Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
"I really don't want to offend you here, but do you realize that it is American corporations that are sending those items to China to have them manufactured? The Chinese aren't dreaming this stuff up on their own! American Corporations can no longer afford to manufacture here because the labor and benefits cost do not make it cost effective for them to make any money...and that's all they care about. Money. It all comes down to money, money, money.
China gets a bad rap. Yes, there are sweat shops, child laborers, long hours and poor wages. If we want to protest that? I'm right there with you. I'm all for buying U.S. made. Just follow the chain on the products that come out of China and they will lead you right back to the good old US of A."
Thursday, January 19, 2012
"You've got a problem with your car there, don't you?," he accused, like an awkward rookie cop. I much prefer the older guys who don't look at you like you're the devil if you have an expired sticker or something. From the tone of his voice, i thought the trunk was on fire or something, but he was just pointing out that my driver's side head light had gone out.
"I thought it looked dim. I think it just went out. It hasn't been like that," i defended.
The deputy gave me a we'll see sort of look and left me alone while i pumped my gas.
Monday was going to be a long day. I already had plans to go to Wal-mart and the AT&T store after work, and now i needed to add replacing a headlamp.
I left out early Monday morning, and it was a good thing because, appropriate for a day when you're driving with inadequate lighting, it was pitch black and storming -- raining cats and dogs all the way. There's a long stretch of narrow shoulder-less, hilly, curvy country highway, followed by another stretch of more of the same but with shoulders, between my house and signs of civilization, and by the time my eyes sought out the lights indicating that first sign of civilization, they were watering from the strain of trying to see as far as the tail lights of the car in front of me, and i decided to stop for a break.
I got drenched in the 15 seconds it took me to get from my car to the store, where i bought a little snack and a drink. I went back to the car, looked up what time i should expect the sun to attempt to rise on this stormy morning, and checked on the status of the most recent tornado warning. After 20 minutes or so, the barely noticeable sun lit the sky enough to make traveling seem less dangerous, and i set out again.
This is the longest commute ever.
I made it to town in time to greet the opening manager at Auto Zone before he opened up a few minutes late, bought my light bulb and made it to work on time. Wet and tired, but on time.
At break, i checked out the owner's manual on my car and realized i didn't have the tools to change the bulb. I was hoping to get this done at lunch time, in light of my other errands. I immediately started asking around the very small male population in my office for a ratchet set and happily received the keys to a friend's car, with permission to raid his tool box for what i needed. Thank God.
Lunch time arrived, i got the tools, started to change the bulb, and found that the bulb i had didn't fit. ARgh! Back to Auto Zone. Trade it out. Change the bulb.
No light. Are you kidding?
This isn't what i was hoping for.
Must be the fuse, i think. After work, i buy fuses, change out fuses. Still nothing. My day is finally getting frustrating. O.k., i'm crying. I'm feeling helpless and irrationally stressed out . I'm praying. "Lord, please show me the answer."
Back to Auto Zone, i find a very helpful clerk who shows me, very kindly and without talking to me like i'm a stupid girl, that i changed the wrong bulb.
Silly, silly, silly, girl. I feel like an idiot. A very grateful idiot. I consider sending my kind Auto Zone friend flowers but think he might get the wrong impression. Cookies? No, still wrong impression. I guess my profuse thank-you's will have to do. Let God bless him.
My lights work, it's dark outside now; it's 6 o'clock, and all i have to do is go grocery shopping, pay the cell phone bill and drive home so that i can sleep and go back to work.
Back to Wal-mart. Cart full of food. Hurry up. AT&T closes at 8:00. I'm the last customer at AT&T. Because of my light bulb mix-up, i don't have as much money as i planned.
"O.k., put this much on this card. What's my balance now?"
Well, that's exactly how much cash i have. To the dollar. How convenient.
This is the longest day in memory. With a bonus.
For all the stress and worry and complication of this day, i finish it, feeling completely provided for. A full tank of gas, a back seat full of groceries, and not a dollar to my name. Completely taken care of.
If you were nearby my car on my way out of the shopping center, you heard a small war hoop escape through the open window.
I won. This day wanted to beat me, but i won. Not on my own. That's the best part. He won for me. And i won.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And i'm very thankful for Dr. King's contribution to our nation, but at this very moment, i am way more thankful to have had the day off. No offense to Dr. King, of course.
Even though the holiday season is riddled with days off from work, all of those days are usually filled with festive activity, and so today, my being home while my super hero was working, is the first real day off i've had in quite a long time.
So i pretended it was the old days. I swept the floor, and i cleaned the house, and washed dishes and made tea, and i made lunch for my darling, and i fixed dinner and baked a cake. And i truly enjoyed myself.
Sometimes i feel very angry toward the women who started the "women's lib" movement back in the day. I blame them for turning the social tide from the days when it was normal to be domestic, toward the present days when it's abnormal to not have a "paying job" or a career. This movement actually changed the economic norm of Americans to a time when most "normal" households actually require two incomes to continue in their normalcy.
I'm not really angry at those women who thought they were doing all the good, but i am a rebel to their cause. I feel the most valuable and the most meaningful and the most successful when i'm home. My dream career is domestic. I don't want a career. I want to raise chickens.
And today was a wonderful day of being domestic and raising chickens. And one day not too too too far away, it will come back. I'm sure of it.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
A few weeks before Christmas, i had a few minutes to wander through one of my very favorite stores in the world, Hobby Lobby. I love Hobby Lobby because it is kind of a fantasy wonderland of craft supplies and craft ideas, and if you're not feeling all that industrious, you can buy all sorts of crafty looking items that someone else made.
And something in Hobby Lobby is ALWAYS on sale. Always.
On top of all that, the music playing in the store is instrumentals of Christian worship songs, and the store is closed on Sundays, allowing all of their employees the opportunity to go to a traditional Sunday worship service of their choosing.
These are all reasons that i have always loved Hobby Lobby.
Now, in recent months, i have been paying more attention, partially due to our present national economic condition, to where the items i buy have been made...hoping to find items that were made in the U.S.A., by my fellow-Americans.
So, while i was in Hobby Lobby on this particular evening, i was automatically flipping over every item to see where it was made. And every single item (i was in the expansive somebody-else-made-this section of the store, which was, of course, on sale) i picked up was made in China. Every. Single. Item.
I became a little frantic, walking around, flipping over items, hoping to find something from this Oklahoma-based company, that was at least made in India or Mexico. Something.
No. Nothing. Not one item.
Now i didn't search the whole store or anything, but...you get my point.
And soon, i was just about nauseous. I had visions in my heads of fleets of ships carrying adorable decorative items, all coming from china, racing to America, while trillions of American dollars traveled through the sky ( yes i need a good cartoonist on staff here at humble ambitions, inc. ) to China. And it suddenly became annoyingly clear that if we keep sending all our money to China, in exchange for all these questionnably-made products, eventually, China will have all our money, and all we'll have is all this pretty junk in our houses. The result of an appearances-based society. Thinking about it makes me a little ill, even now.
Almost the same thing goes for the great Wal-mart, which is truly funnelling an awfully large percentage of the funds of middle-America straight to the big C in Asia.
And after all these sickening cartoons in my head, i had to do a heart check and decide to make some different choices. I'm a realistic person, and i'm not against foreign trade. And i do think that i would like my money to go to American made products as much as possible. But as a compromise maybe. Until we as Americans get our corporate head on a little straighter, couldn't we just try really hard to stop sending all of our cash straight to China? Couldn't we?
Which brings me, (i'm not exactly sure how, to be honest), to a request. O.k., a request with an explanation. When i mentioned buying items not made in China to some of my co-workers, i got the annoying repetitive response, "you can't get anything not made in China." or "Where can you buy things made in America?"
Now, i did some internet searches and found some great resources for items made in America. And i plan to make a section on this page that will showcase those.
But.....and now i'm finally getting to the request......if you know of someone or some company, making and selling great products here in the U.S.A., would you help me spread the word? I would like to promote, on my small level, any company or item made in America, and let people know what really is available.
Even companies that sell stuff not made in China.
There really are quality items, for sale here, in the U.S.A., that we can buy and not be supporting the largest communist force on our planet.
As you know, i guess, a few months ago, my husband and i decided to enter the expansive and mobile world of smart phones. Since both of us are away from home more than we are at home (these days), we decided to spend our budgeted internet money on internet accessibility in our pockets, which meant forfeiting internet accessibility from our massive and out-dated personal desktop computers.
It didn't take long before i figured out how to blog from my phone/tiny computer in my pocket (there's an app for that), but no matter how much i try, i just can't begin to get my thoughts down in blog format as easily by tapping it out on a touch phone keyboard, as i can on an old fashioned, tappity-tap-tap, full-sized, computer keyboard.
And thus, besides all the other reasons that i've been too busy to do some of the things i love the most, my smart phone was impeding my blogging.
So, this evening, i've gone truly old school. I mean way, way back. I've signed up for free dial-up from my equally old-school desk top computer.
It took me a few minutes to find the fully dusted over plug-in for the phone line on the back of my p.c., and even longer to connect and load this page, but i think this might work. We'll have to see how long it takes to actually upload this blog to the interwebs once i type it.
So there you go.
Here i am blogging.
Catch you on the flip side.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Are you sure?
Because i'm sure i haven't gotten to do everything i planned for the year yet. I mean. There has to be more. I have a TON of stuff to do!
But that's how i feel on many New Years Days. I think, "Where did the year go?" At the beginning of the year, when all things are new, and you've survived the Christmas season, and you're looking at the beginning of a brand new-born year, a year, kind of like a life, seems like a really. long. time.
I should be able to accomplish anything in a year. A year is forever!
But at the beginning of a new year, when i plan for all things new, i must also look back to the last year, and some years, such as this year, i don't want to review what i said i would do in this past year. I'm sure it didn't happen.
Now, i know i should cut myself a break on this. What i thought 2011 was going to look like when it was still January, took a very definite turn as early as February (when i started working away from home), and then jumped off an unknown cliff in July (when my cat set the bathroom on fire). So i guess i should cut myself some slack. But at the same time, i need to take a hint.
Here's the hint:
Get ready now, 'cause this is profound and life changing.
And pretty elementary.
If you don't do the things you want to do, then you won't ever do them, and then they won't get done, and they'll still be on your list next year, and the next year, and so forth.
So if you want to do it. You have to do it.
Everyone feel wiser now?
I know i do.
Just for having thought it.
Let me get a little bit more to the heart of the issue.
There are only 365 days in a year. And as it turns out, 365 days is actually not equal to forever. It's equal to one single solitary rotation around the sun, and it will come to an all too abrupt end, shortly after Christmas, no matter how ready i am for it, should the Lord tarry. And all that i will have gotten done in those 365 days, are the things that i have actually done. Acted on. Pursued. Worked for. Prayed for. Waited for.
I cannot sit and wait on my couch, doing nothing. I have to do things as though i expect to accomplish whatever end result i'm looking for.