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

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.


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🥂

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. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

If You Are Representing the USA, Respect Our Flag or Withdraw from Tokyo


Despite my intentions to avoid the leaping into the  toxic political fray, I can no longer sit back and ignore the ungrateful, disrespectful, misinformed, vitriolic athletes that seek to sow hate and dissent at the Tokyo Olympic Games while representing the country they purport to disdain.

The Bill of Rights amended to the U.S. Constitution affords all of us  the right to free speech, including protest. This is among the most treasured freedoms that we in America hold dear. As such, I am perplexed why any individual that hates the USA so much that he or she looks for opportunities to show disregard for the American flag would even consider representing the USA at an international sporting event. 

If you cannot love the USA and the flag that represents our nation, I do not want you competing under my banner. Those who allege the Stars and Stripes is a racist symbol either forget,  have never been taught, or just don’t care about the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought, suffered grievous physical and mental injuries and died under this banner. Did you know Crispus Attucks, a man of African and Native American descent was the first casualty of the Revolutionary War. What about former President John a Quincey Adams representing the captives of the Amistad slave ship in court? 

During the American Civil War 364,511  federal soldiers died while fighting for preservation of the USA and to end slavery. Add to that number the 288, 881 wounded for a total of 646,392 individuals who  found under the Star Spangled Banner. If you can’t respect the flag for which these Americans fought to give you freedom, then leave. Move someplace where you think life is better. 

What about the American nurses, volunteers, Red Cross workers, ambulance drivers and soldiers who got on ships, sailed to Europe, and fought to preserve freedom in World War I? What about the Americans who fought in Europe and Asia during World War II to liberate prisoners in concentration camps, to save people from Japanese atrocities in China, who kept Hitler from killing all who did not fit within his view of the Aryan race? Does anybody truly believe all of these Americans fought to save white people only?

Most people I know believe in the proposition that all men and women are created equal, should be afforded equal opportunity under the law, and judge people based on their character.  Celebrate the progress we have made. Work within the system, but respect the flag. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Glorious Song of Brood X Cicadas as we Emerge from Lockdown


Every seventeen years billions of Brood X (10) cicadas emerge to procreate along the Mid Atlantic. This evening, as I was driving home with the top down on my convertible up Route 522 outside Winchester, Virginia I suddenly noticed the delightful choir of cicadas seeking mates. In areas where these amazing insects emerge, their song can be deafening, often exceeding 100 decibels. 

As I roared up to our ridge, the sounds of the cicadas made me feel joyful with the awareness that despite our 14 months of lockdown, the cycle of life continues. Nature prevails yet again and shows us the natural wonders of our world. I first noticed a bit of a roar this afternoon while sitting at my desk with the windows open. I truly thought my essential oils diffuser was making an unusual racket. The sound seemed at a distance. The cicadas have just begun to emerge on our ridge. It is amazing that occasionally I feel as if I can hear an individual song. Could it be? 

This is my second experience with Brood X, which last emerged to sing in 2004. I recall then driving along the Baltimore Washington Parkway, the trees dark with cicadas, the thunderous sounds filling the air, my psyche filled with amazement that bugs could make so much noise! My life was so different then. 

The thought of these  prehistoric insects connecting us with the past, helping us to celebrate life in the present, and reminding us of the continuum of nature through time, is magical.I’m sitting on my deck with a glass of  sparkling Alsace rose celebrating the delights of all our earth has to offer. I wish more people would stop and listen to the cicadas and forget about politics and dissent for just a while.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Emerging From The Idiocy of COVID Lockdown


If nothing else, the Centers for Disease Control and the political establishment showed "we the people" that "science" is flexible depending on the agenda and that all COVID restrictions have been political. How many small businesses collapsed because of government interference! How many independent restaurants closed! This issue is close to home because my yoga studio and Pilates studio were unable to survive the forced closures followed by limited re-openings with social distancing. Really, if 80% of stopping the spread of a virus - including flu and COVID - involves hand-washing. Add a mask and common sense and every small business could have safely stayed open and thriving. Instead, the hopes and dreams of many main street Americans, including immigrants, fell victim to the politicization of the virus.

And what of the millions of school children and college students that lost an entire year of in -person teaching, socialization, engagement, sports, extra curricular activities, and growth? Some of the most at risk children will never regain what was lost! Hopefully, the American public will remember the teachers' unions that abandoned their students while lobbying for additional benefits and public support.

The hypocrisy and hubris of the media, political class, unions, educators, social activists, do-gooders, talking heads, protesters, apologists, and state courts has been mind numbing. Schools were closed, but cigarette factories were deemed essential businesses. Liquor stores stayed open, but restaurants had to close. Wineries could not have tastings, but fast food joints stayed open. Hair and nail salons closed, but convenience stores stayed open, 

States and businesses used COVID as an excuse to automate and replace humans with machines. Do you think the toll operators will ever rehire people to sit at a toll booth? Think fast food restaurants will ever replace the ordering kiosks with order takers /cashiers? Especially if such businesses are required to pay $15 per hour!

So, "celebrities" argue that the brilliant capitalist pharmaceutical companies and scientists that created several effective vaccines in less than a year to combat the virus should share their research with the world! I don't see those hypocrites donating millions of their own dollars to support research and development! There is a reason nobody watches these self -obsessed, self congratulatory, under educated morons self congratulate any longer. 

If nothing else, COVID has taught many of us the value of our families, immediate circle of friends, letting go of social media, turning off the partisan news, the beauty of home, the gloriousness of the family unit, and the celebration of the truly essential workers: truck drivers, grocery store workers, meat packers, farmers, bus drivers, train engineers, nurses, doctors, janitors, retail workers, butchers, factory workers, EMTs, tutors, vintners, and Amazon! Sorry, folks, Jeff Bezos deserves his billions!

Now, I've been vaccinated. I had my hair sheared short. One of the cats died. The truck died. We bought a 1946 Hudson convertible.  We celebrated our15th wedding anniversary and my dad's 89th birthday. I've decided I'm okay with facing the final years of my career without opportunity. I bought a Pilates reformer to practice at home, a new iPhone and new iPad. I've started planning for retirement- thinking about moving to a place that tends to reject extremism. I've unfriended on social media those that want to argue with everything I say. 

I'm looking for peace and contentment. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Contemplating Retirement

Looking to retire in four more years! 

I’ve been in the business of casualty insurance claims since June 1980 with a 4.5 year sabbatical from 1988 through 1993. Overall, the business has been fascinating since my specialties involve complex coverage and catastrophic injury claims. For the most part, I have been privileged to work for ethical companies that believe in acting fair and equitable in every respect. I could not be anything other than that.

But, the industry has swung back to focusing on bean counters. The focus on cost containment causes me internal conflict. I’m struggling with this. I’ve not ever been asked to compromise my ethics; and that I could not do under any circumstances. But, I’ve always believed it is my duty to look for ways to provide the client with the benefit of the doubt instead of looking at scenarios with a less generous view. It isn’t wrong.But, we are now expected to adhere to metrics that are not always flexible,

This change in philosophy has caused colleagues to retire early, look for opportunities in different industries or just quit. I find it sad. The insurance industry is wrongly misjudged to a great extent thanks to  lawyers that exploit people who have suffered a loss. Regrettably, the contraction of the workforce peopled with honorable folks that believe in doing the right thing compromises the reputation of our industry even more. Just an FYI...insurers do not try to take advantage of folks. Most make every effort to act in good faith & fair dealing. It is just who we are. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Fatigued by News, Politics, Hollywood


We’ve now reached that mind numbing achievement of a year of COVID quarantine. Seriously, one year ago my brother and I were laughingly singing the song “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine” as we celebrated our father’s 88th birthday. Who would have considered that the “flattening the curve” exercise would have resulted in such abrogation of civil rights for a year! 

I believe in the freedoms afforded by the US Constitution. I also believe that as moral citizens we have a duty to do the right thing. But, I have zero trust in the media, less than zero trust in federal government, and only nominal faith that any business entity cares one iota over anything but the return on investment. 

So, here we are, a year later. Donald Trump has been replaced by a stooge for progressives; Washington remains a swamp. Ridiculous bills are passing Congress that will cripple the next generation with debt. Artificial Intelligence will replace humans if Congress forces a $15 per hour wage nationwide ( really. ..The economy in New York, LA or Chicago is not the same as in Jackson, MS). 

Oil prices are increasing. Taxes are being raised. People with assets are fleeing NY, CA, CT, IL, NJ. Biden is a lightweight who only won because he was the least offensive. Baby boomers will keep working because of the stock market; as such, younger people will not be promoted. The WOKE left has ensured that anybody with a grievance can claim discrimination. This is resulting in segregation that we’ve tried to erase. 

I am bereft. Those of my generation wanted to see a society that thrived without any consideration of race, creed, national origin, physical challenges, sex, religion, or whatever! But that seems to have exacerbated the arguments of what is required to achieve equality.

Why? I don’t get it! I was raised to accept people as they are. I am not an anomaly in our world. Politicians seek to separate us instead of uniting us. If you live in the USA, you have a voice! You have agency! You have the right to protest. Consider this...65 years ago my  dad and his friends were fired as elementary school teachers in Indiana because they went out for cocktails in a neighboring county!!! They drank alcohol!!! In public!!! 

Folks! Chill! 

Friday, March 12, 2021

It Is National Women's History Month - Remembering My Remarkable Aunt Mary

Last night as I lay awake at 3:00am thinking about work, I decided to refocus my brain to consider some of the indomitable women throughout history that should be remembered during National Women's History Month.  While there are certainly many fascinating women that have overcome obstacles to achieve great things, I always return to the amazing women who raised my father and his siblings after their mother died in 1936, my Great Aunt Mary. Dad was just four years old. His sister was two. They lived on a farm in Posey County, Indiana. "The Farm" as we called it growing up, was in the 1930s a place without indoor plumbing, electricity, gas powered farm equipment, or any of the amenities we take for granted today. The farmers worked from sun up to sun down. Ploughing was done with a mule. Meat was smoked in the smoke house and hung up until needed in the cold of winter. Baths once per week with shared water - starting with Grandpa and passed down according to age.

Aunt Mary lived on the farm, raised the children, cooked for the farm workers, kept the place running and in her spare time hemmed towels for pennies to pay for the education of 3 young women. What made this so absolutely remarkable is the fact that Aunt Mary was completely blind from her mid teens. 

Despite her lack of sight, she was a formidable presence with a keen mind, a sixth sense, a fierce independence and was one of the most well read individuals I've had the good fortune to know.

She liberated herself from The Farm at the age of 50. She essentially ran away from home and started her independent life at a time when there was no safety net for those with disabilities. She had accomplices that drive her to the bus station where she caught a bus to the big city of Evansville. While I don't have all of the nitty gritty details, I do know that she got a job as a receptionist, taught other blind persons how to live independently, lived alone, was a fabulous cook, went to the local philharmonic regularly, had friends that took her to church and the grocery store, and read voraciously with Braille books and books on tape. At the time there were books available on reel to reel tape. She was a good conversationalist. She stayed independent almost until the end when she was 85. She never complained about her lot in life. 

When I think of my Aunt Mary, I feel truly blessed that I had such a remarkable woman as a role model.  Because I had the privilege to see how people can thrive if given the opportunity, even if they face obstacles and what seem like overwhelming challenges, it truly offends me when those living with so much in our modern society complain and demand to be supported by the tax payers. One must wonder how any of these young "socialists" would survive in the world inhabited by Aunt Mary, my grandparents, and my dad. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Book Review ~ Another Kind of Eden by James Lee Burke

 Another Kind of Eden is the first book I’ve read by the incomparable James Lee Burke that does not feature my favorite anti-hero, Dave Robicheaux.  This book to a significant degree reminded me of my first Robicheaux novel, In The Electric Mist With Confederate Dead in 1993. Since that time I’ve read every installment of the Robicheaux chronicles. The protagonist in Another Kind of Eden, Aaron Holland Broussard, is a similar in that he experiences nightmares and struggles from wartime horrors. For Broussard, it is Korea. Despite the psychological demons, Broussard, like Robicheaux, defends those who cannot defend themselves and seeks to rid the world of evildoers that he encounters. James Lee Burke writes lyrically with a poetic beauty that belies the cruelty of his less than honorable characters, which all feel three dimensional. None of the characters in Another Kind of Eden are cardboard cutouts. The elements of  mysticism feel right in the novel. It is abundantly evident that JLB, at the age of 84, continues to write at the top of his game. I remain grateful that this author has consistently fed my appetite for great fiction for 27 years. A huge thanks to Netgalley and publisher Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read an advance copy of Another Kind of Eden in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Keep an open mind & open heart/ you can find love over 40

 My husband Todd & I celebrated the 16th anniversary of the day we met recently. We do not recognize Valentines Day, which I believe is a Hallmark holiday created to cause otherwise normal people to spend ridiculous amounts on roses, Belgian chocolate and prize fixe dinners that are marketed as “special” events at an inflated price. Instead we celebrate a life event that makes our hearts sing, causes us to reflect on our good fortune, and allows us to secure reservations at dining establishments we love without the special event rigmarole that feels forced. 

 We met online through Yahoo Personals without expecting anything more than another one date wonder. Todd pointed out that meeting a life partner is a numbers game. That is so true. I was prepared to be underwhelmed. But, we connected. We’d both had prior marriages and long term relationships that just didn’t work. We were both in our mid forties and determined to avoid the bull feathers of typical dating. We shared the good, the bad & the ugly up front. I said I was too evolved to deal with drama or bullshit. That resonated. He told me not to try to change him. I replied that I’d tried that once and despised my creation. So, we decided to give love another try. And we are still on. 16 year honeymoon.

I write this entry to encourage everyone to keep an open mind and an open heart. If you want to find a life companion or life partner, it is possible. Send the positive energy out to the Universe. Truly think of the characteristics that are important to you. Send that message to the heaven. Ask for what you want. Visualize it. It worked for me. It can work for you.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Fatigued By COVID Nanny State Mandates

 Yesterday morning after we dropped one of the cars off for servicing at the Honda dealership, Todd and I ventured about 45 miles east to meet friends for brunch in Leesburg. It was farthest I’d been from home in two months except for a trip to the dentist. I hadn’t been in a Wegmans since July! I love Wegmans. I enjoy eating in restaurants. I want independent dining establishments to thrive. I want small businesses to recover. I want to sit at the bar and eat. 

When we got back to Winchester, I dropped Todd off to retrieve the car and went about running a few errands. Then I gave up and bust drove home. Going out isn’t fun anymore. I HATE wearing a mask indoors. It complicates breathing. It is uncomfortable. I have “mask-née” around my chin, mouth and nose. I am fatigued by federal and state governments imposing inconsistent restriction on businesses and people.

I would rather see every restaurant and small business open to full capacity with business owners setting their own guidelines and ‘the people’ deciding whether to patronize an establishment while consider the risk/ benefit analysis. Funny how the mandates are imposed by government officials who still get a paycheck and flout their own rules while crippling America. I fail to see how it is any greater risk to visit a boutique than shop at Walmart, Target, Costco or the ABC store. Why is there less risk going to CVS, the grocery store or protesting during a BLM March than my sitting at a local bar, practicing yoga in a studio or going to church? 

The media hacks somberly reporting deaths and encouraging the perpetuation of lockdowns continue to get paid while supporting teachers unions that pay teachers to stay at home while parents have to give up jobs to look after kids that could and should be in school. Students may never recover what they’ve lost over the last 10 1/2 months. 

The liberal political class has enjoyed playing dictators/ tyrants/ oligarchs/  etc. at the expense of the taxpayers they are sworn to serve. It is time to re- open the economy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Hypocrisy Of Biden’s Call For Unity

 The inaugural address by President Biden in which he called for “Unity” is akin to Communist China alleging to support the “One Country, Two Systems” deal negotiated by the British when the abandoned Hong Kong to China in July 1, 1997. HOGWASH! 

Merriam Webster defines “unity” in part as “a condition of harmony” or “ the quality or state of being made one”. Forgive me if I guffaw. Biden and the democrats are acting as if the have a mandate via winning by a landslide. LBJ won in a landslide Barry Goldwater in 1964. Nixon won his second term over McGovern by a landslide in 1972. Reagan won in landslides over Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter  Mondale in 1984. There hasn’t been a landslide in a presidential election since 1984  when America became again a proud nation. Biden won only because he was not Donald Trump. People who voted for him hope he lives long enough to serve his four years as a placeholder until both parties can find an acceptable, moderate candidate under 70 who is not a socialist. Despite the popularity of “the squad” in socialist enclaves, most of America finds their views offensive. 

If Biden truly believes his own rhetoric ( if he has any clue what he said) he would follow the precedent of Gerald Ford and refuse to continue the charade of a second impeachment for the good of the country. He would stop reversing the positive executive orders made by Donald Trump. He would state categorically that he opposes removal of the filibuster, packing the Supreme Court, allowing open borders, sanctuary cities for illegals, confiscating the firearms of law abiding citizens, and forcing Americans to pay for the dumb ass loans taken out by college students. Sorry, not my problem! 

Instead, President Biden will support the anti American ideology of Citizen Pelosi’s, Chairman Schumer, Herr Schiff, and Comrade AOC to foster even more divisiveness. 

Trump did not lose because of his policies. He lost because he is a brash, unfiltered, self absorbed narcissist. Biden probably can’t spell unity. 

Come on man, 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣