Friday, June 26, 2009

North, to Alaska

This afternoon we're flying to Seattle: hubby and I, his parents, and two of his sisters. Hubby's brother is in charge of the garden, and his other sister is making progress fighting off the effects of her stroke. She is doing better all the time, but there is a long and tedious road ahead.

We stay in Seattle tonight, then travel to Vancouver where we board the Holland America Zuiderdam headed for Alaska. It seems a little callous to have fun when family members are struggling, but this has been planned for months and hubby's hospitalized sister insisted we not change plans. Maybe she'll have good surprises for us when we get back.

We're not taking computers because it's iffy as whether we could get them to work on the ship's system, so I'll be quiet until we get back. I hope to return with beautiful pictures and fun stories. I'll catch up after Independence Day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's that time of year again

My father-in-law asked for some pictures when his garden started growing. I took this first picture a month ago. My mother-in-law was skeptical about getting it all planted before the end of May, because often they have a freeze before mid-June. But, he was optimistic and eager to get it going, so he took the chance.
The reason it looked so weed-free and healthy is shown in the above picture: dedication.

This was the way it looked on Sunday. He was disgusted with the wind blowing because it was drying things out too quickly.
It is too big to get in one picture, so I snapped from a couple of angles. The corn rows are separated by rows of potatoes. The corn was planted at slightly different times to try and keep it from all being ready at the same time. Sometimes it doesn't work.
There are rows of tomatoes, carrots, radishes (won't be good for much longer), beans, onions, peas, cucumbers, squash, Swiss chard, beets, cabbage, and other good stuff. What you won't see are weeds.

He will turn 82 while we are on our cruise next week. We think his beloved garden is what keeps him young.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Decency and Responsibility or Laws and Rules?

I've read a couple of pieces written by Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University. I found myself agreeing with many of his points about how people seem to have changed--and not for the better.

His contention is that somehow parents have failed to completely pass along the values and traditions of preceding generations, and that some of today's accepted behavior would have been "despicable" a number of years ago.
1. Television advertisements that promise to help people get out of paying half of what they owe. (Included in one of my old posts--bothers me too.)
2. Ads that promise help getting someone out of paying their tax debt. (Also in my post.)
3. Foul language spoken even by children, often to adults and teachers.
4. Baby showers for unwed mothers.
5. Men sitting while a woman or elderly person must stand.
6. The fact that it is a newsworthy event when someone returns some valuable thing to its proper owner.
7. Big, white weddings for couples who have lived together for years, and may even have children.

Today, besides being told that we are not responsible for our own debts, we are constantly reminded that we "deserve" a new car or a well-paying job. Why?

As Professor Williams states, "high rates of illegitimacy make a positive contribution to a civilized society?" Do couples or children benefit from living in uncommited, temporary situations. It used to be controlled because it was considered shameful and undesirable.
Talking back to a teacher would have immediately earned a trip to the principal's office and a call to parents. And parents probably would have sided with the school. Now even a stern talking-to comes with a potential for litigation, because children (and parents) cannot be held accountable.

Now we seem to require ordinances that set aside bus or train seats for "Seniors or Disabled," because no one would think of it otherwise? The behavior of gentlemen used to shield women from "coarse" behavior. Today, we used sexual harassment laws instead.

Professor Williams explained that during the 40s, his family lived in North Philly, in a housing project. He goes on to say that there were no bars on windows, no locked doors during the day, and on hot nights many slept outside on lawn chairs. He continues, "Keep in mind that the 1940s and 1950s were a time of gross racial discrimination, high black poverty and few opportunities compared to today. " His conclusion is that these neighborhoods were far more civilized and that should make one wonder about the excuses that try to blame today's problems on poverty and discrimination.

Laws and rules are poor substitutes for traditions, morals, and values. His final sentence was, in my opinion, powerful. "Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we've become." When did it become so unusual or difficult to just do the right thing?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Living brings trials..

I haven't posted for a week because thoughts have been difficult to pull together. I am very worried about the direction of our country. I'm afraid my children (and grandchildren) are going to have a big price to pay for the enormous and growing government debt. (A post by itself.)

I am concerned about the level of education and intelligence of our population. Did you ever watch "Jaywalking" on Leno, or listen to the mangling of our language on television and radio? Does it concern anyone else that young people know more about Britney Spears and Kobe Bryant than Abraham Lincoln , Ben Franklin, or today's leaders? (Another post.)

Finally, our own family has had its own stresses including a younger sister-in-law who just suffered a massive stroke. We're all saying prayers for her.

One a fun note, I'm traveling tomorrow to watch four of my fabulous grandchildren while my son and his wife move to their new house. In reality, I'll mostly be trying to contain and entertain the 3-year-old (nicknamed Tornado). I don't think I'll take my laptop because I'm not sure when their Internet connection will be switched, and I doubt I'll have much time to spend on it anyway.

Hopefully, by the time I get back home, my sis-in-law will be improving, and family struggles will be subsiding. Then watch out, because I'm likely to get prolific and opinionated. Wait, I'm already opinionated. Aren't we all?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Desert Springtime

Believe it or not, this is the sun.  It has been windy all day and I love the variety of the sky.  We have high cirrus, fluffy-looking cumulus, and kinds in between.  It is still warm at 7 p.m.--I'm guessing low 80s, but hubby says I always guess too cool--so I had a lovely walk.   
I have a couple of serious posts working around in my head, but they're not ready yet.  So I decided to join SkyWatch Friday.  I hope hubby's flight home isn't too rough tonight.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Saturday, I cheered at a graduation.  My brother's daughter graduated with her Bachelor of Science Degree as a Registered Nurse.  I was particularly proud because hubby and I were allowed to share her a bit as temporary surrogate parents for three of those years.  Never having had daughters, it was fun to have her (and her younger sister for a while) in the house during the week.

When she was accepted into the nursing program before her junior year, the advisor told her she would have to choose: nursing or basketball--it was not possible to do both.  Since the basketball scholarship was what made it possible for her to attend this private college, and she was determined to become a nurse, she was not deterred.  Maybe everyone could use a slice of her optimism.  Her basketball team made it to the second round of the NAIA national finals, she finished her nursing degree, and--in addition--she got married midyear when she found 4 free days.
She is a terrific girl and we are nearly as proud of her as her parents are.