Saturday, December 3, 2011

Requiem for a Mismatched Pair of Socks

You insidious unpaired defiant wretches

Unaccustomed to the other

Patterns in heated dispute
Yet emerging as if wed
Once each of you were holy partnered
Right and left together properly bedded
Now here you lie 
Too unlike the other to become one
Destined to spend unnumbered days
Cast into the catchall grave 
Until another purpose unfolds
Hoping for a miraculous reunion
When the lost again is found 


Come one come all and help me celebrate the release of my Debut Novel, The Other Side of Darkness.
I'll be on-line from noon to 4:00pm. 

To access readings


leave a comment and be entered into a drawing for a free book or Starbuck coupons. 

You can come to the party through fb at

Hope we'll see you. Should be fun!

Friday, November 18, 2011


The Quest for Thin…

 The quest to be thin is nothing new.  One scientific paper ( suggests that obesity dates back to our prehistoric ancestors and the necessity for survival. Humans fattened and slimmed according to the tides of plenty and famine. However, in modern times obesity is now considered a major health issue.

But I wonder in our quest to fight obesity, if we haven’t become hysterically driven toward the lean side of life.  Certainly weight loss products cram the market these days…all promising amazing results.

When I was growing up, the rage for weight control was a little caramel-like candy called AYDS.
Ayds, not to be confused with the disease, was an appetite-suppressant candy which enjoyed strong sales in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was available in chocolate, chocolate mint, butterscotch or caramel flavors, and later peanut butter. The active ingredient was originally benzocaine, a local anesthetic used as topical pain reliever, also found in cough drops. Bezocaine supposedly suppressed the taste buds thus reducing the urge to eat. Later, the company changed the active ingredient to phemylopropanolamine (PPA), a stimulant often found in decongestants as well as treatment for urinary incontinence in dogs. In the USA, PPA  is no longer sold without a prescription due to the increased risk of stroke in younger women.
I remember the old Slimfast commercials, some featuring aging athletes, and how easy it would be to lose weight with Slimfast products, like this commercial.  

When I was in grade school, I remember my family doctor giving my mother advice on weight management. It’s simple arithmetic. You have to burn more calories than you consume. End of story. Just eat sensibly and exercise more.”
Now why can’t I do that?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today I'm hosting Elaine Cooper's Book Blog

Note: There is a contest:  Leave a comment and be entered to receive a prize as listed below

An Absolutely Charming Tale!
Once again, Elaine Marie Cooper pens an absolutely charming tale of eighteenth century Americana. War, no matter the era, takes its toll on both soldiers and families. The Promise of Deer Run is a precious next story following Mary and Daniel’s story in The Road to Deer Run, picking up with Mary’s sister, Sarah a few years down the line. Be sure to read the first book too! As a historian and author, I am grateful to Elaine for her dedication to authenticity.  —Lisa Lickel,  author of A Summer in Oakville

Watch the book trailer
 The Story Behind the Story:
How The Deer Run Saga Was Birthed
By Elaine Marie Cooper
When I was young and first heard that one of my grandfathers had been a Redcoat during the Revolutionary War, I was somewhat embarrassed. Growing up in Massachusetts had made me proud of our country’s heritage. But instead of finding zealous patriots in my bloodline, my DNA was from an enemy soldier named Daniel Prince!
Calmer reasoning prevailed, however, as I thought about the reality of his story. Living conditions in Colonial times were difficult, to say the least. It was a frightening period of our history for both Americans and the British. And in the midst of our nation struggling to be birthed, two people on opposing sides in a bloody war met and fell in love.
This story from my family’s history was transformed in my thinking into an inspiring one of romance, unhindered by the politics of the day. It became, purely and simply, a love story.
And so was birthed the idea to create a fictional account of actual events. Since the story is from my imagination, I opted to change last names, the names of the communities, and many other details of the time. However, many of the historical events are documented facts.
The particular information on Daniel Prince’s military background was discovered thanks to the diligent work of Betty Thomson, independent researcher at The National Archives, Kew, in England. 
In book one, The Road to Deer Run and now in the sequel,The Promise of Deer Run, I made every effort to stay true to the colonial times. Descriptions of food, homes, clothing, farming, worship practices, medical care, etc. are the result of extensive research.
It has been a personally inspiring experience to write these novels. While the times have changed since the 18th century, the same struggles of their day are our own. Forgiveness, fear, pain, illness, despair, the pain of having a family member at war, the death of a loved one—these are all the battles we contend with in the 21st century. But we also share faith, laughter, love, the excitement of that first kiss, the wonder of looking at a newborn. These are the same joys that we share with our ancestors who are so much a part of who we are.
Their journeys are interwoven with our own.

About the Author:
Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandchildren who are now one years old. The Promise of Deer Run is dedicated to the triplets and to veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door and a blog on Christian living called Reflections In Hindsight. She is the author ofThe Road to Deer Run and the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run. Prior to becoming an author, Elaine worked as a registered nurse.
The Road to Deer Run won the following honors:
  • Finalist: 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards 
  • Honorable Mention: 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival
  • Best Romantic Moment:, February 2011
Author Photo
Author Elaine Marie 
About The Promise of Deer Run: 
America’s war for freedom from England has been over for seven years, but the wounds of that conflict still haunt the minds and hearts of the residents of Deer Run. Young American veteran Nathaniel Stearns has withdrawn to a life of isolation as he awaits his father who never returned from the war.
A near-tragedy in the woods brings Nathaniel face-to-face with nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, someone he had long admired but he assumed had eyes for another. This chance encounter opens a crack into the door of his heart as mutual affection quickly blooms.
But slander and lies soon mar the budding romance, rendering both Sarah and Nathaniel wounded and untrusting as their faith in both their God and each other is shattered. Set in 1790, this book continues the story of the Thomsen and Lowe families as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the war that birthed the United States.

Leave a comment and be entered to receive the following prize: 
Grand Prize (Retail Value: $297.38) Contains:
  • Basket
  • $25 Starbucks gift card  
  • Spode Christmas teapot  
  • Spode Christmas mugs   
  • Yankee candle
  • Hardbound copy The Road to Deer Run
  • Hardbound copy The Promise of Deer Run 
  • Bath and Body Paris Amour scent  

Book Cover Photo
The Promise of Deer Run
ISBN: 9781462037964           
Softcover: $16.95           
ISBN: 9781462037971           
Hardcover: $26.95           
ISBN: 1462037968
E-book: $9.99
Released: August 16, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


Life is full of wrong turns.

A friend of mind said she’d be so lost if she were driving. Truth is so would I without a GPS. Then again, I manage to get lost even with Chatty Cathy hollering at me to turn left, turn right, and giving me fair warning ahead.

That’s not surprising when I often become disoriented in a mall. Many is the time I come out of a side store and think I’m heading toward the end cap and wind up at the food court instead. I grab a doughnut and coffee, justified by the additional steps I’ll have to take to walk back to where I wanted to go in the first place, and start the journey over.

Back in the days when I first started driving, we used road maps. When I wanted to take a trip, I pulled out my Atlas, wrote down the directions and headed out. Problem is, I don’t know North, South, East or West when I’m on the road. I suppose I should have installed a huge compass on the dashboard. I’d read the road map only to realize, I read it upside down and ended up ten miles north instead of ten miles south.
Just like Chatty Cathy recalculates and eventually turns me around, I always managed to get to my final destination…eventually. Sometimes I found little treasures I would not have found if I hadn’t become directionally challenged.

Where’s the fun in always knowing where you want to go?

Sometimes I take a purposeful, spur-of-the-moment, side trip…not knowing where I’m going or where I’ll end up—and with no GPS or road map. Just trying to remember what street I turn onto when and retracing my steps. Obviously, I’ve always managed to find my way back…unlike Charlie on the MTA, I did return.
On one of those unplanned excursions, I ended up at a flea market barn…huge one…and I bought a picture. I still have it and display it prominently—a landscape of a turn of the century town…much like I imagine any small town in America would have looked like on the eve of the automobile. I like to put myself into the town and imagine what my life might have been like if I’d lived then.

Sometimes a wrong turn or an impromptu adventure can bring a taste of fond memories.
Have you ever taken a wrong turn and wound up in Adventureland? I’d love to hear about it.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

It is my pleasure to announce the release of Hello Hollywood by Janice Hanna Thompson. Janice's books often take the reader inside the zany. Attached is a blurb from her back cover. 

When it comes to love, one thing's for sure--it doesn't follow a script!
Athena Pappas is the head writer on Stars Collide, one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. But when Vegas comedian Stephen Cosse is brought in to beef up the show's suddenly sagging ratings, she starts to worry about her job. Sparks fly as the competition--and attraction--between the two writers heats up. Athena has never had a problem writing the romances of her characters. So why is her own love life so hard to script?

With humor and a Hollywood-insider viewpoint, Hello, Hollywood! delivers lots of laughs as Athena and Stephen discover that not being in control of the plot of their lives might just be the best thing that ever happened to them.

"Romance, drama, fun--Hello, Hollywood! has it all."--Jenny B. Jones, award-winning author of Save the Date and A Charmed Life series

"Thoroughly delightful! A blend of contemporary life and romance with nostalgic snapshots of Hollywood's golden age. Thompson writes with warmth and humor, creating a world we can all escape to for a little while."--Rachel Hauck, bestselling and award-winning author of Dining with Joy

Thanks, everyone!

Janice Hanna Thompson
"Love, Laughter and Happily Ever Afters!"

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and former screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson affords an inside look at TV land, drawing on her experiences as a screenwriter. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and Stars Collide. She lives in Texas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Zane Grey had his wild ride, too

My very special guest today is Tom Blubaugh, I'm certain you'll find this article encouraging to know what a very famous author endured. Very informative...thank you Tom for coming by today!

 It is nearly 100 degrees outside and I have been on this computer most of the day in my air-conditioned office, while sipping on a cherry and orange smoothie and cold glasses of diet root beer. I’ve been working at marketing my historical fiction novel Night of the Cossack and reading  How to Launch a Christian Best Seller Book, the John 3:16 Marketing Network Manual by Lorilyn Roberts.

About mid-afternoon, I found myself leaning back in my comfortable office chair and staring out the window. I was wondering how in the world an author marketed his book before computer, before Facebook, before twitter, before . . . . Out of curiosity I googled books published in 1911. I was surprised to find out that was the year the library was founded. I had never thought about that particular bit of history since libraries have been around my whole life.

I wondered what books were published in 1911. Here are five of them: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie; The Girl Story by L. M. Montgomery;  The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes by Beatrix Potter; Ethan Frome by Edith Warton; Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey and Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad. I picked out Zane Grey for some research on the Wikipedia site. Other than the difference of writing language, it was like reading a history of publishing today, but without the entire social media tools. “Grey had difficulties in writing his first novel, Betty Zane (1903). When Harper & Brothers rejected it, he lapsed into despair. The novel dramatized the heroism of an ancestor who had saved Fort Henry. He self-published it, perhaps with funds provided by his wife Dolly or his brother R. C.'s wealthy girlfriend Reba Smith.”

I don’t know why I was surprised that he self-published his first book. It didn’t say whether he was successful or not in this venture. After this, he went on a mountain lion hunting trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. He took a camera and recorded details of scenery, activities and dialogue, which he converted to a book The Last of the Plainsman. Harper’s editor, Ripley Hitchcock rejected it, the fourth work in a row. He told Grey, “I do not see anything in this to convince me you can write either narrative or fiction.” Grey wrote dejectedly, "I don’t know which way to turn. I cannot decide what to write next. That which I desire to write does not seem to be what the editors want...I am full of stories and zeal and fire...yet I am inhibited by doubt, by fear that my feeling for life is false.”

The book was published by Outing magazine and Grey continued writing magazine articles and youth novels. In 1911, eight years after his first novel, he wrote Riders of the Purple Sage, his all time best seller. Ripley Hitchcock rejected this one as well, but by then Grey had become a household name and Grey took it directly to the vice president of Harper, who accepted the book. Zane Grey produced over sixty books in his career.

This brought to mind an article for an insurance magazine. The reporter asked me what made my agency successful. My answer was persistence. The woman writing the article said she did not understand. I told her I had hired people who dressed well, spoke well, presented themselves well, yet failed , but I had never hired a person who, day after day, did what she was taught who wasn’t successful. This was a picture of Zane Grey. Although his work was rejected, his writing ability was rejected; he was discouraged, but never quit. He self-published, turned to magazines, managed to make his name a household word and succeeded.
Will I be as successful as Zane Grey? I don’t know. I am 69 years old. My goal is to make my name well known enough that readers will buy my book Night of the Cossack. I have Facebook, Twitter,, B&N, Goodreads and all the other social media tools on the Internet with a potential of hundreds of millions  readers. Today I will persist.

Tom Blubaugh, Author of Night of the Cossack--Read the first chapter get a signed copy by ordering here. FREE shipping in USA. Published by Bound by Faith Publishers.
ebook for Kindle available at Be sure to like my page and do a review when you finish, if you like my book.
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ebook for Nook available at Barnes & Noble
Night of the Cossack Facebook author page. Be sure to like my page while you're there please.
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Twitter @tomblubaugh
Author's Den. A great Author/Reader site.  You can join free.  Look me up and be sure to become a fan while you're there.
Check me out on Goodreads.
Co-author of The Great Adventure published by Barbour Publishing. (out of print).

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Todays post is by guest blogger Suzanne Hartman

Last month my husband and I moved our oldest son into a dorm at Missouri Baptist University. I expected all of the motherly emotions that go with sending a child off and prepared to stifle them until I was alone so I wouldn’t embarrass Andrew. What I didn’t expect was the blast from the past the move-in brought.

The moment we walked into the lobby, the similarities hit me. It may be thirty years later and a small, private school instead of a large, state university, but it still had the same feel. The couches screamed “college d├ęcor,” and the rows of keyed mailboxes cued a string of memories about mail from friends and family and the occasional, extra-special package.

While eerie familiarity filled me, I also remembered the anxiety that accompanied the excitement. I understood that  apprehension crept around the edges of my son’s thoughts even though he didn’t allow it to show. We all knew he would do fine, but life with roommates instead of a family would be different.

The nostalgia quickly morphed from the good memories into a mental slide-show of the many things I didn’t share with my parents. Not that I was a bad kid or got into trouble, but I participated in some things I knew my parents wouldn’t approve. And many times there simply weren’t enough words or time to share everything I experienced.

So my thoughts circled back to my worries and concerns—this time fueled by the flashbacks to my own college years. I know my son. He’s a good kid and becoming a godly young man. I need to trust him, and trust God to watch over him and guide him, just like my parents did with me so many years ago.

An oddness filled me as I experienced the emotions of multiple generations: a youth moving into the next stage of life, a mother letting a child go, and a grown child wondering how my own mother felt when she left me at my dorm for the first time. The circle of life came around a full turn.

I noticed that your posts usually have pictures, so here is a picture from the move-in if you’d like to use it:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

When it comes to change, many fear it as much as the Borg. We think we are giving up something intrinsic and uniquely us if we adapt and assimilate.

In a recent news article:
“Many schools still have cell phone bans, but the prominence of the devices in everyday life and the educational opportunities they present have encouraged some educators to rethink those policies. Smart phones, which can be used for purposes such as taking notes and performing calculations, can fill in the technological gaps in schools without cutting-edge computers. For example, high-school teacher Jamie Williams said his students use their phones to take pictures and videos for art projects.” 

Years ago, movies were banned by those who feared the infiltration might ruin impressionable minds. While I was in school, movies became a staple in education…audio visual aids…they were called. Some of the students actually took courses to learn how to operate the devices and how to change reels. Of course, that was before DVDs.

When computers came along, some teachers thought it was the end of the world. Eventually, some educators began to see the value in students learning experience in spite of the well-meaning church folk who decided the Internet was the devil’s work. Now computers and DVDs and gadgets are used in the classroom as never before.

I guess my mother’s old standby, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” still holds true. Better to adapt and assimilate the new, to enhance the quality of experience, than fight to keep the tattered and continue mindlessly with the comfortable and proven.

Perhaps the biggest reason for resistance is the fact that the older we get, the longer it takes to process and learn. Maybe that’s why we want to hold to the old policies, to the old ways of doing things, to our antiquated equipment. It gets harder and harder to add new information to an all-ready crowded brain.  

I remember how my mother hollered when I wanted to buy her a cd player. “I’m too old to learn new ways of doing things,” she said, until her favorite nephew bought her one. Then, her attitude changed. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”  

In her lifetime, she went from wringer washer machine and pedal-operated sewing machine to automatic clothes washer and an electric dishwasher. With each transition she fought the change until time, energy, or the insistence of others forced the change. Always, though, she was glad she finally capitulated.

I vehemently opposed the digital age. I swore up and down I’d never be able to learn how to use a computer. Then computers became mandatory on my job. I had no choice. “If you can’t beat em, join em.”

I’ll never be techno-smart, but I did learn that computers can greatly enhance the quality of life.  I learned not to resist so hard, but to embrace change. My generation has gone from manual typewriters to electric typewriters to computers, from dial access antenna operated televisions to remotes to cable, from VCRs to DVRs, from clumsy movie cameras to camcorders to digital recorders and smart phones that do it all.

Every aspect of our lives is touched by change. We can resist and miss out on the wonders the new brings, or we can get on the surf board of change and glide to shore, enjoying the ride.  

Monday, July 18, 2011


There’s a lake near my apartment building. On nights when I’m tired or need to clear my head, which at my age is nearly every night, I sometimes will take a walk around it. I never liked birds but I find these birds on Kendall Lake particularly interesting.

Especially the long-necked geese. They’re larger than the Canada geese that flew over the lake near my home in Northern New York. These larger, longer-necked geese stay year around.

One night while I strolled the lake’s perimeter, I saw a sea of brown and black taking up nearly one-fourth of the bank on the other side of the lake. As I got closer, there must have been a hundred of or more of those long-necked geese.  

I had seen them on the golf course but never before in such big numbers.

It had rained quite a bit and I supposed the grass surround the lake was a hot spot for worms or grubs or whatever geese eat. They sure poop enough. The sidewalk was covered with the evidence of their existence.

Then as mysteriously as they came, they left.

Probably to literally find greener pastures. I figured they’d pecked the land clean of grubs and went hunting to find more.

Then tonight, there they were again. Not as many but pecking away, content in their meanderings. Once in a while, one of them would catch a grub and another greedy mate would chase him away and steal it.
I suppose greed and trying to take something away from our fellow sojourner that we didn’t earn for ourselves is not necessarily only a human condition. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Fellow Writers Blog Hop


By Linda Rondeau                                                           

Our blog exchange for Fellow Writers asked us to excerpt an old manuscript and show how our writing has changed. I wrote this story eleven years ago as a writing exercise. You’ll quickly see the before was too passive and telling.
            Now, I write from deep point of view which helps eliminate the sense of telling that often accompanies a distant narrative style. Deep pov also promotes a more active narration.
I doubt I’d even write this story today as it is too predictable and contrived even with the fixes. But if I did, I’d probably write it from Chang Lee’s point of view.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the original and some from the “fixed” version.
How would you fix this story?
Nick’s Diner was nearly empty.  Miranda fixed her gaze on the rumpled note. The A homeless man had shoved it into her hand as she left the bank. He had said nothing and disappeared into the rush hour crowd.  
“What you reading? Must be fascinating.”  She hadn’t noticed Detective Dickson was seated next to her at the counter.
She quickly folded the evidence, sliding it into her purse.  “Just a letter from Dad.”  She lied.  The note had warned her not to contact the police. 
“So how is Sarge?”
“Fine.  Just fine since he left the force and is living in a warmer climate.”  
Dickson glanced at his watch.  “What are you doing here this late?” 
Miranda knew it was already 10 PM.  The minutes ticked away while conversing with the obese and balding Lieutenant James Dickson.
“I’m a big girl, Jim.  I can take care of myself.  I already have a father.” 
“I envy Sarge.  Wish I could retire.”  Miranda pretended to listen while Dickson related the intricacies of his golden year fantasies.  She had no time for his ramblings. When he lifted his head toward the ceiling fan, she glanced at her watch—10:15—only fifteen more minutes. Third and Main was three blocks away. “Well, I really must be getting home.  Nice chatting with you.”  She stood.
“Give that kid of yours a high-five for me.”  Dickson slapped Miranda’s hand to further his instruction then left the diner as if on cue.  
Someone had been shadowing her around the clock. Had that someone followed her to the diner? Was she being watched even now? She had instructed her mother to take Brandon out of town for a few days. “Watch him carefully and stay in public places,” she had warned her, telling her nothing more.
The Chinese woman’s gaunt frame was unmistakable.  Even from a distance she knew it was Chang Lee.
 “You’re the one who wrote the note.  I suspected as much.”
She stopped short, noticing a revolver clasped in the woman’s hand.  “Where is Jiang?” 
Miranda stiffened defiantly.  “Brandon is safe where you will never find him no matter what happens to me.” 
“I want my son, back.” Chang Lee raised the gun aiming at Miranda’s chest.
“But he’s my son, now.  Remember?  You signed the papers giving him to me. You did a loving thing by letting him have the home you could not give him.  Don’t ruin his life by murdering the only mother he has ever known.”
  Miranda moved a little closer.  Chang Lee’s eyes were glazed and fully dilated. Was Chang Lee suffering from a drug-induced psychosis?  She inched carefully toward Chang Lee, making certain to avoid sudden movements or long steps.

            Miranda glanced at her watch. Fifteen minutes to spare—Third and Main only three blocks away. Nick’s dinner smelled like old fish. Its emptiness pressed against her. She re-read the crumpled note the homeless man had shoved into her hand as she left the bank earlier.     
“What you reading? Must be fascinating.”
She whipped her attention toward Dickson, Dad’s old partner, seated next to her at the counter.
“Just a letter from Dad. I didn’t see you come in.”
She shoved the note into her purse. Hard to put a lie past Dickson, but the note warned her to come alone and not tell anyone.
 “How’s Sarge doing these days?”
“Fine since he left the force. Loves Florida.”   
“Out kind of late, aren’t you?”Dickson peered at the clock overtop the grill. The dimmed florescent light bounced off his balding scalp.
“I’m a big girl, Jim. I can take care of myself. I already have a father.” 
“I envy Sarge.  Wish I could retire.” 
Dickson rambled on about his ever-changing retirement fantasies. This time he’d move to the Virgin Islands. She glanced at her watch. She had to leave.
“You’re right. It’s late. Guess I should get home.” 
“Give that kid of yours a high-five for me.” 
“Will do. Brandon thinks you’re pretty cool for an old guy.”
Dickson laughed, normally an appealing laugh. Tonight it grated.
Miranda slipped her purse onto her shoulders, her thoughts not far from the note. Bring Brandon with you
She sighed, gripping the Derringer…waiting. For what? Maybe the note had only been a cruel hoax and no one need die tonight.
She turned toward the sound of footsteps. A gaunt frame sauntered toward her, the Asian woman’s grotesque limp a giveaway. Chang Lee.  “I suspected as much.”
Chang Lee aimed a revolver at Miranda’s chest. “Where is Jiang?” 
“Where you’ll never find him.”
 “I want my son, back.”
“Chang Lee. Think about it. You did a loving thing by letting Jiang have the home you couldn’t give him. Don’t ruin his life by murdering the only mother he has ever known.”
  Now under the lamppost, fury blazed from Chang Lee’s dilated eyes, reminiscent of the day she signed the adoption papers, then under the throes of a drug-induced psychosis.


Friday, July 8, 2011


What ever happened to role modeling? How can we expect our youth to see integrity and honesty as something to emulate if no one around them exemplifies it? Is it any wonder our moral standard has sunk so low it is unrecognizable?

I remember the days when certain topics were taboo around children and truck drivers apologized for slipping out an impure word or two in front of children and ladies. 

Not so today. As I left the store to walk home, three young men were outside, their language colorful—not merely speckled, mind you, but bright-orange-foul.

I stopped, turned and said in a relatively calm manner, “Please don’t use that kind of language in public. Not everyone likes to hear it.” My mind said, “Didn’t your Mama every wash your mouth out with soap?”
I turned around again and headed back toward home. Then it dawned on me.

I wasn’t in rural America anymore.

These kids might have been thugs for all I know.

Everyone in the south seems to carry heat. Not me, though. I hate guns.

Oh well. I refuse to be a prisoner of fear.

Those boys needed a reminder, to at least rethink their language choices, and Grandma gave it to them.

I heard growling behind me. Turned again and the boys scowled at me grunting inaudibly (at least it wasn’t distinguishable swearing). I was glad they used their facial expressions as a weapon rather than taking out a Glock.

Grandma got one last word. “Now grow up.”

I’ll probably never know if my stab had any impact. Maybe that’s why we’ve reached a point where we have become too tolerant. It takes energy and courage to speak up for values. It’s easier just to ride the tidal wave of obscenity.

I went on my way and only looked back once to make sure they weren’t following me. I hate for them to know where I lived.

How did I feel?

Free to some degree. One woman congratulated me for speaking up to the young men.
Mostly, I felt sad. Sad that our country has deteriorated to the point our ears are assaulted at every turn. Not just our ears…all of our senses are bombarded with less than wholesome stimuli.  I felt saddened that there is so much disrespect for one another and for ourselves, that an older lady like me seems to be the only person shocked by this lack of civility.

Have the morals of the young squelched those we oldsters used to hold dear? Where is our example? I can’t even go into the McDonald’s without hearing the grossest of conversations…from what my friend calls the ROMEO crowd…raunchy old men eating out.

Sometimes I feel like I’m standing on the beach trying to hold back a tidal wave. But if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll think about whether you’re the wall or the ocean? 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Requiem for the Digitally Inept

I have surrendered. The digital age is here to stay and beyond. What is a techno klutz like me supposed to do to survive?

I’ve been taking care of my brother’s cats while he’s on vacation. Of course, he has a state of the art alarm system that is way beyond my comprehension. It has taken me four months in my new apartment to get the hang of my simpler device. When I go out, I put in a code and I have 20 seconds to shut the door. Simple…if I remember it all.

Sometimes, I forget that I have not disarmed the stay at home feature.  It blares as soon as I open the door. It has taken me three months to figure out that I only have to put the code in again to shut it up.

Then there’s the cell phone…another device that is diabolically designed to bring the techno klutz to their knees. It seems our culture has decided the cell phone is now the primary phone connection. What amazes me is that even professionals call a cell phone before they call the house phone. The young officer at the bank left a message on my cell which I finally retrieved five days later since I only use my cell when away from the landline. I need a beeper on my cell phone to let me know I have messages…oh wait a minute…I do. But I have to be powered on.  

Now you take these lethal combinations and they can translate into serious inconvenience. Such was the day I tripped my brother’s house alarm. It took me a good five minutes to realize what the gong was. I managed to shut it off with the remote. The alarm company called as I expected but the password was in the car. “Can you call me back in two minutes? I’m the cat sitter and the password is in my purse in the car.” Talk about sounding suspicious. But the good people must have sensed I was the real deal. Crooks aren’t that spazed.

They called back…I gave them the password and they were content. Or so I thought.
An hour or so later when I got home after doing errands, there was an urgent email from my brother. Where are you? The alarm went off and I couldn’t get hold of you. I left two messages on your phone.  I called the police. 

No there was not one single message on my landline. When did message on your phone translate to I left a voice mail on your cell phone? Since I was powered down and I go days without checking my voice mail…well, you get the picture.

I was out of communication.

Apparently, my brother’s sophisticated alarm system notifies two people. And while I was on the phone talking to one person, another person was calling my brother and the two of them never communicated to one another. All the commotion could have been avoided if I simply kept my cell phone powered on.

So…it’ll take me three more months to get used to remembering that my cell phone has now become my primary source of notification. By then, the digital warriors will insist I have a phone device other than my simple Tracphone then back to the farm for the technologically challenged.