Childhood Flashback

I opened the door this morning to see several inches of snow. And it’s still snowing. Feeling like a kid, I decided to suit up and go out to play in this winter wonderland. I ran downstairs to gather my never before used cold weather gear. As I waddle back up the stairs, I begin to remember the snowy days of my childhood in Kansas. The snow, so white, so beautiful. Sledding down the little hill in the backyard using trash bags, cardboard, real sleds and saucers (yes, saucers). We made snow angels and snowmen, snow forts and snowballs.

I opened the door and stepped out into the cold with gleeful anticipation. And then it hit me. Some things never change. The attire had changed somewhat, I no longer had the head to ankle snowsuit over layers of clothing, or the bread wrapper encased feet shoved into too tight snowboots, mittens, hat, and a scarf around my face. Now I wore layers of clothing under a North Face winter coat, gloves, hat, a scarf around my face, and with my pants tucked into waterproof camouflage hunting boots. But, as soon as I stepped out the door … I had to pee.

Too bad. No way was I going to take one item off of my body and go back inside. Just as when I was 6 years old, at 56 I would have to be a big girl and deal with it. So, off I went! I tried to build a snowman, but the snow was too powdery and wouldn’t stick together. There was no way I was going to lay down in the snow to make an angel. There was nobody with whom to build a fort or throw snowballs. So, I settled for walking around, kicking snow, catching a flake on my tongue and just enjoying the quiet.

I went back inside after practically stripping down on the porch. I had forgotten that one doesn’t just walk back indoors without first removing all the wet clothing and boots. I think this is why one must have hot chocolate with marshmallows after playing in the snow. It is a magic elixir that makes one forget about any discomforts and allows room in your memory for only the joy.

It’s still snowing.

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Perchance to Dream? My Brain Says “Not Likely.”

It is hard to describe this noise, this sound. It’s a thud. Like the sound of a piece of furniture falling hard onto a carpeted floor. Or a child falling out of bed. It’s a thwap, like the sound of a bullet impacting the ground right next to you. It’s a whomp, like the sound of a heavy machine unexpectedly toppling over onto the earth. It’s not a sharp, clear sound. It’s muffled to me, here in my bed, but it is a loud sound. It’s big.  Is there someone in the living room? Did they stumble in the dark and knock over the bookcase? Was that a slamming door? Was that an accident outside? Is someone hurt? My muscles tense as I wait for the next sound that will tell me what I need to do. Call 911? Grab a weapon?

I cannot sleep. I cannot rest. The noise goes on around the clock. There is no break, it seems, just an intermittent thud, boom, thwap, at all hours.

“Get some ear plugs!” my concerned friend advises.

Ear plugs are not the answer, as each thud, whomp, thwap, sends vibrations through the air, through the earth, which resonates in my being. Each one reaching deeper into the core of my soul. The sound triggers visceral memories, telling my brain that danger is imminent, an emergency is looming, a crisis is coming. At the very least, there is something happening that will require a physical response from me. Stay alert! Don’t close your eyes! Don’t relax.

My brain tells me to prepare exit strategies, review locations of weapons and medical supplies. I must stand guard, be prepared to fight, defend, resist, respond.

I know the origin of the noise. There is no threat to my safety. I know this to be true. It does not matter. Some part of my brain will simply not accept that reality.

I cannot rest. I cannot sleep.

Long before the city workers finish building the new highway, I will be living somewhere more peaceful.

Hurricane Harvey and Humanity

I will keep this post brief, but I feel compelled to say a few things about Hurricane Harvey.

  1. I am in Houston. My family’s homes did not flood and we did not lose electricity. We are grateful. Our neighborhoods were lucky, but only blocks away, others were swamped and had to be evacuated.
  2. This storm was severe for five days. Some places saw over 30″ of rain. It felt like being under siege with no weapons which could combat the enemy. With all I’ve heard, I estimate 30,000 people are in shelters. There’s just no telling how many homes have been damaged or are a complete loss.
  3. For the most part, criminal activity has been minimal and any shenanigans are being quickly reported. Neighbors are looking out for each other. Law enforcement has demonstrated they will not tolerate one iota of bad behavior, making arrests and watching out for the residents.
  4. Thousands of people had to be rescued from flooded homes and apartments. The number of people who answered the calls for assistance was amazing. Even before the call went out, local residents (including my son) were helping those who needed it. People from all over the state, and even out of state, came to help with the evacuations/rescues. Trucks with boats were lining up all over the area, ready to help. And they were needed. We had the National Guard, the Coast Guard, local law enforcement and fire department personnel, and still, they needed help.
  5. Speaking of all of those agencies … I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but what I saw was an unbelievably calm and coordinated effort during an historic, horrific natural disaster. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (not my favorite) was calm, articulate, decisive, and dare I say, eloquent, during every press update. My respect for him shot through the roof every time I heard him talk. Every government official who spoke at each press update deserves a big thank you for being honest, succinct and knowledgeable. Well done.
  6. People died because of this storm. Every death is tragic. I’m grateful that the number of dead is not over the low double digits. One notable death was Sergeant Steve Perez. Sgt. Perez worked for the Houston Police Department for over 30 years, he was 60 years old. He drowned in flood waters while trying to get to work. He tried for over two hours to find a way to get to a station where he could begin the job of helping people. He just wasn’t going to give up trying to find a way to report to his duty station. I’m truly sorry that he didn’t make it.
  7. And last on my little list here, hopefully not sounding trite … race, creed, color, national origin, or any other way people like to classify and separate themselves, did not matter when it came to saving lives. Those who needed help and those who were doing the helping, no one cared about anything beyond saving human lives. No questions asked. No politics. No bullshit. No whining. What we saw was overwhelming gratitude and respect. Why, why, why can’t we do better without the near tragedy experience?? Oh well, off my soapbox.

Many shelters are operating and donations are needed, of course. Two things of note about the shelters and the needs. First, those shelters are organized and there are many, many volunteers, they seem to need more volunteers to staff them overnight. FEMA is beginning their processing at the shelters. Second, the donations have been pouring in and some shelters are asking for a halt to donations of clothes. Please check media sites and social media before taking donations to any of them. Just because they are full now, doesn’t mean they will be in two days. There is a way to sign up to volunteer at RedCross.org.

The recovery is going to take months. In some places, it will be years. Today, I was never more thankful to see the sun.

Trump In Saudi Arabia

There was a time when those who identified as Liberals and Democrats would chew you up and spit you out if you objected to Obama’s actions while in office. If you objected to his obvious affinity for Islam versus a love of America, citing his own words that he would side with Muslims over Americans, you would be verbally bashed in the head as a drooling, Fox News worshiping moron.

Thankfully, those days are gone. Um, kind of.

Now is the time when those who identify as Conservatives and Republicans will chew you up and spit you out if you object to Trump’s actions while in office. If you object to anything he does, then you must be a liberal, feminist, Hillary-loving, CNN worshiping, American hating moron.

I was reading my post about The Presidential Inauguration and remembered that I knew this was going to happen. I had hoped for the best, thinking that now would be the time people would focus more on principles, individual rights, and the fiscal policies that would be needed to make our country strong. But, instead, my fears that the worshiping of a President’s personality would be center stage are being realized.

In spite of what some may think, I’m perfectly capable of being happy about policies implemented and speeches made by a man I do not like. Just as I was unhappy with policies and speeches made by a man I did like. Because my love for freedom and rights isn’t predicated on my personal feelings about the person in the White House.

Trump shouldn’t have gone to Saudi Arabia, nor given a speech which downplayed their role in the attacks on our country on September 11, 2001.  He signed a multibillion dollar arms deal with a country that uses Sharia Law and doesn’t recognize rights of women or gays or…well, pretty much everyone but some men. In his speech there today, he called Saudi Arabia “home to the holiest sites in one of the world’s great faiths.” Sickening. Do you think he’s the first President I’ve detested for failing to recognize the threats to our country? Please! Go all the way back to Carter (just trying to stay in my lifetime here) and his horrible response to the hostage crisis. And, yes, I was cussing out my television when George W. Bush created another Cabinet to ‘combat terrorism.’  Those two, and every one in between, have been weak on this country’s safety while spending billions and stripping away American’s rights, never facing the real problem head on.

Let’s defend sound policy and real Constitutional law. Let’s defend rights and freedom. But, do not ever expect me to defend the indefensible simply because your guy is in office and might have been better than the alternative, or because he’s black or white or green or female or whatever! Principles, not personalities.

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Volunteering With US Forest Service

I put together a few highlights from my summer of volunteering with the U.S. Forest Service. It was a memorable time, for many reasons, not the least of which is that I fell deeply in love with Idaho. It broke my heart to leave.

I hope you enjoy the video 🙂 Don’t forget to click the Buy Coffee for Lisa button on the upper right 😉 Thanks!!

Missing: Individual Rights

Thomas Jefferson, on law and morality not always being the same:

“But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”
–Letter to Isaac H. Tiffany, April 4, 1819

America is in its infancy, and unlike other nations, has no one to look to for successful examples of protecting freedom and individual rights.  That is because the United States of America, and her Constitution, is unique in the history of mankind.  I’ve heard it said that America has no discernible culture, in the way of European or South American countries, for example.  It may be true we have no collective song, dance or particular clothing to define us.  But, we do have a culture; it’s a culture of individual rights.  A culture of freedom.

 

Our current political and economic conditions are proof that America needs leaders who understand our unique place in history.  We need leaders who are ready to stand and defend the Constitution, remembering that they are representatives of the people and not dictators.  Our elected officials exist to protect the individual rights of the citizens, so that they may live their life and pursue happiness.  But, the reality is that our elected officials have turned our country into a nation of laws which dictate mundane, day to day aspects of our lives, destroying our inalienable rights.  We spend most of our time trying to overcome the obstacles put in our way by the government itself.

 

Our country has been turned on its head:  self-serving tax laws which lead businessmen to move their companies out of the country, destroying our manufacturing base; elected officials giving monetary assistance to one business over another, destroying fair competition; allowing Islamic mandates to be used in our courts, making a mockery out of our judicial system; allowing our educational system to be used as institutes for anti-American indoctrination; allowing those same institutions to be used to force the sexualization of children, undermining moral and beneficial relationships.  Were you aware that teachers are given manuals instructing them on discussing HIV with kindergarten children? Kindergarten children are 5-6 years old, barely cognizant of their own bodies, but we have teachers discussing with them a sexually transmitted disease?  I hardly think our Founding Fathers and Patriots fought to establish this country so our children could put condoms on bananas.

We’ve lost the knowledge, and stopped the evolution of the knowledge, of what it means to be a free people. We must understand individual rights. Everything flows from there. Everything.

Dear Mr. President

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations on being elected to the office of President. It’s going to be a tough 4 years and I wish you all the best. Many Americans voted for you because they were tired of not being properly represented by their elected officials. They joined Tea Parties, they quietly marched on Washington, they called and emailed their Senators and yet, their voices were not heard. The frustration was overwhelming and understandable. You spoke to their souls when you said you loved America. They saw a light at the end of the tunnel. They saw, in you, someone who would stand up to the socialist bullies and give them back the rule of law.

I didn’t see that in you, but I’m hoping I was wrong. Rather than focus on the problems I saw with electing you to office, I want to focus on what could go right. I’m writing to tell you what I think most of us want to see from your 4 years in office. This is certainly what I want to see:

  1. Respect the rule of law. Do not overstep the bounds of the Presidency. Hold Congress accountable to the Constitution. Guide them to be better.
  2. Take time to implement the roll back of 8 years of bad decisions. Do what you said and let the smartest people around you take care of the details. It took 8 years to make a mockery of this country. We’re patient enough to give you more than a week to sanely turn things around.
  3. Stay off Twitter and other social media. We would like a President who has more to say than what can be put in a 140 character tweet. Set an example for deeper thinking.
  4. Grow into the most amazing statesmen we’ve seen in modern history. Pull off #1, not by ‘in your face’ tactics, but with diplomacy and tact. Be firm. Be wise. We love that you want America to be great, just remember why she IS great.
  5. Bash the ideology of socialism without bashing or bullying the Democrats. Not all who consider themselves Democrats are nasty people. They are our fellow Americans and deserve to be heard.

You have the hopes of a freedom loving nation riding on your shoulders; the hope that doing the right thing and caring about people will matter again; the hope that the individual still has rights and justice will prevail.

I sincerely wish you and your family the best of everything in these next 4 years.

Your fellow American,

Lisa Doby