Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The One Day

We all have dreams and places where we want to be in our careers. Weather it is a career you work in now or a place where you have just wanted to be your entire life. Like my writing career. I practice the “art” of writing and bull sh****ng while staying in college and working as a waitress. To say the least writing doesn’t pay my bills.
It would be nice for it to do so someday. I love writing stories however I want to write stories of real people. I love history so I want to write the stories of the history of the areas I grew up. The phenomenal, the original lay of the land how the early settlers where. The stories that were passed from mouth to mouth in backs of coffee shops, Sunday dinners, and the like. I want the stories of the survivors of a broken America. Those that will survivor to re-build a nation of the Promised Land.
I want to write a great American Western Novel. That is my one true goal. I love the old west, I was not meant for this time period that is for sure. I want to write one great cowboy book. A Lonesome Dove story that will go down in history. I want to create one last legend. A woman based off the legend of something like Jesse James and the like. A woman who rode fierce and who rose forward in the remains of a total Civil War.
I want to write things that make people better themselves. That give them hope as they lie on the pits of their lives with no believe that it gets any better. I want to write things for people who believe and struggle to find their inner peace and inner strength.
I should say my goal with all of this is to find the patience to wait for it. To pay my dues and earn my place in a writing world. But anyone who knows me first hand knows that patience is not my strong point. Never has been and probably never will be, just hopefully a bit better condition
Till then – keep moving up.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Racisism... Again...

Here’s what I don’t understand with the race issue. It’s something that should have been dead and buried years ago. I’m twenty-year-old white girl from Illinois. ILLINOIS not Chicago. Big difference. I wasn’t at the sit-in’s and walk-out’s. I wasn’t there for the race riots or the march on Washington or for Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream…” speech. I sure as heck didn’t own no slaves.
Yet I feel as if I am being judged more because I am white than anything else. Somewhere along the lines the race issue flipped. Instead of finding a middle balance we pushed things beyond a point of return once more.
I’m not an Obama supporter. Half of what this blog has said proves that. However, I wouldn’t like him if he was white, black, Asian or Native American. Lately, I have seen that things changed more and more in this direction.
This year at the Missouri state fair a rodeo clown got a little out of hand. The clown dressed up in an Obama mask and mocked the president. Many called it racist. How, I ask, is this racist? First off it breaks out first amendment right as our freedom of speech and allowing us to critique the government. In 1994 a George H.W. Bush rodeo clown, or the Clinton, or the Reagan clown be allowed and nothing was said about it. Why? Because it wasn’t a race issue with Bush same as it isn’t a race issue with Obama. It’s an idiot President issue.
There are so many people who say that President Barrack Obama is the greatest President. Maybe one day he will do something to earn that title. But political issues aside you can’t say that he did something great based on the color of his skin. Yes he did something never been done before. A colored man in the White House. Yes, it was a step forward in American history - yet there was something that went wrong.
Lil’ Wayne. The name fits because he is indeed a lil’ man. Trampling on the American flag. Disrespect in the highest. Then he goes even farther disrespecting the soldiers who protect the flag he disgraced. Disgracing soldiers while wearing uniforms as fashion statements. Writing sickening “song” lyrics. If Lil’ Wayne can exercise his 1st Amendment right and not be punished or thought ill of while disgracing America why can’t Tuffy Gessling, the Obama clown, be treated the same way?
There are scholarships I can’t apply for because they are for African-American’s only. Schools proud of being for mainly blacks only. Black Entertainment Television. Black dating sights only. If any of these things said white in its place all hell would break loose again. It wasn’t that long ago that there were white only places. Charles Drew was the doctor who created large scale blood banks and allowing soldiers especially during the Vietnam era to be saved by his blood transfusions. A war fought in the midst of the race wars. A man who was rumored to have died after a car accident in April 1950 because the doctors at an all-white hospital refused to treat him.
Everyone knows that Martian Luther King Jr. had a dream. He dreamed that his four little children would be judged on their content of their character not by the color of their skin. Here in the 50 years after that speech I have that same dream. That one day I and the rest of my American people, no matter the color of their skin, be judged by their character. Not their skin, their level of class, the money in their bank account, or their appearances, but by what’s in their heart and soul. Their minds and morals.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Student Loan Dept My Realization

This summer I began my degree for a Bachelors in Communication with a focus in Journalism and dropped it all in the same season. The entire reason being tuition. When it was all said and done I was paying nearly $2,000 a month for one class online. Something that would have totaled the cost of my degree to almost $60,000 not including the cost for my transfer credits.
At twenty years old it was hard to summon the strength to put myself into so much debt at such an early age. Already in the process of moving out on my home and buying a home I knew that the student loans would force me to be over a $100,000 in debt by the time I was twenty-one. By the time I graduated at twenty-two and started paying my loans back I would be forced to move back in with my parents for the foreseeable future or marry up the wealth ladder. One of the two.
I hear the horror stories all the time about someone who went away to school got a good degree and even a job in their field and then had to move back home with their parents for a few years to pay off a chunk of that debt. I love my mom and dad but that’s not happening.
I got curious and looked online and came across a website called American Student Assistance that listed all kinds of scary facts about student loan debt. Like the fact there are approximately 37 million student loans outstanding. That there is over $908 billion dollars in student loan debt.
With all the talk in Washington about the interest rates set to double this has a lot of students going college shy and some stressing about surviving the after college wreckage.
According to a PBS report done on July 1st of this year states that in today’s dollars a tuition rate for a pubic collage in 1982 including room and board was roughly $2,423. Thirty years later that number had a 257 percent increase to around $8,655. Surely the modern technology we use in colleges, computers and the like don’t cost $6.000 a year?
The PBS report already states what most of us know. The student loan debt for people under 30 has forced us to put off buying homes, new cars and taking the risk of starting our own business and instead take whatever job we can get just to pay our bills.
I have received financial aid before. So I hate when people have things on Facebook saying “Pissed I had to pay for college today. Sorry my dad works!” My dad has been disabled from what started as a work accident since I was in grade school allowing me financial aid. However financial aid wasn’t enough to pay for my journalism school. When I attempt to go back to my local community college to get a certificate in medical billing and coding so that I can go to work and hopefully find a way to pay for journalism school down the road the government aid won’t pay for any of my certificate classes. Even though it allows me a way to get to work quicker so that I can help the economy. Go figure.
Currently I have a $1,000 in student loan debt not a lot but considering that was for just one class. And it will take me a few years to pay it off especially when I add to it this fall. The thought of not going back to school has accrued to me. Knowing that even with a pay increase I will have to be working in my field for over twenty years before I pay off my student loan debt and actually start making money has nearly detoured me.
Hopefully that 2003 Cavalier of mine makes it another ten years or so…

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summer Revolution

It has always seemed like summer brightens people's mood. Or it should. New years should be in May, typical weather May not this bi-polar thing the Mid West and Illinois has been experiencing lately. If  New Years resolutions were made in May chances were the wonderful Vitamin D or whatever it is about warm weather would help us stick to those goals.
 
But in all honesty there's never a good time to make a "new you" and it's not like it's going to happen over night. In the last six months since my Jason's death I have learned that there is going to have to be more things change about me in order for me to be happy. My own happiness cannot depend upon Jason no longer unfortunately. Being graced with the best of friends to have my back helps but this time it has to be for me.
 
As my FFA Creed said " in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me."
 
There are a thousand things I want to do in this life and to be realistic I'm not the best goal setter or the best doer. I get wore down easy, disappointed frequently and all to often give up. Life seems easier that way. Perhaps that's why I haven't written on this blog here lately. Disappointment's weigh be down and I'm too stubborn, as often reminded, to do much for my own good.
 
But it's fast approaching that time to change. I'm not talking my hair, my makeup or my fashion. Maybe my shape but eh. Luckily for me I am very good at seeming sane around most people but for those few unfortunates they know how close I am to becoming full fledge crazy, again. For the umpteenth time.
 
My outlook on life isn't what you would call glamour's by far. Negative Nancy has been my nickname more than once...
 
But anyhow, I really don't know where I'm going with this. Making a big outward statement that I'm going to change my life for the better so people can nag at me when I don't? Maybe. But anyways I'll keep you posted on my Summer Revolution.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hunting Bigfoot

Hunting of just about any game entices me. Whether to take part in myself or just hear about it. But this is a hunting of a different sort. Hunting the un-findable and the un-killable. Hunting Bigfoot.
As a small girl I recall my grandfather, always the ultimate BSer trying to convince my older male cousins and several of their friends that Bigfoot was real and that he lived in a holler a few miles from where I grew up. The boys being around fourteen were convinced enough that they wouldn’t go into that patch of woods in broad daylight with loaded guns for a good many weeks. (Even though now they would never recall such an incident happening lol!)
I know my Grandpa was just pulling their leg and trying quiet successfully to scare them. But over the years as TV shows, books, and websites have become dedicated to the hunting of the large cross between modern man and bear it seems that there is some question to what really lurks in the woods. I for one must admit as an hunter I’d like to believe I am the biggest baddest thing in the woods when I’m armed-so I myself try not to believe in the hype.
But just a few years ago farmers from my area had believed to see a Bigfoot like creature by their cattle just after a snow. Old timers freaked out enough they wouldn’t even feed their cattle after dark? That left me wondering what they saw and added extra curiosity to the topic.  
It appears to be that many people have reported a same idea when it comes to the Bigfoot. Whether it’s ideas that has been fed to us by Hollywood or by just simply knowledge we store in the back of our head about other sightings that we use as details when we believe we have had an experience of our own.
It seems like most of the sightings I have read about seem to offer the same general facts. 1. The creature is always tall, towering above 7 feet to sometimes reaching even 10 feet in height. 2. The creature is always some sort of brown in color and is covered in hair completely like a bear would be. 3. The creature is almost always followed by a foul smell, similar to that of a skunk although those familiar to the outdoors claim that the off odor is different. 4. The creature makes a loud whooping sound often followed by a high pitched scream. Avid hunters and outdoors people say that this sound is much different than any noise they have ever heard and cannot place it to any animal, especially one that would be native to their respective areas.
Some other strong similarities that seem to be producing trends is that most Bigfoot sightings occur in Northern America, often times in the Canadian area and in the Northern US states although several have been spotted in Texas. However some avid hunters have reported sounds much similar to that of the Bigfoot occurring in Southern IL (my home state) just this last fall. This sound, the hunters claim is like nothing they have ever heard in the woods before and cannot identify it to any animal.
The Bigfoot seems to have put a fear into most animals as well.  This is similar to experiences that people have reported their animals acting when experiencing paranormal activity. Animals are reported to being on edge when Bigfoot is nearby. Dogs do not want to go outdoors and into the woods. One story reports that a spotting of what is believed to be a male, female, and offspring living in a small patch of woods where deer and bears alike have wondered into and ran back out moments later.
One inconsistency with reports I have read are the Sasquatches diets. One report states that they are vegetarians who only occasionally feed on fish (I’d feel safer if I believed that but I don’t). Another reports that I have found, written by loggers have said they discovered deer skeletons. Not unusual of course especially in bear country, but the skeletons had been dissected. The man reported the bones had been broken apart and separated and nearly organized by size. Something a bear would not be capable of.
Other reports have said where one woman’s dogs awoke her early in the morning just after dawn and she went downstairs to the door where the knob was jiggling as if someone was trying to turn it and walk in side. When the activity stopped and she looked outside she saw a tall brown shaggy creature running along the tree line.
Other scary reports say that people feel as if prisoner in their own homes after hearing strange sounds and seeing Bigfoot creatures as close as ten feet away. Those feel scared to go outside after dark and have said they feel as if they are being watched from the windows of their homes.
Where Bigfoot dwells is another issue. We already know that most reports of the creature say it tends to live in more secluded well forested areas like the Northern parts of North America and occasionally Texas. However some people go as far to say they have seen places where the creature sleeps- similar to a wolf or bear living in a den. One man from the British Columbia area states that he followed large foot prints to a crude shelter made of limbs. Similar to what a child might make a club house out of. This is the same man who had reported finding tree limbs snapped off at high reaches of 7 to 8 feet and as fresh as a half hour old, appearing sometime during his lunch break from mowing his land. The man had also reported as if feeling watched and while on a careful look out for bears experienced odd noises.
Other reports from Texas say that a man and his son frequently see their local Bigfoot. They claim he often times bangs on the tin of their barn and appears fascinated by them as they are with the creature. The state that something one night after hearing strange and frightening noises coming from outside that they found a solid wood post that had been set in concrete snapped off. They claim that this Bigfoot likely dwells in an underground cave and tunnels as local hunters have never spotted the Bigfoot in the woods during the day.
Every Bigfoot spotter has their own stories, and the evidence, pictures and the like often have the faults especially in the world of modern technology where computers can manufacture and alter just about anything. But a complete non believer can be turned in just one experience.
But if it’s not a Bigfoot in the woods what is it that is stalking people? Scaring them witless and making these unheard of sounds? Most traits seem to be extremely similar from report to report and for many of these things no other creature seems to fit. A large bear or moose could be responsible for the breaking of limbs, a skunk for the odor, an owl or large cat responsible for the night screams but what about those who have met the Bigfoot face to face? What can possibly explain the fear put into grown men?
For other stories visit one of my favorite blogs on the topic http://bigfoot-sasquatch.blogspot.com/.
Happy Hunting

Monday, April 1, 2013

Buckwild's Shain and America's Michael

I’ve been getting some heat on our beloved Facebook about my stance on this issue. But since I stand by 1st amendment followed by the fact I just don’t give a damn, thought I’d elaborate here. Once again you are all free to express your own feelings whether you agree or disagree.
Buckwild’s star Shain Gandee’s death is a tragedy. Most all deaths are.
 *Note most all excludes rapists, terrorists, child pedophiles, and those who beat the hell out of their kids and spouses.  There are some flat out murders who may live simply because days like these leave me wondering if I will be lumped in this group.
I am Buckwild fan so by that alone I haven’t seen much of the TV show. I don’t dis on being rednecks or doing stupid shit. As I have been constantly reminded we all have done some stupid shit. True. Very true. Most of us do have a little more respect than to publicly display our mistakes proudly on television. That’s what COPS is for. But since Buckwild is shockingly chose to Jersey Shore and we all know how I feel on that subject, I don’t support the show nor do I care if it gets cancelled.
But that’s not the point.
Point in case being is I have been critical of how many people are making a big deal over this. Should the boy be mourned? Yes. Should he be idolized…well that’s all up to you. But for me in my mind, no. Reports all say that he died after a night of leaving the bar early in the morning and highly intoxicated.
If the reports are wrong then I’ll feel a lot more sympathetic. I realize that there is a good possibility that one day I will bury someone else I am close with. I realize that several nights there is a possibility that it could be caused due to drinking and driving. They being the drinker and driver.
It’s a fact of life and a stupid choice. God above make sure if I am ever this stupid to try and do it someone beats the holy hell out of me for my ignorance.
But once again. Not the entire point.
The major problem I have with the issue of Shain Gandee… and I’m sure his family is touched by the support because I know how it helped by the show of support when my own fiancĂ©e died. But the fact is he was a reality TV star. Yes it’s all great to be on Television but America has once again forgotten wherein the true hero’s lie.
Everyday soldiers die but their names are not reporter on our television sets because a celebrity has passed. A World War II hero who saved dozens of lies by disobeying orders and going alone in his aircraft died the same day as Michael Jackson. But superstardom is idolized more than it should be. Heroes who save us are often forgotten because of a celebrity. It’s worse when the celebrity is such because he simply lets a camera crew follow him around as he or she parties.
I have no qualms with mourning a man. I have qualms when mourning one who risked his own life for nothing but a beer and a drive is mourned before a man who laid down his life for his country. Who gave his life so a kid could be on TV and drink and live free without having to pick up a gun and go to work halfway across the world.
I quote Toby Keith in my mind as I write this article. Might as well quote him in it as well. “I stand by my right to speak freely but I worry ‘bout what kids learn from TV… I’m a (wo)man of my convictions call me wrong call me right but I’ll bring my better angles to every fight… you sure know where I stand.”
Says it all right there.
Rest in Peace Shain Gandee. Because I’m sure you were a great guy and I know you and those that died with you were loved and will be missed.
But also Rest in Peace to Michael Cable, a solider who’s name will be forgotten shortly to most of the country. I apologize for the nation you defend because our society has a new habit of being selfish on one part and on another forgetting who cares for us. But you died defending us and our freedoms that include the ability to be a reality star and to enjoy reality television and do the things that  Shain and Buckwild along with the rest of us enjoy doing. Because if it wasn’t for Michael and the rest of the men and women like him, most of us wouldn’t know Shain’s name.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Living the Dream: CMT, STL Rams, Cabela's and Liz.


Matthew 17:20 If ye have the Faith of the tiniest mustard seed nothing shall be impossible unto you.
As I have tossed this article around in my head the last few days this verse rings out in my mind. Calls to me as only a few biblical verses I know well do. The wisdom in this Matthew verse is one of dreamers. One of go getters and achievers who hit walls and climb mountains and fall down. It’s a verse of those who get up and brush themselves off and don’t ever give up.
We all know dreamers. We all are dreamers however few of us  know someone who has dreams that we imagine only in our personal world (actually most of you reading this I’m assured will know her). Dreams outside of our day to day lives of just wanting to get by, have a good life, a good love and a wonderful family. Few know those who reach for the stars let alone those who walk with them.
Especially in small towns like where I come from. In technicality it’s a village, it no longer has a school, just a post office two churches, two bars, and a post office along with a handful of other home business. Population inside the village limit doesn’t reach much higher than 300 people. Or even in our local county, that hosts only one high school do we find these kinds of people. Those who have left the home nest and have chased and caught dreams while still holding true to their family and their selves.
I grew up knowing of Liz Duggan. She was a few years older than me but like I said it was small town and everyone knows everyone else. By my freshman year of high school her younger sister had become one of my best friends. So constantly being at the Duggan household, even with Liz away at school, she quickly became someone I admired and liked and then became envious of.
So in short- this article is really all about her and a recently interview I got to conduct with her, because 1: she’s interesting as all get out and 2: she’s letting me practice on her for my writing and interviewign skills. ( =] )
Unfortunately she was unwilling to share information pertaining to Luke Bryan’s contact information, hotel room numbers, personal schedule etcetera. So sorry ladies!
Moving Up!: “Can you give the readers some background on what you do for these companies, your degree (because my sister has been nagging me to ask)  and the like?”
Liz: “College- University of Illinois, Springfield (Highly recommend this school. I went to SIUE my first year and it was just too big for little ol’ me.)
Degree- Business Administration, Minor in Management Information Systems
Cities Lived- Springfield, IL; Nashville, TN; St. Louis (Brentwood), MO; and soon to be living in Denver, CO
Position at each company-
2010 CMT: I was an intern for Special Events Management from Jan-June. I was then hired on for freelance through the end of the year.
2011-2012 St. Louis Rams: Account Executive
2013 Cabela’s: Brand Experience Specialist”
Moving Up!: “What has been your favorite company/position so far?”
Liz: “Interning for CMT was the best thing I have ever done for my career. It was a big leap of faith because the internship was unpaid but I believed in myself enough to take that risk (Matt 21:22)
(Moving Up! Note: Matt. 21:22 reads “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in brayer, believing, ye shall receive.” KJV Did I not say that Matthew was for the dreamers?)
Liz continuing: “It gave me great experience and was a big reason I was hired for my current position with Cabela’s. I really love my current position because I get to enjoy the outdoor world and the country music world all at the same time. If I could write the perfect job description for myself it would be for my current position.”
John Anderson
Moving Up!: “Have you ever been ‘star struck’ and by who?”
Liz: “Not really... At each of my jobs I have been around and worked with celebrities but I have a very different way of thinking about it. To me, they are just my co-workers. Although, backstage at the CMT Awards I did pass John Anderson in the hallway and that made my night.”
(Moving Up! Note: John Anderson is a REAL country music star and classic country music he has over 40 singles on Billboard in his 30+ years of music including songs like “Swinging” “Wild and Blue” “Straight Tequila Night” For more modern music lovers he co-wrote John Rich’s 2009 hit song “Shutting Detroit Down”.)  
Liz continuing: “A quote that really helps puts things in perspective and that I love from C.S. Lewis is, “He who has God and everything else, has no more than he who has God only.” With that said, I can appreciate someone’s talent but I’m never going to be a person who idolizes celebrities. I just figure, most of us have to work for a living so I might as well do something with my career that I’ll enjoy.”
Moving Up!: “Luke Bryan! I know you said you wouldn’t go into detail about the celebrities but how does it feel to be one of the most envied girls in America who gets paid to be around him?”
Well we all just like to look at Luke!
Liz: “Haha! I hear that at every show from the fans I meet. He’s a pretty popular guy.”
Moving Up!: “You are/have worked for three big name companies; did you ever imagine working for any of them?”
Liz: “I always had big goals when it came to my career. I visited Nashville for the first time in my Junior year of college. Before then, I really had no idea what exactly I wanted to do. I saw George Jones play at the Ryman and that was pretty much it for me….. I knew I wanted to move to town. I then set my sights on an internship with CMT. I was chosen by two departments but in the end Special Events seemed like a better fit for me. I got the call late in December on my way to take a final and accepted the position (needless to say, I didn’t do too hot on my final haha). I moved to Nashville 2 weeks later. I guess to answer your question in the longest way possible, haha- I’ve always had big dreams and I just go for them because I don’t ever want to wake up one day and wish I had tried. With all of these jobs, I have no doubt that, God has a plan for all of us. For me, all of these experiences are part of his plan.”
Moving Up!: “What has been your favorite event to work so far?”
Liz: “I would have to say the CMT Awards. In 2009 a few friends and myself went to the CMA Fest in Nashville, which is always the day before or the day after the CMT Awards. After the Fest, we all watched the CMT awards, just like I do every year and have since I was pretty young. So in 2010 I had a moment when I was backstage at the awards and it just hit me- Wow, last year at this time I was in my pj’s watching this show and had no idea I would be working backstage the very next year! Moments like those just make me realize my hard work has paid off and that I am very blessed to be given these opportunities.”
 Moving Up!: “Clearly it’s not easy living away from the Village and the family, but you are moving to Denver for your new position. What’s living in a “big city” in a whole different geological regions like?”
Liz: “I’m not moving to Denver until the end of April. However, I am really excited to meet new people and start a new adventure. Living in Nashville was a great experience. Coming from a village of 300 and knowing the name of every person in town…..it was a little out of my comfort zone to not know who anyone in a big city (except for Megan Taake’s sister and brother-in-law, Jake Maurer go check out his music- great stuff! Jakemaurer.com). Although, when/if I get married and want to start a family I will not be raising my children in a city!”
Moving Up!: “What’s something you look forward to as far as your new job with Cabela’s this year?”
Liz: “We are doing an event in a couple weeks in Vegas for the ACM Awards so I am pretty excited about that. Be sure to tune into the show on April 7th to see the footage.”
Moving Up!: “If Cabela’s is sending you on hunts do you yourself actually get to do some hunting? And if so is there any big game you expect to be pursuing anytime soon?”
Liz: “I do! I’m so excited about that because I’ve never actually shot at an animal, just clays. I believe the first hunt is going to be a turkey hunt sometime within the next couple months. I need to start doing some target practice! As far as big game…. I think I’ll just start with turkeys…. But I do think a big-o deer head would look great in my new apartment!”
(Moving Up! Note: Liz Duggan! How? What?! Why? If I didn’t know better that would have Yuppie girl written all over it! You’ve never shot at an animal… the things you learn! Glad at least Cabela’s can get you to remedy that problem! =] … Also, fans of Duck Dynasty and Phil note that ‘Yuppie’ is actually a real word. I discovered this when Microsoft Word didn’t yell at me with a red squiggly line.)
Moving Up!: “You have worked with a lot of big household names – does it ever become natural? I mean we all assume their people just like us, but are they really?”
Liz: “They really are. Not all the aspects of their lives are as glamorous as one would think. I guess you could say it’s natural. I just try to treat everyone I meet, celebrity or not, with the same respect.”
Moving Up!: “What has been your most horrifying experience working these big events so far?”
Liz: “I really don’t have too many horrifying stories…. Although, I had a pretty crazy one. I won’t mention which job it was or any names. It was the day of an event and I had to pick up an important person and take them to the event. A lot of streets were closed off and I had to flash my credential to get into most of the streets. The person I was driving was in a hurry and we were going through very tight spaces in order to get them to the event and they kept wanting me to go faster…. I was only going about 10 or 15  but I was trying to get in between these two big dump trucks. There was a guy who was hopped up on the side of one of them, and was grabbing something out of the back….. well, he hopped down and landed right on my car. Moral of the story is: I basically hit someone while chauffeuring a big shot. I have nervous laughter so I’m sure that seemed pretty inappropriate at the time haha! The dude I hit had dreadlocks all the way down his back. I asked if he was okay and he just said, “No worries”. Haha”
No worries… be happy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

18 & "Who the Hell Knows?"

18 years old means freedom to many. But most importantly it just means we get the hell out of Dodge or in translation- high school graduation. (Which by the way, I don’t care what anyone says, those days are not your best days and you will never just miss them. High school sucks. End of story).
Anyways, leaving high school leaves you with a problem that everyone expects you to be able to answer by the time you toss your hat up into the air at graduation. “What are you going to do with your life?”
It’s quiet funny actually, that the Twilight Saga would give such a perfect example of how most our age feel at this question – “Who the hell knows?” Those were the words that Bella and Edward’s valedictorian ended her speech with and I feel the exact same way.
All through high school I had a plan: go to school in Springfield, IL at Lincoln Land for two years and then transfer to a four year university to finish my degree in agriculture business. Somewhere my senior year that plan changed and I decided to stay home and attend my local community college Lewis and Clark for a degree in business.
But like everyone knows of teenagers- we have a lot of growing up to do- and by the time most of us are a year out of high school, we figure that out for ourselves.
If you have read much of this blog you know of my own background, losing my Jason at such an early age. But I had met him just two days before I started my second semester of college, and my first semester on campus. And in a few months I realized my heart was totally gone and so we had started making plans.
First off, college had to go. I couldn’t just up and quit my job, I needed the money after all you couldn’t get a house and get married and start a family with no money. And of course I figured I needed an education but college was boring me and the thought of spending another few minutes in my classes made me want to shot myself. In all honesty I was burnt out. I had started classes just three days after graduation and had been going without a break ever since. (And I was tired of it taking up time that I couldn’t see Jason).
But I knew I couldn’t just quit college (at the time) so I changed degrees, hoping that by deciding to be a paralegal would be a better choice for me. Community colleges are limited and I wasn’t leaving Jason so I switched programs started doing all my classes online and hoped for the best.
Epic fail.
I detested it and during that semester changed from working at Wal-Mart Sporting Goods to being a teller at a local credit union. Better pay, better hours, hated it more. I remember driving to work one day and seeing a boy I had been in FFA with – and who runs his own haying  business- on his tractor. It was a beautiful spring day, everyone was in the fields or fishing our being outdoors with the critters and I was dressed in fancy office clothes and going to work.
I wanted to cry. And even more so a few hours later when another local farm boy and former blue and gold wearer came in to make his truck payment. He had been in the tractor and was talking about how much he and his family had gotten planted that day. Once again it had been so long since I had been out of agriculture I felt lost in the conversation yet longed to be back there.
That summer I didn’t enroll to take college classes, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and then followed it up that fall by taking another semester off. I had things to straighten out and by that fall had re-enrolled at Lewis and Clark for this spring semester to be in medical billing and coding.
See I already knew I wanted to write and be in agriculture but there were no programs like that around here. I had flirted with the idea of enrolling at the University of Phoenix (and still am) to take courses in communications and journalism later on. But I needed a job that would bring in some half way decent money.
However before I could finalize my enrollment Jason was killed and there was no way in hell I was going back to school less than two months later. It just wasn’t happening.
Now here I sit. Middle of March- four months after Jason died- trying to put my life back together. Trying to find out where I am going and who I will be now that my former dreams are shot to hell. I still don’t have any answers. I just ‘keep on keepin on,’ sound’s good enough for the moment.
And in ‘keepin’ on’ I have been spending more time out with our friends at the bar, where it feels like he still there and alive and well inside his friends who act just as ridiculous as he did. While standing outside the local bar this weekend I overheard part of one of them drunk conversations that sound completely stupid and yet make a lot of sense. One boy was telling his friend that it was stupid to have to know who you were at eighteen and go to college because you were only going to either change your mind a hundred times or be miserable. After all we are still growing up – clearly- and in growing up we change more than we will ever know.
That’s all true. At 18 how are we supposed to know? We’re fresh from high school and are just now getting our feet wet in the real world. Most of us haven’t worked jobs or anything besides food service to know much about what is really out there. If we are supposed to grow up that means we have a lot of changing to do. Interests change and dreams change and lives change in those few short years following high school. Wouldn’t it be a better idea if we all took a two year mandatory break from school and then it be mandatory to go back to college (for at least a year) because then we would know who we wanted to be and would be more likely not to change our programs so many times?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Take Back the Jersey Shore

Rediscovered First Year College Paper
Everyone knows of the Jersey Shore main characters Snookie, JWOWW, Mike “The Situation”, and DJ Pauly D. Even those who don’t watch the show see the names and faces of these people splattered everywhere: talk shows, the news, and on the magazine covers that line the grocery store check-out lanes. The fact that these people are household names poses a problem. While many people follow MTV’s Jersey Shore and addictively watch every episode, not many people consider that the cast’s actions are an embarrassment which should not be aired on television.
The Jersey Shores most embarrassing action is their sex lives. Many parents face the constant fret of their teenage child participating in sexual relations, especially casual ones, before he or she is ready, yet they do not spend enough time protesting the acceptance of casual sex on television. The “smush room” is one of the most wide known pieces of the Jersey Shore cast home and therefore the show. A room that is strictly dedicated to the casual sexual affairs of the casts members that serves its purpose well. The fact that Snookie herself will only disinfect the “smush room” while wearing plastic covering her entire body, including her face, (no one ever said Snookie was smart). Perhaps even worse than the “smush room” is something the creator SallyAnn Salsano said when asked if any of the casts members had contradicted STDs from their loose relations, her response was she does STD tests on the cast members regularly and that the cast is handed Valtrex, used to treat genital herpes, like they are “M&M’s”.
Next, the Shore members are also known for their immense partying, as the entire purpose of the show. The clubbing and often un-responsible drinking are showcased regularly on the episodes and in off seasons in tabloids. Snookie is famous for flashing complete strangers after having one too many drinks. Many of times the girls are caught by paparazzi, in photo shoots, or proudly out in public showing off their bodies in revealing bikinis and sometimes in clothing that is just as revealing. Even clothing lines like Abercrombie and Fitch have offered to pay the star Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino not to wear their merchandise as they feel his behavior would hurt the company’s reputation.
 Also, since Jersey Shore members are considered “celebrities” they are treated as such. JWOWW called off in order to get her nails done, and upon telling her boss this she gets away with it because after all, it’s all on camera. The average American would probably have been fired over this. Snookie was arrested recently following wrecking into a police car. She was not intoxicated at the time but she has been arrested for drunken disorderly conduct on more than one occasion. Ronnie, another cast member, has been arrested for outstanding tickets. The coverage their arrests received only got them more free publicity and the fines are always quickly taken care of and they return to their lives doing exactly what they did before. No amount of fines would change the cast’s unruly ways as the arrests are not uncommon among Shore members.
If parents would be mortified by their children acting like these Shore cast members how do we promote it and allow our children to watch and simply add to the stereotype that American teenagers and young people are just that stupid. When Jersey Shore went to Italy to film I am sure that they even dumbed down our reputation more as the world got a few more laughs at them Americans.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Because....

People have asked me why I write. Several have mocked it, mocked my topics, my style, my country taste. It’s all good though. Because I don’t care. I write for me and for whoever wants to read it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it and certainly don’t complain about it. I’m not asking for critics who have nothing nice to say.
I write because of imagination. Because I believe everyone has a story and every place has a fascinating history. I write because I know people yearn for entertainment and amusement and knowledge. Because they have for centuries. From the great stadiums where the English flocked to hear Shakespeare’s tragedies and from the time of the original troubadour who told in their songs stories of hero’s from lands afar. Those things haven’t changed much over the years. People haven’t changed and human nature hasn’t either.
 I have a fascinating imagination that I cannot lie about. My thirst for books at a young age took me places outside of the small world in which I had lived and showed my people and places far more fascinating than that of good ol’ Jersey County. I have stories I love to share-I came by the nickname Gabby at a young age and by honest ways- and so I have taken to writing them.
The last few months I have wished I had kept a journal of the previous year of my life. Wrote everything in such detail as it happened everyday as so that I would never forget the life and love I had been given through Jason. But I hadn’t and as I fear the memories will fade I find the words about him hard to come by as tears destroy the pages and the ink that I have put down.
I write because I find there is stories that need to be told, average people who need to be immortalized by pretty words and most importantly because I can escape into the stories I have written. No longer am I a scared little country girl fearing more than anything the night but strong and bold Kyra Summers who had overcome her own demons far better than I could ever hope to do. I become Avaleene Reynolds the moonshine runner tougher than any Duke. Joe Hamlin the hunter who lives a hard man’s life in a hard man’s profession in the treacherous west that Texas knew following the War between the states.
Writing gives me freedom; release from a world of boundaries a world of pain too great for most to handle.   
I feared publishing my work, few knew I wrote or ever wished to become a “writer” known by publication. The amount before that horrible night I could count on my fingers and toes. Most of them knew because of the strength I had in Jason believing in my dreams.
When he died I became center of attention and everyone knew my name, my face, and my heartache. People remember more devastation than they would ever remember the good. More than 2,000 people came through his funeral line at the showing and mourned his death. Many who did not show gave me their condolences. That was many more than who would ever have congratulated us on the wedding we had been quietly planning for.
In Jason’s death I found myself thrust into a center of attention I never wanted to be a part of for any circumstance. And I found myself unable – and unwilling- to write. I still remember, sitting on my bed, where I am right now, and telling a friend I had no idea how to get through this.
He had been perhaps the first person, over two years ago, that I ever told I wanted to be a writer (and most likely the only person who hasn’t read anything I’ve ever written, ever liked my writers page on Facebook or been remotely supportive of me as a writer since publication but whatever- jackass) anyhow... he told me I had to write. Sit down and even if I didn’t write about Jason write about something. Because when I did write about Jason and did put that out there to the world that it would help somebody who had also been cursed by heartache similar to mine.
So I did. I wrote and I sold articles and then published my book if only to prove that he was an arrogant jerk and wrong yet again (because he is always wrong and I am always right). But it helped. I was shocked to discover that I was able to write and able to finally push through on perhaps my only last living dream-being a writer.
Today, three months and two weeks after Jason’s accident there are only three things I find release in. Busting my butt at the gym until I can no longer move, seeing his friends who loved him so greatly and take care of me still the best they can, and writing.
I’ve got a lot of useless stuff to say to the world. Writing lets me put it out to the world and lets you decide if you want to listen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FFA- Friends Forever and Always

President’s Day week-for four years this week meant everything to me- from my Freshman Greenhand days till my Senior banquet it meant one thing National FFA Week. Future Farmers of America. It meant muddy trucks, fundraiser lunches, blue and gold and country attire days. Even though I hung up my jacket almost a year and a half ago some things haven’t changed.
We were laughed at, for being yes, a favorite mocking and mature nickname, the Future Faggots of America. We were laughed at for our black skirts, our panty hose and heels and our dress scarves and corduroy national blue jackets and being able to recite our Creed from heart.
We were mocked by students and teachers alike for being so serious, we weren’t a real club, we didn’t do anything and we certainly weren’t an athletic club so we had no real standing with most schools and our classes weren’t for “booksmarts” as some teachers had said . Clearly, these people had never even wondered down the CTE (career and technical education) hallway, because we had more real world experience and skills than anyone just playing ball and just hitting the books.
From my most humiliating experience Freshman year in public speaking (first time ever speaking in front of people, Mr. Goetten’s 6th hour shop class, all boys Juniors and Seniors, horrible flashbacks) to walking across that Illinois State FFA Convention stage to receive my State Degree a month after my high school graduation and everything in between, I lived to serve.
Most people see the FFA for what it is based upon, agriculture, the center for our little (haha) club. But our family is so much more. The Association prides itself on leadership, teamwork, personal growth and being America proud. Our colors are chosen by those are nation chose to live by, our flags fly proudly, our pledge said proudly hands over our hearts and our hearts belong to the America we work to serve and live our lives to feed.
Through my CDE’s (career development event) I learned how to judge livestock on its conformation and its ability to serve us for food, how to judge meat and milk products based on its quality for our intake and nutrition, how to tell apart weeds and seeds, how to run a business and how to run a meeting according to Roberts Rules of Parliamentary Order, and how to give a speech to a room full of people without panicking. I learned how to serve my school, my community, and strangers all through my service to one association.
I went in a bratty kid and came out-well an older kid but a little less a brat- and came out with connections of friends all over the state, friends who have continued their service to agriculture at a political and spokesperson positions. Who as college aged students are across the country and running with the “big boys” and playing key roles in agriculture at the public level and caring for us plain old run of the mill farmers.
Being a FFA member didn’t just meaning being an aggie it meant being a family. FFA doesn’t just mean Future Farmers of America; it means Friends Forever and Always.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Follow Up to the State of the Union

My follow up to the State of the Union Address, that I just finished reading the text of via The New York Times website - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/us/politics/obamas-2013-state-of-the-union-address.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 – will be short and not-so-sweet. I have been mortally embarrassed and yet not shocked by what Obama reported.
He reported to us nothing that most of the general public did not know. He did not offer valid solutions, truly inspiring and hopefully words as we have come to respect and love from many of our former Presidents. But perhaps people just do not speak in such pretty language to give such a nation strength no more.
Obama did not offer us solutions to our immigration or gun control or many other pressing subjects that we need action from in the highest form of our government. Rather he tooted his own horn about issues that- while hold some or great importance – he has claimed to have “fixed”. The economy, please don’t make me laugh. To many I know firsthand including my household is without a job.
His fix to the healthcare solution. I’m 19 years old and had taken time off from college because I choose to work, had I choose to stay in school I would have been in great debt I’m sure and yet his “joke” of a solution is too expensive, and still doesn’t cover anything for me. For a simple doctors visit I will pay almost 80 dollars, the excludes no medicine, and no tests if needed. Just because my father was injured in a work related accident and put on disability when I was in middle school, and that insurance no longer covered me once I turned 18.  
He did not mention how he or the rest of Washington will handle the 2nd Amendment debate; although he addressed the situation he did not address a solution. But I won’t be the first to tell you, that they will pry my 2nd Amendment and my gun out of my cold dead hands.
Obama gave us no hope, and still ended his speech with God bless America. A man who is, to my understanding- not of a religion where he has the right to use those words. A political ploy and a slap across the face for Christians and American’s who believe in one true God. It’s one thing that we allow any religion to be practiced in America – we are the home of the free- and that should be allowed. They want to take God out of my country though that was built by good Christian men- that is something that is just wrong. But to allow the countries “Great Father in Washington” disrespect our religion? Gives me great question to our morals.
What do you think about the State of the Union Address? Did it meet your standards? Or do you find me totally incorrect? Opinions are always respected and welcome.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What Will Obama Say?

In a few hours President Obama will present his State of the Union address. Some people anxiously await what our President will have to say while others aren’t looking forward to it. Many will believe most of what Obama says is utter B.S. some will believe what he says is golden and that he is doing the best job anyone can for the country. Others will be angry and-some-are rooting for his impeachment. (One day I will go into all the reasons why some Democrats, Independents and Republicans would love to see our historic first African American President hit the streets despite his recent re-election.)
There a few things I look forward to hearing with the State of the Union (not in any particular order).
1. The Unemployment Rate- Currently 7.9% (a rise in January, although the economy is showing signs of improvement. Okay??)  
2. Immigration. (Illinois now grants drivers licenses and the like to illegal immigrants. We can’t support our own citizens. Why support illegal immigrants? Let’s see what Obama has to say for that!)
3. This isn’t one I look forward to him addressing although I have read many will - the climate – not a major concern next to some of these other problems.
4. This is my major issue! 2nd AMENDMENT! This is the big one on the State of the Union I look forward to hearing more about. With Sandy Hook shooting, the ex-police officer on a killing spree and all the other things you have been hearing on mainstream media I look forward to the President explaining how he and his affiliates are going to take away my right to defend my person and my family.
5. The war. As long as soldiers are deployed and are meeting resistance in the combat forms there needs to be concern about our men and women.
6. South Korea and their nuclear testing. Today on the news I learned about South Korea’s third nuclear bomb underground testing. What is America, and their United Nations, going to do about this? This is ridiculous and must be dealt with. If America tends to stay one of the strongest nations- and I pray we do- this will be something that we cannot allow. The nuclear weapons that we launched on Japan during WWII was the first mistake and America cannot allow other nations (including ourselves) have this kind of power over other human beings with such weapons.
                (This brings me around to the second amendment again, we can’t have guns and ammunition to protect ourselves but South Korea can have nuclear weapons! Come on America put on your big boy panties’!)  
Maybe America will get positive answers with completed promises. But mainly we will probably get the run around. No answers. No hope. And a bunch of lies. Either way it will be an entertaining speech.