Monday, July 16, 2018

Once Upon A Time... (A discussion of plastic straws)

...in a land far, far away, I was a kid, a child, a small person. And I loved getting drinks and straws. Especially the ones that were crimped toward the top and bent this way and that. And do you know what those straws were made from? PAPER. That's right, bio-degradable paper. Not plastic, not stainless, not bamboo (which by the way, is biodegradable). Just plain old paper.

I prefer drinking cold liquids through straws, I don't like the cold on my teeth. I also prefer drinking any liquid while driving through straws, because I don't like tipping a container up in front of me while driving. 

So, you know what I just did? I ordered 200 paper straws. Not sure what I'm going to do with the plastic ones I still have, but I won't trash 'em. I will keep a few of the paper ones in my car, the rest in the house. How long can they sit in a drink before they begin to unravel? I dunno, but I suppose I'll find out. And fairly quickly.

Just read an article by the mother of a special needs child who cannot drink from a cup or a glass, and can only drink from straws. She complained that the stand where she tried to buy a drink for her son had no straws due to the damage they cause turtles and other living things. She thinks her son is worth more than turtles, and I certainly will not argue. 

And last night there was quite an article on the news about differently-abled people needing bendable straws in order to drink. I remember when paper straws were bendable, the hospitals were the first to use them, and then the diners caught on. Why can't we have bendable paper straws again? 

And just about everyone, in this country at least, knows that plastic straws are going extinct. Instead of whining about it, why not find alternatives? Reusable or paper straws can be carried in a purse, a bag, a pocket, a pencil box, any number of things. There are glass straws, bamboo straws, stainless straws, and or paper straws. The reusable ones come with a tiny brush to clean them out. (Pipe cleaner on a stick?)

This is, after all, the only planet we have. Let's do what we can to save it. Living without plastic isn't easy and I try to use as little plastic as I can and reuse my plastic as much as possible, and or recycle it. I have a small dog. Puppy pads are plastic (he doesn't use them), dog poo bags are plastic (I do use those—recycled grocery bags). I'm trying to find an eco-friendly alternative—any ideas? (leaving it where he drops it is not viable). 

Yes, the mother is correct, her son is more valuable than turtles. But turtles are valuable, too. They are an important part of our ecosystem. And without a healthy ecosystem, none of us will have to worry about our sons or our daughters or our dogs, cats, or turtles, as we'll all be dead.  Or wish we were. After all, fish are ingesting plastic from the straws & other plastic debris, and what the fish ingest, eventually we ingest

Lenora

Boycott football
Save brains
save lives

Keep the Refugees
Deport the Racists
Keep America Great!

80% of all marine debris found in the ocean is land based, and 80-90% of the marine debris is made from plastic.--https://thelastplasticstraw.org/about-us/

Monday, July 9, 2018

Public Service (nonpolitical) Announcement...

...OR, It's Time for an Unpaid, Nonpolitical Commercial Break.

When I started this blog, I had no intention of always writing about this, or that, or whatever. I hoped it would become a forum where we could discuss a myriad of topics, and to that end, I think we've pretty well succeeded. So, this week, it's commercial time.

Years ago, when I lived in a galaxy far, far away, called Kennewick, I was in a really good writer's group. We all wrote fiction, and all gave good critiques. One of the good writers and better critiquers was Jeff Copeland. Jeff writes thrillers. He re-introduced me to the genre (Thanks, Jeff) and he has a new book coming out, Medici. Unless he's made massive changes, it takes place in modern times as well as olden times and is a great romp. It's taken a while, and I haven't read this final version, but I did read the earlier iteration he submitted, chapter by painful chapter to the group. I say painful, because I always wanted what came next, and he'd make me wait two weeks. The cad! ;-)

At any rate, if you like a good read, with lots of action, etc., check out his Facebook page @jeffdcopeland follow him, and buy his books! (He has an earlier book out, Paralysis.) Then, if you like his books, review them and post to the usual places ;-) Way to go, Jeff! Best of luck with your books.

For those of you who prefer something with a little less adrenaline, I am pleased to announce my book, Jibutu: Daughter of the Desert is in the final stages of being published and will soon be available at your favorite online bookseller, and your favorite brick and mortar bookseller by request. Jibutu: Daughter of the Desert takes place on another planet and is the epic story of a woman's coming of age while searching for her unknown birth mother. She becomes a Healer, a Shaman, and a slave, losing everything she has ever loved or cared about. She also turns her world upside down as she finds answers in the most unexpected places. 

Stay tuned for the release date, etc. on Jibutu: Daughter of the Desert. 

Now, go forth, fill your days with joy and delight and all the hugs you can steal.

Lenora

Boycott football
Save brains
save lives

Keep the Refugees
Deport the Racists
Keep America Great!

"Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation." –Margaret Chase Smith

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From the Mailbox...

... OR, Never Judge a Book by its Cover!

A few years ago my friend Judith, gave me a humongous coffee table book, America's Gorgeous Quilts edited by Dennis Duke and Deborah Harding. This is a humongous book, oh, I already said that, didn't I? Anyhow, it is  11" x 15" x 1.5" and weighs a short ton, give or take an ounce or two, and is filled with photos of some of the most gorgeous quilts ever made in this country.

One, Plate #218 Dayglow, by Judith Larzelere (http://www.judithlarzelere.com), just reached out and grabbed me. It's basically pastels, which is odd, as I'm not over fond of pastels, and it's basically in colors I'm not over fond of (perhaps because they are pastels?). Anyhow, I love that quilt and want that quilt, but alas, it shall never be.
Copied from the book

So, now that I live in the high desert of New Mexico, I wanted to make a small quilt to hang on my wall to commemorate my move, and using the photo of her quilt as inspiration, I made one 19" x 58" which, woe on me, is still at the quilters. Not sure how Ms. Larzelere made hers (but I think I may have finally figured it out), I kind of had to come up with my own pattern. And since I had most of a jellyroll of red/red-brown/beige strips, I decided to use them. I found enough different but coordinating blue fabrics for the sky, and off I went. Oh, for you non-quilters, most quilting fabric comes in widths of 40" – 42" and a jelly roll is several strips of fabric from different bolts, but color coordinated, cut width of fabric (WOF) by 2.5," then rolled together like a jelly roll. And like the baked kind of jellyrolls, these are yummy to quilters. Without calories!!! (Yes we do get excited about things like that.)

So I sewed the strips together, then cut my new piece of fabric into 1" wide strips across all the different strips, then sewed those together and came up with this: (sorry, this is the sandwich – top, batt, and backing ready to quilt). When I get it back from the quilter, I'll square it, edge it, and take another picture so you can see the finished piece, hanging in its place of honor.

Anyhow, I used yellow here and there, both to sew the pieces together like a sashing as well as some within each piece, and was going to call it Sunshine in the New Mexican Mountains. But a friend said the sky was too dark and full of stars, and you know what? She was right! So it's now called Stars Falling on New Mexican Mountains, or if you prefer, Estrellas cayendo en las nuevas montañas mexicanas. (Translation provided by http://www.spanishdict.com/translation)

Stars Falling on New Mexican Mountains
Oh, the funny? Well, I wanted to buy one of Ms. Larzelere's books, with patterns and directions, because I know she uses a much different way of putting her quilts together. I went to her website and could find nothing but gorgeous quilts, so I went to our favorite online bookseller, and found one book, for something like $65.00. I didn't bother with the description, because the cover showed one of her quilts. Then I went to ABEBooks.com and found the book for $4.95 incl s/h. Such a deal!! I ordered the book. One thing I've discovered through the years is that reading books does not cause the ink to fade, and used books are just fine in many cases.

Now, ABEBooks figures if you know enough to find their site (if you don't know, they only sell used books), you know what you want so they don't have synopseseseses or star ratings, and I was using my phone, so the little picture of the book was even tinier. I did notice there were two other authors, a Beulah R. Compton and a Burt Galaway both quilters I'd never heard of, but there are lots of those, and the title was Social Work Processes. Well, I figured, if three quilters got together to write a book, it would have to be social. After all, quilting is a social craft—quilting bees, fabric swaps, workshops, et cetera and so forth.

A few days later, the book arrived. I was so excited; I ripped into the envelope on the way home from the mailbox. I am now the proud owner of the completely revised edition of a textbook of problem-solving for beginners to become competent social workers!!

Not a quilt inside; just a photo of one of Ms.Larzelere's on the front cover. No directions for making a quilt. No instructions on how much fabric to buy. Just almost 700 pages of how to solve problems I don't currently have, nor anticipate having in the near future. 

However, the cost of $4.95 has given me some of the bestest laughs I've had in ages. The book turned out to be well worth the price, and then some. That'll teach me to read things a bit more carefully. And, who knows, maybe someday I'll even read Social Work Processes. In the meantime, pay attention, and never, ever, judge a book by its cover. You may find yourself in uncontrollable laughter.

Lenora

Boycott football
Save brains
save lives

Make America Greater!
Keep the refugees;
deport the racists!


"You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself." –Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959)

Monday, June 25, 2018

¡MAGA!*

Keep the Refugees

Deport the Racists

*¡Make America Great Again!


Lenora

Boycott Football
Save Brains
Save Lives

"My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too." --Barack Obama

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

What Would Jesus Do? WARNING: Political Rant

As most of you know, I no longer consider myself a Christian. But, that's not to say I haven't studied the Bible, and don't still study it, and about it. And that I don't find much good in it; I do. So, we're going to have a bit of a Bible Study today, because the religion of the dominant culture in this country is Christianity. At least for a while.

Matthew 18:1-10
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become
as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones;for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.)

Luke 18:16-17
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Emphasis above is mine.

What is happening at our southern border is beyond atrocious. It is inhumane, it is cruel, it is abuse, and it is what this country voted for. I have been to Dachau, I have been through a concentration camp, my mother worked part-time in the Tule Lake concentration camp during WWII. I spent time in the military to do my part to end this kind of behavior. Never, in a bazillion years did I think I would live to see another concentration camp within the borders of my country. I believed 45 when he was campaigning, and I did not vote for him.

Unlike 45, I read, and I comprehend what I read, and I remember a great deal of what I have read and still read. Perhaps not as much as I once did. I remember reading, when I was in high school, about German King Frederick's experiment back in the 1200s. http://www.digma.com/digma-images/video-scripts/fredericks_experiment.pdfIt's a short piece, two pages. Read it. 

If you don't have time, or inclination, basically it says that babies raised without human touch, wither and die. Humans NEED touch, and now we are stuffing babies and children into concentration camps at our southern border WHERE TOUCH IS FORBIDDEN! They cry and can, at best, be comforted with words only, and possibly not even in their language! These babies, if they live, will have these scars all their lives.

Frederick was a Christian. 45, 45.5, and AG all claim to be Christian; they quote the Holy Bible to their twisted ends, but they do not practice the greatest commandment therein: To Love One Another.

Perhaps it is time to send Lady Liberty back home, to France. We no longer want the poor, the weary, the afflicted, the afraid, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We no longer honor the Good Samaritan. We no longer want what makes us strong. What makes us great. We no longer want what makes us American!

Lenora

Boycott Football
Save Brains
Save Lives


Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
--Emma Lazarus



Monday, June 11, 2018

Let's talk about a serious subject: Suicide

It's a topic that needs to be talked about, and today seems as good a time as any, mayhaps better than most since we have lost two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, to suicide this past week—and thousands of non-celebrities.

The suicide rate in the United States is going up. There are many reasons as to the why and even more speculations, but the US has seen a 25% increase since 1999. Some states' rates are higher; some are lower. My state ranks #4. Not an honor, trust me.

It's always sad, at least to me, when someone takes his or her own life. I've lost some good friends that way, and though I understood their reasons (and they had good ones), it was still hard for those of us left behind. There are always signs. We need to learn to see them.

When I was preparing to move here, my daughter screwed her courage into a tight spring, and finally asked if I was giving my stuff away (one of the signs) and moving down here to commit suicide or die. It isn't an easy question to ask, especially of a parent. And I appreciated her concern. With that question, she became my hero. 

There is conjecture out there, among our learned ones, that one reason the US suicide rate is increasing is the cost of mental health care. Not just the financial cost, but the self-esteem cost, the job cost, the family costs—real and perceived.

Many teens dream of death, especially in their senior year of high school. But instead of talking about it, they think they're supposed to die. They don't understand their emotion and sadness is fear of the unknown, fear that the social/educational life they've known most of their lives is about to end—to die--when they graduate, not them. The caterpillar dies to become a butterfly. High school students "die"—euphemistically--to become college students or enter the workforce.

With luck and good friends and adults to counsel them, they will come to understand this new phase in their lives is not death, but transformation, and can be a very good thing indeed.

If for any reason you, or anyone you know, are contemplating suicide, for any reason, please know there are meds out there that can stop the desire for death within 30 minutes. So get yourself to an ER and tell the triage nurse why you're there. Call someone. Call 9-1-1. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

It is, truly, a matter of life or death.

Buzzfeed recently published an excellent article explaining exactly what happens when you call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It most assuredly is worth the read. The URL is: https://www.buzzfeed.com/carolinekee/what-happens-when-you-call-suicide-hotline?utm_term=.hwDdN3JnbQ#.jh2VGq1dBm

And by all means, talk to your doctor. S/he can help you find the right services in your area. 
If you can't afford to see a psychiatrist, there are many free, or sliding scale, counseling services available, take advantage of them

You are not alone. People care. 

care.

Lenora

Boycott Football
Save Brains
Save Lives

"We need to change the culture of this topic and make it OK to speak about mental health and suicide." --Luke Richardson

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It's Official! I'm a New Mexican!!

Humble apologies for being a couple days late (and, yes a couple dollars short), but it is for a very good reason, or at least I think so.

As all of you know, when you move there are a lot of things that have to be taken care of right away – utilities, driver's license, car registration, etc. I managed to get in just under the wire (a day to spare) for the really big Etc. – I registered to vote and was allowed to vote in the primary.

Now, NM does things a tad different than WA – you go to your polling place to vote. But, being the progressive state they are, you don't have to go to just one particular polling place, you can go to any in the county! I was kind of curious how that worked as I read somewhere that there were something like 100 different ballots in the county, and I'm thinking, omigosh! that's gonna be a helluva ballot to wade through. I went online, downloaded my sample ballot, and set to work doing a bit of research, marked it up, and yesterday went to the school next door to cast my vote.

There was no line, for which I was grateful and typical of all the New Mexicans I've met (except the 3 ladies at one store that shall remain unnamed) the people working there were most helpful. I signed in, showed them my photo ID (I registered by mail, so had to show it), told the lady I'd just moved here from Washington State and would like to know a bit about how to work the machines or whatever. She allowed as how she'd lived in Seattle for 10 years and said our system here was pretty simple. She said my ballot would be printed in a minute, take it to a booth, use the pen, fill in the circles, put the ballot in the folder and take it to those people over there (she pointed). Ah-ha. All their ballots are hiding in a computer, and she just prints out the required ballot. So THAT is how they work the system. Admittedly, I like the mail-in ballots Oregon and Washington have, but this wasn't bad.

The other reason I'm late is Sammy. Sammy is a Chihuahua mix. Mixed with what? We aren't sure, but there's a good chance of a little Pug in there—he has the double coat Pugs have. He is about 5 years old, and the most afraid dog ever. Sammy Brave Dog, as I've named him, was found in a meth house along with a bunch of other small dogs. He's been abused but is not aggressive at all. He was put into the Lap Dog Rescue system, and eventually adopted out to an older couple. They said they had him for a month before he'd come to them, and come out of hiding. Then she had a stroke, and Sammy came back to Lap Dog Rescue where he was fostered by a different person, Stephanie.

Stephanie worked with him, took him on walks, socialized him (as much as possible) and then I found him on their website. He's the shyest little dog, and all he wants is some old lady to sit on the sofa all day so he can snuggle. It took a few days, but he's the world's biggest snuggler. And he thinks he's really special that he gets to sleep in the people bed instead of his little bed!

I left him alone for a bit yesterday while I ran a couple errands and voted, and he seemed to do just fine. I've even received a couple of PUPKISSes!! So, there you have it. My excuses for being late. They all revolve around an 11-pound puppy. 

I debated for a long time (I actually started the hunt for hound while still in Kennewick) whether to go to the pound or rescue. Since I'm not overly literate in Dog Speak and or training, I opted for the rescue. I've dealt with other rescues before, and the dogs have lived with humans and come with their shots current, etc., have been socialized, or as much as possible, and a list of known problems. Like, Sammy doesn't like going through doors or gates but will do so if I go first and hold the door for him. Wonder what that's about? Anyhow, if you're interested in a dog, but have not grown up with them, check out your local rescue groups. They're pretty good. And very supportive.

Sammy Brave Dog and his human
--photo by Stephanie Foster Mom

 Lenora

Boycott Football
Save Brains
Save Lives



My dog is half pit-bull, half poodle. Not much of a watchdog, but a vicious gossip.”– Craig Shoemaker (comedian)