Sunday, July 31, 2011

That's Why They Call It The Blues

When you grow up in the Deep South, as I did, you become accustomed to a few things, such as great Jazz and Blues music, smiling politely and saying yes ma'am, and this little bug called the craw fish. Being away from the South, for nearly two decades, leaves this Southern girl feeling a bit discontented at times. This discontentment brews and manifests itself into a longing to get a taste of my childhood on occasion. The perfect opportunity for satisfying this yearning came in the form of the Tall City Blues Festival of Midland.

Jesse, Annie and myself arrived at the festival gates around noon on Saturday and were greeted to a beautiful cloudy cover, with the sound of a soulful crooner and a cooling breeze. Within the breeze, music swayed like effervescent bubbles, infused with the smell of spicy craw fish. I knew at this point in time, I was exactly where I needed to be.

The three of us, with our four pounds of craw fish and iced tea, meandered to a spot on the cement under the trees. While sucking the heads and chomping the tails, we listened to a peppy little tune called Slow Down Sugar by John Lisi and The Delta Funk. I noticed a man, dancing away, and well, I wasn't the only one, because John Lisi called out to him, "This music makes you want to jump right out of your flip flops!"

For some of us, The Blues remind us of home, for others, it can bring on a certain melancholy, while for a few it may elicit feelings of love and passion. Whatever it brings forth in you, that's what the Tall City Blues Festival was all about, bringing people together to appreciate The Blues.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fly Away LIttle Birdie

Do you ever take inventory of your life and look back a year, two years and wonder have you actually moved forward? I suppose if you did not plan to move forward, but only to maintain, then that question would not apply to you.

Let me take a walk down memory lane for a minute or two, please indulge me. Two years ago, 2009, I was working for TYC in Pyote, was twenty pounds heavier, in much more debt, finally coming to the realization that my marriage of eight years disintegrated; depressed, floundering, just maintaining.

2010, I found more pleasurable employment within a school district that is closer to home. I resolved to lose those unwanted twenty pounds and did. I cut up my credit cards and started paying off debt, over fifteen thousand to date. Made peace with my failed marriage and filed for divorce; hopeful, determined, gaining ground.

Here I am though, halfway through 2011 and I find myself floundering once again. No, I'm okay with debt, still gaining ground. And no, I'm not gaining weight again, still exercising and eating healthy. Not even giving the failed marriage a second thought, I survived and have put it behind me. So, why am I feeling...a bit discontent?

I think it's the ideology and dogma of others that has infiltrated my otherwise peaceful forward moving life. I can not for the life of me, convince my son to finish his entire senior year here in Wink. He's discontent. I understand discontent and finally, today, I decided that I am no longer going to fight it. I gave him my blessings and wished him well. So, I am preparing for having my son, after his 18th birthday, move to Midland to live with his new friends. Good luck my dear one, I love you and wish only the best for you.

Raise Your Hand For 5% No Exemptions Necessary

It's really simple, we can begin to lower the debt by getting rid of a bloated and overindulgent tax system. Why is it that we have all these rules? Why can we not have a simple flat tax rate for everyone, regardless of how many dependents they have; how much they donate to charity, or how much interest they pay on certain loans?

If you made $100,000 annually, would it not be extremely simple to know, that no matter what happened that year, you would pay a flat tax? The amount of the rate is still debatable. See, Congress would still have something to argue and complain about.

Don't corporations hire lawyers and accountants to figure out which loop holes benefit them the most? Does not the government have well over 115,000 employees on the full time payroll to process and collect taxes? Tons of people E-file, which I think is fantastic, that's not the problem. The problem is enforcing all the rules. Spending countless hours to ensure you got all your tax breaks. Please, give me a break...pass a flat tax and get rid of the loop holes and deductions!

Back to the rate, let's say that it's 5% across the board. So, if you make $120,000 (like a friend of mine does in Lewisville) then your tax payment would be $6,000. I bet he'd like that, because now his tax payment is $40,000. He's single, no children and owns his own breaks.

I have another friend that makes $1,200,000...which is a considerable sum. He's a small business owner. Under my plan, he would pay $60,000, which is a fantastic break for him since he now pays well over $250,000 in taxes under our inflated ridiculous tax code.

The way I see it, middle America and small business owners finally get a break, big corporations have to pay their fair share, government spending is cut and millions of trees would be spared. I figure it's a win-win for everyone!

Oh, I know what you're thinking...Corporate America would pack up and leave. Let them. I would love to see a come back of the mom and pop businesses. Customer service would increase exponentially, automated systems would go bye-bye (and good riddance!), and people would act more like...well, people. Let's take our humanity back!

Am I being unreasonable? Is there something I'm missing? If I am...I'd like to know. Educate me on this matter, because I can't figure out why it would not work.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Escape From Houston

It's been quite the summer, and it's not entirely over yet. I made some small trips around Texas and New Mexico, remodeled the kids' rooms and started the Insanity workout. Both my children took solo trips, Princess Annie to Denver for a couple of weeks and Justin to New Orleans for a few weeks.

Justin's return trip from New Orleans was muddled at best. Somehow he managed to procure a ticket to the Warped Tour in Houston, which meant that his flight home would be from Houston, not Dallas.

Jesse booked Justin a trip to Houston from New Orleans via Grey Hound. It was Justin's first bus ride, seven hours of pure bliss. I think everyone should experience bus travel at least once in their life time.

After arriving in Houston, the experience becomes convoluted. Any and all plans to meet up with his "friend" and her mom were nixed. In my personal opinion, I'm thinking that there never was a "friend" and mom, but that's a different story altogether.

So, let me bring you in where I was brought in. A call comes in from Justin at about one AM, telling me that the worst has happened and then...I lost his call. For a mother, the "worst" entails a ton of horrible things that I'll not hash up at this particular point in time.

All I could gather from the call was that he was stranded in Houston, after spending his last fifty dollars on a taxi to the wrong airport and now he was trying to use the Metro Bus to get across town to Intercontinental.

Since I don't know your name, and my only way of getting this to you is via the internet...thank you, big nice man, that stayed with Justin and guided him through the streets of downtown Houston.

ustin did find his way to the correct airport and to an outlet in the terminal in which he could plug in his phone and call. As he related the story, fatigued, weary, relieved, stressed...I realized that we were fortunate.

Justin experienced the worst and best in people that night. He also found a sense of composure that enabled him to use resources he had never tapped before. He may have lost his luggage that night and all his earthly possessions, but he found so much more.