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August 21, 2014
12:20am EDT

Rated: E | Book | Cultural | #1437803
My blog. I'm opionated and I just want to sound off.
  It's a collection of editorials or even mini-sermons. I know it's wrong to give unwanted advice if you want to have a few friends. But I can't fight the urge that I know better than they what they should or shouldn't do. I have all this wisdom and experience and it's such a shame not to share it!
Our culture needs some sound advice and I'm just the one to give it.
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August 19, 2014 at 11:37pm
August 19, 2014 at 11:37pm
Visiting Babies
         I had an 18 month old, my nephew, and a 12 month old, my great niece, visiting at the same time. Whew! I don't see them that often. So there are no child-proof cabinet locks, and so forth. But they both love to go in the cabinets and every nook and cranny. Pots and pans come out into the floor. A box of toys gets picked up and dumped on the floor. All the magazines on the coffee table have to be be thrown as fast as possible onto the floor. And all the books have to be taken off the bookcase and put anywhere else including the wastebasket.

         Opening the refrigerator door is like ringing a school bell. They come running. Both want to pull things out of the door, and step onto the shelf. I had visions of opening the refrigerator and finding 2 kids crawled up onto the shelves opening jars, cold and crying. They got into the spice rack in the pantry, and I found spices all over the house. This happened while their parents were supervising them.

         When I know they're coming, I empty the trash cans, put away all breakables, including eyeglasses, kindles, phones, remotes, etc. I put out some children's books and some stuffed animals and prepare the bed in the guest room for diaper changing. I just can't avoid opening the refrigerator, since they all want to eat.

         They're cute. I like letting them explore and learn. I want them to grow up feeling comfortable at Auntie's house. They live in different cities, but have so much in common. They take a lot of work, and I only see them for such a short while. Now I remember why only young people have kids.
August 18, 2014 at 7:07pm
August 18, 2014 at 7:07pm
School Uniforms
         I first started speaking on behalf of school uniforms just to get students riled up and speaking clearly on their own point of view. I found my arguments for were better than my arguments against them. Decades later, I am still pro uniforms.

         My primary reason is that it takes away financial status to a degree. Some kids are still going to come by bus, while some come in Mom's Lexus, and others in Grandpa's old farm truck. At least you won't have Wal Mart bargains competing against designer clothes. Now accessories are another story if you're trying to even out this score.

         Uniforms solve the problem of enforcing the dress code. You don't have to worry about pants that hang down below the underwear or if the top shows too much cleavage, etc. It's also protective, as in no short shorts in winter, when it's below the freezing mark in the daytime. You don't have to throw out someone who wears a t-shirt with a dirty or rebellious slogan on it. Every child has the same respectable, community standard throughout that school district.

         Every school district would mandate its own uniform; the state wouldn't have to, and definitely not the federal government. One district might choose blue jeans, and a simple white or tan shirt. Or they might choose a shirt and slacks, with or without a vest. Accessories would be their option, too, or maybe make accessories an option for high school students only.

         The goal is to achieve uniformity of conduct, set standards for that district, and to even out self-confidence at least a little. There is no desire to stifle creativity or individuality. Teachers and parents would have to find more constructive ways to release unique expression. No doubt it would be easier on the parents' purse to avoid the price tag competition.
August 17, 2014 at 7:11pm
August 17, 2014 at 7:11pm
Bad News Came Today
         Everyone has bad news occasionally.Maybe I should say eventually, or even repeatedly. It should not come as a surprise at some point, but it always does.

         Today my middle brother said, "I want to tell you something while you're all here." His daughter had left the room, so I even wondered if it was about her. Only my father, my youngest brother, and I were there. He told us not to look at him, while he told us. So we all looked elsewhere in the dining room. He told us he had cancer.

         We were in stunned silence. He had spoken so quietly, I wasn't sure I'd heard him. The youngest one said, "Where?" He answered by tapping his chest and said, "Lung". I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My elderly father said nothing.

         He went on to say things about chemo and his stomach and I was in a state of confusion. Then I realized, he's divorced, he's alone. I did the only thing I could think of. I walked over to him, leaned over and put my arms around his shoulders, my face against his. I tried not to choke up as I said, "You're not alone. You have people who love you." I just held him, and he just sat there for a moment. He was trying not to choke up. I let go, and he said, "That's the problem. I have too many people to hurt. If it was just me, it'd be easy."

         Then the pieces came together. The daughter lives six hours away. She's an RN, and he trusts her opinion. She had come days earlier just to go to the doctor with him. His boss went, too. How about that for a boss? Sure, he's concerned about how reliable an employee he'll be, but employers do FMLA all the time without going to the doctor with you. So I know he has a good support system. He really isn't alone. He has friends who will check on him. His daughter will be here for a few days every week to go through after-chemo with him. I volunteered my dad to take him on Tuesday, and I'll pick him up. When he's ready for surgery, the most experienced surgeon in this kind of cancer and near us is in DC. His daughters will take him for that.

         After we had time to soak it in, out in the driveway,the youngest brother got around to joking and giving some comic relief. They care about each other and it shows. But my role is to be the serious one, to say the prayers, to hold the faith. I'll be the one to take him food, or get him to stay with us if he has a very bad reaction to the chemo.

         Supposedly, this is the kind where you take chemo all your life. It never goes into remission. But people have been known to adjust and hang in there for a long time. But family is always family. We'll go through it together. All of lives will change. You can face these things easier for yourself than you can for someone you love. But you stand by the people you care about.
August 16, 2014 at 11:42pm
August 16, 2014 at 11:42pm
Reading the World News
         What a dismal day to keep up with international news. Liberia continues to fight Ebola. Doctors say it will be another two to three weeks before containing the disease. Many groups are trying to get food and medicine in to the country. Many medical volunteers are already there, but for many Liberians it was too late.

         In the Middle East an average of 500 Christians are being slaughtered each day. How do they tell them apart? They look like the people who are killing them. Pictures of beheaded children are posted on the Internet. Israel and Gaza are disaster areas. Refugees are in desperate need of help in the Ukraine, Iraq, and the Sudan. North Korea has nuclear weapons and can wipe out all electrical power in 90% of the U.S. Just to name a few. . .

         Our own borders are chaotic as federal agents fight state agents and governors. Disease and gangsters sneak in with children and young people. Somehow the government has been told to expect another wave of 30,000 illegals to cross the border around September 1. Our cities have rioting and looting, supposedly fueled by "paid instigators".

         Where is our sense of right and wrong? Of mercy? Of justice? Of peace and order? Where are the leaders to offer guidance and strength and hope? Are there no more statesmen? Have we as a race lost our ethics, our moral backbone? No one in the whole world can stand up to bullies?

         I feel very sad. We have only selfish people, babbling idiots leading countries, leading armies. No one rises above the crowd to take the moral high road. No earthly leader offers hope.
August 15, 2014 at 11:52pm
August 15, 2014 at 11:52pm
         Why is the cowboy such an American icon? Cowboys have existed in other countries, like Canada, Mexico, Australia, Peru, Brazil, South Africa. But those countries never made heroes of them, or singled them out as a national symbol. All the world over, where everything about us is not hated, that is, people recognize and love the American cowboy.

         Yet, the cowboy for the most part lived in only one part of the country for a very short period of time. He was a source of fear, dread, respect, hero worship. And still books are being written about them. That image, part real, some imagined, stirred the imagination and flamed the heart. Today, we still have rodeo cowboys and urban cowboys. But they are just imitations.

         It's a hard concept to grasp. The cowboy gets mixed in with agri-business history, history of the railroad, of government, western expansion, and settlers. Even historians can't seem to agree on their interpretation of the phenomenon. The modern ranch hand, whether on horse or in a pick-up, just doesn't have the same romance of adventure.

         We still thrill at a good cowboy story, no matter how sophisticated we become. Most of us feel like something is missing without the legendary cowboy, when men were real men. Long live the memory of the cowboy.
August 14, 2014 at 11:02pm
August 14, 2014 at 11:02pm
Sanctity of Life
         Can you be both pro-Choice and pro-Life? I've always been sympathetic to the mother who knows that her health is bad, she has cancer or a bad heart and has been told she can't survive a pregnancy, nor will her baby. I've also felt deeply for the mother who knows that her baby will be severely deformed in any way. If she knows she can't bear the burden of watching her child suffer, it might be more loving. But then I look at the statistics for actual abortions.

         Very few abortions are performed for deformed babies. Those mothers for the most part choose to have the child, especially at the 3 months point and after. Only a negligible percentage are for women with health issues. Surprisingly, only a small percentage of abortions are for women in poverty. Another small percentage are for minorities not below poverty line. I can't recall many opting for abortion due to rape or being underage, although those are still used as reasons. In fact, the giant proportion of abortions are done by women who are middle class, married, and white.

         I don't believe poverty, singleness, or minority status justify the ending of an unborn life. I'm just surprised those aren't driving factors. Women who have other options, other means to prevent unwanted births are electing abortion as a means of birth control, or as a back up plan.

         All of these categories have other options to prevent a pregnancy instead of "fixing" or "curing" it. These options include abstinence, but in our impatient world, we need instant gratification. (I'm in favor of more vasectomies.) It seems the basic problem is a lack of respect for human life. Even pro-lifers who would bomb a clinic or shoot an abortion doctor are showing a misunderstanding of life and its sanctity.

         We can turn to so many other areas of our culture, like gangs, violence, and other issues, to see that overall, people fail to appreciate life, or living beings. That appreciation of life has to be taught by words and example from an early age on. The lack of appreciation is part of the missing moral backbone of our society. Where we don't respect life and revere it, we have more crime, more war, more abortions.
August 11, 2014 at 9:21pm
August 11, 2014 at 9:21pm
The Passing of Robin Williams
         Like most people, I am sad to hear of Robin Williams passing. He was so well known to us, it is like a friend or a work associate we see all the time has died. He was brilliant, funny, warm, and deep. He had a great compassion for others. He was always a little high strung, but that added to his comedic genius.

         Who could know that someone so successful, so talented, so ambitious could be hurting so much, so unable to bear up under the stress. We should never assume that someone "has it all". How many people do we know for real who might be under a similar burden unknown to us? We can't walk in another's shoes, so we don't know the pain or the suffering he endures.

         When someone like this dies, it makes us all feel vulnerable. As members of the general public, we feel his loss. Many grew up watching Mork. Many are Robin Williams age or generation. A younger generation knows him as Mrs. Doubtfire. The passing of public figures marks our own mortality, and we are all reminded that we too will pass some day. It was too soon for Robin Williams.
August 10, 2014 at 9:27pm
August 10, 2014 at 9:27pm
Free E-books
         For people who love to read, go to Amazon, and search for free e-books. Classics, like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, etc., are there. But there are newer ones, too, usually in a series, to get you hooked I think. These include novelettes and short stories, especially romance novels or mysteries. Save some money, check out the freebies. And it changes from time to time.

         Happy reading. Hope you got to see the Super Moon. It's kind of cloudy in my area. It's big but covered up.
August 8, 2014 at 11:57pm
August 8, 2014 at 11:57pm
Another Weekend
         Another weekend is here. I will do laundry, clean house, read, write, study. I will watch two episodes of The Virginian. I might have to iron while I watch. I'll charge my phone, my camera, my ipod, my kindle. I'll make corn on the cob and brownies to carry to a picnic on Sunday.

         Come Sunday we will make a four hour drive to a family reunion, and it's not our family! We all know someone who married into that family and like those people. They invite outsiders every year. We like these people. I don't like them enough to crash their party. I feel guilty. But I'm keeping company to the others who keep accepting the invitation. They're very interesting and very gracious. One is an old-fashioned farmer with yarns to tell that keep everyone captivated. The main hostess is a retired teacher from a junior college. The setting is gorgeous, the mountains and valleys of southwest Virginia.

         And can these folks cook?! I did say she taught home ec., right? Her sister brings warm sourdough bread with real butter. Then after many stories, laughing, eating, listening to kids tell things, and playing with babies, my group will make another four hour trip back home. We'll spend more time in the car than on our feet. I'll nap in the backseat.

         Home in time to get ready for work the next day, and start another week. I know what you're thinking..."Why can't I have an exciting life like that?" Some people get all the breaks.
August 7, 2014 at 11:29pm
August 7, 2014 at 11:29pm
         I have known a number of people who complain about not having children. Yes, I've know some who were quite happy not to have any. But sometimes you get sick of the whining and the complaining and hearing about all the money they spend going to the doctor trying to have kids. We understand they want a family before it's too late. So did I. I was told early on that if I got pregnant that I would die, and the heart attack would take the baby, too. So that closed the door for me.

         I was heart-broken. It's the greatest disappointment of my life. I kept hoping for some breakthrough in medicine that might change my chances, but it didn't and I got worse. But I never complained to family or friends beyond making a statement of fact.

         I've also know people who were terrible mothers, who neglected, verbally abused, or hurt their children. I've always felt the injustice of that, of unfit parents having the gift of kids and not taking that responsibility seriously. And here I was, educated, somewhat intelligent, who loved kids, and would have made a good mother. My kids would have done their homework and had fun and done creative things. They might not have been rock stars or beauty queens or rocket scientists, but they would have known they were loved.

         That's one of the things I want to talk about in Heaven. I want Jesus to tell me what he was thinking by letting all those unfit people have kids, but people like me were denied the chance to share ourselves and the world with another generation. That's life. We take the path laid before us and try not to grumble.

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