They’ve Got Us Right Where They Want Us (with thanks to a Ricochet friend for the idea)

Isolated from friends and family.

Schools closed, so our children cannot see or play with their friends; in fact, being taught to fear their friends.

Churches closed. Movie theaters, retail shops, bars and restaurants closed (these are all the places where we socialize together).

Stuck at home. Working from home, distant from colleagues and supervisors

Jobs lost, so people lose their sense of purpose in life.

Information about the disease itself, and about how individuals should respond to it, inconsistent and unreliable.

Government so-called “experts”, giving contradictory advice on a daily basis.  University computer “modelers” predicting apocalypse regularly, but changing the parameters so nothing is ever constant.

Elderly people in congregate-care facilities even more isolated, forbidden to see their own families, dying alone and in despair.

People required to wear a mask over their face, the one feature of the body that makes a person human.  Unseen: smiles of satisfaction, frowns of concern, kids’ tongues sticking out at their friends’ good-natured teasing.  Seen: lineups outside stores, dozens of people with no faces, just blank masks, Six Feet Apart

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Citizens encouraged by Governments to inform on neighbors and strangers; asked to turn in their neighbors for violations of mask-wearing and physical-distancing guidelines.  Re-creating the East German Stasi secret police in the United States of America.

And to add insult to injury, Summer Events that define the Summer season are cancelled.  July 4 festivities everywhere are cancelled; the Bellevue Arts & Crafts Fair is cancelled; the Seattle Chamber Music Festival concerts are cancelled in person-online just isn’t the same.  Not only do you have to go around wearing a mask, all of your social events are cancelled.  This is criminal, and very depressing to the populace.

They’ve got us right where they want us.  Cowed, afraid of our friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  Looking over our shoulders whenever we are away from home, watching everywhere for the snitches, just ready to call the enforcers to slap us with misdemeanor charges for refusing to hide behind the mask.  And if, as expected, the promised Wuhan Coronavirus Vaccine does NOT make its appearance any time soon, this state of affairs will be UNENDING.

They are Destroying American Society, with malice aforethought.  Be very careful of complying with every government “guideline”-they are leading you to disaster.

Are you ready to cower forever, afraid of an unseen virus that 96% of us, even if we get sick, will survive?  Not I, said the Patriot.

It’s Been A Year

It’s Been A Year

2018 has been quite a year in the RB49 Universe.  We survived just fine, but not without some bumps and bruises.  Well, whose life doesn’t have some bumps?

On January 2, we got a new Grand-Niece, when my nephew became a Dad.  She’s a cutie, and I’m going to her first birthday party tomorrow.

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Also in January, I received a promotion and a raise in salary at my job as a Buyer at an aerospace company.  Later in the year, I received another raise in salary.  But along with that promotion came lots of new responsibilities connected to the re-organization of our department, and I have to admit I have felt overwhelmed at times.  When I left for the year on December 21, I had over 800 emails in my inbox that I simply did not have time to get to.  And when I logged in today, I found that, even though my contacts are aware that the company is closed, they are still sending me email and expecting responses!  So I know that when I return I will have a full docket.  Sigh…it’s a burden being indispensable! Oh, and I almost forgot.  On January 2 I celebrated my tenth anniversary at my company, which is big for me, since it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed at any one job.

In the “bumps and bruises” department, for the first time since I have been married (2003), I spent so much time in various dentist’s chairs, I maxed out both dental insurance policies!  I lost a bridge that had been in my mouth since age 11, when one of the two anchor teeth turned out to be rotten, and I lost a molar for the same reason.  So in 2019, one of my first items of business will be to get an implant where the bridge was. Well, when you get to be age 69, stuff tends to start falling apart.  I come from a family with bad teeth, so it’s not unexpected.

In April, we did a whirlwind Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Colorado Springs, where we met up with our Ricochet friends and attended some very interesting lectures.

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In May, another of our Ricochet friends happened to be in Seattle for a conference, so we went downtown and had a nice dinner.  In June, yet another of our Ricochet friends came to town, and a bunch of us did some sightseeing, and a tour of the Boeing factory, and had another nice dinner, a bit closer to home.

On a sadder note, also in May, my brother-in-law succumbed to liver disease, and my sister was left a widow.  We are closer now that we were before, and I have come to understand better, how much she has always done for our family.  I surely appreciate her more.

Throughout the year, Hubby and I took our normal amount of day trips, to the Diablo Lake Overlook in the North Cascades, and to LaConner in Skagit County.  In July/August, we went on the Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii and back, and my readers will have enjoyed my essays on the subject.  Well, it’s December, so here’s a little reminder.

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At the end of August, Hubby had a total knee replacement operation, and he was out of work for the entire month of September.  I got a lot of exercise, going up and down the stairs bringing him stuff in our bedroom.  He has bounced back, and recovered nicely, and has resumed playing easy squash at his athletic club.

In November, we went to Victoria, BC for an accordion function with Hubby’s band, and had a nice time reacquainting ourselves with the town.  So here we are now, in the last week of the year 2018, and all in all it’s been pretty good.  We are both healthy, safe, and gainfully employed.  2019 will be a bit unsettled, as my company was sold in the fall, and the sale will close in the third quarter.  We have no idea what our fate will be, but we expect some big changes, and some job cuts.  Normally, the company who bought my company, has a reputation for “slash-and-burn” tactics when it buys another company, but this time may be different as we are about equal in size.  Who knows, I may be required to retire next year, even though I sure don’t want to.

Just two days ago, I again got in my car, and drove to Seattle to participate in the University Unitarian Church full-length Messiah Sing/Play-along.  My stand partner was there again, and we had a great time playing the awe-inspiring music of Handel, and listening to the big choir sing the inspiring words, all taken from the Bible.  It just makes my heart sing, and brings a smile every time.

One thing I do know is that this blog will continue in the New Year.  I heartily wish all my followers and readers a Happy New Year, and very best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2019.

 

Final Photo Challenge of 2017-Favorites-Travels with/to Friends

2017 was highlighted by travels, to various destinations to meet with friends, and to get re-acqainted with old (in both senses of the word) friends.  Here are my favorite highlights.

In February, Hubby and I traveled to Phoenix for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar.  This was our third trip to Arizona with the Hillsdale folks, and was just a reinforcement of why we continue to support Hillsdale, one of the last, best, hopes for the future of higher education in America.  No “snowflakes” here.

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The view from our balcony was so peaceful in the early morning.

After the Hillsdale Seminar ended, we took a trip up to Prescott, in the mountains north of Phoenix.  An entirely different Arizona.  The reason was a meet up with our Ricochet friends.  We took sustenance from our Ricochet family, as we all watched the Left and the Deep State do their best to destroy a duly-elected President.

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No palm trees here!

In June, we took our annual trip to Washington’s “Bavarian Village” of Leavenworth, for Hubby to play accordion with his band.  They were just awesome this year, and everyone was impressed with their performance.

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And we always love the Accordion Parade, ending up in the Gazebo downtown.  Our hearts are warmed by watching and listening to all the players, from ages 7 to over 70.

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In September, we drove all the way to Montana and back, for the Ricochet meet up that had been planned since September of 2016!  Due to wildfires in Washington and Montana, we drove through thick smoke all the way-the skies didn’t clear for an entire week!  But the people we met were typical Ricochet, salt-of-the earth types.  We couldn’t imagine being with a better group of friends, our Ricochet Family.

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Yes, that is Lake Coeur D’Alene on the way over.

Sailing on Flathead Lake

On the second to last day, sailing on Flathead Lake.

And to top off the year, I had my Fiftieth High School Class Reunion.  My favorite part of that was tagging along with the golfers on the outing to the local golf course, and meeting a classmate who I had never met in high school!

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What beauty, hiding in plain sight.

We have been so fortunate this year, and had so many delightful experiences, surrounded by our friends, and our Ricochet Family.  Onward to 2018!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/2017-favorites/

 

Thoughts on My Fiftieth (yes, that’s 50th)

Thoughts on My Fiftieth (yes, that’s 50th)

That would be my 50th High School Class Reunion, held this weekend.  A variety of activities were planned, including a golf outing on Friday, a tour of the school and drinks at a local watering hole Friday afternoon, and a big dinner Saturday night.  I have to say that I was one of a class of 700 in a city high school, so there were hundreds of “classmates” who I never even met in all our three years.  I was also pretty much of an outcast, with few friends and few activities.  Most of the “cool kids” wouldn’t give me the time of day, way back then.  I discovered to my delight that the years dim memories, and when I met people at reunions, starting with the tenth, they had mostly forgotten that I was unpopular then, and were nicer to me than I had expected.

At the fortieth reunion in 2007, I actually became re-acquainted with a friend from school who I knew as very conservative, and a fan of Richard Nixon.  Well, it turned out that I had turned conservative over the years, and we now had lots in common.  It was just wonderful to get back in touch with someone who I now could relate to much better.  Over the last ten years, she and her husband have joined me and my husband in a variety of activities, including Hillsdale College functions.

Since the Friday golf outing was being held at a country club pretty close to where I live, I offered to tag along and be the “unofficial official photographer”.  The event organizer said he’d be happy if I went, so I took Friday off work and met the group at the ungodly hour of 8:00AM at the golf course.  Aside from myself, there were four women and six men in the group, which made three groups.  I went with one of the male groups, and took a golf cart with a gentleman whom I had never met in high school at all!  It was absolutely delightful talking with him, and I was sorry I didn’t know him in high school.  The golf course is very pretty, and very hilly!  I not only took pictures of the players, I trained my camera on the course itself.

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See that sign to the left of the golf cart path?  It says Caution 35 degree slope!  And those speed bumps were actually welcome-that path is really steep!

The 18 holes took over four hours, and they just sped by.  We all had a great time, and met back at the club for lunch in their beautiful dining room.  It turned out that the host and his wife (who met in high school and have been married 47 years), live right by the golf course, which is only about 5 miles from where I live.  No excuse for not getting together again soon.  Here’s the golf group at lunch.

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I went home after the golf outing feeling just wonderful.  I’d gotten re-acquainted with people I hadn’t seen in ten years, and liked every one of them.  I was pretty sure that everyone had appreciated my photography, and enjoyed my company as much as I’d enjoyed theirs.  Everyone had done something different with their lives, and moved around the country, but now we were all back for a while, and the years just seemed to fall away into insignificance.

Saturday night was the big reunion dinner at another country club in town.  There were over 200 people there, which is pretty remarkable after fifty years!  If you just closed your eyes and listened, you could hear multiple “Nice to see you” and “Great to see you” from small groups and individuals all over the room.  I must have re-met dozens of people I had known, and even some that I hadn’t!  Some people never change-I recognized more of the women than the men (who had lost more hair!).  Since I don’t, I did notice that the majority of the women color their hair, so there was less gray than there might have been if everyone had remained all-natural like me.

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Fifty years is a very long time.  Most of us are different people than we were in high school, but everyone mostly was successful in life.  Classmates showed pictures of their kids and grandkids, and discussed careers and travels.  From snatches of conversation I heard, many of us had traveled the world, both for work and leisure.  Dozens of us had been or still are teachers, and many different professions were represented.  I was pleased to see that I’m not the only one still employed and loving it.

As I look back over my life, I have been through some trying times, and always landed on my feet.  Fifty years is a long time, but I can’t say I feel that old.  And I think many of my classmates feel the same.  A few people used canes, and there were a couple of walkers in evidence; but that didn’t keep them away.  Everyone who came looked like they were having a pleasant evening, and I think everyone went away happy, with new memories to add to the old ones that are fading.

It was an excellent reunion weekend, and I’m so glad I went.  And the Memory Book that we bought has addresses and pictures for most classmates, so we can stay in touch.  As we get older, friends and family become more important, and classmates aren’t far behind.  “What I am to Be, I am Now Becoming” was our class motto.  Would I have laughed then, if I were told that what I would become was what I am today (planner/buyer, Business Survey Chairman)?  Probably.  In any case, I’m very proud of what I have become, and my high school education helped get me started.

Photo Challenge, Collage. One Natural, One Man-Made

I love living in the Pacific Northwest, where the abundant rain contributes to a profusion of plant life.  Here in the temperate rain forest ecosystem, life grows in many layers.  Green growing things have other growing things on top of them.  Take this tree, for instance, at Rockport State Park, in the foothills of the North Cascades.

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It’s a tall Douglas Fir, with moss growing on its bark, and other broadleaf plants growing up through the moss.  And if you look really closely, you can see insects which live in the moss, and in the bark of the tree.  Layers upon layers of life!

On the other hand, here’s a collage I made of the holiday cards we received from our many Ricochet friends last Christmas (and a Chanukah card from my family).  It definitely brightens up the decor, and I intend to keep it up until this Christmas as a reminder of how lucky we are to have so many Ricochet Friends.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/collage/

Photo Challenge..Is it a Table…Or a Bridge?

This particular dinner table is….wait for it…Both!  The people at this table journeyed from miles away to meet with the Honored Guest, a remarkable young man from Romania.  This Gentleman (capitalized because he is the epitome of Gentleman) is known to all of us online, and the friends at this table, along with dozens of other American friends, paid for his airfare to come to America, and see the country which we love so much.  All last summer, he flew, and bused, and was driven, from the East to the West Coast, staying with friends, and seeing America.

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The guest of honor is at the end of the table, with the goatee and red cravat.  He regaled us with stories of his voyage across America, and bridged the gap for us all.  At the end of the evening, when no one really wanted to leave, we had all gained knowledge, and the immense pleasure of his company.  This table is a bridge, across oceans, mountains, prairies, lakes, rivers, and people.

Oh, and I just couldn’t resist this, for Cherie Lucas Rowlands:

Bridges in Cambridge, England, the opposite number of Oxford.

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A peaceful River Cam bridge, behind Trinity Hall.
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Two bridges over the River Cam, Cambridge (seen from a punt)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/bridge/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

This is the very best Circle in a person’s life: a Circle of Old and New Friends.  This is the dinner table at the Ricochet Tahoe Meetup in September of 2015.  At the beginning of the weekend, we only knew one of the Ricochet members.  At the end, we had made five new friends.

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Dinner-Tahoe Meetup

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/circle/

Why I am not on Facebook (or Twitter)

Why I am not on Facebook (or Twitter)

I often have friends ask me why I am not on Facebook, since they all are.  They are constantly updating their profiles, and commenting on their news feeds.  They also complain a lot about other users violently disagreeing with them on Facebook, and doing so using nasty language.

Well, I am a 67-year-old woman, and pretty conservative in my outlook and opinions.  I don’t take kindly to being figuratively spat on or ripped to shreds.  I subscribe to the internet newsletters of Kim Komando (yep, that’s her real name!), and she often has articles about the goings-on at Facebook.

Like THIS, very recently.   Or THIS from a couple of months ago.  If you go to your favorite search engine and enter the words Facebook and Danger, you get millions of hits.  I acknowledge that most of the dangers of Facebook are to young people, but I’m really not anxious to have my identity stolen, or every internet move tracked by a social network.  Experts have listed in profusion the many ways that you can be harmed by Facebook.

Update on May 11, 2016.   As told by some former Facebook employees, the social media site deliberately suppresses conservative news.  We have suspected this for a while, and many of my Ricochet friends have anecdotal evidence of this.  Now, everyone is aware that the techies in Silicon Valley are heavily liberal and intolerant.  This is just more evidence for this.  One more confirmation that I am doing the right thing in avoiding Facebook.

And, aside from all those dangers, I simply am not interested in sharing every little thing about my self and my life.  I don’t think that all of my friends (real friends, not Facebook “friends”) are interested in knowing what I had for breakfast yesterday, or where I am at this exact moment (which is why I’m not on Twitter either). There are still parts of my self that are mine alone, and not public knowledge.  In my world, there is still something known as privacy.  There is still something known as shame.  Many young people seem to have lost all sense of shame (which is why you see people voluntarily posting naked pictures of themselves online), and when they are “exposed”, they simply shrug it off.  Not me, not now, not ever.

My Best Move in the Past Year

The best thing I did in the last year and a bit was to join Ricochet.com.
By doing that, I opened up a whole new universe of erudition and wisdom (and humor, which is often lacking in today’s world). I have met, both on-line and in person, people who think like I do, admire what I admire, and fret about the things that make me anxious. Living in a deep blue state, it’s often difficult to find others who are conservative in their outlook. But my Ricochet membership opened up whole new avenues of friendship. Who would have thought there were so many wonderful, conservative people right in our area?

Shortly after my husband and I joined, we went to a meetup of members at a coffee shop in South Lake Union. We spent a very pleasant two hours in conversation with a dozen of the nicest people! They came from as far away as Portland to get acquainted with their fellow Ricochet members. After that, it just sort of snowballed. In January, I participated in my first “AMU”, or Audio Meetup (basically, a big conference-call). People literally called in from all over the world! The hosts are three members, one from Pennsylvania, one from Wisconsin, and one from Japan. Yep, Japan!! So I could place a voice, if not a face, with some of the names I’d seen on the site. And I discovered that there is more total “sense of humor” on Ricochet than anywhere else online or off. Even when we’re discussing how our country is going down the tubes, we can laugh. The member from Japan is especially funny, and I look forward to talking with him on almost a weekly basis now.

In May of 2013, Hillsdale College had scheduled a National Leadership Seminar in Seattle, so I decided to try to get together a Ricochet meet up around that seminar. My husband and I decided to stay at the convention hotel downtown for the seminar, so I reserved a room at the restaurant in the hotel for our get-together. Then I posted a notice on Ricochet, asking for potential attendees to get in touch with me if they were interested. Well, that meeting was a rousing success! We had about 20 people, including one of the contributors to the site, who is a long-haul truck driver, and an awesome writer. One of the Hillsdale professors came, as well as a Ricochet member who is one of the first class at the Hillsdale Graduate School of Statesmanship. You can see video of that here

In July, a member who lives in Whatcom County suggested a picnic, so I helped organize a nice outing at Meadowdale Beach Park in Edmonds on Puget Sound. That outing, too, was loads of fun, and members brought their families for a beautiful, sunny afternoon.

The best part of the year, though, was in October, when we drove to Las Vegas and back for a Ricochet National Meeting. Members, contributors, and even an Editor came from all across the country to meet and have fun with their fellow members. I actually found members in Idaho and Utah to get together with on the way down, too. On the trip home, we went to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks.

So, now it’s 2014, and we look forward to more audio and physical meetings with our new Ricochet friends. In February, we are going to Phoenix for another Hillsdale National Leadership Seminar, and we already have found one Editor and three fellow members to get together with. Truly, if you join Ricochet, you will never lack for friends to meet, wherever you travel. For any of you who are interested, just drop by Ricochet, and take a look. If you decide to join, you will not be disappointed!