Lake Powell, AZ Sunset

Lake Powell, AZ Sunset

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making a Difference in the World

I was cleaning out my old files today and came across a real keeper. I don't remember where I got the quote. I don't think it is something I originally wrote. I honestly don't remember where it came from. But it's worth sharing!

Making a difference in this world depends upon honesty and integrity. Being ethical is not only the right way to live; it is also the most practical way to live.

When you are honest and ethical and live with integrity, your rewards are guaranteed. They may not happen quickly, but demonstrating the qualities of honesty, integrity and ethical behavior will guarantee a positive result in your career.

Do what you say you will do. Walk the walk and talk the talk. Don’t over promise. Offer the real deal and people will want to be affiliated with you for a long, long time.

Lets make our careers count spiritually, and then monetarily. We deserve this.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving List

Suzi and Isaac    

Cayce and Cherie

Today is Thanksgiving and I just want to acknowledge what is most important to me, what I am most thankful for.

The two photos above. The first is of my daughter, Suzanne and her son, Isaac. The second is my son Cayce and his fiancee, Cherie.

Having these four people in my life is a good part of what makes life worth living. Cherie is a relatively new addition, but she has endeared herself to me such that I already think of her as one of my kids.

My husband, Terry, has given me his love and confidence, encouraging me to be all that I can be, for the past sixteen years. He is the shining light in my life and truly is "the wind beneath my wings"!

But Suzanne and Cayce were what kept me going, made life worth living before Terry came into my life.

Suzanne was enough to drive any sane person over the edge as a teenager! Lord but did she test me! But in the course of all that, she taught me humility, patience, perserverance and that sometimes all you can do is just keep loving them. It's all paid off. She has turned into a wonderful, caring person and a superb mother. I am extraordinarily proud of her!

Cayce taught me that your children can be your friends, as well. His constant love, faith in me as a good person and support has stood me in good stead more times than he can imagine. When everything else in my life seemed to be going to hell in a handbasket, he was there to love me and believe in me. He's some kind of old soul, I believe, because at critical junctures he has been able to provide me pearls of wisdom, far beyond what one would expect of a person of his tender years at the time, that made me see things more clearly, helped me make better decisions, gave me a broader view of things I had blinders on regarding. He has turned into an amazing man and I look forward to seeing him in the role of father and husband in his own right. I believe Cherie has been very good for him and vice versa.

Isaac? He was a great kid and has turned into a great young man. Isaac doesn't know it, but he actually saved my life. I would have missed SO much if it hadn't been for him and his persistence on one fateful day! For that I will be eternally grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude ...

The Magic Bus
It's funny how the Universe, Great Spirit, God, whatever you may choose to call that Higher Power, throws interesting curve balls at us. The old saw of "You makes your plans and then life intervenes" really is true. There were a lot of years where I (Quietly, under my breath, most of the time.) kicked and screamed at those curve balls. I've outgrown that tendency, for the most part. I've come to realize that everything works out for the best. Sometimes you just have to be patient and open-minded enough to see it.

Two years ago we decided to buy "The Magic" bus so we could take our "girls" along on weekend fishing trips. The girls being a 40 lb. Blue Heeler and a 95 lb. Ridgeback/Mastiff cross. Babysitters are just as much of a problem for four legged kids as they are for the two legged kind! And besides, we felt guilty leaving them home while we were enjoying the outdoors.

We were working for this goof of a person and apparently she got it into her head we were going to quit and go RVing. Hmmm ... not a bad idea, eh?! So anyway, she apparently decided to beat us to the draw and fired us!

The look on her face when I smiled and said, "Thanks!" was wonderful. I guess she expected tears, begging, whatever. When she asked what we were going to do now, off the top of my head I said, "Retire and go full-time RVing!" When I told Terry, he thought it wasn't a bad idea, BUT ... working for peanuts one can not afford the luxury of retirement. Instead, we moved our base to Page, on the shores of Lake Powell in northern Arizona, and worked, boondocked and enjoyed the cooler weather and lack of crazy people as employers. TJ worked for the Navajo Power Plant during the winters and they are normal people. At least they pay a living wage!

It's been a pretty great two years, all in all. We loved the freedom, the quiet (since we boondocked in the desert of northern Arizona or the mountains of Colorado most of the time). We got to spend time alone and with our son whom we haven't had much time with since he was a teenager. We met a lot of interesting people. We've seen a goodly portion of the USA. Got some great photos. Had quite a few adventures, both excellent and not so excellent. Time well spent.

We said that this was the life and we'd never go back to living in a house.

Well, let me tell you friends ... never say never!!! It will come back to bite you in the butt at least 99% of the time!

Terry's gotten tired of not having a shop to do stuff in. It is pretty cramped when you try to be creative in an RV! As much as we love one another, the lack of personal space got a bit tiresome after a while. Unless you're independently wealthy or are lucky enough to have a really good retirement nest-egg, you have to learn to live frugally. That part wasn't a problem. We're pretty much "non-attachment" kind of people where "stuff" is concerned.

But it was time for a change. So now we're back in a four-walled house with private bedrooms and a shop for Himself. We're contemplating bidding good-bye to the Magic Bus. I look at her and I have so many good memories that I feel sad thinking of letting her go to someone else.

On the other hand, I look at her and I think how lucky someone else will be to have her and be able to live free, explore their world and themselves. Mixed emotions. Over a piece of machinery. Maybe I'm not as unattached as I think I am, eh?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Best Husband in the World ...

and my best friend as well!

Today is Terry James' 59th birthday! I count myself very fortunate that he was such a persistent pest and that my kids and best friend ganged up on me. Otherwise I would have kept saying "no". And where would I be now? 

It's been great fun, Honeybear, and I look forward to many more years of us exploring the world. Hang in there. It's all good in the end, you know. Aren't I still here and loving you more now than when we got married? Yes, I love you more today than yesterday!

As for the other birthday boy. A posthumous note to my son, Ben:
It took me a long time to get to the point where I could accept you had the right to step from this wheel of life. I accept it but that doesn't mean I like it or agree with what you did. You have no idea how much I miss you. I think of you every day. I am so sorry you have missed so much of the joy in life! Your sister becoming a school teacher. Your brother growing into a really cool man, who will be getting married sometime soon. Your nephew Isaac growing into a young man. The adventures Terry & I have had. Life could have been good if you'd just not given up! I love you, son. I wish you happiness and serenity.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Change in the Weather ... and a Few Other Things

Sitting out on the steps this morning I noticed that Mother Nature seems to be aware of the fact Labor Day has just passed. The trees are very subtly beginning to change color. You almost don't notice it unless you're looking for it. The morning temps are a little cooler. The squirrels are busy collecting acorns and such, stocking their larders for the months to come.

It's a quiet time. Yet there is this busy under current you can feel, if you take the time to just stop and be quiet.

September is a mixed month for me. I'm happy that we're moving out of the heat of summer. It's a time of beginnings in the sense that it is my husband and eldest son's birth month as well as a new school year starting for my daughter, the first grade teacher. A happy time. A time of anticipation.

At the same time, as with the seasonal change, there's that quiet, disquieting under current of change and a bit of sadness. My son will not be celebrating his 37th birthday. He is among the "forever young", those who left us before their full measure of years was lived out. In our minds anyway. The fact he is gone by his own choice kind of puts the lie to "left us before their full measure of years was lived out". He obviously felt his time with us on this cycle of life was completed.

Then there is tomorrow's anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. How many of us will stop and reflect? On the changes that event brought to us all. On how our lives and America's place in the world has changed as a result. On where we were that day and how we felt. On where we, our country and the world are headed.

Time to stop and remember, to rededicate ourselves to the principals we live by. Time to talk to our young ones. Tell them what we remember. Instill in them the resolve that this sort of thing should never be allowed to happen again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Memory of Trees

BC Hwy 7A between Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.
A few years back we were living in Coquitlam, BC. There was a small park I loved to walk in that gave access to the banks of the Fraser River. The park was just off the 7A Hwy, a shortcut between Coquitlam and points east.

One day I ran into an elderly lady and we talked as we walked the trail. She told me she had been coming here for many, many years. She said the whole area use to be much nicer.

I asked what she meant.

"Well, for one thing, there wasn't that noisy monstrosity up there!", she said, pointing to the four lane divided highway above us. "That use to be a nice little two lane road that hardly anyone used. It was always lovely, but it was magnificent in the fall! So quiet. So peaceful! And the whole way along you were surrounded by such vibrant colors!" She sounded truly regretful for what had been lost in the name of progress.

Jump ahead to the fall. One day I was driving over to meet friends in PoCo just before sunset. As I said, the highway is divided above where the park is located. I was on the lower level and glanced to my left. The shadows of the naked trees immediately brought to mind the earlier conversation. I was so struck with the "Memory of Trees" conversation and the shadows I was witnessing that I went back home, got my camera and came back to shoot this scene.

I was late meeting my friends but you know what? It was worth it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

If I Only Had a Brain ...

Dana's Red Shroom
That's the song refrain I woke up with this morning. Sometimes, nah, make that "a lot of the time", I drive my poor husband up the wall with the songs I find in my head each morning. Sometimes they're okay but more often than not they're just plain nuts. Like the day I awoke to "Old MacDonald"! Never having had children, this was not high on his list of appropriate musical accompaniment to his morning coffee.

Anyway, this morning it was "If I Only Had a Brain" from the Wizard of Oz. Go figure. I know why the theme was there. I'm feeling a bit out of sorts and useless lately. When that happens it is inevitable that old tapes from childhood return to torture me. "You are not pretty. You are not popular. Being smart will not get you friends or make you popular." ad nauseum. Thank you Mommie Dearest!

For too many years I believed her. It took a lot of personal growth, unfortunately fairly late in life, for me to figure out that was her opinion, but that it didn't necessarily make it true. So the lesson of the day is, don't believe everything you hear. Search out your own truths!

What does this have to do with a red mushroom? Not a heck of a lot, I guess. I found it in my friend's yard yesterday and thought it was pretty. I've never seen one like it before. Like me, it's unique. Like me, it's unusual. Like me, it may have hidden value. In any event, it made my day better for being in my world, for me to enjoy. Hopefully that is something else I have in common with it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Point of View

Shaman Smiles
Our happiness, our sense of well being, our perception of our place in the world or society, are all determined by our personal point of view. No one else can make us feel anything unless we allow them to do so.

Remember a few days ago I wrote about the Native American and Buddhist beliefs regarding nature and how we should learn from it? My friend Shaman, shown in this photo, is a great example of that. He was always ready to believe the best of everyone he met. He never seemed to anticipate that anyone he met was less than good.

Not to say he was anybody's fool! If a new acquaintance "smelled wrong" he recognized that fact. Depending on how "wrong" they smelled, he would proceed to either ignore them or quietly warn them away with body language or a low growl. I never saw him act aggressive without provocation.

His personality was beautiful,  loving, lovable, full of joy. He just naturally expected the best ... and he usually got it! Close to a hundred pounds of muscle, fur and teeth bounding at you can be pretty intimidating yet even people who were afraid of dogs embraced him!

He was an embodiment of "thoughts are things!" His attitude guaranteed that he he would be loved and respected. His point of view set the tone for his life and that of those he interacted with. Why can't we humans do the same?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From A Distance ...

Old Rocky Mountain Homestead in Colorado
Remember that song? It was Bette Midler who sang it and part of the refrain was "God is watching us, God is watching us. God is watching us from a distance."

What does this have to do with today's photo? It was the first photo that came to mind when I woke up this morning. As I was resizing it to insert in the blog, "From a Distance" was running through my mind. 

Come on! In my bio I did tell you that my husband calls me Ricochet Rabbit!

Taken from a distance, this scene seems pretty deserted and lonely. When I allow my imagination to wander, I imagine this was once a thriving homestead. What became of the occupants? I prefer to believe that they lived a good life here and then moved on to other, greater, opportunities with the wealth they earned in their years on the homestead.

Not likely? Says who? Anything is possible! After all, we're all connected and God IS watching ... from a distance.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thoughts On Strength

Oregon wolf spooking through the woods.
 Both Native Americans and Buddhists teach we should learn from nature. We should always interact with nature in the most growth positive way. 

But how do we apply what we learn to developing a way to work best with our fellow man? Especially if the majority of them seem to be at odds with what we perceive to be the "right path"? How can we best affect change while nurturing ourselves? Or should we follow our own path and let the rest of the world be damned?

Observe weeds. They are often perceived as useless. But we can learn an important lesson from them. A weed will take the opportunity to root itself and grow in any crack in the pavement that is large enough to give it access to soil and nutrients. They will even take hold in a depression in a seemingly impervious medium where enough soil has accumulated and where rain will offer them the moisture they need to flourish in that soil.

By doing this, the weeds are able to gain the strength they need to affect changes in the surface which in turn allows them to drop their seeds and propagate their species. The pavement seems to be the stronger of the two things. It seems that it should be impervious to the influences of the weed. Both seem to be relatively inanimate. Yet the weed overcomes the pavement if left alone. This is partly because the weed is a living, growing entity while the pavement is not only inanimate but by it's very nature and composition, only capable of degeneration.

What can we learn from these observations that are relative to our own lives?

Like the weed, we individually are not as weak as we appear. We can affect change in the mass consciousness simply by being ourselves and being careful to always nurture ourselves and those around us. How? Be open to knowledge and potential activity as it comes to us from any and all sources. Determine if that knowledge and/or activity nurtures us. If it does, accept it and use it to keep ourselves in "growth mode". Just by being ourselves, by setting an example to those we come in contact with, by sharing our knowledge, we are nurturing them.

If the people around us are sentient, growth oriented beings, our influence will nurture their growth ... and in that nurturing we effect change in the larger world. If they are not growth oriented beings, they will not recognize our value. They will pass us by ... but by that very act of non-recognition they enrich us ... by leaving us free to follow our own path and be available to those we can benefit. The non-receptive ones around us become like the soil in the depressions in the pavement ... inanimate (close-minded) but still allowing us to maintain a foothold on the surface of the pavement of society. Eventually more enlightened people will come in contact with us. As they observe and/or interact with us we will have the opportunity to enrich their lives and their understanding of the world.

No effort is ever wasted. It just may seem that way because we are not cognizant of how we have touched the lives of those around us.

Monday, August 2, 2010

When You Can't See the Forest ...

Birch forest in Banff, AB, Canada
All too often we become so involved in the details of our lives that we lose sight of how truly fortunate we are.

TJ, Lady and I have recently relocated to the Upstate (read "north western corner") of South Carolina. We had quite the trip across the country from where we had been visiting our son & his fiancee in Colorado Springs. It rained. In fact in a few places it DELUGED! The motor home overheated a few times. After a while we were getting pretty cranky. Until we had a thought ...

We realized how fortunate we are! We live in the United States where we don't need a permit or passport to travel from one state to another as we would if we lived in Europe, Asia or Africa. We own our motor home free and clear. How many people today are struggling to keep a roof over their heads? We may be in the 55+ age group but we're both pretty healthy and mobile.

You get the idea. Pretty soon the rain and overheating stops didn't seem to be such an inconvenience. Rather, they were an opportunity to literally stop and smell the flowers, really LOOK at the area we were traveling through. Take the time to appreciate all the beauty and diversity that is here for us to embrace.

In short, we stopped concentrating on the inconvenient trees in our way and broadened our outlook to allow ourselves to see the forest!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In the beginning ...

Every time I think, "Okay. Enough. I don't need to keep up with technology any more. I'm retiring from all that stuff." something comes along that changes my mind. I think I need to give up retiring!

So this is the newest iteration. A blog to share my creative endeavors and hopefully get feedback that will help me continue to grow in my art. Also, if you see anything you like, I do sell prints of my photographs.

Jump on in. Tell me what you think. No, really! Tell me!