The Death of the Editor

It’s probably fortunate that Jackie O isn’t still around to edit, I expect she would be horrified at some of the things found online today. Please don’t feel compelled to point out anything you find wrong on this blog, as I am neither a paid editor nor an English/Journalism major, I’m sure there will be MANY things. Don’t get me wrong…I love the fact that we have the information we do at our fingertips, and at a moments notice no matter where you are (assuming you have a smart phone with a data plan). But with the all of this rapidly available information, it appears we have killed off nearly all of the online editors. Cases in point:

From Kare11.com, a local TV station located in Golden Valley, MN:

Fire at Ripley’s Aquarium note the last line…and just in case it’s corrected, a screen shot for you

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-7-39-30-am

I was unaware we now here with our eres.

A comma makes all the difference. In a headline from The Huffington Post 11/29/16

Mike Pence Supporter Angry Over ‘Hamilton’ Protest Charged In Racist Attack On Asian Diner Patrons. Um, So the protest was charged in the attack? How exactly does THAT work?

Spell check, spell check anyone? From Foxnews.com 12/31/16

Obama response to Russian hacking does not go far enough, say experts

In just 4 paragraphs, I found3 mistakes. There may have been more, I quit at those. If anyone had bothered to run their spell and grammar checker, two of the three that I found would have been picked up, and a fourth that I initially didn’t would have as well. How do I know? I copied and pasted the text into a Word document for giggles and ran spell and grammar check, just to see what would happen. Can you find the errors? (Answers are at the end of this post)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-6-53-29-am

And Now More From the Files of …Part 3

What will this girl be like when she doesn’t get a promotion? Or is fired? In Tallahassee, a girl was threatening to sue because she didn’t make the cheerleading squad. Say what? Some pampered princess is going to  tie up court time and money, because mommy and daddy never told her no, never tapped her dimpled butt as a two year old and let her throw tantrums all over the house. (Don’t jump on my case about abuse and beating kids, sheesh.We’re talking about someone who needs to learn she can’t get everything she wants, when she wants it, because she wants it.) I found a great photo that depicts how I expects she parks her car too.

R0d1A92

Photo Credit ROd1A92

Answers to the errors above:

  1. McCain, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has schedule a hearing – this should be “scheduled“. Past tense
  2. but added that “Congressional sanctions still needed.” – this should be ‘sanctions “are” still needed’. Missing a verb
  3. would nt stoop to the level. TYPO! Seriously? 
  4. but added that “Congressional sanctions still needed.” MS Word suggested removal of the word “that”, changing this to ‘but added “Congressional sanctions still needed.”’ See #2 above, however. 

I hope that you all have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration today, tonight, or if I’m lucky enough to have a reader somewhere that is over the International Date Line and it’s already 2017, I hope you wake up feeling hopeful and refreshed.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

And so the saga of the bathroom remodel continues…

So after 6 weeks,  you’d think it would be finished, right? Oh no…it’s never quite that easy. 3 of the 4 walls had gotten done, except I still had to touch them up because I reused an old roller, which I am vowing to never do again. It’s not worth it, unless someone can tell me they’ve found a roller that really truly doesn’t shed after it’s been washed. But one thing I can’t abide is the residual gunk that sticks to the walls from the rollers, and now you’re left with the ‘gift’ of texture you didn’t plan on. So going back to get rid of it, means that when you lightly (and I truly do mean lightly) sand it off, you mar your semi-gloss finish. Yep, a spot for a little touch up. Many of them.

Or perhaps there was that spot on the side of the shower where I peeled off the painters tape and waited a smidge too long…and some paint came up with it. Got to sand and spackle THAT spot over, then touch that up too.  (At least I used painter’s tape!)

The last wall to be painted was the one behind the sink. It took forever to chisel out the old caulk on that last bit of wall space. The sink is set into an alcove, so it was caulked in on 3 sides, and the back wall was like concrete. I had to rotate between using a razor blade and a paint scraper to get it out. We were also a little challenged in coordinating schedules with the electrician to get the wiring done so that the sconces could be mounted.

Then of course there was the “paint the ceiling” adventure. Did you know that when ceilings have only the popcorn texture, unless they are painted, they can be a mess? Yep, get them wet and the popcorn falls right off. So when you actually paint them for the first time, the first coat of paint becomes like glue but initially ACTS like water. Let me explain.

Most people don’t own paint sprayers, nor do they hire someone to spray paint their ceilings (although if they were smart, they would do one of those two things.) They roller paint them. If your ceiling has never been painted, the first time it’s done you need to be very careful, as the paint will merely moisten the texture, and if you roller back and forth like you do on a wall, popcorn will just fall right off the ceiling…on your face…your shoulders…the floor…you get the idea. It’s a mess. (Handy tip #1: Use Glidden’s pink ceiling paint. It dries white but it makes it SO easy to see where you paint. The stuff is AMAZING.)  I did know that I needed to be careful but I expect because I was doing a bathroom ceiling, perhaps the popcorn was maybe a little extra touchy in a humid room I ended up with several places where it came down in spite of my cautiousness. Off we went to find a tube of popcorn touch up. (Handy tip #2: Get the stuff in the tube for a small area, not the spray can. Way easier to use, according to hubby who has done both.) That added a couple of days to the whole adventure, by the time he patched it up, we let it dry for 24 hours, and I was able to get the spots touched up.

Then got the electrician in to do the wiring and add the mounting boxes. No problems there. We got all the rest of the work done, painting completed, mounted the medicine cabinet so truly all that was left was to put in the lights. It was a Sunday evening, around 7 PM and I’m thinking “why not, let’s do this. We’ve installed light fixtures before. White to white, black to black, ground to ground”. Meanwhile Karma was laughing herself silly at me, it’s just too bad I couldn’t hear her.

We got the first light fixture out, wired it up and prepared to mount it, only to discover that it could’t be mounted to the box because the box was oriented straight up and down, and in the “12” and “6” positions are 2 solid plastic pieces that were exactly where the backs of my mounting screws needed to be. Without getting into detail, I’ll just say I have a clever husband who was able to solve it, but we sacrificed a bit of sheet rock in the process…on BOTH sides of the medicine cabinet. So…3 more days for patching and sanding sheet rock to make it sufficiently smooth, then tape off the cabinet, paint, wait for that to dry and then mount the new lights.

You’re thinking I was done, aren’t you?

Nope. In an effort to be eco-conscious, we ordered LED bulbs. I wanted to make sure they were bright enough as this would be where I put on makeup, and I’ve not used LED bulbs before so we went with fairly high lumens of output. They were bright alright so we said “hey, let’s get a dimmer switch for it!” So we headed off to the store, picked up a dimmer and installed that. Tested the dimmer by starting to dim the lights and they went from on to instant off. Huh? Looked at the lights I’d bought….I bought non-dimmable LED’s. Sigh. Back to the store. Got the dimmable LED’s this time, and they work beautifully. All that remained was adding a small cabinet for towels and a few decorative items on the walls, and some new valances. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

And…3 months later, I can’t find the cabinet I want for the towels, let alone the towels I wanted in the right color. I’ve searched every combination of key words online for the cabinet, and everything looks too cheap, is too big, or to expensive. You know how it is when you have a particular look that you want? You don’t want to settle for “good enough” or “make do”. So we’re at the point of probably having hubby make me a cabinet in the spring. The towels are an entirely other story. Since I couldn’t find the color I wanted, I decided to dye them the color I wanted. Surprisingly, they are almost exactly the right color, although they didn’t dye as evenly as I would have liked. Fortunately I plan to use them as decorative, folded up accent towels to add color more than anything, and since this is our master bath, hubby and I are probably the only ones that will ever see them. Note to self: Use the washing machine, remember that the thread on the towels doesn’t dye.

Only 2 bathrooms, a bedroom, 2 hallways, and great room with 12 foot ceilings left to go.

Ho-Ho-Ho, Merry What?

….”aaaaand we’re off!!” To to the non-stop insanity that is the pre-Christmas season (and I’m using Christmas here more in the calendar sense, rather than religious right now, so am intending it to be viewed as inclusive.) The goofy commercials have started with the Hershey’s kisses bell ringers, the obligatory ones telling us it’s a “Lexus to remember December” so that every woman can imagine that day when she wakes up to a new snowfall and a shiny new Lexus with a huge red bow in the driveway of her picture book two story home, or the one that always tugs on my heartstrings – when Tommy comes home unexpectedly and brews Folger’s coffee to wake up his family. Our trees are going up, decorations are coming out, lights are on outside. It’s always fun too, for new neighbors in the neighborhood as they get to see who decorates their home and yard like it’s a Charlie Brown tree, and who’s competing with the Griswold’s. It can be a pretty bad culture shock for the unprepared…unless of course they ARE they Griswold’s. Then of course there are the ones I REALLY hate. Engineers. You can tell when an engineer has decorated the outside of his home, the lights wrapped around the trees look so evenly spaced it’s as if they were put on with a ruler (which they were, trust me, my old neighbor did it.)

It’s also the season of ridiculous gift buying. I don’t know why we don’t just buy ourselves a gift card and be done with it. Isn’t that what it amounts to? It isn’t even fun anymore. I love Christmas as a kid. My parents found us the best stuff. I look back at the pictures, and I remember playing with our gifts all year long. One year I got an umbrella that was clear plastic  and had flags  from around the world all over it. christmas-69-a-1I’m not too sure why I didn’t look very happy, probably was the horn rimmed glasses. But trust me, I LOVED that umbrella, and I don’t think my parents mortgaged the house to buy it or anything else that year (or others.) We got a game called “Tip-It” that you can see, “Game of States” which is behind my sister’s legs on the floor and our big gift that year to share (yes kids, you can share gifts, you don’t all need your own) was something called a “Show ‘N Tell” which had a record player, film player and AM radio all in one. We had some books on a small filmstrip that went into the machine, with an accompanying 45 rpm record, and you’d start it up. It would automatically advance the film strip as the story narrated on the record. I remember listening over and over to “The Count of Monte Cristo” on that. One of the most fun things were our Christmas stockings. Mom hung them on the mantle until Santa came and then he took them down. Because of course they would simply be too heavy to stay tacked up on the mantle with the thumbtack she used to put them there. And boy, were they ever filled…with a roll of lifesavers, a pack of gum, an orange, some socks, maybe some pencils or pens with your name on them. Little things that cost almost nothing. It’s a tradition that I’ve continued with my husband. I like having lots of stuff to open. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, and it’s better that it doesn’t, so the little funny stocking stuffers are a great way to do that.

This morning I was surfing CNN and saw a story that caught my eye…”Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers” and I thought hmm, wonder what they come up with. Not one thing was cheaper than $29, and most were $49 and up. WHAT? I don’t consider things that cost 50-60 and even $70 stocking stuffers. How the hell much are people spending on Christmas gifts anyhow? We don’t have kids, if you read this blog regularly you know that, and we don’t go over the top on gifts at Christmas. (Well, there was that one time. Last year  in the fall we bought a hot tub, so we did decide that was an early Christmas gift, and that was that.) But otherwise we generally keep it under the national debt. We don’t put anything on credit cards for Christmas. If we can’t pay for it in December – other than the aforementioned hot tub – it ain’t getting bought. No one needs anything that badly that you need to put something on a credit card you’ll still be paying off 6 years from now at 22% interest. Seriously? You really gotta do the math on that. It should scare the crap out of you what that will actually cost you in interest and probably a late fee or 6. You think I’m kidding? Here are some sobering statistics:

One quarter of the parents surveyed have taken drastic measures to fund their purchases: 11% have dipped into their retirement account, 14% used funds from their emergency savings and 11% have taken out a payday loan. 

from Here’s How Far Parents Will Go to Pay for Christmas Gifts CNN.com 12/10/16

Get back to the things that mean something and don’t cost your soul. My grandmother gave me a jewelry box in 1969. I can still remember sitting on the floor at their house and opening her gift, and finding that, and how excited I was to have my very own jewelry box.

christmas-at-farm-1969-c

 

img_0825That same jewelry box is 47 years old, and I still use it, and think of her every time I open it. It doesn’t look as pretty, the female ballerina dancer is long lost (although I still have the boy) as is the cover to the small inside box with the red tassel  and the key to the outside. The metal piece over the keyhole fell off but I have it, and the musical mechanism works.
For the eagle eyed of you, yes, same horn rimmed glasses and dress as the first photo. I should say this isn’t me, but my sister. (I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog, so it’s a good test!) Hey that’s not me, that’s my youngest sister. I’m cuter.

Seriously though, I hope that your holiday season is special, however you celebrate.

What’s in a Song?

Ah, the classics. Whether it be a book, or a song, we all have our favorites. When we read or listen to them again (and again) they never feel old or tired, but more like a comfortable blanket, cozy and warm. Winter is chock full of songs like that, especially around Christmas time, although I have to admit sometimes for me it’s as much about the style of how the song is being sung as it is about the song itself. I can rediscover a new twist on an old song and find it’s become a brand new favorite.

A few years ago a couple of movies came out that got a bit of buzz. I didn’t see them right away, but when I did I found a whole new genre of music I didn’t realize I would appreciate, a cappella choirs. Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 were fun, peppy and silly, and if you’ve not seen them, they’re a good time, especially if you think you might like to sing along to something. Since then I found out my nephew joined a mens a cappella choir in college, and I’ve been able to see him sing, and I’ve also discoved a wonderful group called Pentatonix. If you’ve never heard of them, I’d encourage you to check out this video of “Hallelujah”, along with some of their other ones. I thought when I’d heard the version of Hallelujah sung by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes and Kurt Nilsen, that it was one of the most beautiful versions I’d ever heard and promptly downloaded it. Pentatonix brings an entirely new vision to it, and it’s amazing. I hope that Leonard Cohen would be proud.

Another song that I’ve always liked, and it seems we get a new iteration of this one every few years as well, is “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. Searching for it in iTunes brings up at least 100 different iterations, with a message at the bottom saying “less relevant items are not displayed”. We’ve all heard it hundreds of times…haven’t we? But what do you know about it?

The song was written by Frank Loesser in 1944, near the end of WWII, as a duet with his wife for their Navarro Hotel housewarming party as a way to signify to guests it was time to leave. According to  Wikipedia’s page about the song:

Frank would introduce himself as the “Evil of Two Loessers”, a play on the theme of the song, trying to keep the girl from leaving, and on the phrase “lesser of two evils“. Lynn Garland (his wife) considered it their song and was furious when Loesser told her he was selling the song. Garland wrote, “I felt as betrayed as if I’d caught him in bed with another woman.” He sold it to MGM.

Now, I’ve listened to the song, and heard the words, and never was very much bothered by them. Perhaps I should have been, or perhaps I’m not a deep enough thinker, because I ran across an article this morning where a couple from Minnesota has imagined the lyrics and changed this from a song of creepy coercion to one emphasizing the need for consent and my first thought was “huh?” I actually had to go and read the original lyrics (which you can do here) to fully understand everything they were talking about. I’d never learned all the words, and honestly, my impression of it was more one of gentle teasing between two people, probably because of how it’s always been sung. After reading the new lyrics they’ve come up with, I can see how – viewed through the lens of the world in which we live – the original lyrics are more disturbing than I’d realized.

Having said that, while I’ll use that to educate myself and become more aware, I’m also not going to stop enjoying the song when I hear it, and will probably continue to sing along. The mental movie that I play will be a cheery scene where the woman isn’t pushed or coerced, but is strong and confident and can leave any time she wants to, and the man is confident enough in himself as well to not stop her, as it all should be.

 

Saving What, Really?

Driving home I thought about what a love-hate relationship I have with this time of the year. The air is crisp and smells earthy like no other time of year. Most of the trees have given up their leaves; some remain as if expressing defiance in spite of insurmountable odds, the crimsons, rusts, golds and even the occasional greens providing visual enjoyment in otherwise increasingly bland landscapes. Yards have started to change too, from the vibrant green of summer to the muted khaki tones of fall as the lawns prepare to sleep, going without water for the next few months.

It’s really amazing the range of colors, from the dull rust of some of the oaks, to the truly vibrant red of the Euonymus, which gives it it’s common name, burning bush. On a sunny day, late in the afternoon as the sun is low in the sky and nearing the golden hour, a burning bush can look so intensely red that it will take your breath away. Yet I know that within days, or if I am really lucky weeks, it’s all gone and all I’m left with for month will be the bleak gray of winter.

The sky looks different to me too, with fewer of the fluffy clouds that are characteristic of summer. You know which ones they are, they’re the ones you can lay on your back and find animals in.  They really do seem to disappear in fall as more cirrus clouds fill the sky, lighter and wispier. In my imagination I can picture an old weatherman, kind of like Father Time, as he begins to advance the seasons. As the chill comes on he starts up his own fireplace and the wisps of smoke come out from the chimney, crossing the sky not unlike like the clouds we see.

In spite of the beauty that can be found in these, the shortening days bring with them sadness from a pending sense of withdrawal, from friends and neighbors, from social events, from many outdoor activities that so many of us love in summer. I’m not a winter person – I want to just go to ground when it’s cold out. I don’t ski or snowshoe, and think anything below zero is just plain inhuman. I have to pack away my tropically painted Adirondack chairs, my bamboo wind chime and brightly colored yard flags. I’m sure there is probably at least one neighbor out there saying “hooray!!” but eh, who cares. All I can think about is that in early November, it’s less than 6 weeks to the shortest day of the year before we can start gaining our precious sunlight again.

Speaking of gaining light, does anyone else think that Daylight Savings Time is an idea whose time has come – and gone? First of all, no one can even remember when we’re ON DST (is it summer or winter?) let alone why it was started in the first place. The answers are: Summer, and  originally, so a New Zealand golfer could golf additional rounds after dinner. Ugh. It went away for a number of years, then was adopted in the 1970s in the US as a part of the Energy Crisis. However subsequent studies have provided mixed results on whether or not it saves or uses more energy, but the increases and decreases are both small. The bigger impacts are on health, safety, economics and confusion. screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-46-29-am

Maxine really did say it best, didn’t she? Seriously, what’s the point. Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico don’t do this to themselves, and neither do some Canadian provinces and a handful of countries. So if you travel a lot, have family and friends around the world or work internationally, you have to remember all this. Yes, the internet helps, but sheesh, wouldn’t it be easier if we didn’t have to try to remember? And then we have to worry about if our body has adjusted, or if we’ve forgotten and missed appointments, or are early for things. Gah! Let’s just do away with this once and for all.

The farmers hate it too, as they would prefer being in fields earlier and home earlier, rather than staying out until 10 at night. Who can blame them? How long do you suppose it takes their poor dairy cows to adjust to the time change? “Uh, Bessie, sorry, but your poor udder will need to just hold out another hour…clock says it’s NOT 5 yet. I don’t care how much you moo.”

Guess what teenagers? It won’t kill you if you get up earlier because the sun came up earlier. I know, I know, you heard it would and you believed it, but it isn’t true, any more than all the other ridiculous rumors you hear as a teenager. No one’s going blind, parts won’t fall off, and yes, just once is an issue. (But of course, since I don’t have children I will do what any wise woman without children does…toss these topics over the proverbial wall to someone else and their blog, like the hot potato topics they are  🙂

So don’t forget, this year Daylight Savings Time ENDS at 2 AM on Sunday, November 6. That’s this coming weekend, so you need set your clocks back. screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-59-41-am

 

Like, Um…


Four times a year, the wise editors at the Oxford English Dictionary do their revisions, adding  words to remain current with today’s lingo. Among the new entries this year were:

‘Clicktivism’, a word to describe a person who, ‘signals support for a political or social cause by means of the Internet, through social media, online petitions, etc., rather than by more substantive involvement’; a shout-out to Star Wars lovers, with ‘Yoda‘ added as a noun, meaning: ‘a person who embodies the characteristics of Yoda, esp. in being wise; an elder, sage or guru.’; ‘Non-apology’, a statement that takes the form of an apology but does not acknowledge responsibility or express regret for what has caused offence or upset; an insincere or unconvincing apology; and Squee’, representing a high-pitched squealing or squeaking sound produced by an animal, musical instrument, etc.

I have noticed, however, the overuse of a certain word (and I’m guilty of it myself, although I’m trying very hard to be cognizant of it and avoid it well, similar to the proverbial plague), that seems to be pervasive in our society, and perhaps in our younger adults more than the older ones, although it’s not limited to them. That word is “like“.  Now I have to admit with some shame (but only for research purposes for this blog article, mind you!), I watched a clip of “Rob and Chyna” online. images
The whole Kardashian thing is a train wreck in slow motion, and I feel like it just sucks my brain cells out of my head, and this short clip reinforced that for me, ugh. But what was notable for me about it was in 52 seconds, “like” was used 8 times. Rob only did it twice, but Chyna said “like” 6 times in 16 seconds!

Are a few of you squirming in your seats right now, feeling a bit uncomfortable? Thinking “I wonder, do I do that?” If so, and the answer is maybe, then start listening to yourself when you talk, or ask your friends to do it. Or, consider falling back to an old trick I picked up in a class on how to teach adult learners. Videotape yourself and then watch it so you can see what needs to change. So if you think you might be using the word “like” too often when speaking, set up your smartphone to record yourself during conversations. Just make sure to get permission from the other people participating in the conversation to record them too, otherwise you get to stand in front of some nice judge having this conversation instead:

“Will the defendant please rise and explain herself?”

“Um yes, Your Honor. I was like trying to  like record myself to see if like I say like too much when I like talk to my friends and like explain things. I just don’t understand like why I don’t do like well in interviews. I mean, like I’m a nice person, people like me, and like……”

By now the judge has driven bamboo under her fingernails and ground her molars into nubs, and is hissing between her clenched teeth at the bailiff “DO NOT MOVE ” as he waits to launch over the tables to clamp his hand over your mouth, just to make you stop using the word “like”!

Maybe those nice folks at the Oxford English Dictionary can announce days during the year where we just don’t use those overused words. Would’t it’s be interesting to find some other way to talk? When I started writing this today, I had to stop and think about it myself, as I didn’t want to use the word and say “like the proverbial plague”. Sometimes being aware and calling attention to things is enough, and we stop doing the behavior. Unfortunately, however, it seems it worked in reverse with those dratted Kardashians. Calling attention to them has just made them worse and the general public salivate like a pack of wild dogs.

Well, when the Kardashians go away, you’ll hear a loud squee from me, that’s for sure!

 

It Ain’t a Game of Concentration

I’ve intentionally not commented on candidates this election cycle for a number of reasons, even though there has been plenty of fodder from one in particular as far as I am concerned. And while I do so now, and realize it’s at my own peril, I’m not trying to start a conversation on the merits of one political position over another, one view over another and I hope I don’t get excoriated online, but I realize I’m opening myself up for exactly that. This isn’t about red or blue, Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal. Contrary to popular belief I actually vote the person, not the party, and that’s as much as I will say about it. Having said that….

We have only a short time left until the election, so consider this carefully: A large number of business today follow the hiring model in HR of “past performance is the best predictor of future behavior”. While there may be some debate in it’s value from a psychological profile tool, businesses seem to agree that as an initial evaluation tool at the time of interviewing a candidate, Behavioral Based Interviewing provides more information and context than simply asking “did you do this?” or “can you create that?”

So within the context of past performance being the best, and perhaps only predicter of future behavior that we have, consider the following:

What if you’re the one that Donald Trump is talking to? Not a beauty pageant winner from 20 years ago, but you? You’re in the crowd, front row and he looks at you and singled you out as an example of:

“Fat”. “Pig”. “You really are an eating machine”.

“Unattractive”. “Flat chested, you’ll never be a ’10’ “”Too old, you’re over 40”.

Maybe you and your spouse hit a rough patch, even separated? Maybe it was over another person, or even over something else? You’re in that crowd, and Trump singles you out and says “adulterer!! cheater!! enabler! you’re both pathetic.” “You can’t keep your marriage together” and other nasty things. Is this ok when it’s you, calling that out in front of your friends? Coworkers and neighbors? He seems to think that because he’s been married ONLY three times, and ONLY had one ‘affair’, that somehow he’s better than others. But here’s the thing: He’s bragged openly about the number of married women that he’s slept with. I don’t know about you, but folks, in my book, even if he wasn’t married at the time, that’s still having an affair.  So, are we now OK with a serial adulterer in the White House? If so, then you certainly can’t hold any of Bill’s past against Hilary, now, can you?

What if….

He really IS friends with Vladimir Putin. What REALLY happens then?

He uses one of the nukes that he thinks he should be able to use, since we have them? What happens then? Are you seriously ready to die?

He really IS friends with David Duke, and the white supremacists? You remember them, right? The ones he had trouble disavowing…What happens then? If you’re even a small percent African-American, Jewish, or some other less than perfect non-perfect caucasian, maybe it will be welcome to either the resettlement camps in America, or the deportation lines at the airport.

And about those tax returns. He says he’ll release them after he’s no longer under audit, which is likely to be after the election is over. I’ll go one better. Using logic and if-this-then-that thinking: He’s been under audit continuously since, what 1995? He says he knows people as wealthy as he is who never have been audited. Ponder this: Why does the IRS audit? 1 – Random audits or 2 – They found a red flag. For over 20 years he’s gotten randomly audited? I doubt it, so for over 20 years the IRS has continually found red flags in what he files in his tax return, so much so that they feel is alarming enough for him to be audited every year. Now here is the kicker…why can’t you see the returns from 2013, 2012, 2011? Because they are part of the 2014 audit. What happens when the 2014 audit is done? He’ll be audited on the 2015 tax year. Guess what? He won’t release 2014 then either, because it will be tied up with the 2015 audit, because the IRS will find another red flag. And so on, and so on. You will never see his tax returns. Not until hell freezes over. 

What I really don’t understand I guess, is the support that is given to him by the Evangelicals in this country. Back in June, James Dobson said that Trump had accepted Christ as his savior, referring to him as a “baby Christian”. Now as a Christian, I’m not one to proselytize, I don’t get up on rooftops and wave my faith around like a big flag at Perkins. That’s not my style. I’m more like my dad…I prefer to be more in the background. And I know that we’re all perfectly imperfect, works in progress. We makes mistakes, lots of them, all of the time and I’m no exception. But here’s the thing…as Christians, we do have to try to not repeat them, and to not make them intentionally. When you make mistakes, you apologize genuinely and make it right, then move on. And try to not it again.

Ahem. To the Christian Evangelical political leaders in this country:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

Perhaps you’d like to have a little chat with Trump re: 1,7,8,9.  His repeated attacks on individuals regarding their character, their abilities, their skills, their bodies, his shady business dealings, his lack of respect for others, the laws of our country, our military, our veterans, simple things like not interrupting another person when they are speaking (oh heck, I learned that when I was 3!) just aren’t lining up with the commandments, and aren’t indicative of someone who is supposedly espousing Christian values. Aren’t we taught that lying is wrong? Yet this man not only lies, but then reverses it, and refuses to acknowledge the first lie, or worse, goes out and finds some conspiracy theory website as his “source of fact” without really doing any true due diligence, then spews hurtful rhetoric. This is someone you want representing you? Why aren’t you all denouncing this horrible, un-Christian behavior? And don’t turn and point the finger at Hilary and give me that “well she’s no better” bull. She might be, she might not be. Listen to me well. Whatever she is or is not, has no bearing on what he is. Did you hear me? 

His behavior isn’t erased by hers. He doesn’t get a pass, there is no “oh look, a Democrat sinned so we’ll let the Republican get a pass for a free sin too.” I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that. As believers, when we die we believe we’ll go to heaven, and face our Father, and have to account for our life. I don’t think He’s going to have my sins laid out like the card game “Concentration”. Remember that one from when you were a child? Where you laid out the deck of cards one at a time, face down, then picked them up and tried to match them. You’d look for a pair of 2’s, or a pair of 10’s, and when you found a pair, they were discarded, until the entire deck was gone. I don’t think God is going to say “Beth, we have to find matching sins among your family, friends and peers for all of yours before you can enter heaven.”  I have to answer for myself.

Trump needs to do the same. So does Hillary. But it’s time to stop saying “yeah!” to him every time he refuses to offer contrition for his wrongs, or apologize without bringing Clinton’s name into the conversation. Make him answer for what he does wrong, tell him to stop bringing Clinton’s name into everything as a tool to try and deflect. Until he can take accountability, and learn contrition, well, there’s that old parable about the camel and the eye of the needle.

 

“I Said I Was Sorry!!”

Something that has garnered increasing attention over the past few years, for better or for worse, are bullies and their pulpits. In this age of digital media, we’ve made it far too easy for bullies to do their thing, and along with it, people have lost the ability to deliver a sincere and heartfelt apology. Case in point: Recently in Minnesota, we were riveted by the headlines made upon learning that a 27-year old mystery was solved (see my prior post “The Monster Down the Road“) when Danny Heinrich confessed to the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling, and led authorities to where he’d hidden Jacob’s remains. Jana Shortal, a reporter with Kare11 in the Twin Cities, came on the air to provide updates on the case. Jana is a seasoned professional, well respected and has been with Kare11 for a number of years.

Unfortunately, Jana became the victim of another local “reporter’s” bullying. A gossip columnist who goes by the initials “CJ” at the StarTribune, Twitter handle @DishCentral, blasted Jana for the pants she was wearing on air. Her pants!  Instead of using her brain and thinking for a moment about what was happening, that perhaps the community was reeling from the shock of the news,  CJ tried to make it about fashion. First off, who cares? Second, and more importantly, Jacob’s mother Patty Wetterling had shared a request with the community the day before. It read:

“Everyone wants to know what they can do to help us.

Say a prayer.

Light a candle.
Be with friends.
Play with your children.
Giggle.
Hold Hands.
Eat ice cream.
Create joy.
Help your neighbor.
That is what will bring me comfort today.” -Patty Wetterling

In spite of those words, a bully used her pulpit to hurt someone in Jacob’s name. But Jana didn’t take it lying down. She fought back and wrote a scathing rebuke on Facebook, (Sept 7) which is going viral and  garnering attention with news outlets everywhere. It’s strong and powerful, and amazing. Reading the responses to it from complete strangers, and the support she has received makes me believe that there is hope for humanity, however.

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From  School Town of Highland, Highland IN

The StarTribune took notice, and not only deleted the offensive post, but offered a public apology to Ms. Shortal, admitting that the column failed to live up to their journalistic standards. While I admit that’s a start, one question I’ve seen asked in comments, and have to agree with, why was no one overseeing this woman’s column? With all of the attention that’s been given to bullying in the last few years, why have they ignored CJ’s brand of misanthropy and downright ugliness toward people in general?

CJ has also offered an apology. As apologies go, I have to say it’s pathetic. It sounds like something that was written a) in haste and b) with just enough minimal effort that her attorney said would suffice to likely keep a lawsuit away. There was nothing in it that sounded remotely like she understands how words hurt,  how the platform that she’s been given shouldn’t be used as a bully pulpit any longer.

What has happened to us that we’re no longer able to offer sincere, genuine apologies that mean something? That as a society, in general we offer this psychobabble bullshit in an attempt to pacify the masses? When you do something wrong, admit it. Own it. Don’t pussyfoot around it. I had to do that recently with a friend. I admitted I had been careless, put my foot squarely in my mouth and was mortified by something I had said that had potential to hurt her and her partner. I admitted stupidity and asked for forgiveness. Fortunately for me, she is a good friend and will stay that way in spite of my foibles. I’m truly blessed.

More often than not, however, it seems apologies are a lost art. People will toss off a “sorry” and walk away, with little or no sincerity to accompany it, as if throwing the word out is adequate. Plopping those 5 letters into a dialog bubble over your head are’t enough folks, they just aren’t. You need to make eye contact when you can, but more importantly be genuine, and acknowledge what was wrong. Good grief. Grow a pair. If you’re old enough to talk, drink from anything other than your mother’s breast, walk, chew gum…you get my drift. Take a deep breathe, take accountability for your self and your actions and do the right thing. In spite of how scary it might feel at first, I promise nothing feels as good as the relief of doing the right thing, even if the person you apologize to won’t accept it. You know you’ve done the right thing, and your conscience is clear. But acting like a brat, playing by toddler rules and yelling “mine!” as you launch into a pout with a lower lip stuck out so far that it’s miracle you don’t trip over it? That has no place in adult, civilized society, yet that’s how so many so-called adults behave. Little wonder their children are worse, showing no remorse, because they see no need to apologize. This attitude of “I’ve done nothing I regret” has to stop.

Folks have called for the StarTribune to remove CJ from the gossip column, stating they don’t think the paper should allow her to remain in that capacity, that her bully pulpit has been used long enough. I don’t know if that’s the right answer, or if that’s just another form of bullying. I do know that she was way of out of line in her reaction, and I’m saddened by her inability or unwillingness to express a sincere mea culpa for the incident. Jana Shortal didn’t deserve to be treated that way, none of us do.

The Monster Down the Road

The town of St. Joseph wouldn’t stand out from dozens of others like it that dot the Minnesota countryside, if it weren’t for a legacy that no town wants, but it’s borne with quiet dignity and grace. It’s 6,600 citizens live amid bucolic, rolling hills 90 min NW of the Twin Cities. 27 years ago, kids ran around after dark on their bikes, people didn’t lock their houses or cars, if your child wasn’t home right away when they were supposed to be no one worried, they were probably just playing down the street. And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it all changed.

Three kids riding home from a convenience store where they’d gone to rent a video, two of them brothers, were stopped when a masked gunman came out of a driveway and ordered the boys to throw their bikes into a ditch and lie face down on the ground. He then asked each boy his age. The one brother was told to run toward a nearby wooded area and not look back or else he would be shot. The gunman then demanded to view the faces of the two remaining boys. He picked the other brother, and told his friend to run away and not look back otherwise he would shoot. And with that one senseless act, everything changed for the Wetterling family when 11-year old Jacob was abducted.

For 27 years, his parents and brother have wondered, waited and hoped. Was he alive? Was he dead? What happened? Where was he? Every birthday, holiday, life event that he missed, every dance, date, graduation, wedding that belonged to everyone else was something he wasn’t getting to do. His mother Patty became an accidental advocate for missing and exploited children, starting the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center because she could…because she had to. She was vocal, spoke before congress, in front of celebrities, to the media, anywhere that she could raise awareness and keep Jacob’s face and name in front of people.

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Jacob’s bridge, “The Bridge of Hope”

A bridge in St. Cloud, MN was named after him, The Bridge of Hope, while  #jaccobshope became a familiar hashtag as Twitter entered our social consciousness.

Most of us go through a phase in childhood being fearful of monsters, but we learn that we don’t need to be afraid of them, because monsters aren’t real. Oh it may take time to learn that, our brains need development time to comprehend the logic of this, but eventually we do learn it and they lose their power over us. But with Jacob’s abduction, the monster became all too real, all too close to home for us, and for 27 years, whether you were a parent or not, he was your worst nightmare. With the internet, Jacob became the new “face on the milk carton”. For better or worse, his picture was everywhere, Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 3.05.06 PMand as people prayed for the family, they simultaneously said, “there but for the grace of God…”.  That nameless monster changed how we lived that year – we started locking our doors, demanding our children were home before dark, called us when they left a friend’s house to come home. The phrase “Stranger Danger” took on new meaning and became more sinister than ever before.

The Wetterling family had to endure unimaginable pain through this, during the early days of Jacob’s disappearance when they had to cope with not only the fear of the unknown, but also the suspicion that was cast on them from the media and law enforcement. Could they have had something to do with it? The accusations were, of course, baseless, but to have to try to deal with the loss, not lose your mind, cooperate with law enforcement and the media, and somehow keep your marriage intact, raise your other children, keep running your business successfully and not fall apart? Yet both Patty and Jerry Wetterling did it, always staying strong for their children, and in the hope that they would be a family when Jacob came home.

On September 3, 2016 Jacob Wetterling did come home. Not with the happy, joyful reunion his family had hoped and prayed for, but with tears and sorrow, the location of his remains finally provided to authorities by the one who was for 27 years, faceless and nameless, right before he’s scheduled to start his federal trial on multiple counts of possessing child pornography.

I can’t even begin to imagine what the Wetterling family must be feeling right now. Relief, sadness, grief to extreme for words, anger…I’m sure they must be a roller coaster of emotions. Yes, they have an answer, resolution after all this time. But it’s not the answer they wanted, not the one they hoped and prayed for, not by a long shot. Seeing the age enhanced photos have to be devastating, knowing that he’ll never look like that. And the media onslaught will start all over again, because we all want to know everything, even though we have no right to, because we all felt like Jacob could be our son, our little brother, our nephew, the neighbor kid. And it wrecked us too. On October 22, 1989, the monster changed all of us, and none of us will ever be the same again.

Danny Heinrich.

That’s the name of the monster. He was even tied to another abduction shortly before Jacob’s that same year, to a child that escaped but by the time they could connect him to the crime,  the statute of limitations expired and he couldn’t be charged, even though DNA tied him directly to the victim. But there was never any evidence linking him to Jacob. Now, with his leading authorities to Jacob’s remains, there is. September 6, 2016 he confessed to abducting, molesting, then killing Jacob. I don’t know how he slept nights for 27 years, knowing a family was devastated. Living less than 30 miles away for all those years, he knew. We all knew the impact it had. Maybe had had his own monsters, perhaps they drove him to do what he did, I don’t know if he’ll tell us or not. It won’t matter anyway. Knowing why won’t bring back our innocence, and it won’t bring back Jacob Wetterling to his family.

I’ve included a link to a Facebook event that’s being shared, asking people to leave their front door and porch lights on through Monday night as a tribute to Jacob. Wherever you are around the world, please take a moment to say a prayer for hope and peace for Patty, Jerry,  Trevor, Carmen and Amy Wetterling.

A Moment in Time

Looking back…the moment lost…we forget….

How often do we think back to something and think “I wish I had a picture of that?” Back in the day, we had the convenient excuse of forgetting to bring our camera,  but since most of us now have smart phones, we have a camera all the time . So that old excuse really doesn’t work so much anymore, does it (unless you’re like I was the other day and completely forgot to even bring my phone along)?We have no excuse to miss that moment. So what’s the problem?

I was glancing back through our pictures of our trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota last fall, and a hike we took up to Harney Peak. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s not a hike for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of climbing, some of it over roots, trees, rocks, boulders, sand, and goes from about 6100-7100 feet of elevation. And in the middle, you actually go downhill, just to have to go back uphill again.

At the summit is a stone lookout tower that was used for fires, and the view is incredible. You can see a long distance view of the tower in the photo at the lower right…yep, we had a LONG climb to get there! As you can see, we had cameras along and took pictures. Word to the wise, if you do this hike, do it on a cool day, take snacks and plenty of water, and start early in the day. If you’re in good shape, this is under a 4 hour hike. Shape not so good? Plan on 6 hours. We made it in about 4.5 hours, although I have no idea how. (Sheer stubbornness would be my best guess. )

As we neared the top, we met larger groups of people coming down with what seemed like ridiculously happy grins on their faces – which I would understand a short time later – and they all were saying things like “you can do it” and “you’re almost there”. I can remember I was so tired and feeling like I couldn’t do it, that I wanted to slap that stupid grin right off their faces. Then we started to notice that the boulders were different, more like big smooth slabs, and all of a sudden we were ducking under a big stone archway, before turning and seeing the end, and _MG_3004then there it was, with only about 50 more steps to go. The end. Still steep, but doable.

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I got a lovely little screen shot of my “What’s My Altitude” app too! While it didn’t show the air temperature, I remember it was a bit cooler, and you can see that the boiling point of water was lower.

 

You know, two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to even do an hour of this climb, let alone the whole thing. I remember going to Scottsdale, AZ, and sitting down partway up the “easy side” of Camelback, waiting for my husband while he climbed to the top, because I was so overweight then, and there was no way I could do it. But this trip, being healthier, thinner and in much better shape, I knew I could make it, and was determined to get to the top, stopping periodically for water breaks and snack breaks, but that was it. When we got there, oh, the view.

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Isn’t that amazing? It looks out over 4 states, and if you walk around the station, you can see the backside of Mt Rushmore. We took photos of that, of some great big bird soaring around, all kinds of stuff. You know what view we don’t have? The one of me standing there, tears in my eyes, being completely overwhelmed with elation that I did it! I think hubby was going to and I seem to recall I didn’t want him to but I don’t remember why not. In retrospect, I wish he would have anyway. I would have loved to have captured that moment of energy and triumph shining through. Particularly because when I think back to that moment, that’s the feeling that I remember having…that my best self, right then, was completely and totally shining through. The tears, messy hair, sweaty skin and red face – those were badges of honor to be worn proudly, not hidden away. Silly me. What a missed Kodak moment, but a lesson learned, nonetheless.

So next time you want to push someone away when they want your picture, think twice about it. So what if you’re all sweaty, hair is a mess, face is covered in dirt. Maybe you don’t have on makeup, or your mascara is running down your cheeks…or your eyes are puffy…or your shirt is torn, or whatever. Who cares? Freeze that moment before it’s gone, because remember you can’t capture lightning in a bottle.