than Mexico and the Caribbean, so being in the Middle East of all places was... a thing of courage for me.

And guess what... I have taken close to 700 pictures. 700!

That's a lot to sort through. And no, I will not post each and everyone.

But I've been perusing one particular picture since returning home. Well, it has been on my mind since I took it.


While my sister and I were having breakfast on Christmas day atop the Burj Khalifa, a couple of ropes came swinging by. Then a man came swinging by.

123 stories up off the ground.

Mind you, those buildings in the background are skyscrapers.

That puts it into some perspective for you.

"Ain't no way I'd be up here cleaning windows this high," I said a bit to loudly.

I took several pictures of this brave worker. I was trying to get a picture of him looking my way. But he never did. He just swung around, being the most dutiful of employees so high up in the sky

I was amazed that he wasn't distracted. One would have thought he was walking around on the ground, checking the windows or whatever he was doing.

And this has been the most interesting-and unexpected- picture I captured on my trip.

2016 was a turbulent year. Nothing of my own doing, though. It was a year of ups and downs, highs and lows, triumphs and tribulations and the life.

But the waters of 2016 were made exceedingly murky by the election.

(Murky is the nicest word I can come up with for now. You don't know what I really want to write on this here rated PG blog. Let's just stay with...murky).

And all that murkiness was a DISTRACTION.

There were days, far too many to count, that I was glued to the television, watching this whole drama/wanna-be reality show unfurl like smoke from a stale cigarette. There were many more days where we endlessly discussed the shenanigans.

In other words, there was all this distraction. And I could have used that time to be more productive. I could have used that time to pray. I could have used that time to feed my spirit.

I could have used that TIME.

So I study the worker swinging from his ropes some 123 stories off the ground. I see what's going on around him- the wind blowing in his face, the amount of space between him and the ground- and I am afraid for him. Really, I am afraid for ME.

I am looking at the circumstances. He is not.

He is equipped and well trained for the job he is doing. I'm not trained for that.

Thank goodness there is thick glass between he and I.

I wonder how my negative words would affect him.

Would my negative words affect him as the negative words I've heard all year affect me?

I have discussions with people, successful black people, gay people, and other people who don't fit the "Great" in Make America Great Again.

And our spirits have been broken, even if it is on a subconcious level.

And that's a bad seed to sow, breaking a person's spirit.

It's a difficult thing to know that you've done all the right things in life, yet your gender, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, and/or your religious choices deem you insufficient by those who consider themselves supreme.

It's been a task dealing with my own psyche and self worth during this time, and even harder watching my peers do the same.

I know and you know if you have read here long enough that I love some old school music. (Stick with me for a second on this digression). I really love some Earth Wind and Fire. Why, I have been listening to them since I was 4 years old.

I'm 46 years old now. Certain songs, I know every word, every inflection, EVERYTHING. You can the very first note of the song and that is all, and I can most likely tell you the name of the song.

So likewise, for the past couple or years or so, we have heard some very scary things. Talks of walls, banning, rounding up of folks, kicking folks out, i.e., this whole process of making America great again... and it gets into the subconcious. And all this seed sown there produces... something.

Earth Wind and Fire produces joy for me... a memory of a time when I was a little girl without a care in the world, just excited that my favorite song was on and that I could watch my cartoons and play with my barbie dolls.

I wonder what kind of crops will be produced from the seed sown into the hearts of those considered "less than". Seed that has been sown day after day, month after month, and so on.

*jumping back to what I was talking about*

I don't want to receive any of that. I want to be like the worker there above, swinging and doing his job despite the dire circumstances and danger. I watched the Dubai fireworks show tonight and realized that he wasn't washing windows. He was setting up fireworks. And yes, he had to concentrate on getting that right. Distractions could cause him to do something wrong or cause a fire of tragic proportions.

The worker taught me something that day, though. I must concentrate on the job at hand and root out distractions. And that's what I have learned this year.

Whatever distracts me takes away from me reaching my goals. It keeps me from seeing the positive.

And that needs to stop. I need to take that seriously.

Distractions are bad seeds. And when allowed to root, they choke out the good seed.

And all of us have experienced great things in 2016. I am sure you can name them if you try.

I know I can.

I have reduced my cable news intake by a good 95%. It was a distraction.

And I have noticed the quality of my life has increased dramatically.

I feed my heart and soul and mind good things. Good things.

Imagine that.

More of that will go on.

I will continue to be successful. I will increase and not decrease.

And so will you.

So don't be afraid.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year.

ON PURPOSE!!

With much love,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl LadyLee.