PlazaJen: The Blog

Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

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A Compassionate Man

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, most people will agree on one thing: former President Jimmy Carter is one of the greatest humanitarians our country has produced, and arguably, the most active and involved living president, working to make the world a better place.

So when he announced he has cancer (melanoma) in his brain, despite the long and productive life he has led, my heart broke into pieces. Because my father’s cancer went into his brain, and I watched him rapidly decline from treatment. Because my husband’s grandfather had melanoma in his brain – and everywhere else – and we watched him, but a year ago, decline so rapidly he, too, was gone before we could fully process the news. And anyone who has lost a loved one knows that these reminders may not cause us to sob in the kitchen while the water is running, or even in the shower, for that matter, but they unsettle us. A snowglobe, shaken. Reminders of the pain, the heartache, the loss.

I thought I’d blogged about this but couldn’t find it, so I’m sharing my story, the only time in my life I’ve met a United States President, and that man was Jimmy Carter. The year was 1979. He and his wife were aboard the Delta Queen, traveling the Mississippi River, and I can still remember my father, turning to my mother, and saying, “He’s going to be in Guttenberg tonight. We should go. When will we ever have this chance again?” And that’s exactly what we did. We arrived early enough to see the majestic paddle boat, and my parents pointed out to me the Secret Service agents, positioned on top of the boat, black suits, hard to even see in the gathering darkness (it was around 10pm, on a Sunday night.) We found a spot along the chain-link fence and waited.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter appeared, and then disembarked the boat. They made their way along the fence, and my father, thinking quickly, realized there was no way for me, age 11, to shake President Carter’s hand. He wanted me to have that moment, so he gripped the fence with both hands, and I stood on his forearms, reaching way over the fence as President Carter approached. He looked up at me, smiled, shook my hand, and also, realized there was no way a child could be so tall, and he looked down at my father’s white knuckles, hanging onto that fence. And he patted his hands, acknowledging him and what he was doing.

It struck my father so completely. It was the smallest gesture, and totally unnecessary. But it was a great moment for my dad, who couldn’t shake his hand, but, unprompted, got the attention of the leader of our country, and was acknowledged for it. That moment of compassion, right there, was what cemented him as a good person, in his head, for the rest of his life. And don’t get me wrong, one hand pat from Jimmy Carter isn’t newsworthy. It is nothing compared the countless homes President Carter has helped build, or the nations and villages that are better because of the humanitarian aide his works have brought to their shores. But it was a cherished moment for my family, because in giving up his opportunity to have an actual handshake, it elicited the core of who Jimmy Carter is, and that is a man who recognizes his power, and acknowledges the sacrifices, and how everyone around him has helped him along the way. May this next journey only underscore all the good things about you, President Carter. Your faith and belief in the sacrifice for a greater good will live forever.

Ok, now we’re cookin’ with gas…

Three is my tipping point. My husband, a former colleague, and yesterday, my aunt – all asked if I was going to get my blog back up & running. OKEY DOKEY. Guess it takes a few prods to get the lazy cow jumping in and doing some blasted coding.
Whatever, templates, DirectNIC. The templates they offered were so bogus. I saw several I liked, but I couldn’t switch out pictures. I almost did some super-cheeseball one, but then I realized, fer chrissakes, I’m spending this time, let’s at least not have to do it all again in a week!

Of course, now I want my blog layout to have the same crazy header banner thingy on it, so that will be another day. For now, let’s roll.

And by roll, I guess that meant, “Update Word Press and umpteen plug-ins.” SHEESH> The network administrator needs a martini.

Oh, I’ve got Spirit…

Every year around the 4th, I remember the great summer of ’76, where I collected a shitton of patriotic decals from Cheerios boxes and plastered them all over my lunch box. It’s probably one of the more patriotic memories of myself I’ll ever have.
Today, I pulled together a couple fun things to take out to the pool party/bbq we’ll be attending out in Napoleon, MO, this afternoon, and I think they’re both pretty damned ‘Murrican, with my own signature twist on ‘em. Cherry Jello Shots, and then Chips & Ranch Dip. Except the Ranch dip has a surprise – I added in wasabi powder, and it not only packs a nice punch, but really takes the dip to a creative level for your tastebuds (and sinus cavities). I like to think of it as a deliciously cool and creamy healing tribute between nations, what with Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Let the nomming and healing begin!
I think we may have to swing by Gomer’s and get some of that vodka-infused whipped cream to top these jubilant shiny jigglers – and yes, I realize they’re in Valentine’s day mini-cupcake papers, and it pained me greatly to mix up the holiday theme, but it was that or autumn leaves, and at least the red/white part works with the day. And they were made with love. And vodka.

47 cherry jello shots... There were 48 but, well, y'know.

I’ve been in such a heap of relief since my blog was restored, I haven’t dared touch any of my settings, and I still need to upgrade WordPress versions, to boot. Eventually we’ll be rolling right along again, but right now I’m too jumpy – between random M-80s being set off all around us, Tripper barking at unseen things, including M-80s, and a kitchen that seems to require constant cleaning, well, I’m just staying away from the buttons. Have a safe & happy holiday, and don’t blow your hands off, fool!

Yowza!

Just a quick note – if you tried to check my blog the past couple of days, there were some massive technical problems! And then, in my efforts to fix them, I managed to delete…oh, everything.
So, while my entrelac isn’t surrounding the blog like normal, I am at least exceedingly grateful that my hosting company was able to find a backup restore point and bring everything back. More soon! WHEW!

So, so funny.

Russell Brand on SNL:
Telling people you’re famous, it’s like telling people you’re sexually attractive, it really takes the edge off, makes people recoil somewhat.

Brill. And true. And ohhhh so funny. I love my Brits!

P.S.

I’m not the only one who sees the Fred Phelps connection.  Here’s a (very) irreverent take on the situation:

Best Part of the Movie

We decided to go see a movie tonight, and since our free passes wouldn’t let us see a new release, we ended up seeing The Other Guys. (The Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg buddy copy movie.) Rotten Tomatoes had a positive rating of 76%, and hey, Will Ferrell.

Egads. It sucked. Great concept. But it started to drag and it never recovered. Yawn! So imagine my surprise, when, the credits began to roll and feeling the relief of the movie being over, only to discover the credits were the best part. And, by the power of the interwebs, you can see them, too, without having to see the movie! But, fair warning, it might make you feel a little sick to your stomach – and you can’t blame the popcorn.

Today!

I spent some time a couple weeks ago, fretting about hitting the one-year anniversary of losing my job. Lots of comparisons and back and forth and being hard on myself. I thought this day would be dreadful.
Turns out, it’s not even in the same stratosphere as losing one’s parent, but we already knew that, on some level, didn’t we?

I just now realized, at 3 in the afternoon, that it was a year ago today I lost my job. (Took me four years to get to that amnesiac level with my father’s death!)  Guess maybe because I spent lunch with someone who’d suffered a similar fate, who regaled me with one of the “funniest” stories I’d heard in some time, that reminded me what I’d left behind wasn’t really all that great? Might be. (Fun sucker! Fun sucker! I’m going to laugh about that one for weeks. I’d share it, but it’s one of those that unless you know the players, it falls flat.)

And the haters I lost in the process? I like to think of ’em as albatross carcasses NOT strung around my neck. In fact, I’d love to run into any of them, for living well is the best revenge. Is my life perfect? Nope. But for the first time in a long time, I trust the veracity of the people who are in my life, and that’s more than I could say a year ago. And, in the wake of job loss, I got reminded that my life might have turned into a rather bleak, isolated island – but there was still a shining huge sea full of people who would recommend me, who would smile at my name, who would be happy to help me find a new job. Something of a rebirth, I’d say.

So, for once, I give myself a big ol’ eye roll -heh- to have thought it would actually feel more significant than it actually did. Sometimes the anticipation and worry about the unknown can play tricks on you. Then when you see reality, in stark contrast to the fears, it’s laughable.

Speaking of laughing, this is quite possibly the best song EVARR right now, and I can’t think of a more appropriate post to put it in! This is dedicated to the hatahs…. lol

Update!

The poll from yesterday, as of 4:00 pm CST, had 26 votes cast – 15 (57.7%) picked a man as the driver; 11 (42.3%) of you said the driver was a woman.

I must say, the majority here is correct: the driver was a man! I had thought woman until I really, really, REALLY considered the giant Star Wars decal. Like I said, it was a real toss up!
Thanks for playing, polls are kinda fun. 🙂

My Brilliant Idea

I think with all the anger and discontent over all the banks that were bailed out and are now awarding 6-figure bonuses, there is a simple solution.

I think all those bankers should donate their bonuses to relief efforts in Haiti.

Instant redemption, and finally, money well-spent.

Tweet it. Blog it. Who knows. If we can raise nearly $5 million dollars in a few days, those fuckers should give until it hurts, and give some more until it stops hurting. Just think of the PR.

#BankBonusDollarsToHaiti

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