The Starfish on the Ceiling

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After the yacht capsized in the storm, only four of the passengers were able to make it to the inflatable raft. The storm was violent and the ship went down too quickly. The three men and one woman were lucky to grab on to the raft, climb aboard, and hunker down until the storm passed.

The yacht went down close to a rocky coast in the Mediterranean. They were too traumatized by the storm and the sinking of the yacht to realize the raft could be slammed again those rocks any second.

The four of them awakened as dawn broke. As they looked up, they saw a huge sea cave in a rock formation towering above them. They were able to tie up, scramble up the rocks, and go inside the cave. Collapsing on the floor, they talked about what to do now and studied the ceiling, which was covered with starfish.

Armand remarked, “Starfish on the ceiling?”

They all looked at each other, knowing that meant water must have been in the cave.

Wally said, “Look!”

They turned and saw the raft rising up to the level of the entrance right before the sea water started pouring in.

 

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#weeklysmile #81

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Some weeks it’s easy to find something to smile about and this is one of those weeks. I’m smiling about my awesome friends! You know who you are! Not so long ago, I wrote a post on friendship, although I talked mostly about the different types of friends most of us have. This week, I’m talking about my closest friends and other friends who step up to the plate and befriend you when you least expect it – and all of you know who you are!

For a couple of reasons, I’ve had to call on these friends this week and, of course, they have come through for me. I feel very lucky to have these extraordinary people in my life. I hope each and every one of them know it.

There is a point I want to address that I didn’t address in my previous post on friendship. I will only mention it here and may use the topic as material for a later post. Men and women, dear readers, can indeed be friends. Friends and nothing more. Possibly because of my career choice in the past, I have always tended to have more male friends than female friends. Both are very special to me. One of my male friends has been my friend, and a close friend, for more than 35 years. I suppose we’re a little like siblings. There are many people in the world that dispute the fact that men and women can be “only” friends. They would be wrong.

So that big smile you see on my face? That smile is because I have awesome friends. Male and female.

Fire in the Hole

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“Honey, I want you to be really careful. This is your first solo trip in the car.”

“Dad, I promise I will follow all the rules of the road,” Gail responded.

“That’s not enough. You have to drive defensively.”

Gail got in the car to go see her friends.

She zoomed out of the driveway. She saw a stoplight ahead and realized she was driving too fast. She didn’t look behind her and had to slam on the brakes. The car behind her hit her and, since the engine was in the back, the entire VW went up in flames.

Photo Prompt by Kent Bonham

 

Going Home

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She knew she was lost. She had wanted to tour Scotland and she had finally made it at 57. She had seen this interesting sign and stopped to look at it. When she turned around, the tour group had vanished. Where could they be?

The writing was dim on the sign. She couldn’t read it. She started to climb the stairs, but her chest hurt and it was hard. She persisted. She was at the top and looked out before her.

What was her hometown doing in Scotland? There was her mother. She ran toward her.

 

Photo Prompt by J.S. Brand

Congress Does Not Represent the People of the United States

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The U.S. Congress, the legislative branch of the government, has become corrupted. This is the branch, of the three branches of government, set down by the Founders, that is supposed to represent the people of the United States. Do you think that we are fairly represented by the U.S. Congress? I am here to contend that we are not.

We only have to look as far as the current Senate Health Care Bill and the debate surrounding that bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the primary senator pushing the bill. He is doing so became he is being pushed by the President, but that is not the only reason. Since 1989 and to date, five of the top industries contributing to McConnell are: Health Professionals, Insurance, Hospitals and Nursing Homes, Pharmaceuticals and Health Products, and Health Services and HMOs. Can McConnell truly be unbiased?

Mitch McConnell represents the state of Kentucky as a senator. He is supposed to represent the people of that state. Kentucky is a poor state. A high percentage of the population, particularly in the Appalachian region of the state, use the Medicaid program. For example, in Kentucky, children represent 19 percent of all Medicaid spending but 43 percent of its enrollees. The Senate Heath Care Bill, pushed by Senator McConnell, would take away these benefits for many or most of these children who are not even the driving force of the Medicaid expenditures.

I ask you. Is Mitch McConnell representing his Kentucky constituency? Perhaps he is, instead, representing those five health care industries that contribute to his campaign funds? He is lobbying to take away the Medicaid benefits from his constituency.

The McConnell example is only one example of a senator who is not serving his constituency. Congress is supposed to serve as the voice of the people and the states to the federal government. Do you really think it is currently, or has in the recent past, been fulfilling that function?

Congress is also supposed to serve as an oversight body on the Executive Branch of government; in other words, the President of the United States. That, to me, is laughable at this point in time. Yes, there are committees in place to investigate the dealings of the Trump administration and I fervently hope they are doing their jobs. I count on the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, to oversee those committees at this point in time. The Senators and the Representatives are too worried about losing their own jobs to really serve as oversight on the President.

Congress now, instead of representing the people, represents money. The money they can make from the lobbyists of corporations like health care corporations if they follow their agendas. There is only one way to solve this problem. Term limits. Limit the terms of the Senators and Representatives so they don’t have time to become millionaires through lobbyists and on the backs of their constituencies, the taxpayers. Only then will we have something approaching a representative Congress again.

Song Lyric Sunday – You Don’t Bring Me Flowers 7/16/2017

The Song Lyric Sunday theme for today is “duet” and one of my favorite duets of the late 1970’s is the song, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. The story behind the song is interesting. It was never meant to be a duet but rather two separate songs that got mashed together by a programmer in Louisville, KY.

Barbra Streisand

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers(With Neil Diamond)

Barbara
You don’t bring me flowers
You don’t sing me love songs
Neil
You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door at the end of the day…
Barbara
I remember when you couldn’t wait to love me
Used to hate to leave me
Now after loving me late at night
Neil
When it’s good for you, babe
And you’re feeling all right
Barbara
When you just roll over and turn out the light…
And you don’t bring me flowers anymore
Neil
It used to be so natural
Barbara
It used to be…
Neil
To talk about forever
Barbara
Mmm…
Neil
But used-to-bes don’t count anymore
They just lay on the floor
Till we sweep them away
Barbara
And baby I remember all the things you taught me
Neil
I learned how to laugh and I learned how to cry
Barbra
Well, I learned how to love and I learned how to lie
Neil
So you think I could learn how to tell you goodbye
Barbara
So you think I could learn how to tell you goodbye
You don’t bring me flowers any more…
Both
Well, you think I could learn how to tell you goodbye…
Neil
?Cause you don?t say you need me;
Barbara
You don’t sing me love songs;
Both
You don’t bring me flowers anymore…

I want to dedicate this Song Lyric Sunday’s choice to someone who loves Barbra Streisand, from whom I would have loved flowers, who I remember all the things he taught me, and who I never learned how to say goodbye to until 35 years later.

 

#weeklysmile 80

Trent’s World, one of the blog’s I follow, runs a weekly challenge called the #weeklysmile which is……well…….just what it says! The participants talk about the moments during the week that make them smile. I could use a dose of that so here goes my first contribution. Here is my first #weeklysmile:

IMG_0718Her name is Hanna (pronounced Hannah) and she is four months old! She is definitely worth the #weeklysmile as she is one of the funniest dogs I’ve ever owned! Since I recently lost my dog, Hanna has been a dose of good cheer. She is a mixed breed but not very mixed. She is half Havanese and half Lowchen. She walks around on her back legs, seems miraculously housetrained, and is already living freely in the house. Hanna is smart! She can’t yet climb steps, which seems to be her only deficiency. She seems able to come down them, but she mostly falls down them.

Hanna is terrified of crates and I’ve always crate-trained my dogs, so I have no idea where she is going to sleep tonight. I fear it is in my bed and I only hope she really is housetrained. She is twelve pounds, will grow to about eighteen pounds, and I fear she is planning world domination.

I hope all of you have great weekly smiles as well.

#weekendcoffeeshare 7/15/2017

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Good morning, my friends! Thanks for meeting Jenn and I in our favorite coffee shop again this morning. The owner agreed to supply us with his raspberry scones again, but offered to add bread pudding with caramel sauce for us. I don’t know about you, but bread pudding may be my favorite thing in the world! There is also a selection of hot teas, chai latte, expresso, cappuccino, and just about any kind of coffee you desire. Grab something and join me!

If we were having coffee this morning, I guess I would tell you that this is a good news/bad news day for me. Some of you may recall that my precious pup, Betsy, was ill with a genetic illness the last time we talked. We tried and tried, but Betsy passed away from that illness, breaking our hearts in the process. I don’t want to relive it, so I won’t get into the details but I miss her so much.

Since I’ve always needed a dog in my life and I knew my precious Betsy was going to leave me, I had been researching dog breeds. I happened on a breeder of Havanese and Lowchen dogs. Small dogs with big hearts, playful, affectionate, just what I needed. There had been an accidental breeding between a Havanese male and a Lowchen female and two female puppies had resulted. Turns out, they were beautiful.  I bought Hanna (pronounced Hannah) and she has been home with me for two days now. I’ve posted her picture at the bottom of this weekend coffee share. She’s beautiful, four months old, and we’re trying to deal with her severe separation anxiety. If anyone has any tips, I’m surely open for suggestions!

Also, last time we talked, I told you I would be taking a short trip to Tennessee to be with my friend, Marty, as she underwent a surgical procedure. She had surgery and is doing very well. She is feeling much like her old self and the effects of her illness seem to be subsiding. I’m so glad about that.

All of this has put a hold on my writing. I’ve written some for this blog, but my other writing goals have not been met. I have to rectify that this week.

I’d love to hear what’s up in your world! Please stay and enjoy coffee, tea, and these wonderful pastries. Good to see you all!

This is Hanna at four months old!

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#SoCS – 7/15/2017

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The Art of Letter Writing

I have many books on my desk, most of them have to do with writing and novels. I do have one novel by Annie Proulx called Postcards. When I saw that novel’s title, I was reminded of a conversation a friend and I had some time ago. We discussed the lost art of letter writing. Baby boomers, like my friend and I, have written a lot of letters, on paper with a real pen, in our time, though perhaps not for a number of years. If you are a millennial, for example, you may have never written a letter except electronically. Maybe I’m doing you a disservice? Maybe you have written traditional letters? I would love for you to comment if you have!

Back to the subject. One of my first experiences with letter writing was when I was under ten years of age and had a pen pal. Francois lived in France and we wrote each other as soon as one received a letter from the other through high school. I often wonder what happened to her. As I grew up and went through undergraduate school, I wrote various cousins, boyfriends, and friends. By the time of graduate school, it was the early days of the Internet and everyone was fascinated by email. Letter writing for me was gone. It’s been gone ever since.

Life got busy. Electronic communication was quick and easy. In its defense, I would not have had time to keep up with many of the people I have without it.

I do, in some ways, miss letter writing. It’s a very personal way of communicating. You have to choose your stationery. Some people prefer to use a fountain pen, which you have to fill with ink. The person on the other end of the letter gets to see the person’s handwriting and feel their emotions more distinctly. New forms of electronic communication – email, messaging, texting, social media, chat rooms – aren’t nearly as personal. That, in fact, is why emoticons and stickers were developed. They try to convey the emotions that letter writing used to convey.

Reach out and touch someone by writing a letter. They will appreciate it!

#SoCSBookTitle