The word local arouses mixed feelings in me. I think it’s important for people to buy local as much as possible in order to sustain small business owners in the face of business giants who invade smaller communities. Wal-Mart, of course, being the main offender. Buying from your farmer’s markets, you local retail stores, your local restaurants, puts money into your community and not in the hands of the corporate giants.

Unfortunately, corporate giants have driven business out of small communities and it is not always possible to buy local because the goods and services you need are not available. In my case, I have to go to the closest large city to get what I need. I used to be able to buy what I needed in my local community.

The word “local” has both good and not so good meanings for me. There is drug trafficking very close to where I live. In a smaller community, it’s not confined to so-called “bad” neighborhoods. It’s everywhere. I live in a nice neighborhood with mostly nice neighbors. There is still drug trafficking. There is also reasonably heavy drug use. I often jokingly say you can’t hire anyone to work for you because they would rather be cooking meth.

Having said all this, there is still a beauty in the local areas of small town America. Even though everyone is busier than they used to be, working and with their families, there is still a feeling of the “sit on the porch and talk awhile” than in the city.   There is more of a feeling of trust of people than you have in a city. I trust every neighbor on my street and feel that I could call on any of them in an emergency or crisis.

Local areas are still beautiful things in the United States. As long as we don’t let a criminal element, such as drug distributors, into our communities.


An Update about Betsy


When I am upset about something, I usually write about it. In fact, the first place I turn is usually the computer and I write. Not this time. I wrote a post entitled, “Tender Betsy” a week or so ago. It was about my little dog having a seizure. Since then, I haven’t talked about Betsy, but I’m now writing about her and posting an update. I haven’t written much of anything since Betsy’s diagnosis. I hope writing this update can jumpstart my writing again. Here goes.

After Betsy’s second seizure over a week ago, we saw a veterinarian specifically about what appeared to be a seizure disorder, with the blessing of Betsy’s regular vet. We got some bad news. Before I get into that, just let me say that I’ve not had a good feeling about Betsy for some months now. She had seemed to undergo a bit of a personality change. She was not my sparkly, impish Betsy. Everything seemed to be an effort for her. She was moody. Quiet. She didn’t play with her toys or chew on her bone. There were times she even seemed angry with me, but she clung to me at the same time. I wish I had read the signs better and figured out that Betsy was trying to tell me that something was, indeed, wrong. But, in the end, it would not have mattered.

Betsy does not have a seizure disorder. Seizures are just one symptoms of what is wrong with her. She has a condition that is genetic in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and a handful of other breeds – Boston Terriers, Brussels Griffons, and Chihuahua’s (if they have the round head). It is called Syringomyelia. I’m not going into the gruesome details, because they are gruesome. I will say that it develops due to a dog’s round skull and involves the spinal cord and spine. The symptoms are horrible. It is always, always fatal and is genetic in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels like my Betsy.

Betsy is going to die. We can possibly manage her symptoms and conduct pain management – for a while. I can’t define “a while.” It depends on the dog. I think she has been showing symptoms for at least six months.

We have started pain management and she is responding. But, she is pretty stoned on her medicine. I hope she adjusts. I am very conflicted over what we are doing. As we progress along this path, I have to watch her closely and see if we are really giving her any quality of life – or not. I’m not interested in giving her quantity of life because quantity would be for me. I will only agree to this approach if Betsy can have days when she feels good, can play and enjoy her life, have quality of life. If that does not happen, it will be time for Betsy to join my beloved dogs who came before her on the Rainbow Bridge. And wait for me.

When I feel stronger about this, I will write a blog post about the wonderful dog breeders – the responsible dog breeders – that I have been fortunate enough to know. I will talk about the other dog breeders, like Betsy’s breeder, who won’t even answer her phone or respond to my email. All I wanted to know from Valerie was the medical history of Betsy’s sire and dam and she would not give me that information because she knew she had bred dogs that had this horrible disease and she was ashamed. My friends, be careful who you buy a dog from.

I’ve considered starting another blog. About this horrible illness and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Please don’t feel like you have to respond to this. It’s up to you. Do something for your local animal shelter in Betsy’s name. Write a letter to the American Kennel Club, as I’m going to do, and ask that they do not register any more Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for five years until some of their genetic issues are solved. These docile, wonderful companion animals do not deserve this suffering. Mention Betsy whose pedigree name is Cappy Hollow’s Magnesium Bright Light.

Because Betsy has, indeed, been a Bright Light who is being snuffed out far too soon. She is four years old.

Thank you for reading this.



Trump: The Apprentice or The Imposter


There are moments when I feel sorry for Donald Trump. Most of the time, it seems so obvious to me that he is involved in something – something – that is way over his capacity to cope. Something big. A tiny percentage of the time, I look at his face, and his pout, and wonder if he is the incarnation of The Apprentice. He is an apprentice regarding his job. No big-time career as a businessman prepared him to be President of the United States and all the complexities of that job. He could truly yell, “You’re fired,” at people as a businessman and hire another competent person to fill the position. He becomes the President of the United States and he has to justify his actions. He can’t just fire the FBI Director because, guess what, Jim Comey was investigating HIM. The Donald. That is not kosher for a President to do. Maybe it never occurred to him when he was acting out the first half of his dual role as The Apprentice or The Imposter?

Those of us who really think about it say, “Nah.” Anyone would know that. We are the ones who think he is The Imposter. I fall 99% in this category and 1% in The Apprentice category. But, is there a rule book called, “How to be President of the United States?” I don’t really know the answer to that question, but my guess is no. Many presidents rely on their predecessors for advice. Trump can’t do that. He’s too busy rolling back, or trying to roll back, every program President Obama implemented, just because he implemented it. So, he doesn’t have the wisdom of someone who was President for eight years. He doesn’t even have George W. Bush to brainstorm with since Bush has made no secret of his disdain for the President. Bill Clinton? Well, we know why he can’t talk to Clinton. Let’s not go there.

As a result, Trump is flailing around in very deep waters like a person who doesn’t know how to swim. He doesn’t know how to work with Congress. Not that Congress works. They do so little. Yes, they just sustained a terrible tragedy, but let’s be real here. They have been obstructionist for a long time. It appears that they are going to try not to be obstructionist with President Trump since he is their only hope. What do you do with a President who is so focused on and scared of whether or not he is being investigated for crimes against the State that all he does is watch Cable TV all day and use Twitter. He doesn’t appear to have much time to do things like suggest legislation. Instead, he finds it more convenient to sign executive orders, even those which mean nothing. He looks like The Apprentice.

Let’s take Trump’s recent comments on Cuba. Does this mean no one can go to Cuba? Trump would like for his base to stand up and cheer and most of them did, but SURPRISE! His remarks meant very little. We won’t really know the impact of Trump’s remarks until 90 days have passed and the regulations about Cuba are released. However, the major impact will be on any dealings with the Cuban military.

In the meanwhile, Cuban Americans will worry about whether they will be able to see their relatives on the island and cruise ship operators and tour guides/travel agencies will not know what to do about booking travel. It has looked like Trump only tackled the Cuban issue because Obama did. Apprentice or Imposter? I say Imposter with a dash of, “Take that, Obama,” thrown in, since Trump appears to be acting like a petulant child.

Then we have the tweets. The Tweetmaster. Soon, the hole Trump is digging for himself with those tweets will go all the way to China. Only The Apprentice would not realize you can’t, as President of the United States, go around threatening to fire the people who are investigating you. The tweets are becoming increasingly irrational. They sound like they are written by someone who either thinks he is King, as opposed to President, or that he is scared to death. Again, the Apprentice or the Imposter? I don’t even like him and I want to tell him just to put down his phone. Quit digging that hole. He seems to listen to his daughter. Can’t Ivanka do something? Can’t someone do something? Many of the tweets are about the Russian investigation. Doesn’t he realize he’s making himself look guilty? I’m surprised he isn’t putting the tweets in a bottle and tossing them into that giant hole he is digging for himself.

What will happen if Trump is found to have obstructed justice or other charges and is removed from office? Presumably, Mike Pence will become President unless it is found that he knew about and was complicit in some of the seemingly shady dealings going on in the White House. If Pence can’t become President, Paul Ryan is next in line and Mitch McConnell is next. Please no.

It is difficult to consider that we have elected a President of the United States who is less than honest, who may have ties to a foreign power who is our adversary. I want to believe none of it is true, but the evidence that it is all true is mounting rapidly.. The Apprentice or The Imposter? The jury is still out.

Father’s Day in the U.S. And Other Countries


My dad has been gone for 34 1/2 years and I miss him as much today as I did when he died. Particularly on Father’s Day, the third Sunday of June in the United States. My dad was a fun, but hard-working parent, never aimless. I miss the twinkle in his eye when he saw me and the spring in his step when he carried me to bed! This poem reminded me of him.

Father’s Day was first celebrated by Sondra Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. She had lost her mother in childbirth and her father cared for her. She wanted to show her appreciation for him. Sondra’s dad’s birthday was June 5, so Father’s Day unofficially ended up in June. The movement to establish a day to honor father’s grew and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge became a supporter. He did not declare it an official holiday.

Father’s Day was celebrated in June. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared it an official holiday and designated the third Sunday in June as the official date for Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day to be a national holiday.

There are some interesting and fun facts about Father’s Day in the U.S.

There are over 70 million fathers in the U.S. And 2 million of them are single. It is the fourth busiest day for sending greeting cards. More than 214,000 men are single fathers.

Other countries also celebrate Father’s Day. Canada celebrates it like the U.S. but unofficially. France celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. They used to give their fathers’ Bic lighters but now they substitute other small gifts. Germany celebrates the day on the last day of the Easter holiday.

In Asia, India celebrates Father’s Day much the same way as we do, but Thailand celebrates the day on the birthday of their king and everyone wears yellow. In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of their spring which is September.

Now, I’m going to go and start the dinner I’m preparing tonight in honor of my dad. Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!


#SoCS – 6/10/2017 – US Political System


I am tired of our political system in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not tired of our democracy. I’m not even tired of capitalism. I support both. I am tired of politicians refusing to admit their real positions on issues and what they have really done. I am tired of lies and deceit in politics that are destroying the U.S. political system.

Although I am a news and information junkie, I’ve started tuning out the news as I listen while I work each day. We have no idea what the truth really is. We can’t even believe politicians as they testify under oath because they have no respect for the oath.

There are two things, and two things only, that give me hope. As I’ve listened to the hearings, I have heard just a few young politicians question witnesses. Not the rich, older, white men we are so accustomed to but some new names and faces. New and young politicians from both sides of the aisle. They have seemed sensible and not yet jaded. Perhaps they are our hope for the future?

My second source of hope is the American people. My own opinion is that we got it wrong during the 2016 election. I think I am backed up by the polls since the President only has an approval rate of around 36%. That leaves a huge percentage of the American people dissatisfied. Perhaps in 2020 one of the fresh young faces will run for office. Even if they don’t agree with my point of view, they will be steeped in the ways of government. Perhaps we can reclaim our position in the world and in NATO. Perhaps the checks and balances of our political system, wisely put in place by our forefathers, will work during the next three and a half years and too much damage will not be done. Maybe one of those fresh young faces can re-establish some sense of political sanity and dignity to the U.S. political system and get Russia out of our affairs forever.

Writing Resources and Triumphs

How does a writer reach their first triumph? I was not trained as a writer, but i’ve been writing and submitting stories to magazines since I was a child. Even though writing was not my major in college, I took writing classes. My first triumph was a publication in a major magazine. I know many writers who can tell the exact same story.

Then there are writers who are classically trained. The basics may be a little easier, but they still have to break into the major markets. I’ve found the Internet makes it easier, but it’s still hard.

Blogging is a wonderful platform. Be sure and put your best product out there on your blog. I’ve found that you never know who is reading it. I’ve had queries from a variety of online and offline magazines asking me to write articles for them. They found me through my blog.

There are some good resources out there for writers. If you are a beginning writer, take a look at Udemy . They offer courses in writing that could help you. Writer’s Digest offers both paid and Free resources for writers. Take a look at Writing ForwardReference for Writers, and OEBB Writing Resources.

If you want to be a serious blogger or writer, some of these resources will help you obtain your first triumph!

Tender Betsy


Three nights ago, I woke up, rather groggily, to a loud banging in my bedroom. I thought of my little dog, Betsy, and immediately turned to find her. She was in her steel crate, with the door open, having a seizure. The banging was her little, tender   body, stiff and jerking, banging against her crate.

I leaped up and went to her. By then, the seizure was almost over and she was in the latter stages. The paralysis that happens after. Her legs were stiff and her head and neck were stuck backward. She stayed like that for ten or fifteen minutes before she could move again. This was her second seizure that I know about.

She slowly got up and left her crate, wide-eyed and shaky. She kept coming to me, looking at me as if to ask me what happened. I had no answers. I just cuddled her. The next stage was the pacing. She paced through the house, wide-eyed and frightened for an hour or two. After that, she collapsed on the couch. She didn’t move for maybe eight hours.

Betsy is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A breed of dog that is docile, sweet, and tender. To watch her go through something like a grand mal seizure was a horrible thing. It took two and a half days for Betsy to be Betsy again.

There is an innocence and trust in all dogs. We can’t explain to them what happens to them when it happens and we don’t know how much they understand. As their companions, all we can do is get them good medical care and love them unconditionally. We have to show that love to them, cuddle them, make them feel safe. If a person is a good person, dogs bring out the best in us.

Dogs love us no matter what we do. Deserve their love.


When I saw today’s writing prompt, something instantly popped into my head. A term. That term was “extended families.” It makes me sad that extended families are, in today’s time, distant from each other. If I look at my own family, and the families of many of my friends (but not all), there is geographic distance, but there is also emotional distance. This is true, at least in the United States.

Geographic distance will cause emotional distance but does it really have to be that way? My answer is no. With the electronic communication tools we have at our disposal and cell phones with unlimited talk and text, can’t we find a way to keep up with the lives of our aunts, uncles, and cousins? I say we can.

Cousins may not be able to play with each other every weekend like they could when I was growing up, but cousins can still keep in touch. Sisters may not be able to see each other often, but they can talk and message and text.

What do we have except our families and that includes our extended family? Let’s shrink the distance.

Trump: What Are We Waiting On?


Donald Trump. At this point, I cannot bring myself to say President Donald Trump. Does a President of the United States, the leader of the free world, give away classified secrets to our adversary, the Russians, because he needs to brag to make himself feel good? That’s what happened a few days ago when he met, in private, with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador. It makes the job of any of our enemies so much easier. Our President has put us at risk. What does this mean for our intelligence community?

The intelligence community keeps us alive. Donald Trump has just put that in jeopardy. Do you think that the intelligence community is going to keep sharing information with the U.S.? The answer is no. They are not. We are now in more jeoprady than before our President opened his big mouth because of his bigger inferiority complex. To make this all worse, Donald Trump basically admitted what he did in a tweet.

This, in my opinion, is the worst thing Trump has done. There are other things.

Trump fired the Director of the FBI, James Comey. Comey was leading the investigation into the Russian connection to Trump’s campaign. Trump fired the man who was investigating him. Shades of Richard Nixon and Archibald Cox. Trump could be impeached just for firing the Director of the FBI. Then, he threatens the Director with the existence of tapes if Comey talks about their conversations. The President of the United States threatening someone like a common thug?

Then there is the evidence that Trump is using the Presidency for profit. When the President of China visited, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, was seated beside him. She ended up with Chinese trademarks for her clothing line.

I have mentioned just a handful of inappropriate actions Trump has taken since his inauguration. Perhaps passing classified information to the Russians is the most dangerous and certainly the worst, but not the only egregious action he has taken.

My question is what is Congress waiting on? This man needs to be removed from office. It may already be too late now that he has passed classified secrets to the Russians. He has now put us all in danger. It is time to act. Impeachment is not enough. We are in uncharted territory. In my opinion, he is mentally incompetent and needs to be physically escorted from the White House. I don’t know who would take his place. Mike Pence, Vice-President, does not seem to be the right choice as he has been complicit with many of Trump’s actions.

What are we waiting on? Destruction of our democracy and our country, not to mention danger and our way of life?