Tuesday, December 16, 2008


What a perfect day! It's very cold, just 29 degrees, and the sky is the color of an old pewter mug. There's a thin crust of ice on almost everything that isn't in direct contact with the ground. Streets and sidewalks and the flagstone path in my back yard are dry, but shrubbery and the few remaining leaves on the trees wear an icy shell. Even the grass crunches gently underfoot. The leaf net over my fishpond is sagging toward the water, weighed down by the droplets of ice that adorn it, like diamonds. It's a perfect day, if it happens to be the middle of December.

My little lighted deer out back all wear icy garments. Some of them are animated, and it will be interesting to see what happens tonight when the timer turns them on. Will they still light up? Will they move?

A friend commented earlier today that Christmas no longer holds the same magic for him as it did years ago, and he mentioned a grandmother who has gone to her Lord, and how her passing seemed to rob the joy of the season for the rest of the family. He described how he finally hit bottom and then began a slow rebound, but doubts he will ever find the same thrill in Christmas that he once did.

Oh my. How well I understand that. I would imagine that almost any adult who is middle-aged or older would have at least some comprehension of what he meant. Most families do have at least one central figure, the person who seems to hold the reins of everyone else's happiness during the holiday time. It's usually a woman, most likely a grandmother, and she's the one who bakes the cookies, plans the gatherings, does the shopping, wraps the gifts and decorates the house. She may even make a fruitcake in spite of the teasing from the rest of the family.

My mom was a very Christmassy person, and she conveyed that spirit and love of the holiday to me. As I grew older, and my own family emerged, somehow she and I managed to share the responsibilities and the planning without any conflict. As she began to tire more easily, I took over more of the work of the season and helped her with her tree and much of the cooking and baking. For a number of years, we had it all worked out.

Then in 1996 I lost my husband very suddenly, and with him went all my spirit and joy for Christmas and everything else, for that matter. I went through the motions each year because I had to, but not because I wanted to. In 1999, my mom joined him in Heaven, and in the next couple of years a newborn grandson returned to his Maker, and then my father left us as well, in 2003.

I suppose that was my year of "hitting bottom". There seemed to be no point in decorating or baking or doing any of the traditional things, but somehow, I did. I had tremendous help from my son, who comes every year and puts the lights up on my house, and makes it so beautiful. A dear friend came and helped me put up my Christmas tree. Other friends invited me here and there, and somehow, Christmas came and went.

And now, I am so happy to report, Christmas seems to be a happy time again. Deep in my heart, Christmas was always there - the real Christmas. The love, the promise, the warm security that can be found in that humble stable. The Child that was born there, and placed in the crude little manger did not remain an infant, helpless and dependent. He grew up, and in time He laid down His life for me, for all of us. He died, but that still wasn't all of it. He rose again after three days, and is now in Heaven with the Father.

He's not alone there. My husband, my parents, my grandson - all the loved ones whom I've lost are also there, because they were His children, bought with the price of His blood. And because I'm His child, a true believer, I know that I'll see the ones I love again.

The pain of immediate loss, the loneliness at holiday times, all these things are inevitable. We all go through them. However, at some point, most of us "hit bottom" and realize that we can't go on that way forever. We finally reach a point where we remember that the loss is not permanent. We start to look forward, in a sense, to our own homegoing. Being able to do that also makes it possible to experience a sense of joy and contentment in the everyday things of life, and especially in the holidays and special times that once seemed so lonely. It removes the sharp edge from the here and now.

Oh, there are still moments, when those little pangs of grief hit us. A sentimental Christmas movie, a beloved carol, the warm scent of favorite cookies baking, the crackle of the fireplace - all have the power to call scenes to mind that are so dear, but so painful at the same time. Those times can still be difficult, but through the mercy of God and time, we can find the joy and peace and sweetness once again.

Speaking for myself, I can say now that I never really lost those things, though I thought I did. As unexpected upwellings of joy flood my soul, and beloved carols ring in my mind, I now realize that I had just misplaced them for a while.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2008


What a great morning! I'm sitting here at my window, watching four fat little squirrels playing in the leaves, pausing now and then to take a nibble off a pumpkin I put out for them, or scramble around in the seeds they knocked down out of the feeder earlier. I have some old dry cereal I'll put out later, and a few shelled pecans that taste a little refrigerator-y, but the squirrels won't mind. One is a juvenile, not fully grown, and so cute. He won't be around here for long, though. He's evidently a remnant of the last litter that grew up in one of my nest boxes, and should have left for parts unknown by now. There's one grumpy female in the group that keeps running at him and chasing him away. Probably his mother, who knows it's time for him to do his own thing. Poor little guy. If his mom only knew, it would be okay for him to stay. I'll keep him fed.

At my feet is a tiny, fluffy miniature Sugarplum. Not quite as pretty as the Plum was, doesn't have the lush coat, but she is so cute. She's almost exactly half the size the Plum was, at just under four and a half pounds. She's looking pretty frazzled today, the air is dry and there's a lot of static charge in her hair, so it stands straight out at times. She's so playful and energetic, carries a toy around in her mouth most of the time, trying to persuade someone, anyone, to throw it for her. That game can continue for a very long time, if one is foolish enough to get it started.

I enjoy her the most though, when she gets tired. At those times she gets very clingy, wants to be very close to me, and will lead me to my big old chair if she can. As soon as I settle down in it, she hops into my lap, then climbs up to my shoulder and finds a comfortable spot there, settled on my chest for a nap. She'll sleep for an hour or so, then wakes and goes up on the back of the chair behind my head. She likes to lie up there and play with my hair. She'll pat her little paws around in it, or take strands of it and draw them through her teeth! Not sure what that's all about, but it's restful to me, and she enjoys it. Maltese are odd little dogs. They seem to possess a lot of feline traits, which only makes them that much more fun.

I paused for a moment and took that cereal outside. The squirrels scooted up the tree when I stepped out the door, and peered down at me from their lofty perches. As soon as I returned to my window, they were already on the ground, pushing their little noses around in the pile of cereal, selecting just the right one out of the hundreds of little O's. Then they move to one side, sit upright with tail curved over their back, and holding the bit of cereal in dexterous little paws, they nibble away. For all the time and effort it appears to require to eat one little cheerio, it would seem that squirrels, like people, are prone to make much ado about nothing.

And now the pigeons have arrived. Fortunately, there are only two, not the dozen or more that usually crash the squirrels' parties. When those winged marauders hit the scene, the groceries disappear faster than Depression glass at a garage sale. Since the squirrels outnumber them today, the pigeons are being unusually polite and non-aggressive, just picking around in the grass around the feeding station. They aren't venturing into the pile of seed and cereal that occupies the big flagstones. There is a squirrel sitting right in the middle of the stones, and if a pigeon ventures too close, he leans forward looking as menacing as a squirrel can manage to appear, and the pigeon retreats.

This balance of power is interesting. If there were more pigeons than squirrels, everything would be reversed. The pigeons would be shuffling around in the pile of feed, and the squirrels would be on the fringes, looking hopeful and trying to snatch a stray bit of something, anything. Apparently, there is strength in numbers, and in strength lies power.

There are many parallels between the animal kingdom and the human condition, and I think our newly-elected president would be very wise to study this parallel and realize that the dynamic seen here applies not only to squirrels and pigeons, but to nations as well. If he carries out his campaign threat to disarm America as an "example" to the rest of the world, he is going to learn a bitter lesson, and unfortunately, the rest of us will suffer as well. To disarm is to appear weak, and when one appears weak, whether a nation or an outnumbered pigeon, one will be attacked and dominated.

My late husband was a large and very strong man. I don't recall that he ever got into a real fight with anyone, and he once told me that he only had one actual fight, while in high school. He won, of course, and after that, no one ever challenged him. As he put it, when you look like you could win, no one ever asks you to prove it.

It seems to me that we need to continue the surge in Iraq, defeat Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the insurgents, whoever we need to defeat in order to convince the rest of the Muslim world that they really don't want to challenge us. We need to find Bin Laden and drag his wretched carcass over here and into a courtroom to be tried for the murder of three thousand people. Then we need to put him in a prison cell and feed him nothing but beans and hamhocks for the rest of his miserable life.

Unfortunately, I doubt very seriously that Barack Hussein Obama is going to do any of those things. If he does what he said he would do, he'll pull us out of Iraq and confirm in the minds of the Muslims that we are weak and cowardly. Then he'll dismantle our nuclear armament, drastically reduce the size of our military force, and step meekly aside as the vultures come to devour our way of life.

Well, be that as it may, for this morning I'm going to sit here and laugh at the antics of the squirrel who is now INSIDE the bird feeder, sending seed showering to the stones below, where the other three, the juvenile included, are all but rolling in the bounty. For this morning anyway, life is good.

Be blessed!

Monday, November 24, 2008


This morning, I received a forward from a friend (wow, imagine that!) Thanks, Kel. It was a video of interviews conducted at a polling place during the recent election. The answers given by the folks who were interviewed were astonishing.

What came through to me loud and clear, is not that they're ignorant or stupid, but simply that they're uninformed, and to a large extent, that is not their fault. While it's true that we should all get in there and dig and make ourselves informed, not many people do. We all have our lives, our busy-ness, our personal concerns. We habitually skim the newspaper and listen to the TV or radio playing in the background, and depend on that to keep us on top of what's going on. We get our information almost by osmosis, and if only one side is being presented, that's all we hear and therefore, all we know.

Also, getting one's self informed is difficult. Where do you turn? You can't trust the papers, and most news sites on TV and radio are slanted so steeply that I'm amazed that the lobby lizards don't slide off. It does take some effort to find a news source that tells it like it is, warts and all.

Journalism in America has fallen to a pitiful low. It's slanted, biased, irresponsible and not at all trustworthy. It's time for us all to demand better performance from those charged with the awesome responsibility of keeping our citizens informed. If they can't report the truth, ALL of the truth, then they should step aside. Maybe they'll be pushed aside in time, by the bloggers, by email forwards such as this, by all the independent network of news-sharing that's developing.

Medically, quite often when a blockage in an artery begins to form, and that artery isn't doing its job of delivering oxygen-rich blood to its intended destination, collateral circulation will form. New blood vessels will begin to push their way through the tissue and bypass the poor performer. If that didn't happen, there would be many, many more heart attacks than those which do occur.

And so it may be that the day will come when newsboys will again be standing on the streets, shouting "Read all about it!" to people walking by, almost begging them to buy a newspaper, but to no avail. Instead, people will be checking their email and reading blogs, watching a select few TV networks, and newspapers will become as non-essential as butter churns and buggywhips.

This puts a big responsibility on us as private citizens, though. We must be as unbiased and responsible as we want our news media to be. No willy-nilly forwarding of things without checking their veracity first. The only reason I forwarded this is that I could see it with my own eyes. The lines of people in the background fit with the implication that it was conducted at a polling place. The folks being interviewed seemed to be genuine. Though it is always possible it could have been staged, my gut feeling is that it was not. Some of the folks appeared to be a little brighter than others, and one woman really seemed to be thinking it over, when she said, "I don't think I'll be changing my vote, though." Obviously, a chord had been struck.

The fact is, two things elected Hussein. Racism, obviously, was one. Millions voted for him, who would have done so if he had sprouted horns, simply because he's black. If it had been reversed, with Hussein being white and McCain being black, they'd have all voted for McCain - everyone knows that. However, there were other millions, black and white alike, who voted for him simply because they were poorly informed. All they heard from the MSM was "hope and change", and they drank the kool-aid.

So, Hussein rode into the White House on a tide of racism and rotten journalism. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Until we demand better from our news media, we will not get it. Dallas has only one newspaper, The Dallas Morning News. One voice, for a city the size of this. That's not right, and Dallas is not alone. Many major cities have only one big newspaper, and I think that's dangerous.

So, what are we to do? My mother used to warn me, "Don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see." There's a lot of truth in that. I think it could be modified to "Don't believe anything you hear or read, and only half of what you see - verify it first!" I was unable to definitely verify this video, so be aware of that. However, it fits with the results of a couple of free-lance interviews of my own - questions asked in conversation with patient aides at work and the like. What I found was that almost no one had a clue regarding the issues. Try it yourself, you'll be amazed.

Well, the election is over, Hussein is to be the president, assuming he can solve that annoying birth certificate thing, and so we have four years to get through. We will, and perhaps will emerge the stronger for it. Perhaps people will see where voting blind gets them, and will begin to demand more balanced, comprehensive journalism.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Those who know me well know that I am very particular about my car, almost to the point of being neurotic. It's four years old, and it looks like a brand-new car, because I'm extremely careful about where I park it. I refuse to park where someone else is likely to hit my car with their car's door. Those hateful little "dings" just annoy me to no end. Therefore, it is my habit to park far out on a lot, where no one should be likely to park next to me. Well, at least that's what one would think.

However, there is a glitch in the thinking process of people, a tendency that is often seen and recognized in the animal world, but goes largely unnoticed in humans. That is not to say it doesn't exist, it just isn't recognized as such. I call it the "flocking syndrome". Most people just simply cannot bring themselves to park apart from the crowd. They absolutely have to join the flock, just like sheep.

Think about it. You're driving around a parking lot, and some woman, driving a car as big as your first house, is just ahead of you. Spotting a space between two cars, one that would barely hold a coaster wagon, that woman will spend five minutes jockeying back and forth, trying to insert her big old car into that narrow space. Never mind that the lot is designed to hold five thousand cars, and there are only a few hundred there at the time, so there is ample space to park, quickly and without difficulty, if one is willing to walk a few steps.

By the way, I'm using a female example here, because women seem to be more deeply ingrained with the flocking syndrome than men. Men have it, but they're inclined to park next to the last car on the line - still close and in the flock, but they're willing to be the outermost bird on the wire. Women will always choose a space deep within the flock if at all possible.

Now mind you, I have been studying this phenomenon for some time now, and it is eternally interesting to me. So, while the woman is sawing back and forth, I drive my undented car about thirty yards out onto the lot, well beyond the last cars, park in the wide open spaces and walk back to the scene of the action. Usually, if I'm in a lot where the store has baskets, I pull one out of a corral, put my purse in the child seat, and pretend to rummage in it while actually watching the little drama. If there are no baskets, I might just stand and watch!

When the woman finally manages to wedge the car in and get it stopped, the fun begins. She now has to get out of the car. This is no small task. She opens her door (ding) and usually finds she has about eighteen inches of space to squeeze herself through. This might be possible if she's eighteen, but she probably isn't, and like most mature American women, she's usually amply endowed. Getting through an eighteen-inch space might be possible, but not easy. Still, she's optimistic, and she tries. (Ding, scrape, scrape, scrape.)

I'm still standing off to the side, covertly observing, and trying to hide my laughter.

Most of the time, she manages to make it through the door, and ends up standing on the ground, with the car door still open. Her purse is inside the car, naturally, and she must retrieve it. Facing into the car, she bends over and leans in to get the purse. This maneuver means her posterior is pushing against the door, which of course is still in contact with the adjacent car. (scrape, scrape, scrrraaaatch!)

Finally, she completes her escape, steps to the side and closes her door, never once looking at the carnage she has left behind on the other person's car. Very satisfied with herself for securing a space within the flock and close to the store, she walks the few yards to the door, quite possibly to visit a spa or fitness salon where she will exercise and even walk on a treadmill, or maybe she'll just join the other mall-walkers inside and walk her daily mile or so.

Meanwhile, I go in and complete my errand, still laughing inwardly at what I have just witnessed, and return to my car. Now, this is where the comedy ceases to be funny. All too often, no matter how far out I have parked my car, I return to find that someone with a very bad case of flocking syndrome has parked right beside it. Yep, with the whole empty lot on which to park, they have chosen to park next to me, and quite closely at that. (Yes, I'm aware of the potential dangers here, and always approach the car very carefully.)

I have concluded that these are people who aren't willing to squeeze into tiny spaces like the woman described earlier, but they just can't quite make themselves park all alone, and mess up the rank-and-file order that prevails with the flock. And so, they join me, perhaps in the hope of starting a new flock. It's the only explanation I can think of. It doesn't make me happy, but it makes sense.

Now, here the comedy not only ceases to be funny, it turns to tragedy. I believe the flocking syndrome is also a possible explanation for the outcome of our recent election. I believe that many people just followed the crowd, and got caught up in the fever that was so skillfully generated by President-elect Hussein. I know, that's really his middle name, but if the Democrats could refer to President Bush as "Dubya", I think I can call Mr. O by his middle name as well.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that a lot of people voted for him who couldn't tell you why they did. It just seemed like the thing to do, because their friends and family and neighbors were talking about him, and they didn't want to break with the flock. Many people, far too many, don't bother to investigate or study the issues, they just listen to the people around them and follow the flock. I truly believe that's what happened here. It must be so. I can't believe that anyone who actually thought things through could have still voted for the man. Who is he? Where was he really born? Do we believe him, with his agenda to complete, or his Kenyan grandmother, who has no ax to grind? Who are his friends and associates? Who was, and is, funding him? He says he didn't know about "Rev." Wright's beliefs - so is he deaf, stupid or lying? There are dozens of other questions, which I won't repeat here.

There just simply is no explanation for anyone voting for him in the face of these unanswered questions, except the flocking syndrome. That just has to be it. The "flocking syndrome" is funny when it's applied to parking cars. It's terrifying when the future of our country is hanging in the balance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


For some time now, I've been thinking about, and concerned about, the darkness that seems to be creeping across this country of ours. I think we all feel it, sense it, and often believe we actually see it. We see it on our TV screens, read about it in our newspaper, see it in our movies (if we dare go to a movie anymore). We see it in the behavior of the teenagers and young adults that inhabit the malls and streets of the cities.

Most recently, we are seeing a trend toward the darker, seamier side of life in America, in the person of one of our presidential candidates, Barack Hussein Obama. This man has for many years been in the company of highly questionable individuals. He has consorted with a self-confessed and unrepentant terrorist, a man who committed the same crime for which Timothy McVeigh was executed- that of bombing a public building. Yet, this particular terrorist is walking free, boasts of his accomplishment, and seemingly fears no retribution. In fact, he and his accomplice/wife have moved on and are now "respected" college professors, according to one Googled account. One has to wonder under whose protection they exist.

There are many other things about Mr. Obama that I find questionable, if not downright scary, but it's not my intention to go into those things right here and now. What I am most concerned about is the identity and power source of whatever machine has put him where he is today - on the presidential election ticket of the United States. My parents would absolutely not believe it, and my grandparents would probably go into cardiac arrest.

Let me say right here, don't even bother waving the race card at me, because that dog won't hunt. Mr. Obama could be snow white and I would feel no differently about him. That's not even the issue, but his politics and his highly questionable background most definitely are. I think it's very interesting to note that if he were to apply for a job as a Secret Service agent, he would not be accepted. He could never be a presidential bodyguard. With his background, he could not pass the security check, not by a long shot, and yet he's running for president. It's evident that someone with a great deal of power wants him at the helm of this nation. Who? Why?

As I said, there is a darkness creeping across this land, and its name is Islam. If someone, somewhere, is funding Mr. Obama, and putting the right people in place to pave the way for him, I think we have to look no further than the Islamic powers. They have stated their intention to possess this land, and getting Mr. Obama in the White House will be a major coup. He says he is not a Muslim. I cannot judge him on that point, only God can do that. However, we can all see and judge his behavior toward the Muslims, and it seems to me that he is extremely cozy with them. I have not seen or heard anything that would make me think he would offer them any resistance at all. Having family members who are Muslims doesn't help much, either.

Now, about that spreading darkness. I sat in my church services last Sunday, and listened to my pastor's sermon. Some folks do listen in church, and would be able to tell whether their pastor was a radical, rabid, snot-flyin', anti-American racist. It wouldn't take twenty years to arrive at the conclusion, either.

The sermon was thoughtful, well-prepared and nicely delivered, as always. It was taken from Matthew, the fifth chapter, which admonishes Christians to be "the light of the world". The pastor spoke of our responsibility to take light into the world, to spread light, to illuminate the dark places. Somewhere along the way, a notion began to take shape in my mind, an idea about darkness versus light.

Darkness, you see, is a nothing. A neuter. A non-existent thing in and of itself. Darkness only exists where light does not. I once had the experience of being deep in Carlsbad Cavern, and our guide turned off the lights momentarily. The darkness was so thick, so black, you could almost feel it and taste it. I found it difficult to breathe, as though the darkness was suffocating me. Then he turned on one small lamp, and the darkness went away, instantly. It could only return if the guide turned that lamp off, and he did not. Instead, he turned on more lights, and even more on the trail ahead of us, and the darkness was cast out.

Darkness cannot impose itself on light. Just as cold is simply the absence of heat, so darkness is simply the absence of light. Darkness has no power over light, but light has total power over darkness.

This brings me to my point. If it is true that a darkness is spreading across this land, it is only because we are allowing the light to recede. This scripture has perhaps never been more relevant than it is right now:

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matt. 5:14-16.

We are the light of the world? That's a pretty tall order, and it's getting taller day by day. The darkness is standing at our borders, ready to rush in when our light goes out. It will rush in, and it will suffocate us.

The leaders of that dark, oppressive, misguided belief system hate us, and want to see us dead, wiped away, exterminated, eliminated. They claim to be a "religion of peace" but their actions say otherwise. While we are allowing them to build their mosques in our suburbs, they are burning churches and slaughtering Christians by the numbers. They explain this by saying it's a "radical fringe" that does these things, but they do nothing to stop it. I would be very impressed if they arrested some of those radicals and held them accountable for their actions, but they do not.

Can you imagine the outrage, the screaming and posturing that would be exhibited if some lunatic here burned down a mosque? Imagine if some thugs killed a Muslim on his way to prayers. Never mind that our judicial system would convict the thugs of a hate crime and would punish them accordingly. That would not be enough to satisfy them, and the cries of protest would be heard around the world.

I'm no expert on Islam, not by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do know that it's a male-dominated system, in which women have little or no value and are subject to the whims of the men. Non-Muslims are considered "infidels", which is even worse than being a woman, and in fact, Muslim men are honored to have the opportunity to slay an infidel, thus buying themselves a higher place in paradise. This explains the suicide bombers.

This blind, hateful animosity toward non-Muslims is part of the darkness. It is not all of it, but it is a very dangerous part of it. Our only defense is light, the light of God and His plan for our salvation. We must let that light shine, not only our one little lamp, but we must continue to turn the light on ahead of us, to light the trail that goes beyond. We do this by teaching and thoroughly training our children, making sure that they are children of God. We do it through missions, by following Christ's commission to "go therefore into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". We do it by witnessing to our friends and neighbors, not only by direct verbal witness but by leading a life that will point them to God. We do this so that when time turns our light out, all the lights around us will be so bright that it will be scarcely noticed. That's the only thing that will keep the darkness at bay.

The Muslims are deeply indoctrinated in their beliefs, from babyhood. They are very serious. Make no mistake. If we let the light of God go out in this country, the darkness of Islam will overrun us just as quickly as your bedroom goes dark when you turn off the lamp. It likely won't happen in my lifetime, since I'm already older than dirt, but it could happen in my children's lifetime, and my grandchildren almost certainly will see it. Are we ready for that?

Monday, October 6, 2008


Like everyone else with an email account, I receive a lot of forwards every day. Some I just delete with barely a glance, especially those that warn me of damnation to follow if I don't forward it. Some I read, agree or disagree, and delete. Some make me laugh out loud, or provide my "Awwww" moment for the day. (I love those!) There are those which I just know instinctively are not true. However, if they're sufficiently intriguing, I vet them through Truthorfiction.com. If they can be verified, and I think folks on my list would be interested, then I might forward them. If they turn out to be hoaxes, I usually notify the sender, though that sometimes doesn't endear me to that person. Still, if it were me, I'd want to know.

Occasionally one comes along that just strikes all sorts of chords, and begs to be forwarded. I received one of those today.
I was unable to verify this in its entirety, but it's really not necessary. The things that can be verified, such as the Kennedy thing, (and yes, TorF does have this one) live in the memories of many of us anyway. Who could forget Toad Kennedy's escapade at Chappaquiddick, when Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in his wrecked car, while he swam to safety? Remember how he made it to the compound for dry clothes and coffee, but was "too confused" to report the accident for over six hours, enough time to be sure the girl had drowned, and by which time the archangel of the Democratic party was sober enough to risk calling the police? Not everyone will remember that the girl was pregnant, because there was only one little newspaper article that mentioned it, but I do remember seeing it, with my own two little beady eyes, and remember searching for more about it in the papers, but it had been thoroughly squelched.

The rest of the specific events mentioned in this email are verifiable too. We all know about Ayers - he WAS convicted, you know - and his connection to Obama is documented and undeniable. How can we even consider a candidate who has ties to a convicted terrorist?

Some of the points in this email are matters of opinion and not verifiable, such as how fishing without a license stacks up to a lawyer practicing plagiarism. And by the way, if we want to consider liability for spousal errors, I'll take Mr. Palin's fishing license thing AND his 22-year old DUI, over Michelle Obama's America-bashing thesis any day. For these "opinion points", you'll just have to let your conscience be your guide.

Here's the body of it:

Listening to the mainstream media these last few days I've learned a few things about the GOP's VP nominee but also had to learn a few things on my own. To wit:

1. From the media I learned Sarah Palin's husband has a DUI conviction from 22 years ago. On my own I learned that Ted Kennedy (hero of last week's tribute at the DNC) was drunk while driving a car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick. That same crash killed a young campaign volunteer with whom he was having an affair. Oh, and that woman was pregnant with his child. Mr. Palin's (who is not running for office) DUI came a mere 4 years after Barack Obama (who is running for president) stopped using cocaine and marijuana (by his own admission in his autobiography).

Shocking - it's OK for the presidential candidate to use drugs or the party patriarch to kill someone while driving drunk yet the husband of a VP candidate should be demonized for something done 22 years ago.

2. From the media I learned that Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant. On my own I learned that Joe Biden's (the other VP candidate) son was paid a large amount of money as a consultant to credit card company MBNA.
That same company had business before Senator Joe Biden concerning regulation of consumer credit practices. After the company paid a hefty sum to Mr. Biden's son, he voted in favor of legislation to help that company.
* That same son, Hunter, is also engaged in a legal investigation and suit for defrauding a former business partner

Shocking - it's a crime for the republican VP candidate to have a child who's pregnant even though it's irrelevant to how she performs her job. It's ok, however, for the democrat VP candidate while a senator to vote in favor of a company who paid his son over a quarter of a million dollars.

3. From the media I learned that Sarah Palin should be considered "selfish" for agreeing to run for VP knowing about her daughter's condition. Knowing that her public role would bring extra scrutiny on the family is selfish and she should have declined to protect her child (actually heard this on ABC this weekend).

Strange - the same people who said Sarah is selfish for running for VP did not seem to care about any impact on Chelsea when Bill Clinton had his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. That was a private, personal matter, you see.

4. From the media I have learned to be "concerned" that Sarah Palin probably won't be able to manage her family and do an effective job of being VP at the same time.

Funny - I never heard anything about Hillary's ability to support Chelsea while re-doing healthcare or any of the other feminist icons who say you can balance work and family. They also never mention that Barack will have to balance time with his children while meeting with heads of rogue nations or how Joe Biden's kids don't even have a mom and will be fighting for his time while he hosts White House coffee fundraisers and sells nights in the Lincoln bedroom.

5. From the media I have learned that Sarah Palin is "too inexperienced" to be a heartbeat-away from the presidency. Apparently taking on corruption in your own party and running a state that's the same size people-wise as Delaware (hint hint: that's where Joe Biden is from) is not really experience. * However, time spent as a "community organizer" and less than 180 days in the senate where you've authored no significant legislation is just the type of "change" we're looking for from the top of the ticket.

Funny - inexperience at the top of the ticket is a mantra for "change" and "hope" while strong practical everyday experience as the #2 is cause for concern.
6. From the media I learned that Sarah Palin's husband once got a ticket for fishing without a license.
* I haven't heard much about the fact that if he were still a practicing attorney, the VP candidate Joe Biden would be dis-barred for plagiarism not once but multiple times.

It's ok to break the rules if you're a democrat candidate but not Ok if you are the spouse of a republican candidate.

7. From the media I learned that Sarah Palin doesn't know much about Iraq; in fact we wonder if she even knows where it is.
* Sarah's son volunteered into the US military and is now deployed in Iraq. I guess that doesn't count.

Sarah has spent more time with troops in Iraq (as commander of the Alaska National Guard she visited Iraq last year) than Obama has even while running for president. In fact, when Sarah went to Iraq she spent time with the troops. When Obama went there, he skipped a base visit to instead go work out at the Ritz Carlton.

8. From the media I learned that Sarah Palin is a "lightweight" and she better be a "quick study" to keep up with this team.

Funny, nobody is talking about how, after Barack Obama had "visited 57
states" according to him he only had "5 more to go" or endless other stupid gaffes that expose who he really is.

9. From the media I have learned that (gasp!), Sarah Palin's husband was once a registered member of a 3rd party that favored states' rights (man, this is really bad stuff).

* That same media has been silent to the story that when Barack Obama announced his first senate run, he did so in the home of William Ayers. Mr. Ayers is an un-repentant terrorist convicted for bombing the pentagon.
This same Mr. Ayers said on 9/11 that he and his group did not do enough to harm our military and he wished he had done more. During the same time as that comment, he was serving on a board with Barack Obama. All notes and information about their serving together is now locked up by the corrupt Chicago machine and reporter access to those records are being blocked by the Obama campaign.

If we've had any doubts about the bias of the media, it's pretty clear now where they stand. Pass this on to some of your friends who are on the fence and who get all their information from Katie Couric, Wolf Blitzer, Tom Brokaw and the gang. This is egregious and corrupt. The only way to stop it is to spread information using other outlets and make these guys irrelevant.

This brings me to the whole point of this particular edition of the blog. We HAVE those "other outlets". It's called email. It's called blogs. It's called the Internet, and Al Gore invented it! (Sorry, just kidding!) Home computers are almost as common as telephones these days. There are still a few homes who don't have one, but the residents of those homes usually have access to one at school, at work, or yes - on their cell phone. We have a network in place that can disseminate information at a very rapid rate. It's a blessing, if used properly.

The downside is that anybody who can touch a keyboard can put out anything they wish, and call it gospel. Unfortunately, far too many people do not take the time or effort to verify something before forwarding it. It sounds sensational, so hit "Forward" and "Global List" and off it goes. No, there are no HIV-infected needles hidden in the handle of gas pumps, and no, Bill Gates is not going to send you $100 for every email you forward, no matter how important the information in the email might be.

The bottom line here is that we must use this gift, this weapon, this terrible swift sword, with careful responsibility. It is a fearsome tool, one with which we can utterly defeat the biased traditional media, but it is going to take the most meticulous scrutiny on the part of everyone who ever hits a "forward" button. We can't afford to circulate trash and untruths. Fun stuff - sure. Cute pictures - of course. Inspirational messages - certainly, provided the stories are true.

Political matters are the dangerous ground. We have at our disposal the means to circulate truth when the news media - TV, radio, newspapers, magazines - are slaves to their bias and do not report all the truth, or put such a spin on it that it's not recognizable, or even in some cases, report blatant lies.

The fact is, there has been some "spinning" done on both sides, not just by the traditional media. For example, as much as I'd like to believe it, Obama did not say
"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."- Fiction!
This is a corruption of a quote from Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. It is from a section that talks about the concerns of immigrants who are American citizens.

Here is the accurate and more complete quote: "Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."
(Per Truthorfiction.com)

As you can see, what he actually said in his book, is much less damning than the quote that has been circulated. As much as we might wish he had said it, and believe that he could have said it, the fact is, he didn't, at least not that we can prove.

Truth is truth, and should be reported as such. He has done enough to condemn himself, undeniable and unconscionable gaffes and slips that reveal where his head and his heart really are. It is not necessary for us to manufacture such things and repeat them. To do so only makes the Republicans and conservatives appear desperate and dishonest. Give him enough rope and he will hang himself. We do not need to build the gallows.

So, my friends, in the few weeks we have left, spread the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And then, VOTE!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


My family and friends know that my yard is my pride and joy, a source of much pleasure for me. It grows lush and green, and flowers bloom brightly. It requires a lot of care, more than I can provide by myself. Eddie mows and edges and does the weekly manicuring. Then there's Joe, who designed and constructed the peripheral beds, the island beds, the fishpond, who advised and guided me in the selection of the permanent plantings, who installed a drainage system with a sump pump so the back corner is no longer a swamp, and who put in an irrigation system so that things I plant have enough consistent water to keep them thriving. Ted built the arbor and installed power sources so the pond pumps can function, and strategically placed lighting can provide beauty and security. I try to keep weeds at bay, and plant annual "bloomers" in their season, to add color and interest. It takes us all, and the end result is worth the effort.

Now and then, weeds creep in. There's the miserable nutgrass, which I call "devilgrass". There are the little pecan tree upstarts, the result of the burying habits of the local squirrels. (Just try to pull one up!) The lawn grass, a mix of Bermuda and St. Augustine, sends runners into the rich earth of the flowerbeds, and must be pulled and cut back often. Several other weeds, whose names are unknown to me and I don't care, try to establish colonies from time to time. Obviously, these intrusions must be dealt with, or they will overtake the entire landscape. They enter without invitation, and flourish without encouragement.

When these invasions come, I go forth to do battle, and pull and spray and dig, and sometimes am successful in crushing the enemy. More often than not, however, it just takes more than I can do on my own. At these times, I marshall my forces, call Joe and his crew, and they descend on the yard, ready to root out the enemy and subdue him yet again.

Last week was such an occasion. The devilgrass had sprouted and spread, seemingly coming from nowhere, and had established thick colonies in both the big island behind the pond, and in the rose island. Mixed into the devilgrass was that wretched little clover-like plant, the one that's so tender and brittle that it's impossible to pull. It just breaks off, and lives to spread again in a few days. It's all ugly, destructive and overwhelming if not brought under control.

Joe and his helpers came, and through their efforts, all the weeds were sprayed and killed, and rooted out, bagged and hauled away. Fresh soil and compost were put down, and pretty little petunias were planted in the big island. In the rose island, pruning was done and the entire bed cleaned up and refreshed. New hardwood mulch went down everywhere. The yard looks fresh, clean and cared-for once again, but I know I can't afford to be complacent. I must keep watch, and when the first sprig of devilgrass rears its hateful head, I must attack it, keep it subdued, lest it once again gain a foothold.

And so it is with our America. It is beautiful, our democracy is a fertile ground where our children and grandchildren can flourish and grow. We provide for their physical needs, of course, with food and clothing and shelter. We provide for their spiritual needs, by teaching them the things of God and making sure they know to Whom they belong. We provide for their emotional needs, by letting them know they are loved and wanted and respected as individuals.

We must also provide for their future, by being vigilant and watchful, for there is a devilgrass that keeps trying to gain a foothold in this country. The soil and compost and water that encourages my flowers to grow, unfortunately also gives the devilgrass a place to grow as well. So do our country's guaranteed freedoms allow the weeds of this world to take root here and flourish, and they are here, and growing.

Islam is a weed that has taken root here, and it is spreading. Unchecked, it will eventually tear down the very freedom that allowed it entry in the first place, and will put this country under the same stifling, crushing laws that exist in its lands of origin. This being America, our laws do not allow us to root it out and send it home. Unfortunate, but true. It is here, and we are going to have to deal with it.

There is a saying in football-loving America - "The best defense is a strong offense." We absolutely must rekindle the fires of patriotism and God-loving in this country, or we will regret it to the longest day we live. If we are strongly patriotic, and vocal and open about our love for God, it will make it much more difficult for the Muslims to make inroads. Weeds rarely grow in thick, healthy grass. They search out the voids, the bare spots in the soil, where nothing else is competing with them.

If there is anything more dangerous than Islam in America right now, it is apathy. Far, far too many Americans do not see or recognize the danger that is sprouting in our land like devilweed. Too many of us are caught up in singing Kumbaya, and loving everybody, and we just don't recognize that Islam cannot, WILL not, co-exist with our Judeo-Christian culture. Islam hates us both - Jews and Christians alike. If you doubt this, then please explain to me why they will execute a Muslim who tries to convert to Christianity. Explain why they consider it an honor to kill a Jew. Explain why anyone caught with a Bible in many Islamic countries can be killed. Let them get strong enough in this country, and we will be overtaken, stifled, and if they have their way, we will convert or die. They have absolutely no objection to lopping off the head of anyone who gets in their way.

I realize I sound like an over-reacting alarmist, but it has happened in some countries, is now happening in others, and if we are not very, very careful, it will eventually happen here. It's their plan, and we had better not forget it. Just as I looked out my window a couple of weeks ago and saw little but devilgrass, the day can come when we will hear the five calls to prayer every day, and we'd better be on our knees with our foreheads to the floor and our backsides in the air, or be executed as an "infidel".

I can't do this alone. Neither can you. None of us can. But all together, just as Joe and his crew and I restored beauty and order to the yard, we can squelch this invasion of devilweed in our country and restore America to the serenity and beauty that we all grew up with, before the weeds took root. We must return to our churches and synagogues, get on our knees before our Lord, and rededicate ourselves to His service.

Then we must stand and look the devilweed in the face, and make it absolutely clear that Islam will not be allowed to overtake this country. We must stop them at the polls, being very careful whom we elect to legislative positions. We must refuse to allow them to dictate policy in the workplace and the schools, both of which they are already doing in some cases. We must be watchful, to the very edge of paranoia, because they are very skillful at insinuating themselves into the fabric of our lives. Apathy is our enemy, watchfulness is our ally. We need to wake up, look out of our windows, and spot the weeds so we can stop them before they get started.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Early last week, The Dallas Morning News carried the story of a tragic accident in our city, which injured several people and killed a newlywed couple. I use the term "accident" loosely, only because I'm fairly sure that the individual who caused the carnage didn't deliberately set out to do it.

Of course not. When he deliberately started drinking, and then made the deliberate decision to get in his car and drive, I'm sure he thought he was doing just fine. He thought he was doing just fine on the four previous occasions when he drove drunk, was arrested, lost his license, paid fines, did a little jail time, etc., ad nauseum. Therefore, I can only assume that he thought he was doing nothing wrong this time, either. Or didn't care. You would think the fact that the state had lifted his license would have given him a clue, but obviously it didn't. He just simply didn't care.

No one but a deliberate murderer would knowingly do what he did, I suppose. Yet, the uncomfortable truth is, this drunk driver murdered that young couple, just as surely as if he had leveled a gun at them and fired.

This useless little creep, this waste of space and oxygen, had no fewer than four previous DWI arrests, and had led police on merry chases in the past. And yet, inexplicably, he was out on the streets behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk, yet again. The article states that he "may" have been driving on a suspended license. Well, I would certainly hope his license had been suspended, after four previous convictions, but the fact that he was driving anyway clearly illustrates the fact that a suspended license is meaningless. He just got in his car and blundered away to deliver death to innocent people.

How sad that the law doesn't see it that way. No, the law sees him as just another drunk with bad judgment, someone to be slapped on the wrist, fined a few hundred dollars, allowed to sit in air-conditioned comfort in a cell for a few days, and then released on an unsuspecting public yet again.

According to the newspaper account, he had been held on a $3500 bond for his last offense, bond had been increased by a wise judge to $100,000, then for some reason lowered again to $3500, which he posted and went free. For the paltry sum of $350 (you do know that you only have to post 10% of bond, right?) he walked out the door and set himself on a course that would ultimately snuff out the lives of a young couple who had been married just two months before. Why was he on the road?

I recall a case a number of years ago that has haunted me ever since. A young trooper had stopped to change a tire for an elderly lady, well off the road on I-20. A drunk driver blew by, driving on the shoulder of the road, and struck and killed the young officer, leaving a grieving widow and a couple of kids. A sad story, indeed. Sadder yet when it was revealed that the driver had no fewer than 42 convictions (not just arrests, but convictions) for drunk driving. Again, why was he on the road?

Someone once explained it to me that a tremendous source of revenue for the state would be lost if these habitual DWIs were taken off the road. Just look at all those 42 arrests, and imagine how much that man paid in fines over the years! That's a cynical view that chills me, and while it may well be true, I'd prefer not to think about it. Is that the price of a trooper's life, of the lives of the newlyweds? No, I just can't go there.

Still, I have to wonder. Why have we not enacted some laws that have some big, sharp teeth in them, and why have we not at least actively enforced the wimpy laws we do have? Why are these people still on the road? Obviously, just suspending a driver's license has no impact on the majority of these creeps.

A drunk doesn't care whether his license is legal or not. The only thing that will keep him off the streets is jail. Here's a suggestion. First offense - suspended license for a year or so. There are a precious few people for whom this will be a wakeup call, and it won't happen again. Second offense or driving on a suspended license - automatic jail time, at least a year. Third time - ten years, no exceptions. I know, our laws don't support that. Then let's change them! Obviously, lives are at stake.

First offense - shame on the offender. Second offense - shame on society. The death of innocent people is a high price to pay for the gutlessness of our laws and the lack of enforcement thereof.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I was working the night Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech, but I had the foresight to record it. This afternoon, I finally got to watch it, and I'm so glad I did.

Up until now, I have said that I wasn't going to really be able to vote FOR a candidate, I would be voting AGAINST one instead. For many, many reasons I simply could not ever make myself vote for Barack Obama. He is eloquent, charismatic, and I'm sure could charm the birds out of the trees. So can the devil. His speeches are beautifully delivered, and he speaks so smoothly of hope and change, hope and change, hope and change. Now let's look at his views on some selected issues.

He sees a baby as a "punishment" in some cases. A baby is a punishment? He says he would not want his young daughter "punished for making a mistake". I get what he's saying, but there are alternatives to abortion, adoption being the obvious, merciful choice. The girl has her baby, a childless couple is given a gift, and a baby gets the gift of life. The young birth mother is then free to resume her life, perhaps sadder, certainly wiser, but happily NOT saddled with the guilt of having sacrificed the life of a child for her own convenience. No punishment there, it's a win/win situation. In time, with or even without the support of sensitive parents, she will come to realize what a courageous and loving choice she made instead.

He says deciding when life begins is "above his pay grade". Well, it's not above mine, and I would imagine my pay grade is considerably lower than his. Having attended quite a few spontaneous abortions, commonly known as miscarriages, over the years, I can tell you that life begins a whole lot earlier than the law defines at this moment. I have seen ten-week fetuses suddenly expelled into a bedpan, and I have seen a little chest, no thicker than my forefinger, quiver with the last failing heartbeats. Even at that young age, tiny half-inch footprints can be obtained and given to the grieving mother. With that much "life" present at ten weeks, I think it's just pretty reasonable to assume that life begins at conception. If there's a heartbeat, there's life, and that heartbeat begins very, very early, usually before the mother even suspects she's pregnant.

He wants America to leave the war in Iraq behind. He wants us to tuck our tail, turn and run. He wants us to surrender, to give up, to abandon the cause for which our young men and women have been fighting so valiantly, and winning. He is listening to the Hollywood publicity grabbers and the negative left-wing media, and he's not listening to the military personnel who have been there, who ARE there, and who absolutely do not want us to quit. We are winning. This is not the time to run. America is better than that.

He wants us to disarm, to "lead" in the movement for nuclear disarmament. He simply does not get it. In today's world, with nuclear weaponry getting ever more popular, we absolutely cannot afford to disarm. It reminds me of those who want guns outlawed. Make guns illegal, and the country will be a safe place once again. Uh-huh. Do you believe that? Of course not. Criminals will still have guns, because breaking the law is what criminals do. The guy who breaks into your house will be delighted that you're a law-abiding citizen and don't possess a gun, but he'll have one, and he'll shoot you with it.

In the same way, Kim Jung Il of North Korea will be thrilled when we do away with our nuclear weapons, because that will mean we can't fire back at him when he launches his nuclear missiles at us. Mr. Obama doesn't seem to understand that the only thing that is holding the wolves at bay right now is the knowledge that we are stronger than they are and can hurt them more than they can hurt us. It's sad, but it's true. In today's world, only superior strength can bring peace. The days of Kumbaya are in the past, they went away with the flower children.

So, why am I feeling so much better now? Because after hearing Mr. McCain speak, I'm much more impressed with him than I was a week ago. He's tough, he's determined, he's got good sense, and maybe most important of all, he's a flat-out, unashamed patriot. He may be 72, but his mother is 96 and she looks pretty fit to me, so maybe he's got good genes, and will manage to make it through four years, or even eight.

He's also smart. He showed that, when he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate. Sure, it was a politically expedient move to choose a woman. She will draw a lot of disgruntled feminists who would have voted for Hillary even if her horns were showing. Granted, gender is not a valid reason to vote for OR against a candidate, but some people will. (By the way, race is not a valid reason either, but some will base their vote on that, either for or against Mr. Obama. Shame on them.) So, that being the case, and with winning being the obvious goal, I think Mr. McCain used good judgment in choosing a woman as a running mate. However, it's only good judgment if the woman is qualified, and praise the Lord, I do believe Sarah Palin is supremely qualified.

After hearing her speech, I came away feeling encouraged, hopeful, and really looking forward to going to the polling place and casting my vote for Mr. McCain and Sarah Palin. She has more executive experience that Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden combined, which isn't hard to do since neither of them has any executive experience at all. Zero. Zero. Zero. As in "none".

Yes, I do now believe that John McCain will make a good President. However, there is great comfort in the knowledge that if, God forbid, he is for whatever reason unable to complete his term of office, Sarah Palin will be there to take over, and in my opinion, she would make far and away a better President than Barack Obama could ever hope to be, even in his wildest dreams.

I really believe that McCain and Palin can and will win, and I think America will be in a much better place four years from now.
I believe we will begin to drastically cut our dependence on foreign oil. I believe a lot of the pork will be taken out of some slimy hands in Washington. I believe we will see a victorious end to the war in Iraq, and we will know that it was good that we were there. Dubya has fought an uphill fight and hasn't backed down, the reports coming out of Iraq today are telling us that we're winning, and now I think we've got a good chance of electing a team that will see it through and we will emerge with victory in our grasp.

So, that's why I'm feeling much better now, thank you.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Those of you who know me at all know that I'm a big fan of the Andy Griffith Show, or TAGS. There is a website called "The Front Porch", which is inhabited by the Porchsters, a group of people of wide interests and fields of endeavor. We include a couple of gospel singer/songwriters, some nurses other than myself, a pet groomer, an electrician, a goat rancher, several homemakers, teachers, and others too numerous to list. We have been together for a long time, and consider ourselves a family. We each have a "handle", something closely (or loosely) related to TAGS for the most part, but not entirely. One of our members goes by the name of Goober, and it is by that name that I shall identify him here.

Goober recently wrote a comment to one of my blogs, that of Sunday, August 3. He has been busy at the garage, and it was a bit belated, and then I was slow in finding it, but when I read it, I wanted to make sure that everyone else read it as well. So, for today, Goober will be a "guest blogger". I have copied his comment and will post it here for your convenience in reading it.

Thanks, Goob.

You pose the question "Have we forgotten about 9/11"? Sad to say I think the answer there is, YES! We've seemed to retreat as a people overall (I know there are lots who are still very much aware, I'm speaking more towards a prevailing sentiment) into the pre-911 days where we were sure that we we untouchable. Things that we saw happen around the world could never happen here. But we were wrong.

That morning caught us off guard and too comfortable in our day to day importance. The collective ego of the American public just couldn't comprehend that possibility that we'd be attacked on our own land. I'm not laying blame on any person or party for allowing it to happen. Though there were opportunities to eliminate the threat that Bin-Laden posed...if it hadn't been that day and at his hand...it would have been another time and another terrorist. It was inevitable, because we were asleep. We allowed an enemy to walk through our doors that we proudly wave open for the world, and strike without hesitation.

Now...America is back to dozing again. We're not totally asleep yet...but the head is bobbing. We've focused all that righteous rage that held us through those times, onto to making sure we don't offend anyone or 'over react' to a people and practice that fosters hate towards us as a standard. I'm not lumping all Muslims into this hate pool...that'd be silly. But there are absolute indicators that Muslim extremists are still up and active and ever growing in the diligence to attack again.

We're at a place where we're about to elect our next leader. I'm a supporter of Mr. Bush...not that everything he's done in office has been done in a way that I agree with, but overall I appreciate his commitment and heart to do the right thing. Our choices for this election are troubling. Mr. McCain has several areas where I agree with him...and I believe he certainly has the experience and smarts to lead us in a time of war. I don't believe he shares the convictions of our faith...not totally, and don't believe he'll be a President that will champion the same agenda as we expect Republicans to push. Not to say that it has to be an all or nothing, but there is a moral flavor that may not be as strong in him.

Mr. Obama...just flat out scares me. His mantra for change and delivering the hope so needed makes me uneasy every time I hear him. Many have been talking about him being the anti-christ and all that...I don't believe that, but I certainly believe that his views foster a rapid growth of the move away from Christian values and standing up for what we believe, regardless of whose feelings get hurt. He's also made it quite clear that his experience in leading this country through a time of war is weak. Yet...he maintains a healthy standing in this race...and that's troublesome.

While I appreciate the historic significance of him being the first black man to be in this position...that should not be why he's voted for OR against. It's wrong either way..and is racism no matter how you slice it. Votes should be cast on the experience and ability to lead, not the color of the candidates skin.

Have we forgotten? Yes...and it's going to be a harsh wake up call at some time. I agree with you...it's going to be worse. And while we're busy making provisions to not offend anyone, making sure we're allowing for all beliefs and celebrating everyone's values (except of course Christianity. Just say Howard Dean talking about the Obama camp reaching out to Evangelicals and "People Like That"), we're slowly letting the guard back down, and letting the trouble in the door.

God help us...

August 29, 2008 5:47 AM

Saturday, August 30, 2008


This morning I received an email telling me of a challenge being faced by a friend, a former Sunday School class member, who has moved away. Her son's little daughter is quite ill, with what appears to be a neurological problem, possibly a brain or spinal tumor, or a buildup of fluid in one of the two, cause unknown. She is due for some sophisticated tests, which will require extended anesthesia. This is, of course, the stuff of which nightmares are made for parents. We who have been parents fully understand that.

Guess what? We who are now grandparents know that it's going to be no picnic for my friend either. Something like this is hard on the little patient, very hard on the parents, and in some ways perhaps even harder on the loving grandparents, who by nature's design can mostly just stand by and support. The parents must, and should, make all the plans and decisions, and we grandparents can only watch. If we have differing opinions, we can help most by keeping them to ourselves. That's probably a good thing, because there's no law that says we're right all the time, even though we think differently, and at a time like this, the parents don't need the added pressure of having to justify or defend the decisions they're making. No, this is our time to shine in the area of loving support and encouragement, and most of all, prayer.

Only another grandparent understands that we are not only watching our grandchild endure suffering, but we're watching our own child as well. My son and his precious wife lost a baby to a lethal birth defect. He only lived an hour, and I remember only too well the pain of watching my son mourn his son. When he was a little boy, we protected and guarded him, and to a great extent were successful in keeping him from hurt or harm. As he grew up and took control of his life, he had some knocks and disappointments, but he was strong and rolled over and through them with very few scars. The sudden death of his father hurt him very much, but again he was strong, and was a source of strength for me.

Then came the loss of his precious little son, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to shield him from that pain. My own heart was in shreds at the loss of our precious little grandson, but it shattered completely when my tall, strong son broke down in sobs, and there was nothing I could do but stand dumbly by, patting his shoulder.

I watched him with pride as he pulled himself together and gave his grieving wife the support and love she needed so badly. Both of them were numb with grief, but they did what they had to do, made the decisions that must be made at a time like that, planned a funeral and ultimately, in their own hearts and minds, surrendered their little son to God.

The other grandmother is my dear friend, and the two of us cried together as we watched our children walk through the darkest valley of their lives. And we watched them with pride. They picked up the pieces of their life together, focused on the son they already had, and in time made the courageous decision to have another child, not allowing their recent experience to frighten them. They had a strong and healthy little boy.

They became active in a support group for parents who have lost babies or young children, and have been instrumental in helping that organization grow and spread across the country. They have dealt with their grief and used it to fuel their determination to help others who are enduring the same kind of loss. Out of loss, they have produced gain, and we grandmothers are very proud of them.

The whole point here is that these young parents did all this with only stand-by help from us, the grandparents. As hard as it was for us to stand on the sidelines and watch, that is still as it should be. We are no longer the players, we are now the cheerleaders, and that's really not such a bad place to be.

I can't speak for all grandparents, but personally, when I stand by and watch one of my children make good decisions, succeed in some endeavor, or raise their own children well, I feel affirmed. It tells me that my husband and I must have done something right as we were bringing them up in this difficult world. True, we had good clay to work with. The kids were bright and had good hearts. They made us look good and made our job easy. We probably couldn't have ruined them if we'd tried, but still, I can't help taking some pride in their accomplishments. They are good parents, and are bringing up some delightful children of their own.

It's fun to keep the grandkids for a day or two, and indulge them at birthdays and Christmas. We rejoice in their victories at school. We listen to their little confidences, and play the advocate for them with their parents at times.
Now, here's a secret that some grandparents aren't willing to admit, but I will. There's a certain relief in going to bed most nights without having to turn our "mommy ears" on, to listen for the sounds that tell us we need to go running for a mop, or initiate a search for a bottle of cough syrup, or just sit by a bed and rub away the pains in growing young legs.

Oh yes, we're willing to do this when we're needed, to give the parents a shot at some vacation time, or just to have some quality time with the grandkids. Still, we know it's temporary, that the parents will be back and gather their chicks and take them home, and any grandmother with a shred of honesty in her soul will admit that she's glad she's a cheerleader now, not an A-team player. The ball has been punted, the baton passed, and life is good.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Last Tuesday's Dallas Morning News carried a story about a man, Jim Greenwood, in the Stonebriar neighborhood in Frisco, whose "neighbors" have objected to his 2007 Ford F-150 pickup being parked on his driveway. It seems it doesn't meet the "upscale" standards of the Homeowners Association. Big honking SUVs are okay, but not this late-model pickup. According to a man named Bill Osborn, a board member with the HOA, the SUVs are "fancier" and "plush with amenities". Therefore, presumably, they're acceptable, in spite of the fact that they're as big as a Sherman tank. The board states that Mr. Greenwood must keep his truck in his garage.

The truck, apparently, is driven by Mr. Greenwood's teenage son. The family also has a car and a Suburban, and a two-car garage. Which one of the three would you park on the driveway? All three vehicles probably leave in the morning and return in the evening, with those driven by the parents most likely remaining in the garage therafter. If the boy is like most teenagers, the truck probably also leaves and returns in the evening. It seems logical for the truck to be the outside vehicle, to avoid a lot of shifting of cars.

I'm sorry, folks, but this seems like a reeaaally nit-picky issue, and I think the HOA needs to grow up. So there is a late-model, nice pickup truck parked on a driveway. This is Texas, dear hearts! Get over it.

You think you have problems? You should drive down my street in the evening, every evening. We don't have a Homeowners Association. I wish we did. My street is extra wide, and the houses are set back at least ten feet farther from the street than the city requires. My father built almost every house on the street, and he planned it so it would be open and roomy, and wouldn't look crowded and congested. Well, I'm glad he can't see it now.

There are cars parked on the street in front of more than half the houses. One house sports five cars, one has six, and one has at least eight and sometimes more. There are four lined up on the double-wide driveway, and the other four are in the street. They were parked in the yard until somebody complained loudly enough. Now they're on the street, and one van has been in the same spot, with a flat tire, for weeks. I can only wish that they were nice late-model pickups. No, most of them look like they were built by kids out of junk-yard parts. Fenders or doors that don't match, missing bumpers, and one has a cardboard window.

Now here's another issue. Eight cars presupposes that there are eight licensed (?) drivers in that house. That would be eight adults, right? There are also five or six young children, obviously not drivers, living there. In addition, I've seen some young women walking around the neighborhood in the evening, but have never seen them drive a car. I'm thinking that there are at least sixteen people living there, maybe more. This is a single family dwelling. Looking at these numbers, I can only conclude that there is more than one family living there, or if not, then the parents need to kick some grown kids out of the nest.

My best guess is that these folks are illegal immigrants. They appear to be Hispanic, and the only language I've ever heard any of them speak is Spanish. I tried once to speak to one of the young women on her evening walk, and she only smiled and nodded, with a blank look on her face. It appears to me that there are several families, pooling their resources, in order to afford to live in that house. I've noticed also that some of the cars seem to disappear now and then, but are soon replaced by different cars. Impounded? Someone went back to Mexico and someone else came in? Who knows?

They finally quit having their front-yard parties, with kegs and boomboxes and people sitting around in and on the cars. They moved to the back yard after enough neighbors complained, but the music is still heard, late on a Saturday night.

I fully recognize and acknowledge that situations like this are the very reason for having a Homeowners Association. As I said, I wish we had one. We need one, because it's obvious to one and all that the City of Irving is not going to do one piddling thing to enforce whatever zoning laws we may have. It's too bad we don't have anyone living on the street who has any political clout in town. If we did, I'll bet those old zoning laws would be trotted out and put to work, at least in this case.
I wish we had a city government with the integrity to police situations like this, but we don't.

Since we don't, I wish we had a Homeowners Association, but we don't have that either. I suppose it's too late to form one now, though perhaps that needs to be investigated. If we do manage to charter one, I would certainly hope that we will frame it in such a way that it addresses real issues, not stupid little things like somebody parking a 2007 Ford F-150 on their driveway.

Friday, August 22, 2008


It's been a while since I've been at this keyboard, I hope my small readership hasn't drifted too far away. When last here, I was very concerned for my friend Joe, and I'm happy to report that he is doing extremely well. In fact, he and his helpers were here this afternoon briefly, as I had an irrigation line that was spouting heavenward, rather than gently dribbling at the base of my roses, as it's supposed to do. A temporary repair was made, and they will be back next week after obtaining a necessary part, to complete the repair. As I said, Joe is doing well, looks good, and is a bit testy regarding the restrictions which his doctor is still imposing on his activity. He's being pretty good, though. Like most men, he's stubborn and impatient with such things, but stupid he ain't.

Anybody want some goldfish? We have had more babies out there in the pond, there's a small school of inch-long goldfish darting about. I don't know where they hang out from the time they hatch until they reach that inch-long size. I've never seen any that were smaller, but I know they're very tiny when they hatch, so where are they in the interval? There are water lilies and a lotus plant in the pond, and stones and a couple of flowerpots, so I guess they just hide out in the crevices and under lily leaves. Obviously, they hide somewhere, because there they are! Really, I will have to "thin the herd" at some point, because the pond will only support so many, but Joe said he'd take my excess. He has a very large stock pond/small lake on his property in the country, so they can go there. Good grief, I wonder how big they'll get in a huge environment like that?

We have had a lot of much-needed rain. I sat here at this window on Wednesday afternoon, and watched as the rain literally poured down out there. The big birdbath had become so thick with algae growing in the bowl that I had deliberately let it dry out. Scrubbing it out doesn't work all that well, but if you let it dry for a day or two, you can literally sweep it out with a whisk broom, or knock it out with a hard water jet. The result will be a very clean bowl, almost like new.

So, the bowl was empty when the rain started. Twenty minutes later, it was running over, and that thing is three inches deep! Now, I realize that being bowl-shaped, it isn't an accurate measurement of rainfall, but it must have been at least two inches, even allowing for the sloping bottom. That was a lot of rain, and I swear the grass grew an inch, before my very eyes! Alas, so did the nutgrass in the flowerbeds.

I absolutely despise that stuff. One day there will be nothing there, and the next day there's a huge stand of nutgrass, waving as I walk by, daring me to come and pull it up. Usually, I can't resist, and will grab the largest, most annoying clumps and pull them up. This, of course, is the very worst thing one can do with nutgrass. Since it propagates by underground shoots, pulling it just breaks those shoots, which has the same effect as pruning plants above ground. Prune a chrysanthemum, and it will send up two shoots where you cut off one. Pull up a clump of nutgrass, and it will branch and make two (or more) shoots where you broke the original root.

It's hateful stuff, and its worst trait is that it grows very well in mulch! A good layer of mulch will discourage almost any weed, but not nutgrass. It thrives in mulch! The only real cure for it is a weed killer, whether chemical or organic. RoundUp works well, because it not only withers the visible plant, but it also kills the root and therefore all the little baby plants that are sitting there about to emerge. If you pull up a large clump very gently, lifting with a hand spade to avoid breaking the root, you'll find that it extends like a string, with a little node, or "nut" here and there along the strand. Those little nodes will sprout and send a new plant up to the surface, so one plant soon becomes a dozen or more. Vicious, terribly invasive plant, and extremely hard to kill out.

This mode of propagation means that my trusty corn gluten meal is mostly ineffective against it. I use corn gluten meal as an organic pre-emergent weed killer. You just spread it on the lawn and in the flowerbeds in early spring, before the weed seeds germinate, and it will keep them from doing so. Nutgrass does seed if you let it get old enough. You will see the seedheads forming on the biggest, most mature clumps, but even if you put out corn gluten meal and prevent its seeds from germinating, it just tunnels underground with those wretched node-laden strands, and pops up to laugh at you as you walk by.

I don't like to use chemicals, whether as fertilizer or weed killer, but sometimes with nutgrass there's just no other way. Vinegar applied full strength works to some extent, and isn't harmful to anything else unless it comes in direct contact. It doesn't contaminate the soil, and in fact can be beneficial as it dilutes itself into the ground with watering. On small invasions of nutgrass, it works well. However, with a full-scale, all-out, no-holds-barred invasion such as I have in two of my flowerbeds, I don't think the vinegar is going to work. I may have to fall back on RoundUp.

However, I can't use RoundUp or vinegar, either one, until I'm sure it won't rain for a couple of days. It does no good to apply them if they're just going to be washed off. They both have to stay on the plant to do any good. Since there is more rain predicted for the weekend, I guess I'm just going to have to sit here at this window and watch as the Devilgrass grows, and its little imps pop up everywhere!

Be blessed, my friends.