Lake Powell, AZ Sunset

Lake Powell, AZ Sunset

Monday, January 2, 2012

American Accountability

You see it in the news and tabloids all the time. “John Doe’s defense at his murder trial was that he was raised in abject poverty. It was the influence of this circumstance and of his friends that sent him into a life of crime.” “Jane Doe was charged with criminal child neglect and theft. Her defense was that she was raised in an abusive household and in poverty, so didn’t know any better.”

Come on now! That has got to be the biggest crock of crap out there. What horrifies me even more is the fact that these “excuses” are actually accepted as viable defense pleas in all too many courts.

At the same time, the parents and influencing adults in the criminal’s life are held accountable for theses people’s behavior as an adult. While they may have been influences when the criminal was growing up, they probably have absolutely no contact or influence on them as adults.

There are very few of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s that didn’t have a bumpy road at least part of the time. I can’t see where it would have been any better since then. There is always poverty. There are always difficult circumstances. Even the rich child can be neglected or denied true nurturing. The fact remains, the vast majority of us did not turn to a life of crime. We didn’t jump on the Welfare line for a permanent, multi-generational free ride.

What did we do? We took the lessons learned from the hard times and used them as fuel to power ourselves out of the situations we were in. To borrow a line from an old song, “we picked ourselves up, brushed ourselves off and started all over again.” We took responsibility for ourselves and our futures.

We’ve been in some pretty hard times the past few decades. It doesn’t look like things are going to change much for the better in the near future. If we don’t want to see this nation go under we need to find a way to get the whole country as individuals to take a good hard look at ourselves. We need to evaluate just how adult we are. Being an adult means taking responsibility for yourself, your circumstances, your family and your community. Self determination is one thing every adult has. A backbone is another. It’s about time we all stiffened our backbones, accepted the fact we are responsible for ourselves and get off our whiny butts and help ourselves! No more excuses. No more pointing fingers everywhere else but where the final responsibility rests … in our own hands.

Friday, December 9, 2011

If the Economy is Recovering How Come ...

Yeah, if the economy is recovering how come groceries are costing almost twice what they did at the beginning of the year?

Why are there so many more for sale signs popping up every day?

Why are the lines at the Welfare office next to the grocery store downtown out the door ... while the grocery stores are relatively empty?

Why are there so many more people lining up at the State Employment office?

I think it's time to get real. Stop spouting false hope and tell people the truth. Otherwise they're going to keep tripping along with their blinders on, convincing themselves the BS is real and what they are experiencing is exceptional (so it'll all turn around for them any day now ...).

A solid dose of reality is needed. We need to accept that we are getting poorer every day. We need to accept that the whole world is in the grip of a financial crisis. We need to start living more realistically.

It's time to tighten belts, cut back on the spending, learn to be more independent, learn to be like our grand and great grand parents ... self sufficiency is a necessitity, not an odd life choice any more!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Maintaining A Sense of Wonder

I don't know whether it's the shorter days and a case of SADD (Seasonal Affective Depression Disorder) or just frustration, but I'm having a hard time maintaining my sense of wonder lately. 

So am providing a link to a photographer friend's blog for anyone else in a similar frame of mind. Maybe I need to grab my camera and just bug out with it for a few hours.

Here's hoping everyone else is having a great holiday season!

Friday, November 4, 2011

An Open Letter to PayPal

The transaction amount info has been deleted for our privacy sake. It is not relevant to the substance of my message to PayPal. The message from them to me when I accepted the payment is below. My complaint follows that.

If you think this is unfair I urge you to let PayPal know that we the 99% do not find these practices acceptable! Pass this on. The more people they hear from, the more likely they are to correct their behavior. Remember the strength of the rebellion against Bank of America and their practices made them shape up!!!

Re: Transaction Details
Date: Nov 3, 2011
Time: 09:58:38 PDT

Terry James has just sent you $140.00 CAD with PayPal
Payment type: eCheck
This eCheck payment will post to your PayPal balance once the funds have cleared from the sender's account, which usually takes 3-5 business days. (Estimated completion date: Nov 14, 2011) Please do not ship any items until the funds have cleared.
Not So Dear PayPal;

This business of holding the pay out to me till the 14th is a crock. I have access to the Canadian account the payment was drawn from. My husband was transferring funds from our Canadian account to me to put in our US account. So I KNOW the funds left the Scotia Bank account on 10/27/11 ... well before you ever deposited it in his Paypal account on 11/3/11

So the money left Scotia Bank on 10/27/11. PayPal shows it arriving in his PayPal account on 11/3/11. He immediately sent my PayPal account a payment on 11/3/11. His PayPal account shows the payment is "pending" until 11/14/11. Why? You have had the money from Scotia, according to your own records deposited in his PayPal account since 11/3/11.

I immediately accepted the payment in my PayPal account ... and got a message telling me it is "pending" until 11/14/11 to be sure there is enough money in his account to pay me. I have TWO credit cards on file with you that I was told would help shorten transfer times. 

Excuse me?! Your own records show the money is there in his PayPal account since 11/3/11. Scotia shows the money left our checking account on 10/27!!

I understand banks use our money for their own purposes while it is moving around, but this is ridiculousness and and unconscionable withholding of our money.

Especially when, if I want to pay my bills with that money, I will have to wait ... how long?! ... for you to release it from my PayPal account to my bank after the 14th!

Shame on you PayPal for taking advantage of your customers so shamelessly!!!!! And the real kicker is that the company I work for pays via PayPal .............. I am curious to see how long you're going to hang onto that before depositing it to my US bank account!

I am posting a copy of this email everywhere I can. Blogs, FaceBook, Twitter etc, etc. Let's see how your other customers feel about this!!!!

Maryanne James

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Call of the Corral

Several days ago Terry & I were discussing the concept of “home”. We agreed that “home is where the heart is”. Meaning where ever we are together, we are at home. When we are with family and people we love, we are, in a sense, “at home” as well.

For most people, the concept of “home” is a particular place. It is the town or state where you are from. It is the house you have lived your married life in and raised your family in. Logical. Unless you are people like us. We were both seemingly born with very itchy feet. Neither of us has really staying in one house for any length of time in our lives. So for us, “home” has a different connotation. We have a “home” spot in each of the states or provinces where we have lived happily.

The nature of our business has resulted in our living in many different cities, states and provinces in the course of our seventeen years together. Being Rving full-timers for a few years, we have visited & explored many states. It's been great to get to know this wonderful country on a first hand basis. It also makes us more certain than ever of where we want to settle now that the worst of the wander-lust has worn off. We've seen a lot. We've experienced a lot. We now know that the Pacific Northwest is the area of the continent we like best, next to Hawaii. We'd love to settle in Hawaii, but we know that if we did, we'd both have to work till the day we die just in order to survive. It's pretty sad when you can't go home because you can't afford to live there!

After three years of being based in Arizona, we've decided to return to Blaine, WA.

Before leaving, we're spending our last few days at the one place we both agree is “home in Arizona”. It may seem a little strange to some people. It's miles off in the desert on the Utah-Arizona state line, south of a place called Lone Rock on the shores of Lake Powell. In fact, the photograph I use in the header of this blog is a sunset shot I took at the corral.
Magic Bus at the Corral 2-26-2011

No electricity. Rarely even a cell phone signal. No running water. Most importantly, it is wild country. There is nothing and no one here ninety percent of the time. Correction. No PEOPLE here.

As you drive south on the dirt road, aiming for the foot of a mesa a few miles down, you think you're driving through flat lands. In actuality, the place is a treasure trove of gullies, washes and slot canyons.
The peak looking south from the bus.

There's an old corral that we tuck the bus up beside. The corral sits at the foot of, and in the curve of, a big mesa. There's a point just southwest of the corral and if you look closely, about two thirds of the way up on the right side, there appears to be a set of eyes. I tell Terry that it is Mother Earth watching over us.

Ranchers lease the area from the Bureau of Land Management and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Park Service. So we often have night-time visitors … cattle. They rub themselves on the bus, leave poop landmines, sometimes lick the salt on the sides of the bus.

We have other neighbors. There are lots of coyotes. They gossip long-distance and sing coyote songs to us in the night. Have you ever heard a coyote chorus? It is one of the most beautiful things you can hear in the night. Of course we have to keep an eye on Lady so she doesn't get snatched by them! She sleeps with me, so she's safe at night unless she has to make a potty run. At those times I go with her to keep her safe.

There are kangaroo rats that seem to think the most fun thing in the world is to get into the RV and explore … at night … which drives Terry crazy. At least the little desert ground squirrels haven't gotten in on it in the years we've boondocked here!

Jackrabbits, jackrabbits, jackrabbits everywhere! In years past Lady & Darlin' had daily jackrabbit hunt and chase sessions. The jackrabbits ran them ragged! They never even came close to catching one, but they got lots of exercise and thrills.

Then there are the quieter, more mysterious neighbors. Not seen very often, but they're definitely there! Lots of tracks and poop evidence. What are they? Deer. Pronghorn antelope. Bobcats. Cougars. Bighorn sheep.

Going walkabout in the desert and slot canyons is a real education. Watch your feet! We've only seen a very few rattlesnakes. But there are lots of scorpions, ants, lizards and horny toads!

Most people's concept of the desert is that it's a dry, dead place. Not so! The desert abounds with both animal and plant life. Sage, yucca, creosote, fourwing saltbush, myriad grasses & cacti as well as many other plants we don't know by name.

Aside from all that, you may wonder what draws us here. It's the silence. The lack of civilization. No traffic. No radios. No people talking, talking, talking. You can actually hear yourself think here! And while you're thinking you hear the music of nature. The sighing of the breeze through the plants and canyons. The plant branches rustling. The conversations of the ravens, crows, hawks and sparrows. When the weather turns nasty there are wonderful lightening shows with the crashing symphony of wind and rain.

Ravens love to come have silly conversations with us. Remember the old musical toy called “Simple Simon”? The machine would play a series of notes and you'd have to figure out how to repeat it exactly. Ravens LOVE that game! The range of sounds they can make is amazing! Or sometimes they'll just pretend to be having a real conversation with you. I talk. They respond. These visits can go on for hours if you let them.

There are flashes of beauty everywhere. This time of year the indigo buntings are passing through. Never heard of them? Go look them up in Google pictures! They're beautiful. There are what look like natural bonsai plants everywhere. Twisted, stunted and tortured by the wind and weather.

And the night sky is the icing on the cake! There is no ambient city light and no snoopy neighbors. So we put all the shades up and lie in bed, watching the stars, the moon and the clouds dance across the night sky. The night sky is so clear you can see the Milky Way! The stars seem to be close enough to reach up and touch.

This is where I find a lot of the stones I tumble and incorporate into jewelry. There are so many layers of time exposed here that I am amazed at all the different kinds of stones I find. Quartz, sandstone, granite, turquoise, chrysocholla and many more I can't name.

Yes. We are looking forward to going “home” to the Pacific Northwest. But we will take with us many happy memories of our home and friends in the desert.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to 2011!

Another year gone by. Another year arrived. Another birthday passed. 

Holy cow! I'm 64 years old!

It's kind of funny since I remember a time when I thought 40 was some kind of ancient! I wondered if I'd live to be that old. Here I am now with a daughter who will soon be 43! Three years older than what I thought was ancient. Pfftttt!!!

I'm glad I made it to this venerable old age. It has given me an appreciation for "Enough". I thought of sending my friends and children an New Year greeting wishing them "Enough" but chickened out on it. So I'll just toss it out here instead.

Whomever you are, where ever you are, whatever you believe in, I wish you "Enough". I've learned that having enough is not only enough, but a gateway to true abundance.

May you have enough adversity in life to help you build inner strength.
May you have enough inner strength to give you compassion.
May you have enough compassion to allow you to appreciate your fellow human beings, whether they are beautiful, like you, or not.
May you have enough belief in yourself to allow you to take chances, meet life's opportunities head on.
May you have enough courage to pursue your dreams, no matter what anyone else may think of those dreams.
May you have enough humility to realize you don't know it all.
May you have enough wisdom to continue to seek growth and knowledge every day of your life.
May you have enough courage to accept love when it is offered.
May you have enough serenity in your life to give your soul peace.
Or should I say enough peace in your life to give you serenity?

Enough. This is all I wish for myself and for those I love.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Want to Fly Again!

I received this from a good friend this morning. I agree with him whole-heartedly. He asks that if we agree, we encourage others to post it to their blogs as well. I'd say, do a cut and paste and email it to everyone you know ... especially our elected representatives in the government. Let them know how we feel!!!!!

I Want to Fly Again

I am 72 years old. I was fourteen years old when I took my first commercial airline flight. The sense of freedom and ease of traveling on that DC-6 airliner will forever be part of me.

In the ensuing years, I have flown hundreds of thousands of mile on commercial flights in the United States, Europe and Africa. Each year, flying became less and less of a positive experience. The excitement and freedom taken for granted in my younger years has been destroyed by politically formulated policies, ignoring true American freedoms. Finally, in the darkest hours of the American flying experience, my government created a multimillion-dollar “solution” to terrorism on the homeland airways—the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Now, I will not fly commercially for any reason or convenience. My freedom to drive to the nearest air terminal at a reasonable time, pickup a ticked, and board an airplane no longer exists. I refuse to be subjected to long waits in line to be scanned, questioned, interrogated, x-rayed, probed, while at the same time assured I will be arrested if I complain, refuse to do anything I am ordered to do, or even just turn around and leave the boarding area. I refuse to be handled like a criminal or to be made into a criminal in the minds of the hoards of TSA agents, armed with unconstitutional rules and laws.

I refuse!

I want my freedom back!

I want the government I have supported all my life to completely abolish TSA operations for all domestic flights. Remove the barriers, remove the x-ray machines, remove the guards, remove the rules, the laws--remove all of it and put our freedom to fly like Americans back the way it was. Use these TSA facilities and procedures to screen ALL non-citizen passengers of this country at all times as well as all passengers on all international flights.

I want the TSA to never again screen legal American citizens flying within the boarders of the homeland. I don't have any reason to fear my fellow Americans. Why should my government fear them? There is no need for the TSA to screen domestic flights. There are many other ways to stop terrorism within homeland airspace. Contact me for my list.

I want the billions spent on TSA funding and operations for domestic flights to be redirected to the significant reduction of illegal aliens crossing our unprotected homeland borders—something all Americans will benefit from.

I want Congress to rethink the policies and tactics currently in use to fight terrorism within our boarders and never again to embrace fear-driven “solutions”, taking away the Constitution-given rights of ALL Americans.

I want to fly again.

Dr. Al Link, Greenville SC