Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Listening to Rain

 


This has been a rainy day. When I headed out mid afternoon for a long overdue massage to release back pain, it was necessary to embrace a torrential downpour to run from my car to the spa. Instead of resenting the rain and my resultant drenched self, I decided to embrace the downpour and laugh. The rain didn’t cause injury, just a bit of wet clothes and hair, all of which dried while I indulged in the pleasure of a healing massage in the middle of a workday afternoon. For me, that is essential therapy, an exercise that is necessary for me to stay healthy, pain free and able to endure yet another reorganization of my workgroup. There have been so many in the last 7 years and 6 weeks that I’ve no ability to quantify. 

Because I’d embraced self care during the workday, of course I logged back on to my VPN when I arrived home followed by my 2 miles on the treadmill, an exercise that helps me shed the stress of the day and leaves me calories to guzzle a bit of fermented grape…today a bit of Greenhill Blanc de Blanc…why not I bit of bubbly in the middle of theveeek! 😎

After my cooldown I retreated to the screened in porch porch with our two indoor spoiled cats, Mindy and Anya, to listen to the rain. What a glorious sound! There are few sounds as peaceful as the drops of rain combined with the smell of the freshness that a hard rain brings. It is smooth peaceful, to sit in the dark with a flute of bubbly and purring cats…it elevates all of my senses. I know I will enjoy peaceful sleep tonight.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Reflections on Turning 63

 

I celebrated my 63rd birthday a few weeks ago. I’m not sure how I got here. I recall snippets of memories from my childhood, my teens, my university years, my party days, my first marriage, my life overseas, and the last 18 years in rural Virginia enjoying a healthy relationship, 3 acres of rocky ridge land, a plethora of cats,  wine tasting, great cooking, a mesmerizing fountain, and peaceful hours reading books, enjoying the sounds of nature, my few excellent friends and contentment. 

Sometimes it feels as if I’ve lived several lives…like the Shakespeare quote about an actor playing many roles. But what really resonates with me is my desire to reconnect and embrace my Midwestern roots. Virginia is my home. I’ve found family history in Winchester back to the Revolutionary War. It is where I am settled and at peace.

But, I owe my foundation, my ethics, my code, my belief system to where I was raised In Logansport, Indiana.

My husband, a native of Lennawee County, Michigan, feels the same. We are who we are because of the way we were raised, to believe in fairness, law & order, the miracle of the USA and its Constitution, the concept that we are all created equal and deserve equal opportunities, that it is necessary to work hard to achieve success, that giving back to community is important, the golden rule, acceptance of people for who they are, and that kindness is always the right way to go.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, successes and failures, joys and heartache, good fortune and challenges, highs and lows, celebrations and depression. But overall, I know I have been blessed. Even the difficult times when I thought I would not be able to crawl out of the abyss to see the light again, I’ve found the strength to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.

Lessons I’ve learned helped me to reset my hard drive from a place of negativity to an attitude of positivity. If I can do that, so can you. Celebrate the beauty in every day and practice an attitude of gratitude. It will change your life. It changed mine and helped me to accept the aging process with joy, humility and gratitude. 


Friday, July 15, 2022

Press on Nails 2022


Those  of us of a certain age surely remember the cheesy commercials from the. 70’s advertising Lee Press on Nails. We howled with laughter at  the awful faux fingernails that resembled construction paper pasts ons. Press on nails did not compute. They seemed tacky and low brow. But, those of us at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation still had youthful, strong fingernails that could flick the pull of a Coke can with nary a scratch.



Forward 45 years. Our strong as horse hoof nails have deteriorated to thin, brittle shadows that we never expected. When my mom complained of skimpy nails I suggested she embrace jello. Well, apparently diet can’t save us from the vagaries of aging.

WTF! I awakened one day to discover my previously concrete nails had become brittle, thin, sad, ridged, aged examples of deteriorating youth. This I never expected. I thought strong fingernails were ageless. How wrong! 

I tried cuticle oil, nail strengthening,  o poly shower, short nails, gel polish and every remedy I could find. Nothing worked. Gel looked Brest, but destroyed the nail bed and natural nails.

So, a few weeks ago I read about the modern glue on nails that received rave reviews. They became popular during COVID lockdowns. I was suspicious of the product. But, I started to conduct red arch and discovered that glue on/ press on nails had evolved exponentially in the last decades including mail safe glue and an abundance of options in length, shape, application and price point. Wow! I am amazed how natural they look with easy application att a price point far less than even a regular manicure that lasts less than a week. 


I am sold! You can buy these press on nail at the grocery store, Target, Walmart and specialty retailers online. 

Cheap options: Olive & June.

Upscale: Static Nails or LA Nails.

And if a nail falls off, you can glue it back on. No downside. Lots of options. And a set lasts up to 3 weeks. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Give Patriotism a Try This 246th Independence Day | Let Go of Anger

 

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime..Mark Twain


I have been privileged to travel extensively through Europe and East Asia which included 6 years living abroad. Living on foreign soil gave me the opportunities to break the bubble of organized tourism that most Americans, including those in the political class, experience. Those who travel in that bubble on the plush heated or air conditioned coach, or luxury staterooms on a cruise, stay in western style hotels, and dine in carefully selected restaurants do not truly see a country. Instead, these travelers are escorted by guides or handlers to meetings, historical sites, cultural shows, museums, ruins or places that insulate the traveler from scenes of poverty, pollution, environmental devastation,  oppression, disregard for safety or government surveillance. ( with the exception of Kuala Lumpur where they drive tourists by the prison and mention execution for drug possession).

In the USA at this moment we have cultural and political divisiveness that is exacerbated by 24/7 media, partisan politicians, inflammatory rhetoric, an undereducated population taught that the sins of the Founding Fathers stain generations of sons and daughters, the devaluation of a liberal arts education that teaches critical thinking, an inability to recognize that America promises opportunities but not outcomes, and that we the people can alter the course of history by getting involved at the grassroots level and working to change what we don’t like through peaceful persuasion. 

I’ve spoken to a multitude of immigrants who came to this land for political freedom, religious freedom, freedom of protest, the right to due process, the right to avoid persecution, the ability to start with nothing and create a peaceful life, a small business or a conglomerate, a chance to start over, the right to an attorney if arrested, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, an infrastructure that provides people with access to clean water, mostly well paved roads, safe air travel, safe food, free primary and secondary education, libraries, and the right to remove government representatives we don’t like by casting a vote.

I still believe that America πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Contrary to what many want us to believe, this is not the most tumultuous time in our history. Read it. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, the great, the individuals who remain for the most part unsung heroes or heroines in somebody’s life. 

I felt most fortunate to be an American while   celebrating Independence Day in Taipei, Taiwan, a place separated from PRC by the 110 mile Taiwan Straits, shortly after the crackdown in Tiananmen Square, knowing I had an American passport and a ticket to freedom.




On the July 4, 2022~ A Reminder~ In Case You’ve Not Read Beyond the Preamble


In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

The Supreme Court Was Right on the Law but Wrong In it’s Decision on Roe

The 49+ year debate over a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy baffles me. Why does anybody not involved in the decision care? How does this decision adversely affect another? Why do Right To Life people believe they should have any influence over another woman’s choices? Are any of these people donating significant dollars to raise an unwanted child? 

I was raised Catholic. I tend to support the Libertarian view that another individual should not infringe my rights in my bedroom, on my property or in my bank account. 

While I do believe from a strict reading of the Constitution that abortion is not specifically enumerated as a right, the 1973 court created a right with twisted interpretation. As Congress well knows, once a program or a right has been deployed, withdrawing that program or right becomes a hornets nest.

There has been a lot of discussion about legal precedent. Much has been said about the overturn of decisions such as Dredd Scott and Plessy. These cases were clearly wrongly decided. And the decisions to reverse course has been argued to support overturn of Roe.

But, there is a significant difference. Plessy and Dredd Scott deprived people of rights they should have had under the Constitution. Roe created rights that never existed and were not enumerated in the Constitution. Overturning Scott and  Plessy righted terrible wrongs and reinstated rights that should never have been abrogated.

But Roe created rights that had not been previously conveyed. American women relied on these created rights for 49 years. Withdrawing rights previous confirmed, notwithstanding the original error, is inexcusable. Women have come to depend on the rights expanded by Roe. How is removing the right to a safe and legal abortion any less heinous than attempting to nullify Medicare, Aid to Dependent Children, SNAP, or. Medicaid?

Again, why do you care? If you want to have a kid, do it. But do not tel anyone else how to live  their lives. Unless you plan to adopt, pay for and raise an unwanted child, STFU ! This issue should not be the subject of legislation in the states or the federal government.

And, if you really value life, don’t buy oil produced in Saudi Arabia. Don’t buy any goods manufactured in China or Mexico. Don’t purchase anything made Russia. Don’t put grandma is a nursing home. Invite a homeless person or refugee to live in your spare room. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Reasons for Supporting the Second Amend

 

I am an avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment, which supports the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Too many apologists argue that 2A only applies to a well regulated militia. Anyone who actually studies history knows that the intent of 2A is to provide citizens with the means to protect the people from an oppressive government.

While many liberals in the 21st Century opine that the Founders of our Republic (not democracy) did not mean for the citizenry to be armed, history defeats this notion

Those who collaborated to write and ratify the US Constitution understood that governments and its citizens were often at odds. 

As examples, consider the 100 years war, the English  civil wars, the wars fought by the Church, the Crusades, the wars against heretics, the Spanish wars against the Moors, the French Revolution, the Chinese murdering citizens. In the time after the ratification of the US Constitution one must consider the War of 1812, the French & Indian War, the Mexican Wars, the SpanishAmerican War, the Spanish Civil War, the Pograms in Russia,  Kristalnacht, the Holocaust, the Great Leap Forward, Mao’s Red Guard, the Vietnamese re-education camps, Pol Pot’s killing fields, Tiananmen Square

 in China, the repression of the Hong Kong people, Cuba, Venezuela, Erdogan in Turkey, the Theocracy in Saudi, despots in Iran/Syria/  North Korea, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Russia invading Ukraine, Serbia in the late 20th Century, Amin in Uganda, Cuba, Venezuela, leaders supporting the Soviet Union east of the Iron Curtain. These are regrettably just a few of the autocrats that have subjugated people within its territories. One of the most heinous is the repression of Hong Kong, at one time one of the freest, most Capitalistic places on earth.

China imprisons those who even mention Tiananmen Square patriots.

The federal government will not disarm its citizens because liberal idiots have failed to study history.

Read the writings of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. The intent of 2A it to protect citizens from oppressive government. History shows that corrupt politicians will exploit the citizenry when people give up rights. I will not give up my rights.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Troubled Sibling Relationships


 Anybody who grew up with siblings has, no doubt, experienced episodes of rivalry, anger, disagreement, schism, dysfunction at some point during life. I am the eldest of three, with a younger brother and sister. As children , we had pet rivalries and disagreements. As adults, however, it has occasionally felt as if we were raised in alternative universes or different planets with completely differing memories of childhood. 

At various times we have experienced estrangement. It is rare that all three of us have gotten along swimmingly together. It is generally two against one…with the simpatico siblings varying for days, months or years. 

The most challenging relationship has been that my younger sister and me. We are four years apart in age, both born at the end of the baby boom, but unable to see eye to eye on much of anything. I’ve been fortunate to experience life in technicolor since my teen years . I’ve studied and lived overseas, work in corporate America, consistently try new things, embrace all that life has to offer, and have been blessed with a renaissance that began with my second marriage in 2006. 

My sister is a whip smart mother of two with a PhD and teaches at a university. She has suffered with an autoimmune disorder for 17 years. I admire her resilience and determination to live as normal a life she can despite her health challenges. 

But, we’ve never seen eye to eye when it comes to family. Her theory of raising children:  milk spoils. You cannot spoil children. This has been at the core of our schism at every turn. In fact, my father, brother and I never mention her children or husband when we have a rare conversation. It never goes well. But, after several glasses of a fine Cabernet a few weeks ago I was compelled to reach out about a proposed mini family reunion over Memorial Day weekend. None of us truly believed she would make the trip to Indiana to see our 90 year old father. When she suggested another time, I reminded her that when one is 90, every day is a remarkable gift. That did not resonate. So, in my wine fueled state, I texted what I thought. And, I’m okay with it. 

 Amber it was better to cut the head off the snake now rather than later. I am at peace.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

What to write about to avoid family angst?


 I’ve been writing this blog since 2013. During the first few years I focused on issues that spoke to me. Then, I started  to question the wisdom of being completely honest about my views while I’m employed by a multi national corporation. A part of me has felt repressed because of my employment situation. Further, I’ve been hesitant to express myself because of concern my bold approach to writing could reflect negatively on a family member that has diametrically opposed views.

At this juncture, I’m prepared to set the record straight. I may change names or omit them to protect the not-so- innocent. If a family member feels tossed under a bus, there must a reason. There are reasons from my humble perspective.  Our parents gave us every opportunity to succeed and paid for our undergraduate education. If one does not appreciate that, or chooses to espouse positions that are anathema to my understanding, I will call them on it.

What I will not do, is toss my parental units under a bus, tractor trailer or train. My mom & dad always said they would support usb in achieving an undergraduate degree. They overcompensated in supporting my niece and nephew who have no gratitude or appreciation for the support of their grandparents. They have not expressed any interest in their maternal grandparents. As such, they deserve nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nothing. Not even a scintilla of consideration. I am appalled at the failure to show even one iota of gratitude. 

So, our estates will go to charitable organizations, including my parents’ scholarship fund. Our cats have shown more appreciation than certain relatives. 😱

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 πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡Ό 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.