Tuesday, July 28, 2020
There is no legitimate excuse for the violence, burning, looting, destruction of property and intentional attacks on state, local and federal officers in our cities. The Constitution affords each citizen the right of assembly and peaceful protest. However, despite the rhetoric of liberal mayors, governors, media personalities, elected officials and activists, destruction of personal, municipal, state and federal property is a crime. Perpetrators should be prosecuted and ordered to pay restitution.
I understand that people are angry about the death of George Floyd. I understand that everyone in America wants to be heard. I agree that racism is wrong, that there are lingering attitudes among individuals that are offensive, that there are some police officers that abuse authority, that there are still strides to be made for equality. However, we will not achieve equality, harmony, and fairness as long as there are any segregated groups, communities, pageants, congressional caucuses, quotas, census questions or focus on race, country of origin, religion, sexual orientation or any other label.
Despite the fact that I grew up in a small town in Indiana in the 1960s and 1970s that was not particularly diverse, my parents raised me to accept each person for who he or she was, to treat each person with respect, to be kind, and to not judge another until I’d walked a mile in his/her shoes. My husband and most of my friends were raised the same way. We cannot fathom that there is systemic racism in this country. Think about the progress that has been made and that will continue to be made.
I’ve lived in countries where I was a minority and treated as such. I was a quota hire as a woman in the insurance industry in 1980. I want to believe that we Americans, collectively as a nation, do not subscribe to racism, discrimination, or judgments of people- unless the individual is an asshole. That is a different conversation.
But really, give peace a chance. Open your minds. Consider opposing views. Have a conversation without shouting. Let go of anger. And become engaged in the political process at the local level. That is where serious changes begin.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Although I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for 26 years, I’ve never developed an affection for the Washington Football Team, FKA the Washington Redskins. I’ve attended a few games at RFK Stadium and FedEx Field when gifted with FREE tickets; but I’ve never actually paid to see a game. I will say that games at RFK we’re a lot more energetic and fun. Just getting to FedEx Field was enough of challenge that I actually declined FREE tickets in multiple occasions.
It isn’t that I dislike professional football, although I prefer live games to watching on TV. I actually held season tickets for the Indianapolis Colts for several years before they had a successful season. Other than Darrell Green, who played years for Washington, the era of free agency destroyed any sense of team consistency and cohesiveness.
Based upon my history of apathy interspersed with active dislike, I really have no “ skin in the game” so to speak regarding the team name. Frankly, the entire decades long brouhaha is a bit mystifying. Somebody can find a way to make any name offensive. The team name and mascot was intended to honor the fierceness of Native American warriors and foster a winning spirit.
But times have changed. The woke culture finds offense in the Betsy Ross Flag, Mount Rushmore, the Constitution, freedom of speech, and anybody who doesn’t vote for a democrat.
With these thoughts in mind I’ve come up with several ideas 💡 for names to succeed the Redskins for the Washington Football 🏈 Team which more accurately represent the raison d’etre of our Nations Capital, which is alleged governance:
* The Legislators
* The Witch-hunt
* The Back Stabbers
* The Politicians / the mascot - a large rat
* The Swamp
* The Weasels
* The Do Nothings
* The Hypocrites
* The Pork Barrels
* The Charlatans
* The Mighty Obstructionists
* The Sanctimonious
* The Self- Righteous
* The Partisans
* The Lobbyist / the mascot- a bag full of money 💰
Well, at least I had a bit of self-amusement with this🤣
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
My life has not followed the path I'd mapped out during those days of youthful dreaming when anything seemed possible, 30 was considered old, my career appeared to be on a soaring trajectory, I moved as a newlywed to Plano, Texas and began life far away from the Hoosier state where I was born, raised and yearned to see the world. I wanted to be somebody sophisticated, dine in fine restaurants, shop in elegant stores, amass jewelry and furs, drink wine from bottles with corks, experience urban excitement, find adventure, travel first class, wander the world and see the Terracotta warriors in Xian.
It is amazing to look back and consider that much of what I wanted to experience I've had the good fortune to achieve. However, the path that the roller coaster of fate and fortune caused me to follow nearly toppled me into an abyss on more than one occasion. I've experienced marital strife, an addicted spouse, divorce, dysfunctional relationships, heartache, career disappointment, financial challenges, adversity from my own stupid decisions, the loss of too many loved ones, and fear of never being "good enough". Fear of so many things over which I had no control.
Fortunately, by the age of 45, I met people who helped me discover the tools I needed to live a life of joy, gratitude, happiness, serenity, contentment, a focus on the positive, and a reevaluation of what is truly important in life. My marriage to an addict led me to Al Anon while I was living in Hong Kong. When I returned to the States, I continued to attend meetings. While it took me years to work the 12 Steps, the introspection, letting go of the past, and focusing on doing what is healthy for me changed my life. When I began working in Baltimore, one of my coworkers (Alice) introduced me to Doreen Virtue and Healing With The Angels. While I initially approached the studies with a bit of skepticism, I learned the power of spirituality, putting positive thoughts into the Universe, asking my angels for guidance, and....this led me to my husband of 14+ years, Todd Harrington. While it may by corny to say - he truly is the love of my life and we've celebrated the good fortune of meeting one another everyday for 15 1/2 years. My yoga practice and rediscovered love of Pilates keep me physically fit. I've embraced therapeutic massage and acupuncture to manage stress. I truly try each day to practice an attitude of gratitude for all of my good fortune.
The lessons I've learned on the path I hadn't intended to follow actually brought me to where I am today - a rocky ridge at the edge of the Shenandoah valley surrounded by refugee cats, possums, wild turkeys and evil plant eating deer. I'm relaxing on our screened in porch with a glass of Virginia Bordeaux style red wine, listening to our hosta-leaf water fountain, contemplating the amazing new experiences that I've been blessed to have over the last 15 years, and looking forward to the next 35 years.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
What better way to enjoy a summer under Covid-19 lockdown than a collection of books that I call ‘Mind Candy’! Mind Candy doesn’t focus on current events, social ills, serious literature, scholarly works, or anything heavy. Mind Candy does not include books that academics or snooty editors label as a must read. And if the Washington Post Book World suggests I read it, the book is unlikely to be on my list.
So, I am sharing my list of Mind Candy that I’ve recently read plus a few that are stacked on the table next to my favorite reading chair. Enjoy with a bite of Theo’s 70% Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & herbal tea.
* The Shadows by Alex North
* The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
* No Exit by Taylor Adams
* A Nearly or all Family by MT Edvardson
* The Reckless Oath We Made y Bryan Greenwood
* The Chestnut Man. Y Siren Sveistrup
* Dear Edward By Ann Napolitano
* The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James
* Hour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk
* The Guest List by Lucy Foley
* The Last Flight by Julie ClarK
* The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
* Final Girls by Riley Sager
* The Holdout. Y Graham Moore
* A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
I find most of my new authors through Bookbrowse.com, Goodreads, or the NEW Book of the Month Club. Next up for me is The Knockout Queen by Rufus Thorpe and Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.
I am also slowly savoring each chapter in The Brothers York, A Royal Tragedy By Thomas Penn because for me anything Involving the Plantagenets is Mind Candy....a family that made Game of Thrones seem almost tame and peaceful.
Please share any Mind Candy you can recommend. I’m always searching for something fun to read.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
I am urging every American who believes in the United States Constitution and Freedom of Speech to read Bari Weiss’s resignation letter to the NYT. I copied it from her personal website with a link to the site. She is to be commended and admired for her bravery, her ethics, her belief in the freedom of the press and her righteous abhorrence of the new McCarthyism. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
Monday, July 6, 2020
Over the long Independence Day Weekend I watched the musical 1776, the mini series Sons of Liberty, and James Cagney as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (which despite some offensive depictions that would not be acceptable in the 21st Century celebrates patriotism as few other films). We Americans must recapture our patriotism for this beautiful country. Despite its flaws, there is truly no other place on earth that affords its people even a scintilla of similar liberty. Those that dishonor our flag, show disdain for our national anthem, and advocate for lawlessness denigrate the brave men who wrote and signed the Declaration, the farmers who fought for independence from the British, the representatives of the 13 Colonies that compromised on values to form a more perfect albeit not perfect union, the abolitionists, John Adams who argued the Amistad case, George Washington who inspired and led an army composed of volunteers, the black soldiers of the 1st Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey units that fought in the Revolutionary War, Abe Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, the federal soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts unit of black volunteer soldiers, the American soldiers who fought in the wars of 1812, Mexican, Spanish American, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Granada, Afghan, and who serve our interests throughout the world. Read the document that set us on this path. And reconsider your allegiance to this amazing land.
In Congress, July 4, 1776.
Friday, July 3, 2020
Many people in 21st Century America have graduated from High School or University without truly learning the history of our great country. I believe it is for this reason that progressive politicians, academics and the media are able to insight and condone anger, violence, looting, burning, toppling statues, defacing public property, shaming those with different opinions, censorship, and civil rebellion. Regretfully, many of the alleged intelligentsia that promote the belief that the United States of America was and is a substantially racist county are marginally educated in American and world history. Since the 1970's there has been a systemic attempt by educators, socialists, apologists, and proponents of multiculturalism to discourage critical thinking skills and reject the teaching of early American history because of its western European roots. This has resulted in a grave disservice to the people of our nation.
The Original 13 Colonies that formed the USA were founded over a period of 125 years. Virginia was the first colony founded in 1607 with the settlement at Jamestown followed by Plymouth Colony in 1620 (which became part of Massachusetts Bay) , New York in 1626, Massachusetts Bay in 1630, Maryland in 1633, Rhode Island and Connecticut in 1636, New Hampshire and Delaware in 1638, North Carolina in 1653, South Carolina in 1663, New Jersey 1664, Pennsylvania 1682 and Georgia in 1732. These original colonies had distinct geographic, religious, climates, and natural resources. The New England colonies were mostly Puritans that tolerated no other religious expression and gained infamy by holding the Salem Witch Trials, branding those who committed adultery, and banished dissenters. Pennsylvania was Quaker. Maryland was Catholic. Georgia was founded initially for a haven for London prisoners, but ultimately to provide a buffer between South Carolina and the Spanish that ruled Florida. The Southern colonies had fewer natural resources than the north and middle colonies, which resulted in the establishment of farming and large plantations that unfortunately relied on slave labor. All of the colonies came under the oversight of the English monarchs. Each colony had a British Governor appointed by the King. Each colony was peopled by those that came to the New World for different reasons - to make a fortune, to escape persecution, to find adventure, because the 4th son had no other options, to expand the English empire, to avoid imprisonment, for a job, for land, and for any number of other reasons that we, today, cannot fathom.
These distinct colonies were akin to separate countries. The decisions that were made in 1775 and 1776 to bring representatives of these disparate, ideological, economic, religious, moral, geographic, climate, and natural resource diverse colonies to declare independence from the monarch was an amazing exercise in bravery, foolhardiness, and brilliance. Think what you will about the Founding Fathers; however, this country would not exist today had they faltered.
Yes, by 21st Century standards most of our founders and those that have come after held attitudes that are the antithesis of what we hope to see in our modern world. However, I refuse to deny the debt that we owe to those brave men who affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence 244 years ago, which set off the firestorm of revolution that ultimately brought these 13 colonies together to form a nation.
When one judges the actors of the past by the knowledge of the present without a full understanding of time and place; a time when most people didn't travel more than 50 miles beyond home in a lifetime; when there was no electricity, indoor plumbing, safe drinking water, antibiotics, radio, television, knowledge of vitamins, nutrition guidance, education for the masses, heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, supermarkets, libraries, record players, understanding of sanitation, awareness that washing hands prevents the spread of disease, telegraph and all of the other wonders that we take for granted, one is a pompous, self satisfied, smug, supercilious, condescending, self-righteous, didactic fool.
Please consider dismantling CHAZ or CHOP, giving your fellow American the benefit of the doubt, thank the police for keeping you safe, understand that the majority of Americans find discrimination offensive and want fairness & equal opportunity for all, and stop listening to those who try to divide us. Read the Declaration of Independence that was drafted by a gifted, but flawed man who gave us the chance to form a more perfect union of independent colonies, and thank the Universe or the higher power of your understanding that you have the great fortune to live in these United States of America.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
If white Democrat members of Congress truly believed in embracing diversity, each would agree to establish a date to step down and spend the interim mentoring a person of color to replace them in the next election cycle. The fact they have not made such a commitment, suggests their recent actions are merely political theater meant to pander to a constituency that democrats rely upon for maintaining power.
The most senior members of the Democrat Party in Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, donned shawls made of Kente cloth, which is associated with Ghana, while they knelt on the floor of the US Capitol building for eight minutes and 46 seconds to show solidarity for Black Lives Matter. However, this same cadre of hypocrites has spent the last 3 1/2 years wasting taxpayers' money in the singular effort to remove Donald Trump from office rather than working together with Republican colleagues to shore up the country's crumbling infrastructure, which would provide jobs for millions and increase each worker's standard of living. However, cultivating divisiveness has been the object in order to regain and retain political power.
The writings of George Orwell have never been more timely, despite his death in 1950, within a year of publishing 1984. Consider his observation that "No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer." This is essentially because politicians, once they have achieved power, do not want to relinquish it. No matter how much the Democrat leadership preaches to its own choir, they do nothing to actually create more diversity within their political party. If they truly believed in promoting diversity, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would not be their most viable candidates for the presidency. The septuagenerians running the party would retire and support the candidacies of a new generation.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
But history cannot be reviewed in a vacuum. The sins of the fathers should not be foisted on the sins and daughters. While I may vociferously disagree with the attitudes and choices of those who came before me, I did not walk in their shoes or inhabit their skins. At this juncture I do not blame those of prior generations, people of history that were not enlightened, those that lived by the codes of the times.
Instead I blame parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, fellow students, gangs, leaders, associates, coworkers, employers, media, politicians and social media for the unconscionable attitudes pervasive in today’s world. The problems today are not the sins of the past. Instead, it is the attitudes of people who know better. It is the political divisiveness that is perpetuated by purported leadership of both major parties to gain votes. Our leaders divide us for political and personal gain. None of them actually care about constituents. These are wealthy insulated people that revel in the quest for power. They are all out for themselves. It is all theater of the absurd. Think about it...they all go to parties and out for drinks togethet🤔
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
However, I do believe that in the western world people in the 21st Century have the ability to transcend the fates of birth. Despite the fact that we as a collective people have achieved progress that was unfathomable in my youth, there is still much work to be done to reach a Nirvana in our society. Rather than decry the sins of the past, we should instead celebrate the strides that have been made.
Forty years ago today the old Commercial Union Assurance Company hired me, a woman, as an outside claims adjuster in Indianapolis. The following year they hired a black man. We were both quota hires, anomalies in a field peopled by middle aged white men wearing sans-a-belt pants, shiney jackets, and carrying clipboards. We were not welcome. The establishment tried to get us to quit. Instead a Larry and I paved the way. Now, the Claims departments in the insurance industry afford opportunities for all. I never would have imagined that when I showed up for my first day on the job on a June 9, 1980.
When one considers the progress made in just 40 years, there should be some celebration of those inroads. Yes, more progress is needed. There are still individuals that do not embrace diversity. But those individuals are lesser and poorer for their inability to embrace the current world. Rather than hate them, feel pity and sadness for their lack of enlightenment. Most people I know just accept folks for who they are. That is the beauty of today.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
I do not miss chain restaurants. Not once during our quarantine have either of us suggested ordering carry-out from TGI Friday, Chili’s, Texas Roadhouse, The Outback or any other ubiquitous dining establishment. On the rare occasions we did order dinner, we supported a local business. I do not miss crowds, traffic jams, shopping malls, movie theaters, public transportation, misbehaving children in public, traveling for business, sports on television, going to the yoga studio.
Although my Libertarian beliefs disdain the heavy-handed stay at home orders that I do not believe are Constitutional, have crippled the economy and caused millions to lose jobs, perhaps the enforced isolation will cause some of us to appreciate a simpler existence with a renewed focus on gratitude, family, cooking at home, shorter commutes, quality over quantity, and celebration for the beauty around us.
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Most of the USA has been shut down since mid March. For more than 2 months tens of millions of people have been ordered to shelter in place resulting in millions of lost jobs, the probable loss of small businesses that will never re-open, Congressional spending in multi trillions of dollars, a stock market crash that has devastated the retirement savings of a significant portion of the population, and the creation by some communities of tattletales reporting COVID violators and mask shaming reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Commuters deemed "essential" in the Washington, DC area have been pulled over on I66 with the Virginia State Police demanding to "see their papers" to validate a right to go into the office.
While I fully understand the governments' desires to flatten the curve to ensure hospitals are not overwhelmed, closing the entire country to curtail the spread has in many geographical areas done more harm than good. Addicts that rely on Twelve -Step Programs which involves feeling part of a recovery community risk relapse, which can result in death. People that delayed routine medical screenings may have missed a window of opportunity for an earlier diagnosis of a disease that can be best arrested or cured when caught in its infancy. People with mental health issues miss critical in person counseling. People who rely on stress relieving therapies such as massage, acupuncture, Reformer Pilates and bio-feed back risk increased likelihood of heart attack of stroke. People are hording food. Our fishmonger told us on Friday evening that a few panic buyers cleaned him out buying 15-20 pounds of fresh fish instead of purchasing just for the weekend.
It is time to re-open the economy using common sense. People at higher risk should stay home. This includes elderly people, those of us with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, COPD, an auto immune disorder, heart disease, pulmonary disease, kidney disease or any bacterial or viral disease that could be spread in society. People with the ability to do so should be given the opportunity to telecommute. Students with underlying health conditions should be provided with high speed internet and a computer to keep up with studies. This would be an excellent use of the taxpayer's dollars earmarked by Congress for COVID-19 relief. But everybody who is able- bodied, healthy, and able to work, should re-open their businesses using common sense, return to their jobs, and get back to living.
Most people recover from COVID-19. The world did not shut down for AIDS or the swine flu, the dreaded smallpox, yellow fever, polio, cholera, measles, typhoid, tuberculosis, Ebola, Zika, leprosy, the Black Death, or SARS. Destroying the economic health of the world in the pursuit to prevent even one death is admirable, but not smart or sustainable. While it may be politically incorrect to remind people of Darwin's theory of the "survival of the fittest", it is something we must consider. There will always be new diseases that emerge to cull the population. It is not fair. It is often indiscriminate. But we cannot destroy the lives of the survivors to protect all. And in this pandemic, it is those that cannot telecommute, those who must keep their businesses solvent to support numerous families, those who have invested their life's savings and all of their energies to build a business, those who must work to put food on the table, those who have an opportunity that may never come again, those who could not hold the hand or hug a loved one as they succumbed to COVID, those who could not share grief over the loss of a loved one, those who live alone and haven't had a human touch in 60 days that we must consider. It is time to re-open and embrace life.
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Since I telecommute on a regular basis, being required to work from home has not altered my daily routine to any significant extent up until the bewitching hour of 5:00 PM when I would mindfully shut down my laptop and head out for yoga, Pilates, my monthly massage, acupuncture treatments, the occasional pedicure, running errands, a date with my husband or friends and my monthly appointment at Utopia Salon for Aveda color enhancements and a haircut.
While I miss all of these activities that I consider essential to my overall well being, the closure of hair salons has cause me and most of my friends the most inconvenience and consternation.
While I miss all of these activities that I consider essential to my overall well being, the closure of hair salons has cause me and most of my friends the most inconvenience and consternation.
My Facebook feed has numerous daily ads for allegedly natural hair color at home products that are easy to use for a fraction of the cost of salon color with salon results. Despite my frustration when I look in the mirror each morning with a wider "part of colorless highlights", I will resist the temptation to self treat. I've noticed too many instances over the years of "obvious" home hair color. My one foray into "at home" treatments at the tender age of 15 left me with brassy orange hair that had a straw-like texture that would have made an excellent foundation for a birds nest.
That is not to say that all salons provide the same level of competence. I'm a firm believer that one does get what one pays for. There were a few times in my young adult years where I left national chains in tears. However, a less than stellar salon experience is still better than taking matters into your own hands. If a licensed cosmetologist provides a services that you pay for and the result is "unfortunate", you can ask them to fix it. If you screw up your own hair at home, particularly in the time of COVID-19, you will be stuck with the disaster until the quarantine lefts and our salons re-open.
Just say NO! Don't do it! Do you REALLY believe those celebrities that tout at home hair color color their own hair? Wear a hat or baseball cap or a scarf or a wide headband. I've just ordered two cute headbands from Nordstrom. Anthropologie has some cute and fabulous headbands for sale online. And I have some lovely baseball caps from local wineries.
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Despite the fact that I have reached a place in my life in which I am able to take advantage of the"early shopping hours" during Covid-19, I believe it is critical to keep trying new things, exploring new frontiers, embracing adventures, tasting new foods, experimenting with a different hairstyle or color, trying on clothes and makeup from an alternative brand or designer and refusing to stay in a rut.
Every time I visit my hair stylist, Brian Williams at Utopia Salon, we "tweak" my hair color and cut. I am an Aveda woman through and through, but I will push the boundaries with my color. I've embraced all shades or red or auburn and alter my cut regularly. I will not go quietly into the night.
During my adulthood I tended to stay rather committed to shops such as Talbots, Nordstrom, Chico's, J Jill or Soft Surroundings. Now I've embraced Anthropologie and discovered Closed Jeans, Pilcro, Citizens of Humanity, and Cecelia of New York footwear. I am obsessed by Cecelia of New York! I've found I love totes by Cuyana & Everlane, skincare from Eminence Organics, bras from Third Love, undies by Hanky Panky, earring by Lagos, boutique styles from The Artful Home, artisan soaps, Etsy handmade coffee mugs, Boll & Branch or Brooklinen sheets, 1930's fashion from House of Foxy, and cashmere & linen from Garnet Hill.
There are also instances where I've returned to the stalwarts of my "adult youth" such as Chanel makeup, Book of the Month Club and actual books printed on paper and bound, the comfort of family, Midwestern values, and a love of a much simpler life. I've chased the dream and realized I've had what I need all along.
But what I encourage everybody to consider is the benefits of trying new things. Since I turned 50 I've embraced yoga, accomplished a head stand, practiced Pilates on a reformer, learned alternative photographic processes, attended Civil War re--enactments and living history events, sewed my own camel hair winter coat, used a sledge hammer, learned to shoot, earned a concealed carry permit, protested at the Virginia state house, sewed mid 19th century clothing, wore a corset, learned how to cook on an open fire, used a chamber pot, drove a pick up truck, caught the yard on fire, tried acupuncture, scheduled monthly massage therapy, made sausage, laid tile, reupholstered two wing chairs, renovated a bathroom, wrote a blog, and began to understand that I can let go of "things".
Monday, April 13, 2020
Despite my short-lived intentions at the new year to avoid buying clothes, I used the excuse of my 20 pound weight loss to indulge in new jeans & shorts. And Brahmin did offer a 25% discount on handbags recently, which tempted me to buy the bags I’ve lusted over. And I routinely order books, skincare products, makeup, shoes, cat food, bird seed and Aveda products.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. Yes, I ordered 3 cases of wine from Rappahannock Vineyards. Free shipping! Artisan olive oils & balsamic vinegar from our local Flavour Perfection. Almost instant delivery! Bandanas! There has been a bandana shortage! Yeast for baking! Bamboo drawer organizers that are easily found at Lowe’s in normal times. Laundry detergent & fabric softener, paper towels, Slap Yo Mama spices, and coffee mugs from Etsy.
What unusual things have you ordered while in quarantine? Did I mention yeast?
Thank You Sherry & Bob♥️
Sunday, April 12, 2020
This post is not to diminish the challenges we face as a people, the illnesses, the inability to cure the disease and the fact that many of us will lose people we love. Instead, I mean to put the pandemic in context. Rather than denigrate governments for failing to address the spread of the disease instantaneously, consider celebrating the wonders of modern society that will allow us to limit the devastation that would have occurred in another time and place. There is no magic bullet that will end this. There is no absolutely right answer - how to balance the health and safety of citizens vs. the health of the economy. I prefer to avoid making judgments about these issues because I am not a public health expert, virologist, epidemiologist, or biologist. Just celebrate our blessings that we live in a first world country that has the resources to do what must be done - hopefully without eroding our civil liberties.
Sunday, April 5, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has altered our collective views of the world in the blink of an eye. As a die-hard Libertarian, I initially resisted government intervention and intellectually rebelled against what is essentially marital law. I don't like it. I do not want to comply. I believe that governors should allow localities to enforce regulations that make sense for that particular geographical area. I would prefer a more tempered, nuanced approach that did not infringe upon my civil rights and force businesses to close - with the awareness that many small businesses that are not considered essential may not survive. But, a part of me understands the need for the lock-down because we Americans enjoy freedoms that most if not all other societies do not enjoy. And the knee-jerk reactions of citizens and government alike are counter-productive. Sure, lock down New York, Philadelphia and Jersey City - but why Harrisonburg, Virginia?
Why not a more nuanced approach? Why not consider that people at risk should practice social distancing and encourage corporations to implement telecommuting?
I do not understand the hording mentality, the need to compile enough toiler paper, chicken, Lysol or bleach to last a lifetime.
It is beyond my comprehension why a liquor store, restaurant, or WalMart is considered "essential", but my Pilates studio, yoga studio, massage spa, and acupuncture practice is not. These contribute far more to my over-all well-being than a drive-thru McDonald's.
Overall, my concern involves the slippery slope that could result in a few politicians enjoying their power over the citizenry just a little too much. I do agree that huge gatherings should be discouraged. I do agree that it makes sense to encourage self quarantine. But I really loathe the concept of a nanny state imposing restrictions that bears too close a similarity to the movie I watched on Turner Classic Movies this morning - the 1944 Address Unknown about the erosion of civil liberties in Germany. It resonated. Just food for thought. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036581/
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
I do not believe that settlers in the USA committed genocide of indigenous people. The ‘native Americans’ emigrated from elsewhere. There were wars. Wars result in victory or defeat. The people who came here and settled were not evil, just ordinary folks looking for a better way of life. Wars have sad consequences. There was tragedy & unfairness. But, that is history. Are people in Europe refighting Agincourt?
There have been periods of unsavory episodes in our history. Nobody in the modern world could possibly condone slavery. It is a stain on humankind. But we cannot change the past. We can only move forward with enlightenment, disdaining the sins of the past and embracing our fellow citizens as equals today.
Border security has nothing to do with race. I’ve lived in foreign countries. It matters not the race, creed or national origin at the border. Instead what matters is a visa and valid passport. I’ve seen people detained for hours in other countries because of visa issues. Ive also seen people lined up outside a US Consulate trying to come here legally but delayed because of limitations / quotas that do not apply to those crossing here illegally from the south. Talk about a dearth of fairness!
The current election cycle should not be based upon hatred of a particular individual. Politicians do not need to be likable or appealing to be successful. They only need be competent. I do not like the personality of Donald Trump. He is crass. But he is no more harmful than many other presidents. I prefer an abject capitalist over a socialist any day. I remember the Cold War. I Remember the Iron Curtain. I know people who survived Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Tito, Gaddafi, Amin, Brezhnev, pr the many other dictators or oligarchs of my time. Give me a president who bolsters the economy and tries to limit China’s efforts to steal our intellectual property any day over a bleeding heart socialist trying to abrogate my rights & confiscate my earnings to support somebody who doesn’t pay his or her way.
Saturday, February 8, 2020
Today Todd and I lost our sweet, three legged orange kitty Carlos. He was born under our porch on my birthday in 2006, the same year we married and moved into our home. We were amazed to discover this litter of kittens under the deck. From the first his engaging personality and sweet innocent face melted our hearts.
He was a loner. He hated other cats. He had no use for kittens. But he loved us. Cat sitters loved him. He had personality. He used to run thru the house pulling his birdie on a stick. He loved gravy. He loved lying in the sun or under a Japanese maple. He was named after Carlos Santana..musician and shoe designer.
When he started to fail we deluded ourselves into believing he was getting better. We tried antibiotics, designer kitty food, warm compresses, spoon feeding, a heating pad, anything to encourage him to eat and make him comfortable. But, we couldn’t cure him. We didn’t want him to suffer any longer. We had to let him cross the Rainbow Bridge.
I wanted to hold onto him for a few more days. I wanted to feel his heartbeat, swaddle him in my arms, wish him into wellness. But we couldn’t listen to him cry another night or look at us with love and pain another day.
I turned to William Blake as we laid him to rest...Tyger, tyger burning bright...
Saturday, February 1, 2020
My life has been remarkable in that I have had the opportunity to travel. I am grateful for my good fortune. In 1976 I traveled with my high school French teacher and fellow students to London and Paris at the tender age of 16 It was the year of the American Bicentennial, which was an interesting time to visit Britain.
My parents afforded me the chance to study in the UK and Paris during my sophomore year at university. I spent a year in Lincolnshire studying and traveling and a summer at the Sorbonne in Paris. 1978-1979 was a tumultuous time. Fellow students at Harlaxton College outside Grantham included citizens or Iran, who were fearful of the safety of their family members during the revolution. I learned quite a bit about the vagaries of safety and life during that time. I also had the chance to travel between terms with a few friends, some bravado, a backpack and about $800. I learned that I could be frugal, wash my hair in cold water, eat street food, and get by with three outfits for six weeks. I will say that my one night in Belgrade was a bit dicey. But I survived and had a lot of stories to tell.
But it wasn't until I moved to Taipei, Taiwan in 1988 that I truly learned to appreciate the extraordinary good fortune I have to live in the USA as an American citizen. We are blessed with plenty. The options we have in the typical grocery store are unequaled anywhere else in the world,
My experiences have confirmed my youthful ideology that we Americans have the best standard of living in the world, the most sophisticated health care, the widest array of food, the most comfortable houses, the most diverse citizenry, the most enviable privileges, and greater freedoms than any other nation on earth. Our Republic is the envy of the world. There is a reason people want to come here. It is for the opportunities that are not available on any other corner of the earth.
Citizens who denigrate our Republic, our government, our way of life, our good fortune - who criticize the founders of our nation because they do not meet the current standards of diversity, who opine that European settlers were somehow proponents of genocide because of the Manifest Destiny propagated by the federal government, have not studied world history. Throughout time areas of land and the people who inhabited that land have been conquered and displaced. From a modern perspective this may be considered heinous. But, that is not how people who came before us thought.
We really have no right to judge those who lived in another time. I know that I cannot purport to understand what lived in the minds of a man or woman from the 15th, 16th, 17th , 18th or 19th Century. We can look at history through a modern lens and agree that we no longer accept those norms. But I cannot accept that it is appropriate to remove the names of those who came before from plaques, buildings, institutions, roads, schools, etc because we have evolved. Let us remember those who came before for what they did right - not for their failings. Do you want to be remembered for your failings? I do not.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
There have been arguments over the direction the country should take since the founding of the republic. One of the bitterest political rivalries involved John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Although they disagreed vociferously politically and were estranged for years, they resumed their friendship and correspondence eventually and died on the same day - coincidentally - Independence Day. (As did James Monroe).
There have been several presidents loathed by the opposition. However, until the current presidential administration, the differences have, for the most part, been resolved through subsequent elections. Whether one hates, tolerates, disdains or loves Donald J. Trump, he was a duly elected president of the USA according to the law of the land and the Constitution. He has not destroyed the country. There are too many checks and balances for any executive to do so.
Consider that Mr. Dershowitz, who admittedly voted for Hillary Clinton and argued that Bill Clinton should not have been impeached for perjury, also represents Donald Trump in this impeachment trial before the Senate and argues that he has not committed am impeachable offense. Mr. Dershowitz in a constitutional scholar with which I have not always agreed. But he is not partisan in this matter. He is consistent.
The American electorate has reached a partisan divide in which those on opposite sides of the political spectrum will not listen to any alternative views. The partisans have become entrenched in a position, will not consider any other perspective, refuse to listen to alternative views, ridicule the opposition, and argue that Donald Trump is Satan personified. I am dumbfounded by the energy that people invest in the vitriol. The republic survived James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter (when I lived in Europe during the Carter administration I let people think I was Canadian). The republic will survive Donald Trump. We do not need our presidents to be good people. We need them to be effective leaders. John F. Kennedy is often looked upon as an effective president, yet he was a terribly unfaithful husband, violated his own sanctions against Cuba, and engaged in foreign policy decisions that were clearly ill-advised. Not only that, he accelerated our involvement in Vietnam.
I am neither a Democrat or a Republican, although I am conservative fiscally and on Constitutional issues such as the 2nd Amendment. I lean toward Libertarian, which believes in a small government that keeps its paws out of my pocket, off my land, out of my house, without any input in decisions between me and my physician, who I can marry, what I can cultivate and how I defend myself. I believe that one can love, live, conduct business with and worship as one feels is appropriate without government oversight. Just fix my roads, bridges, air traffic control, monetary policy, interstate infrastructure, waterways, borders, print money, maintain federal land, maintain our military to protect and defend the USA, ensure the Native Americans and veterans are treated fairly, and sustain compliance with the Constitution. Stay out of healthcare, insurance, education, personal life decisions, etc.
Just let go of the angst, the divisiveness, and vitriol. Embrace your fellow citizen and agree that it is okay to disagree without judgment.