Random Thoughts

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog.  So here are some random thoughts I have been thinking about:

The election is now over, but it is still not over.  Recounts, cabinet selections are still being reported like it is actual news.  Maybe the media can’t let go?  With all the smart people that work in the IT world, I am thinking they should be able to come up with a national voting system.  Sure, everything is subject to hacking, but shouldn’t we at least try to come up with something?  Otherwise, no election results will ever be final and there will always be rumors of inaccurate results. Every new President-elect goes through the process of selecting Cabinet officials and those that will work directly for them.  Most of these will require confirmation by Congress.  And that show will go on and on.  Nothing much happens the first year of anyone’s Administration because of those appointments and confirmation hearings.  It is as though Congress will take the political route rather than looking out for what’s best for the country. And I wish new Presidents would be less concerned with campaign paybacks and more concerned with picking people who will really bring something to the table.

Regarding Thanksgiving.  The internet is full of clever little pieces about gratitude.  I even made a list of small things for which I am grateful.  Thanks to my career, I traveled all over the world.  Thanks to my bosses, it usually wasn’t the big European capitals although I have been to a few of them too, but mostly to what we called “developing nations”.  And every time I came home, I felt so lucky to be living in the U.S.  Seeing real poverty, unstable governments, people who were grateful to have any kind of job at all so they could support their families.  Because that is one thing I found to be true:  that no matter where you go, people want security, a roof over their heads, something on their table to eat, and a better future for their children.  And that is what binds us all in our global communities.  When I worked counter drug programs back in the late 80s, early 90s, I remember going to meetings and people saying such things as “we will teach them to grow carrots, because it is morally better, than to grow coca.”  And I remember thinking how stupid this sounded, because the farmers doing the farming didn’t care as much about morality as they did being safe and earning money for their families. Sure carrots might be a more moral crop, but it didn’t pay as well as the coca.  I remember visiting an El Salvadoran hospital, and seeing what appeared to be a 1940’s level facility.  I visited the pharmacy, which was in the basement with a dirt floor and the Drs. that begged me to do whatever I could (which wasn’t much) to send medicines – they were even willing to take what we considered “expired” medicines.  We complain about our health care and the cost of drugs, but we are not grateful for what we have.  That is what irks me about people in this country saying they are “oppressed”.  They have no real idea what oppression can mean; where people in other places in the world would be so grateful just to have what our “oppressed” people have.

So that now we are passed Thanksgiving and we move on to Christmas.  Most of us complain about how “commercial ” Christmas has become.  We feel pressured to buy the perfect present and the cost be damned.  Some people use the holiday as an excuse to take on more debt than they can expect to afford.  And so many of us are able to buy whatever we want, whenever we want, we couldn’t really tell you anything we want for Christmas.  So why do we buy into the commercial Christmas?  We have the ability to change it, if we want to, but we don’t, because we have this idea that all the good stuff about Christmas is boxed and wrapped and tied with ribbons under an over-decorated Christmas tree.  I’m not criticizing people, because I am much the same.   I find a longing  for the Christmas I never had  – with people that I loved, and happy times (no arguments).  As an only child, and only grandchild  for so many years and a birthday right before Christmas, I remember being totally overwhelmed with how many gifts I got.  One year, I was getting a new bicycle and I had an small bicycle that I hadn’t ridden much and a like new tricycle, and my father gave these to his secretary for her children.  Her husband had left her and she had no money to buy anything for her kids.  All of my toys stayed like new, because I had so many of them, I didn’t play to much with anything  More precious to me than anything else was my little suitcase with all my plastic horses, and the imaginary “stable” I created in my mind. If we don’t like how commercial Christmas has become, then let’s change it.

On rescue – for the first time in my life, my three dogs are dogs that I rescued. And I have come to realize that there are so many great animals that need and deserve a loving home.  I always thought that a rescue animal would come with disciplinary problems, health issues or some other affliction that caused them to be dumped.  But I have learned that far too many people do not do their research and end up with an animal that is more lively than they expected, or that is ill and needs easy medical care, or just isn’t wanted anymore.  Unimaginable to me, but some people just regard animals as disposable.  I was at the shelter the other day and looking at the cats they had needing new homes.  4 groups of little kittens, who are at the perfect age for adoption.  A momma cat who had been given up with her 3 kittens. (I guess it never occurred to the owner that she could have momma spayed, and our local shelter runs a discounted spay/neuter program every month.) Please people, spay or neuter your pets.

On being “unfriended” on Facebook.  This past election cycle, I lost 17 “friends” because I voted for Trump.  No one ever asked me why I was voting for him, and every time I tried to explain, I got accused of reciting “Republican” talking points.  Some people said that I had changed, one accused me of drug addiction and another of dementia.  Two people came after me with after personal attacks.  I always like to think that I will not respond to this kind of attack, but something pushed my buttons and I responded in kind.  Then this was reedited by someone, leaving off everything that was posted to me to that point.  And some more “friends” found the unfriend button.  A lot of these people I had “known” in cyberspace for 10 years or more.  Not one of them PM’d me and asked me why I felt as I did or  what had led up to me posting what I did.  I don’t think I am the only person who has ever lost their temper to bullying.  The next morning I woke up horrified that I had let them drag me down to their level of discourse, but it happened. Two of the women that unfriended me particularly made me sad, because they are women that I both like and respect.  I guess I learned that cyberspace can be a lot like Junior High School. I am the same person I have always been (well, hopefully a bit more mature and wiser). The previous 2 elections I voted for Obama. Oh well.  I’m happy for the people that stuck with me, despite our political differences.


So these are the things I have been thinking about these past weeks.

Until next time, Elsie













Daily Prompt: Primp

via Daily Prompt: Primp

Primp is such an old fashioned word.  It reminds me of women pinching their cheeks and lips to make them pink.  It also reminds me of women with vanities taking an hour to do their make up, while men sat impatiently checking their watches, wondering how much woman would take to get ready.

Now, women don’t wear much make up.  A bit of BB cream, a swipe of lipstick and these tight fleshed young woman are ready to go.  A fresh face and a tight jawline does not require much primping.

Now that I am an older woman, all my primping takes place with skin care products morning and night.  My glycolic acid face wash in the morning, followed by sun block, moisturizer, eye cream, and a swipe of eye lash preteat.  I’m lucky I have fairly good skin, so I may also swipe on some BB cream, a quick coat of mascara and some lipstick. This takes less than 5 minutes.  Of course there are times that require a bit more, so there is blush and eye liner and eye shadow.  At night, it will be make up removal, oil cleansing and a light application of my retinol cream. Sometimes some night cream.

I’m sure that there are women spending a lot more time. Woman that can create a smokey eye, and lashes and contours.  The look great, but I don’t want to spend that much time and effort.  And at my age, there is a very real possibility that I could end up looking like a crone, as I did one day when a young woman in a department store thought she could help me with some new products.  I took one look in the mirror and was horrified!  Caked on make up, in every line on my face.  I managed to choke out some thanks, and took off for  the ladies room, for repair.  I was terrified to think that someone would believe that I actually meant to look like that.  I know the tight skinned young lady didn’t mean to make me a hag, but I looked like Maggie Smith in one our her dowager roles.

The most primping I do now if with procedures at the dermatology spa, but that is the topic for another blog.




A Trip to Town

Since we live on lake in the middle of nowhere, about once a week we have to make a trip to town, normally either Auburn or Montgomery.  It’s about an hour to either one.  Today we needed to go to Costco – we were out of dog treats! – so we were off to Montgomery.

For the past few months, Parker has had anxiety attacks in the car, which make him want to stand on the console between the two front seats and he kept a long barking commentary on just how much he hated the car.  I had learned to go elsewhere in my mind, so the barking wouldn’t make me crazy.  Years of meditation have paid off.  Lately, Parker has been getting better about the barking – that is to say that he doesn’t bark at all, but he just barks intermittently.  He still wants to stand on the console, but when I tell him to get in the back, mostly he does.  (Lest you think I am a horrible pet parent, he does have a tether in the car, but I got very concerned when he started choking between barks, so we don’t always use it. Instead when he is upfront, I keep my arm securely on his mid-section.  Not a great solution, but we are working on it)

Now when either my husband or I get out of the car, Parker will be barking very loud.  Yes, People are looking from all directions, no doubt wondering why this dog is baying to the top of his lungs.  The one getting out slinks quickly away from the car, so that no one thinks we are responsible for bringing this baying hound to town.   I guess he has some separation anxiety too.  Lately, although he barked, he has calmed down, until he spots one of us coming out of the store and howls his delight at our return.

After we run our errands, my husband and I will normally swing into the Starbucks drive-thru and get something.  My husband started a very bad thing.  Early on, he asked for a puppachino, which is nothing more than a small cup of whipped cream. This started an expectation on Parker’s part that every trip to Starbucks will include the whipped cream.  You know how it can be with dogs – they have a long memory of every place they have ever gotten something they liked and Starbucks is firmly stuck in Parker’s mind.  But today we took another step; Parker decided he would order his own.  So when the young woman asked if she could take our order, Parker started barking loudly into the box.  In between his orders, we managed to get our drink order in too.  But as we approached the window, the young woman seemed a bit disturbed having a wild eyed hound barking frantically at her.  He just wanted her to hurry up with his whipped cream, but she had no way of knowing that and was probably considering her escape should he decide to go through the window and get his own.

So then the next trick is distributing the whipped cream to the two other dogs, who are languishing in their seats, having been awakened by their pal Parker. This involves getting into a parking space and one of us exiting the vehicle in an attempt to make sure that Parker, having wolfed his down, does not get his tongue into the other dogs treats. Now I am thoroughly familiar with the concept that if you get your tongue on something, it becomes immediately yours.  But our Lab Mix tends to get territorial about Parker and her food, and it’s not unlike her to lift her lip and let him know she is serious.  So we do not want a test of power taking place in the rear seats.  So here we are, trying for some kind of diplomatic détente while balancing cups of whipped cream.  Eventually it works out, but I think Parker still gets in a few licks – his prevailing philosophy about food seems to be
“you snooze, you lose”.

Previously, we would be treated to another hour of non-stop barking on the way home.  But lately Parker seems to want to sleep on the way home.  Perhaps the fevered excitement of the puppachino has exhausted him.  I don’t ask questions, I’m just grateful for the peace that holds until we get close to home. Then is it time to start hunting from the car by both coonhounds, and loudly announcing to the wildlife population that they are back on the case.









The Dog, the Dark, and my boots

The other evening,  my husband took Parker, our Blue Tick Hound, out for his potty break.  Parker decided he had  enough of the leash that was keeping him from running the woods, wrapped his leash around my husband’s legs and knocked him over.  While my husband was trying to recover, Parker took off with his leash still attached.

I was sitting in the study when my husband appeared and looked stricken.  He told me what happened and he decided to take our Walker Coonhound, Tallulah,  in the car and went find Parker.  He and Tallulah drove down the road (Tallulah was calling all the while), but they couldn’t find him.  My husband returned home and asked me to join them in case I could hear Parker.  As soon as we got on the road, I could hear Parker baying and it was coming from my next door neighbors.  So my husband suggested I take his tiny little flashlight and go into our neighbors yard, while he sat up at the gate in the car with Talu.

It should be noted at this point that I am wearing block heeled suede boots – not very high, but heels nonetheless. As I approached the neighbor’s house, I see Parker, mistakenly assumed that this might be easy.  But when I called him, he acted like he didn’t hear me and proceeds to run through the bushes and into their back yard. By now, my little flashlight is blinking. The space between their retaining wall and their house is pea gravel.  So already I am finding it difficult to navigate the grounds in my heels.  And about the time I follow Parker around the side of the house, my flashlight gave out and now I am in some sort of rock drainage hill.  In the meantime, Parker is baying to the top of his lungs, because he is now wrapped up between 3 bushes.  I don’t know how he could get that tangled that fast, but he did.  So now he is excited and anxious, because he can’t get away.  I can’t see a thing, because out here at the lake, dark means pitch black.  I’m trying not to think about possibly stepping on a snake as well as not falling down on the rocks..  I finally despair of trying to detangle Parker and the only way to free him is to unhook his leash.

So now I have an excited, anxious 65 pound coonhound by the collar.  And he is pulling.  And I am yelling, hoping my hard of hearing husband sitting in the car up on the street, might hear me.  But no.  I am tripping over rocks in the black of night and at this point, I’m not sure how I even got where I found Parker.  I’m trying very hard not to fall, worrying about what damage my boots are suffering as Parker drags me over a small wall and back onto the pea gravel.  I’m still yelling to my husband to no avail.  So as we come out into the drive way, my husband has the car facing the gate. and the lights are on, so I am blinded on top of everything else.  Somehow we make it up their gravel driveway, going around the gate, and my finger feels like it is about to fall off.

Of course, Parker is thrilled to see my husband and the car and Tallulah and he hops into the car like he is ready to go home.  At this point, I am resentful, hurting, thirsty, sweating  and wondering why my husband got to sit in the car while I went after the dog.  I tossed him his useless flashlight and I am not saying much at all.  But my husband can’t believe I left the leash behind and proceeds to cross examine me exactly where I found Parker.  It was a good thing that it was a short drive back to our house.  Parker had a treat, I had a bottle of water, and my husband finally realized I was not talking.

The next day, I had plans so it was left to my husband to retrieve the leash.  He found it, but then asked me why I didn’t just walk Parker though the woods between our neighbors and our house (that would be because it was pitch black, I was wearing heels and had lost my sense of bearings).  He allowed that it was probably a miracle that I got Parker out of there at all.  And that, friends, is what saved him, because if he had made any insinuation that it was in any way easy, he would have been dead.  Oh, and my boots?  They made it with no major damage.

Until next time, Elsie