A Zigzag Working Life

I graduated from college in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Back in junior high school, a psychiatrist had helped me a great deal, so I decided that I wanted to be a psychologist when I grew up. Since you can’t do much with a bachelor’s degree, I applied to graduate schools to get a master’s in counseling psychology. I got accepted to exactly one school, the University of Minnesota, so that’s where I went.

Getting there was way less than half the fun (driving an old car that broke down on the way, by myself, knowing no one), but eventually I made it. I found a place to live not far from campus and started my studies. Little did I know that I had chosen the school described as a “Bastion of Behaviorism,” but it sure turned out to be. 

A part of our education was practicing real counseling, and being videotaped while doing so. I remember very well my review of my performance with the course instructor. Basically, she told me that I wasn’t really very good at this, and asked me if this was really what I wanted to do. Stubbornly, I told her that this was what I really wanted to do, so she just shrugged and passed me (barely).

So in 1973, with my newly-minted master’s degree in hand, I started looking for jobs. There weren’t any. No one was hiring, and many layoffs were happening. I decided I wanted to counsel college students, but those positions were very scarce. So, for the next few months, I worked for a temp agency, doing various clerical jobs, none of which had anything to do with my degree. I was living with my boyfriend at the time and in July we flew back to Seattle to get married. Then went back to Minneapolis, where he was working as a transformer winder and I was just working temp.

Well, we lived in Minneapolis until early 1974, when we decided that we’d rather be unemployed in Seattle than gainfully employed in Minnesota. So we packed up the cars, rented a U-Haul trailer for all our belongings, and caravanned home. I towed the 1960 Fiat 600 behind my 1962 Chevy II, and Larry towed the U-Haul behind his 1964 Dodge Dart. We were really happy to get home, away from the 20-below-zero winters and 98-degree summers. We found a little house to rent, then went looking for jobs.  

Larry found one right away, working for a transformer manufacturer. I didn’t. I volunteered at a crisis helpline to use my degree. That experience taught me that my grad school instructor had actually been right — I was not cut out to be a psychologist after all. So, I ended up getting a job as a pricing-clerk in the Pharmacy at Harborview Medical Center in downtown Seattle.

At that time, everything was done on paper, and my job was reading the little squares where the nurses registered all the medication doses, adding everything up, and computing the charges for the day. When I started, they had not had anyone in that position for a while, and there was a huge stack of paper. It took me about two weeks to get through the stack.

I had that job for about six months, and during that time I was able to observe the pharmacy technicians at their work and thought that would be a fun, interesting job to have. So I asked the manager if I could apply for the next tech opening that came up, and he said I could. The next position that opened up was not at Harborview, but at the U of Washington Hospital. I interviewed and got the job. I learned on the job and enjoyed the work. It involved preparing all kinds of injectable and oral medications, and delivering med carts to the various areas of the hospital.

I was pretty good at the job and thoroughly enjoyed working with the hospital pharmacists. I outgrew that job, and my next position was at Swedish Hospital on First Hill in Seattle. I worked there for about three years, and during that time I qualified, with the other techs at Swedish, for one of the first Pharmacy Assistant licenses granted in the State of Washington. The pharmacists ran a special course for all the techs, about medications and how they worked and were administered. By the end of my time at Swedish, I was the Lead IV Tech on the evening shift, preparing antibiotics, standard IVs, and Total Parenteral Nutrition for the patients.

My next, and final Pharmacy Assistant job was at Children’s Hospital. I worked there for five years, and was a Senior Pharmacy Assistant, preparing oral and IV medications in special doses for the kids. I mixed complex cancer chemotherapy infusions and kid-sized oral syringes of various liquid meds. I also got to substitute for the Pharmacy Purchasing tech while she was out on vacation and I really liked that.

I also decided I wanted to write a paper for the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists convention. I did write my paper, about the duties of a children’s hospital tech, and sent it in. And my paper was accepted! I was invited to prepare a poster presentation for the convention which was held in Atlanta, and I went to the convention. I had very sore feet after standing up all day, explaining my job to the pharmacists passing by. Out of that, I got two job offers! One was from the manager at the Stanford Hospital Pharmacy, and one was from the manager at what was then Rush-Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago. I really couldn’t take either one, since I was married and I’d have to move Hubby too.

Another thing I got out of that paper was becoming a published author.  My article was published in one of the first editions of the Journal of Pharmacy Technology, and I still have that issue.

That was my last job as a pharmacy tech because something else intruded. I decided to restart playing the violin, after not having played for 25 years. I found a teacher, and re-learned much of what I had known when I quit after the sixth grade! In the summer of 1986, I went to adult music camp, and my whole life changed. I had a great time and was recruited for two community orchestras. I got a whole new group of friends and new activities. But, the problem was, if I wanted to play in an orchestra, I had to have my evenings free. Which meant changing careers, since my job required rotating day and evening shifts. So, Hubby and I agreed that I could quit my tech job, and try to find something that was just days. He was now an engineer and earned enough to support us both while I figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I decided to start trying to find a job as a traffic clerk, since I had done that during my college summers, so I had some experience. No luck, so I made myself a job. I found a man who was a transportation consultant and I visited him, asking if I could be his apprentice. I’d do his scut work and he’d teach me his business. Well, that worked out fairly well — his specialty was freight claims, and I helped him with that and learned all about freight billing.

I worked with him for about a year, then decided I really need to make some money. He helped me find a job as a traffic clerk for an office-furniture company. That job lasted about six months, and I quit when I got tired of being bullied by the manager. Next, I worked with an independent freight-damage consultant, accompanying him to various places to view damaged freight to help the consignees’ file claims. I took pictures and helped write reports.

One place we visited to view damaged freight was a company that made ultrasound equipment. This was early in the field, and the machines were pretty big. While there, I learned that they were looking for someone to work in their Stores department. I applied and got the job. In that position, I did Shipping and Receiving, as well as handling inventory. I actually liked Receiving, and was back and forth to the Purchasing department all day, nagging the buyers to get their POs entered so I could receive their parts. I had an interesting conversation with their senior buyer, and he told me about the Purchasing Management program at a local community college.

So, at age 37, I quit work and went back to school. At the community college, where I got some of the best education I’d ever had. I took three quarters of Accounting, two quarters of Economics (which I loved), and business math and computers. I made the President’s List for academic achievement, and through the evening purchasing class, got my first purchasing job. [I also joined NAPM, the Purchasing Managers Association, about which more later.]

That job was sole purchasing agent for a small electrical control-panel builder. They were a job shop, with each job requiring different materials. I learned a lot, especially how to wheedle parts out of my suppliers, even when they knew they might not get paid. That job lasted 10 months before the company went out of business (you know you’re in trouble when the first time you call to place an order, the supplier tells you that your company is on “credit hold”).

The end of that first job brought misery. I had gotten divorced and was living on my own. I could not apply for unemployment insurance since I only had ten months on the job, and my previous job was “school,” which didn’t count. I worked a succession of temp jobs to keep the funds coming in. I found one job that was entirely different; food buyer for a chain of pizza restaurants. The boss said “We are going to do great things,” but that job lasted even shorter, five months, and a bunch of us were all laid off at once.

Again, it was the rounds of the temp agencies, trying to find work to keep food on my table. I worked at an electrical contractor, a medical-supplies company, and a couple of other short-term places, but nothing stuck. I did qualify for some unemployment compensation, but it was precious little. I basically lived off my savings and was about at the end of my rope when I finally got a real job. I was the passive-components buyer for a contract electronics manufacturer, for three years, which was the start of my career in Purchasing.

In 1999, as a way to contribute to NAPM, I took over the Western Washington Business Survey when the previous manager retired, and I am still the Business Survey Chair, doing our local report every month. I love the Purchasing field, and my current job at an aerospace company is very fulfilling. I help make the company go, and I feel like a little bit of myself is in each of the aircraft into which are placed our equipment.

So my life has been: Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology—>Pharmacy pricing clerk—->Pharmacy Assistant—->Freight claims apprentice—->Damaged freight inspector—->Stores Clerk—->community college student—->purchasing agent—->food buyer—->passive components buyer—->Aerospace circuit-card assembly buyer… When I go back to work tomorrow, I am hoping my Purchasing life is not done yet, even at age 70.

A sample of RushBabe’s Email for this week-Coronavirus Edition

The past week has been pretty volatile for everyone, around the world.  Whole countries “locked down”, stock-market swings like never before (2,000 points in one day on the Dow!), panic-buying leading to empty store shelves, restaurants and other public venues closing, and a death-count rising almost everywhere.  I live right smack in the middle of a “hot zone” in the Seattle area, so the local media is keeping us informed of conditions around Puget Sound.

I have a dedicated “professional” email account, where I direct emails from companies I buy from, both online and in person, and use for my employment contacts, should I be looking for a job.  For the past two weeks, I have been receiving emails from most of the stores and businesses I buy from, with a variety of updates and information on how they are dealing with the crisis.  Most places describe how they are keeping their own premises and employees safe; cleaning everything in sight, encouraging everyone to stay home if feeling sick, and following local and national guidelines.

Herewith, a sample of some of the emails I have been receiving:

The first one, from last week, from the head of Alaska Airlines. I was impressed that he has eight children-that’s pretty unusual these days, and I admire him for it:

Please be assured that Alaska Airlines is closely monitoring the situation, including conducting daily briefings with some of the best medical experts in the nation. Our top priority is always the safety of you and our employees. Check out our blog on the extra steps we are taking to keep our guests safe with additional cleaning and updates to onboard procedures.

At Alaska, we are optimistic about the future and hope you feel that way too. We launched our Peace of Mind policy so that you can take comfort in knowing that any ticket purchased after February 27, 2020 can be changed or canceled without a fee (applies for any travel through February 28, 2021). Today, we launched our biggest fare sale yet with fares starting as low as $20 one way* for travel between March 19, 2020 and May 20, 2020. And, we’ve got great deals to Hawaiʻi, New York and Florida starting at $99 one way.* We hope the combination of these great fares and our Peace of Mind policy will help those who want to travel this spring but are concerned their plans may change.

We understand that everyone is in a different place when it comes to what is best for you and your family. Just recently, Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “I just want to echo again that the risk is low—the risk is low. I encourage Americans to go about their life. That includes travel to California, Oregon and the state of Washington.”

In closing, some of you may know that my wife and I are blessed with eight children. We have a family trip to Hawaiʻi planned for spring break this year, and we can’t wait to go! We know things can change, but we are looking forward to our trip together as a family. Hopefully we will see some of you there.

Thank you for being a Mileage Plan™ member.

Andrew Harrison

From my financial institution where I have my “play money” individual stock Roth IRA account:

As you might expect, volatility in the markets has increased the number of clients contacting us. Unfortunately, this has resulted in much longer than normal phone wait times, sometimes keeping us from delivering the level of service we are known for.

Given the potential spread of the virus over the coming weeks, we’re anticipating additional impacts that may lead to a continuation of extended wait times. In an effort to protect the safety and welfare of both our clients and associates, we may deem it necessary to limit or suspend person‑to‑person interactions between our clients and associates within our branches. If that is the case, our branch staff still would be available to clients by phone or other means. Please check the branch locator for the most up to date information on your local branch. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

They also emphasize that their Web site is the place to go for more information 24/7.

From Lands’ End, where I often buy clothing items.  They are located in rural Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and have some of the best customer service around:

We are following guidance from public health officials and government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), so we can make assessments and provide information and guidance as the situation develops.

Employee self-care is important to us.  We continue to focus on encouraging washing your hands regularly, staying home when you are sick to prevent the spread of germs to others, and hand sanitizers are available for all employees. We also have restricted international travel and US travel is on a case by case basis.

In addition to our regular cleaning procedures at our retail stores, offices, and distribution center, there has been an increased focus on cleaning and sanitizing the more commonly touched hard surfaces, including entrances, bathrooms, fitting rooms, break rooms, conference rooms, phones and registers.

From Enterprise Rent-a-Car, where I often rent when out of town:

Enterprise Rent-A-Car® is offering College Student Travel Assistance in response to the closing of colleges and universities due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

We are reducing the minimum age and waiving young renter fees for rentals through May 31, 2020, to help students get home safely and ease the burden on families during this time.

Details
• Available to college students 18–24 years of age
• Official student ID must be presented at the time of rental
• Valid on Economy through Fullsize cars, Minivans, Small Pickup Trucks and Cargo Vans
• Valid at U.S. locations only for rentals reserved in advance
• Standard driver and credit requirements apply (excluding minimum age)
• Expires May 31, 2020

A short and sweet note from Barnes and Noble bookstores, which have not been doing well lately, seeing their business decline due to the influence of Amazon.  They are still my primary source of the physical books I still buy (I do not buy ebooks-just old-fashioned, I guess):

Dear Reader,

We’re living through turbulent times together. Our booksellers are your neighbors, your friends and family. Your stories are our stories, and we know how resilient our communities are.

Sincerely,

The Booksellers of Barnes & Noble

An email from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Israel, to whom I donate each year:

In light of the recent directives from Israel’s Ministry of Health in the fight against the Coronavirus (COV-19), Yad Vashem is closed to visitors from Sunday 15 March until further notice.

This one is interesting.  I buy tickets to the University Unitarian Church full-length Messiah Sing-and-Playalong each December, through local ticket agency Brown Paper Tickets.  They are known for their Social-Justice Warrior characteristics, and each ticket-buyer is offered a choice of charities to which to direct their share of agency profits (they concentrate, obviously, on social-service outfits).  Here’s the email I received from them:

To our events community,

For the first time in Brown Paper Tickets’ 20-year history, we are reaching out to our entire community of fans and supporters because artists, performers, and organizers are in crisis. They need our help now.

The impact of COVID-19 on small, community organizations is unprecedented. From independent bookstores, to local theaters, to arts nonprofits, event organizers are in immediate financial danger. For them, every ticket matters – one canceled event could mean the difference between making rent and closing their doors forever.

Our core mission at Brown Paper Tickets is to support events and the people who make events happen. Now, we’re asking you to join us.

Please consider contributing to your local arts organizations during this difficult time.

We currently have over 20,000 small events listed, and more are being added daily – purchasing a ticket to a future event now can have a huge positive impact. Many organizers also accept donations through our platform or on their own websites.

We know that the climate right now is one of uncertainty. Some events may be postponed, some may be canceled, but many will go on. Our commitment to you remains the same: 24/7/365 live support, full refunds for canceled events through the Brown Paper Tickets processor, and an unwavering belief in the power of our community.

Thank you,

And, finally, a missive from one of our favorite local restaurants.  We like going to the local Red Robin for a burger, and we know that they got their start in Seattle in the 1950s.  Their message was encouraging, since we are not locked down yet, and have been going out to eat when we can:

[Edit: Sorry, I just could not make their email work with all its formatting. Suffice it to day, RR is remaining open for business, with increased cleaning and as usual following all the CDC guidelines.  We plan on going there soon.]

Hubby and I are still very well, and living our lives as we have always done.  We are still working (he from home, me at the factory), washing our hands more often (even if our skin is beginning to look like a rhinoceros), and keeping up with regular activities.  We are not panicking, even if many others are (our local Costco is still out of toilet paper!).  And we are grateful that most of our favorite restaurants are still open for business.  It is gratifying that the entities I deal with in person and online are doing what they can to support their customers and employees.

We will make it through this crisis, if we keep a level head, follow directions from health authorities, and just keep on keeping on.

She Who Punishes: Elizabeth Warren and the politics of Envy and Destruction

She Who Punishes: Elizabeth Warren and the politics of Envy and Destruction

In case you have not been following the campaign for the Democrat presidential nomination, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (AKA Fauxcahontas) is one of the many candidates.  Sen. Warren is also known as The Candidate With The Plans.  She seemingly has a plan for nearly everything; healthcare, Wall Street, big business, corporate governance, regulation, the environment, and on and on.  The main feature that runs through all her plans for the country when she is elected president, is Punishment.  Every one of her many plans is designed to punish one or another group of Americans, whom she deems not sufficiently socially conscious. So, below I will lay out for you all the various plans Elizabeth Warren has proposed, and which group’s ox will be gored.  Then, you can decide if you would like to live in Elizabeth Warren’s America. A big shout out to the Wall Street Journal, whose editorials compiled all these Plans in one place.

Wealthy Americans:  Ms. Warren has proposed a Wealth Tax, to tax net worth over $50 million at 2% per year, and 6% over $1 billion.  To prevent those wealthy Americans from just deciding to leave the country, she would levy a 40% Exit Tax (yes, before you could renounce your US citizenship, you would have to pay the government 40% of whatever you have left after the Wealth Tax).  About 75,000 households might be subject to the taxes.  [unintended consequence: wealthy citizens would have to sell assets to pay the taxes, potentially causing the stock market to decline with all those sales at once, which would not help your 401(k) value] Warren would increase capital gains taxes for the wealthiest 1%.  Thus, the wealthiest might have to pay 40% of their gains to the government.  She would apply a yearly tax on gains, by mandating “mark to market” of assets, even those not sold (today, capital gains are not recognized before an asset is sold).  Warren would tax the sale of financial assets like stocks and bonds (a “financial transactions tax”), and charge big banks a “systemic risk fee”.

Employer “Medicare for All” tax:  Companies with at least 50 workers would be charged an “Employer Medicare Contribution” equal to 98% of their recent outlays on health care for their employees.  This tax might increase or decrease depending on inflation. [unintended consequence, your pay would decrease in the amount of that tax, and the company might have to lay off employees]  If this did not bring in enough revenue, Warren would go after large companies with high executive pay.

Multi-national and large corporations: Warren would raise the top corporate tax rate back to the 35% it was before the 2017 tax law passed.  This rate would also apply to world-wide company earnings.  Foreign companies would also be subject to tax for earnings in America. [unintended consequences: companies would raise the prices of their products and possibly curtail hiring; US companies might lose business to countries with lower tax rates]  There would also be a “Corporate Surtax” on profits over $100 million, of 7% with no exemptions-this would be in addition to the existing 35% rate.  Expensing of assets would slow, so companies would pay higher taxes for a longer time.

Ordinary Americans: She would increase Social Security taxes on all workers and employers, and apply the tax to higher levels of income so higher-earners would pay more into the system.  She would also apply a 14.8% surcharge on net investment income.  Then, she would increase Social Security payouts to retirees.

The Healthcare Industry: Warren would bring about Medicare for All, including illegal aliens. She would mandate Government-run medical care for all Americans.  She would phase out all Private Health Insurance.  She would pay all doctors Medicare rates (which are substantially less than private insurance pays). She would pay all hospitals 110% of Medicare rates (again lower than private insurance pays).  Warren would mandate lower payments to all medical specialists, especially those deemed “over-paid”. She would threaten pharmaceutical companies with assorted taxes and fees if they did not lower the prices of all their branded medicines; she would also threaten to have the government do its own pharmaceutical manufacturing, thus destroying the industry. [unintended consequences: doctors quit practicing, and retire in large numbers; hospitals close when the payment rates from the government do not remotely cover their costs; thousands of employees in the health insurance industry lose their jobs; pharmaceutical companies close or move overseas, as they can no longer afford the research and development of new medicines whose costs are covered by the higher charges for the period of their patents; the result-less and poorer health care for Americans without people to deliver it]

The Energy Industry: Warren would mandate the end of so-called “fossil fuels”, ban fracking, and halt energy leases on federal lands.  She would vastly increase energy research, with the goal of 100% emission-free transportation and 100% carbon-free power generation.  She would retrofit 4% of all dwellings and buildings each year to be “carbon-free”, kill new oil pipelines, and subject all new projects to a “climate test”. She would guarantee workers who lose their energy-industry jobs full pay and benefits in whatever “new energy economy” jobs they get.  Intended consequences: Energy companies close, pipeline companies go bankrupt when there is no longer supply of oil and gas for their pipelines; landowners lose lease income from the drilling on their land when fracking is banned; thousands of workers lose their jobs.

Education: Charter schools lose federal funding for any expansion.

Taxpayers: Much of student debt would be written off, thus charged to the majority of US taxpayers. This also punishes those students who either paid for their own educations, or whose parents did.  College would be “free” for all Americans.  Pell grants would increase.

Big Tech:  Break up Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Unwind many of their mergers with other companies, like Whole Foods (Amazon) and DoubleClick (Google).  Regulate them as “online utilities”. [unintended consequences: the Internet is no longer “free”. Google and Facebook would start charging fees, and your ISP payments would be much higher]

Banks: Institute a new “Glass-Steagall” act to break up big banks.

Firearms owners: Institute federal licensing for all types of firearms and ammunition.  Raise taxes on all guns and ammunition (30% on guns, 50% on ammo).  Ban sales of so-called “assault weapons”, and hold manufacturers liable for shooting deaths with their weapons.  Mandatory federal registration of all currently-owned firearms.

President Donald Trump: Elizabeth Warren would immediately start extensive investigations of President Trump the minute he leaves office.  She would launch “open-ended criminal investigations” of Mr. Trump and “anyone who worked for him”.  Thus, she would criminalize political differences.  This, in itself, is horrifying.

So, do you think you’d like to live in Elizabeth Warren’s America?  Not I!

Rush the Irreplaceable: Upbeat, in his Own Words

Rush the Irreplaceable: Upbeat, in his Own Words

I just realized one thing about Rush that I had never thought of before.  I wonder if it has also occurred to the rest of Rush Limbaugh’s loyal audience, that he is human, and he might not be around forever.  I think most of us just took it for granted that, from noon to 3:00PM ET, or whenever his program is on where you live, when you turn on your radio, he’s there.  Every day, for three whole hours, he has been there, pretty reliably, for over 30 years.  It simply never occurred to me that someday he might be gone.  So the announcement that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, just hit me like a ton of bricks. Now that I’ve had a chance for it to sink in, and have heard last Friday’s show (I listened to the first hour live through his Web site, before people started interrupting me at work), I am again reminded of his likeness to a Bobo doll-you can knock him over, but he keeps getting back up every time.  And one of the reasons for that is his irrepressible optimism, about himself, about life in general, and about America.

Here, from his two books, are some of what I consider Rush’s best, most pithy, pronouncements.

~~~

So, take some advice.  Lighten up.  We should all laugh more at ourselves. I don’t need to improve much in this area, but admit it, many of you people do. Many of you take things far too seriously in most cases.  Come on, laugh at yourselves, folks.

~~~

We need to encourage people to contribute to the economy, not to sit around basking in self-pity. We need to help them get out of the situation, rather than glorifying and perpetuating it. Encourage them to become economically equal members of this society, rather than a collection of sycophants sidling up to the pig and looking for the biggest nipple they can find.

~~~

Don’t fall prey to the seductive emotional appeals of the Democrats as they attempt to pit one group of society against another with their politics of class envy. Let the facts speak for themselves. If a liberal president gets elected, he, like Jimmy Carter, will make sure “fairness” applies to all economic levels.  He will see to it that we all get poor again.

~~~

The way to save endangered species is to give someone a stake in preserving them. By allowing legitimate ranches to privatize them, we can make sure others don’t pulverize them.

~~~

People are going to have to learn to depend less on the government. We are going to have to separate them from the federal budget sow.  But we can also make their lives better by giving them more choice in how the tax money they do pay is spent.

~~~

I refuse to believe that people, who are themselves the result of Creation, can destroy the most magnificent creation of the entire universe.

~~~

Environmentalists always appeal to the memories of a simpler, more natural time.  They are regressing, wanting to go backward in time.

~~~

I want this to be a great country, and a great country needs as many great individuals as there can be.

~~~

For the black leadership to continue to encourage their people to absorb themselves in the past, instead of helping them to get beyond the bitterness, is doing them a great disservice.

~~~

…man is a spiritual being. If his faith in God is destroyed, the void will be filled with something else. Throughout history that substitute for faith has been a belief in a man-made god called the state. Untold crimes have been committed in its name, Hitler and Stalin being the most bloody recent examples.

~~~

I am convinced that the most important thing conservatives have to do to win is to just keep saying no to the left.  No to their special-interest giveaways. No to their pork-barrel spending projects. No to their privileged congressional empire….Be confident and patient, and never forget History.

~~~

Yes, I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to do what I love.  But nobody handed it to me on a silver platter.  I had to work at it and prove myself every step of the way.  My story is nothing more than an example of the Original American Ethic: hard work, overcoming obstacles, triumphing over enormous odds, the pioneer spirit. These things, my friends–not such vacuous symbolic gestures as wearing ribbons on lapels or government intrusion into every aspect of our lives–are what built this country.

~~~

A man from Alabama recently wrote me a computer letter accusing me of being too upbeat and optimistic. He said that by listening to me, one would get the idea that there is no hurting or suffering going on in the world and that everything is working out for the best. Wrong. I realize that there are failures and suffering.  I just happen to believe that there would be a great deal more of them if everyone had that writer’s pessimistic, defeatist attitude. …What “the Suffering” need is steady doses of confidence-building optimism.

~~~

I have not written a doctoral theses about free enterprise.   Humbly speaking, as the Doctor of Democracy, I am free enterprise. And I operate in the real world, not in the insulated atmosphere of the ivory-tower academy.

~~~

Don’t believe the doomsayers. Don’t believe the negativity-mongers. Don’t believe the America-bashers–even if one of them is the president of the United States. Don’t buy into the lie that punishing high achievers will bring you happiness. Your own success–born of your own ingenuity and industry–is what will make you happy.

 

 

I am a White, College-educated, Well-off, Suburban Woman…

And I support our duly-elected President Donald Trump.  All of my classifications above are assumed NOT to support the President.  That segment of society is assumed to be Leftist.  That segment of society is assumed to be pro-abortion.  I don’t fit that mold either. [and I refuse to use the term “pro-choice” either.  I prefer pro-abortion, because that is the correct descriptive term]

As Ayn Rand used to say: Check Your Premises.

I will go out on a limb here, and predict that President Trump will win re-election in November, win the popular vote, and get his second term by a much larger margin than he won his first.

Have a Very Harry Christmas!

Have a Very Harry Christmas!

It occurred to me recently that my Christmas posts have been very heavily Peanuts.  I love A Charlie Brown Christmas, but I also love Harry Potter.  I was enchanted by my first taste of Harry and his Wizarding World, when I saw the first movie in 2001, and have been an avid fan ever since.  I joined Pottermore when it came out, and worked my way through all the books in the video-game-like part of the site (which was shut down when the kid users made hash of it).  I have remained a member of what is now Wizarding World, gotten sorted into my Hogwarts House (Slytherin), and Ilvermorny House (Horned Serpent), gotten my wand (pine wood with unicorn-hair), and Patronus (a stoat, a relative of the weasel).

One of my favorite parts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the time of Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts.  Since he had no real family to go home to over the holiday, he stayed at school, along with the Weasley kids and a few others.  One of my very favorite lines in all the books was Harry’s comment when he awoke Christmas morning to find a small pile of presents at the foot of his bed.  Since he really hadn’t been expecting anything at all, and this is what happened:

On Christmas Eve, Harry went to bed looking forward to the next day for the food and the fun, but not expecting any presents at all.  When he woke early next morning, however, the first thing he saw was a small pile of packages at the foot of his bed.

“Happy Christmas,” said Ron sleepily as Harry scrambled out of bed and pulled on his dressing-gown.  ‘You, too’, said Harry. Will you look at this? I’ve got some presents!”  

“What did you expect, turnips?” said Ron, turning to his own pile, which was a lot bigger than Harry’s.

One of his presents was his own wizard chess set (from a cracker at Christmas dinner), and he and Ron would play together.

HarryChess

Harry also received his father’s invisibility cloak, which he just had to try out in the corridor after hours. While under the Cloak, he discovered the room where the Mirror of Erised was stored, and spent hours in front of it, viewing the family he never had.

HarryChristmas

He spent some time alone in the Great Hall, thinking about his family, and what he had missed.  And remembering that Hogwarts was his new family.

In Harry’s Fourth Year, he encounters some of the most harrowing problems he has yet had to face, starting with being chosen by the Goblet of Fire to be Hogwarts’s second champion in the TriWizard Tournament.  But he rises to the occasion.  And then, he is presented with a new challenge-asking a girl to the Yule Ball. It doesn’t go as well as he might have hoped, but the Great Hall was certainly beautiful with all its winter decorations.

Yule Ball

In Harry’s Fifth Year, he is plagued with visions, indicating that Voldemort is inhabiting his mind when his defenses are down. He does, however, make good use of those visions, and hurries to the Ministry of Magic to save Arthur Weasley from Voldemort’s snake, Nagini.  Christmas is spent with the Weasley family, celebrating Mr. Weasley’s recovery.

Weasley-Phoenix

In Harry’s Sixth Year, the social side of being a wizard shows itself again, when Harry is invited to bring a friend to Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party.  It was almost comic, reading about Hermione’s attempts to lose her date, Cormac McLaggen.  But the food items were tasty, and Harry watched as party-crasher Draco Malfoy was taken down a peg or two when Slughorn did not fall all over him with praise about his relatives.

SlughornParty

The first book, and the first movie, remain my favorites.  The kids were so well-cast, and they all did all of the movies, so you could literally watch them all grow up.  Jo Rowling did indeed create a fully-formed Universe, alongside the one we all live in.  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes think about how interesting it would be to be a Witch or Wizard in today’s world.

I hope you all have a Very Harry Christmas!

Did you know that President Trump has the power to destroy the Planet?

Did you know that President Trump has the power to destroy the Planet?

Well, he must have, since David Remnick of The New Yorker has GIVEN him that power.  In an editorial, Mr. Remnick says the the impeachment by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is all about THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET.  Unbeknownst to himself, Remnick has single-handedly handed President Trump power over the entire planet.  Somehow, I don’t think that’s what he meant.