An American Highlander

Travels Through My Mind

A whole new world December 31, 2012

Filed under: Getting to know me — charismaloy @ 7:45 am


I feel as though I have floundered in terms of writing, and certainly in terms of maintaining this blog over the past few months. Don’t worry, I swear that I have really good reasons. At the beginning of the last round of ROW80 I set goals that, quite honestly, had more to do with non-writing stuffs than writing stuffs. In reality, I should have abstained from joining that round, as I knew what was coming up during that time period.

There has been major upheaval in my life over the last year or so, to the point that I intimated in a previous post that I would be looking to remove myself entirely from the storm that was building around me. The storm continues to roil, but I have placed myself out of it’s reach. I am well ensconced in a warm and restful home, thoroughly surrounded by folks who love me. I can’t remember a time when I have been happier or felt better about myself.

I have many stories to tell, but I am still in the middle of adjusting myself. A new time zone, proper diet, somewhat normalized sleep schedule, and a serious drop in my stress levels all combine to create a very drowsy Charis. I do intend to jump in on the next round of ROW80, but I am thinking that I may end up jumping in late.  In the meantime, I will enjoy myself as I recover from severe burnout. Right now my only writing goals are to get some editing done and try and get back into the blogging rhythm.


Beautiful day! October 2, 2012

Filed under: Getting to know me — charismaloy @ 11:06 pm

I really think I could do this day again and again. I started out with coffee and a visit with my sister. Okay, so I was out of creamer and the coffee was only mediocre, but visiting with my sister puts a smile on my face in nearly any mood. I got some work done on the Alter Ego’s job and for once it did not leave me pulling my hair out.

I got to work to find that the energy drainers weren’t scheduled to work and that the manager was. This was way cool. I love my manager to death, she directs the team without showing frustration and she really does show her appreciation. I swear the only reason I put up with the energy drainers is because working with the boss is so fun.

I was just getting ready for the dinner rush when one of my favorite huggers came in with her husband and parents. Already my good day was getting better. She and her family sat down and I looked out the door to see my sister and her husband heading in with my niece.



Really now, how can that little face NOT make you grin?

I barely got their order taken when we got slammed with a busload of teens. This is not usually a good thing. I have worked in food service for years and learned long ago that busloads of teens mean big messes, rude kids and lots of shouting. I was stunned. The kids were all respectful, spoke quietly to each other and didn’t leave so much as a mark from their cup to clean up. As the last one headed out the door, I asked their chaperone to convey my gratitude for their excellent manners.

I walked through to check on my customers and my niece grinned and tried to share her lettuce with me. I think she was somewhat offended that I didn’t take it…. I do love that little smile… Then I stole a quick hug from my friend as I cleared up my dining room.  I got more happy grins from my niece as they were leaving and another big hug from my friend as she was leaving.

To top it all off, my favorite eye candy walked in the door a little while later!!! Oh, happy day!!

It really is the small things in life that make it worth the living. Warm hugs and happy smiles on a face that is excited to see you, and all you have to do for either one is exist. That made my day perfect.

I hope that your day was exceptional as well.



Remember September 12, 2012

Filed under: Getting to know me — charismaloy @ 12:57 am

I heard the buzzing of the alarm clock and reached for the snooze button. Always did hate those things. The snooze idea was lost on me though. The high window that we had never curtained poured bright, hot sunlight down onto me. It was hot that summer, and we didn’t have A/C. Not that it really mattered, as the only south facing window was the one over my bed. The rest of the house stayed cool enough. I turned the alarm off and left the overheated room.

Grabbing a cold soda from the fridge, I curled up on the couch, still not awake. Any other day and I would have dozed for a while on the couch before starting my day. It was only on Tuesdays that I made myself get up. It was book study day, and Teri would be there shortly to pick me up. I had just enough time to let the mid-morning newscaster’s antics wake me up. I only had a portable 5-inch television, and it only got one channel, but it did the trick. I switched it on sat back to listen, my eyes still sleep glazed.

“A plane has hit the World Trade Center”

Well, that was odd. It sounded like even the newscaster was confused. It got my attention and I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, leaning forward to see on the small screen. The footage that reached across the country first was a long distance shot, and details were slower coming. As the news team tried to process information, we watched the second plane hit. It appeared as though a small, private plane was aiming to thread the needle between the towers. Until it hit.

Even then there was no indication as to what had truly happened. As news teams on site tried to gather and disperse information, my hometown news team simply tried to decipher the video. By the end of the scheduled newscast, the video had been slowed down enough that the newscaster’s were “fairly certain” that it was no accident. We still didn’t know that it was a commercial aircraft. At best guess, it was believed that some person of wealth had chosen to commit suicide and simultaneously target the tower. We didn’t know that the two planes were connected, although some guesses were made that perhaps the pilots were playing a bad game of chicken.

The Pentagon getting hit by an airplane made no sense. I realize that I was half asleep at the time, but I remember thinking that something must have been in the water on the East Coast, because folks had lost their minds while in the cockpit.  First, two rich folks play chicken and crash into the World Trade Center, their little planes wouldn’t do too much damage to the steel building but still, folks would lose time at work while the building was repaired. Then the navigation system on a commercial jet goes wonky and the whole plane crashes into the Pentagon. Okay, Pentagon is crashed into and we must protect the President, so himself is now aboard Air Force One. Somehow, my not quite coherent mind came up with, “all the crazies are flying planes, and we just put the President of the United States into the air.”

The hijacked plane that went down in Pennsylvania was an entirely different news story. By that time, the “we interrupt this program to bring you breaking news” was running on  a ticker tape at the bottom of the screen. Somebody had put together the incident at the Pentagon and the fact of the fourth plane still being in the air.  The cell phone calls from Flight 93 had made news. We knew that it had been hijacked and speculated that they might try to intercept Air Force One. Then reports started to flow that citizen heroes had chosen to go out fighting. They knew that they wouldn’t survive and chose to stand up for those who didn’t know that death was coming on silver wings. Those heroes stood to say, “you may hasten my death, but I will stand between you and the innocent. You’re going down with me.” We heard recordings of the goodbyes as the camera panned the wreckage of Flight 93.  Can those heroes claim this honor?

It was later that it was all connected. That we got video that was close enough to see the size of the planes as the hit the towers. That we knew that the towers would fall. That we watched them fall. That we wept as people chose a swift death at the end of a long fall, to the slow painful death of asphyxiation or burning.

At some point it clicked with me that this would mean war. That there was no way that we could not strike back.  I thought of my brother, who was still available to be recalled into the Air Force. Of my friends, Boats and Teri, both still active reservists. Of their son-in-law James, recently discharged. Of my cousins, Andrew and Shelli, both recently discharged. How many would I say goodbye to? It hit me then, that Teri was an hour and a half late to pick me up. I wondered, was she already called to report? I had no phone, so calling and making sure folks were okay was not an option.

I had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon to see about a sprained ankle,  so I grabbed my cane and headed for the bus stop. Along the way, I stopped at some random store and bought a small American flag. I stuck it through my ponytail and with swollen, red eyes nodded my respect to the burly guy with matching eyes put two huge flags into the slots on the back of his pickup. I remember that it seemed like a hush had fallen over the world. There was little traffic. The kids weren’t blaring their stereos as they drove past. The only revved engines were the ones that had flags attached to their vehicles. With no wind to speak of, they had to get moving to get those flags flapping in the wind. Every car I looked into seemed to have a teary-eyed driver.

It would be a peaceful time for a few days while we processed. There was an increase in courtesy, in respect. People were more patient for a few days.

I know that this is a little cliche, doing a 9/11 piece on 9/11, but I have never taken the time to write my memories of that day. I did not write this to be political, but I will say one thing in terms of politics. My dad taught me never to throw the first punch, but if somebody ever hit me, I was to hit back and finish it. He did not teach me to hold a grudge. He did not teach me to continually beat the pulp out of whoever hit me. He taught me to finish the fight and walk away. Be aware of the enemy and on guard, but walk away, perhaps the enemy will have learned not to punch.


Think before you act. July 20, 2012

Filed under: Getting to know me — charismaloy @ 2:00 am

There are times in our lives that we make promises to people.

If you choose a friend, in that word itself is the promise to support each other. Even if you don’t agree with the decision, you don’t call your friend out in front of people, you don’t run them down all over town and you NEVER hurt them intentionally.  This is how real friends stay that way, how old friends can get together once every couple of years and feel like they were never apart. This is the friendship that still feels like quality time when all you did was stand quietly together for eight hours of fishing on the shore and spoke no more than a half a dozen words all day. When the inspirational poster say that if you want a friend you must be a friend, THIS is what it means.

When you choose a partner in this life, you are essentially choosing the other half of you. You are a pair, like a pair of lovely earrings or a set of rings, you belong together. The choice of a life partner is just that. A partner for life. Life is a three legged race, and when one stumbles, either the other catches or they both go down. Best three legged race I ever saw was run by a couple who never fell. They wrapped their arms around each other, found their rhythm and supported each other the entire way across the field. Okay, so the burly guy who carried his partner the whole way crossed the finish line first, but if you look at that 100m as a life? You see that he was over burdened, and she had no life. He was completely unable to defend her from the flock of sparrows that were coming at her, and she never learned to shoo them away. No, I want to be that older couple. Supported in all things, enabled to offer the same support, moving comfortably through life with time for a quiet conversation and a nice veiw of the scenery. I will settle for coming in later across the finish line of life, for I will have lived it.

Most of this world has, at some point, made the choice to become a parent. Sometimes the choice was made when they chose to adopt, some when they chose to marry a single parent, some when they chose to keep the child. Make no mistake, I am not talking about the sperm donor and the incubator. I am talking about when that child has left the womb. The people who take that child in their arms and take it home make the CHOICE to be a parent. This is a long term investment. This means the parent doesn’t get to grow weary of adulthood and revert to childish behaviours. This means that the parent’s job in this world, their primary mission in this life, is to raise and equip that child (and each child MUST be considered seperately, children are not clones) to be a physically, mentally, and emotionally, sound and stable adult. The child must be taught manners and they learn by watching the parent. The child should not learn prejudice, but they learn by watching the parent. The child should always believe that they are safe and secure. That nobody is more important to the parent than that child. Once that child has reached adulthood, the parent’s job is to help them fly off into the world. If the parent has done the job right in the early part of the child’s life, then into the world soars a youth that others can look to and be uplifted. Don’t get me wrong, if the job is done poorly, the child will still be looked at as a leader, but as this poorly rounded youth stumbles off into the sewers of life, he will follow the hard road. He may well make it out of the sewers and learn to soar, but does any parent want that?

Now don’t get me wrong, there is this little thing called rebellion and it happens at both ends of the spectrum. The child whose parents did it all right can CHOOSE the sewers, but that becomes the child’s choice and as an adult, the parents cannot make that choice for him. On the other side, Cinderella can choose to step out of the ashes, shake off the rags defined her, and pull her malnourished soul out of the shackles that bound her. She can look around and see the life that she was never offered and she can fight for it. Simply because somebody, at some point, looked her in the eye and saw the real human inside rather than the rags.

As the parents of adult children, the job is simple. Don’t pull them down, they are still learning how to fly. The other part is, don’t let them pull you down, life has tattered your wings enough. Sometimes, from either the side of the parent or the side of the child the pull gets to be too strong. Whichever side is being pulled must cut the strings and let the other either fall or find a draft to ride back up. The cutting is so painful, it wrenches the heart in two, but two birds, bound and tangled together will never right themselves unless they are seperated. Both will fall to earth and all will be lost. Cutting the strings may seem harsh, but at least you have the hope that the one still falling will find an updraft and you may find each other again in calmer winds.

As adults, parents and children have the opportunity to be friends. The love is already there. The only real change to the relationship is a balance of respect and trust. For those who have found that, I celebrate with you. For those still searching, and those who have given up the search, I ache with you.

My friends, Bless.