Share Your World – 2016 Week 49

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Cee’s Photography Blog has a cool challenge that I’ve decided to participate in for a bit. The title is self-explanatory. Cee asks four questions each week:

1. What do I value most in a friend?

That’s an easy answer. Trust. Complete trust. Not just the kind of trust where the other person keeps your confidence, but the kind of trust where the other person can be counted on to be there for you and to genuinely care about your welfare. Some say that you won’t more than one handful of this type of friend in your lifetime. I believe this is true. I would love to get comments in the section below about what YOU value most in a friend. I’ve been lucky. I have friends like this.

 

2. Do you prefer eating the frosting of the cake or the cupcake first? Do you prefer a specific flavor?

I can’t really answer this question because I don’t eat sweets! I know, I’m weird.

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3. Have you ever been in a submarine? If you haven’t, would you want to?

No, I have never been in a submarine. I love the water….the ocean. I love to swim in it, wade in it, get slammed by the waves in it, snorkel in it, cruise on a ship in it, but a submarine. It gives me claustrophobia just to think of it!

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4. If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

If you look at it from simply a statistical point of review, you can assume that 50% have had a more satisfying life and 50% have had a less satisfying life.

 

 

Tough Questions: The Other Side

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This week’s Discover Challenge is to consider tough questions that we’ve been asked. I can think of a tough question I was asked after the U.S. Presidential Election that is head and shoulders above other questions. I was in the local bookstore which is a gathering place for university folks. Knowing my background was in finance and economics, with a smattering of political science, some former students and a couple of university faculty cornered me. Here comes the tough question.

They asked me what I thought the appeal of President-Elect Trump is to the man on the street. Why is this a tough question? I happen to be a Democrat and I did not vote for Donald Trump. Their questions were a little more complex than that. Most of them were also Democrats and they wanted specifics. I was put in the position of having to look at the other side of the issues in order to explain the thinking of the people who elected him. Tough questions!

Expressing to them that what I was about to say was only my opinion and hoping (to myself) that I was going to convey correct information, we started to have a conversation. I was very tempted to grab my phone and call in reinforcements – my friends who had actually voted for Mr. Trump, but I didn’t.

I won’t go into all the specifics but I will give you the general conversation. I told them that all I could give them was my opinion. Yes, it was my opinion based on fact. My facts were based on those provided by both the media and what I had read and gleaned myself. Since I had not discovered every fact about why the country preferred to elect Donald Trump as President of the United States but had gotten some of the information from the media, I did not feel comfortable answering their questions. I further expressed that I felt my opinions and bias as a Democrat would color my explanation.

The group still wanted me to explain why I thought he was elected. I made a few comments. I was more comfortable answering their questions since I had already told them that I was only expressing my own opinion.

Separating opinion from fact is extremely important when answering tough questions. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #weeklydiscoverychallenge

Desolation

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They unpacked their luggage in the room on the top floor of the old house. The view was magnificent as they looked out onto the flats. Magnificent but disturbing somehow.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

She thought about it and looked at his face. A face that she was just now seeing for the first time in so many years.

“Why did you bring me here,” she asked, “to this desolate place?”

“I need to be with my girl.”

“Let’s relax and enjoy the view. Just be together,” she replied.

He smiled. He didn’t smile much anymore.

 

98 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing

*This post in response to Friday Fictioneers

Photo Credit to Lucy Fridkin

The Firefly

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Petra, the pixie fairy flying ahead of the others, saw it first. The glow in the grass.

“Decla,” she called to another pixie. “Do you see that glow in the grass?”

The two fairies flew down and gently landed in the grass, near the glow. It was a diamond that appeared to be glowing green because of the surrounding grass. It appeared to be growing out of a stalk, upside down.

“We have to retrieve it, Decla,” Petra exclaimed. “Call the group.”

Down swooped the group, plucked the diamond, and they flew off with the group carrying it. It flickered as they carried it through the sky.

Down below a small girl thought it was a firefly. She hadn’t seen one in a long time. She made a wish that the firefly meant her Daddy would come home. As she turned, there stood her Daddy.

145 words

#amwriting #amblogging #writing #flashfiction #fiction

Photo credit to Jade Wong

Post in response to FFfAW – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

The Standing Rock Pipeline Resistance

Land infringement and treaty violation by the U.S. Government on Native American lands

 

img_0376The Native American Standing Rock Pipeline Resistance is based on two issues. The construction of the pipeline will cause sacred sites to be bulldozed. The pipeline will also be constructed under the Native American’s source of water and they are legitimately concerned about leaks. The resistance is entering its eighth month.

The resistance is organized in the Sacred Stone Camp by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. The news media says that the resistance is unprecedented but Native Americans have organized protests and more than one resistance down through the years. Our news media just does not give the Native American the news coverage it should. We have treaties with the Native American tribes that we seem to conveniently forget when we want to. Many of those treaties have to do with just this type of land infringement.

In 2015, the Rosebud Sioux organized a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline which would have crossed their land, calling it an act of war.

Disregard for the rights of the Native American, the indigenous people of America, is not a new issue. Protests such as the one at Standing Rock have happened down through the years. The U.S. government has a history of disregard for the Native American lands and for our own indigenous people themselves.

Perhaps the most famous resistance was the one that happened at Wounded Knee in 1973. Wounded Knee was the site of the massacre of hundreds of Native Americans in 1890. Protests since then have resembled the one at Wounded Knee including the Standing Rock protest.

The United Nations has called out the United States over the treatment of our indigenous people. We have used violence against them including things such as rubber bullets, tear gas, and compression grenades. They are simply protecting their rights under their treaties with us. The U.N. statement also mentioned cultural rights, free speech, and the environment.

We should take notice that the U.N. is involved. If we can’t honor the treaties between the U.S. government and our own indigenous people, how can we be trusted to honor the treaties with foreign nations? #amwriting #amblogging #writing #StandingRock

 

 

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is best known as a disorder of veterans of war. It can also be a response to other traumatic events in civilian’s lives. Here are three of the most common symptoms:

One:  Insomnia: Due to increased anxiety and emotional arousal.

Two:  Nightmares: Due to the subconscious re-experiencing the traumatic event.

Three:  Failure to Remember Certain Aspects of the Event: Due to avoiding activities,    places or thoughts that remind one of the traumatic event.

*This post is in response to the One, Two, Three! Weekly Discover Challenge.

#weekendcoffeeshare 12/3/2016

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Come right in for coffee, tea, hot cocoa! It is very cold outside, in the upper 20s! I’ve added some herbal teas to my stash so if you aren’t into caffeine, help yourself. There is also decaf coffee. Then, there is English Breakfast Tea, Hot Cinnamon Black Tea and Green Tea, and Russian Tea (watch out for this one!). You can have your choice of a chicory coffee, a breakfast mix, cappuccino, or expresso. I also have hot cocoa. So cold this morning. Join me in my writing studio and I’ll tell you what’s up in my world!

I’ve done a lot of writing, and a lot of reading about writing, since we talked last. Last weekend, I told you that my novel had morphed from a romance into a psychological thriller. I’ve written almost 10,000 words on it this week, writing it as a thriller, and it is working very well. This book is so clearly not a romance that I wonder why I was thinking it was. I think I can make it fly as a psychological thriller. I will be interviewing some psychologists to make sure it makes that cut.

I’m getting so many book ideas that I’ve started keeping a notebook listing my ideas and I’d like to tip you off to do the same or you’ll forget those ideas. It seems like everything fiction that I blog about is screaming for a book of its own. Clearly, that will take some time and some of the ideas won’t ever see the light of day.

As I mentioned, I’m reading a lot of books and authors who have written about writing. If you haven’t read Stephen King’s book On Writing, do! It is possibly the best book I’ve read on the subject though there are other good authors out there.

Where I live, cold weather is finally starting to arrive. We had a warm, even hot, fall. Cool and cold temperatures are finally here. I don’t mind the cold, but when we start having a little snow in the weather forecast, I do mind that. I live on top of a hill and snow makes it impossible to get off this hill of mine.

I’m hoping we don’t have a snowy winter as I can already feel some cabin fever creeping into my psyche. Some of you may remember from previous posts that I had a rather severe trauma in my personal life earlier in the year. Even though I am feeling some better, for some reason, that trauma has caused me to develop rather severe claustrophobia. I don’t have an explanation for that except to say the trauma was a bad one. I feel like if snow traps me on top of this mountain, I will be crazy! What I will do try to keep busy which probably means I will write and write.

I read an excellent blog post today about getting through the winter if one doesn’t like winter. It recommended using winter as a time of regeneration for the new spring that is just around the corner. The idea behind that blog post gave me hope for spring. It gets pretty gray around here during the months of December and January particularly.

Are you getting ready for the holidays, whatever your version of the holidays is? For me, it is Christmas and I have been doing some shopping but just started doing a little decorating today. I don’t do as much decorating as I used to but I do like for it to look a little festive here. My next task is to get some Christmas cards sent with some gifts to the people who perform services for me during the year.

When I have been to the city nearest me during the last week, I can tell the holidays are upon us. The traffic is unbelievable! During one visit there, it took me an hour to get across the city to the interstate. Any shopping I have to do either has to be on weekdays or online! I wouldn’t dare attempt it on a weekend day.

I hope everyone has a good week and I hope to see you next Saturday! #amwriting #amblogging #writing #claustrophobia #seasonalaffectivedisorder

 

*This post sponsored by parttimemonsterblog.com.

Thanks, Diana!

#SoCS December 3/16

The prompt “sh” inspired me to write about my wonderful sheepdogs.

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Sheepdogs. When I saw Linda’s prompt for this Saturday’s stream of consciousness challenge, that’s the word that popped into my mind. I’m a dog lover and the type of dogs I’ve had most in my life have been sheepdogs of one type or another. My mind really started working overtime, remembering my wonderful sheepdogs.

After the death of a beloved dog, I researched the type of dog I might want and came up with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi or the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. After a little more research and a search for breeders in my area, I settled on the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and suddenly, I had my first sheepdog. I named her Kelly and she is still one of my two heart dogs. I’ll never forget Kelly. She was bred in Wyoming by a breeder who became my friend. This was way back in the 1980s.

Kelly was the most wonderful companion for 14 years. Yes, Pembroke Welsh Corgis originally herded sheep in Wales and still do in some places in America. They are long, very low dogs. They even nip at the heels of their humans and try to herd us. They herd sheep in precisely that manner and are too low for the sheep to kick. They kick right over their heads. Kelly was soon joined in my household by two other corgis. One was another Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Zachary. They are the most wonderful little animals with unbelievably winning personalities and great herding skills. Kelly is on the far left in the picture below and Zachary is on the right.

 

 

I also raised two Cardigan Welsh Corgis at two separate times. Katy and Eliza. Katy grew up with Kelly and Zachary. Katy was a black and white Cardigan and Eliza was a black and white with brindle points Cardigan with one brown and one blue eye. Eliza was a dog that came later in my life. Cardigans are slightly larger than Pembroke and they are the corgis with the tail. In Wales, they were usually used to herd cattle as opposed to sheep as they have the larger bone structure and are slightly taller and stronger dogs. They are still short enough for the cattle to kick over their head. In the U.S., they are also used to herd sheep. Cardigans, in my opinion, are the ultimate fireside dogs. Yes, they can work and herd, but they adore their “people” and want to guard their home. Katy is in the picture above with Kelly. Below is a picture of Eliza, who was with me until she was 13 years old. Eliza, like Kelly, was my heart dog. She was with me through some hard times and I will always be sad she is gone. I miss her every day.

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I haven’t had another Pem since Kelly and Zachary. But, I was introduced to another herding breed by my friend, Anne, who breeds Pulis. The Puli may not be as well-known in the U.S. as most herding breeds, at least not to just the average person. They come from Eastern Europe. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a Puli that was of Anne’s breeding. His name was Bear and I will never forget him. Pulis herd by actually jumping on the backs of the sheep and they are very effective herders. They are one of the corded breeds. You can see Bear and his dreadlocks in the picture below. I found the Puli to be strong, determined, and very, very quick. I can imagine that they are very good herding dogs. Bear had to be content with herding us. He spent his days keeping track of me and my Cardigan Welsh Corgi mentioned above, Eliza, and was the sweetest boy ever. I secretly think that Bear would have been happiest had he been given a real herding job. Bear occupies a very special place in my heart. He loved hugs more than any dog I’ve ever had.

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I don’t have a herding dog now. I have a little spaniel who thinks she owns me. As much as I love little Betsy, I miss my herding dogs. Maybe I’ll have another one yet. Another corgi, another puli, or maybe I’ll go further afield and opt for a herding breed that can also serve as a guard dog.

This was a long stream of consciousness post. But, the letters “sh” inspired me about my precious sheepdogs. I have experienced a lot of the sentiment “they don’t live as long as we do” and it has been painful to lose each and every one. But, they have brought great joy to my life. I hope you have enjoyed reading this. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #dogs

 

*This post is part of Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Challenge

Thanks, Linda!

We Can’t Stop Diversity

Diversity came to America with the Pilgrims…..

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The dictionary defines diversity as the state of being different between two individual entities when and only when they are not identical. Diversity came to America with the Pilgrims. When they stepped on American soil, the population became diverse because, up to that time, the primary population was the Native Americans.

Diversity in the United States is not a new concept. We hear this often, but the population of the United States is composed of individuals so diverse that it is called a melting pot. Diversity has been encouraged in America and made possible by our immigration policy.

Diversity within countries across the world may have taken a different path, but the result is the same. Any country that looks attractive to outsiders looking in is going to draw a diverse population. Who doesn’t want to improve their lot in life?  In Iraq, for example, there are three diverse population groups. They have spent centuries fighting each other. It has stunted Iraq’s growth.

In America, our population is becoming more diverse. We now have a large Hispanic policy and many feel like those people are taking their jobs. If Americans would apply for and win their jobs, then do their jobs and work hard, they would have no fear of Hispanics taking their jobs. Instead of fixing what is wrong with our immigration policy and enforcing the immigration policy already on the books, the talk is of building a wall to keep Hispanics out. Do we really think a wall can stop increasing diversity in a country where so many want to live?

Diversity in religion often is what starts war. We can see that if we look all the way back to the Crusades. Look at the Middle East. The conflict there is all about religion. Oh, some say it’s about land. But if their religions had not been at war for hundreds of years, I think the property issue would have been resolved long ago.

Diversity in religion or skin color often leads to the persecution of the minority B groups in a population.

We began to focus more on diversity after the 9/11/2001 terror attack in New York City. We blamed an entire sector of our population, even though their numbers were reasonably small. When you think about it in that way, it makes very little sense.

Diversity is not the problem in America. Every single one of us is an immigrant from somewhere or have ancestors who were immigrants. There are bad, evil people in every religion and in every country. America has more than its share across all diversity boundaries. But, we blame Muslims for every single thing that happens in America.

We can’t round up illegal Hispanics and send them back to Mexico. We can’t put every Muslim in America in interment camps. That’s not who America is. That reeks of Fascism. We have to find another way to deal with the problems. If we let ourselves deal with diversity in this way, the shining city on the hill will be no more and the place we call America will be like every third world country on the planet. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #diversity

 

*This post sponsored by Creativity Challenge #12