07. April 2012 · Comments Off on Your Saturday Morning Funny · Categories: A Href, Fun and Games, General



10. February 2012 · Comments Off on Sometimes Love Means Letting Go… · Categories: General

That might be true today.

It’s hard to know where that fine line is between being ready to say goodbye to a much-loved pet, and giving up too soon. We’ve all faced it, or we will, if we haven’t yet. The gray hair creeps over the senior muzzle, eventually whitening the entire face; the eyes cloud over, the ears stop up, and the gait shifts from exuberant to hesitant. But still she eats, drinks, roams the yard (bouncing off the fence due to the clouded eyes), and barks imperiously when she needs your attention.

Then one day she just doesn’t get out of bed, choosing instead to sleep all day. You wake her up and carry her outside (if she’s carry-size), and when you set her down, she falls over and can’t right herself. She stands spraddle-legged, shaking from the effort of maintaining balance. You bring her back inside to her food dish because she hasn’t ‘t eaten since the day before, and she sniffs it and turns away. You take her to the water bucket, because she drinks water 20 times a day, and she sniffs it and turns away. You put her back in her bed, and she goes back to sleep almost immediately.

So you call the vet, make an appointment to have them checked out, and you worry. And you cry, because you realize that 16+ is a fantastic age for an iggy, and her paws are totally entwined all around your heart.

Meantime, you glance over and she’s standing up, getting out of her bed, hobbling to the water bucket and drinking deeply, and your heart smiles, thinking maybe it was a false alarm. You bring some BilJac liver treats to her bed, and she eats them with no hesitation. You pull the expensive lunch meat from the fridge, and give her a couple slices, breaking it up into bite size pieces. Your heart smiles again, thinking maybe it really was a false alarm.

You cuddle with her awhile, loving the weight of her 10 lbs gathered in your arms and resting on your chest, grinning when she rests her head on your shoulder, hoping she’ll fall asleep there. But she lets you know she’s had enough, and you gently place her back in her bed, in front of the little ceramic space heater that’s been running all day for her on this fairly warm day. You notice, as you rearrange her blanket before putting her back in bed, that the bed is damp, and your heart sinks again. The little one has never peed the bed before, to your knowledge. Maybe it wasn’t a false alarm.

At any rate, there’s nothing you can do tonight, so you make sure she’s warm and cozy, the water bucket nearby in case she wakes up thirsty, and you head to your own bed. Your other dogs curl up beside you and you find comfort in their presence and their enduring, unquestioning love.

You find yourself waking early the next morning, listening for the imperious, demanding bark of the senior iggy that always starts your day, and it doesn’t come. Then you realize you haven’t heard her bark since the previous morning, and she usually barks several times a day. Your heart sinks again, and you lie there cuddling the big dogs while pondering the little one.

What is the right thing to do for her? What is BEST for HER? It’s hard to say. She eats, she drinks, but the sleep-aggressive dog has to wear a muzzle 24/7 because she’ll walk into him while he’s sleeping, not realizing he’s there. She has to be carried into the yard so she doens’t walk off the side of the ramp. Once there, she walks in circles, like a canoer paddling on only one side of the boat.

You think about your friends who have faced this journey before you, about Giorgio, the IG who lost both is eyes to glaucoma and lived at least one more year, confined to the kitchen and carried in and out for potty breaks. You remember how you thought that was no fit life for a dog, and you remember hoping it would never reach that point for yours. Has it now? She used to have the run of the house. Now she has a portion of the kitchen and laundry room, and her bed in the office during the day. She lost her human bed privileges when she started pooping in her sleep.

You ponder the next 10 days on your schedule. The first three are relatively light – a Friday doing course development instead of teaching, and a weekend. But the next week is packed full with a tight schedule that would leave no room for an unescheduled vet trip, if one is needed. You remember the pain of letting your last dog go without being able to be there to say goodbye, because that was best for her, and you resolve to not face that this time.

You think about asking an animal communicator to talk to your little one, but remember when she tried to do that with another dog, and how she said the dogs were surprised you had asked her, because we all communicate fine with each other. And you realize that the little one *has* been communicating with you through her cloudy eyes, the unhappy droop to her head, her gentle snuggling the night before. And you weep as you realize you might be saying goodbye today to the best little iggy that ever walked the face of the earth.

Then you start doubting yourself. Maybe you misunderstood what you saw. Maybe she’s not that bad. She still eats, doesn’t she? Still drinks? Maybe it’s not time. We’ll let Doc tell us. Doc is good at knowing this stuff.

Having decided that you’re not making a decision, you get up and take hte big dogs outside. When you come back in, you go wake the little dog, and realize as you lift her from her bed that she’s soaking wet. Your heart sinks again as you realize maybe you didn’t misunderstand anything. You carry her outside and set her down, gently catching her before she falls over, and watch her stand spraddle-legged to keep her balance, head shifting from side to side like a snake, entire body quivering from the strain of standing. Your heart sinks again as you gently pick her up and bring her back inside to her bed in the office in front of the space heater. Since her bed is wet, you appropriate one of the beds from the big dogs and put that in front of her heater.

Then you go to your PC to type a post on GreyTalk.com and are interrupted by the sound of her toenails scrabbling on the kitchen floor. You bring her back and put some water in a dish. Because you love her, you hold the dish of water directly under her pretty little nose until she realizes it’s there and starts drinking it. Then you find the BilJac liver treats and feed her some of those for breakfast, becuase she ignored her food dish when you pointed it out to her in the kitchen.

And you doubt yourself again, because she’s eating and drinking, standing and walking, looking for what she wants and needs. To be honest, at this point you don’t know if you’d rather she be ok or not. You don’t know for sure how happy she is with her very limited life that would drive *you* crazy. So you email Doc and give her a status update, and end the email with: “Just so you know, if we have to let her go today, I’m ready.” And you try not to hate yourself for saying that, and try not to think about whether you’re saying that because it’s best for the little one entwined in your heart, or because you can’t bear the thought of watching her decline further over time and aren’t willing to do the heroic things that other friends have done with/for their dogs. You reassure yourself with the knowledge that she is a much-loved dog, and she knows that she is loved and will continue to be loved no matter what happens today.

And then you sit and weep because you have no idea how this day is going to turn out, and 11am is still so very far away.

Update: 11am came and went, and at 1140, I left Doc’s office alone, a tiny blue collar tucked into the pocket of my jeans, and a big piece of my heart lying on a table in Doc’s exam room. Run free to good health, baby girl. Your mama loves you more than she has words to say.

22. January 2012 · Comments Off on Following in Sgt Mom’s Footsteps… · Categories: General

…but on a much smaller scale.

When I’m not working my day-job, or playing games on Facebook, I write short stories.  I finally have enough to compile into a small e-book, which I am publishing through SmashWords.com with a tentative release date of Feb 22, Ash Wednesday.  The date is tentative because it depends on my newly hired graphic artist getting a cover created for me by then. She’s confident she can do it, even though there are several people ahead of me on her project list. I have no graphic art genes anywhere in my body, so I’m trusting her.

Like you, I’ve watched and admired Sgt Mom on her journey from blogger extraordinaire to “real live arthur,” and I gotta tell you honestly, I don’t want to work that hard. I’m more of a dabbler.   My day job comes first and the writing is only a hobby, albeit a slightly more serious one than it’s been in the past. Short stories by unknown authors are hard to sell, which is my primary reason for self-publishing. I’m just glad we live in a time when the technology makes it possible.

Now, if you’ll pardon a little self-promotion… (clears throat self-consciously)

 Front Cover:

Their lives changed forever when they saw themselves

..and their God…

Through Love’s Eyes



Back cover (for the print edition, whenever it happens):

A chronically ill woman; a crazy man; a grieving mother. Only God could ease their pain, but would He?


You think you know their stories: you’ve read them since childhood. Read them again – it will feel like the first time. Mary Young takes you inside their heads and hearts, and shows you their encounters with the Christ through their own eyes.

Anyone who has ever doubted whether God would really help him or her will find encouragement in these pages.


I was originally going to just print a few copies and give them to friends last year for Christmas, but as I worked on perfecting the stories, I felt they deserved a wider audience. It will be interesting to see if I was right.



18. January 2012 · Comments Off on A Little Humor to Brighten Your Day · Categories: General

Hopefully, you’ve never had to suffer through a presentation like this one. I’m confident none of our readers has ever been the perpetrator of a presentation like this one.


24. December 2011 · Comments Off on Merry Christmas! · Categories: A Href, Ain't That America?, Domestic

Flash Mob in a mall food court sings Hallelujah Chorus



Everyone living in my house hopes that everyone living in your houses has a wonderful holiday season and that 2012 will be your best year yet.

13. December 2011 · Comments Off on Vader, did you know? · Categories: A Href, Fun and Games, Geekery, General, General Nonsense

A Star Wars take on a popular Christmas tune.  Very ingenious, I think


26. October 2011 · Comments Off on Don’t Remember Hearing About This… · Categories: A Href, General, General Nonsense

It’s been far too long since I”ve wandered over to Babalublog….


State Dept. uses $70,000 of our tax dollars to buy copies of Obama’s book, “Dreams From My Father“.

Money goes to book’s publisher.

Royalties go to Obama.

I know $70K is a drop in the bucket, but still…

25. October 2011 · Comments Off on Great Take on the OWS Crowd · Categories: A Href

Found at Scratching to Escape:

a teaser:

Father: “Son I saw you on the news with a sign protesting Wall Street.”

Son: “Yeah Dad. It was cool. We sat around, told them how we feel and let them know that Wall Street won’t get away with what they’re doing. In fact, I’m calling from the protest. We’re going to stay until they listen to our demands”

Father: “It looked more like you were eating pizza and texting”

Son: “I had to let my girlfriend know I would be on television.”

h/t Leeann

30. May 2011 · Comments Off on Remember the Fallen · Categories: General

Mostly Cajun has a good post with a couple political cartoons that are spot on for today.

More than fifty years after he came home from Korea, my dad finally told me how he got injured. Someone parked a tank in front of the foxhole sheltering his 2 buddies and him. When the tank was destroyed, shrapnel ripped through the foxhole. One Marine was decapitated, the other severely wounded. Dad had a “minor” injury that took a year of rehab.

We know that all gave some. Today, we remember those who gave all.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

18. May 2011 · Comments Off on Coming Home · Categories: General

Note: I don’t normally blog here about internal things, preferring instead to share thoughts on my “yardening” or memories of other phases of my life. But since I was 13, part of my self-identification has been “writer.” But I had lately begun to wonder if I could still use that description — is one a writer if one isn’t really writing? Apparently so. Apparently thoughts and ideas have been wintering in plowed ground, waiting for spring’s warmth to sprout into new growth. I posted the following on my personal blog this morning, but I wanted to share with my friends here, as well.

I’m writing again, for the first time in a decade or so, and it feels like coming home to my true self. Really writing — the kind of writing that I used to do, that left me marveling in awe as the words flowed from my pen to paper, almost as if the pen had a mind of its own.

That’s how it used to feel, when God would give me ideas for stories. It was almost like watching the story on a movie screen in my brain, and simply transcribing what I saw on the screen. I had thought the dearth of words related to my very desultory Christian walk. I claim Jesus as my savior, and believe the truths set forth in the Apostles’ Creed, but I do no daily Bible reading, attend no weekly church services.

That said, I constantly dialogue with Jehovah God, and recognize that all good gifts in my life are from His hand. Like this gift of writing, that has recently returned with so much power. The more ideas flow into my brain, the more I return to Bible reading, specifically the Gospels. I’m seeing things I don’t remember seeing there before. And I see stories.

In “Steel Magnolias,” Truvey says “Every person has a story.” The same is true of the Bible characters – no, not characters. These were real, live people, like you and me. They worried about keeping their jobs, their homes, their sanity. They loved and laughed, wept and prayed, cooked and sewed and cleaned, got married, had children, lost children…

Their lives were more immediate than ours, less removed from reality. No air conditioning there – when it was hot, their own sweat cooled them. If they caught no fish, or grew no crops, they went hungry.

Life was struggle and joy all in one. Sometimes, life was sorrow. Through it all, they persevered, holding to the hope of their faith that Yahweh was not as other gods – that Yahweh was a God who listened, a God who cared. He had delivered them from Egyptians and Philistines – he would deliver them again.

If he didn’t? He was still Yahweh, still in charge. The prophet Habakuk perhaps said it best:

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Hab. 3:17-18

Those are tough words, from a tough person – a faithful person. I’ve wanted those words to be true in my own life for years, and never really noticed that they already were.

The fig tree of my writing has not blossomed in close to ten years. Oh, there were little buds here and there – snippets of stories, or thoughts or poems that reassured me I could still write when it mattered, but not the effortless flow of words that I remembered.

Until this spring, when all outside was green with new life, and it was time again to remember our Lord’s sacrifice on our behalf. This Easter season, the words began to flow again, and I pray they never stop. But even if they do, like Habakkuk, I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Meantime, I’ll revel in the feeling of being home again.

10. May 2011 · Comments Off on Buy Sgt Mom’s Book! · Categories: General

No, really… I mean it! I don’t really care if you go whole hog for the bound copy, or go with the very affordably priced Kindle copy (which can be read via the free kindle app on any PC)… BUY IT! READ IT!

You won’t regret it.

Well… that’s not entirely true, but the only regret will be that you have to wait six more months for the next installment.

My autographed copy arrived in my mailbox far earlier than I expected, especially as I hadn’t gotten around to purchasing it yet. Sgt Mom sent me a copy just to celebrate our friendship. I read the first few pages and set it aside, not wanting to ruin the binding by reading it in the bathtub, which is where I do most of my book reading these days (someday I’ll own a couch again, and read in places other than the tub).

But then I realized it was available in Kindle format, and having succumbed to the Kindle siren this past January, I was good to go. Daughter of Texas flew wirelessly to my Kindle, and I flew into the past, riding the wings of her vivid imagination and prodigious talent/skill at writing.

Texas is my heart state — of all the places I’ve lived in my life, San Antonio is home, even though I no longer live there. I still remember the first time I learned about the Goliad Massacre, the first time I toured the Alamo (like so many Air Force people, it was on a day pass while in basic training there), the first time I learned about the massacre of the German settlers who were Union sympathizers during the Civil War years.

Sgt Mom’s books bring all these things to life. First with the Adelsveiren Trilogy, which had me wanting to Google the characters when the book ended, to see what happened next in their lives, and now with Daughter of Texas.

You’ve read her sample chapters here over the past few months. They pale beside the completed whole. I told her today I was hesitant to finish the book (Kindle told me I was 85% complete), because I’d read her samples here and knew somewhat of what was ahead, and didn’t want to face it. I knew a character was going to die, and I hated to see it happen — couldn’t bear to read it. What I didn’t tell her was that I couldn’t bear having the book end and still have 6 months to wait for the next one.

You can read the reviews on Amazon, and other places. I’m not a reviewer – I’m just a reader who knows what she likes, and I like Sgt Mom’s style of writing, and her choice of topics. In my opinion, you can never go wrong grabbing one of her books — and there’s a link to them conveniently posted just over there, on the upper left side of this blog.

So what are you waiting for? Buy her books! Read them! You won’t be disappointed, other than having to wait for the next one.

27. December 2010 · Comments Off on Georgia, Christmas Weekend 2010 · Categories: General

I learned long ago to ignore most TV weather forecasters, but I’ve found that Weather Underground gives me fairly accurate forecasts for my area. Even so, when they said Christmas snow, I was skeptical. I’ve lived in GA for nine years now, and have never seen snow on Christmas, not even flurries. Heck, before this year, I had never seen snow in December here! About two weeks ago, we had some flurries one morning, so I figured if we got snow at Christmas, it would be like that.

Christmas morning, the forecast for my zip code was 100% chance of snow, and the skies were clear. At 1130am, the forecast was still 100% chance of snow, and the skies were still clear. I was about to put a very sarcastic post on my Facebook status about the odds of GA having a white Christmas, when I glanced out my window, and saw big fluffy white flakes in the sky.

I put the dogs in the backyard and grabbed my camera. As I explained on FB, I needed the dogs so you could have some scale by which to judge the size of the flakes. LOL Pippin, the 90lb greyhound who is afraid he’ll melt if he gets rained on, was NOT impressed.

This being Georgia, if it had been any day other than Dec 25, the stores would have been jammed with people buying bread and milk, convinced the world would end (or at least be shut down for several days) if the white stuff stuck to the ground, as it seemed like it was doing.

When I left my house at 1230 to head to Christmas dinner with friends, the streets were wet. When I drove back home 3 hours later, they were slushy. By nightfall, they were white.

Our final tally after eight hours of steady snowfall, was approximately three inches. Laughable to our northern friends, but exciting to us. Apparently, the last time it was snowy at Christmas was 1993, and that was only a dusting, not measurable snow. The last time Georgia had measurable snow on Christmas was around 1889. Yep – it’s been 121 years since GA has had measurable snow at Christmas time. (I reserve the right to be wrong on the actual year, but I”m in the right century and decade)

The sub-freezing temps kept the snow on the ground through Boxing Day. We’re projected to hit the mid-30s today, and 40s tomorrow, so it will soon just be a memory.

08. November 2010 · Comments Off on 15 Authors · Categories: General

This is making the rounds on facebook. I was hard put to name the authors, and in some cases had to resort to Google (to find the author of Hawk, I’m Your Brother, for one). I couldn’t find one book, but in high school I read a non-fiction work that I could swear was titled “Not Every German was a Nazi,” but the book might have been a collection of essays, and that might have been the title of one of the essays, instead.

It’s an eclectic mix. I had to keep stopping myself from just listing favorite authors, and focus on those who influenced. There’s a difference, although I think we are, or can be, influenced by everything we read. The names on my list are authors who helped shape my thoughts, or who changed my thoughts, or whose words I can never get out of my head. Some are recent, and some go back to childhood

The official instructions: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

Madeleine L’Engle
Robert Frost
Elizabeth Moon
R.A. Heinlein
Sally Roth
Byrd Baylor (think of his book every time I see a hawk in the sky)
Thomas Jefferson, et al (“When in the course of human events…”)
James Madison, et al (“We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union…”)
Celia Hayes (not sucking up – constantly remembering scenes from the Trilogy, and when my local PBS recently aired a show about the Germans coming to TX, I compared their data with what I remembered from Celia’s books, trusting her to be accurate, and them to have errors)
Bess Streeter Aldrich
Sara Stein
Ayn Rand
Dr Seuss
Shel Silverstein

Feel free to add yours in the comments.

Cross-posted to In My Own Little Corner, with a plug to Sgt Mom’s Amazon page

27. October 2010 · Comments Off on London Telegraph Explains TEA-Party Success · Categories: General

Read the article here.

It sounds like something our own Sgt Mom could have written (some of the comments do, as well).

From the article:

No, the Tea Party is that rare beast, a genuinely spontaneous popular movement. Its proximate cause is easily enough discerned: the US federal government is 30 per cent bigger than it was two years ago, a position both main parties would have considered unthinkable as recently as 2007.

From the comments:

What are the common characteristic of Tea Party supporters?

We pay our bills, we save for our retirement, we are responsible for ourselves, and we demand the same for the rest of the country. (snip)

We want to cut the government back to its constitutionally mandated limits, and progressives/libs can bray like the symbol of their party while we do it.


Final characteristic of Tea Party supporters, is the ability to judge the results of policy, whether it’s welfare, tax, or foreign policy, on results of that policy, NOT on the intentions of those who passed and implemented the policy.

Thanks to my real-life and facebook buddy, Jerry Henry for the link.

29. September 2010 · Comments Off on Words to Live By · Categories: General

Taken from a post on an internet message board that I frequent:

A former coworker put it very well (about running something through a table saw w/o glasses or something). “If something goes wrong, I’ll spend the rest of my life wishing I had this moment in time back so I could make a different decision. I have that moment now. Let me make the decision I’m going to wish I made. “

20. September 2010 · Comments Off on Remember – Only the Established Press, are Professional Enough to Bring Us the News · Categories: General

But not professional enough to proof-read, apparently, at least in Ohio.


Police said the semi went over the sidewalk on a turn, his trailer snagged a tree and came apart and then the trailer gave way in the middle.

The killer quote:

The truck driver was not injured, but he was traffic for the traffic violation.

Huh? LOL

19. September 2010 · Comments Off on Elizabeth Moon on “Citizenship” · Categories: General

My surfing of the information superhighway today led me to a blog post by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Moon. As I began reading her post, I really liked what she was saying about good and bad citizenship, and what is expected of citizens.

The first paragraph drew me in – how could it not? (emphasis mine)

I was on a “Politics in SF” panel at Dragon*Con which once more convinced me that a lot of people should’ve been made to read “The Man Without a Country” a few more times. Though, with the sneering generation (Baby Boomers, starting a year after my unnamed contingent, were spectacularly good sneerers) that probably would not have had the desired effect…my desired effect, at least, which would be to remind people that the person with no loyalty to anything but his/her own pleasure is not a noble hero of individualism, but a pathetic failure as a human being.

Well, I liked it up until the paragraph I quote below… the next few paragraphs after this one also irk me, because she only picks on conservatives and business-people (Pres. Bush & Ken Lay, respectively), without noticing that what she describes cuts across party lines.

The post I’m quoting can be found here: click me. Again, any emphasis is my own.

This nation was founded with an overt appeal to universal rights of mankind–those stated (but not stated to be all) being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But the survival of this nation depended then, and has depended since, on citizens taking responsibility, not just liberty, as one of the rights of mankind. Had the signers of the Declaration been as wedded to personal liberty as the right wing today, there would have been no successful Revolution. For these men, who pledged their “lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” to the cause, did not want total freedom for themselves–they did not demand that others bear the burdens so they could ride in the well-sprung coach.

Ummm… I don’t think it’s the right-wing that demands others “bear the burdens so they can ride in the well-sprung coach.” I think it’s the folks who want to do away with the colonial Jamestown edict that he who did not work would not eat. Although again, I’m confident it cuts across all party lines.

They were familiar with, and based their concept of citizenship on, ancient understanding of citizenship–that courage/fortitude, integrity, temperance, sound judgment were all desirable virtues which, if held by all citizens, would knit together a culture otherwise tolerant of diversity. They knew enough of human nature to know that no nation had yet achieved such a citizenry–that it was unlikely to exist in future even with the best possibilities–but they knew it was worth trying for.

She moves on to talk about 9/11, and The Mosque. You know the one – it’s been in all the news, and all the blogs, and all the emails. That Mosque. And her words have aroused a firestorm among certain people, folks who are fans of her books, and would most likely agree with her comments that I quoted above, and the paragraphs that followed after it.

…in order to accept large numbers of immigrants, and maintain any social cohesion, acceptance by the receiving population is not the only requirement: immigrants must be willing and able to change, to merge with the receiving population. (snip)

Whether a group changes its core behaviors and values after immigration or not, it must–to be assimilated later–come to understand the culture into which it has moved. To get along, it must try not to do those things which will, sure as eggs is eggs, create friction, distrust, and dislike. (snip) A group must grasp that if its non-immigrant members somewhere else are causing people a lot of grief (hijacking planes and cruise ships, blowing up embassies, etc.) it is going to have a harder row to hoe for awhile, and it would be prudent (another citizenly virtue) to a) speak out against such things without making excuses for them and b) otherwise avoid doing those things likely to cause offence.

The firestorm was such that she has since deleted the comments and closed comments on the post. But she says things that have been said here, and in other blogs that I read, and on other message boards that I read, and she speaks the truth, no matter how unpalatable that truth may be to those who are now up in arms and ready to boycott her. I’m not quoting the portion everyone took issue with, I’m quoting the portion that we don’t hear often enough.

But Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they’ve had. Schools in my area held consciousness-raising sessions for kids about not teasing children in Muslim-defined clothing…but not about not teasing Jewish children or racial minorities. More law enforcement was dedicated to protecting mosques than synagogues–and synagogues are still targeted for vandalism. What I heard, in my area, after 9/11, was not condemnation by local mosques of the attack–but an immediate cry for protection even before anything happened. Our church, and many others (not, obviously all) already had in place a “peace and reconciliation” program that urged us to understand, forgive, pray for, not just innocent Muslims but the attackers themselves. It sponsored a talk by a Muslim from a local mosque–but the talk was all about how wonderful Islam was–totally ignoring the historical roots of Islamic violence.

I can easily imagine how Muslims would react to my excusing the Crusades on the basis of Islamic aggression from 600 to 1000 C.E….(for instance, excusing the building of a church on the site of a mosque in Cordoba after the Reconquista by reminding them of the mosque built on the site of an important early Christian church in Antioch.) So I don’t give that lecture to the innocent Muslims I come in contact with. I would appreciate the same courtesy in return (and don’t get it.) The same with other points of Islam that I find appalling (especially as a free woman) and totally against those basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution…I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom. It would be helpful to have them understand what they’re demanding of me and others–how much more they’re asking than giving. It would be helpful for them to show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship in a non-Muslim country.

And then she ruins it all for me with her final line.

(And the same is true for many others, of course. Libertarians, survivalists, Tea-Partyers, fundamentalist Christians, anyone else whose goals benefit only their own group. There’s been a huge decline in the understanding of good citizenship overall.)

Elizabeth Moon. Award-winning author. Texas Native. Former Marine. Statist. *sigh*

02. August 2010 · Comments Off on Another political realization… · Categories: General

If I hadn’t already decided for whom I was voting in our Gubernatorial primary run-off next week, the robo-call would have done it for me. I understand the perceived need for the robocalls – my disagreement today is with the caller-id. My phone said I had a call from Red Lodge, MT.

Now, why on earth would a GA governor candidate be sending robo-calls from MONTANA? Is there no company in GA that could do those calls? The recession or whatever it’s called these days has hit us just as hard as it’s hit anyone else. Stimulating the economy begins at home, Mr/Ms Candidate.

If the call was, in fact, NOT from Montana, but only appearing to be so, then I have a different beef, regarding caller-id spoofing, etc.

In either case, this candidate did not have my vote to begin with, and definitely does not have my vote now. Since my candidate didn’t make it out of the primary, I’m going with the lesser of two weevils, and hoping against hope that I don’t receive a robo-call from that candidate, too.

I wonder why they don’t understand that robo-calls are as welcome as telemarketers?

04. July 2010 · Comments Off on “Thank you, America, for my freedom” · Categories: General

Val Prieto finds the words that were escaping me today. And while my family has been in the USA for a couple hundred years or so, Val’s family knows first-hand about the Copper Lady with her Golden Torch.

Val, your post made me cry, and the best way I can honor it is to pass it along.

04. July 2010 · Comments Off on In Congress, July 4, 1776 · Categories: General, History

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

03. July 2010 · Comments Off on July 2, 1776 – A Unanimous Resolution · Categories: General

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.


Here’s hoping that the blood of those great men has not run cold through the ensuing years…

14. April 2010 · Comments Off on I’m from the Gov’t, and am here to help you…. · Categories: General

*sigh* I really, really hate dealing with the IRS.

In 2009, I bought a house. Now, I’ve been renting since 2001, so I definitely qualify for the first-time home-buyer’s tax credit. To get that, you have to paper-file, and include a copy of hte settlement document. I did all that, and overnighted my return to them on Jan 25, to make up for the fact that paper-filing takes longer.

Each week, I went to IRS.gov and checked “Where’s my refund,” and each week, I got a response of “We have not received your return” even though it was signed for on Jan 26. Finally, on Feb 20, they admitted they had my return and were processing it. If they found no problems, I could expect my refund by March 30. On March 15, they said I could expect my refund on April 13. On March 30, they said I could expect my refund on April 27.

April 2 was my payday from work. I checked my bank balance online, and it was higher than it should have been from receiving my paycheck. So I looked at the detail, and there was a deposit from the IRS, but it was NOT for the full amount of my refund. So I head back out to IRS.gov and “where’s my refund,” and read “We decreased the amount of your refund. You will receive a letter dated April 12 explaining why.” Great. I didn’t need a letter from them – the refund was exactly $8000 less than I expected, but I had to wait until I received a letter dated April 12 before I could call and ask them why they don’t think I qualify for the home-buyer’s tax credit.

The letter came in yesterday’s mail. It tells me they think I have a prior home-ownership that would make me ineligible, and gives me a number to call.

So I call them, and spend 5 minutes on hold after telling the computer all my business so it knows I’m real. The nice lady on the other end of the phone explains that she can’t help me – she has to transfer me to tax law. Back on hold, with an estimated wait time of over 30 minutes. I hang up, figuring I’ll try again at 8am, when they won’t be so busy.

Call back this morning, expecting that the computer is routing me to the correct person to help with my issue. Lady answers the phone, and the conversation goes like this:

IRS: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I need to have someone explain why they disallowed my homebuyer’s tax credit.
IRS: Did you get a letter from us?
Me: Yes.
IRS: Can you read me the letter?
Me: Reads the first 2 paragraphs of the letter.
IRS: There’s your answer right there. If you can’t understand that, I don’t know how we can make it any clearer.

More »

26. March 2010 · Comments Off on I think I’ve reached that breaking point they talk about… · Categories: Domestic, General, Politics

I got snail mail today from some Republican Congressman. Apparently, he’s from the local area (2 towns south of me, and our towns are close together), but I’d never heard of him until his donation request showed up in my mailbox. He sounds like a nice guy, but his request came to me about one health bill too late.

My handwritten response is stapled to the donation request (which has my address on it, so they’ll know who I am), and does not include a donation.

Dear Congressman X —

Thank you for your recent donation request. Unfortunately, I cannot help you, for several reasons.

1. I’d never even heard of you until your donation request showed up in my mailbox.

2. If you’re currently in your fourth term, you share part of the blame. President Bush (who I voted for twice) never met a spending bill he didn’t like, and the Republican congress was just as quick to waste my tax money as the Democrat congress has been, although I must admit the Dems are doing it on a much grander scale.

3. After the latest assault on American values, American taxpayers and the US Constitution, I have promised myself that I will not vote for, nor support, any incumbents on the national level.

It’s a small gesture, and probably a futile one, but we all have to take a stand sometime, and this is mine.

my real name

Walking from the mailbox to the house, it was too dark to see if the envelope was from an individual or the Republican party. All I could tell was it was political. Thinking as I walked, I realized that I no longer trust the leadership of the Republican Party to do what’s right for the Country, vs. what’s right for the Party. I don’t know if I’ll ever donate to a political party again, choosing instead to give directly to candidates that earn my support.

So… Sgt Mom for Congress, anyone? I honestly don’t know who else I’d trust to be honest, ethical, etc.

24. March 2010 · Comments Off on *THERE* was an Orator… · Categories: General

Two hundred thirty-five years ago yesterday, Patrick Henry gave a speech in the House of Burgesses that still resonates today. Mostly Cajun provides the full text, interspersed with his thoughts.

In this excerpt, I’ve italicized Henry’s words.

We’ve talked. We’ve voted. We’ve written. Made phone calls. Sent email and fax. Taken to the streets.

And had all that treated by the Left as if we were children engaged in childish games. With the willing complicity of the mainstream media we’re called names and accused of every calumny possible from racism to abject ignorance.

We’ve trusted “the system”.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?



Then resolve to change your world, as Henry & his fellow patriots changed theirs.

31. January 2010 · Comments Off on Domesticity · Categories: General

Ahhh, Spring…. when a youngly middle-aged woman’s fancy turns to — what’s that? It’s not yet spring? Are you sure?

Well then, that explains the chill breeze that blows across my back yard, and the lack of green growth in my yard. Well, most green growth, anyway. Some of the weeds are still thriving. More importantly, the crocuses (crocii?) have bloomed. So spring is obviously on its way, even if the forsythia is still just foliage.

I must say, Jan/Feb are probably my least-favorite months — bitter cold, even here in the southeast, with spring still a distant promise. But March will be here before I know it, and it will be time to move the house plants outside, clear away the detritus of winter, and transplant the seedlings I’ve not even planted yet. Guess I’d better get some seeds and get them planted.

26. January 2010 · Comments Off on New Experiences · Categories: General

Did two things tonight I’ve never done before…

Went to a town hall meeting hosted by my state rep and the state senator that represents the other side of my cross-street: that was cool. I’m getting more interested in the political process, instead of just being a semi-informed voter. (I’m not a tea-partier, but they have my support.)

On my way home, about 9pm, I drove by a building that I’ve never seen occupied, never seen any cars parked near it or in its parking area. There was a white SUV backed up to its lower level, with the tailgate lifted. So when I got home, I called the non-emergency number for the PD, and told the nice lady who answered the phone what I saw (that was only like 5-10 min after I saw it). I stressed that it could be perfectly legit, but I’ve NEVER seen vehicles around that building, and don’t even think it’s occupied. So they’re going to have someone drive by and check things out.

I feel like I’ve earned my good citizen credentials tonight. Or at least my neighborhood busy-body certification.

Oh – I guess it’s 3 things — I told my state rep that I’d put his sign in my front yard come election time. I have NEVER advertised/campaigned for any political figure, but I really like my rep. (it helps that he opened a gun-shop/range 3 miles from my house and is a fervent 2nd Amendment supporter)

24. December 2009 · Comments Off on Christmas Baking, Part One · Categories: General

My favorite part of Christmas is the baking. Unfortunately, Dec was a very busy month for me, so last weekend was my first chance to really bake, and last weekend I came down with a doozy of a head-cold. Yesterday I finally felt human again. I have today off work, so I’ll be doing marathon baking today, to make up for lost time (and also finally sending out my Christmas cards, I hope, although at this point I might as well call them epiphany cards, or at least New Year cards).

Mostly Cajun posted yesterday about a recipe he dug out of a book and tested in his own kitchen, with his own unique additions to it. It sounded delicious (well, except for the raisins), so I’m trying it this morning.

I’m not going to recreate his post, written in his own inimitable Cajun Tanker style, but I’ll share the recipe, and my changes to it. The recipe comes from a book called “How to Cook a Wolf,” by MFK Fisher – it’s a recipe book for when the larder is bare, apparently. Anyway, there’s a recipe in the book called “War Cake,” so named because it was created during wartime, and made allowances for limited foodstuffs. He links to the book in his post, and to the cool website that led him to the recipe. If you like history, and cooking, you should go read his post and follow his links, in between your last-minute Christmas preparations.

The recipe:

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Sift these together

1/2 cup shortening (bacon fat will do)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp other spices (because you can use whatever’s in your cupboard that you think will work)
1 cup chopped raisins or other dried fruit (figs/prunes, etc – YUCK)
1 cup sugar – white or brown
1 cup water (note: you can substitute coffee for part of the water)

Put these ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Cook five minutes. Cool thoroughly. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Bake 45 minutes or until done in a greased loaf pan in a 325-350 oven.

MC used 1/2 tsp nutmeg & 1/2 tsp ginger for his other spices. That sounded good to me, so I did too. He added chopped pecans. That sounded good too, so I did, as well. HE had some raisins that had been soaking in rum for a week or so, and used those. I cannot abide the taste of raisins. BUT I had fresh apples (hankering for an apple pie), so I diced up an ambrosia apple. Oh, and I had some coffee leftover from yesterday afternoon, so I used about 2/3 cup cold coffee and 1/3 cup water. I used white sugar on this batch, but want to try it again with brown sugar.

I’m currently at the “cool thoroughly” part. He said it reminded him of banana bread, and was so good that he and his son devoured 1/2 of it in the first 30 minutes.

I’ll let you know how mine turns out. I already screwed up the “cook five minutes” part, because I didn’t see that on the recipe. But I know the pot was on the hot burner for at least that long, even if it wasn’t boiling the entire time, so I’m not going to re-do it. Unlike war-time cooks, I have enough ingredients on hand that I can make another batch, if this one is ruined.

p.s. If y’all have never read Mostly Cajun, you need to add him to your list. Down-home common sense, good humour, AND the ability to explain technical electrical doodads, gadgets, and thingummies in a way that even a soft-science person like myself can understand them. He helps keep the energy flowing from the gulf coast to the frigid north so that our yankee friends can be warm.