See what you’re missing about the world around you. Look up!

When you are walking around your town, or around your city, or around your workplace, many of the people you see walking toward you are either facing straight ahead, walking with purpose to somewhere in particular, probably in a hurry; or walking while staring at the tiny screen of their smartphone (many with earbuds in their ears listening to music), which is dangerous!  Is this you?  Maybe, it’s time to slow down a bit, stow the smartphone in your pocket or your bag, and see some of your surroundings, perhaps for the first time.  Look up!  You may be surprised at what beauty you may be missing.

Winter tree 2

That’s just a leafless tree in winter, but it is beautiful against the blue sky.

back yard trees in snow

That is the trees in my back yard, under winter snow, but it’s a whole new view pointing the camera up at the sky.

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How many New Yorkers walk 43rd Street every day, heads down, missing the beautiful Chrysler Building?

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How many Seattleites walk right through the doors of this Art-Nouveau building and never notice the beautiful terra-cotta brickwork right over their heads?  I’m guessing many.

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Dining Room at Trinity Hall College, where we stayed.

I always thought that the most beautiful feature of the Dining Hall at Trinity Hall was the beamed ceiling.

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Ceiling detail, Blytheborough, beautiful angels

This ceiling has details that you have to look very closely to see, but the rewards are great.

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This is a simple ladder, attached to the side of the building where I work.  Looking up, and against the blue sky, it’s art!

So the next time you’re out and about, improve your situational awareness and look up!  You may discover beauty that has been just over your head all the time.

Holiday Homework Assignment for RushBabe49 Readers

Holiday Homework Assignment for RushBabe49 Readers

Read the Declaration of Independence Below, Very Slowly and Carefully.

Discuss with your Family and Friends over your Independence Day hot dogs or steaks.

Never Forget how fortunate you are to live in the United States of America, the most prosperous, free Nation in the history of Humanity on Earth.  Rejoice!

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In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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Declaration

Finally, for your listening pleasure, the Liberty Bell March, by one of America’s best-known and loved composers, John Philip Sousa.

An Open Letter to the Owners of Kroger Corporation, and Makers of Products Sold There

Dear Kroger:

I am a buyer by trade, and I can spot cost-cutting, and price increases a mile away.  I and many of my fellow grocery customers, have noticed in recent years, the shrinking of package size on many of the items we purchase in your and other grocery stores.  It started with ice cream, about 15 years ago.  The standard package size for most ice cream was a half-gallon.  Then, the packages shrank, to one and half quarts, with the price remaining the same.  Did you think we didn’t notice this?  Hey, Tillamook and Unilever, and Pinnacle Foods, we NOTICE when the package shrinks and the price remains the same.  That is a Stealth Price Increase.

Lately, I have noticed that the size of the bottles of Simply Lemonade that I buy at Kroger and elsewhere, looked smaller.  Well, funny thing, they ARE smaller!  A bottle of Simply Lemonade used to be 59 ounces.  It is now 52 ounces!  With the price remaining the same, that amounts to a 12% price increase!  We Noticed!  The package of Canola Harvest soft margarine I buy (actually, they don’t even call it margarine any more-it’s “buttery spread”, whatever that means) went from 16 ounces to 15 ounces, and the price remained the same!  I Noticed!

Just this weekend, I noticed that the bottle of Kroger Brand Orange Juice, which used to be 59 ounces, is now 52 ounces!  Another Stealth Price Increase!  Now, I read the Wall Street Journal, and I know that the Florida citrus industry is in trouble, with huge losses to hurricanes last year and the “citrus greening” disease.  I know that the less you produce, the more expensive it becomes, and I expected the price of my OJ to go up.  What I did not expect, and definitely do not appreciate, is the size of my bottle of OJ shrinking!  Now, a bottle does not last as long, and I have to buy my OJ more frequently.

So, I have a suggestion for all you packaged-food makers and grocery store owners.  Instead of shrinking the package and hoping your customers won’t notice, try educating consumers.  Try hanging a leaflet on the shelf, explaining the elements in the food that cause the price to go up.  Try assuming for a change that shoppers are smart enough to notice when their food gets more expensive and telling them why.  I would rather pay a little more for my food than have to go to the store more often.

Thanks for your attention, and I hope you take my suggestions to heart.  Packaged food makers and grocers are already feeling the competition from online sellers and alternate suppliers courting their customers.  Please try not to make it worse!

Sincerely,

RushBabe49

Civility versus Madness in Modern-day America

First the Madness.  Over the past few days, three members of the Trump Administration who went out to eat in Cesspool DC were harassed, threatened, and ejected from restaurants.  Who were the ones who did all the harassing, threatening, and ejecting?  Progressives.  The Administration members did nothing more than go out to eat, and the “resistance” made their lives impossible.  This is the most disgusting show of ugliness and bigotry I have ever heard of in all my 69 years. And the worst part of this is the “member of Congress” [scare-quotes intended] who stood up in front of the cameras and called for more of this harassment.

This, my friends, is the face of the Democrat Party.  Just look at that imperious expression!  This is what she thinks of YOU!

The Progressives are coming nearer to the line between peaceful protest and inciting to violence, and they had better watch what they do.  They already have blood on their hands from the shooting of Republican Steve Scalise.

And then, there’s the civility.  On a recent Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to Portland, Oregon, one of the passengers was a blind and deaf gentleman, traveling alone.  Here is what happened.  This video made me cry.

Yes, there may be hope. Good on you, young lady!

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.

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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.

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!