Thursday, July 26, 2012

#70 He Loves and Will Always Love Chick-Fil-A

The movie The Godfather has a well remembered, well put phrase that movie lovers of all time surely can quote, "It's not personal, it's business."

The first time this is said is after the Don has just been shot, presumed dead, and his oldest son, Sonny, is angrily ready for revenge. His adopted brother, Tom Hagen, says to him, "Your father wouldn't want to hear this!  This is business, not personal!"

The shooting of the Don was business.  He opposed a business venture involving drugs that Sollozzo was offering him, but his sons did not.  Sollozzo, who orchestrated the shooting of the Don, thought that after the Don was dead he could convince Sonny and Hagen to get on board.  Therefore, bringing in more business.

It had nothing to do with the fact that the Don disagreed with the drug business. 

It had nothing to do with his personal values.

There are many people attacking Chick-Fil-A right now about something that has nothing to do with their business.  Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, was questioned about personal values.  The personal values of those who founded Chick-Fil-A are that they support biblical values. 

 Anyone who doesn't know that the Chick-Fil-A founders stand for biblical values (therefore, also the biblical definition of the family as one man, one woman) hasn't been awake for the past decade.  (Closed on Sundays, hello?  Do you think they just felt like having a day off, a day of zero dollars in revenue?  No, they've chosen to take a hit in their business to follow the biblical direction to honor the Sabbath and keep that day holy).

Last time I checked, in America first amendment rights were established that allow us to speak freely about our values and standards without discrimination.

Walk into a Chick-Fil-A wearing a gay pride t-shirt and they will still serve you without batting an eye.  If they didn't, then they would be allowing their personal agenda to influence their business.  Yet, somehow gay rights activists have misheard and misinterpreted Cathy's comments calling Chick-Fil-A "a company that holds hate as a family value" and are planning illogical retaliation.

Let's consider a business that does support homosexuals.  Should I not eat Ben and Jerry's ice cream because I disagree with their lifestyle choices and opinions?   

I cannot speak for all my Christian brothers and sisters out there, but that is just foolish.  They make incredibly awesome ice cream with a variety of flavors that are out of this world.  They did not get into the ice cream business to support a homosexual agenda.  They got into the business as two guys who needed to make a living and making ice cream became what they could do best.

And because I live in America, I might have to hear once in a while that Ben and Jerry's has decided to name one of their flavors in support of same-sex marriage.  (Which is much more related to directly pushing an agenda than making a personal statement of the values of the founders of your company).

Don't believe me?


But guess what?  I'll still eat it.

Because their business produces something delightful to me.  I might not go to hear Ben Cohen or Jerry Greenfield speak somewhere because I know their standards are different from mine.  But then again, listening to them talk would make this more personal.

Allow businesses to do what they do best.  Consider them a product, not a person.

It's not personal, it's business.

For extra reading on this matter, here is an excellent post.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

#69 He likes Hip Hop

Some people say that opposites attract.  However, others hold the opinion that it isn't healthy for two people in love to not share many common interests.  For example, when hubby and I began dating he informed me that according to his uncle's standards, we would not last as a couple.  There was one important aspect about the two members of a relationship that his uncle felt would stand the test of time.

Music choices.  

My husband was, and still is, musically persuaded by the sounds of hip hop and popular songs played on today's radio stations.  I've always leaned towards classical, jazz, and oldies of the 50s-80s.

I guess after ten years together we've beaten the odds.

That said, music isn't the only difference about hubby and me.  He likes sports.  I hate them.  I play instruments.  He won't even try to learn.  He likes historical and political conversations.  I enjoy them in small doses.  I like my home styled towards country living, with trinkets everywhere.  He wants modern style, with lots of empty spaces.

I could go on, but for sake of you worrying that we are not a perfect match I'll stop with this one:

I love farms.  I love farm fairs.  He has absolutely no interest in either and would rather just stay home (in our country styled abode).  However, last year he was a saint and took me to the farm fair by our house.  I loved every single aspect of it and knew right then and there that I must one day have a farm of my very own.  (At the mention of such a thing, hubby instantly groaned and laughed, both as the same time).  

This year, he sent me off to the farm fair with my brothers and SIL and chose to stay home (blaring hip hop music the whole time, I'm sure).

We saw a lot of the same things as last year.

Like chickies hatching.  (I considered stealing a few, but figured they would start to chirp and give me away).

By the way, this picture is from last year.  The chickies this year looked much more new born.  (Much more new born, what a phrase!)

We saw sheep.  

We did not see sheep shearing.  I was a little sad about this.  But, we did get to pet two sheep that had been sheared.

Sheep had been sheared...another interesting word combo.

My brother, Jonathan, came to the farm fair only for the rides.  I came hoping to avoid them completely.

I'm not interested in rides at a standard theme park, so I am especially never interested in rides that travel from place to place getting built up and then taken down.  Something just seems very wrong and unsafe about that.  

Jonathan convinced Joel to go on rides with him.  Joel sure was a trooper.  He's just like me and gets pretty sick feeling after being thrown around and about in the air by a ride made to completely confuse and ruin at least three of your five senses.

I'm pretty sure there is nothing more adorable than this photo.

I felt pretty sick watching them.  Actually, very sick.  It might have been just as bad if I had gone on the rides myself.  So, I went and got the one thing that spells F-E-S-T-I-V-A-L for me.

Kettle corn!  Oh, kettle corn, how I love you, let me count the ways.  I love that you aren't regular popcorn, so boring and plain.  I love that you are sweet like candy, yet crunchy like potato chips.  I love that I could eat piece after piece and not gain a pound because you come from corn, so you're healthy and calorie free.

Ok, I'll stop now.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

#68 He Treats Family Right

At the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics summer games a lot of important people spoke.  Among them were important members of The Special Olympics New Jersey, the president of the The College of New Jersey (where it was held), some political figure within some realm for New Jersey, and the new football coach at Rutgers University.

Try and figure that one out, the football coach of Rutgers speaking at an event held at The College of New Jersey.

I know nothing about football, so that comment might mean actually nothing.

Or everything.

Don't tell me though because I don't really care.

Yet of all the people that stood before the microphone that night, he was the second one that made an impact on me.  (He just couldn't beat the girl with Down syndrome who sang the national anthem.  She wins, always and forever).

If I had stopped listening for a moment, I would have missed out on one of the best lessons ever.  He said it so fast that I instantly had to pull out my phone and write it down because they were words I never ever want to forget.

He told the crowd of families and fans of Special Olympics athletes that at Rutgers the one thing he tries to instill in his football players is FAMILY: Forget About Me I Love You.

With my siblings, Thanksgiving 2010
I was stunned.  Isn't that, after all, really what family should be?  Yet so often we get it all wrong.  We make it: forget about you I love me.  Shame on us.

I say 'we' and 'us' because I am definitely at fault for this.  Far too often I allow my own agenda, my own hurt feelings, my own wants and desires to cast a shadow on my love for others.  The image I then paint for them is that I care only about myself.  My intent might not be that.  But that is the message I send.

With my in laws, Christmas 2011

What does "forget about me" mean?  It is selflessness.  It is the recognition that others matter, no matter how great or how small they are.  

Living in such a matter, forgetting about me, we should be able to make all around us "family".  Recognizing that we are not here to accomplish personal agendas, but to get along with those we encounter in our daily lives.  To make them feel important.  To make them feel like they matter.  If we live in such a manner, we may not always get our way, we may not always be happy, but we probably will help more people than hurt them.

My parents, Christmas 2011

It's hard.  I can't say that since hearing those words I've lived 100% forgetful of myself.  But every part of me wants to.  I imagine that when I start to live forgetting about me and begin to care more for others that I will in the end reap much more than if I continued to stress over things that I want.  Because instead I will be able to look upon others I've helped, those who I have supported rather than neglected, and know that I treated them the best way that I knew how to.

My Wedding 2007, sorry for the scary eyes.
Does it mean I will never stand up for myself?  No.  It just means I will always pick my battles according to what shows the other person that regardless of how I am feeling I still love them.  

Am I hurting someone by what I am saying?  

Am I treating them the way I want to be treated?

Am I showing them that the ultimate reason of conflict is because they matter so much to me?

I matter.  I am important.  But, others matter and are important too.

Forget about me.  I love you.

At Jonathan's School Play, Christmas 2011

Monday, July 16, 2012

#67 He Respects My Dad

Many times when I didn't get my way as I was growing up my dad would grin and sing the Rolling Stones song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" to me.  Then, I'd roll my eyes and try to ignore him.  

Dad, Me and our Hummers

I got many things that I wanted growing up.  Yet, there were two things I desperately wanted that I never got.  I wanted a sister and I wanted to go to work with my dad.

A sister seemed only fair.  I had an older brother and expected my next sibling to be a girl.  When it turned out to be a boy, I just knew the next (which my parents had basically written in stone would be their last child) would be a girl.

When it wasn't, I was sure my world had ended.

Who would I do hair and paint nails with?  Who would I share a bedroom with?  Who would I giggle and stay up late with?  Who would I share clothes and shoes with?  Who would I play dolls with?

I certainly could not do that with the boys.  (I'd learn later how wrong I was).

As a child I recognized no positives in being the only girl.  I was stuck in a world of G.I. Joes and caped crusaders, the pink and purple hues of Barbies a minor hum in the background of our home.  Super Mario became my game of choice and enjoyment came from watching my older brother, Justin, defeat Bowser.  Excitement came in strange forms like my dad coming home from work and surprising Justin and me with Game Boy games hidden in his shirt.

Yet, I didn't realize that I was slowly becoming the spoiled "only girl".

I got my own bedroom the minute I asked for it.  Music lessons that I begged for were arranged.  My clothing needs (and wants) were always met in extremes by both my parents and grandparents.  When I wanted a TV in my room, I got one.  (Today that seems completely irrelevant, but back then, well, things were different).

I still only saw what I did not have by being the only girl.

What I did get didn't seem quite fair.  I got earlier and stricter curfews when I began dating and was never ever allowed to go to work with my dad.  I begged and begged my dad to let me go on service calls with him, and was turned down every single time.

My dad has worked in plumbing, heating, and air conditioning his whole life.  He inherited the family business from his father.  Therefore, this is an industry I've also been around my whole life, so naturally, my curiosity growing up was always a little peaked.  It didn't help that my brothers were allowed to go to work with dad, sometimes even forced to go.  As I got older, I was always eager for ways to earn money.  Knowing that my father could pay me to work with him, but wouldn't, drove me absolutely crazy.

Something which I think my dad gained partial amusement from.

Not being allowed to work with my dad could not discourage me from sharing the same interests and wanting to be exactly like him.  In eighth grade, I fell into an "Army stage".  I was obsessed with anything camouflage and even made my dad take me to an Army/Navy store to buy authentic Army pants.  I bought shoes and pajama pants with flames on them because I knew my dad found them cool, so naturally, so did I.

It's amazing I ended up being as girly as I am today.

I'd frequently beg my dad to let me work with him, and since I knew he wouldn't I'd spend time sweeping his shop with a huge dust broom.

While I was mad that my dad wouldn't let me go to work with him, I could never deny the dedication he always displayed for his work.  I watched year in and out, in times of extreme cold, raging heat, and everything in between, as my dad never showed a moment of laziness in his work.  How he constantly was on the go, working hard, giving of his time and self for anyone in need.  I remember nights he would get a service call at 12 midnight and not return home until 2 or 3 am after hours spent in areas that left him dirty, smelly, and exhausted.  I remember countless Saturdays he would work, and occasional Sundays he would have to miss family lunch in order to help a group home that had lost their air or heat that day.

I'd say I learned a lot about the meaning of true work ethic from him.

Today I still want to be just like my dad, but I've recognized a few things.  If I had a sister, I would have had to share my father's attention with another loud mouthed, attention seeking, moody, psychotic girl.  And if my father had allowed me to work, he wouldn't have lived up to the protective role model he always had been.

I'm even more blessed because everything great about my dad I see in my husband.

And really, with my dad, that Rolling Stones song that he sang to me had a lot of truth.  I didn't always get what I thought I wanted, but I did get exactly what I needed.

Dad, Me, and Hubby on my 26th Birthday

Sunday, July 15, 2012

#66 He Likes to Sight-see

Our second day in Niagara Falls was perfection.  What was great about the area was that most of the things to do could be done at any time of the day.  

I liked that, a lot.

We weren't forced to wake up early and get a rushed start on the day.  We woke up "late" (8:30), took our time getting ready, had breakfast, and then went about the day.

Hubby in front of the American Falls.  

Me in front of the Horseshoe Falls.

Our first excursion was the Journey Behind the Falls.  It begins at the Niagara Visitor Center (which was a long haul from our hotel that involved an ungodly incline).  From the Visitor Center we were taken into an elevator which takes you down into the depths of the ground.

This part was pretty cool because we were led underground in tunnels that then led out to various views "behind the falls".  

We got pretty wet.  

It was hot out though, so the mist was very refreshing.

Hubby swore he could jump the railing, get on the rock, jump into the falls, and be totally fine.

I discouraged him greatly.

If he had done it, I probably would have pretended not to know him.

Like I always do during such situations.

We were in the mood for pizza, so we went to My Cousin Vinny's for a quick lunch.

I was more impressed with the floral arrangements outside of the restaurant than the food itself.

This was one of hubby's favorites.  He liked the burnt orange bush in the back.

This was my favorite.

And that's our hotel in the background!

After lunch, we headed back down the treacherous incline to go on the Maid of the Mist.

The Maid of the Mist is a series of boats that are used to take tourists right up into the mist of the falls.

It is thrilling.

The Horseshoe Falls while just starting out on the Maid V.

A side view of the Horseshoe Falls.

It got so misty as we went into the Horseshoe Falls that hubby looked at me, smiled, and said, "You're eyes are all black!".

What a perfect day to wear mascara!

Side view of the American Falls.

Later that night after a delicious meal at Tony Roma's we sat for a few minutes people watching as we waited for the falls to light up.

The city view in the night.

Falls view at night

Two nights stay was really the perfect amount of time to spend in Niagara, Canada to see and do everything.  

Even though, I still left wishing that I could buy a piece of property overlooking the falls so that every day I could stand at my window and sigh at the beauty before me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

#65 He Takes Me on Surprise Vacations

A week ago my hubby informed me that he would be off work the following week.  (If you're doing the math, that means he told me two days before he would be off that he would be off).  He followed this by, "What days do you have nothing to do".

Nothing to do?  Being the perfect housewife that I am, there could not possibly be a single day where I have 'nothing to do'.

However, I could see where his question was going so I told him that I could make my Thursday and Friday clear for him.

After about an hour of brainstorming, we randomly decided to go to Niagara Falls, Canada for two nights.

Minutes after booking our hotel, we realized that to stay in Canada, unlike the days of old, current passports are a must have.

This was no problem for me.  My passport had been renewed when I was married and had my name changed.  My hubby's, however, had expired last year.  Therefore, we had about five days to acquire a current passport for him.

Our trip then changed from starting mid-afternoon on Wednesday, to at the crack of dawn Wednesday.

And the U.S. Passport Agency of Buffalo, NY suddenly became our new best friend.  We arrived in Buffalo around 12:45 pm after about seven hours on the road.  We were an hour and 15 minutes early for hubby's appointment.  Yet, after some wandering about the town, we decided to try our luck at going in early.

Two and half hours later we were headed for Canada.  Buffalo didn't hold too much interest for us.  We found an out of print book store and The Chocolate Martini Bar both which we loved.

Yet, nothing beats NYC for a true city feel.  Anything less always tends to disappoint us.

30 minutes later we were crossing the border into Canada.

And just a few minutes later I was standing at my hotel window sighing at this sight:

The Horseshoe Falls 

Yes, this picture was taken from my hotel window.  I was in love.

The American Falls

This one too.

Later, as we moseyed around town, we looked up into the sky and saw this:

That is the Skylon Tower and Jay Cochrane, "The Prince of the Air".  Every day at 7 pm he walks a quarter mile at over 50 stories high from the Skylon Tower to the Fallsview Hilton Hotel.  While walking, he talks to the audience via microphone.

After watching this spectacle for a while, we were forced away to dinner reservations.  I wish I had taken pictures of my meal.  It was that incredible.  Yet, I was so hungry I lost my mind and completely forgot about my camera.  

We ate at Remington's of Niagara where the waitresses walk around singing famous pop songs as you eat.  I ordered the Pan Seared Filet of Salmon and was so overcome with delight that I could only hum about how delicious it was.

We asked our server when she would be singing and she informed us that those who sing get payed more.

She opted not to sing.  I have a feeling that many probably do.

The night was glorious and I found myself secretly planning a way to postpone my return to America.

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#64 He Crosses Through Pathways

There are many pathways we are given the opportunity to cross during our lifetime.  Some we will cross only once.  We go through them and then perhaps one day will reminisce about them.  How we wish we could return to them.  Or how we are so glad we will never have to return to them.  

Others we will cross so often we will hardly notice they are there.

Some of these pathways are required.  The pathway of my grandmother's backyard leads to her pool which is not only representative of my childhood summers, but also my mother's.  This pathway could simply lead to a gate mandated by the government that all pool owners have installed for safety's sake, yet it's not.  The pink roses that grow over the arch of the gate each year speak of my grandmother's love and dedication to her home.  This pathway represents a life built between two people who fell in love and wanted to make the best of what they had.

Some pathways are man made.  The neighbors to the east of my parent's home have lived there my entire life.  The husband, my mother's past high school teacher, passed away a few years ago.  His wife became another grandmother to my brothers and me.  There is a pathway leading to her home from ours.  The path grows no grass after being trodden on continuously over the past 20-something years.  The bushes though have been cut with love to ensure that the pathway between our homes always exists and can easily be crossed.

What pathways are in your life?  Do you embrace them?  Do you recognize their existence?  Can you see those that are built with love?


Friday, July 6, 2012

#63 He Tries to Surprise Me

Before school ended this year, my hubby surprised me.  

Well, he wanted to surprise me.

Last year, during the last week of school, you might remember that he sent me an azalea bush as a "Happy End of The Year-You Made It!" gift.

This year, he had planned to buy me the Kitchen Aid mixer I had been pestering him about.  He was going to set it up on the kitchen table so that when I came home on my last day it would be there as a surprise.

But of course, because I sometimes exhibit behavior that no one could ever plan for, his surprise had to change. is, as you know, one of my favorite places in the world to shop.  Because of that I get all sorts of offers via email.  At that time, I received notice of an offer for 20% off of all home appliances.  Naturally, I texted my hubby that very minute hinting to him about the wonderful sale and how it was the perfect time to get a Kitchen Aid mixer.  

In the back of my mind, the part that does all the day dreaming, I hoped.  Yet, the front of my mind, the part that always thinks so clearly and logically, I figured it wasn't going to happen.

Moments later, I learned of the surprise he had been planning.  I was then told that he would rather save money than surprise me.

And I agreed.

And because I have Amazon Prime, my Kitchen Aid Mixer was delivered to my home two days later.

I was just a little, no, a lot excited.

Look at how it mixed with such ease, such precision, such beauty.

I did instantly arrive at a problem upon receiving my mixer.  I had zero space left in my kitchen for another appliance.

So naturally, I just made hubby arrive at the idea that we had a need for a kitchen cart upon which my Kitchen Aid mixer could stay.

And now, my kitchen is complete.


I'd really love one of those immersion blenders.  They seem pretty nifty.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

#62 He Lets Me Make Up Traditions

I'm all about traditions.  I'm also all about creating traditions out of the blue.

It happens kind of like this.  While with your family or group of close friends, usually on a holiday, you realize you're all together doing something that is the complete idea of fun for all of you.  Then someone says, "We should do this every year,"

Now it has just become a tradition.

That is, as long as you all remember that you just made it a tradition.

This Fourth of July I decided my idea of a fun Fourth is this: going to the movies, having a barbecue at my parents', going to my grandmother's pool, and eating Crack Jack.

If I see fireworks, that's nice.  If I don't, that's fine too.

I'm sure you're wondering about the Crack Jack.  When I was younger I can distinctly remember being at my Pop and Gram's house on the Fourth of July.  We had just finished swimming and were getting ready to go home.

Now, the next point is a little foggy.  We were either headed to go see fireworks, or we stopped during the drive home to watch fireworks.  Either way, something involving fireworks occurred.

But, just before we left, my grandfather handed my older brother, Justin, and me a fun pack.  It had tiny little amusements that children enjoy, but most importantly, it also had a box of Cracker Jack.

And ever since that day I've associated Crack Jack with the Fourth of July.

So this Fourth I made it my mission to have some.

It was a little saddening to only find it in the bag, but it was still Cracker Jack nonetheless.

And I was happy with my new found tradition.