"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Be A Man

It is fascinating to watch men meet for the first time. The nice to meetcha handshake says a lot to someone reaching out hoping to make a good impression.

Years ago women shook hands when introduced to someone new. Women in the executive workplace today shake hands firmly while making eye contact.  Did they learn that from the men they competed with for the higher paying jobs? What percentage of women is part of the good ol' boy network today?

I think women may be 20% of the network and still growing. In order for both sexes to understand equality in the work force as well as equality at home we need to show by example the next generation that we work together to attain balance in life. Wanna shake on that?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Remembering Helen Keller

In my small list of people I admire, Helen Keller is in the top five.

She adapted to the straws she drew in life and brought forth strength and dignity most of us never acknowledge within our weak selves.

Born June 27, 1880, Helen was only two years old when she became ill and lost her sight and speech and hearing. She was speechless, sightless, and deaf. At age six, Anne Sullivan became her teacher and remained with her for 47 years.  All the encouragement and instruction in the world would not have worked to improve Helen's life if she had not had the courage and determination as a little girl to survive and flourish. After graduating college, Helen chose to travel the world, encouraging blind and deaf-blind people to challenge themselves to live productive lives.

What an inspiration.

"A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn".
--Helen Keller

Helen Keller died in her sleep on June 1 1968. Rest peacefully, Ms. Keller.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How's It Going?

Hi neighbor, 'sup?

Hey, neighbor, don't hang out too far, you don't have as many lives as I do.
Right on, dude.

All photos sent in an email to me from a friend.

Friday, June 22, 2012

California Girl

California is my home state. That is were I was raised but I was not born there. I grew up envious of my brother's boasting that he was a California Native. My mother, father, and brother were living in a courtyard apartment in Hollywood when my mother took my brother to her home town in North Dakota. My mother had ten siblings, so some of them were still living at home. My mother was seven months pregnant with me when she traveled to North Dakota for a short visit.

During a heavy blizzard my mother went into early labor. Like the town I live in now, the closest hospital was thirty miles away. Since I could not wait any longer to find out what the world would challenge me with, I was born in North Dakota but my home was California. Bummer.

My brother used his title as Native Californian many times to tease me. You know how big brothers have the knack of finding things that get under the skin of siblings and know when to shove it under the fingernails? Well, my brother was an expert.

One summer something happened that embarrassed my brother. I grew a few inches and he did not. I was actually taller than he was. I enjoyed teasing him and made the most of the height I had achieved. It was short lived, excuse the pun, as he flew past me in the fall. But for that one summer....

There was competition between us and I learned to play baseball with my brother and his friends. I would become so good that I was picked for the teams first. I played first base and could hit a ball farther than most of the boys. Okay, yes, I was a tomboy. But it gave me a connection to my brother. We lived in many places, all out in the country. Lots of boys to come and play but no girls. To this day I have good reflexes and can catch something in the blink of an eye. Doesn't come in handy at my age except when something is going to fall and I catch it automatically.

Like most of my other relationships, my brother and I saw each other sporadically over our lifetimes. He married more than once and so did I. He lived in various states and so did I, rarely living in the same state at the same time. My brother always managed to call me on my birthday to wish me a Happy Birthday. So today I am going to do the same. I will call my big brother to wish him a Happy Birthday and tell him how glad I am that he is my brother and I am no longer jealous he is a Native Californian. He lives in Montana now.  Yo, Bro, I love you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summertime, Summertime, Sum Sum Summertime

First day of Summer is June 20th. Mother Nature doesn't pay attention to our silly calendars though. It has felt like summer for a month already. One day it was even 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

For children not attending year around school, summer means freedom and fun and vacation.

For me, June 20th is when I spend a day with my friends visiting from California. I have know Mr and Mrs for over 50 years and I was in their wedding and have stayed in touch all through the years of me roaming the country. Two years ago she was in Kansas with her mom for her mom's birthday party with relatives and she and her mom came to where I lived south of Omaha at that time. I will have a great time showing them my little town.

Happy Summer, everyone. For those of us that live in snow in winter, remember what we were saying in the middle of winter. Enjoy this summer.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Sometimes I wonder if California will ever again have the beauty and friendliness it had when I was growing up there. Growing up in the orange groves of Riverside area was freedom and wonderful scents, not the crowded place it is now. The orange groves are long gone as homes and strip malls took their place. In high school it took us about a half hour to drive over to Newport Beach where we would pour on baby oil and work on a tan that ended up as a sunburn. My four grandchildren are being raised in southern California and have no idea how natural and beautiful it was. I see the education they are receiving there. Why would someone choose teaching as a profession? I'm not picking on California; I see changes in other states as well. But I have the connection to California with both daughters still living there and raising their children there. The poor California kids have competition to look good but not so much with exercising their brains. Many other states had bad reputations regarding children's test scores; California used to be the envy of those states. People used to say it was because California had so many wealthy people that the school system and teachers were superior. I didn't grow up with an understanding of money, my family was very poor. 

People came from all over the country to vacation in California, lots still do, but the cost has become a deterrent for regular folk. I am trying to say a lot in a condensed version. Because I was raised in California, I am grateful for so much. But man, has it changed there. Bursting at the seams with no more room to grow. The people who have been receiving the less than stellar educations are now running the place and surprise surprise, they can shout and preach, but there are no good plans to revive the education system, or save the coastline, or get people working and off welfare, or restore the tourism to aid the economy, or train children to choose to join clubs instead of gangs. What is the incentive for children to want to learn? What do they have to look forward to? What causes them to stretch their limitations as they see them? Who are their examples? Why should they care?

After I saw this photo, I felt better about the traffic in California.

The longest traffic jam in the world -- recorded in China.

Its length is 260 kilometers [and that's 161 MILES, folks!]

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Yo, Dad

Hey, Dad, I wonder where you are right now. I believe with my limited earth brain that a spirit lives after the body stops being of use and is put away like an old suitcase.  You and I had an unsettling relationship. Up and down. You were gone almost as much as you were there when I was very young. And then you were gone for good about a year before I was put into foster homes.

The things you liked in your life have been repugnant to me. I did smoke a number of years until I quit cold turkey in 1981. You and I were not very close at that time so I don't know if you even knew I had stopped smoking. I never cared for the taste of alcohol, and I never wanted to be like you.  The times I tried to drink alcohol I was not being true to myself. I was trying to fit in, have friends. Watching you smoking, drinking, being irresponsible and immature prompted me to disappear emotionally as your daughter. At the time, I was not wise enough to understand that your upbringing and the baggage you brought with you into your marriage with my mother were a powder keg in the marriage.  I like to think that you were able to grow some and become a better partner in your next marriage, at least I hope so.

You kept your addictions close to your heart for the rest of your life. Knowing that actually makes me happy that I did not have regular contact with you in my young adult life. I wasn't even forty when you died still smoking and drinking, unable to do without your oxygen or your pint of vodka every day as well as two packs of unfiltered Camels. At the time I didn't even know what state you were living in or who you were married to. I am older now than you were when your head fell into your plate of food for the last time.

The main thing I want to tell you, Dad, is that you made some doozy mistakes and you were a mess of a grown man, but I did know you loved me. I hope I let you know that the times I was with you on your fishing boat or watching you disappear into your booze. I could always disappear without the booze or drugs; it came so naturally to me that in my older years I had to get help to stop doing that and found that is actually called dissociation. You and I were alike after all.

And hey, Dad, I loved you too.

I will be thinking of you this Fathers Day weekend.

Your daughter,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

True Story

My friend told me a story about her sister and brother-in-law.

The BIL had trouble sleeping through the night. He was in the Navy and worked at night.

One night the BIL was having trouble sleeping and tried not to wake his wife. He went into the bathroom and fell asleep on the toilet. Apparently, that was not so strange for him to do that.

His wife was unaware that he had gotten up, and during the night she went into the bathroom and when she sat down, she sat in her husband's lap, and it startled her awake and she screamed and he screamed.


Hee hee.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bill Gates Did Not Say This

An email going around with some fairly snarky good advice to teenagers is not the work of Bill Gates, even though the email says so. According to snopes.com, the author of the list of rules for young people is Charles J. Sykes, author of Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write Or Add.

He also wrote the book

This is the list of 11 of the 50 Rules For Kids by Charles J. Sykes:
Rule 1:  Life is not fair - Get Used To It.

Rule 2:  The world doesn't care about your self esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3:  You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you can earn both.

Rule 4:  If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5:  Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping:  They called it Opportunity.

Rule 6:  If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7:  Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.
So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of you parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8:  Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT.  In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer.  This does NOT bear any resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule 9:  Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF.  Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT REAL LIFE. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11:  Be nice to nerds. Chances are you will end up working for one.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Our Greatest Resource

The future belongs to the young people of today.

What will they inherit?

Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
--Robert Fulghum

Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.
--Dr Haim Ginott

A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.
--Francois Rabelais

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scenes in a Cemetery

Photos I took on Memorial Day at a cemetery 9 miles north of town. The trees and brush had overgrown and some of the grave stones were damaged. The cemetery had been neglected for many years until a year ago when one man began to clean and preserve the history there.

The Memorial Day ceremony at this cemetery was shared with representatives of the Pawnee Nation who believe some of their ancestors are resting in this area too.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorial Day 2012 Statue Dedication

Here are some photos I took at the Veterans Memorial Park during the dedication of the new soldier statue  combined with Memorial Day services at the same occasion.

Getting ready for the Memorial service.

This woman and her son donated the statue in honor of her husband.
This is the new statue that the woman donated.

The woman on left is a good friend of mine.