Monday, March 25, 2013

It's not Starbucks coffee, but the feeling is the same

We have all heard about or experienced that great feeling that people get when they go into their favorite starbucks and the barista already knows their order, has it ready and calls them by name.  The coffee is pretty good, but there has to be more.  I have no idea what it is or if my daily stop for my "feel good" moment of recognition even qualifies but either way, I'm loving the way I feel when I drive through my favorite McDonald's every morning for my Diet Dr. Pepper.   My husband continues to ask me why I feel compelled to stop at McDonald's every morning to pay a dollar for a drink when we can purchase a 2 liter that would last for several days.  I don't have an answer except that it makes me a teeny bit happy.  The nice lady at the drive thru doesn't know my name, and I don't know hers, but we meet daily and she knows that I'm the diet Dr. Pepper lady who always confirms that the drink is in fact a diet Dr. Pepper.  That's another issue altogether.  They accidentally gave me a regular Dr. Pepper once about 8 months ago and well let's say that the drink confirmation has become a part of the ritual (totally my issue).  I really need to find out the names of the two ladies who are always working at the drive thru, because they are always courteous and friendly.  I should also mention that they don't give me dirty looks when I'm wearing my huge pink robe, my creepy man pajamas, or whatever other crazy yet very modest sleep apparel that I am wearing when I make my daily stop.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Humberto Leal Garcia, denied justice? Not so fast!

Humberto Leal Garcia was executed in Huntsville Texas on Thursday, July 7, 2011.  He was pronounced dead via lethal injection at approximately 6:21pm.  The Supreme court denied a stay of execution based on the objection that law enforcement officers failed to offer Humbert his right to speak with the Mexican Consulate/Embassy as stated in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.  Humberto was 21 at the time of his arrest and had been living as an American citizen since entering the United States with his parents illegally at the age of 18 months.  How were law enforcement officials to determine that Mr. Leal was entitled to rights under Article 36?  Surely those who objected to his execution did not want police to check his residency or citizenship status?  If Humberto had been forth coming with his immigration status, I am certain that officers would have afforded him every right entitled to him.  It is curious that after all of this time falsely living as a legal US citizen, that Humberto would have wanted to take advantage of such rights.  The Leal Family has a website where they do everything from question the competency of Humberto's court appointed attorneys, to question DNA/Bite mark analysis which has been an accepted form of forensic science for some time.  The family spends a lot of time via their website discussing mitigating circumstances that had they been admitted into evidence, would have produced a different outcome of Humberto's trial and/or punishment.  You can read those if you like, they are available on the family's website, but I will highlight a few things.  Humberto's mother lost her father at the age of 7.  He was killed in prison and her mother started to beat her and her 6 siblings with a belt when she was angry.  Humberto's mother was very poor growing up, she lived in a one room house and was sustained on soup and beans.  At the age of 14 she met Humberto Leal Senior (Humberto's father) and ran away with him to be married at the the age of 16 to escape beatings from her mother.  Soon after marrying Mr. Leal Senior, he began to violently beat her and drink excessively.  Now I know what you're thinking, how does Humberto's mother's upbringing qualify as mitigating circumstances for his later behavior?  I'm getting to that. Um no, I'm not!!  The Leal family left Mexico when Humberto was almost 2 years of age so that they could have a better life.  Per their website, they lived in extreme poverty, Mr. Leal Senior drank too much and Mrs. Leal began to beat the children (including Humberto Junior).  Apparently Humberto suffers from brain damage, and they fail to state how this happened, but the effects were exacerbated by his being sexually assaulted by his Parish Priest, and the violence that he witnessed at home.   Those are a lot of mitigating circumstances to consider for someone who is innocent.  Per Dr. Ricardo Weinstein, a Clinical Psychologist hired by the Mexican Government,  Humberto suffers from frontal lobe dysfunction, which had pronounced effects on his behavior.  Per Dr. Weinstein, frontal lobe dysfunction inhibited Humberto's ability to make decisions, foresee consequences of his actions, assess risks, and adjust to different social environments.  I failed to mention that the family had several teachers from Humberto's high school who spoke favorably about his behavior and his interaction with fellow students.  Also it should be mentioned that per the family's website, Humberto was gainfully employed and had no previous convictions prior to his arrest for rape and murder.  So, this frontal lobe dysfunction, is it intermittent?  Dr. Weinstein also felt that since Humberto was only 21 at the time of his arrest, his frontal lobes were not fully matured, because they are the last part of the brain to develop.  He believes that the lobes are not fully mature until early 20's and prior to that, young adults may have serious implications when it comes to decision making abilities.  First question, 21 is considered early 20's right?  Secondly, do we need to start tucking our kids away in our homes until their frontal lobes fully develop and they can fully understand that you can't rape and kill a 16 year old girl, and if you do, you will be punished.  That 16 year old girl's name was Adria Sauceda and her manner of death was horrific.  Mr. Leal got to die in his sleep.  His last words before he died were: "I have hurt a lot of people....I take full blame for everything.  I am sorry for what I did".  Hey wait a minute, what did he do?  I thought he was innocent?  He also said Viva Mexico twice before taking his last breath and then members of his family later got together and burned T shirts that depicted the American Flag.    

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why Don't You? Great beat, awesome lyrics and look ma, no curse words!

"For God loved the world in this way, He gave His one and only Son so that anyone who believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  Why don't you? A - Admit to God that you're a sinner, repent and turn from your sin.  B - Believe that Jesus is God's Son and that He came into the world to save everyone.
C - Confess your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and choose to put your trust in Him forever more".   Although simply stated, the message is powerful.  We just completed VBS and it was amazing to see so many children, young and older get excited about the prospect of salvation in God.  Do they really get it?  I think so.  Each year, Lifeway helps to plant and water the seeds of the A-B-C's in the hearts of so many children by using a medium near and dear to the hearts of the young and the old alike.  Through music of course.  For those of you who have children, you may have had the experience of having your child come home and begin to sing a song that you have never heard before.  If you are like me, then you may have to race to the internet to find out what the song is and who sings it.   Ahh imagine my surprise when my 8 year old came home one day singing something by Katy Perry(I think), with words to the effect of "wake up drinking Jack (Jack Daniels Whiskey)".  After I heard what he was singing, of course I asked where he had heard it and he proudly stated that some kids at school were singing it.  Well the next question from his mouth (before I could explain why this was an inappropriate song for him to sing) was, what is Jack?  I begrudgingly explained.  I've never heard the song, but I am fairly certain that it has a good beat.   So many songs today are made to appeal to our children with catchy beats, but the lyrics are sometimes vulgar, blasphemous, and profane.  I have tried to shield my children from inappropriate music, but you are subjected to it everywhere.  It is used in "children's programming" on commercials, and in stores.  So, I say thanks to Lifeway and all Christian artists who produce appropriate music for our children.  Music with lyrics that we want our children to remember and to proudly sing.  And of course music with an awesome beat!!  I'm going to seek out more songs like these.  Why don't you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

James Tate is going to the Prom - Bad Idea?

If you have watched local or national news in the last week then I am sure you are familiar with the story of James Tate and Sonali Rodrigues.  James Tate is a senior at Shelton High school in Connecticut who decided to ask a fellow classmate to the prom by taping 4-6 inch cardboard letters to the side of the school building.   James was subsequently suspended for one day for trespassing because of course this was done at night after the school campus was closed.  Well that's when things started to get interesting.  Per Shelton's school policy, any senior who is suspended after April 1st, is banned from all senior activities including the senior prom.  For weeks prior to and following April 1st, notices regarding this policy have been posted around the campus to serve as a reminder for every student.  So with James' suspension, he obviously was banned from the prom per school policy.  James' exclusion from the prom for what some call a harmless and romantic gesture created a media firestorm that sparked its way through facebook, twitter, the Today show, and Jimmy Kimmel live just to name a few.  After suspension was handed down and said firestorm was just a mere blaze, School Head Master Beth Smith held a press conference to say that she would enforce the policy regarding suspension because students were aware of consequences for suspensions after April  1st.  I just paraphrased that by the way.  Since then, Head Master Smith has returned to the press to basically eat those words.  How very sad.  Due to pressure from several hundred thousand facebook fans, media scrutiny and oh yeah feedback from Government officials, she has had to make the first of many many exceptions to the schools rules regarding suspension for seniors after April 1st.   What's the harm you wonder?  The fact that so many adults have rallied the call for this young man to attend prom is part of the harm.  It is a huge deal that he would have been unable to attend his prom, but he was well aware of the stated consequences for any actions that would result in suspension.   So we are once again sending the message to our children that rules don't really matter.  Apply enough pressure from facebook, throw in a few late night show appearances and don't forget to have the Mayor and School Superintendent of whatever school you are trying to overthrow weigh in,  and poof all is forgiven, rules are null and void!!!!    For his disregard of school policy James has been offered everything from a free limo, to an entire venue to hold an alternate prom if he wants.  Lucky for Shelton High, he's going to stay put and party with them for prom.  A couple of my favorite comments from James Tate were (paraphrased okay) " I thought the school would appreciate my creativity and sincerity"  maybe he should have written a nice note or even taped his creativity and sincerity to her house or maybe her car.  Next comment " I was willing to clean it up".  Well I hope so James, I hope so.  From what I can tell, most of James' classmates have supported him, but lets see if that continues since there is now a push to crown him prom king and Sonali prom queen.  The students who actually campaign for those coveted titles better hurry and maybe spray paint the school building with something clever like "vote for me".  They would then be a shoe in for the crown, but, they better be willing to clean it up. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Watch my garden grow (hopefully)

Well here I go again.  For the past 2 years, I have attempted with little and pretty much no success to produce a garden.  The first year I wasn't sure whether or not I had it in me to grow anything, and well.... I was right.  I limited my small garden (size 2.5ft x 4ft) to zucchini, cucumbers, rosemary, basil, tomatoes, and strawberries.  Now you gardeners may see what I failed to see when I started my ill fated garden.  Too small huh?  Yep it was.  Who knew?  Well I'm sure many people knew but oh well.  The cucumbers spread absolutely everywhere, but didn't produce any fruit and the zucchini plant was huge, but produced no fruit due to a nasty fungus and even nastier bugs.  I really don't like bugs.  The only successful yield from that garden was a huge basil bush which later died because I failed to cover it during a minor frost.  Year 2, I was a bit more ambitious and did a bit more research.  My wonderful husband built me an awesome raised garden bed.  It was  a bit bigger coming in at 4ft x 8ft.  So I planted, you guessed it, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, basil, rosemary, cilantro, and cucumbers.  I was ready or so I thought.  The only survivors that year were a gigantic basil bush, that I later lost to cold weather, and cilantro that died and miraculously came back and is still with us today.  Cilantro anyone?  Well here I am, year 3 and guess what I've got going?  I'll list the obvious first, cucumbers, basil, cilantro (it was resurrected remember?), tomatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe, but in addition to those things, I also planted a few other things.  By a few, I mean, green beans, asparagus, salad lettuce mix, garlic, banana peppers, and corn.  I know it sounds like a lot, but I am equipped with an additional 4ft x 8ft garden box, determination, and a few good friends with proven green thumbs to help me out.  Best case scenario, I will have an abundance of fresh vegetables and can under take my next big challenge.  Canning!!!  Who knows, I may qualify for some type of government subsidy or tax write off for my huge agricultural contributions.  Just kidding of course.  Worse case scenario, basil or cilantro anyone?