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Fourteen Days and Counting

Earth day: October 19, 2020A friend is planning her wedding and I’ve followed along as she counts down the days. I witnessed the dating, the engagement, and now, the preparations for the big event. It is days away and while she looks forward to the wedding, she also dreads it. I understand her trepidation. Getting married is serious business. It’s trusting in the future and in your own judgment. Not to take away from her happiness (which I pray she will have loads and loads), but this is how I feel about the upcoming election. Back in 2016, I was undecided which of the two Presidential candidates I would pick. Finally, a woman, a strong one at that, was running for President. At one time I admired her, but lately I questioned some of what she had done for the sake of her party. I questioned some of her statements when cornered by inquisitive reporters. I questioned if she would lead our country in the right direction. The alternative was a crass, pushy narcissist with no experience in…

Twenty-One Days and Counting

Earth day: October 12, 2020A little over three months ago, I decided I was through with “social media.” Though I have accounts on several sites, I am a daily Facebook user. I visited with friends, posted pictures, and scrolled through funny memes, but as the 2020 Presidential Election neared, so did the increase in fake news and vitriolic posts.The Bible quote, the food recipes, and the cute pet videos lost in the algorithm scramble that placed politics first. All because we were lured by the scandalous headlines.Do you know that 2.3 billion log onto FB each day? Of those, 46% or more use FB for its ONLY news source. Multiply that by the fact that the pandemic has housebound all of us for the past 8 to 10 months, so FB has been our major link to the outside world. This is the 2016 pre-Election season magnified. The press and the machine that wants to influence our vote learned a lesson in the past four years.To get to the people, you have to flood social media.Their real goal is to co…

Twenty-eight days and Counting

Earth date:October 5, 2020I hate evil – Satan, Hitler, pedophiles, but I don’t let it consume me. I hate in the sense that I wipe it from heart and mind and prefer to look at the light. When I was eleven, I was molested by a family member who took advantage of my innocence, my love, and my trust. I escaped and ran to safety, but instead of being protected or consoled, I was told to keep quiet. If I uttered one word, the shame and the outrage would tear my family apart, and it would be my fault. The crime and the punishment were placed on my shoulders, and I felt betrayed by the adults who were supposed to protect me.Though my voice was silenced, my feelings refused to be muted. If the man who molested me walked into the room, I looked past him. If he talked to me, I ignored him. I was scolded for my rudeness once and I fired back. I would keep his secret but no one could force me to forget or forgive what he had done. I didn’t hate him, but whatever feelings I once felt for him were g…

Thirty-five Days and Counting

Earth date: September 28, 2020With all the noise that the November 3rd Presidential Election results will be contested regardless who wins the electoral college, it is imperative that our votes be secure throughout the process. Here are a few suggestions: 1.Vote in person; do it during early voting to avoid the rush. Don’t forget your mask. Have your voter’s registration card with you, your ID, and in order to do it quickly and safely, take a marked sample ballot with you where you have preselected your choices. 2.If you have a mail-in ballot and your voting place will take marked ballots, make sure you take your ballot, your registration card, you ID, and a mask to the drop off, but do not hand it to anyone but a registered poll worker. 3.If you have a mail-in ballot but you prefer to mail it, don your mask and walk into the post office. Do not drop it into the mailbox. Go early and tell the clerk you want to witness her stamp the date on your ballot. Ask for the clerk’s name and rec…

Forty-two Days and Counting

Earth date: September 21, 2020Four years ago. my husband and I took dance classes. We had tickets for a jive dance party for later that month, and we wanted to get out on the dance floor and pretend to know our stuff. We got home late that Tuesday night and turned on the TV to watch the election results. To our surprise, our choice was winning. For months, the polls had predicted that the other nominee was a better candidate, better qualified and better liked. I had followed her career for years and I came thisclose to voting for her, but at the last minute, I went with my conscience and voted for the other guy. If he was going to lose, no one would notice my one vote, and he and I would go down together. Everyone was stunned. On all channels, these sophisticated, urban reporters were shocked and angry. They had done everything to get their nominee elected, but the ignorant masses had disobeyed orders. I was horrified by some of the comments. They were abusive and demeaning. They call…

Forty-nine Days and Counting

Earth date: September 14, 2020One of my favorite movie moments was in History of the World, Part 1 where Mel Brooks playing Moses comes down Mount Sinai carrying three stone tablets. “The Lord Jehovah,” he says loudly for all to hear, “has given us these fifteen.” He accidentally drops one of the tablets onto the rocks, smashing it to pieces. He looks at the mess at his feet. “Oye. Ten,” he yells, “ten commandments for all to obey.”I was in my thirties when I first saw this movie and this slapstick scene caught me so off guard that I burst out laughing and crying at the same time that I forget whatever scene came after. In the years since, I have wondered what if the Lord HAD intended for there to be fifteen Commandments instead of ten, but only ten survived to be mentioned in the Exodus and Deuteronomy. The first four Commandments honor and respect the Lord God, and the other six honor and respect the people and community around us, so maybe the last five were intended for us to reac…

Fifty-six Days and Counting

Earth date:September 7, 2020I was one of those obnoxious, sissy girls who played with dolls and dishes when I was a child. My neighborhood was mostly boys, so they ignored me unless they needed an extra person to even up teams when they played war or cowboys, or the one baseball we owned in the whole neighborhood went into Mrs. Cowser’s back yard. She owned three fierce chihuahuas with sharp little teeth, and I could run fast. I grew wiser as I got older and would hold out until they agreed to my terms. I made the boys super-dog, spit-in-the-dirt promise to play “school” with me in return.When it came time to keep their part of the bargain, only my brother and the two boys who lived next door kept their word. Teaching was my career for thirty-seven years. My dream was to get my PhD in languages from UT Austin and travel the world teaching in magnificent universities, but I needed to earn some money first, so back in 1971 I accepted a teaching job. It was only for one year.As most firs…

Sixty-three Days and Counting

Earth date: August 31, 2020“Join Facebook.” My friend said. “It’s a great way to stay in touch. A lot of the old gang is on there.” After years of spending every day with hundreds of other souls, I knew being retired would be a shock to the system. It would be only HoneyBunch and me in the house, no pets, with an occasional once a month visit from our kids and grandkids, so, I joined FaceBook for the fun of it and lasted a few months before I dropped out. FaceBook was very antisocial, and it wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend my retirement.Some of those who “friended” me weren’t very friendly. Now that I was no longer their supervisor at work and they didn’t have to pretend to like me, they let me know it. I had retired from one of those jobs where I had to mediate between two groups. They had taken sides instead of working together and I was the messenger, and we all know what happens to the messenger. I stayed off FaceBook for several months until the new career I sought required …

Seventy Days and Counting

Earth date: August 24, 2020“Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” made a lot of sense to me. It was the chant during the anti-war protests back in the 1960’s and early 70’s. Lyndon Johnson became President after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and instead of keeping a promise to bring our military home from Vietnam, he escalated the war in 1964. He increased the number of soldiers sent to fight to a whopping 35,000 every month. He had also promised to lower the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen but that never happened during his time in office. I didn’t like that he had made empty promises to win the election. I learned the difference between a politician and a patriot. I suggested to my dad over dinner one evening that maybe he should vote Republican in the 1968 Presidential election. Nixon wanted to end the war, and maybe he would honor Johnson’s broken promise and lower the voting age. It made sense that if you were old enough to die for your country, you should be…

Seventy-seven Days and Counting

Earth Date:August 17, 2020When the Vietnam War was at its worst in the 1960’s and early 70’s, the military draft was still in effect and thirty-five thousand young men between the ages of 18 through 25 were called up each month to serve in the US military. It was law and to defy that law meant federal imprisonment. There were several ways a young man could circumvent the system. They could opt for a deferment. After high school, they could continue on to college or get married. Either option was a deferment. It kept them on the rolls but they would not be called to serve unless under dire conditions. My older brother was one year ahead of me in high school, so I saw what happened to young males as they reached eighteen years of age. They were required by federal law to sign up with the Selective Service. Because he was a junior in high school, my brother could not be drafted until after he graduated, but if he signed up for college immediately, carried a full load of classes, and stay…

Eighty-four Days and Counting

Earth date: August 10, 2020Are you registered to vote? If the answer is no or you are not sure, skip this blog (as scintillating as it is) and go check on your status. Go to: www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/ . If you live elsewhere, it is just as easy to access voter registration information in you state. Be prepared. Election day is eighty-four days away (November 3rd) and the deadline to be registered to vote is in half that time (October 5th). Do not wait; do it now. It might take 30 days to get your card. Make sure it matches the ID you are going to use, and if there is an error, you will have to get the registration card corrected before you can use it. You might not have enough time to have it fixed before Election Day. The website will provide most of the information you need: who is eligible to vote, how to get an application, whether you are already registered, how to report a lost registration card, and how to update or correct information. Do it immediately since as prev…

Ninety-three Days and Counting

Earth date: August 3, 2020One hundred and forty-seven days ago I went to the bank, had the car checked, and went shopping inside stores for what I knew could be the last time in a long while. People made fun of us with cases of water, pantry items, hand sanitizer, and paper goods.Yes, I was among those who bought more than my share of toilet paper, because long before the President closed down the US borders and the nation, I had witnessed the corona virus Covid-19 firsthand. Two daughters-in-law came down with a “new strain” of flu in the fall, both were hospitalized, and one died. We believed it may have been this virus, and if it could do that to two healthy, young women, it was serious. But how does one shut down a nation of over 332 million people? What does that mean? We knew there was no cure, no vaccine, so how long would we be sheltered in place while the medical community came up with a solution? What if closing down our country meant there would be no food, no water, no ele…

One Hundred Days and Counting

Earth date: July 26, 2020
We never thought this would happen to us. We watched insurrections and epidemics on the national news. They happened elsewhere but never on our soil. It wouldn’t dare. In our benevolence, we sent troops and doctors and money to France and Afghanistan and Iran when rioters burned and pillaged their cities. From the safety of our high horse – our sofas and our cell phones - we expounded our political views, never once considering that one day someone would dare do the same on our turf. Just look at Seattle or Minneapolis or Portland. Riots disguised as protest have doubled and tripled their efforts until discourse is no longer an option to settle our disagreements. Likewise, with the pandemic, in our arrogance we sent doctors and money and supplies to countries on the opposite side of the globe thinking we could keep plagues far from our nation. Surely a contagion would bow to our greatness; yet, it has snuck through our borders and continues to do so. We refuse…

Ten Things I Miss Because of Covid-19 (In No Particular Order)

1.Donuts Until recently, doughnuts/donuts were not available on the choices available for online ordering from my grocery store. I crave walking into a bakery and buying freshly baked, hot from the oven donuts. 2.Grandchildren My five grown children and their families are sheltering in place, and out of caution and respect, we all took care to stay virus-free. We recently let our guard down but, because of the uptick in the virus, we are back to limiting our visits, wearing our masks, and keeping our distance. 3.Eating Out HoneyBunch and I would treat ourselves and go out to eat once or twice a week, and I would intentionally schedule my weekly errands around mid-morning so I could bring home take out for lunch or dinner. The virus put a stop to all of that. 4.Shopping Sprees Online sources have greatly reduced my impulse buying. My food budget and bank account are grateful for the discipline it provides. 5.Hugs and Handshakes I miss human physical contact. 6.Licking my Fingers I never …

Seventy Days Later

Every Sunday afternoon for the last ten weeks, HoneyBunch and I have rebelled against the pandemic shut down by risking a drive in our car. Radicals that we are, we jump into our trusty steed, roll up our windows, and lock our doors. We arm ourselves with two bottles of water so we don’t have to leave the safety of our vehicle and two masks in case we do. In March, the first month into the statewide “sheltering in place,” we would encounter few other anarchists out and about, but with the start of May, we’ve witnessed an increase in the numbers of fellow malcontents out there. The congested streets, the full parking lots, the packed shopping malls are all examples that a rebellion is a foot – and those who are a foot refuse to wear masks! Yes, we can attest to this since we’ve spied it all from the safety of our car. Seventy days into this edict and the citizens are ready to shed the chains of bondage. Before we return to our previous lives, may I suggest something? What have we learned…

Tom Hanks, Wilson, and Us

An overweight, workaholic who made time and money his priority, suddenly finds his life turned upside down. The lone survivor of a plane crash, he finds himself on a deserted island. Not knowing when he will be rescued, he has to make it on his own. His possessions are whatever he can salvage. The plush life he took for granted is gone, but he still has a strong human instinct to survive. With courage and fortitude, he scrambles for food, shelter, clothing. As time passes and day after day slips away, his character strengthens and there comes the day when he realizes he cannot live like this forever. He decides, against all odds, to leave the safety of the island, take his chances against what awaits him, and return to the world he was forced to leave behind.

Yeah, I’ve watched Cast Away with Tom Hanks one time too many, and yes, I cry every time he loses Wilson, but one thing I always take away from this movie is the universal message of the strength of the human spirit.
We were happ…

Polite Conversation

When I was very young, still at home with my parents, Dad expected us to have what he called “polite conversation” at the kitchen table. Everything was a learning opportunity, so he delighted in having a captive audience while we sat for meals. We said grace, kept our elbows off the table, and were expected to “converse” while we ate our cold cereal, our afternoon sandwich, or our casserole at dinner. Topics got more difficult in high school and college. Gone were the days of discussing what we had learned in school that day; we were expected to discuss the news from the front section of the newspaper, something Walter Cronkite had reported on the Evening News, or the many uses of math in one’s life. It may sound like a drag, but it stuck with me, and I likewise expected my three to participate in “polite conversation” during our sit-down meals. Likewise, my grandchildren cringe when I subject them to inquisitions about their everyday life, their progress in math, and the latest book t…