The Circle

C5CD2FCB-F173-4EB7-9065-E68D342BBD26

The first time I ever walked into my new dentist’s office, one thing slapped me in the face. Her office was decorated with many paintings and pictures depicting the circle. A single circle. Groups of circles. Except for pictures of her children, pictures of circles were the only wall decor she had. They were beautiful and interesting.

The second time I was there, I asked her about her circles and why her office was filled with them. She didn’t really answer me. She just smiled and said she liked them and they made her feel calm. They seemed to make me, who had always been fearful of going to the dentist, feel calm as well. Since changing to this dentist, I’ve never been fearful again. I decided to investigate circles and what they mean. I wanted to know why she had them in her office and even I seemed to respond to them with a feeling of peace and calmness. I’ll share with you what I found.

From Wikipedia: “A perfect circle is an ancient and universal symbol of unity, wholeness, infinity, the goddess, female power, and the sun. You can merge it with various elements and can develop new meaning.”

If you believe in spirituality, that is a pretty powerful symbol, particularly for a female professional like my dentist.

In symbolism:

“A perfect circle is symbolic of something that is whole, complete, ideal and eternal; a circle has no ending and no beginning, making it synonymous with cyclical ideas and processes. For example, a circular wedding ring is used as a symbol of everlasting love.”

This is my take on today’s prompt,circle.

Defunding Planned Parenthood and Government Welfare

IMG_0782

When someone mentions the defunding of Planned Parenthood to me, I don’t dignify that comment with a response. The very idea of defunding an organization that has helped so many women is offensive to me. My feelings on this subject has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that some Planned Parenthood’s offer abortions. My feelings have everything to do with how much Planned Parenthood has helped not only women, but men, since its inception.

They offer pap smears that screen for cancer, a variety of birth control methods, including compassionate abortion in some cases, HIV services, LGBT services, services for men, and more.

Planned Parenthood offers general health services for low-income women. Women who are either receiving some sort of government welfare or, if they become pregnant with a child, will have to receive government welfare. Women don’t become pregnant by themselves. If Planned Parenthood is responsive to low income women, they are also assisting the men who are their partners. The men involved in an unplanned pregnancy might also need government welfare. The services that Planned Parenthood offers can keep a couple, not just a woman, off the welfare rolls.

The current Congress and President, as part of the conservative movement in the U.S., has been determined to defund Planned Parenthood on the federal level and turn whatever is left over to the states. This Congress and President also want to severely cut back the Medicaid program, our current version of government welfare. The two initiatives don’t seem to be compatible. Cut Medicaid and Planned Parenthood? Where are women and men who are low-income and possibly out of a job going to get health services, particularly in the face of a pregnancy? Where are low-income women going to get birth control services, along with family planning advice?

Does the conservative government really think that low-income women are just going to stop having children? They have to know that such a scenario is ridiculous. They will keep having children and the welfare rolls will swell. Emergency room visits will also swell as the women will have no health care options.

Does the conservative movement in the U.S. care? My thoughts? They will only care when it starts costing them money. They won’t care about the men and women they are hurting in the process.

Other posts by other bloggers:

What Gives White Men the Right to Take Away a Woman’s Right to Basic Health Care?

Travel Florida: Anticipating My Return

IMG_1328

Even though it’s still hot where I live in Kentucky, there are signs everywhere of fall coming. The summer flowers are finished and even some of the fall flowers are looking faded. I live in the forest and a few leaves are starting to fall and they are already colorful. Fall coming at my home in Kentucky means that I’m starting to look forward to going to my home in Florida, on my magical island, for the winter.

I’ve been very busy during this summer in Kentucky. I’ve done a lot of writing and research and very little else. Writing and researching at least twelve hours a day keeps me busy. By the time that twelve hours is over, any writer reading this knows you are ready to drop and fall into your bed. I take breaks. I take my new puppy outdoors and we play. She’s in training so we work on her training exercises. I also take breaks to talk to my friends who have kept me company and great company they are. The summer has passed very fast for me.

Even though I’m still writing and researching and will be until right before we leave here for the winter, I find my mind drifting to my island and my little home there. Even though I love my home in Kentucky, I also love my island. I will be ready to leave here two months from now. The winter months are so wonderful there. The island is still very much “old Florida.” I think part of the reason for that is because it does not have much sandy beach. Any little bits of beach you find, however, are nice, smooth sand and not particularly grainy .

Even though there are a lot of snowbirds on my island, and I am one of them, that certainly doesn’t ruin it for me. Yes, the traffic is bad. Yes, there are waiting lines in the restaurants. But, some of the same snowbirds come back every year and have become my friends. Some of the locals have become my friends and I value all of their friendships.

I miss the ocean! I miss the pier. I miss the wonderful seafood. There is so much about that magical island that I miss. Mostly I miss the way that I feel there. My soul feels like it has found its home.

 

Jiffy

IMG_0761

Jiffy How funny. When I went to the Daily Post to see what the “word of the day” was, this was a word I never expected to see. The word “jiffy” means a moment, even a second. Like “just give me a moment.”

When I saw the word “jiffy” this morning, I had an immediate flashback of my mother. My mother has been gone for almost 17 years. But, when I saw the word “jiffy,” I could see her standing at her kitchen sink, her back to me, and saying something like, “Supper will be ready in just a jiffy.” My mom is the only person I can ever remember using the word “jiffy” and it’s a good memory for me of her. It was nice, on this Sunday morning, to have a good picture of my mom in my head. That doesn’t happen often enough.

Interesting to me is that this is the colloquial use of the word jiffy. It is an actual unit of measurement in physics, computing, and electronics. It is a measurement of a unit of time in all three disciplines, this word that is very much used in the vernacular in the English language. Who knew?

 

Independence Day in America

IMG_0710
I started to write this blog post about what Independence Day, the Fourth of July, meant to me. But, I changed my mind. Independence Day only means one thing and it should mean the same thing to all of us. This day, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, marks the birth of the United State of America. Our independence from Great Britain in 1776.

When the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, in Philadelphia, they knew that Great Britain would certainly take issue with the American colonies breaking away from their mother country. They knew they were effectively declaring war. They knew that the American colonies did not have the numbers of people or weapons to fight off the British. They had faith that they would, somehow, prevail.

Four days later, the real celebration began. The Continental Congress was still meeting. The Declaration of Independence was read. The Liberty Bell rang. The coat of arms of the King of England was taken down and the celebration began. The United States of America came to life.

What followed was the American Revolutionary War between the 13 colonies and the British Crown. It lasted through approximately 1783 and was a bitter and bloody battle. The French entered the war in 1778 and assisted the Americans. By 1781, the Americans had basically won their freedom. On September 3, 1783, in France, the British recognized that the Americans had won their freedom in the Treaty of Paris.

The British set sail for America. Our freedom was hard won by hard scrabble colonists against professional British soldiers more than 200 years ago. We became a republic, a democracy, then, and have been a shining example of hard-won freedom since. We’re reminded on this day, the Fourth of July, how hard those colonists fought and under what terrible circumstances. Many of us in America have ancestors that fought in that war, myself included. We have a stake in America’s freedom. We should celebrate this day and be sure that America beats the standard that democracies usually don’t last more than 200 years.

Happy Fourth of July to all of you in the United States of America!

Gran-Lit

This morning, I was reading a piece written by one of our very own bloggers, kasmin. She is an excellent writer. Check out her stuff! I ran across an article on her site about seven new genres of fiction that are emerging and it was fascinating. They all interest me, but one particularly interests me and that is the Gran-Lit genre. If you’re over the age of 40, you really should have a look at some of the writing in this genre. If you’re under 40, you might just be in for a nice surprise!

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out what it is. More than 90 percent of fiction involves the heroine or hero and most of the supporting characters who are under the age of 40. Most are under the age of 30. Is that real life? Absolutely not. Take the romance genre. People over 40, 50, 60 fall in love and have sex just as often as people in their 20s. The mass market has just tricked us into believing that everyone that is having fun is in their 20s and that could not be any more wrong.

I am sure there is a whole segment of the population out there, in the age brackets of  40,, 50, and 60 who would love their romance novels, and other genres, to be about people their own age. I know that I get tired of reading fiction where everyone is in their 20s. Sorry, but that is not real life. Most of the baby boomers are now 60 years old and above, the original sex, love, and rock and roll generation. Do you think they have just stopped having fun, love, and sex? Since I’m a baby boomer myself, I can tell you, with certainly, that is not true! We, in fact, invented fun!

My novel, a psychological thriller, has a heroine who is 60 years old and I think you will find it a whole lot of fun and a real thriller to boot. I’ve not finished it yet, but I’m diligently working on it. I didn’t know until today that not only is it a psych thriller, but also gran-lit. How fun to be writing in a brand new genre.

So grab a snack and search your favorite online bookstore for gran-lit and let me know what you think. I promise my contribution will be exciting!

Magnet

IMG_0699

All of my life, I have been drawn to writing as if it were a magnet. Even on days like today, when life’s burdens are very heavy for me, I only feel like myself if I write something before the day’s end.

My love affair with writing began when I was a child. I got stories published in the Highlights for Children magazine. Writing was interrupted by the other things that children do. I rode horses. But most importantly, I played the piano. I suppose I can count that, in a way, as writing because I wrote scores of music.

Then came lots of academic writing in the form of scholarly papers. Suddenly, twenty years ago, when I was right in the middle of my career as a college professor, I was hired by a brokerage, which will not be named! For several years, I was a journalist for them and wrote breaking news, while continuing my career as a college professor. I was working for this organization on 9/11/2001 when the Twin Towers came down. I had to cover that story and I will never forget it.

Throughout the decade of the 2000’s, I wrote for a variety of organizations and in many capacities. What I wrote is more important than who I wrote for. I wrote in my field of finance as a freelance writer. I wrote magazine articles on a whole variety of subjects. I developed online courses for corporations and their executives.

Then, I discovered blogging. I had become interested in writing fiction. I had always had an interest in fiction, but I had a busy career. I had really had two busy careers, academia and freelance writing. Writing fiction was a luxury I could never afford until I retired. I started trying my hand at fiction and ended up writing a novel, which is what I am doing now.

To all of you who are younger than me and embarking on a writing career, let me tell you one thing. You can make a living freelance writing. It is not necessarily easy but it is possible. You have to be persistent and organized. That is actually more important than talent. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a class in freelance writing to get started off on the right foot.

I think writing was what I was what I was supposed to do with my life because I’m drawn to it like a magnet. If I’m upset, I want to write. If I’m happy, I want to write. If you feel like that, write, and try to make your living doing it!

kasmin.wordpress.com

Local

IMG_0695

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.

Trump: The Apprentice or The Imposter

img_0367

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.

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!