Ode to My Sister

Ode to My Sister

My Sister is two years younger than I am.  I admit that we fought like the proverbial cats and dogs while we lived at home with our parents.  I still bear the scar on my left hand, where she dug in her fingernail.  When we were at home with a babysitter, she was the trouble-maker, while I got blamed (you’re older, you should know better).

When we got a little older, she was the popular one, while I shut myself up in my room with a book.  She had lots of friends; I didn’t.  In college, she was the “sorority chick”, and I was the “black sheep” who lived in the dorm and mostly studied.  I envied her, with all her friends and boyfriends.  While I was away at college across the state, our mother spent a few months in Israel, so Sister lived at home with Dad and they had a great time.

Sister mostly knew what she wanted to be when she grew up, and did so with alacrity.  I didn’t.  She worked in increasingly-responsible marketing jobs after college, and eventually started her own small business with a partner.  She married the guy who was the helper in her sorority house in college, and they had two children.  My brother-in-law was a salesman for a roofing-coating company, and together they did very well.  He eventually went to law school, and had a successful career as a personal-injury lawyer.

Sis was the one who took things in hand while our father was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  She helped my mother get through that difficult time, and just always seemed to know just what to do in most circumstances.  I was living farther away from the family, so she just took over what was needed.  I thanked her for that.  She also kept more in touch with the rest of our family, passing on news of births and deaths.

When our mother was in her last years fighting breast cancer, Sis basically took care of her, moving her to the nursing home when she could no longer live at home.  At this time, I had just had knee surgery, and was miserable with a case of Coxsackie Virus, which included very painful sores in my mouth so I could not eat or talk for two weeks.  Sis just took the situation well in hand, and I was very grateful.  Once Mom died, Sis did the basic work of dividing up the estate between us, selling Mom’s condo and doing all the other work needed to wind down an estate, including paying the taxes.  I still don’t know how she did it all.

Sis always hosted Passover, Thanksgiving, and Chanukah at her house for many years.  Brother-in-law and the kids did a lot of the work, but Sis was the guiding presence.  She got very creative with Chanukah Gelt for the kids, and I still marvel at how she came up with papier-mâché figures to hide cash.  One year the kids got “cash cows” made of toilet-paper tubes, and one year they got “money-laundering” machines stuffed with bills.  In her role as “family-keeper”, she helped set up a little reunion down in Portland, with cousins from as far away as Alaska.  This family has a sense of humor.  See below.


Sis is, of course, in the middle-this is the “birthday cousins”.

Both of the kids are on their own now, and Nephew is married and a new father.  The last couple of years have been difficult, however, as Brother-in-law developed liver disease, and went on a transplant list.  Once again, Sister was the rock of the family, shuttling back and forth to the hospital on numerous occasions, and putting on Thanksgiving dinner alone last year (well, not really, since the kids were a big help-I just bring green salad).  I have been married twice.  Sis was married for 44 years to one guy. I think that is quite remarkable.

My Brother-in-law died last month, and my rock-of-the-family sister is in anguish.  I wish I could do more for her, but I’m too far away, and the kids are closer.  But I wanted her to know how much I value her as my sister, and appreciate all she has done for our family.  We have more in common now than when we were kids, and I just want Sis to know:

I LOVE YOU.  And Thank You for being you, holding up the family, and just being there.

The continuing saga: Is the Wall of Stupid starting to crack in Seattle?

The continuing saga: Is the Wall of Stupid starting to crack in Seattle?

A short while ago, the city council of Seattle unanimously passed an “employee hours tax,” more commonly called a “head tax” on businesses with $20 million of gross income earned in Seattle. The tax was intended to pay for more “services for the homeless” whose plight were supposedly caused by all those disgusting, high-paying jobs that companies like Amazon were foisting on Seattle.

For months before the tax was actually passed, every local media outlet, from TV stations to neighborhood weekly newspapers to local blogs, discussed how harmful such a tax would be for the city. Of course, the individuals who were elected by the citizens of Seattle were absolutely convinced that the tax would never push any business out of the city, and would generate bags and bags of money for them to spend.

So they were shocked, shocked, when the minute that tax passed and was signed into law by the new liberal, homosexual, lawyer mayor there was a group starting a petition to have it repealed. The repeal referendum was wildly popular, backed by Amazon and Starbucks, and in only about a week garnered enough signatures to make it onto the November ballot.

Now who is shocked? The Seattle City Clowncil, under cover of darkness, just passed a new law, repealing the new tax! Madam Mayor, of course, signed it. This is getting ridiculous. That referendum petition is still in force — the people who started it aren’t totally convinced that the repeal will stick, and they say the city should be “held accountable.”

And now, there is a lawsuit against the council, stating that they violated the “open records act” when they met behind closed doors to pass the repeal. Various members of the council are trying to explain away the fierce opposition to their “tax on jobs.” One of their favorite explanations for the defeat of the tax is fairly standard these days: It was just a lack of proper “messaging” about the many benefits of such a tax! Now, where have we heard that argument before, I wonder?

To top it all off, the latest smart idea is to house the homeless in the Lobby of City Hall at night! Yep, a homeless shelter literally at the doorstep of those city councilpersons. I’m guessing, though, that those homeless individuals would have to be cleared out by 8 AM so their “hosts” would never actually have to see them or step over them on the way to their cushy offices. The homeless and street people of Seattle don’t normally move aside the moment one of their betters demands it, so maybe those who love the homeless so much will actually get to see them every day. I sure hope so.

Ed: Cross-posted over at Ricochet.com Member Feed.  Want to Join Ricochet?  We’d love to have you!  Drop on over to Ricochet.com and get a 30-day free trial.

~~~IT IS CRACKING!!!  David Horsey is a big liberal, and editorial cartoonist.  Check out his latest in the Seattle Times!  This is a miracle!


Instant Happiness

Just recently, I re-discovered a band that I liked way back when they were new, in the 1970s.  Now, I could kick myself for not going to see Jethro Tull when they were in town.  For some unknown reason, maybe a snatch of tune heard over someone’s PA system, or a random mention in a post on another blog, I decided to see what was available on YouTube.  Much to my delight, I discovered a wealth of audio and video over there at the site of the Evil Google-owned YouTube.  Not only have people uploaded single songs and entire albums, but video of entire concerts!  Never having seen them in person, I sat in front of my computer and watched some of this 1977 concert.  It was so good, I begged my husband to watch it with me on our TV.

I swear, Ian Anderson is a veritable musical genius!  He just does it all.  How many other rock band leaders play a mean flute, in addition to every other instrument possible in a rock band?

So, I dropped by the iTunes store, and bought The Very Best Of album to load on my iPod to listen to at work.  I have a very demanding job these days, and when I put on my noise-canceling headphones and listen to this, I can’t help smiling and even humming along-my cube-mates wonder if I’ve gone insane.

I have decided that Jethro Tull = Instant Happiness.  It is impossible to listen to Bungle in the Jungle or Living in the Past and not smile, and forget your troubles (or those parts that were just rejected).  Now when someone asks you who said “He who made kittens put snakes in the grass“, you can say “Ian Anderson, Bungle in the Jungle”!

Candidates for “best song I never knew”:  “Steel Monkey”, and “Songs From the Wood”.  I just wish I had paid more attention back then.  It is fortunate that these songs are still readily available for anyone who wants to listen and enjoy.

YouTube has video of Jethro Tull concerts from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s, a truly great band, who has remained great for 40 years!  Remarkable!


Then, there’s this:


Instant Happiness, indeed!

Sigh…Final Photo Challenge…All-time Favorites

I am SO sad that the Photo Challenge by the editors at WordPress is ending.  It gave me something to look forward to each week, and a reason to mine my photos for just the right picture. And it’s so difficult to find the all-time favorite.  But, since it has to be done, I did it.  One of my posts that attracted the most attention and approval was “Easy Being Green” in March of 2017.  My garden photos met with more “likes” than I normally get.  Here’s what I think was the most striking photo of the ones I posted then.

Walls of Garden, Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C.

I’m a terrible gardener, but I love gardens.  And so, we bid a fond farewell to the Photo Challenge, but there’s no reason why we WordPress bloggers can’t continue to post photos, on whatever topic we please.  Keep shooting!



By Permission of a Ricochet friend, “Progressive Thought”

By Permission of a Ricochet friend, “Progressive Thought”

Gender is a social construct; there are no differences between the sexes. All men are bad.

Race is a social construct; there are no differences between the races. All white people are bad.

No culture is better than another. Western Civilization is bad.

Diversity of skin color is good. Diversity of thought is bad.

Religion leads to conflict and war. Islam is the religion of peace.

An especially harsh winter in one part of the globe does not disprove global warming. A single extreme weather event proves it.

Marriage is oppression. Opposing same-sex marriage is oppression.

Segregation is bad. Black college dorms and black graduation ceremonies are good.

“White flight” from inner-cities is bad. White migration to inner-cities (aka “gentrification”) is bad.

Diversity strengthens us by bringing in different viewpoints. Adopting diverse viewpoints is “cultural appropriation.”

The Constitution is a living document. The Supreme Court’s “Roe v Wade” decision is carved in stone.

Raising the cost of cigarettes will discourage people from smoking. Raising the cost of employing workers will not discourage businesses from hiring.

Slavery – an economic system in which people can arbitrarily demand others’ time, labor, and produce – is bad. Social Justice – a philosophy that holds that “the oppressed” can arbitrarily demand others’ time, labor, and produce – is good.

Monopoly by corporations – which must satisfy their customers to survive – is bad. Monopoly by government – which can use deadly force to survive – is good.

There are no absolute truths. Absolutely.

And that is only the Original Post over at Ricochet.com.  Behind a paywall, so here is a selection of the additional Member Comments.


There are no s***hole countries. It’s cruel to send illegal aliens undocumented immigrants home because their countries are s***holes.

Government should get out of our bedrooms. Government must pay for our birth control.

Whites are evil, Western Civilization is evil, corporations are evil, police officers are evil, the right is evil. Conservatives are so judgmental.

A house a block from my apartment has two signs in the front window. One reads “Hate has No Home Here.” The other reads “Impeach Trump.”

Strange Beauty-Twisted, yet Supporting Life

A couple of miles south of my house, next to a Les Schwab Tire Center, is a small wetland, populated by mostly dead trees.  I have always wondered what that piece of property started out as, and how it got to be the way it is now.  Last week, I took my camera and got a bunch of pictures of the beautiful, twisted, dead trees, their roots and lower trunks submerged in water.  Were they already dead, or did a flood drown them?


But look, there is green, living moss, growing on those twisted, dead tree trunks and branches.  It looks like Nature hasn’t quite given up on these dead trees yet.



Photo Challenge: Liquid

I practically live surrounded by water.  Last week I shared a picture of the lake just south of my house.  Puget Sound is just a few miles to the west, and Lake Washington is to the East and South.  Back in 2016, we went on a cruise to Alaska, and I posted numerous photos of the various waters we traversed.  My favorite part of a cruise has always been relaxing on my verandah, just watching and listening to the water go by.  There is no better form of relaxation.  And this summer, we will be going on a two-week cruise, round trip to Hawaii from San Francisco.  I promise to to a big post when we get back.

But I always keep coming back to this particular photo that I took on the Crystal Serenity in 2016.  This is the water in one of the two swimming pools on board.  It just says “relaxing” to me.

Shiny water-like silk

The water resembles liquid silk.