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ElectronicsPlaying a gameWhile I was at our family Christmas party Saturday night, I noticed all the people using electronic devices for entertainment. I know this is a subject that has been beaten to death by a lot of people, but I guess I have a little different view of it. I know that people may not socialize as much with those around them, and I suppose that is a problem, but it is the way things are these days…and in all reality, I am one of those people who gets on their phone a lot. I try not to get on it too much when I’m with my husband or kids, but the reality is that it’s hard not to. I have had to learn to be available…mostly for my kids and the family members that I am caregiver for. There are no other options. You are needed at all hours of the day and night, and so you keep your cell phone close.

With texting, you can send the message and then get back to your conversation, so it leaves you with less time that you are ignoring the person you are with, but not everything involves texting. I have moments when I get an idea for my writing…even in the middle of the night, and if I don’t put it down somewhere, I find myself thinking, “What was that idea again?” And believe me, that is frustrating. I have used my phone to Google something that those I’m with and I are talking about, such as parts some actor played in some show, or what day a battle took place in World War II, which usually is something I am quite interested in. A smart phone is truly an unlimited source of information, and I must say that I seem much smarter when I use it.

Yes, we live in a world of everything at our fingertips, and that is not always a bad thing. I have placed orders from my phone, transferred funds from my phone, emailed from my phone, and I can even get my proof of insurance for license plates from my phone now. The smart phone is simply a time and even sanity saver. How can it save your sanity you ask. Well, tell me, what three year old can’t play a game on a smart phone. When you child is crying, and you are in public, that can be a definite sanity saver. And when you older child is in a situation whereby they need to sit still, and they really don’t want to, a smart phone is a great form of entertainment that will keep them out of trouble and save you from embarrassment. And when you are in a public place and your kid is one of the ones who is sitting quietly and entertaining himself, that is a good thing. You get to look like the awesome mom or dad.

I can think of lots of reasons that we should try to be aware of those around us , and limit our time on the cell phone or other electronics, as a show of respect, and I can think of lots of reasons that the smart phone is not Texting ChrisYou caught mesuch a bad idea. I guess it is a matter of trying not to abuse it, and trying to be respectful and understanding of those who aren’t using it. Of course one other thing I have noticed, and that I have tried to do myself, is to include others in what you are doing with your smart phone. I usually try to show Bob some of the things I find of Facebook, because he loves a good bit of humor. And it lets him be a part of what I’m doing even if he doesn’t smart phone…because not everybody does, you know. And here I was just thinking, “Everybody does it!!” Ok, almost everybody does it. Admit it…you do it too.

John WayneWhen I think of movie icons, one name stands out above so many others…John Wayne. From the time I was a kid, we watched a lot of John Wayne movies in our house. It was a different time then. Westerns were on the television sets of most homes. And among Westerns, John Wayne was the King of the Cowboys. I have watched every one of his Westerns, and most of his other movies, because I just always liked John Wayne…all of our family did.

We were so excited when John Wayne came to Casper, Wyoming for the filming of “Hellfighters” in 1968. My parents were never star struck type of people, but when it came to John Wayne’s movie being filmed partly in Casper…well, that was something entirely different. They took the family…minus me unfortunately, because I was at a slumber party…to the airport to see him come in. It was a really big deal for our little town, but even more so for my sister, Cheryl. John Wayne has always been a big hero to Cheryl, and at fourteen years of age, she was so excited to finally have the opportunity to meet him. When her chance came, however, she couldn’t seem to speak loudly enough for him to hear her. Finally in a last ditch effort, she pulled on his jacket…because she couldn’t reach his shoulder to tap him on it. She said, “Mr Wayne…Mr Wayne.” When he felt that tug on his jacket, he turned around, and was a little bewildered for a moment, then he looked down at Cheryl and said, “Oh!! There you are!!” She was so short, that he had completely missed her. She got his autograph, and I found myself really wishing I had just skipped that slumber party…ever since that day. My parents also took us out to the highway where you could see the actual filming taking place across the river. It was amazing, but in my mind, nothing like the opportunity my sister got to actually meet this amazing actor.

John Wayne passed away on June 11, 1979, and I can still see that moment quite clearly. I Cheryl abt 9th gradewas at my in-laws house, and we were all watching television, when the bulletin flashed across the screen. It felt almost like being kicked in the stomach. I couldn’t believe it was real, because John Wayne had been so much a pert of my life, that he was almost like family, and now there would be no more new movies with John Wayne. A great actor was gone. I know that all of my family felt the same way, as well as a lot of other people. I felt like television had reached a turning point, and it wasn’t a good thing. I think I was right in that too, because most of the shows and movies of today don’t even come close to being the classy kinds of shows of the John Wayne Era. Those days are gone forever, like actors of the class and caliber of John Wayne.

MomI saw a post on Facebook the other day that got me thinking about my two moms. The saying went like this: “Always love your mother, because you’ll never get another.” I started thinking about how often we take our mothers for granted. As children, we depend on our mothers for everything.  No matter what the need is, we expect them to be able to meet that need. We think that there is no end to their capabilities.  While it’s great for us to think that our mom can do anything,  it is somewhat  unrealistic, and eventually we start to realize that she is just human, and maybe even annoying at times. Of course, it’s probably just that we have hit those annoying adolescent and teenage years…you know, that time in our lives when we are certain that our mother just doesn’t know anything…well, actually it’s our parents who don’t know anything, but in this case, we are discussing Mom, so she doesn’t know anything. We will feel that way for the next few years, and then suddenly, about the time we hit our twenties, she becomes so much smarter…especially when we become parents, and need her advise on how to treat a sick baby, or some such thing.

Being a mother really is a thankless job, and one that takes a very special person. A mother has to be selfless in so many ways, because it takes so much of her life to do the job she does. She might want to be at the spa, at home reading a good book, or out on the town with the love of her life, but instead, she is out there in the audience watching as your music recital, ball game, or class play are taking place. And who was it that got you to all the necessary practices…you got it, your mom. She set aside all the things she might have been doing, so you could achieve your dreams, or even just see if you really wanted to be a professional ball player, singer, or actor. And when you decided that you liked track, cheerleading, or the debate team, she switched gears, taking it all in stride, knowing that next year, this dream too would morph into something totally different, and she would be cheering you on in that new venture too. It’s a funny thing how your hopes and dreams changed so much through the years, but your mom’s devotion. loyalty, and interest stayed with you, no matter what. It was the one constant in your life.

As your mother gets older, her position in your life changes, as she steps back to let you soar, but you always know that she will be there to help you with anything you need her for. She becomes your go to person, when the kids need to be picked up and you are at work, or you want to go out for the evening with your husband, and need a babysitter. Who do you call? Well, we know, it’s not Ghostbusters, but it often is your mom. Without really meaning to, you tend to take for granted that she will always be there to help you when you need her, and yet, before you know it, you suddenly realize that she is getting older. You begin to see her as a little more fragile, less able to be that go to person, and suddenly it’s more like you are becoming the Bob's momnew go to person. It’s about this time that you begin to realize that while you have always appreciated all she has done for you over the years, you probably didn’t show her just how much you appreciated her often enough. You realize just how short life is, and it does make you want to let her know just how much you appreciate her, just how proud you are of her, and just how much you love her, before it is too late. To my mom and my mother-in-law, I want to say that you have been the two most important women in my life for so many years. I wouldn’t be where I am, were it not for you. You have and always will be the greatest mother and mother-in-law on earth, and I love you both very much. Happy Mother’s Day!!

Every year a new set of kids delights a new set of parents with the annual school play. Your child might become a mushroom or a spider, a tree or a duck, a sailor or a seal, or maybe the moon or a princess. It really doesn’t matter what they do, they are your child, and you are totally smitten with their ability to act.

Parents hurry into the gym, camera or camcorder in hand, ready to document their child’s big debut…the moment when everyone around them will be thrilled at how cute little ones can be. It doesn’t matter what part our child is playing, because every part is adorable, every child as cute as they can be…especially your child. All the children are adorable, but of course, no child is quite as cute as yours!

The kids are excited, and you can feel it in the air. Giggling from backstage, and shushing from teachers. The gym is quickly filling up, and those poor parents who didn’t arrive at least an hour early, are looking hopefully toward the front of the gym, hoping against hope for two empty seats that might have somehow gone unnoticed, but to no avail. So they move to the back of the gym knowing that if they want good pictures, they will have to get in everyone’s way later by walking up front to get that much coveted picture taking spot.

Finally, the moment arrives! The play begins. Of course, there are mistakes…forgotten lines…and the occasional bout of stage fright, but all in all the play goes off without a hitch, and the mistakes just seem to add to the total cuteness of the play and the audiences enjoyment of the evening. There is the occasional irritation, as some picture taker moves in front of you and blocks your view of the plays most important star…your child, but that is a short moment, but irritating nevertheless.

When the play is over, it is time to meet the stars. The children are gathered in groups on the stage for photo ops, and then they run to their parents to ask what they thought, and receive their much earned praise. And no matter what the other parents think…you know that your child stole the show!

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