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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Yea! Second place!

This week I participated in my Toastmaster International's club speech competition and I came in second place.  I was surprised that I wasn't extremely disappointed. As one of my favorite quotes from an episode of The Golden Girls goes, “You know, that would have devastated the old me, but the new me? Just an emotional owie!” 
I tell my son everyone wants to win, but since we all can't,  it's how you handle losing that makes all of the difference.Sure, I would have liked to have won and gone onto the next level of competition. Did my losing sour my resolve to try again? Absolutely not! I identified the areas I need to improve and will compete in the next competition in the fall.  I also found myself  focusing what I had accomplished.

The person I competed against is a professional speaker, so I’m getting out of my comfort zone and strengthening my speech-delivery muscles. After the competition, a few people told me they really enjoyed my speech, so hopefully my speech’s content touched their hearts.  Also, someone told me, in true Olympic fashion, that I was bringing home the silver--that’s nothing to be sneezed at!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A page from King of the Hill

With Valentine’s Day gone by, it reminded me how different boys and girls are raised when it comes to the love department.  For instance, I remember a woman at my work a few years ago stating that she told her daughter to leave boys alone because they are yucky! Now, since all of my children (biological and bonus) are boys, I was offended by this at first--my boys are the exact opposite of yucky! Then I realized she was trying to protect her daughter. Then again, here is a prime example of how we perpetrate the double standard. If the girls’ parents are telling her boys are yucky and boys’ parents are encouraging them to be polite and talk with girls, how are they ever going to communicate?! How is this ever going to work?

I thought of an answer to her (years later, my timing is spot on!!) using the characters of King of the Hill (no wonder it was on for years!):


“You know, not all boys are like Boomhauer, only looking to date as many women as possible. And not all are like Bill, clinging desperately to the memory of his only love who ditched him. We parents of boys are trying to raise our sons to be like Hank, faithful to his wife and be respectful to other women.  I can’t help it if your daughter has only met boys like Dale!”

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What was that lyric!

A couple of weeks ago, I was working on an article for examiner.com about the Grammys 2014.  I wanted to mention Bruno Mars’ song “Treasure” as an example of a modern song with an older flavor.  I liked the 70’s feel to it.  The video was like it was filmed during the heyday of Earth, Wind and Fire, right down to the camera angles shooting into the dazzling lights on stage. Also, in my opinion, the lyrics were sweet,  as he crooned to his lady how she should realize what a “treasure” she was, not just to him but to the world.
 However, when I looked up the lyrics on line, I jolted; I felt like someone had thrown cold water on me. The first line of the song had a curse word with the initials MF in it. I thought this website must have it wrong, but the more I searched, it became evident that this was indeed the true lyrics.
I decided not to use this song in the article and cited other songs instead.
 It’s not the first time I've heard a curse word as part of lyrics. I remember in school when a classmate brought in The Who’s album for a project, he couldn't play the song “Who are You?”   for this very reason. My shock wasn't that there was a swear word in this song "Treasure". Rather, my puzzlement was why this particular curse word was used in this love song. It didn't seem to fit—like ordering a piece of chocolate cake and being presented with the dessert with a buttery lobster tail on it.   
I decided to research and see if this word has morphed into something else. Back in my day, this word was a true insult and would make the recipient’s blood boil. Maybe, something’s changed; I believe language is a living thing. As Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” 
When I typed in the search engine “Bruno Mars Treasure lyrics”, now the information that dropped down was clean version. Aha, so there is another version of the song! That’s the one I heard on the radio and video. Dang, if I had known, I would have used that link in my article! 
These first words “Give me all, give me all, give me all, your attention baby” in my opinion fit much better with the feel of the song rather than “Baby squirrel,you’s a sexy MF” --though “baby squirrel” is sort of endearing.
In the end, I didn't find anything noting what was behind the explicit lyrics. Also, I did confirm that this curse word hasn't changed in its meaning. I’m not as out of touch as I once thought!

My opinion of Bruno Mars remains unchanged: I still enjoy his work and think he’s very talented. What he decides to put in his songs is his prerogative.  I did notice that in his terrific and energetic Super Bowl’s performance that he sang only the second stanza of “Treasure.” Good call! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mark of Mimosa

Mimosa the cat scanned the living room with his chartreuse eyes. With a contented yawn, he stretched, arching his back and spreading out his white furred front paws. His gaze settled on the Lady sitting on the couch reading a library book.
                “It’s time,” he mumbled, which sounded like a quiet meow to the Lady.
                Mimosa effortlessly hopped onto the couch next to the Lady. As soon has his paws hit the couch, he bumped his head gently against the side of the hard backed book that the Lady was holding.
                The Lady laughed as Mimosa continued to rub against the book cover. He was bumping with such force that it caused her to lose her place in the story.  “Mim, what are you doing?” she asked, not really expecting an answer. She scratched behind his ear and scooped him up, placing him gently on the floor.
                Undeterred, Mimosa hopped back onto the chocolate colored couch and resumed his ardent behavior. He even padded onto her lap and rubbed the side of his face against the corner of the book, causing the pages to fan out.  Again, the Lady set aside the book and picked up the orange and white cat. Slinging him on one arm, she placed him on the floor, gently patting his bottom. “Now scoot!” she coaxed with a smile.
                 Mimosa looked over his shoulder, squinting at the Lady, who had resumed reading the book.  Keeping his dignity, he turned around, swished his tail regally and slowly sauntered back into the bedroom. He padded past Pepper the black dog that was lying at the bedroom door. Mimosa gingerly hopped onto the bed where Stanley the grey cat was lounging.
                “Mimosa, why do you insist on rubbing your face all over that book?” Pepper asked, rising to her paws. In order to refresh herself, she shook her head vigorously, her floppy ears resembling bat wings.
                “It is in the house, so I had to mark it so it would smell right,” Mimosa answered simply.  “Just like I’m doing right now.” He proceeded to rub his side of his face on the quilt.
                “Well, leave my side of the bed alone, and we’ll get along just fine.” Stanley yawned, stretching his front legs and wiggling his paws.
                 “Oh, yeah?” Mimosa challenged, hopping onto Stanley’s side of the bed.  “You’re not the boss of me!”
“Get off!” Stanley yelled, arching his back as his grey fur began to prickle.
“Stop it, you two!” Pepper cried, as the two cats squared off, staring at each other with scowls. “Help, Lady, help!!” she screamed, rushing out the door to the living room.
What the Lady heard was two cats hissing and a dog barking a warning. She dropped the book on the couch and ran into the bedroom to break up the impending fight.
 Pepper, with her duty done, decided to see what Mimosa meant by the book smelling right. She trotted to the couch and took a whiff of the book lying innocently on the cushion.  Suddenly, her nostrils were visited by all of the previous readers of the book.  She detected rose petal perfume, ketchup, and oatmeal cookie.
“I don’t know why Mimosa insisted on covering up these scents, they are delicious!” Pepper thought, gently licking the pages.
The Lady walked out of the bedroom, Mimosa draped in her arms. Pepper galloped to the Lady’s side, giving Mimosa a scolding look for causing trouble with Stanley.
“Now I have to put you in time out!” she announced, as the cat poured out of her arms into the other bedroom in front of the house. She firmly closed the door behind her and walked back to the living room.
Pepper whined through the door, “Mimosa, you shouldn't have done that!”
“Not a problem,” Mimosa answered. “There is plenty in here for me to mark! Now go away!” he ordered, sticking his paw under the door.
Pepper shook her head and as she trotted back to the living room, she heard the Lady shout, “Stanley! Quit bumping your head on my book! I’ll lose my place!”