Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bruise On My Soul

I continue to be saddened and amazed at the celebratory response of America to the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death. It’s my firm personal belief that Osama succeeded in dragging down American and all it stands for by turning us into monsters that celebrate the death of a person, no matter how evil, that was not allowed the opportunity of a fair trial.

What sets us apart as individuals and as a nation is the premise of innocence until guilt is proven through a court of law. In Osama’s case, it’s my understanding that should have been through international laws at The Hague. The fact that America took it upon itself to be the judge, jury and executioner for Osama made me physically ill.

Yes, I personally believe Osama was guilty of horrendous crimes. I’m personally happy that he is no longer in this world to cause more havoc. I love my country and have proudly served in the United States Army. But that does not give me the right to take matters into my own hands and mete out justice. Nor should it be right for a nation to do the same. It scares me that this country is willing to do something like this and where it might lead us in the future. If this was so easy, what will we do next?

Yes, Osama killed a lot of people and caused the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil. But how many people have died from direct causal action (or inaction) of the United States? 

I celebrate no man's death and believe this will be a dark, dark bruise on the soul of America for a long time to come.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


When people talk about personal responsibility, the ideas that often come to mind are green efforts, local charity, helping the little old lady cross the street or mentoring an Eagle Scout. But how often do people associate personal responsibility with taking care of themselves and making the right choices so that those very actions of responsibility ultimately take care of the people in their inner circle that mean the most?

I ask this question as the direct result of the pirate efforts of Somali pirates in the capture and ultimate murder of four American citizens. Two of the Americans, ship owners Jean and Scott Adam, were on a world cruise with crewmates Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle.

News articles reference a missionary voyage with bibles passed out. As good as that sounds, it just all rings hollow with me. Yes, the world may be a better place if the kind actions and good intentions of the Adams result in even one changed life path of a person they impacted in their journey. BUT… what about the people they left behind? What about people like ME that have never even met the Adams or the Macays yet struggle with the decisions that were made, pondering the choices made, wondering if one small change of course could have altered the final outcome.

Not only was the choice made to sail in pirate territory, but also made to leave the safety of a group of other sailors and go off on their own. Articles reference that the Adams knew the dangers and willingly sailed in to some of the most dangerous waters in the world. What a bunch of egotistical bullshit! What made them think that they would be treated any differently? Even if they go back to the Bible stories that they were trying to spread, God always asks for the ultimate sacrifice of his chosen ones, or so I feel in my uneducated knowledge of biblical stories. What did they hope to achieve in their chosen actions?

I’m left depressed. So sad in the knowledge that the lives of four people could have been saved but for a different choice in travel plans. Yes, we must all follow the paths our own travels take us. All I ask is that people not only choose the best path for themselves, but for those around them. Ask, is it good enough that I make a positive change for one person, or risk everything for the mere possibility of impacting more and mortally wounding the souls of the people we love the most.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I would have been outstanding in my field...

When I was young I was very naive. And when I say "very naive" I mean *very* naive. Life was simple and love was a dream I wished for. All I wanted when I was in my teen years was to marry an Iowa farmer and have my first child by the time I was 19 years old. Here I sit, 45 and childless and wonder what happened?

I look back at the girl-child that I was and wonder at the dreams that made me so happy. I remember staring at the dark, rich soil of an Iowa cornfield, digging my hands deep for a handful and squishing it in my fingers... I would watch the steam rise as the humidity levels rose for the day and revel in the hot, thick air. I enjoyed watching the combines and other machines of the field work the earth in perfect rows day after day and be happy and fascinated by the Zen perfection of it... not even knowing at the time what Zen was.

I remember that I wanted a large family. Probably because I came from a small family and longed for the squabbles and chores and teamwork and love that came from a large household. I remember that Mark Olson, my one true love at the tender age of 19, came from a large family and how I almost stayed with him just to be a part of something grand and bigger than what I had known in the past, in spite of his addiction to alcohol and the nightmares that came of it all.

And yet, even though I'm not a farmer's wife... even though I don't live on a farm and work mother earth... even though I am no longer naive and understand the ways and workings of the world... I *am* happy and I *do* have a wonderful husband that loves me and that I totally adore... and I *do* have family that loves and supports me even though it is small and close-knit.

I have a good life. I love my husband and my family. I'm enjoying this time in my life and where I'm going in it. But I wonder... and wonder some more... if I had a child... if I had found my farmer... if....




Saturday, August 29, 2009

For the love of Winged Victory

Many moons ago I attended a local community college by the name of North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC). While there I took an art history class. Simple enough. Many struggling students take classes they think they can cinch an easy 4.0 on, right? WRONG!

This class was taught by an old curmudgeon teacher that had been around since the days the Louvre was built. At least we all thought so! He was eccentric, old (by my 19yr old impression) and extremely knowledgeable in all things art related. I wish I could remember his name to due him the honor he deserves.

What he did for me, aside from hand me my ass on a platter along with a 2.0 grade, was introduce me to a piece of art that to this day takes my breath away and often bring me to tears. Why I have this reaction I have no idea. All I know is that it's the same as it was over 20 years and hasn't diminished the slightest.

Mr Peabody! Set the Wayback Machine to 1985 please!

Imagine if you will a 20 year old young woman, fresh off a farm in Clear Lake, Iowa. At the moment she is standing in a side entrance to the Louvre in Paris, France with her current boyfriend, John Armstrong. This young woman is extremely naive, open minded, and just can NOT believe that she is in Paris, France (courtesy of the US Army) let alone standing in the Louvre. She has NO IDEA what is about to shake her world to its foundations... She turns a corner... and what does she see...???


There she stands in all her glory as the young woman from Iowa stares in disbelief. Shock sets in. My fingers and toes start to tingle. I can feel the tears start and burn in my eyes. I'm afraid to take a breath... I know what will happen. John stares at me, wondering what's wrong and why I'm not moving forward. I can't hold my breath anymore and I gasp... that's all it takes and the floodgates open! I stand in the Louvre staring at Winged Victory and SOB... gut wrenching, heart rending sobs from the gut that sound like my soul is being torn from my body. The tears are flooding down my face and I'm shaking so hard I start to fall down. John grabs me and holds me with a look of total confusion on his face. I babble over and over again... I can't believe I'm here! I'm just a tomboy from Iowa! I never thought I'd leave the state! and other such nonsense.

To this day I have no clue how long I stood there or how long it took for the shock of seeing Winged Victory in the flesh, so to speak. It is one of THE most profound moments of my life and still has me near tears as I write this. What an incredible event... to view one of the most inspirational pieces of art in the known world. I treasure the memory to this day and am happy and proud to share it all with you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kids Are Smart

I ate lunch at McDonald's today. As bad as it sounds I eat lunch at McDonald's 2-3 times a week and blame it on their sweet tea. If I'm smart and order off the Dollar Menu I get a large sweet tea, small fries and a double hamburger, no cheese, extra pickles all for $3 plus tax. It's yummy and satisfying and I get my sweet tea fix!

When I waited in line to order today I listened to a little girl, all of 4-5yrs old, order her Happy Meal. She had an adult with her that I'd guess was her grandma who helped her make her choices...

Little Girl: I want a hamburger and apple slices and milk!

Grandma: Don't you want cheese, honey?

Little Girl: I don't like cheese!

Grandma: Are you sure you don't want french fries instead of apple slices?

Little Girl: Nooooo! I want apple slices!

Grandma to McDonald's Employee: Just give her the cheeseburger happy meal with fries and a milk.

What in the world is this grandmother teaching this child? The little girl made smart choices not because she knew apple slices, milk and sans cheese were good for her... but because the choices TASTED better for her. Go figure!

I nannied for two small children over 20 years ago in Michigan and they had the same attitude about McDonald's food then that this little girl has now. They didn't like it. I thought it was a treat to go to McDonald's but the kids hated the food. Sure, they wanted to go and enjoy the play area for hours on end so we snuck snacks in and compromised.

I'm going to listen to my inner child and try to make healthier food choices for myself. Not because I have to but because much like the little girl I saw today... apples really do taste better than french fries!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kaplan University Phone Call

I did it! I finally got off my butt and researched info on a career in Medical Billing and Coding! I specifically looked at Kaplan University because they have a location close to where I work. Once I completed the information request I was told to expect a phone call from an admissions representative within 24hrs.

Within a few minutes (no surprise there) I received a phone call from Laura Mancini. In case you're interested in such a program she can be reached at 866-542-4042, ext. 54397. Anywho... she proceeded to "interview" me using about 200 different sales tactics that I've learned over the years in an attempt to persuade me to join the next online class that happens to start August 27th. Just to put that sense of urgency in there, the next class doesn't start for another 10-12 months. Laura also stated that Kaplan receives about 2500 requests per year for this program and that only 4% are accepted for the course. Much to my surprise, with no request for transcript, resume or financial means to pay for the course, I was accepted as one of the elite 4%. WOOOOO!!!

Oh come ON people... gimme a break! Do they really think a person with enough intelligence to want to make a career in medical billing would fall for these shenanigans? Why not call perspective students and offer meaningful information on the course and financial aid so a normal, intelligent potential student/customer could make an informed decision?

I'm at a loss as to what to do next. I had my sights set on Kaplan for a variety of reasons and now don't want to give them the time of day. I'll have to do more research and see what other option are out there.