Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ellen Goodman---Moving on

As of January 1, 2010, Columnist Ellen Goodman will end her syndicated column. Her last column focuses on the changes she has seen for women in her nearly forty years of reporting and writing.

Ellen Goodman has been my favorite columnist and I have read her columns for almost her entire career. I have often referred to her columns in this blog and will miss her wit, intellect and analysis of events along with her ability to apply what is happening to the individual as well as the world.

I may have posted about this column by Ellen Goodman in this blog earlier. It was published in Reader's Digest many years ago and I have the original clipping on my bulletin board. It appears from her last column above that she has followed her own advice on moving on. We can only hope that she will find another entry after making this exit.

This is the clipping...

There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over--and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives.

It involves a sense of future, a belieft that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out.

The trick of retiring well may be the trick of living well. It's hard to recognize that life isn't a holding action, but a process. It's hard to learn that we don't leave the best parts of ourselves behind, back in the dugout or the office. We own what we learned back there. The experiences and the growth are grafted onto our lives. And when we exit, we can take ourselves along---quite gracefully.

Washington Post Writers Group

NOTE ADDED January 1, 2010: I had thought that the article mentioned above was Ellen Goodman's last column. As it turned out, her last column is today. You can read it here. As you can see from my post above and from reading her column today, the words from the clipping that I referred to must have had a great effect on many others. The Graceful Exit clipping has been with me for many years. I know it has seen me through two divorces, a major illness, a career change and the loss of many important family members and friends. It helps one move on.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 21, 2009

The climate for family planning

Ellen Goodman wrote a column about family planning and it is one of the best I have read in a long time. I will not take the time to provide an overview. So go and read the column. I am sure you will come away with a new perspective on the issue of overpopulation, carbon offsets and a little on climate change.

Overpopulation seems to be the elephant in the room. Even little is said about it when we discuss the overburdening of our planet's resources, climate change and the quality of life for all. At the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, I did not hear of any commitment to address overpopulation.

There is a series of articles in the News and Observer that addresses the plight of young girls pressured to marry at a young age, poor access to educational opportunities and lack of family planning in Africa. There has been an explosion of the population in much of Africa. The article mentions several obstacles of promoting birth control. They include patriarchal customs, religious taboos, ill-equipped public health systems---but experts also blame a powerful distant force. Under President George W. Bush, the U.S. withdrew from its decades-long role as a global leader in supporting family planning, driven by a conservative ideology that favored abstinence and shied away from providing contraceptives to developing countries even to married women.

I do not think that it is only our former president who created the population explosion in Africa, but I do believe that he could have made a major difference when he was in office if he had chosen to do so. As it was, he just added to the problem.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is there change in the air?

I just read this article in our newspaper. It is an important one as it shows that young people are now calling themselves atheists, humanists, freethinkers and agnostics.

It appears that atheists and agnostics are tiring of being tolerant of other religions pushing their beliefs on them unless they have the freedom to voice their opinions. Most atheists and agnostics tend toward a freethinking, humanistic philosophy and are tolerant of other's beliefs. Many atheists and agnostics do not wish to change anyone to their way of thinking anymore than a gay person would attempt to convince a heterosexual to become a homosexual. However, I do think that atheists would like to have others understand where and how they have come to be atheists, especially since they see they have come to this through science, logic, and reason.

Maybe with the younger generation, we will see more of them realizing that humans are spiritual beings, but that does not mean we have to have some organized religion with dogma and cult-like practices. (I know I am more sensitive to this kind of thing than most people as I grew up in a Pentecostal religion.)

Forget religion and educate is what I propose. If after educating a person and he/she still chooses some religion, then at least it was his choice. Religion does serve a purpose in that it creates community, but many other "works or good deeds" can do the same. If you are not a person who is drawn to religion, then find a passion or volunteer and you will find your community.

Labels: , , ,

Health Insurance

Nicholas D. Kristof wrote another important article about health care reform. Read his article here.

Recently, I had to go to a doctor. When I handed the clerk my new insurance card, she told me that they no longer accepted this insurance. I was shocked as I had never had a problem with anyone accepting it. It is the Alaska State Retirees Health Plan. Until this year it had been administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, but now it is administered by Wells Fargo and they no longer accept it. For a brief moment, I understood perfectly well how it must feel to be without health insurance. I will find other doctors who will accept it, but that does not make it easy. Especially when I have been seeing this doctor for over eight years.

I just don't see why so many are against health care reform. Personally, I think we would have been better off if there had never been any such thing as insurance. Even with insurance, one can lose everything in certain circumstances.

Of course, I have never had any love for health or life insurance companies and I do believe that insurance has caused the cost of health care to skyrocket. I don't have the answers, but I do know our health care system is broken and it is time we addressed it in a sensible manner.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eating Contests

Our local newspaper, The News & Observer had a front page article with four color photos of a hot dog eating contest. I almost called and cancelled my subscription. This is my notice that if the N&O continues such ridiculous front page "news, " I will not hesitate the next time. It is bad enough that the newspaper waste precious print on articles on such subjects as the latest fashion trends. It makes me wonder how many women purchase the newspaper just for the fashion information. Maybe if the N&O put a greater emphasis on articles with substance and value, it would be in better financial shape.

Yes, I know that everyone has his opinion of what has worth, but in this economy we do not need to see emphasis put on such superficial activities as purchasing $200 garments or gluttony.

I usually enjoy Josh Shaffer's articles, but this one is not even worth printing.

Note added: This letter to the editor is a good one in regards to this hot dog eating contest.

Labels: ,

Health Care in America

There are so many opinions on whether the government should be part of our health care system in the US. Here is an article by Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times that provides a lot of information that is often misrepresented to fit an agenda.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some enlightenment on a disturbing trend

I have seen several essays lately about the great divide between liberals and conservatives, religious and the non-religious, black and white and all kinds of other differences that we humans have. This article in USA Today by David P. Gushee, President of Evangelicals for Human Rights, makes some very good points.

Most of these types of articles point out how important it is for us to be tolerant and respectful of other's opinions and views while we work to make a difference.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, May 08, 2009

Texting and Driving

Ruth Sheehan wrote a column in our local newspaper about Texting and Driving.

This is my reply to her column. I attempted to post the complete reply on the site, but it was truncated so I am publishing it in its entirety here.

Ruth Sheehan wrote of her desire to be free to text, apply make-up and eat while driving. It is her belief that to ban texting will allow for more of our personal habits to be attacked by our legislators and to allow the government's prying into our personal lives even more.

Until now, I have not noticed a Libertarian streak in her columns. She must be desperate to keep texting (and applying make-up) while driving available to all. I tend toward being a Libertarian, but once my actions begin to endanger others, that is when I must alter what I do. Unfortunately, the general public does not feel obligated to give up their cell phone use while driving and it is time for some laws to stop them from putting others' lives at risk.

May I ask, how many NRA gun carriers text while shooting? How many police officers text while pulling their gun? An automobile is no less a weapon than a gun. And not all multi-tasking goes well together.

In less than two days driving in Raleigh, I had to take evasive action to avoid serious accidents due to driver's texting or using cell phones. Yesterday my husband had to swerve out of our lane into another lane due to a phone user pulling out in front of us. It would have been a serious accident if he had not taken over half of the next lane and others had not given him the room. And I have no doubt that I would be either in the funeral home or in the hospital recovering from serious injuries. The same day we also witnessed a woman backing out of a parking space with a phone stuck to her ear. Four people walking had to step back quickly to avoid her and we had to stop in our vehicle. The driver never even realized we existed.

Using Ms. Sheehan's logic, I don't really know why we should have laws against driving while intoxicated. After all, some people can hold their liquor more than others. And it is only a few of these who may endanger others' lives. Cell phone use, both talking and texting, has become an addiction. And it can be just as dangerous when used while driving as an individual driving while drunk.

Ms. Sheehan, I am not buying that research that has been done by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. I can drive down Capital Boulevard every day and see dozens of near misses of accidents and an occasional accident due to drivers using the cell phones. I don't know where UNC is doing its research, but it definitely is not on Capital Boulevard. My eyes tell me more than any research numbers do.

Vehicle insurance companies should make it a campaign to ban cell phone use while driving. They stand to benefit on more than one level. They should realize a better profit and also show their concern for their customers.

With the heavy traffic in Wake County, we need all of our attention to be focused on driving when behind the wheel. I suggest that we put down those cell phones. Eat before leaving or take time while stopped to enjoy the food. Keep the kids in the car seats and seat belts on. If they are acting out regardless of age, do as I did when my children were young. Pull over on the side of the road, cut off the car and instruct them that the car does not move until their behavior changes. This will only have to be done a couple of times in this hot summer weather before they get the message. Put the radio station on NPR 91.5 before starting the car. Don't worry about your make-up if you don't already have it on. Better to make it to your destination without it than to make it to heaven with perfect lipstick and mascara.

Bonus information for you. Read this article to see how people feel about bad drivers.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cao's One Certainty

There is an article in today's newspaper about Republican Representative Joe Cao from Louisiana. Cao says that he doesn't have a long list of policy beliefs, but he is certain of only one thing. That certainty is that he is anti-abortion.

It must be nice to be a male and be able to proclaim this one conviction as if this makes one morally above all others. Until Cao is in the position to birth a child, he should leave the abortion issue to females. I see more male zealots on this issue than women. Until men like Cao stand up for ALL human life and stand against war, hunger, poverty, overpaid CEOs, and other anti-life issues, then he should refrain from telling females what to do with their wombs. There are bigger issues for him to ponder. I would have expected more thoughtful analysis of the issue given that Cao is a lawyer. I only hope he has more opinions on many other issues now that he is in Congress.

An op-ed in today's paper about writing and books and Joe the Plumber. Go read here.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 01, 2008

Equal Rights for All

I was tagged to make a list of seven things about me for my other blog yesterday. I use that blog for my artwork and usually do not post controversial opinions. But when someone requests that I tell something about myself, I feel it is okay to mention personal things that are unrelated to art. After all, my art is not me, it is just an expression of a part of me. I think my thoughts and opinions often tell more than what I can put into a piece of art.

As mentioned in that post, I think same sex couples should have the same right to marry as heterosexual couples have. I think religious organizations can make their own decisions on whether to conduct these marriages, but the government should give equal opportunity to all couples to be married.

I believe it is not an issue that should be determined by states or individuals, but should be granted as an equal right based on rights for all citizens. If individuals should vote to determine what is a right, then mixed racial couples would still be unable to marry according to statistics that I have read.

Popular vote should never be used to determine any issue that could be a right that any one group of people may have while others are denied that right. I also do not believe that these issues should ever be determined in state courts as we should have uniformity in our states on basic civil rights. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and all of these civil rights should be guaranteed to every citizen of this country. I would argue that marrying whoever one chooses is one of the most vocal expressions that we can make.

Today there is an article in the News & Observer about this issue. It is a well thought out article and looks at the logic of gay marriage. Although I completely understand all of the author's views, it still comes down to the issue that as of right now, people who wish to have a gay marriage are denied the right while heterosexuals have the right. Simple to me---this is not equality.

I completely agree with the author on one point. The institution of marriage will not be cheapened if all homosexuals are allowed to marry. We heterosexuals have done plenty to cheapen it! Maybe it is time to allow the gay community to show us how it should be done.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Three of my favorite bloggers

Paris Parfait Blog has an article regarding the importance of this presidential election. Tara Bradford is passionate about her views and writes this article from her heart. I am certain that this resonates with many.

And if you wish to get a little humor with your dose of common sense also known as homespun philosophy, please check out this blog from an 83 year old woman. You have to click on the side bar to go to each post. If this campaign has you ready to climb the walls, this woman's writings will put your feet on the floor and you will know why some of the older generation have used humor to survive. You can read about the author here.

And then there is the blog from another woman who has lived in Alaska for years. Elise Patkotak has a sense of humor, but tells it like it is.

What I am wondering---with all the women in the world who know so much, have so much common sense, can answer direct questions and can speak in sentences, how did McCain find Sarah Palin and think she was ready to be president should he kick the bucket? Of course, that is another problem about McCain. He thinks he is going to live forever so Sarah will never have to replace him. Just goes to show his judgement is already shot.

Two other links that need to be posted. Sarah Palin's comments about Fruit Fly research and comments from a science blog.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Some Humor with Real Truth

It is just amazing how much brilliant humor and satire is raising its head in these difficult times. This video by Bird and Fortune as commentary on the state of the finance in our world is so on target.

Be sure and check out their other videos.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Raleigh---Most Political City

There is an article in Men's Health magazine that ranks Raleigh as the most political city in the country. The rankings were based on percentages of active registered voters, income donated to the current presidential election, ballots counted, campaign spending, votes cast in the 2008 primary and recent elections for governor and Senate.

I wondered why I feel like I fit in here just fine. I have no problem speaking my mind and attempting to engage people in talking about politics in the proper setting. Still it is not often that I hear people who really try to hear views from different sides. May Raleigh become a place where people really talk about the issues and all the sides listen to each other.

Labels: , , ,

Opening Minds, Opening Hearts, Determining the Facts

This week News & Observer's J. Peder Zane wrote an important column that should be read by all of us-including McCain, Obama, Biden and Palin. I find the worst part of this presidential campaign is not that there are untruths being slung, but there are few places where one can get the truth. I receive dozens of emails a day and almost all are false or are less than truthful.

It always amazes me that when errors are pointed out with fact, then it is as if I am attacking the person who forwarded the email. I have lost more than one friend this way even though the friend sent the falsehood to my email address initially. I quickly learned that it is not the truth that these people want. They really cannot accept that what they already believe is untrue.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Stun Guns -- It's a lie that they are non-lethal.

In a report at the first of June, the Justice Department considered the use of stun guns. This week the Justice Department issued a report that concluded that there is "no conclusive evidence" indicating that police use of stun guns or other electro-shock devices present a high risk of serious injury or death.

A two year review of 11,500 law enforcement agencies that have the devices show that 260,000 have been deployed by law enforcement. Amnesty International reports that 180 people have died after stun guns or Tasers have been used.

According to a spokesman, Steve Tuttle, for Taser International, the report "speaks volumes affirming our previous statements concerning the safety of Taser devices."

What? 180 people have died and that is safe?

It is an outrage that 180 people should die at the hands of our law enforcement agencies who have other means to disable a person who may threaten themselves or others.

Taser International has a campaign that leads one to believe that their stun guns are safe. If any other product in the US should kill 180 people when it is marketed to be safe, the product would be removed from the market.

Just look at the tomato scare. Millions and millions of people have eaten tomatoes and 167 people have been sickened and there are no deaths and the media has gone bananas. When pharmaceutical companies make a drug that kills people even if only a very small percentage, we are instantly outraged.

So it is time that we as Americans came to our senses and contacted our congressmen and voiced our opinions about the overwhelming use of force that we allow our law enforcement to use.

Post script: Since I made this post a few days ago, another teen has died from the use of a Taser in Charlotte, NC. And Tasers are safe?

Labels: , , , ,

Employers are going overboard...

I decided to apply for a job. With the exception of working for the state of Tennessee for less than two years and for the National Bank of Alaska for less than two years, I have been self-employed almost all of my adult life. I have done just about anything and everything that is legal to make money. With the economy appearing to be approaching a difficult period, I thought I had better start looking for a job now before so many others have to search.

I applied for a position with a HVAC contractor. The ad asked that a resume be mailed in or delivered to the office. When I arrived, I was also given an application to fill out. Since I lived nearby, I went home for lunch and filled it out. When I returned with my resume and my application, I was given a paper to sign that authorized the company to hire a investigator to verify my information. But that is not all. This is the paper that I was asked to sign.

In connection with my application for employment with ______Company, I understand the company may now or at any time while I am employed, conduct an investigative consumer report containing information on my character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living. I hereby release my employer and ______Investigative Research, Inc., their officers, employees, and agents, from any liability and responsibility arising from the preparation of said report or investigations relating thereto. I am aware I have a right to request from ________Investigative Research, Inc., the nature and scope of the investigative report.

This authorization for release of information includes, but is not limited to, matters of opinion relating to my character, ability, reputation, and past conduct. I authorize and request all persons, schools, businesses, corporations, credit bureaus, and law enforcement agencies to release such information without restriction of qualification. I understand checking the credit bureau will post an inquiry to my Trans Union Peer report. I authorize the release of a copy of my mortor vehicle records.

I voluntarily waive all recourse and release them from liability for complying with this authorization. I understand that a Photostat copy of this authorization will be considered effective and as valid as any original.

Required data is then requested for identification purposes.

I was shocked at such a broad scope of an employee investigation, the invasiveness and the subjectiveness of some of the character traits that could be used to determine whether I could be a good employee. What purpose do they need to know my mode of living?

I told the receptionist that I would never sign such an encompassing authorization. She replied that everyone who worked there had to sign it. She asked what the problem was. I wanted to tell her that I live under a bridge and that they might use that to fire me if I came in with a speck of dirt on me. Or I wanted to say that I don't live by breathing the same air as other people and I just suck the living breath out of others. It was all I could do to be calm. I just told her that I never, ever would want to work for someone who paid me by the hour, but who thought they could have control over my behaviour outside of work. I don't want to work for someone who has this lack of confidence in their ability to hire the right person based on ordinary research and references. I also wonder about working with other people there and their judgement if they have given the employer so much latitude in invading their private lives. What bothers me the most is I believe this mode of living is probably a characteristic that invites discrimination.

Don't get me wrong. I have hired many employees and I know there are many things an employer needs to know about an employee based on the type of position being filled. However, this one is too much. I wish everyone had the privilege of walking away from this type of job. Employees need to take a stand. I wish I was already working there and they came around asking that I sign this paper. I would see them in court.

Technorati Profile

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, June 02, 2008

Another email that needs to be squashed.

Sometime ago I wrote about an email that I received from several friends. I have received another that needs to be corrected and some information exposed as false. This one is an article written by Ken Blackwell of the New York Sun.

The problem is not the article (although I see lots of statements that are not fact). The problem with the email is that there is an additional comment on the end that appears to be part of the article. The statement below is not part of the article, but was added by someone else.

The anti-christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything. Is it OBAMA??

It is hard for me to believe that anyone would pass along an email that had this additional information even if he/she did not know whether it was part of Ken Blackwell's column. If I receive emails that I believe contain false information, I either do my own googling to research it or I check If I do not have time to research it, I often write a disclaimer or just don't forward it. If it is obviously a piece that is meant for humor and not fact, then I may ignore it and make my own decision which of my friends can appreciate it for its humor. I often preface these emails with a comment to let them know that it is all in fun. I grew up in KY, have a southern accent. A joke about a hillbilly or redneck does not bother me at all. I am blonde and all the dumb blonde jokes just go right over my head. (pun intended) But I do not intentionally forward emails that masquerade as fact that are prejudicial or racist.

I think this particular forwarded email has been one of the worst and most disgusting emails I have ever received due to possible adverse consequences. This one appeared in my in box six times. From the first reading, I felt that something was amiss, but I did not take the time at the moment to research it. I immediately wrote all of my friends who forwarded it to me and pointed out that I am agnostic bordering on atheist and this type of article does nothing for me. If anything, it makes me want to point out how absurd such statements are especially when they are not fact or written by the person they are attributed.

Even sadder is that some of my friends do not know me as well as they should and obviously, I must not know them. I immediately wrote all of them and gave them the link to and to the original article in order for them to see what is incorrect. I got emails back such as this...

No one is forcing you to believe anything. Do you know that happens to be one of greatest rights as an American ... to be able to say what we are thinking...good or bad, right or wrong but the freedom is there. This is something that we in America are getting closer and closer to losing each day. This election will be a deciding factor on how our Constitution is being used or abused and our RIGHTS are being taken away one by one.

Enjoy your right to think this is horrible and BE ABLE TO SAY IT... you may not have that right in a couple of years.

And another email like this...

Obama's mother was white and an atheist. His father was black and Muslim. What do you expect him to be?

And that was written by a "friend." Sure glad she is not my enemy. This last comment shows once again that we have not come as far in racial equality in this country as we think we have. Prejudice is still a real and serious problem.

I tried to explain that this had nothing to do with silencing anyone's right of free speech. It has to do with being responsible and writing what is as factual as possible and not slandering someone. I am wondering if people have reached the point of being so frustrated with our system and our politicians that they can no longer look and think rationally.

Even sadder---I have not received a reply from any of my friends to say, "Hey, sorry about forwarding that email. I should have checked it out myself." No one has written and apologized.

As soon as I read it, I knew that it would never be forwarded by me. I also knew that I must make a blog entry. Now I can sleep.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Exceptional Customer Service -- Direct Root

Today I purchased some AirBase Pot Drainage Inserts. These inserts are a brilliant idea. They are used in place of the rocks that one would normally place in the bottom of pots to allow for good aeration and drainage for plants. They come in several diameters to fit most pots and should last as long as your pots will last.

When I tried to remove the label, I noticed that the label was applied with a permanent adhesive thus covering half of the holes needed for drainage and air flow. I spent over 30 minutes just removing two of these sticky labels. I was not happy! I quickly did a search on the internet and found a supplier. I wrote asking where I could find the manufacturer. In less than an hour, I had a reply with profound apologies and addressing the exact concern of the permanent adhesive. The representative explained that this had been an error in the order for the labels and it is being taken care of.

I wrote back and thanked him for being so prompt and addressing my concerns. While I was writing this post, I received an email from the president of the company thanking me again for writing and hoping that I would contact them again if I needed to.

I have written to some companies online and not received a reply---ever---and I have had some customer service departments take a week to reply. The worst are the ones who send a canned reply that is obvious no one wanted to take care of a problem. This company went above and beyond what most online companies do to be sure that I knew the situation and they were working on it.

The Direct Root gets my Exceptional Service Award for the year!

The AirBase Pot Drainage Inserts are great and I'll be buying more.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Voting and Civic Responsibilties

A polymer clay artist posted on her blog about making a resolution to vote in the new year.

I have one comment to go with this one. Write your congressmen! They are in office for a time and they need to hear your voice. Don't forget your local politicians, either. They need to know that we are watching their every move. If on a state level, write every single one of the representatives and senators about an issue. I have found that my representative may not be interested in an issue, but one from another district may be.

Keep an eye on the bills that are coming up. You will never believe what they are wasting their/our time/money on. You will also not believe the bills they are passing. I have found that some items are added to other bills and the ordinary citizen never knew that there was such a law to begin with. Case in point--When I wrote my senators and representatives on the state level about a bill that allowed county sheriffs to walk into any pharmacy and ask to see all pharmaceutical without a search warrant, I had no idea that state police officers and state bureau of investigation could already view our North Carolina pharmaceutical records without a search warrant. But then neither did almost every one of the state senators and representatives to whom I wrote. After writing to the newspaper and every politician, the bill died probably because they did not want the original bill to be found in violation of HIPPA and jerk the ability of the state police offices and SBI to get pharmaceutical information without a search warrant.

In just one year, I have uncovered at least seven bills that are in direct violation of our civil rights---and I am not a lawyer, politician or anyone with more than an ordinary interest in politics. In fact, I would much prefer to just do my artwork than to be a watchdog. With our busy lives, we are fast turning over our freedoms to those who have nothing better to do than to make laws and micro-manage our lives.

May 2008 be the new year for the Responsible Citizen!

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, December 23, 2007


My mother passed away on December 17. She had been in and out of the critical care unit for a couple of months. Every return left her weaker and weaker. At the last admittance to CCU, she made the decision not to have extraordinary life support administered. This was the first time she had ever stated that she was just too tired and did not want to go on if she had to be in pain and unable to care for herself. In her condition, bad heart, lungs and kidneys, we knew she would not make it many days.

A little about my mom---She had eight of her own children and mothered many other children at various times of our lives. Other cousins even lived with us for a time. Although my father was in and out of the hospital due to bleeding ulcers and colon cancer all of my life, my mother managed to take care of the family with no public welfare. And the most amazing part is, she went to college from the time she was in her thirties until she graduated with a degree in library science and a masters in secondary education in her late fifties. Most of my admiration and love for her comes not from her being the very best mom there was, but from the fact that she still followed her dreams to realize what she felt was important for her well-being and fulfillment. In the end, it never really hurt any of her children that she spent so much time pursuing her own goals. And maybe it even helped as we could always look up to her and see the sacrifices that one may have to make to achieve a goal. She was the 1989-1990 Kentucky Mother of the Year.

My father passed a few years ago. He was honest, hardworking, fun-loving, witty, quiet and just a plain good man. At his funeral, every single person who spoke of my father spoke of how honest and how good he was. At my mother's funeral, people were still remembering my father in the same manner. My father was loved by all who knew him and he was easily liked---the kind of person that you could be in the same room with for hours and never be annoyed with him due to an annoying habit. He never cared what his children aspired to as long as we did whatever we chose to do as well as possible and we were happy. I always loved collecting tidbits of stuff (what many would call junk) and he always told me that even if I wanted to be a junk dealer I just had to be the very best one I could be.

My mother on the other hand could often get on one's nerves. She was often pushy and demanding. She had very specific goals for her children as well as for herself. We all had to participate in numerous extracurricular activities. It was not a choice. I can't even begin to list all of the clubs and activities that we were members or volunteers. We were expected to make above average grades without ever being told to do our homework. We knew we were to be good citizens, good humans and there were no excuses accepted for bad behaviour. There was no doubt that we were expected to succeed.

Which brings me to the last thing that my mother asked me. I had spent the early morning hours with her in the hospital as we were taking turns to be certain someone was with her in her last hours. She motioned for me to come over and asked me what I was working on now. She has always been used to my fickle/flighty/disjointed art where I work with polymer clay one week, textiles the next, and who knows what the next. She also knew how I started so many different businesses, but would sell them as I could not stick with them a long time. I told her about my current artwork---the ink paintings and the line drawings I am doing with sterling silver wire on polymer clay. She was weak, but said, "Oh, that is so good. It sounds like you are loving it this time. Maybe you can focus on this." I told her that I was loving it. I get whatever craftiness that I have from my mother. I can never remember my mother without a crochet hook, knitting needles or a quilt top on her lap if she was sitting still. Even on her deathbed, she asked for her crochet hook and thread. You would never believe that someone in such terrible health could have such nimble fingers and with no arthritis.

I returned to Raleigh and immediately submitted two of my ink paintings into the Visual Art Exchange's juried show. We had been home only two days when we received a message that mother was going downhill fast and so we prepared to return to see her. After my mother's passing, I came home to the first email in my box that said that my paintings were juried into the show!

Now for reflections on time, life and death. My youngest son died at the age of fourteen due to complications of Crohns. At the time of his death, I felt nothing would ever be the same. Time would never move on. Life would never be the same. I felt that time had stopped.

With the passing of my mother, I felt for the first time that time is passing like lightening. So fast that we have so little time left. I watched as my mother's friends and her brothers and sisters filed past her casket. I could see many of them picturing themselves there instead of her. Time is very short for them even if they live a long life. It puts a sense of urgency on the way one sees life---especially if thinking of living up to my mother's high expectations of accomplishing something in my lifetime! ;) So I had better end this long post and get to the artwork. I know she is counting on me to stick with something!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 17, 2007

Presidents Holding History Hostage

In our local newspaper, there is a column written by Charles N. Davis on the release of presidential records to the public and for the history books. Davis is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee and serves as executive director of National Freedom of Information Coalition at the University School of Journalism.

This column is worth reading for a concise overview of President Bush's attempt of secrecy, cover-ups, and his attempt to write his own record of his time in the White House. Absolutely nothing has done so much to expose the real president than his attempt to cover up so much that is every citizen's right to know.

Bush has brought our country to the state we are in. In order to learn from history (if this is possible---seems like we never learn), we need an accurate record of the past. It is time to demand that our representatives and senators do their job. That means, Kentuckians, that you need to vote Senator Bunning out as soon as possible. Of course, it looks like under unanimous consent the rest of the senators held up a vote on the bill in question. They all need to go.

I dream of the day that we can submit to all politicians a questionnaire that really means something. The questions would cover all of the topics that enables a citizen to make a decision as to whether a candidate believes in and is willing to stand up for our rights and works for the people. Got a question for them, send it to me.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, October 08, 2007

Allah or the Lord Jesus Christ Check it out on Snopes

I receive about fifty to a hundred forwarded emails each day. Many are from well-meaning friends. I received this one six times in one day. It is important to note that all of this report has never been verified. Although I am sure that some events such as these have happened at times (in fact many times in history), this man has offered no information that would enable anyone to verify his account.

I sent this message to everyone who has forwarded this particular email to me.

Please note that I in no way believe that all Muslims are perfect, loving, wonderful humans and I am sure there is a very small percentage who are terrorists. I also do not believe that all Christians, Jews, pagans, etc. are perfect, loving, wonderful humans and a very small percentage are not representative of the best in society. We each choose our own path and it is not the religion that makes one much better than the other for the most part. It goes much deeper than that.

I am writing to request that you no longer forward any of these emails to me that only contribute to the division between different religions, cultures and peoples. I am not interested in furthering the misconception that all peoples of any one religion have the same beliefs. I personally have no preference on any religion and do not promote any religion. In fact I do not believe in the God/god that most people do. I do not care if you believe in God as Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jewish, Pagans or any other people do or if you believe in no god/God. What I do care about is that stories such as these are not used to further divide people by using it as a propaganda tool by one religion or culture to pump up their own base. This is happening way too often.

So in the interest of standing up to what I feel is important in this increasingly hostile world, I request that you send me jokes or forwarded emails that are funny, enlightening or entertaining. They may have political, religious, social or controversial overtones. I do live in the real world. These should be recognizable as jokes---not something passed around on the internet as truth with the intent of dividing peoples, but more to acknowledge that we are all human and in this together and we might as well laugh as cry. If there is doubt in your mind as to whether I would like to read something, please pass me by. Someone else will not.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dr Phil, Jena Six, and one old man

I was having a cardio stress test a few days ago. In the waiting room, Dr. Phil was on TV regarding the Jena 6. One black woman about 50 years old, one white man about 70 years old and myself (white, female, 55) were watching the TV while waiting our turn. The man said, "I can tell you how to solve this problem. Take every one of these black men out behind the barn and whip them with a razor strap and that'll solve the problem. Just beat the tar out of them. No amount of talking is ever going to solve this problem."

First of all, I could only think of how embarrassed I was - especially for the black woman who was hearing this. I am not a big Dr. Phil fan, but I could not see how beating the tar out of someone will ever solve this kind of problem. I happen to believe that education, compassion and communication are the main tools to solve society's problems and to prevent many problems. Sure, discipline and guidance are important in keeping children out of trouble. But there is a point that we as a society must get to the root of the problem. And how will we ever figure this all out without communication and education? Obviously, beating the tar out of people has not worked yet. Time to find another solution.

I promised myself one thing. I will never sit and listen to another person say this kind of thing again without stating my opinion. At the very least, I will try to apologize to my fellow humans for the insensitivity of other human beings. So to the lady waiting, I am sorry I did not speak up for myself and for you. Next time I will.

Labels: , ,

I'm a nurse. Maybe I can help.

I stopped by a Wendy's to pick up a soda a couple of days ago. The line was long so I decided to go to the restroom. As I got near the restroom, I heard someone screaming and one woman crying and trying to console or help someone who was very ill. All I could do was to think of how I was going to get away from it all. I was feeling guilty that I did not know what to do to help.

Above all the noise, a woman came forward saying in a most calm voice, "I'm a nurse. Maybe I can help."

Never have I been so happy to hear a nurse's voice and someone who was a take-charge kind of person. So here's to nurses everywhere--I thank you.


Monday, August 13, 2007

The speech we need from Mr. Bush

I read this commentary by Col. (U. S., retired) Dan Bonney while I was visiting Alaska. He had served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and believes we got the strategy right the first time, but not this time. I can't imagine that President Bush would ever give this speech, but until he gives a speech like this or a similar speech, I think he will go down in history as the most disconnected and inept president that we have ever had.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tough Talk on Impeachment

Evelyn Coleman sent me this Bill Moyers link about the impeachment of the president and vice president. Click on Watch Video to see an interview with John Nichols, author of The Genuis of Impeachment and Bruce Fein, a nationally and internationally recognized expert on Constitutional law.

The video is long, but you can also read the transcript.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Joe Cole's Philosophy
The News & Observer has a column that is filled by a rotation of local writers. Today Joe Cole wrote a column on Loving American with Reservations. It is a good article and worth reading.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I couldn't have said it better...

There was an article by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC yesterday. It is an important read for this July 4.

Every July 4, I read the Bill of Rights and marvel all over again how our founding fathers had a vision and were able to capture the spirit, the core and the principles of our country and the freedoms that we should have. I only wish that every bill submitted in Congress would have to undergo every single one of these tests before it could be made law. If this were the case, we could probably get rid of over half of the laws on our books.

Happy 4th and may we return to our founding father's vision soon!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 06, 2007

No Good News in This War

Dennis Rogers is a columnist for the News and Observer. He has been a voice for the troops during this war. It did not matter why we were at war, whether we should be there or not, or any personal opinions. But it mattered to him that the troops were never forgotten and that we knew their sacrifice. His last column is an important one as it shows just how disconnected so many citizens are from what is happening to the troops. It is worth a careful read.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where Have All the Leaders Gone? Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney

When I started this blog, I had planned on writing about plain old common sense. That is what homespun philosophy means to me. I've never got around to making that the main topic. However, for the first time in a long time, I ran across a book that would make a good read for anyone who cares about politics, our government, life in the US, the health of our planet, the future of our children and the constitutional rights and freedoms that is our promise as Americans. It has a lot of common sense. The book is written by Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney and titled Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, April 06, 2007

Driver's License Requirement continued...

I have obtained some additional information about the statute requirement for signatures on affidavits about sexual offender regulations. See previous post here.

This appears to be the part of the statute that gives DMV the authority to request the affidavit. (1) If the Division finds that the person is currently registered as a sex offender in another state, the Division shall not issue a drivers license to the person until the person submits proof of registration pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes issued by the sheriff of the county where the person resides.(2) If the person does not appear on the National Sex Offender Public Registry, the Division shall issue a drivers license but shall require the person to sign an affidavit acknowledging that the person has been notified that if the person is a sex offender, then the person is required to register pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.(3) If the Division is unable to access all states' information contained in the National Sex Offender Public Registry, but the person is otherwise qualified to obtain a drivers license, then the Division shall issue the drivers license but shall first require the person to sign an affidavit stating that: (i) the person does not appear on the National Sex Offender Public Registry and (ii) acknowledging that the person has been notified that if the person is a sex offender, then the person is required to register pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes. The Division shall search the National Sex Offender Public Registry for the person within a reasonable time after access to the Registry is restored. If the person does appear in the National Sex Offender Public Registry, the person is in violation of G.S. 20-30, and the Division shall immediately revoke the drivers license and shall promptly notify the sheriff of the county where the person resides of the offense.

I have lived in Raleigh for over five years. DMV had no reason whatsoever to request that I sign that form. Their systems were up and running when I was renewing my license.

It is my belief that if one is a convicted sexual offender he/she is the only one who should be subjected to any requirements of registering. The existing laws already cover this.

I do not believe that it is my duty to proclaim that I am not a sexual offender, or even be asked to sign a statement that I know what the law is. This requirement opens up the possibility that any government agency may be assigned to notify any citizen who goes to a government office of various laws or statutes. The citizen could be required to sign that he knew of a particular law and it may have nothing to do with the agency involved or his reason for going to a particular office.

Every law abiding citizen's rights are violated with this "assumption of guilt". I also maintain that this is not equal treatment due to the fact that every person who moves to North Carolina is not required to go to DMV and sign any document of this sort.

Unfortunately, it looks like we have senators and representatives who make laws with no regards to the rights of their constituencies. I will let them know why this statute needs to be repealed.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

NC Senators vote to give sheriffs access to pharmacy records

In today's newspaper, an Associated Press article reports that North Carolina Senators approved a bill to allow the county sheriffs to review pharmacy records while investigating illegal use or sale of prescription drugs. Sheriffs could share the information with other law offices and federal SBI agents. I have sent an email to every state senator, representative and to the governor on my thoughts on this bill. I also wrote a letter to the News & Observer.

I am beginning to wonder if we have a single public official who realizes what their job really is.

Anyway, here is a close variation of the letters that I sent to our public officials.

"From my understanding of Senate Bill 4 (= H745), it appears that a sheriff or any other federal or SBI agent may review pharmacy records without anyone appearing before a judge or magistrate to determine that a search warrant is justified. I understand your desire to catch those illegally obtaining and selling drugs. But no one should be privy to such information without a search warrant. Medical records include information that is considered the most private personal information by most citizens.

When broad sweeps are done of reviewing pharmacy records without probable cause and a judge or magistrate has not authorized these searches, then everyone who is innocent has been stepped on. It does not matter that the authorities do not share the information with anyone except other law enforcement officials. It is wrong that anyone should be able to get this information without just cause.

I shall be sending this letter to the newspaper and to all of my representatives. I ask that you consider the consequences of this bill when it crosses your desk."

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's not just in Alaska....

I've had several emails inquiring about this blog entry . Most wanted to know what I was required to sign at DMV to renew my driver's license. I filed a complaint with the ACLU, but so far I have had no reply from them. When I asked how long it would be before they could investigate, they said they are understaffed and it may take six months. This is what I wrote to them. Recently I sent it to The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC to see if they had a reporter who would want to do a story on it.

I went to the DMV at 9701 Capital Blvd. to renew my driver's license on or about January 3, 2007. After waiting for over two hours and in the process of paying for my renewal, I was given a form which is a registration requirement for certain offenders (sex offenders) and was told to sign it. I was running late and signed it so I could get my driver's license and make it to pick my husband up on time. As I was driving away, I wondered, "What has renewing a driver's license got to do with sex offenses? Why did I sign the form without asking for their authority to require my signature?"

I called (919) 570-1016 and asked if someone could read the form I had signed and asked if I would have been refused a driver's license if I had not signed. I was told that I would have to sign it and that every person who comes in for service whether for driver's license or identification purposes would be required to sign it.

After the form was read to me over the phone, I stated that I could not see anything in it that required DMV to get this signed before I received a license. It was only information on the convicted sexual offender's requirements to register with the sheriff within 10 to 15 days of moving to the county or state.

I asked for the statute number and also for documentation that DMV was required by law to obtain this signed form. I was given the statute number of 14-208.7. I told her that this did not seem right as being a sexual offender had absolutely nothing to do with the driver's license and ability to drive. I told her that I could understand why there are laws about driving while intoxicated and how that can be used against your driving record. However, unless a sexual offender was using a motor vehicle in association with the sexual offense, it is not even related and I have never seen a statement in the driver's manual that connected the two.

With this type of encompassing power, it could end up that every single law that is passed must be signed on by every person who frequents a government agency even if nothing related to their department or in their jurisdiction. That in itself would be discriminatory as every citizen would not be required to sign every form. Furthermore, we are not a police state. We are to know the law and ignorance of the law does not insulate us from being punished for violating the law.

The DMV employee said that I should call another number and talk to a supervisor or she would have the supervisor call me. In the meantime, I read the NC statute related to the issue. The supervisor returned my call that day, but I was not home. I took the caller ID number (919 570-1032) off of my phone and called her the next day. She stated the same information as the first employee. She stated that it is their job to get these forms signed. When I stated my reasoning that this should not be as it is, she said, "We require everyone who gets any service at DMV to sign the form." I said, "What if I had refused to sign it?" She responded, "We can refuse to give service." She then attempted to justify this one form by saying that DMV also registers people for voting. I asked if someone refused to register to vote, do they refuse him/her a driver's license? She said, "No."

I must say that the three employees that I spoke to were all very professional and all understood where I was coming from. Two stated, "I am just doing my job."

It is my suspicion that DMV has been appointed for this role or has accepted this role as most sex offenders have driver's license and it is an easy method to be certain that sex offenders cannot say they do not know the law. There are better methods to accomplish this without infringing on the civil liberties of innocent citizens. If sex offenders are required to register with the sheriff, then that is where it should end. Otherwise, the law should say that they need to register with DMV. Still, I and all other North Carolina law-abiding citizens should not even be bothered with this form. I would like to see the DMV be required to destroy all signed forms due to violating our civil liberties.

I will post to the blog if anything comes of this. Of course, something will. My husband will probably cause a big commotion when he goes to renew his driver's license in June.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Social Insecurity Alaskan Style

An article in the Anchorage Daily News highlights the inconveniences that go with living in out of the way places and trying to jump the hurdles to satisfy our government's requirement so it can know who we are.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Where's the logic?

A friend just sent me this letter that was written to a newspaper. If it were not so sad, it could be funny. The biggest problem with people like this writer is that her brain cannot possibly see anything but what she already has decided is right or wrong. I wonder how she explains all people who not only believe in God, but also are in positions of power in religious establishments who are committing all kinds of crimes. They seem to have lost their common sense and ability to use some logic along the way.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins, one of the more vocal female columnists, has written her last column. This is what she wrote in the last paragraph. "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

If I could design a tribute to her, I would ask every female in the U.S. who is against this war to take to the streets with their pots and pans and bang them non-stop until President Bush listens and makes calculated steps that will end this war and bring all the troops home.

I'm somewhat of a columnist junkie. I read the newspaper, but I pay special attention to commentary whether a column or political cartoon that makes it to the editorial pages or opinion pages. So along with Maureen Dowd and Ellen Goodman, Signe Wilkinson, Molly Ivins was a must-read. I will miss her.

Here's to you, Molly. clangclang clangclangclang
P. S. President Bush actually had some good things to say about you.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It feels good to know...

we really don't want to live anywhere else.

We had decided to begin a search for a home so we would have it ready to move into once my husband retires. We have always liked the western part of North Carolina so decided to start there.

After doing some extensive searching online for a home in eight counties, we finally found twelve out of a few hundred that we thought were worth seeing. We had two realtors going through listings with our specifications. We tried to analyze them for our needs online before asking them to make appointments to view them. It appeared from all of our searches that the houses were much less expensive than in Raleigh.

Were we ever in for a surprise! The first house was up a hillside with a view of junk trailers, some modular homes and lots of trash and junk. Dogpatch. The house was more than ten miles out in the country and that is fine with us. But after three or four miles, we were wondering how we could stand to drive past so much trash, delapidated buildings and trailers every time we left home. By the time we got to the gravel driveway at the end of the road that went to the top of the ridge, we were already wanting to turn around and leave. The house had about 1700 sq. ft. on the main level and an unfinished basement. As we drove up to the house, we could see a man hosing out the basement and filthy water was pouring down the hillside. Trash and junk were everywhere. The ad had mentioned the view, the view, the view. Only a couple of photos showed flowering shrubs and trees. None revealed that if one walked out the front door for twenty feet, you could easily fall down a cliff and land on top of trailers and old worn-out houses over 100 feet below. The house was in such bad condition, we would not even consider buying it for $50,000 much less $169,000! When we asked about garden space, the owner pointed to the top of the ridge and said there was a flat spot up there that would work for a garden. Rocks everywhere. This was a spot that I don't know how one would get a tiller up there. The only thing we could picture was growing some potatoes and putting them in a chute and letting them roll down into the kitchen window. By the time one climbed to the top to pick the veggies, there would have been no energy left to bring them down. Anyway, if that house and property is worth $169,000, ours right here in Raleigh is worth $500,000!

We told the realtor immediately that we did not want to see the inside and waste her time. I think she was relieved.

Next house was $179,900 and had almost four acres. We were following the realtor and it seemed to be a better area. Then we crossed 1-40 and drove down a road. 1-40 runs right behind the house and the house also sits within 50 feet of the frontage road. One of our criteria for a house is that it must be quiet---no road noise especially. It was like living in a drum that would not stop. Noise from 1-40 is deafening there. Worse than living two blocks off of Capital Blvd. in Raleigh. We told the realtors that we did not need to go inside. No wonder these people want to move.

Next house looked wonderful in the listing. We had seen a virtual tour and thought that it would not work for the interior for us, but it appeared from the photo to have curb appeal and the realtor had already picked up the key. This house was $185,000. As we drove up to the house, we could not even tell it was the house in the listing. The driveway was so steep that my husband could hardly get out of the car as he could not hold the door open. The house's siding was in poor shape. We did not even recognize the house from the photo in the listing---so this photographer earned his money. The view in the listing is of other houses across the street below. Take a look at this house . I did not even get out of the car. We did not go inside.

We went inside at the last house since no one was home and it had better curb appeal than the others. $179,500. We had thought that since it had a full unfurnished basement that we would have instant equity upon finishing it and we would turn the double car garage into a workshop. This house was not in the condition that one needs to be in for show--stuff in the yard, windows filthy, just not clean and basement full of "stuff" and even mildewed sheetrock had not been discarded. The basement had water problems and the ceiling with the duct work was too low to finish out as livable space. The bathrooms and kitchen would have to be completely remodeled. The garage had walls with two thicknesses of brick. The garage looked fine inside, but the echo was unbelievable. The basement steps from the garage and the concrete floor and the brick walls created an echo throughout the house. I told the realtor that even if the basement could be made into livable space, it would cost us $30,000+ to make it so we would enjoy living in it---of course we could not move it farther off of the road and that is a big negative for it. So this house would be over $210,000 and not even half as appealing to us as the one we live in.

We headed over to look at other houses in another town with another realtor. After checking a few exteriors and re-reading the print-outs with details, we decided to contact the realtor and tell her we would do drive-bys and only if we were interested, we would call and make appointments.

After looking all day at houses, we realize that we have what we need here in Raleigh. Even though the traffic is heavy, it is still nothing compared to living where we have to look at houses that are unkempt, unloved, uncared for. We are not overly obsessive about how other people live, but do like to live in a neighborhood that is reasonably neat and homes maintained. We do not do edge trimming on our lawn--a quick mowing is good enough for us. We do not plant lots of flowers. But we do not leave any trash around. We do not make our neighbors look at our "closets." Our neighborhood could use a few improvements, but except for the traffic on this side of town, it works fine for us.

So after much "soul searching" we have decided that we are already at home.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Common Sense

When I started this blog, I had planned on writing about just plain common sense. It never seemed to turn into that. However, I sometimes respond to articles in our local newspaper. Here is one that Check it out used in their column. Don't expect a lot. This is a column that I often think must be for those who have too much time on their hands, those who just want to state their opinions or those who are easily amused. I'm in the last two categories. They would not have a job if I had too much time on my hands as I could easily write it every day.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 05, 2007

And so how is the new year treating you?

It has been an interesting new year so far.

A little background for you. I start out in December each year trying to get things done so I am in the groove for the New Year. I don't make resolutions to start the New Year as I have already made decisions in December to have most things done before January gets here. I even choose to stay at home on New Year's eve so that I start the year off rested and not sleeping the first day away.

I choose six to eight things that I want to accomplish in December so I don't have to worry about them or I am already in the habit of doing them so they are easy to do without thinking of them as a chore after January 1.

I begin my new daily exercise regimen no later than Dec. 15.

I make a plan for my creative time for the new year and begin adjusting it so I get my work done to make money and also have time for just me and wherever my creative time takes me.

I try to do one housework chore a day that I am behind on. I organize a lot so all is in good form for the new year.

I try to get a week of auctions scheduled on eBay and ready to start on January 1.

I pay off all my credit card bills before Jan. 1 or at least have a plan to pay off the month of January.

I pre-pay my first month's regular bills like a car payment. Get the picture?

This year I spent my New Year's Eve listing on eBay the auctions to start on New Year's Day. I was congratulating myself on actually getting every single thing done on my list. January 2 arrives and I get an email from eBay that they have cancelled dozens of my listings. It seems that it is now against their policies for sellers to say that they will accept cash. I had in the listing that I take cash (which is forbidden), money orders, personal checks and PayPal. I can't imagine why they should care if one takes cash since I alone am responsible for my eBay income. In seven years, I have received less than $100 in cash! I cannot retrieve the listings and correct them---they are gone along with a day's productivity! And of course, eBay, the insulated corporation that it is, is not available for any customer service to help me retrieve any listings. I have sent four emails to eBay associates and no one has answered a one of them. (Note to self: eBay is not a company to specialize in serving it's customers. It is only interested in itself.)Then Wednesday, I get an email that eBay has raised their fees. Now if I want to take the time to re-list, the fee will be .05 more each! I have figured the no cash requirement out. eBay does not want to miss a single fee that they can help as they want to be certain that people use one of their other services-PayPal. Oh, if I were wealthy, I would give eBay some real competition. So if anyone reading this has so much money, you don't know what to do with it---keep me in mind.

Then I went to get my driver's license renewed. I was stuck in the line for over four hours! So much for trying to make the best use of time to start the New Year.

I took the truck for an oil change---We got a call that the truck had a brake line that had rusted through and it would cost $400 to repair!

We had our annual furnace inspection ($180) and found out the reason for the noise was the fan had rusted and the whole motor (that pulls all the bad air from under the house) now has to be replaced. The other motor is drawing high amps than it should and is on its way to an early death. The system is 19 years old so we can replace the motors for about $1,000 or replace the furnace! As I write this, we are having a new furnace installed at a cost of $2500.

I could go on and on----but you get the message. I rarely complain, but I was a little short in an email to a friend. I had not even mentioned all of the things above--just the eBay problem. She sent me back a horoscope yesterday that was just too creepy for words. It detailed all of the things that had just happened and how I am the kind of person who wants to have a jump on the new year, how I like to be in control of my life, how I need to let things roll as they may for now as things will start looking up tomorrow.

Even my husband noticed my unhappiness with all of the "bad stuff" that I could not do anything about.

He reminded me that:
1) I have been growing unhappy with eBay for a long time. Oh, not the buyers! I love selling on eBay and getting treasures that I find to those who want and need them. I am just very disatisfied with a company that does not consider me a customer to be satisfied when I pay them money and lots of it.

2) We could have been driving our truck down a hill when the brakes went out and even if only we were involved, it could have been disastrous. As it was, as soon as it was put up on the lift, they noticed a fluid coming out and when it was checked, the braking power was gone.

3) I had been contemplating applying for a job with the state. There are many openings for driver's license examiners. After being in a crowded room with people coughing, talking on cellphones, 18 year olds swooning over some guy and talking about their sororities for almost four hours and looking at a filfthy carpet, dirty, greasy walls, I realize that I don't need a job like that. I had rather clean toilets for a living! Honestly. No wonder there are so many openings. Who wants to work in an environment where one has to feel like they are working in a warehouse? I am still wondering what on earth I had to sign about child molesters, pornography or something like that before they would give me my license. Note to self for the New Year: Even if I am in a hurry and worn out, don't sign a thing if I have a gut feeling that it has nothing to do with what I am attempting to do. Why does this have anything to do with getting a driver's license? I shall return next week and ask for the form to see what I signed. I also plan on refusing to sign any doctor's form that is two pages long. I will write out that they can only contact my insurance company and any doctors or people that I specify individually.

4) The company that we have our air/heat maintenance service agreement called the morning that the furnace was making a clanking noise. It had made the noise before, but always stop after a few minutes. When the maintenance man came, it just happened to be making the noise and luckily for us, they could hear exactly what it was. The weather is beautiful today and so to have a new furnace installed is not a problem and because business is slow right now, we can get a 10% discount. As I sit typing this, it is 70 degrees inside and the heat has been off since early morning. I should be thankful---it could be 25 degrees outside and 45 degrees in here!

5) As far as the exercise regime, paying bills, making my own creative time, etc. are in my complete control. I should be thankful that I am healthy, happy and have enough money to pay bills, enjoy some things that are not absolute necessities, have so many ideas that I will never run out of things to make and I have friends. Even those who send me horoscopes.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Even the forest can hear---apologies to everyone!

On Friday, I took an Encaustics class. Two other artist friends, Amy and Jean were also taking the class. I had saved some miscellaneous "stuff/junk" leftover from a garage sale that I thought they could use in their artwork.

I told them that they could go through the boxes and anything that they did not want, then I would take back and deliver to Goodwill or take to the dump.

Jean said, "Oh, don't worry, we will take what we can't use to Goodwill."

I replied, "If you can't use it in your artwork, it is only good for the dump!"

They took it good-naturedly and Jean said that they should put a sign in their studio that says, "We use junk that is too bad for Goodwill." or something like that.

I did not think about what I was really saying, but they caught it. I have awaken two nights thinking about how it is so easy to make a comment and say something that sounds really bad.

Today I told my husband about it and he informed me that I often blurt out this kind of thing without thinking! Of course, I never realized that I do this---much less often! In fact, I always think that even if I say something not exactly how it should be said, that people know I would never mean it the way it sounds. I think what bothered me the most is that I would have expected him to say, "Honey, I'm sure they did not take it the wrong way. Anyone who knows you, would not expect you to intentionally say something that would hurt their feelings." Instead, he says that I should really watch this kind of thing.

The fact that someone can take "stuff/junk" and make it marketable or of use is something that I really admire. In fact, most of the stuff was either something that I saw some potential in or just did not want to put in the landfills.

Jean had just entered a piece into the Visual Art Exchange's mixed media exhibit and she used an old doll head, lampshade ring, old box, parts of a vegetable steamer and many other unusual found items that one would not often find a use for. It was an excellent piece and surely one that most people would never think to make using these objects. Amy had also made a piece with found objects for the VAE exhibit. So in my book, if anyone can make use of "stuff," they surely can. If I can get a photo of Jean's piece, I will post it here and I think you will see what I mean.

Today as I was reading the Anchorage Daily News online, I saw an article that had this quote,
"Grandmother taught me that all our relatives and friends, even the forest, can hear every word that we say. That is why we must always be careful with our words, she said. Always show respect. Remember who you are. Watch your words carefully. Even the forest can hear you.
Even the forest can hear."

So now I will take that quote and think on that and apologize to Jean and Amy. Maybe I have said who knows what to my husband and I better apologize to him, and then to my son---wonder what I have said that he took in a way differently than I intended---I better apologize to everyone I know. I just don't think when I talk about some things and I am positive that I have said plenty that has caused hurt feelings. Apologies to everyone! Just remember that I have good intentions.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blog Entry link

My son wrote a blog entry about creating war. It's worth a read.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Help KIYU a public radio station in Galena, AK

I read the Anchorage Daily News online in order to keep up with what is happening in Alaska. There is an article by Beth Bragg on a radio station KIYU in Galena that broadcasts to outlying villages for a 200 mile radius. KIYU is a public radio station and without the broadcasts, the community suffers. KIYU has had numerous setbacks which are all detailed in the article.

After having lived in Alaska for almost 20 years, I know that communication is so important to many of these communities. We are so bombarded with the media here in the lower 48 that we often forget that others need the basic services that a public radio station can offer in Alaska.

I wrote Beth Bragg and asked for an address where we can send donations. I received an email from the radio station with this information. "You can make a donation to:
KIYU or Big River Public Broadcasting Corp.
Box 165
Galena AK 99741

It is tax deductible. Thanks for your Support!"

I am making a donation and hope that many of you will make a donation. No amount is too small. Thank you!

Labels: ,

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dear Mr. President...

I received an email from a friend with a link to a video of Pink singing a song titled Dear Mr. President. I had written a blog entry titled Dear Mr. President in February. Now I will add this to my list of Dear Mr. President pleas.

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Discussion on the Dubai Ports Deal

Alan, my son, has a discussion on his blog that is interesting. Normally we see politics and life in general in much the same way. This is the first time that I can remember his writing a post that I had to respond to.


Saturday, February 18, 2006


I just made a post to my Art for the Heart Blog and realized that it could just as well be posted here. I sent the same letter to Robert Genn, but wanted to post it in case it is not posted there.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dear Mr. President...Are you listening?

I read at least two newspapers everyday. I read The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) and the Anchorage Daily News (Anchorage, AK). Today in the ADN, there is an article which begins, "Dear Mr. President, We've heard you don't read the newspapers...." I am seeing more and more articles that begin, "Dear Mr. President." Sometimes there are two of these articles in one newspaper!

Mr. President, Are you listening?


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Male bat species give up brains for testes

An interesting article was in the newspaper on the study bats and the size of male testicals compared to the size of their brains. The results of the research seems to indicate that sexual prowess may, in some species, come at the expense of intelligence and vice- versa. An interesting read...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Somebody tell me....eBay really cares...

I have been selling on eBay for years and can remember when someone would make a complaint and if a seller did not immediately right a wrong, then the seller was booted for a period of time. I just ran across one seller who has so many negatives and neutrals, I would have to get a calculator to add them up. Today he has 613 items listed for sale. This is to warn buyers to beware, ask questions and check feedback before bidding on items with anyone who has this kind of feedback ---even if you think it is a good deal.

Someone tell me that eBay really cares who sells and what they sell. We now know (and probably always knew) that money in their pocket is all eBay cares about. I have had emails from eBay that an item I am selling is not allowed and if I continue to list, I will be barred from eBay. Here are some items that have been cancelled of mine by eBay.
1) A documentary type book written by teenagers about their experiences of being gay.
2) Mini magnetic sperm and egg couples that I make.
3) A medical book that had an illustration on the cover of a woman's muscles.
4) A book on the history of the KKK.
5) A book with a cover that had a picture of a nude statue in Europe.

I only wish eBay had some serious competition. I've tried a few other sites, but so far I have never sold anything. Maybe it is back to the flea markets to sell and let others deal with eBay.


Monday, January 30, 2006


A friend and I have had friends and acquaintances who have committed suicide or have been suicidal. After the latest suicide of an attorney near our age, we were discussing how it could have been prevented.

Debi Cole has been a friend for many years. She was one of the first women I met when I lived in Alaska. Most people who know her casually would not expect such pragmatic suggestions--she is an artist, always reaching for the stars, a dreamer. From our friendship, I know that when there are problems, she always is very practical and attacks a problem with determination to solve it in the most sensible manner. She sent me an email with what she thought were good points for those to remember or try to understand if thinking of suicide. With her permission, I am copying it here.

1. Re-access the situation. Write a list of all problems and include everyone with whom you have problems.

2. List everyone who would be hurt by your departure, however minor you believe the impact.

3. Call the people who are number one and two on the list.

4. Honestly and somewhat politely explain how bad you really feel. You have nothing to lose, right? If they reject you for now, just take notes.

5. Plan a huge dream vacation. Use credit cards or sell something if you must. Ask if anyone can join you. If they can, great. If not, you can meet folks on the road.

6. Take the vacation. Re-assess your life.

7. Discuss your life with strangers on the road. Find solace in the fact that you are similar and not so unusually challenged emotionally to consider ending it all.

8. While on vacation, discuss, read and write about ideas to re-do issues in your life.

9. If you are still considering suicide on this vacation, rent a room somewhere nice by the week and stay on the vacation longer.

10. Put off killing yourself one day at a time. However unusual to your norm, try really hard to have some fun activities.

11. Seek new friends and new people to talk with honestly.

12. Seek new ideas for your future. Adopt a new activity that you never thought you would do like water skiing or art, dancing, or karaoke. You are with strangers and no one knows. You can start fresh. Life---try it with a new perspective.

A bonus suggestion is
13. Eat lots of comfort foods. If chocolate is your thing, get the best and savour til you feel full. Forget the pounds. Remember you WERE considering checking out.

Labels: ,