Summer is finally here, well effectively here.  Graduations have been happening all around the area.  Quiet neighborhoods are being run by children.

This is the time I remember most fondly from childhood.  These summer days of freedom to just go and have fun in the neighborhood.  Play equipment in every yard was being used. We knew where to find the sensitive plants and blackberries (which we watched for signs of ripeness).  Collecting stones and following bugs were favorite pastimes.  Watching clouds and dreaming in the shade followed bicycle rides and jumping backyard fences.

We would run home for lunch and be called in for dinner.  We felt free.  We felt unsupervised, but all the neighbors kept their eyes on the kids in the neighborhood.  We couldn’t get away with anything.  If you stepped out of line, you got a quick reprimand, and you got it again when you got home.

We had no cell phones in our pockets, yet our parents always knew what was going on and where we were.  It was our job to keep them informed of exactly where we were going.  Outside was playing in the neighborhood, taking our bikes meant riding up and down the street and around the block, the playground was over at the school where a variety of summer activities took place, including baseball.

Now I’m going to sound like a little old lady.  Today’s kids don’t have this sense of complete freedom.  Their parents are working, and don’t want to impose on the neighbors to watch their children.  I don’t know what their memories of childhood will be like.  They play video games.  They visit grandma (which is the best). They are also free from homework every night so I imagine they feel the sense of freedom.

I knew I had entered the adult world when I was still expected to go to work after “the kids” got out of school for the summer.  Work was no longer an option, but a commitment.  If you were one of the lucky ones, you got a week or two of vacation.  There are different reward to adulthood, and if you handle it right, you still feel free.


  Related image

Bean the Wookie

Awakened at 4 a.m. needing to tend to personal things.  The grandchildren are visiting with their two-month-old Wookie, who needed to be let out a short time after that.  Wookie is growing up and decided to go for a run.  I had to laugh at my granddaughter chasing after Wookie and bringing him back to hook him to the leash.   It confounds me why everyone thinks their dog will just stay by their side because of love!

Love has nothing to do with it.  A dog has got to be a dog.  If a dog can get its way, it becomes the top dog, the alpha dog, numero uno!    Some people know how to train a dog to stay with them, but I don’t.  My best reasoning says to keep a dog tied to you until it is at least two years old, and has learned to come to you when called, no matter where he is or what she is doing.  A tether helps with this also, as a small tug helps the dog to respond appropriately, but don’t forget the loving.  Treats also help, and include playing with their favorite thing as well as food treats.

Hubby either doesn’t understand this, after many years with many different dogs, or he just doesn’t care.  Many people believe it does no harm to let a dog just run free a little bit.  They explore, never really go far, and come back happy.  In fact, running seems to be essential for some dogs.  If you have ever tried to contain a beagle, or other hunter, you will understand.  These dogs live by their nose, and if they pick up a scent, they have just got to go.

Unfortunately for our dogs and for Hubby, continual conflict with neighbors over our unleashed dogs has caused me considerable stress, which I pass right to Hubby.   As I’ve told my neighbor who called me while I was out of town to tell me where my dog was, “I have more luck training the dog, than I do my husband.  Obviously, I’m not very good at either.

I am seriously distressed by the things people create to keep dogs from even their mailbox poles.  Nasty, cutting things with the intention of hurting an animal.  Poison in a tempting wrapping to punish both pet and owner.  People, really.  For a few dollars, you can buy a spray keeping animals away with an unpleasant, but harmless odor.  Reapply as needed.

And there are other hazards, like people who want to walk off with your adorable pet.  There are cars to dodge and wells and sewer grates to avoid.  There are dangers in the world.

Is a tiny, constricted life the kind of life any creature wants?  Let’s continue to explore and experience the world we live in.   Let’s live free and bravely, with our pets.


Has it Become Stylish

This morning in the silence, I started thinking about political news.  Each side can tell you what gives them pause.  In fact, you can probably tell me what gives the other side pause.  Every election season it’s the same thing.  If people actually believed the political rhetoric spouted during an election, we would have to agree that all our leaders are tricky, shifty, lying, crooked, dishonest, indecisive, gutless, flip-floppers.  And we elect these people!  Every public office in the land is full of these people that we all think so little of.

The country would be a total loss if this were in fact true.  Even electing the one person who says they have all the answers would not be enough to fix the mess.

Politically speaking, we have thrown decorum, courtesy, and diplomacy out the window.   It is stylish to not pull our punches, tell it like it is, let the chips fall where they may, without consideration for the pain and suffering of the people our policy will be directly affecting.

Decorum is politically correct.  We don’t need it!  We can simply remove anyone who disagrees.  We have right on our side, so if we can get a punch or two in, so much the better.  Heck, why wait until they actually make a scene or disagree?  You can tell by how they look that they are trouble makers.  Heck, we are entitled to our own opinion, so why listen to any other opinion.  We can mock, ridicule and ignor anyone who disagrees.

Courtesy is politically correct.  Why be courteous when we can reduce everything a person is, all their struggles and concerns into a harshly worded tweet, or denigrating term?   We can call people names, and are praised because of it.  We are telling it like it is!  We are being honest!  We are right and you are wrong!

Diplomacy is also politically correct.  Why use diplomatic means of solving problems when you can use your power to get your way?  Why negotiate when you can dictate?  Why compromise when we are powerful?  We don’t agree and aren’t going to, unless we get our way.

The truth is, we don’t want to spend our time working out how pay for public projects and services.  If we want highways, bridges, schools, trade between states and countries then we need government.  If we want a legal system, fire, police and a military to cope with threats from not only within our country but from around the world, then we need government.

We need a free press to keep us informed of things we can’t be present for.   A press free to report the facts as they see them, and not in a manner approved by our political representatives.  A press of diverse points of view, not cherry picked and approved by our leaders.

If you sincerely believe all of our representatives are crooks, then you have the freedom to step up, and give us the leadership we need.  If you don’t trust the press you have the freedom to get yourself out to meetings and see for yourself exactly what is being done in those meetings, plus you could write your own report.  Every governing body has a gallery for those who wish to see our leaders at work, from the smallest local council or school board to Congress.

Getting Ready for the Next Phase

Welcome to our home. 

Welcome to our home.  Notice how neat it is.  I am glad I have this picture, because it is a very unusual event.  Hubby and I spend a bit of time getting everything as organized, uncluttered, and neat as we possibly could.  The reason?  Well, we have placed our humble abode on the market.  We needed the picture for our posting at MHVillage, a site for selling manufactured homes.

I love my little doll house.  Normally it is stuffed to the rafters with my personal art, and that of grandchildren, next to that picture above the sofa.  You can still see the fan cord there next to the sofa, because here we are in mid September and it is a freaking 90 degrees outside.  The toaster oven is relocated to the laundry room where our microwave oven resides.  My chicken has been moved from the table to behind the sink. The coasters, utensils, remotes, pictures, and tchotchkes are all put away or already packed.

To you who may have real estate experience, I know the walls are yellow, and the giant artwork should go, but I have no climate controlled place to store the painting while we sell our house.  Around the corners, and down the hall are rooms stuffed with things that need to be dealt with on another day.  Pieces of furniture and boxes already packed must be transferred to our locker.  We have begun the process of selling off stuff that has been packed away in storage for five years.

The fragile neatness will have to be maintained for that hoped for buyer who will want to look at the house right away.  I’ve done this before.  Once all the personal stuff is out-of-the-way, we settle into a routine of putting stuff away.  Already, our stuff has begun encroaching upon the pristine neatness.

Entropy is already making its dent.  Entropy is that principle of order returning to chaos unless some force holds order in place.  (That force will be me.)  The remotes, coasters, a bag of chips along with Hubby in his chair are already back in residence.   The animals have been allowed back in, along with their beds and toys.

So why are we putting ourselves through this?  Didn’t I say I love my doll house?  Yes, I did.  As much as I love my doll house, Hubby is no longer employed in this area (#retirement), and we are no longer tethered to this area and have the freedom to live where we want.  We have an opportunity to select our retirement home, and plan on living closer to at least one of our children, and take extended visits to the rest of them.

There is still a possibility we could take our home with us, but that prospect seems daunting.  We have many choices we will be making in the next few months.  The fragile order of our lives has devolved into chaos, but we are creating order in a way that suits our lives now.

The first step, is get ready for a move.  Something I’ve done many times.  But I’m going to miss my stuff while it sits in boxes in the dark of the locker.  Opening things in our new location will be just like Christmas!

A Week of Bad News

People strapped bombs to their bodies, and set out to do as much damage as they could a week ago, Friday, November 13 in Paris.  Just as I did after 9/11, I withdrew from society and watched all the news I could about the destruction.  I have seen French news reports being cautious about blaming refugees for the violence, and United States governors (31 U.S. governors) have signed declarations to refuse entrance to any Syrian  refugees.  I have heard presidential candidates say they would refuse shelter to three year old orphans.  I have seen social media posts angry at President Obama, because he has not turned Syria into a glass parking lot, at a minimum.

I have heard about hackers who have taken it upon themselves to take down ISIS propaganda from the internet.  I have seen Christians who are begging people to follow their faith instead of their fear to welcome those running toward any country of freedom and safety, including our own.

There is a multi step procedure for legal entry into our country for refugees.  I tend toward a sympathetic response to people displaced by war and violence.  I would welcome refugees from Syria, and other people who practice the Muslim faith.  I have made this known in conversations with those who would isolate the United States from all Muslims.

My father grew up in a country at war with the United States,  He came to the United States as a young man having lost his home to U.S. bombs, and lost his country to the violent and repressive Nazis.  He served in the U.S. Army before he could even speak English very well.  His brothers also established their families here in the U.S.  The family has done well, and is now on it’s third generation of Americans.

I think offering the same opportunity to others who seek freedom and opportunity is the right thing to do.   I also think we should use every tool  we have to fight ISIS.  This includes the use of rhetoric and being a light of freedom to the people of our enemies, and those trying to escape them.




The Language of War

When President Obama used the term “violent terrorists” to describe the self-proclaimed Islamic State, rather than the term “Islamic terrorists.” I thought for a moment that maybe the President of these United States might have read my blog posting on the very subject of fighting ISIL.  Also pleased were  Americans  Muslims who use their freedom of religion to practice their faith.

A firestorm of  political attacks broke out due to his use of the term.  Some may not consider this a very important political issue, potato or patato, but the words we use are critically important. Words have power to convey legitimacy.  The Islamic State chose that name in trying to claim legitimacy.

Some people believe the lie that the ISIL represents Islam.  That is like saying any of the many Christian cults represent Christianity.  The Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL, is a well armed cult that is just like other cults in that it indoctrinates and uses children to further its ends.  ISIL leaders make the rules, and you follow or die.  Muslims have a greater stake in stopping this cult, because they are the ones most often in the line of fire, and have to suffer because of this perversion of their faith.

We are also in danger from these violent terrorist who use the internet and terror cells to further their goals within our boarders, and the boarders of all free society.  We must use all weapons available to stop ISIL.  These weapons are not only drones, fighters, and boots on the ground.  These weapons include the internet, movies,  our political rhetoric and the very language we use everyday to take away the propaganda that they are trying to sell to anyone who might be unhappy where they are.

Prosperity for all, respect for our freedom of personal expressions of religious faith, and acceptance of all who seek the American dream is our best defense against terror.  Stand united against terror.

Taking on ISIL

President Obama sends airstrikes and American troops to fight the self proclaimed “Islamic State” hiding within Syria and Iraq, but I believe there is a bigger war that is being fought.

President Obama alluded to this bigger war when he referred to thousands of foreigners, including Americans, joining ISIL and the fear of these people returning to their countries of origin to spread terror.  These are people so marginalized and disenfranchised that they have left their own countries to fight with those whose philosophy is so extreme.

The United States of America has long been a country of opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.  The State of Liberty is a symbol of welcome.   We who live here expect these things.  We expect that if we want to work, we will find or create an opportunity.  We expect that we can be who we are, like what we like, believe what we believe with tolerance from others.  Most of all we have hope for a better future for ourselves, and our children.

These are the freedoms that terrorists have tried to take away from us since 9-11-2001.  These are the freedoms that ISIL would deny their own people.  The simple freedom to believe what  you want to believe, is causing ISIL to murder the very people they would govern, and even children are not exempt from this brutality.  Within the Muslim nations political and social discord prevents effective action against the threat ISIL represents.

The simple freedom of reporting what is going on, is getting journalists beheaded, and yet foreigners from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, and others have all joined ISIL.

Is it because we are each so intent upon our own position, our own narrow self interest that our public and private rhetoric lack the tolerance that we expect from our fellow Americans?  Is it because we are so busy living in fear behind closed doors about who might sneak over our boarders to do us harm, that we hold all who are different from us as suspect?

It is time that we start showing the world and each other that we are living our American ideals. All men are created equal, does include all races, all nationalities, and all sexual orientations, and men and women. The land of opportunity means if you are willing to become educated and work you can get ahead and have a better life. Freedom of religion means you are free to pursue your religion as you see fit, whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or something else.

It is time we stop nasty little digs in social media, our personal social networks, and political arenas and realize there is a war going on for the hearts and minds of people of the world.

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