Saturday, April 30, 2022

Colleagues Leaving the Workforce in Droves

 

One of the most emotionally challenging facets of reaching the twilight of one’s career is the attrition of respected and beloved colleagues. Retirements are devastating my industry, as those in the know have anticipated for some time. I have worked in the I insurance industry for 40 years. Few young people are attracted to a career in insurance because most believe it is dull without the opportunities for achieving wealth.  

It is true that only senior executives rake in the dollars; however, I stumbled into life as a Casualty Claims professional and have been privileged to work with some amazing people and handle some fascinating claims. Eventually, I may share details of some more salacious claims (without divulging information that would violate confidentiality). 

One of my mentors retired rather prematurely last week. That was tough. I am thrilled for him, but selfishly sad that I will no longer have such a brilliant technician as a resource. People are leaving the insurance industry in droves. Most companies have been cognizant of the ‘big retirement’ for several years, but did not establish strategies to replace those of us aging out. Instead, many leaders believe people  can be replaced by artificial intelligence. But, the Bots are actually not so smart. The Bots create additional work for the people they are intended to replace.

So, it is difficult to replace those departing in the ‘great retirement’. The institutional knowledge loss is irreplaceable. But, COVID and the failure of many senior executives to acknowledge the altered employment landscape creates additional challenges recruiting new talent. 

In the meantime, we move forward…keeping on keeping on, until we can also pull the plug and move into the next phase of life.




Thursday, March 31, 2022

What is a Woman, Really? Part II A Level Playing Field

 

Stepping back upon my soapbox for Part II of what it means to be a biological woman in 2022. Biological females have two ‘X’ chromosomes.  Biological males have  one ‘X’ and one ‘Y’ chromosome. To date scientists have been unable to alter this biological phenomenon for transgender individuals. Ultimately, this biological factor identifies one sex. Hormone treatment and surgery can, to a great extent, alter one’s appearance and physiological traits. However, I’ve not read any medical studies that have concluded a transgender woman can have functioning ovaries, Fallopian tubes, a uterus, and experience the monthly menstrual cycle, incubate a fetus and give birth. How many transgender women have spent s hours lying on the sofa with a heating pad while overdosing on extra strength Tylenol because of menstrual cramps? Or worried if it was safe to wear white pants? 

Women throughout history have been marginalized, ostracized, isolated, or considered evil temptresses. They’ve been stigmatized  as ‘unclean’ during monthly courses. Some religions requiring cleansing before returning to marital duties.

Women still have to be smarter, more attractive, better dressed, work harder, and overcome stereotypes to achieve promotions in many industries. 

No doubt the decision one makes to transition to another sec is a painful one filled with questions, doubt, confusion and awareness that they are going to experience discrimination from some unaware people. I admire anyone that seeks to be true to one’s self. But, those born with male chromosomes have different biological features that prevent transgender women from participating in womens competitive sports on a fair playing field.

Be all that you can be. But, think about fairness. Lia Thomas did not play fairly in collegiate swimming. Amy Schneider performed with excellence on a level playing field when she delivered an amazing performance on Jeopardy. Amy succeeded using her beautiful mind. Lia succeeded ungraciously using a man’s strength and physical prowess in a woman’s sport that requires physical strength, endurance and lung capacity. There is a difference.

FYI! We loved The Amy Show! 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Movies to Watch Over & Over

 I grew up at a time when movies filled a huge entertainment hole. I did not live close enough to a venue for live theater. Instead, my dad would sit up with me into the wee hours of the morning while I watched classic films and dreamed of different worlds.

I’m a huge fan of classic movies and some modern flicks that celebrate triumph of the human spirit. I invite you to share with me movies that still speak to you, films you can watch over and over.

Just a few that make my list in no particular order:

The Help

Casablanca

The Thin Man

It Happened One Night

Four Weddings & A Funeral

Pretty Woman

Little Women

Psycho

West Side Story

12 Years A Slave

Moonlight

Apollo 13

Young Frankenstein 

Schindlers List

Silence of the Lambs

To Kill a Mockingbird 

Apocalypse Now

Raiders of the Losr Ark

The n The Heat of the Night

Pride & Prejudice

Fargo

Sunset Boulevard

Inherent The Wind

The Best Years of our Lives

Glory

Carmen Jones

Hidden Figures

Jezebel

Annie Hall

Rear Window

All About Eve

Dead Poets Society

The English Patient

Citizen Kane

The Seventh Seal

Das Boot

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Ben Hur

Gaslight

The Maltese Falcon

Training Day

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Daughters of the Dust

Monty Python/ Holy Grail

Coming To America

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Autumn Sonata

So, this is my preliminary list on the day we are ignothe Academy Aawards to watch Hidden Figures yet again. 



Thursday, March 24, 2022

What is a Woman? Really? Part I

 Helen Reddy’s anthem, “ I Am Women”  which debuted in 1971 set the hearts of every woman and young girl looking for agency and a chance for equal opportunity in what was a man’s world hope and courage in what we hoped was a brave new world. 

While I can appreciate and readily accept transgender individuals in my sphere and will argue with my last breath for one to live his/her/their authentic lives, biology is what it is. And it is offensive to those of us who fought for acceptance to top universities, a chance to be hired for a job that was considered the purview of men, compete in fair sports events against other women, the right to apply for a mortgage without a husband or father as co-signer, get a credit card without a male co-signer, wear trousers, get a law degree, successfully run for political office, not be fired for aging, or just be accepted as an individual American with the same rights as men.

I was born in 1959. At that time women were expected to quit their jobs as teachers, nurses or secretaries after they married to take care of the house, husband and children. Divorce was unacceptable. Women could not have bank accounts. Unmarried women were pitied and considered ‘spinsters’. A woman without a husband was considered a lesser being. When young women went to university, it was be,Ives most were looking for a MRS degree. When I applied for my first adult job in 1980 I was a ‘quota’ hire. I was the first woman hired in Indianapolis, Indiana as an outside insurance claims adjuster by the now defunct Commercial Union Assurance Company. The men treated me as a pariah. The wives of adjusters wouldn’t let their husbands eat lunch with me….assuming that a single woman wanted to nab their husbands. The clerical support staff disliked me for trying to take a job from a man. The men took bets on how quickly they could get me to quit by treating me like a servant.

Think about it! This was 42 years ago- a near blip on the continuum of time. Women had been marginalized and treated as chattel for the entirety of humankind. So, yes! We deserve to enjoy what we’ve fought hard to achieve without having biological men marginalize us once again. 

Lia Thomas is  celebrating her true self. But she is doing so at the expense of biological women who deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field. And Thomas does so with absolutely no grace or self awareness. 

This is heinous. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan ~ A Book Review


From the first lines I was mesmerized. I love historical fiction, Savannah, the early 19th Century, tales of shipwrecks and miracles of survival, the alternating time frames, triumph over tragedy and loss. This story has it all. And Ms. Callahan tells it beautifully. 

To discover that the Pulaski was a real steamship that sank and that some of the characters are loosely based on real people made it all the more intriguing. Now, I’m starting to research the real story based upon first person accounts. 

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. 

A big thank you to Bookbrowse.com and Netgalley for a courtesy copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 14, 2022

The New Oil Crisis - Did Biden Forget the Gas Lines of the 1970’s?



Apparently Joe Biden has forgotten the gas lines of the 1970’s when America was dependent on OPEC for fossil fuels and we were faced with the Iran hostage crisis. No doubt it is a convenient lapse of memory based upon his apparent need to keep the members of the  squad, who weren’t alive during the ‘70’s, in his corner. Or, more likely, dementia. 



Whether one loved or hated a Donald Trump, he guided the USA into energy independence. The first thing Biden did after his inauguration was to crush energy independence in a misguided effort to enact green energy legislation on an accelerated trajectory. Apparently, Biden and his climate change activists have either ignored or really have no appreciation of the actual American geographical landscape. Really, Will alternative energy really be effective for transportation in Texas, Wyoming, Montana or Alaska? Not in my lifetime. Those who lead the charge for green energy do not depend on their vehicles for commuting or basic travel. 

While Kamala Harris can express excitement over funding for electric school busses, how well will that work in rural areas? What about those of us who commute hours and 60 + miles for work? I personally do not want to risk my life traveling on a green airliner for a 15 hour flight from San Francisco to Tokyo. It is not as if one can charge a jet in mid flight. 


Now, thanks to the Biden energy debacle, we are once again dependent on foreign oil and natural gas. Instead of energy independence. Biden is begging despots to increase production so that we can import and support corrupt regimes. 

Really! I agree that planning for alternative energy sources is a noble goal. But it won’t happen overnight. Think Texas during the big freeze of 2021 when windmills froze solid.

Idiocy. Pandering. Shortsightedness. A blind eye to reality. Dementia. Take your pick. Apparently, Biden & Company do not understand that people won’t return to city offices if it costs an arm & a keg to commute. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

~The Tragedy in Ukraine Should Not Be Allowed To Continue~

 


After WWII there was a global belief that such carnage must never be allowed to happen again. yet good people stand by and watch the atrocities on television, YouTube, iPhone and satellite image  unfold minute by minute, missile by missile, bomb by bomb, attack by attack and bullet by bullet as people are massacred and towns are destroyed by war criminals. It has happened in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, the Balkans, Vietnam, China, Israel,  Georgia, and Chechnya in my lifetime. This wasn’t supposed to be possible. Humans were to have learned after WWII that killing on a massive scale violates every international law. But, the political realities result in handwringing,  moral outrage, ineffective sanctions and juggling political expediency over what is right.



One would have thought that 160 years after Alexander Gardner published the first photographs of battlefield dead in the aftermath of Antietam in 1862, that humankind would have developed strategies to avoid such bloodshed. But, that has not happened. Today the world watches helplessly, with disgust, as Russia attacks a sovereign nation that is not a part of NATO while governments twiddle their thumbs and make excuses for failure to do what is necessary to support the people of Ukraine. 

How can anybody with any sense of morality allow this to continue! Ukraine is a free country with a democratic ly elected government, peopled with individuals who grew up without the specter of totalitarianism governing every facet of life. Think! If it can happen to Ukraine, where people were living a month ago just as we do in the USA, it can happen anywhere. 

Of upmost concern, a recent poll of American citizens revealed that many young Americans would refuse to take up arms to defend the homeland should something similar happen here. Wow!  Biden and his ‘green new deal’ cronies should hide in shame. I guess ‘never again’ was just a slogan. 



Friday, March 4, 2022

Sanction Russian Oil Now! Do Not Abandon Ukraine

                 

When bad men combine, the good must associate: else they combine, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle~ Edmund Burke

I am appalled and embarrassed by the response of the Western World. Yes, I understand the reluctance to impose a no fly zone over Ukraine. But, my thoughts of the horrendous acts of Hitler come to mind. People turned a blind eye to the genocide and criminal acts of Hitler and his acolytes until war came to Pearl Harbor. Every military strategist believes that Putin will not hesitate to use illegal weapons to subjugate a democratic nation. 

We watch, with heavy hearts, as Putin bombs a peaceful democratic nation filled with a free people who lived as we Americans live just a few weeks ago. Yet, all Biden, his climate mad progressives, and Western European nations really appear to care about is the continued importation of Russian oil. Yes, petrol is getting more expensive. But, I would bet that most westerners would prefer to drive less, fly less and turn down the heat in their offices and homes than watch with horror that is televised live as the brave Ukrainian people barricade themselves, hide underground, fight without sufficient arms, and listen to President Zelenky’s  pleas for help.

The US has engaged in stupid wars in the past with the philosophical belief that Communists should not encroach on other lands. Examples: Korea and Vietnam. Those countries did not have the critical geopolitical place that Ukraine holds in the modern world. The fact that John Kerry is more concerned about climate change than an illegal invasion of a European sovereign nation says horrible things about our current government priorities. 

I am angry. I have more respect for Zelensky and the German chancellor than any figurehead in Washington. And the idiocy of a Kamala Harris makes me cringe.

Send planes. Establish a humanitarian no fly zone. Offer Russian soldiers amnesty in the West to defect. Do something other than wring your hands, speak platitudes, and apologize for being weak. Call Putin’s bluff. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu. ~ Book Review



Beautiful & Timely
Peace Blossom Spring is a beautifully written story about family ties, the effects of world, civil war when it is impossible to know who can be trusted, a mother's strength and determination, the value of stories that resonate throughout a lifetime, resilience, memories, happiness in small things, and the immigrant experience in America. 

So much of this saga feels personal. I had the good fortune to spend two years in Taiwan followed by three years in Hong Kong and had conversations with people who lived through much of what Renshu and Meilin experienced in Peach Blossom Spring. The fears of government retaliation against family if one says the wrong thing. The identity crisis of what it means to be Chinese, how foreign students visiting China were treated as foreign dogs, how the Taiwan people never truly rest while PRC continues the threat of reunification…a nightmare of more than 70 years. 

I love the stories from the precious scroll that Meilin tells Renshu through their journey. 

And this quote makes my heart sing: "Within every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune. And so it goes, until the end of time." I usually pass along books to share with others. But this one I will keep.

Thank you to Bookbrowse.com and  Publisher Little Brown & Co. for a free copy of the galley in exchange for an honest review. Peach Blossom Spring will be published in the USA in March 2022

https://www.bookbrowse.com/reader_reviews/details/index.cfm/ref/rr49387



Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Disheartened by Continued Political Division

 

The current political climate in the USA continues to baffle me. We are a people who engaged in revolution to become an independent nation where all people have the opportunity to be who they want to be. Yes, we have a sad history that did not recognize the freedom of all. But the strides we’ve made brings joy to my heart. I truly believe that most Americans believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence that all of us are created in the eyes of God as equals. 

There have been dark periods. But…today, I still believe that there is no where else on earth where the individual can overcome birth and achieve whatever he or she aspires to achieve. 

Think! 60 years ago it was a triumph that John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, was elected President. That was barrier breaking. LBJ passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That was barrier breaking. Barack Obama was elected President twice! That was barrier breaking. Most people that voted against Obama didn’t care about his race. They disagreed with his political views.

Yes, there are troglodytes among us. There will always be narrow minded idiots. We will never agree as a people on every issue. That is the human condition. 

But, consider what it would be like to live in China, Russia, Afghanistan or Iran where there are no civil rights. Imagine living in Ukraine or Taiwan or South Korea where other despots want to invade and usurp legitimate governments. I have lived in those at risk countries. I loved Hong Kong and cry for the people being repressed and subjugated. I cannot imagine the people of Taiwan being controlled by PRC. 

We have freedom. It is not perfect, but I defy you to give an example of a better place to live, a place with more freedoms and more opportunities to be who you want to be. It is easy to criticize if you’ve not experienced the worst the world had to offer. Really, take a bus tour of a major capital where they drive by a prison and caution that anyone arrested will never leave alive. Watch the movie Midnight Express, based on fact, it will open your eyes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Capitalism With a Conscience

 

I believe in capitalism with a conscience. My husband thinks I should refrain from political commentary in this hyper sensitive age to avoid potential professional backlash. But, that is not how I am wired. My parents never stepped away from the fray if they held strong feelings. I’ve lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The saber rattling by Peoples Republic of China ( ‘PRC’) is at its most distressing since Tiananmen Square. At that time I was an expatriate living in Taipei. Taiwan was a fledgling democracy that had made huge political and economic strides since that time. Hong Kong was the most capitalistic place I’d ever experienced. The energy of the place was thrilling. I loved every second of my three years in Hing Kong despite personal turmoil. 

The British and PRC made a deal to preserve the freedoms of Hong Kong for 50 years. PRC has breached the agreement. I am not surprised. PRC never intended to comply. PRC has always threatened Taiwan and refuses to recognize Taiwan as a free and independent Republic. The western world has failed Taiwan and Hong Kong by pandering to PRC for money. It is a disgrace. It is inconceivable that any free government with any sense of honor would continue to support this oppressive regime. 

Apparently few remember the Cultural Revolution, the starvation of millions of citizens, the reeducation camps, the theft of personal property, the execution of intellectuals, the continued theft of intellectual property, and the wrongful arrests and repression of private citizens that oppose freedom. 

Coca Cola, P & G, the NBA, Nike, NBC, the Biden’s and multitudes of other American corporations do not need China to return dollars to stockholders. Pandering to China is anathema to the American psyche. The only explanation is greed. Pure and simple greed. I will not watch the Olympics. I will not buy goods from pandering organizations. 

And anybody who ignores the plight of the Uyghurs is no better than those who turned a blind eye to Hitler. Shame!


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Geography Does Affect Ideology

 

This afternoon I enjoyed a great conversation with a colleague who grew up in New York State and went to university in Ohio. While it began as a business meeting, the chat morphed into the way people raised in different parts of the USA think about some politically divisive issues based upon their individual experiences. 

My colleague that was raised in New York had never known anyone who’d owned a firearm. His college friends, raised in the heartland of America, were raised with firearms, hunting, target practice, self defense and support of the Second Amendment. 

My colleague talked about the different views of fellow students on issues regarding voting rights, firearms, stand your ground laws, federalism, immigration, and other issues that tend to divide Americans.

We talked about the fact that we Americans view the Country through the lenses of our individual experiences. This is something lost on politicians and political activists.  Y colleague, having attended university in the Midwest, maintaining friendships with people he met from backgrounds completely different than the ideology with which he was raised, learned to appreciate another perspective. His Ohio friends were amazed that he, being raised in New York, had never been hunting or even touched a gun. He, one raised in a state that restricted ownership of guns was amazed at how easily midwesterners talked about hunting, target practice, self defense and abrogation of rights. 

Those who vilify fellow citizens with different ideology, opinions, life experiences and political views have more than likely never taken the time to get to know those on the opposite end of the spectrum. But listening, engaging, discussing with an open mind and with friendship provides the perspective that so many lack in our polarized society. 

Despite what one may think, there is room for different viewpoints, approaches to life, and political affiliation. The key is to refrain from trying to force solutions for a one size fits all. People in Indiana or Kentucky will likely always have views that differ from citizens of New York or California. What is critical is to appreciate that there is room in our republic for those with different views. You can choose to live in Texas or New York. But the citizens of each state have the right, under the Constitution, to apply laws that serve its citizens. It is not one size fits all.

So, if you live in a liberal state, pay your exorbitant taxes to support your unions, schools, mandates, enhanced state funded programs. But, don’t expect those in Texas, Florida, Wyoming or Indiana to pay additional federal taxes to support the subsidies for your welfare state. That is the beauty of federalism. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

My husband has Omicron

 


My dad is almost 90. My in-laws are in their late 80’s. My sister has lupus. My brother has myriad co-morbidities. I’ve spent the time since late March 2020 hibernating to avoid the potential of infecting my loved ones with less advanced immune systems than mine. Todd and I have  been fully vaccinated. We’ve followed the protocols. But, each variant changes the playing field. 

There have been breakthrough infections. My unvaccinated brother with multiple co-morbidities likely contracted COVID traveling to Texas. We feared for Dad. He said he sprayed every surface with Lysol.

 My well vaccinated husband believes he contracted Omicron flying to LA. He’s been down for the count since Friday night. The cats and I have tried to pander to his needs at a distance. 

But, I was overwhelmed with tears this evening, thinking about the risk to my dad,  my in-laws, my friends, just because we are living our lives. 

I do not believe in mandates. I am confident that my focus on health, exercise, wellness, and nutrition will protect me from contamination. But, there is no guarantee. So, I send positive energy to the universe, ask my Dad to protect himself, and take each day as it comes. I cannot withdraw from the world. Living involves risk. So, I will accept the risk of living in this crazy world of 2022 and take each day as if comes. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Welcoming 2022 With Positivity~

 My mom’s funeral took place five  years ago on New Years Eve. Since that time I’ve struggled with the holiday season. My mother loved Christmas. She decorated the entire house from head to toe including multiple trees and nativity scenes. We haven’t put up a tree or decorated since 2016. It has been too painful. 

But as 2021 came to an end, I started to emerge from my self-imposed holiday hibernation back into the light, resisting my personal disenchantment and the global COVID negativity. I decided to embrace the world despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, sing songs of joy, experiment with new ways to celebrate, substitute friends for family for gatherings, let go of things and people over which I have no control, and celebrate life.

This recipe worked for us. We enjoyed a lovely weekend in Richmond, Virginia with fabulous food, two amazing exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts…Ansel Adams and Man Ray. What sublime mastery of photography!  

We explored a couple of wineries we’d not previously visited. I went to a matinee alone to experience the joy of West Side Story 2021 followed by my first manicure and pedicure in two years. And who can dispute the blessings of a well functioning septic system! 

Christmas evening we had the pleasure of sharing with a beloved friend, our goddaughter, her partner, some new friends and delightful furry critters. 

To end the second year of COVID, I had the fortuitous good fortune of visiting Ulta for the first time in an age only to discover I had $317 in bonus points I HAD TO USE by end of 2021 or lose them! I had no idea!  That I showed up just in the nick of time to use my $317 in free makeup /skincare is a message that good times are ahead! It took me 90  minutes to figure out how to spend it….but I did. This was a sign! 




Friday, December 24, 2021

Gratitude for Life Because I Live in the USA

It is Christmas Eve and we are watching Dunkirk, a movie about the fight for survival of 400,000 soldiers stranded on foreign shores at the mercy of the German  military. It is a story of bravery, fortitude, survival, the collaboration of citizens to save British soldiers. It is uplifting, inspiring, beautiful, courageous, a paean to the celebration of freedom, liberty, idealism and the spirit of democracy. 

As we conclude our second year of COVID, I plan to celebrate the resilience of humankind and the beauty of life. If we consider the challenges we humans have faced in the last 100 years, this pandemic is just a blip on the radar. 

Consider before the discovery of penicillin, people died from being pricked by the thorn of a rose bush. That happens to me multiple times throughput a year. Humankind survived WWI, WWII, multiple regional wars, the Cold War, fear of nuclear annihilation, DDT, cyclamates, Red Dye No. 2, killer bees, Mao, Stalin, Amin, Noriega, Castro, Tito, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Brezhnev, Etc. 

Many people forget that western civilization was saved by everyday people who loved his/ her country; people who did not consider race, color, creed, religious affiliation, physical ability, or ideology when fighting to preserve freedom. 

Those members of the far  left in Congress should spend some time in a socialist state to enjoy the benefits they espouse before inflicting those  programs on others. Spend some time in China or Russia as an average citizen instead of a visiting dignitary. Then decide.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is Gloriously Captivating

 

I almost didn’t go. Too many members of the media described Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story as a ‘woke’ retelling of the classic musical, itself a mid 20th century retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. I’d read reviews that the dialogue had been altered to reflect 21st Century liberal sensitivity. That concept offended my belief in the necessity for artists to push boundaries. And…I believe that enhanced sensitivity has damaged the resilience of the American experiment. 

Just at the right time, Turner Classic Movies broadcast the 1961 movie version of West Side Story. Once again I was mesmerized by Leonard Bernstein’s score, Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics, choreography by Jerome Robbins & script by Arthur Laurents. 


 


The dancing! The music! The lyrics! I couldn’t get the songs out of my mind. The ear worms cycling through my brain kept me awake~ Something’s Coming, Maria, The Jets Song, America, Tonight! 

Yesterday I went to a matinee at The Alamo Drafthouse. It serves really good draft beer. I had the time wrong and arrived just as the movie started. West Side Story 2021 maintained the feel of 1957 New York with a top notch cast, glorious dancing, and the music as memorable as ever. Yes, there were. Ganges to the script; but that did not distract in anyway. And newcomer Rachel Zegler was a new perfect Maria.

I would watch it again. If you love musicals and have the opportunity to see this in a theater, go. This West Side Story is glorious on the big screen. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Celebrate Gratitude Every Day

 


One of the lessons that I learned from my years in Al Anon, recovering from my years of toxic relationships with addicts, I learned to celebrate the things for which I feel grateful. During my first meeting in Hing Kong, when I was filled with pain, emotional pain, mental distress, feeling alone in the world without a life raft, the collective of survivors suggested I make a gratitude list.

In the early days it was rudimentary. Through my tears I tried to express gratitude  for life, health, my cats, family, food, a flight back to the States. It took baby steps. It took years of self reflection. I wrote in a journal. I went to meetings. I listened to other leap,e tell their stories. Then I told mine.

I practiced the 12 Steps. I learned from others. I found peace & serenity. I found happiness. I learned lessons. 

Everyday I try to find something for which I feel gratitude. Today, I celebrate my relationship with my husband, my father, my brother, my husband’s family,  a few close friends. I feel grateful for my coworkers who are likeminded and give me emotional support. I am grateful for my furry companions, a regular paycheck, wine, transportation, my great health, surviving Covid, books, flannel sheets, the ability to telecommute, reconnecting with people from my past, forgiveness for past perceived wrongs, joy, 


I celebrate the good fortune to be a citizen of the USA, to enjoy the freedoms of our republic, to live in a world where I have choices, to embrace the diversity of our country, to know that anyone can reinvent themselves and explore new options.

I urge all to let go of the past, celebrate the present, live in the moment, and open one’s mind to possibility. That is the beauty of America. We are not constrained by who we are at birth. We can spread our wings and fly with ingenuity, passion, intellect, creativity, and pursuit of the American dream.

Do not listen to naysayers. Be all that you can be. Gratitude begets gratitude and success. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Truth About Education in America

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-coddling-of-american-children-is-a-boon-to-beijing-china-education-college-victim-11637525811?st=s8zt09tbrjei33e&reflink=article_copyURL_share

I urge all Americans who care about education in America to read this article that was published in today’s Wall Street Journal. It was written by Habi  Zhang, a Chinese doctoral student in the U.S.A. with a young son attending a New Jersey elementary school. Zhang illustrates why student in America consistently rank subpar in science and math compared with systems with a more vigorous academic curriculum.



Over the past 40 plus years US educational standards deteriorated exponentially. It essentially began with the concept of mainstreaming students of all intellectual levels to avoid stigma. Consequently, the best and brightest were not challenged sufficiently to elevate personal performance unless they had the good fortune to attend a magnate school or a private school. Public education has been dumbed down. Homework became onerous, unfair, oppressive and racist because only those students with involved parents completed assignments.

Too much emphasis has been placed on feelings. Competition has been deemed counterproductive to a sense of well-being. The decision to employ electronic devices in the classroom has hindered the development of critical thinking. Grade inflation has rendered an A worth the equivalent of a C in the 1960s when 94% was an A- and 70% a D. 


The only way to rehabilitate the education system in a return to basics, reinstating a focus on excellence and achievement, encouraging the study of history instead of social sciences, algebra and geometry and trigonometry instead of basic math with a calculator, a vigorous agenda for reading world classics, and the expectation that every student be held to the same standards without pandering or excuses or grade inflation or teacher political opinions. Return to requiring debates with students assigned a topic AND a position to argue. Otherwise, ya’ll had better start learning Mandarin. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

New York City is Dead To Me Thanks to the Public Design Commission

 

 New York City ‘officials’ have decided to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the founders of our Republic, the founder of the esteemed University of Virginia, the author of the Virginia Constitution upon which the Bill of Rights was based from City Hall because his statue ‘offends’ sensitive ‘woke’ ( not a real word)

Yes, he owned slaves. Yes, he was a hypocrite. Yes, he was profligate. Yes, he was a flawed human being. However, without Thomas Jefferson and other flawed men ( because women had no agency until the 1970s), there would be no United States of America. There would have been no Declaration of Independence upon which the divorce from Britain was based. These men who traveled for weeks to meet in Philadelphia as the Continental Congress  to commit treason against the king, who knew they would be executed for treason if they lost, who tried to cobble together agreement among 13 individual states that were more akin to countries with disparate interests and cultures, who made painful compromises that do not withstand 20th and  21st Century moral scrutiny, still created the foundation upon which our country that now celebrates diversity and freedom was built. 

Enough with the idiocy. Where else on this planet does anyone believe they would have the same rights, privileges, agency, freedoms, ability to rise from poverty to the presidency, the rank of Chairman of the Joint  Chiefs, to run a Fortune 500 company, to govern a state, to become a University professor, to create a multi million dollar business, to fly to the moon? 

Why do people the world over want to risk death or imprisonment or deportation  to come to this country? It is because of the government formed by the flawed human beings such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, Caesar Romney, and all of those individuals who risked life and limb to sign the Declaration of Independence. 

America. Love it with all of its beauty and its flaws or leave it!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Why Don’t All Mugs Have A Thumb Rest?

 

Seriously, I am baffled why it is so challenging to find pottery mugs with thumb rests. Of course, I didn’t know the value of a thumb rest until I purchased a gorgeous hand throw mug at the Saturday market in Charleston, SC several years ago. Immediately, I realized that from hence forward, it would be impossible for me to enjoy a cup of tea or a coffee in a deficient mug. 

Regretfully, I broke the handle on my market mug. Although Superglue fixed it for a time,  the handle separated again, leaving me bereft.

I checked Amazon, craft markets, pottery stores, specialty shops, gift shops, department stores online pottery vendors and discovered that mugs with thumb rests are like unicorns. 


Fortunately, a few brilliant potters on Etsy have seen the light. My husband is now a convert and my family have been able to locate the perfect breakfast mug for him at The Black Dog in Logansport, Indiana. 

Truly, after experiencing the holy grail of mugs incorporating the thumb rest, no other sort will do.  

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Chinese Nationalists Kuomintang Saved The Treasures of China when Fleeing the Communists in 1949

 


October 10, 2021 is the 110th anniversary of Taiwan, Republic of China( ROC) independence. The People’s Republic of China (PRC ) leader, Xi Jinping, seeks to turn back the clock on the modernization of China launched by Deng Xiaopeng and reinstate the totalitarianism of Mao. Xi has promised reunification by force if necessary. The rest of the world must not allow this to happen. Why would I, an American near retirement living in rural Virginia care about what takes place across the Taiwan Straits?

It is simple. I enjoyed the rare privilege of living outside Taipei for two years 25 years ago and learned how the KMT saved 8000 years of the treasures and history of China. Had Chiang Kai Shek and his fellow Nationalists not transported the incomparable wealth of China’s historical material culture from the Forbidden City to the island of Formosa in 1949, Mao’s Red Guards  would have destroyed it all, along with the millions of people that were purged, during the Cultural  Revolution.  Mao and his acolytes encouraged neighbors to report neighbors, children to report parents, and wives to report husbands for exhibiting bourgeois values. Everything considered antithetical to Mao’s political ideology was destroyed. While visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1991 I was amazed at the deterioration of the crumbling site devoid of any historic wealth. I asked our guide, Henry Harry,  what had happened. He told me it was all in Taiwan.


While the early leaders of ROC certainly practiced their own brand of repression, including decades of martial law, the people of Taiwan 🇹🇼 ultimately created an energetic, creative, capitalist society in the process with democratically elected leaders.  They’ve preserved the history of the Chinese people. I’ve not visited a more impressive museum in the world.

This bit of history should resonate with every American. We must not  succumbs to the ‘woke’ culture in the United States today that insists that evidence of our history:  the good, the bad, the ugly, the glorious,  be removed from our public spaces, our cultural institutions, our universities. Giving in to any repression of individual freedoms by the thought police is unfathomable to those of us who have talked to people who have experienced authoritarianism. How is the behavior and hate speech of current Progressive ideologues truly any different? 

I will be celebrating Double 10 Day tomorrow, feeling grateful to the people who saved the history of China’s civilization. 



Thursday, October 7, 2021

Defending Free Speech, The Right to Assemble & the Constitutional Breaches by Merrick Garland

 

At one time, Attorney General, Merrick Garland, served this country with honor. Perhaps he is bitter about his scuttled nomination to the US Supreme Court. Or, maybe he is beholden to the Biden administration for his appointment. Maybe, he fell on the shower, hit his head, and lost his critical thinking skills. There must be an explanation why he would abandon the US Constitution that he swore to honor and protect by using federal resources to prevent concerned parents the right to protest the left-wing ideology foisted on students of public schools by teachers unions and militant ‘woke’ ( really? Is that a legitimate word?) school boards from expressing their concerns in a public forum.

The Biden administration, the progressive communists, the liberal teachers unions, the mainstream media, and the entirety of Congress have abrogated their responsibilities to our children. Consequently, parents have no choice but to unite and fight for the souls and minds of their children to prevent indoctrination by left wing orthodoxy. That fact that Merrick Garland, the one time federal investigator who uncovered the atrocities of Timothy McVey and brought justice to the families of the Oklahoma City bombing, has agreed to pursue potential prosecution of concerned parents should send shivers down the spines of every American. This is the beginning of the end of our country as we know it. This should offend every American, parent, green card holder or visitor of the USA that believes in the very foundation of our society. 

Democrats were tricked into supporting Joe Biden, who lied about his desire to unite America. Tulsi Gabbard, who served in the US Military on active duty and as a member of Congress as a Democrat speaks out about the heinous disregard of the rights of the people under this administration. This is not a right or left issue. This is an American issue.

Stop the madness! Whether I agree with the way the Senate managed nominations to the Supreme Court in the past matters not. We were saved from the lifetime influence of a man that was once considered a moderate. He is now...frightening. 



Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Passing of a Generation

 

When my dad, Richard Copeland, retired from teaching  in Logansport, Indiana 30 years ago, he and his retired colleagues started meeting for breakfast every Tuesday morning at a local diner. The group originally consisted of about 30 retired male teachers, many of them coaches. As of today, there are only two left to carry on the tradition. 

Just a few days ago, Coach Jim Turner, age 90, who lead the Logan Berries to state baseball championships, joined the angels. He was a good man, an honorable American history teacher, and a beloved baseball coach.

When I was a junior in high school, I talked him into allowing me to study independently since I was already a history buff. I focused on American Civil War naval battles. He gave me the ability to stretch my mind while still achieving the credits I needed to graduate. That is what separates the good teachers from the great. He gave me the opportunity to stretch my knowledge. 45 years later I am still grateful.

Now, the Tuesday morning gathering is reduced to two, my dad(Richard Copeland) and Rich Wild. They’ve been friends for decades. They do not always agree on the current political situation. But they have a collective history and the memories of their retired teacher friends  that they continue to honor. 

Keep the faith Daddy & Mr. Wild. Uphold the tradition. 






Tuesday, September 21, 2021

It Is Time To Revisit Tort Reform

 

It is time to revisit tort reform. For those unfamiliar with the concept, tort reform refers to establishing laws that place a monetary cap on non-economic and punitive damages in a civil law suit. Most legislators resist tort reform because a significant number of elected officials are attorneys who represent p,a tiffs in civil lawsuits on a contingency basis. That means the lawyers get paid approximately 40% of any settlement or verdict. In fact, many cases don’t settle because the lawyers are looking for a big payday. They vilify insurance companies and corporations to leverage negative publicity for a big payday. But the system ultimately costs all of us. 

Sorry, folks, but no individual’s life is worth $10 million for pain and suffering. Accidents happen. Unless somebody is under the influence of drugs/ alcohol or there is evidence of intentional wrongdoing, there should be no punitive damages. Juries make decisions based upon emotions rather than facts. Elected judges who are supposed to be impartial generally support law firms that contribute more money to their reelection campaigns. The system is corrupt. Many players are unethical. Apparently they sleep well on their mattresses stuffed with cash.


If this trend of ridiculous payouts to injured people doesn’t change, the system will collapse. There is a reason so few products are actually manufactured in the USA today... laws that hold a manufacturer legally responsible when an idiot misused a product and the manufacturer or the importer or the retail outlet failed to warn the end user not to use the toaster in the bathtub. 

In Nassau county Florida a jury recently awarded a verdict of One Billion Dollars for the death of a college student. So, the next time you wonder why your grocery store shelves are empty, Kohl’s has no merchandise, or your favorite restaurant has no meat, it is because the legal system is bankrupting the system. 


Just stop it!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

America’s Responsibility For Failed Nation Building

 

Interference in the business of a another sovereign nation creates a responsibility that the US government had abrogated. It is an embarrassment to those of us with a sense of fairness, scruples, dignity and duty to those we have harmed by hubris. For those who don’t understand the term, hubris is excessive pride combined with arrogance. This has been the failure of our most recent debacle in failed nation building.

After 9/11 the US government decided to send troops to Afghanistan with the goal of crippling Al Qaeda and killing Osama Bin Laden.  Has the powers-that-be stayed within the confines of that mission, we would not have seen the debacle of recent weeks at the Kabul Airport and news reports. However, the successive administrations in Washington decided, despite prior failures, to bring Afghanistan from the 9th Century into the 21st Century. Along the way, the Americans  and western allies  helped to establish elections, a free press, education for women, modern entertainment, western style freedoms, the ability to travel, exposure to the arts, liberty from oppression, and the basic freedoms we hold dear. 


But, in an attempt to appease a certain constituency, the Biden administration decided to withdraw all military support for the struggling Afghan government. Rather than use the strategy that has served the Korean Peninsula well for 69 plus years by maintaining a peacekeeping force, Biden and his cronies decide to repatriate all troops before ensuring the evacuation of American citizens, Afghans that served as guides, interpreters or support staff for the US military, the families of permanent US residents, and those most at risk of retribution by a terrorist organization that hates w omen and the modern world.

In my humble opinion it is tantamount to wars crimes to abandon those we promised to help. Had we just killed Bin Laden and cut off the head of the Al Qaeda snake and left, the original mission would have been a success. But instead we tried to change the lives of the people by exposing them to opportunity, education, the concept of freedom and hope. HOPE! 


There is no excuse for this heinous abrogation of responsibility that we accepted by this most recent failed attempt at nation building. The Chinese proverb that makes one responsible for a life one has saved resonates in uncountable ways. For every woman child, interpreter, driver, agent that we ‘saved’ by giving them hope, we owe them accountability. For every US supporter, artist, woman,  member of the press, child or educator that has been beaten, beheaded, abused, bombed, shoved back into the 9th Century, we are responsible. 


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Patriotism in the Heartland | Logansport, IN Honors Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez

 

I did not plan to spend an hour watching WRTV stream on my IPAD this afternoon. The last four weeks at work had been stressful. And, the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 caused me to reflect on the state of the world.  So, I planned to leisurely read the New York Times while enjoying the relaxing sounds of our outdoor fountain, assemble a charcuterie tray for a mid-afternoon snack, and then turn to my latest thriller from Book of the Month Club. 

As I was trolling through Facebook I noticed a link to the live stream of the procession of Corporal Humberto Sanchez, one of the 13 members of our military killed by a terrorist bomb at Kabul Airport during the criminally negligent withdrawal from Afghanistan orchestrated by Biden and his sycophants. I’d read that Marine Corporal Sanchez had been born and raised in Logansport, Indiana- the town in north central Indiana where I’d grown up- a place surrounded by farmland in the heart of what certain coastal elites refers to a ‘fly-over’ country. Although I haven’t lived there in more than 40 years, my dad still lives in the house where I grew up. Whenever I visit, I feel grounded and reminded of the people, land, and atmosphere who helped cultivate the person I am today. 

It brought tears to my eyes watching the people of Logansport stand along the 20 mile route from Grissom Air Force Base to Gundrum Funeral Home in downtown Logansport to honor a young man who joined the Marines out of high school, served as a embassy guard in Jordon, and was then deployed to Afghanistan. The people along the procession route waved American flags. Some held their hands over their hearts. An estimated 8000 motorcycles rode in the procession to honor this fallen soldier. 

There are politicians, members of the media, ivory tower academics, and ‘woke’ activists that spout derisive rhetoric about the people of America’s heartland. It is my guess that many of those individuals have spent no time in flyover country nor do they actually know anyone who has actually lived in the center part of the country.

Most of the  people who gathered along the route likely had never met Corporal Sanchez. Neither did the thousands of motorcyclists  that acted as honor guard. They came out and stood or road for hours to honor a fallen son of America. I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend time with the folks that believe in the American 🇺🇸 way of life, who honor the fallen, who believe in opportunity afforded to all, who still hold the American spirit in their hearts, who don’t judge others based upon political ideology, who still feel pride when hearing our national anthem and seeing the Stars & Stripes wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I am proud of the welcome home that Logansport, Indiana extended to one of its own. 

Rest In Peace Corporal Humberto Sanchez. The few. The Proud. An American Marine. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Reflect on the Resilience of America


 20 years ago tomorrow the concept of the invincibility of America changed. For the first time since Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, we were attacked on our soil. People who hated America just because of who we are flew planes into our iconic landmarks in an attempt to cripple our way of life. They did not succeed. 

In the midst of the horror we watched on our TV screens or in person, we found heroic deeds, actions, and people who gave us the temerity to move forward, do the next right thing, consider our collective resilience and humanity, and embrace life. Thinking back on that time when we came together as members of the human race, it mystifies me that forces have torn asunder that unity we experienced in a national tragedy.

Twenty tears ago we hailed the heroism, sacrifice, bravery and commitment of our first responders who ran into the valley of the shadow of death to save others. There were no stories of fire fighters or police officers making decisions on who to help based upon sex, color, race, creed, national origin or physical capabilities. Those first responders who climbed the smoke filled steps towards the fire while carrying 70 pounds of equipment saw only humankind. 

The passengers on Flight 93 rushed the flight deck to preserve symbols of our independence, liberty, freedom and way of life. 

Those who surged into the Pentagon to rescue those who serve each of us exhibited the best of who we are. 

Those of us who watched those planes fly into the twin towers, drove by the gaping hole in the Pentagon, who called friends or family hoping somebody answered, who listened to the recordings of the voices of the brave citizens on flight 93, cannot fathom how our media, political class, activists or colleagues could bury these memories to the extent that we have become so polarized and judgmental of our fellow man.

Stop. Reflect. Remember. Celebrate a time when the forces of evil united us. Remember when our friend in France shouted Je Suis  Americain! 🇺🇸

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Cost of Huge Jury Verdicts in America

 

I work in a field that requires experienced professionals to use their years of knowledge to evaluate situations and estimate probable outcomes based upon that experience - combined with research and the advice of legal experts. Sometimes the best laid plans, or estimates or Ouija board intelligence is wrong. There are multiple explanations for the lack of foresight. Ultimately, despite the best analysis available, it is not possible to predict how people will react to any given scenario.

My professional career involves evaluating risk. Given a certain set of facts that occurred in a specific geographic area, how is a jury likely to decide what is an appropriate verdict? We can look at prior cases. We can consider the expertise of the lawyers involved. We can look at demographics. We can consider the law and how a particular state has ruled under similar circumstances. But we cannot predict how six or twelve people will respond to the antics of unethical performers. Nor can we truly appreciate the influence of money affecting the election of judges that are courted by certain elements. Elected judges are beholden to those that contribute to their campaigns. Despite what we would like to believe, judges are influenced by many factors outside the law. Some actually have only marginal understanding of the law. 

And so, those of us that analyze risk are often disconcerted when a judge,  group of lawyers and jury completely disregard the facts, the law, the fairness doctrine, ethics, common sense, procedural requirements, the impact on society, and the damages caused by malfeasance in pursuit of the limelight, an entry on a website that brings in more customers, or the effects on society at large. Instead, greed, hubris, self aggrandizement and the rush of crushing an opponent rule the day. dollars? 


When the forces of this conflagration of unethical behavior results in ridiculous jury verdicts, we all pay the price. We pay higher prices for insurance, goods & services, and understanding of indemnity. Civil litigation is intended to find a reasonable remedy for a negligent action. That means to try to make someone who has experienced a loss whole. Unless an individual is a millionaire or billionaire, awarding huge dollars only skews the system. I’m sorry, but the typical wrongful death, if another party is legally responsible, should compensate a family for the financial loss only. Awarding damages far beyond what that individual would ever earn is just wrong and cripples our economy. Other than the Sultan of Brunei, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, how many people are really worth millions



Monday, August 30, 2021

When You & Your Partner Are in Different Professional Worlds

 

My husband & I have been together more than 16 years.We try to appreciate the slings & arrows of outrageous fortune that we each experience in our professional lives. But, we are in completely different industries. He is a government security contractor. I work for a multinational property & casualty insurance company. There is no mutual understanding of the issues we each face every day.

Over the last two weeks, I was involved in a product liability matter where the judge and plaintiff  attorneys were not playing by the rules. Things did not go well as a result, despite our best efforts. I felt betrayed by the system that is supposed to be fair and equitable. I’m still pondering how my 38 years of experience did not give me the tools to estimate the outcome. My beloved spousal unit told me to let it go. He rightly stated that  I had no control over the outcome. But...we are expected to take ownership of our decisions. Right, wrong, indifferent....He doesn’t understand the metrics of my industry anymore than I understand the metrics of his, 

So, we make every effort to provide emotional support while not fully appreciating the cause and effects, the ups and downs, the successes and failures, the wins and losses in our professional worlds.

But, I do know that I am not alone, whatever the outcome. For this Inam grateful. . 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Frustration With American Civil Litigation


 I’ve been involved in the American civil litigation industry for 40 years and cannot fathom how our population continues to leverage lawsuits as if it were a lottery. Our citizens have morphed from a  “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mindset to a belief that the world owes compensation for every unfortunate event. Nobody seems to appreciate how that adversely affects our economy. 

Let me explain a simple reality: if you are injured, more often or not it is human error, not a defect in an inanimate object. A great deal of the time it is your own damn fault. Yet millions of people seek to blame others for their own inanity, clumsiness, idiocy, alcohol consumption, or just plain bad luck. What happened to personal responsibility! I know, a rhetorical question.

Every time somebody plays the lawsuit lottery, we all pay the price..whether it be increased prices for goods and services, fewer options at Home Depot, higher insurance rates, higher medical costs, higher prices to rent vehicles or boats, or less personal responsibility. 

Sorry, but YOU have a duty to watch where you step, drive safely, climb a ladder responsibly, drink in moderation, chose your friends carefully, refrain from dropping your hairdryer in the bathtub, and keep your hands and feet from under the mower. Just stop suing every person or company that causes some petty offense or minor injury. 

You might win the lawsuit lottery, but the rest of us pay the price. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Really, You NEED a Roomba

 

I never knew that we needed a Roomba. Now, we have two. I’d seen ads. A few friends had one of these little robotic vacuums. My Pilates studio engaged a Roomba to keep the floor clean. But, it seemed like one of those cute but ineffective products that one purchased for entertainment value. 

I don’t know what caused me to start reading online  reviews and explore  which model provided the most bang for the buck. Perhaps, it was the realization that I really avoid vacuuming. That, and the fact that our Ragdoll cat, Mindy, has been molting everywhere this summer. Clumps of white fur changed the colors of the area rugs.  And... the kitchen floor felt perpetually gritty. Yeah, I’d rather read a book than clean. I’ve lost my obsession with a pristine environment over the years. But, the clumps of white fur began to disturb me.

Initially, my husband laughed. Then, he downloaded the App and programmed our Bot, named after favorite cats of yore, and scheduled daily activity to begin at 7:00am. Within a week, he forwarded a link for a refurbished higher level model to tame the upstairs. 

Now, we have two programmed for daily cleaning. The house is cleaner. The cat is entertained. Our allergies have lessened. We are hooked.

iRobot!



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

My Guilty Pleasure - The Daily Mail




Sometimes in the middle of a particularly challenging workday I take a short breather, sit on the screened in porch, listen to the carved stone hosta water fountain, and indulge in the juicy tabloid style reports of low brow news reporting. Yes. The British tabloid The Daily Mail is immensely entertaining. 

I really never considered The Daily Mail Online until we were notified that this unapologetic news source ‘borrowed’ a story from NPR about my husband’s recreation of Alexander Gardner’s stereo images of Antietam/ Sharpsburg commemorating the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest single day battle in American history. The Daily Mail ‘borrowed’ from NPR the photos, text and audio. It was actually fine with us because of the international exposure. But additionally- I was sucked in to the mind- candy.

So now, my indulgence is centered on the train wreck that is the ungrateful Prince Harry and his  paramour that allegedly want ‘privacy’ while exploiting their ‘royal’ connections. 

These lightweight stories distract me from the mind numbing hypocrisy of American politicians. Do I care about a whinging privileged rich kid crying about his angst? Not at all. But... I would rather read this entertainment than read the alleged ‘real news’ promoting Hunter Biden’s ‘artwork’ 🤣 And, the link is still there!!! Check it out🥂

 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2205327/Battle-Antietam-Pictures-retrace-steps-Civil-War-photographer-Alexander-Gardner-150-years-later.html



Monday, July 19, 2021

How Have Your Life Priorities Changed With Age?


 When I was much younger, the things that mattered were so often ‘things’ or the perceptions of affluence to feed my ego. As I’ve gained ‘wisdom’ or years on this planet, what feels important to me has changed. Yeah, year, yeah... I still desire fabulous footwear, a nicely appointed kitchen with state of the art appliances, an endless supply of luscious red wine, furry feline friends, locally roasted coffee, the occasional ‘broiled not fried’ crab cake, organic skincare and really lovely coats, but... my vision for retirement has changed. 

Now, relationships take center stage. Finding a community of people that share common interests. We want a brew pub, access to good healthcare, walk-ability, a nearby airport, Costco, a fishmonger  & butcher shop, accessible internet, and a place where plants actually grow without vermin deer munching everything . (Not where we currently live). We want to downsize our profile, but upgrade amenities. I need my water fountain! 

What is important to you as retirement approaches? Really! Share! Respond! We all want to know😎

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Gratitude For Life’s Blessings As I Approach 62


 I turn 62 this week! How can this be? It seems impossible that so many years have gone by since my first memories of looking out my brother’s bedroom window, gawking at the school busses across the street and dreaming of starting Kindergarten. It feels like I’ve lived several lives since then: childhood; high school when I dreamed of a brilliant future; college days when I played a bit of the wild child; early work life in the 1980s when anything seemed possible; my first marriage which took me from Indianapolis to Dallas to Taipei & then Hong Kong~ when I experienced international travel, playing bridge, enjoying cocktail parties & lounging by the pool at the American Club; returning to the States under a cloud of ignominy due to my ex-husbands addiction; rebuilding a career; diving into another idiotically toxic relationship; followed by peace, happiness, serenity & contentment with my current 15 year marriage.

So as I write this, I’m sitting on my rustic screened porch while listening to our glorious water fountain contemplating my good fortune.

Despite those  Shakespearean slings & arrows of outrageous fortune, the painful losses of loved ones, my frustration with the ineptitude of those who fail to embrace the good fortune they have to live in the USA, I celebrate these blessings:  a partner that I love, lots of furry friends, a challenging career that recognizes my talents, retirement savings, a peaceful retreat on a quiet ridge in rural Virginia, my father, a kind hearted brother who cares for our father, a few very good friends, access to books, a lovely house with heat & air conditioning, clean water, nourishing food, reliable transportation, education, the ability to dream, flexibility, common sense, and the freedoms that derive from my being born & raised in the most diverse, beautiful, equal opportunity driven, country in the world that stands for the belief that we are all created equal.