It’s Been A While…

A few years ago, I started this blog to capture all that was going on in this head of mine. I wrote almost weekly for about 18 months about my family, current events that interested me, my job, and other odds and ends. I enjoyed using this form of media to express myself, and I found that lots of people read what I wrote. I was honored.

Over the past few years, a lot has changed in my world. My girls have grown a lot. Lydia is in 8th grade, and is training to be a world class pole-vaulter. She cleared 7’6″ the other day – only 8 more feet to go and she could be an Olympian. I’m hoping 4 or 5 more feet gets her a college scholarship of some sort. Ansley is in 6th grade, and has become a well-rounded tween girl – music, sports, school, and talking back are her specialties. Clarissa is in 2nd grade and is always smiling and laughing. She loves soccer and writing and singing and watching her shows. Lydia and Ansley are taller than their mother, Carrie. Clarissa is taller than Lydia and Ansley were when they were 8.

Our pet population has changed. Babe the mini-beagle is our eldest pup. We have Asuna the slightly psychotic cat. And now we have Arlo our “bagle” – beagle/basset hound mix. Arlo is an interesting pup. We rescued him from a lady who rescued him from some shady people who had him in a cardboard box in the back of a pick-up truck. She brought him home and let him live in a barn until she could find a good home for him. He’s slightly stubborn, and he still thinks he lives in a barn from time to time. We also have a beta-fish who no one really takes care of but continues to survive.

The world has changed a lot over the past few years. We have gone from the first black president in our nation’s history in Barack Obama to a president whose most recent claim to fame is starring in The Apprentice. Mr. Donald Trump has turned our country and world on its proverbial ear, and we’re still trying to get our bearings back. His speeches are normally 140 characters and can be found on Twitter. It would be awesome to be a speech writer for Trump. Not much editing involved. Just random streams of thought in 140 character bursts. The Chicago Cubs finally won a World Series after over 100 years of futility. Joe Maddon, the Cubs’ manager is the Phil Jackson of Major League Baseball. There’s a new series of Star Wars movies. The next one is called The Last Jedi. Now the world is wondering what that really means especially after Luke Skywalker’s brief appearance at the end of The Force Awakens. The New England Patriots just won their 5th Super Bowl thanks to Tom Brady and Darth Belichick.

Who would have dreamed any of this stuff could happen?

My work life is virtually the same. I still have the same job in the same place. Carrie does too. We still attend the same church. And we still have the 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L I blogged about in April 2013.

We still live in the same house on the same street. We do have some new neighbors who have lots of kids and have recently opened their home to foster kids. They are truly special people. I would like to have more kids, but Carrie says we’re too old for that.

I have 592 Facebook friends. I’m hoping to get to 600 soon, but I’ve become more selective about my friend choices thanks to the election. I can only handle so many political posts, and that’s all Facebook is these days. Political posts and advertisements for companies and products I purchased a long time ago. I miss the days of pictures of people’s kids and constant bragging about how perfect people’s lives are. Today my feed is filled with posts about why Trump is awesome and why Trump is an idiot, and why Obama is the reason Trump is having so many problems. I did enjoy the Obama/Biden meme’s for a little while. Some of them were hilarious.

That’s all for now. Gotta go pick up Lydia from her friend’s house.

She’ll be driving soon.

That’s a scary thought.


If America Had Kings and Queens, Would We Really Care?

If America Had Kings and Queens, Would We Really Care?.

Have you followed the royal birth this week?  Based on the amount of media coverage, you really can’t help it, can you?  How would we feel about a royal birth if America had its own King and Queen?  Let me know what you think.

If America Had Kings and Queens, Would We Really Care?

Over the past couple of days, all forms of media have dedicated countless man hours and resources covering the birth of Kate and William’s first, yet to be named child – The Prince of Cambridge.  I’ve been amazed at the level of attention that this event has received from our American media (although I’m not surprised).

Huffington Post has provided real time updates – noting that today at 9:47 AM (US EST), two pizzas were delivered to the service entrance of St. Mary’s Hospital.  They also noted that after giving birth to a child she deserves to eat anything she wants.  The media also reported that Kate’s parents arrived at the hospital at 10:15 to visit the newborn prince, and Carole was wearing the £335 Orla Kiely ‘Dancing Girls’ tea dress in pebble — a lovely choice to visit her grandson.  I guess that’s some important stuff.

I also learned that a hairdresser was dispatched to the hospital prior to the first appearance by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their newborn son.  Finally at 2:12 PM, Kate and William exit St. Mary’s Hospital.  We found out almost immediately that Kate wore a baby blue bespoke polka-dotted Jenny Packham (her favorite!) dress and looked gorgeous.  I’m running to the store right now to get Carrie one of these dresses.

As I have been forced to follow the coverage of the royal birth (mainly because it’s the first thing that pops-up on the AOL home screen), I’ve asked myself how America would really feel about this event if we had our own royal family?  Many Americans have followed the birth of this child as if it’s the most important thing going on in their lives.  The question I ask is: Why?  Why are we drawn to events like these?  Why are we so drawn to celebrities and the lives they lead?  How would we treat events like these if America had its own royal family?  I think I discovered the answer to my question last night.

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a business dinner with two gentlemen from the United Kingdom – one from England and one from Scotland.  Over the course of the evening, the subject of the royal birth came-up in conversation – of course.  And it was quite apparent that their level of interest in the royal birth and in the royal family was limited at best.  When it came up, they didn’t even know that the child had been born at 4:24 BST (again from Huffington Post).  Our host knew the details, but our guests really didn’t seem to care.  She seemed puzzled by the situation as she assumed because they were from the UK, they would be drawn to the event like many of us here in America.  In this case, they were not.

And I think I understand why.  The royal family has been part of their everyday lives since they were born.  This is normal stuff.  This is part of their culture.  These guys were around for the birth of Prince William and Harry.  They have lived through multiple royal weddings and divorces and multiple scandals.  Since we Americans don’t have our own royal family, we have chosen to live vicariously through the royals of England.  We are drawn to the pomp and circumstance of the royals.  The traditions, customs and rituals.  The mystery of the life of the Queen and her family.  We, as Americans, are enamored by it.  We have parties to celebrate the weddings, the birth of royal children, the royal polo matches, etc.  Following their lives is an escape from reality.  For many, it’s just entertainment.

Part of me finds a great deal of humor here.  Part of me is saddened by it because there are more important things going on in the world.  Part of me understands the need to escape from reality – to follow the lives of others.  It feeds our dreams.  What child doesn’t want to be a movie star or a princess or a famous singer?  Who doesn’t want to live in a royal castle?  My middle daughter is totally drawn to Taylor Swift.  My oldest daughter loves to watch and listen to Selena Gomez.  Fortunately, neither of my girls like Justin Bieber (thank goodness).

So for those of you that have followed this event from the beginning, I hope they name the baby boy soon so we can all move on with our lives and see other headlines on the AOL home screen.  You would think they would have come up with a short list of names over the past nine months.  I’m thinking George or James.  Those are two royal sounding names.

We should know something soon.  I can’t wait.


Mark Sanford Is An Idiot…But He’s a Good Politician

I am not one to discuss politics, but as a South Carolinian, I have enjoyed following the race for the House seat in the First Congressional District.  South Carolina has a rich history of controversial politicians from Strom Thurmond to Mark Sanford.  Let me know what you think.

Mark Sanford Is An Idiot…But He’s a Good Politician.

Mark Sanford Is An Idiot…But He’s a Good Politician

MarkSanford.jpg    ECB_one_web

I very rarely delve into discussions about politics at home, with friends, or in the workplace.  I  believe one’s political views are personal, and I very rarely feel the need or desire to share these views with others.  I’ve lived in South Carolina for all but 4 of the 38 years of my life, and I have seen the political machine at work for many years.  From Strom Thurmond to Fritz Hollings in the US Senate to Carroll Campbell, Mark Sanford, and most recently Nikki Haley in the Governor’s office, South Carolinians have traditionally elected people who have worked to make our state a better place for all of us to live…for the most part.  All of these leaders worked to carry out the wishes and desires of all South Carolinians even if that meant making unpopular decisions at times…like making video poker illegal.  Thanks Jim Hodges!

Strom Thurmond.jpg     FritzHollings.jpg

Over the years, we have had the pleasure of allowing a number of misguided politicians fill leadership roles as well.  A couple come to mind, but most recent award winners include former Lieutenant Governors Andre Bauer and Ken Ard.  Bauer liked to drive fast, and Ard was charged with misappropriation of campaign funds.  Some would say that Thurmond would fall into this group as well.  Thurmond was a classic flip-flopper politician who once ran for President as a “Dixiecrat”, and was a Democrat and then a Republican starting in 1964.  Talk about a politician who knew how to play to his constituency.  Thurmond managed to stay in office until 2003 and was even accused by author Dave Barry in one of his columns of coloring his hair with Tang…you know the bright orange stuff.

All of us would say that Mark Sanford would fall into this group as well.  Sanford, a real estate developer and a fiscal conservative, was originally known as the Congressman who slept in his office while in Washington because he didn’t want to waste taxpayer money.  Sanford was elected to his first term as governor in 2003 and was on the fast track to becoming a possible Republican nominee for President in 2012 until he went “to hike the Appalachian Trail” which is code for going to Argentina to visit your mistress (Maria Chapur).  To the citizens of South Carolina, Sanford appeared to be a happily married man to his wife Jenny, and the father of 4 children, but apparently, he was not.

Sanford claimed to “follow his heart” in order to find his “soulmate.”  For all intents and purposes, his political career was over at that point.  He completed his second term as governor, got divorced, went into seclusion, and eventually got engaged to Chapur.  In late 2012, Senator Jim DeMint decided to hang it up and leave the dysfunctional world of the US Senate to run the Heritage Foundation, a highly conservative organization in its own right.  This left an open Senate seat that needed to be filled.  A couple of weeks later, Governor Haley selected Representative Tim Scott to fill the position.  Scott would become the first African American member of the US Senate from South Carolina, however he left vacant a seat in the House in a notorious Republican district in SC (I know they are all Republican).  Sanford, after talking with his ex-wife, decided to come out of hiding and throw his name in the mix.  At first I thought his was strange, but then I thought at least he had the common courtesy to check to see if she was running first.

Tim Scott, official 113th Congress photo portrait.jpg      Nikki Haley by Gage Skidmore.jpg

The Republican primary, which was held a month ago, was filled with a number of political novices who had very little name recognition and very little experience with the political machine.  After a runoff, Sanford won the Republican nomination and advanced to meet the infamous Stephen Colbert’s sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the election that will be held on May 7 for the seat in the First Congressional District.

South Carolinians are a forgiving lot.  We keep re-electing Lindsey Graham even though he continues to hangout with John McCain, and we will probably give Arthur Ravenel’s son, Thomas, another chance at political office at some point even though he was convicted of federal cocaine distribution .  Almost all of us believe that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame even though he was part of the infamous Black Sox scandal in the early 20th century.  We appreciate people with humility.  That is a key characteristic displayed by Sanford.  His ability to come across as just a normal guy who “followed his heart” resonates with the citizens of SC.  That was the case until Mark Sanford decided to be a Dad on Super Bowl Sunday.

Apparently spending quality time with his son on Super Bowl Sunday was not part of his divorce settlement – especially when it’s spent at his ex-wife’s home.  I guess the lawyers forgot to negotiate that clause.  Once the National Republican Congressional Committee caught wind of this indiscretion, they stopped backing poor Mark, but that hasn’t stopped him.  He continues to travel throughout the Lowcountry visiting restaurants, shaking hands, posing for pictures, and trying to connect with voters.  He even posted a campaign ad that contained his cell phone number.  I hope he has another phone for personal calls.

His personal life is a mess, but his political ideals still match-up with most South Carolinians.  He has received a number of endorsements from many of his friends and colleagues, including the aforementioned Lindsey Graham and most recently Larry Flynt…that should really help, right?

Sanford still believes he has a chance to win, and I think he does too.  Also, South Carolinians tend to pull for the underdog, and right now he is definitely a big underdog!

Would I vote for him?  Probably.

Personal life aside, I agree with many of his views, but I still can’t discount the past even though he has always been one to take responsibility for his actions.  He is a fiscal conservative, who has shown a willingness at times to work across party lines on more moderate social issues.  That is typically where I fall in the grand scheme of things.

Tomorrow is a big day for my friends that reside in the Lowcountry.  Do they vote for the lady whose brother appears nightly on Comedy Central and is a relative political novice, or do you vote for the underdog, the guy who many people have said deserves a second chance?

It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

I’ll be watching.  Will you?