The List of Fifty – “Go To Machu Picchu”

“Go To Machu Picchu” has been on The List of Fifty since it’s inception when I was a 10th grader.

However, I rather always thought that when I would go, I would go the hard way, you know, by hiking up there on the Inca Trail.

That was not to be.  You see, the opportunity to go came too late…for my knee.  I have a bit of an arthritis problem.  My left knee has just gotten worse and worse over the years and it is no longer trustworthy.  The discomfort it gives is tolerable, but it lacks the strength and stability needed for rigorous activity.

So when I was invited to Peru last month to visit a friend there, even though I was disappointed that I would not be doing the hike, I jumped (not literally, of course, can’t really do that either) at the chance.  :-)

DSCN0121b

DSCN0154

DSCN0195

DSCN0236

DSCN0291

Mag.  Ni.  Fi.  Cent.


Fire, Flashback, and Fever

On Tuesday, while my phone was silenced for work, I received numerous texts.  I retrieved them as I was leaving my office in Denver for home in Colorado Springs.  Fire.  Fire in the Black Forest.

As I made the long drive home, I could see the huge plume of white and gray smoke climbing in a massive column into the sky off in the distance.

Probably shouldn't have been taking pictures while driving....

Probably shouldn’t have been taking pictures while driving….

Closer to home and farther off into the distance I could see the smoke from yet another fire in the Royal Gorge creeping its way across the horizon from behind Cheyenne Mountain.

Different fire, different smoke.

Different fire, different smoke.

When I reached the exit for New Life Church, I headed that direction.  I parked on the side of the road and watched the fire.  The nearest edge was only a mile or so away.  Chinook helicopters were already chugging their way back and forth dangling Bambi buckets filled with water beneath them to, and empty from, the fire.  They looked like mosquitoes dropping trickles of water into hell.

Not again.  These fires are only supposed to happen once in a couple of lifetimes.

But last year at almost this exact time, there was a fire burning in the mountains behind my own house.  It started in Waldo Canyon, one of my favorite hiking spots.  I had been out shopping when I looked up into the mountains and saw smoke rising.  By the time I got home a short time later, it had doubled in size.

Almost home, the Waldo Canyon fire had been burning for an hour.

Almost home, the Waldo Canyon fire had been burning for an hour.

It seemed like it was far enough away that it wouldn’t threaten my neighborhood.  As it burned, I had to keep my house sealed up as the smell of smoke was so strong.  It was so hot.  No air conditioning, no breeze through open windows.  I would go to sleep (fitfully at best) at night with those fires burning “back there” praying none would be caught unawares in the middle of the night.  I would wake up in the morning with a lurch because of the smell, and I’d check the news and look around outside in search of fire.  Always with the smell of smoke in the air.  No one thought the fires would reach as far as the city, but I evacuated my dad who was on vacation and staying with me, just in case.  I didn’t want to have to try to have any future evacuation any more complicated than need be.  And a couple days later, devil winds picked up and blew that fire like a river down into the beautiful Mountain Shadows neighborhood just a couple of miles from my own neighborhood.

I had been taking photographs at a local school that looked down into a number of the canyons that were on fire when the winds inexplicably “collapsed” over the mountains and tripled in velocity.  I watched in horror as the fire began to run out of the canyons and around the mountains seemingly directly toward my home.  As I rushed to my vehicle and to home, I could feel my heart racing.  When I reached home, I could see the flames not too far in the distance.

The view from my window as the fire entered the city.

The view from my window as the fire entered the city.

As I was taking pictures of the fire from my bedroom window, I all of the sudden realized, I needed to leave.  The smoke and flames were getting awfully close very quickly.

Not too much later and the smoke was just down the street.

Not too much later and the smoke was just down the street.

I had already packed up in “pre-evacuation”, so I took a quick video tape of all the things in my house rapidly explaining in a very shaking voice what it was I owned, and what I thought things might be worth…for insurance purposes, and to remember.  Smoke was blocking out the sunshine and burning my throat.

Within moments the smoke was filling my neighborhood.

Within moments the smoke was filling my neighborhood.

I caught and loaded up my cats and picked up a few last minute items and headed out as the smoke and embers blew into my own little neighborhood in a toxic choking cloud.  I said good-bye to my neighbors as they also evacuated and thanked my next door neighbor as he watered down our building one last time before he and his family left.  As I was leaving, I got an electronic reverse 911 call instructing me it was time to get out NOW.  I had already resigned myself to losing nearly everything I owned and was at peace about that.   By the time I reached safety, everything I had evacuated with, including my cats, smelled like forest fire.  I thought watching from a distance as the fire consumed everything in its path, that all of Colorado Springs was going to be ashes by morning.  But it wasn’t.  Miraculously, the fire was contained to, and stopped in, Mountain Shadows.  The fire had been traveling a half a mile an hour, and the nearest burn to my house was only a mile away, but I lost nothing.  Not true for so many.  I thanked God for graciously sparing me.  But 346 families’ homes were a total loss, quite a few those of friends.  That fire was declared the worst in Colorado history.

But that record was not to stand for long.  On Tuesday, less than a year later, the hellish quadrad of high winds, high temperatures, near zero humidity, and a longstanding drought lead to a another fire of epic proportions raging out of control through one of the most lovely areas in all of Colorado Springs.  As I watched from New Life Church, I saw pops of black smoke rising out of the gray.  That was homes burning.  So awful to watch, even from a safe distance.

For the past five days, I have been experiencing that same sick and uncomfortable feeling remembering my own experiences a year ago.  This fire was 10 miles away.  I could see the smoke out the same bedroom window, only looking in the opposite direction.  Across town, thousands and thousands and thousands more new evacuees were experiencing the same emotions and fears that we on this side of town experienced last year.  I could feel it again like it was happening to me.  There was one morning in particular, when I was awakened early to the smell of smoke, that I felt that shaky uncertain sort of scared feeling in my chest again.  I quickly got up and looked out all of my windows, went outside to look for evidence of fire, and checked the news to see if there was a new fire, perhaps nearby.  I had this feeling I should be packing up and going somewhere, just to be sure.  I didn’t like it.

I had put the word out that my home was open for fire refugees, but no one took me up on my offer.  Which turned out to be a good thing as a few nights ago my phone rang at 1:30.  Those early morning phone calls are never good news.  It was my friend Abner.  And he was calling to tell me he was very sick.  He was in Casper, Wyoming for work, and it sounded like he had malaria.  I told him my house was available and to get here as soon as he could.  What a weird thing to have happen in the middle of a totally different kind of crisis.  So, as Abner, a malaria refugee, was getting over the worst of his fever and other symptoms, the heat lifted, the humidity rose, we got some rain, the fire abated, and evacuees started to return to their homes.  Those who still had them.

As of tonight, 483 homes are a total loss.  The death toll is two.  Two souls trying desperately to evacuate who were captured by the flames.  And, just like that, less than a year later, we have a new worst fire in Colorado history.

Things eventually begin to return to some normalcy.  My windows are open and I don’t smell smoke.  Abner was well enough to get to his parents’ home to spend Fathers Day with his pop.   My mother, two sisters, nephew, and their cats, who were all evacuated the evening the fire broke out, have returned to an undamaged house.  And that jittery feeling is abating for me.

Colorado Springs is an amazing city.  For the second time in a year, the community absorbed 10′s of thousands of evacuees.  Lines for donating food, water, and other supplies stretched for miles at various drop off locations.  By basic standards, it’s a large city, but it acts like a small town.  People line the streets cheering the firefolks who run in when others run out.  When I had to evacuate last year, I had a dozen people offer a place in their home to me.  I imagine that this is the same story many others would tell.  It is likely that last year’s evacuees returned the favor to the exact same folks who took them in.

I am blessed to live in such a great place.  I am blessed that all I have had to endure with these fires is some temporary inconvenience and a ongoing sense of  uncertainty about future fire.  When I lived in Southern California there would be times when it seemed more quiet than usual…more still than usual…warmer than usual.  The birds would be quiet.  There was no rustling of ocean breeze through the vegetation.  Even the bugs were silent.  We called it “earthquake weather”.  Now, when it gets hot here, when the humidity dips into single digits, and when the winds kick up, it will be “fire weather”.  And I will pray that epic firestorms are a thing of the past.  I pray that lightening does not strike my wonderful community three times.


Some Aw(e)

awe

[aw]  noun, verb, awed, aw·ing.

noun
1.  an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand,sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.
2.  Archaic. power to inspire fear or reverence.
3.  Obsolete . fear or dread.
verb (used with object)
4.  to inspire with awe.
5.  to influence or restrain by awe.
You might use “awe” somewhere in describing this photograph:
grandcanyonlightning
aw

[aw]  interjection

1.  (used to express protest, disbelief, disgust, or commiseration.)
2.  (used to express sentimental or sugary approval.)
Aw(wwwwwwwwwww) would be appropriately used in response to THIS photograph.
cute_kittens_sleeping
Now go, be smarter, use these two words correctly!  :-)
(p.s.  Could NOT get the spacing to work on this.  Sorry for the somewhat difficult “read” because of that.)

Why I Do Not Make a Good African Woman – Reason #2

Chickens.

The actual bird is not problematic.  Chickens are actually kinda cute, some are downright beautiful.  I’m not afraid of chickens or anything.  I’m okay with them being alive.  I’m okay with them dead all ready to be cooked.  And I’m especially okay with eating them.

I.

Love.

Chicken.

Bake it, fry it, roast it, whatever.  Yum yum yum.

Where I fail as an African woman is getting said chicken from that live state into that ready to be cooked state.

Throughout Africa, it is not unusual to see a woman on the bus or minibus carrying a live chicken (the eating kind, not the laying kind) tied into a plastic bag with only its head out, or in a basket, or the like.  This chicken is for dinner.  The African woman will kill it, pluck it, and break it down in order to cook it for her family.  (And it will be amazing because African chicken is soooo much better than any chicken I’ve ever eaten in America).

The only time I’ve been faced with any part of that process was in Zambia back in 2006.  In case you’re new to my story, prior to my summer in Zambia, I had done very (VERY) little actual cooking.  Didn’t really know how.  I had never even made fried chicken.  However, being very brave, I had purchased a number of chickens in order to make fried chicken for my team of TWENTY SEVEN people.  Knowing it was likely that I wasn’t accustomed to slaughtering chickens, the woman from whom I purchased them quietly did that business out of my eye- and ear-shot and brought the now-dead chickens to me.  She must have seen the rather horrified look on my face when I saw the pile of white feathered headless bodies as she immediately smiled and asked if I knew how to clean them.  Which of course I didn’t.  I also didn’t have a knife that would cut through bones even if I wanted to tackle the butchering part.  So I paid her a little bit extra to do the job for me (and told her she could have all the “insides”).  Less than an hour later, she returned with a big bowl of chicken pieces that looked a whole lot more like what I was used to seeing at home.

How I was used to seeing chicken for sale...

How I was used to seeing chicken for sale…

...what the chickens I bought in Zambia looked like...

…what the chickens I bought in Zambia looked like…

I would have tackled the plucking part, but it would have taken me about a day or two to do the job.

I’m not sure I would ever be able to do the killing part.

And for that, I would not make a good African woman.


Unpaid Product Endorsement – Skechers Go Walk Slip-Ons

I was on a search.  I needed a pair of shoes.

I was looking for a pair of shoes that had to perform very specific functions and meet specific criteria.  I was going to be traveling and backpacking in Africa for three weeks and I needed a pair of shoes that were 1) extremely lightweight, 2) very durable, 3) had at least decent, if not good, arch support, 4) would be easy on easy off, 5) could be folded up to pack, 6) would double as water shoes, 7) because of reason 6 would need to dry quickly, 8) would be easily hand washed, and finally 9) were fully enclosed, and 10) could be worn with the back folded down like a slipper.  Plus, if they could be not ugly, possibly even cute, that would be my bonus.

A pretty daunting list of requirements for a pair of shoes, no?  I couldn’t find anything remotely close.  I’d pretty much resigned myself to needing to take multiple pairs of shoes, which I was loathe to do.  I really only wanted to take this elusive pair, plus a pair of flip flops.

Sort of desperate, I decided to drop into a Famous Footwear store that I happened to be driving past the day before I was to leave on my trip.

When I listed these things off to the salesperson she immediately took me to these shoes. I tried a pair on and couldn’t believe there was actually a shoe that appeared to fulfill every single one of my criteria.  I put these shoes through their paces in my three week trip.  They were awesome. And though they are a just little worn looking, they still look good enough to wear in my work as a nurse.  And, as a totally unexpected bonus, despite wearing them non-stop day and night at times, and without socks, they did not get smelly!!!  I will be buying additional pairs of these shoes in more colors as I fear they will not be an ongoing style in Skechers line-up.

I give you…….Skechers Go Walk Slip-Ons:

Available at shoe stores I suppose everywhere, and on amazon.com as well.  Here’s a link to google images for them.  Look at all the wonderful color choices!!!!!


Why I Do Not Make a Good African Woman – Reason #1

And this is a big one!

In many parts of Africa there is a form of transportation called a “bike taxi”.

The bike taxi strikes fear into my heart.

Take a battered bicycle and put a “seat” on the back of it over the rear tire, and you have a bike taxi.

Like this one?

I wish.  No.

Like these ones.  (These have really good seats on them, by the way).

I recently went on another adventure to the African continent.  The trip in a nutshell went like this:

Fly to Dubai, meet up with Abner, hang out in Dubai for a bit waiting for our next flights, and sleep in the airport.  Fly to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania…me via Qatar, Abner direct.  Meet up with Abner again.  Spend night in DAR.  Take boat to Zanzibar.  Spend time in Zanzibar.  Take boat back to DAR.  Spend night in DAR.  Take buses and minibuses from DAR to Malawi.  Spend time in Malawi.  Take buses/minibuses to Mozambique.  Spend time in Mozambique.  Fly from Mozambique to South Africa.  Say good-bye to Abner as he heads to Lisbon.  Fly home.

This post is about the middle part of the trip.  The part where we meet up with friends in Sani/Nkhota Kota, Malawi.  There’s a lot of stories to tell up to this point, but this is as good a place as any to start.

In Malawi, especially in the rural “bush” areas, women wear skirts.  So, I was in a skirt.  And we were backpacking, so I had a big pack on my back, and a smaller one on my front.  And I’m not a young thing anymore…pushing 50 in fact.  And we’d been on the road for over two days, so I was tired and sore.

As we neared the place where our bus would drop us off to meet our Malawian friends, I began to wonder how, in the dead of night (it was after 10 PM) we would get from the roadside drop off point to Sam’s house (about 10 km) into the bush.  Is it too remote for a regular bush taxi?  Would we walk?  Or, please God, no, would he have arranged for bike taxis?

As you have probably guessed, it was the latter.  I took one look at those taxis and pictured myself trying to jump up onto the back to ride it sidesaddle with all my gear, and in a skirt, and I nearly died.  That was SO not going to happen.  “Fortunately”, once the “taxi drivers” saw the color of my skin, the previously agreed to price all of the sudden became seriously inflated.  I took that as my opportunity to encourage their immediate dismissal, opting instead to do the long walk.

Sam was quite amused.  African women have literally no problem with this form of transportation.  Even the very old ones with a parcel on their heads and one grandbaby in their laps with another one their backs.  And they are graceful while doing it.  Of course, they’ve been doing it their whole life.  This would have been my first time.

I seriously hate being a “problem” like that.  I try very hard to do the best I can to just quietly do what needs to be done.  And normally, I am extremely “game” in most travel circumstances.

But not this time.  I just couldn’t do it.  So we walked.  So I made all of us walk.  :-(  And I was glad we did.  It was so very dark and the dirt road was bumpy and full of washed out areas, rocks, and potholes.  Even if I’d have gotten up there, I’m pretty sure at some point I would have fallen off, and possibly injured myself.  This is what I tell myself to make myself feel better about not doing it.

Perhaps the next time I find myself faced with a bike taxi I won’t be in a skirt, I won’t be loaded down, it won’t be dark, and there would be a step stool.  I’d give it a whirl if so.

But not this time.

In this particular case, I did not make a good African woman.


Send in the Marines

I have a problem with this.  Using Marines in full dress uniform to hold umbrellas?  WHAT??  Have other presidents done this?  Probably, I don’t know.  But it needs to never happen again.  It is, after all, at the very least, against their protocol to hold umbrellas.  To me it just smells like O acting like a Czar, or an Emporer/Dear Leader, enlisting whatever peasant happened by to do his whim.  No thought to the protocol, or the pride, of these magnificent Marines.

Seriously, what were Obama and Erdoğan doing with their own hands that they couldn’t have hoisted their own umbrellas?  It would have been a really awesome thing if Obama had grabbed an umbrella and held it over Erdoğan, but there’s a part of me that just doesn’t think Obama has a paradigm for servanthood.   He certainly has a strange (and dangerous, as seen in the Benghazi disaster) approach to being a commander-in-chief.

So much ugh-worthiness from this administration this week.  But of all the scandalous things the O-ministration is up to these days, this awkward event spoke the most to me about Obama’s general attitude towards this country.

This country is in big trouble.  You do realize that, don’t you??

All men are created equal, but some men are more equal than others.


PRAVDA=TRUTH

Perhaps we should learn from a people who have been there, and done that…

Americans Never Give Up Your Guns

(click above to read one Russian’s thoughts on gun control)

And when you hear people say things like “No one needs an AK-47 to hunt”, you should be thinking, “well, duh”.

The right to bear arms is about the right to protect yourself, your property, and your family against a tyrannical government.  When the states added the second amendment to the constitution, they were not thinking about hunting.  They had just fought a bloody revoluitonary war to be free from a government that exercised unrestrained power over them…THAT is what drove them to want that protection embodied in the constitution of this country.

What is tyranny?

 tyr·an·ny

noun, plural tyr·an·nies.
1.  arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.
2.  the government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.
3.  a state ruled by a tyrant or absolute ruler.
4.  oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.
5.  undue severity or harshness.
Hmmmmm….
Tyrannical leaders lull their people slowly to sleep while grabbing power they were not intended to have.  We are used to the balance of powers actually keeping that from happening.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that tyranny can’t happen here, just like it has happened in so many countries before.  Striking down the 2nd amendment should not even be a consideration.


God Puts His Fingers In His Ears

Often when reading the Bible, I learn something unexpected.  I recently was reading Jeremiah.  I have read this book before.  But verse 7:16 jumped out at me.  I don’t ever remember reading this before.  I won’t get into the context or anything, because I believe this verse stands on its own as well as in context.  This is God, speaking to Jeremiah:

“Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.” (KJV)

INTERESTING!  There are times when God simply chooses not to hear certain prayers.  God basically tells Jeremiah, “don’t even waste your breath, dude.”  But also, he’s commanding Jeremiah to NOT PRAY.  Therefore, if Jeremiah would have prayed in that way when God told him NOT to, would he not have been sinning by doing what he was told not to do?


Twenty Thirteen

It is a new year.  At least by the Gregorian calendar it is.  The calendar we use is named after Pope Gregory XIII who introduced it 1582.  It replaced the less accurate Julian calendar.  The Gregorian calendar is accurate relative to the length of a solar year, but boring.  Most of the months are named after mythical gods or Latin numbers.

In China, 2013 is the year of the snake.  The Chinese calendar is way more interesting than ours.  It’s filled with creatures and complex explanations of the attributes of months, years, signs, etc.  Chinese New Year falls on February 10th this year, so I guess it’s not quite the year of the snake yet.  It is still the year of the dragon.  I was born in the year of the dragon, tempered by the element of wood.  You can do a search on that to find out how that makes me special.  :-)  I was not only born in the year of the dragon, I am a Capricorn.  A woman I worked with once (many years ago) who was from Thailand, told me that in her country, in the time I was born, I probably would have been killed because I was girl born under two very powerful signs.  She said that in her culture, there was too much power in that combination for a woman.  I’m glad I was born in America.

2013 AD (or CE, you pick) correlates with the Jewish years 5770-5771.  Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish new year.  This year the celebration will start on September 4th.  By far I like the history of the Jewish calendar the most.  It started on the 6th day of creation, the day that Adam and Eve were created.  I can’t hazard a guess as to how much time transpired prior to the day of the creation of man or to how old the earth is, because God exists outside of time.  The thing that the Jewish calendar is missing for me, though, is Jesus.

So, despite its relative mundanity, my favorite calendar is the Gregorian one…the one that marks time relative to the birth of Jesus (likely inaccurate by years as well as months and days).  I like that every time a reference is made to the year, that a quiet recognition is made to His very existence.

Happy New Year!  Happy 2013 years (give or take) after Christ’s birth.


Unto Us…

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Rich White Men Urinate On Black Women…By Ed Asner

Replace “rich” with “Jew” and it’s a Nazi propaganda video.  Everything that is wrong in America is become of the rich.  Everything that was wrong in Germany was because of the Jews.  The parallels between these two propaganda are myriad.  This is so disturbing.  What on earth is this video even supposed to be used for?  SHAME on everyone involved in it.  Extra shame on Ed Asner.  How can even be involved with a project depicting a rich white man urinating on a middle class black woman.  UNBELIEVABLE.

I think I hear black helicopters.

12/06/12 Update:  The teachers union removed and edited the video to remove the portion where the white rich man urinates on the poor black people.  Good call.  But the rest of the video is just as bad.  They’ve reuploaded the edited version.  Bad call.  They should have quit while they were ahead.


#192

Calling someone a hero is such an overused thing anymore.  Doing so has nearly lost its’ power, at least for me, at least in my country.  Too often, we throw the word around like it is nothing.  When I was young, a hero was someone who rushed in without thought of their own personal safety, just on instinct or habit or natural inclination; to save the life of another, like Superman stopping an oncoming train from hitting a car of children stalled on the tracks.  Or it meant it was someone who would make the life of another something so much better than it would have been if not for that heroism.  True heroism can be a single act, or it can be a lifetime of action.  Heroes don’t mean to be humbling, but they are.  They make us look at ourselves and wonder if we could ever be heroic like that.  I don’t think that Harry and Echo VanderWal would be all that comfortable being called heroes.    But if they are not, then who is?

If you ever find yourself talking about how something needs to be done about this or that problem in the world, how do you respond to yourself?  Do you just talk and make demands of others, or do you actually DO something?  Or perhaps you are simply struck with analysis paralysis finding that despite wanting to help and wanting to do something VERY good, you do not HOW?  Well, here’s a how you can help some real heroes do their heroic work.  Support the work of the the VanderWals and the Swazi people.  Give to The Luke Commission and help their work not just to save one life at a time, but to save an entire country from the ravages of HIV/AIDS and from REAL lack of access to even the most basic of healthcare services.

The VanderWals run hundreds of clinics, year after year, reaching into every nook and cranny of Swaziland.  They treat many hundreds of patients at each of these clinics.  They facilitate ongoing care year after year for those with chronic medical problems.  They bring health and they bring hope.  They help failing eyes see again.  They bring mobility to those who otherwise would be stuck in their simple homesteads, unable to manage the rocky streets without durable carts.  They screen for and treat hypertension, diabetes, and tuberculosis.  They treat everyone for intestinal parasites which rob people of whatever meager nutrition they are able to obtain.  They are performing hundreds of adult male circumcision, a procedure that is proven to reduce the risk of spreading AIDS.  At each of these clinics they stay well into the dark seeing every single person who comes for help, no matter how late into the dark it gets.  No one, not one person, is turned away.  Never.  Harry and Echo see patients and operate in the darkest of night until every last patient is cared for.

Trust in Swaziland is hard to come by.  The Swazis trust the VanderWals because the VanderWals have proven themselves trustworthy.  Because of that, the Swazi people get tested, get treated, get life.  No one has been successful like they have been in helping to turn the tide for these beautiful people.

I’ve seen them in action.  It is humbling.

YOU can help #192.  You can help hundreds of #192s.  Your money could simply not be more well spent.

On this World AIDS Day 2012, do something tangible to make a difference.

DONATE NOW, DONATE HERE.


“Obama’s fools …

“Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion.”

~  Xavier Lerma, PRAVDA


Forever 39

My best friend, Connie, died a few months before her 40th birthday.  Today would have been her 47th birthday.

I think she would have disliked getting older, and eventually old.

She would have loved seeing her oldest son becoming homecoming king at his college, and having even more fun in college than she did.  She would have loved seeing her oldest daughter get married, and loved having a son-in-law.  She would have loved seeing her youngest son working along side her dad making and fixing stuff.  And she would have loved seeing her youngest daughter become the quintessential young lady.  She would have loved hearing her kids laugh together as nearly grown ups.  She would have loved looking forward to grandchildren.  She would have loved being able to celebrate all the wedding anniversaries she has missed.  I and her husband (my brother) have toasted to her with a bottle of Dom on their anniversary every year since she left.  She would have loved all that great champagne that I got drink instead.

But she would have hated having to wear reading glasses just to be able to read her watch.  She would have been frustrated with her hands losing strength and her fingers getting crooked and stiff.  She would have hated that sometimes hopping out of bed would be more like groaning and rolling out.  She would NOT have been on board with the whole “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” thing that happens with age.  She would have not liked anything about aging that would have slowed her down.

She’s missed all that good stuff and will miss a lot more…but she has missed the bad stuff, too, including the creaky parts of aging.  I know that she is likely laughing at me wearing readers and pushing ever closer to 50 every time her birthday rolls around and she still gets to be 39…forever 39.


Picking a President

1. I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood. Proverbs 6:16-17
2. I will vote for the most pro-Israel candidate, because God blesses those who bless Israel & curses those who curse them. Genesis 12:1-3
3. I will vote for the most pro-man-and-woman-marriage candidate, because God clearly establishes and defines marriage in Genesis 2:21-24
4. I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes that the purpose of government is to reward the good & punish the evil. Romans 13
5. I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
6. I will vote for the most pro-work candidate because God says if a man does not work, neither shall he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
7. Finally, I will vote based as close as I can on God’s Word, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts men in authority. Daniel 2:21

(The above is not original material, it was taken with permission from a friend’s facebook page, and from the Bible)

Go.  Vote.  Pick wisely.  God always keeps his promises.


Romney’s “Goose Cooking” Vote Cast By Michael Moore Should Not Be Counted

From twitter earlier today:

Romney – you see this? This is me cooking your goose. In Michigan. Where the trees are used to make ballots to defeat upic.twitter.com/hxmvyUxA.

Embedded image permalink

This was the picture that was linked.  To make sure we knew just HOW MM was cooking that goose, this image was ALSO provided:

Are you supposed to tweet a picture of your ballot?  Not in Michigan, you’re not.

MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW (EXCERPT)
Act 116 of 1954

168.738 Voting; ballots; folding; deposit in ballot box; rejection for exposure.

Sec. 738.

(1) Before leaving the booth or voting compartment, the elector shall fold his or her ballot or each of the ballots so that no part of the face shall be exposed, and with the detachable corner on the outside. Upon leaving the booth, the elector shall at once deliver in public view the ballot or ballots to the inspector designated to receive the ballot or ballots. Except as provided in subsection (2), the inspector shall tear off the corner of the ballot, where perforated, containing the number and shall then in the presence of the elector and the board of inspectors deposit each ballot in the proper ballot box without opening the ballot.

(2) If an elector shows his or her ballot or any part of the ballot to any person other than a person lawfully assisting him or her in the preparation of the ballot or a minor child accompanying that elector in the booth or voting compartment under section 736a, after the ballot has been marked, to disclose any part of the face of the ballot, the ballot shall not be deposited in the ballot box, but shall be marked “rejected for exposure”, and shall be disposed of as are other rejected ballots. If an elector exposes his or her ballot, a note of the occurrence shall be entered on the poll list opposite his or her name and the elector shall not be allowed to vote at the election.
History: 1954, Act 116, Eff. June 1, 1955 ;– Am. 1996, Act 213, Imd. Eff. May 28, 1996
Popular Name: Election Code

Click for link for source

Apparently his ballot should be “rejected for exposure”.


What Happens If Obama Loses???? (We’re Blaming You Mom and Dad!)

Here’s a little ditty that lays it all out for you.  Enjoy!  (Are we being punked by this video?)

For those of you who can’t bear to watch the video, here are the lyrics:

Imagine an America
Where strip mines are fun and free
Where gays can be fixed
And sick people just die
And oil fills the sea

We don’t have to pay for freeways!
Our schools are good enough
Give us endless wars
On foreign shores
And lots of Chinese stuff

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
Big Bird is sacked
The Earth is cracked
And the atmosphere is frying

Congress went home early
They did their best we know
You can’t cut spending
With elections pending
Unless it’s welfare dough

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

Find a park that is still open
And take a breath of poison air
They foreclosed your place
To build a weapon in space
But you can write off your au pair

It’s a little awkward to tell you
But you left us holding the bag
When we look around
The place is all dumbed down
And the long term’s kind of a drag

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And yeah, we’re blaming you

You did your best
You failed the test

Mom and Dad
We’re blaming you!

12/23/12 Uupdate:  This video has disappeared entirely from the internet.  I cannot find the video footage anywhere now.  The ad was  an independent project by  Silverstein & Partners founders Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein. It was unrelated to the agency’s work.  It was a personal agenda piece.  These are the same people who brought you the “got milk” campaign and many other well known national ad campaigns.


What Happens If The Election is a Tie??

Think a Romney-Biden administration can’t happen??

Think again!

Here are some outcome scenarios you may not have given a thought to…


VOLT (Rhymes With Dolt)

I like to think of the Chevy Volt as one of the clearest examples of what is wrong with the Obama presidency.  In order to pay for this car that very few people want, Obama has put the taxpayer on the hook no less than four times for this unpopular vehicle.  Here’s how:

1)  Obama gave the company LG Chem $150 million of your and my money in the form of a GRANT (read “free to them”) to manufacture the batteries for the Volt.  Seriously, you have to read THIS about what an abject failure the plant is because of lack of demand for the Volt.

2)  It costs, what, a million bucks (hyperbole, folks, hyperbole) to built one of those toaster ovens?  They are being sold and leased tremendously under cost (sold at a little over half the cost of what it costs to manufacture it, leased at outrageously low cost), each one at a huge loss to GM.  The loss (negative profit) created on each of these vehicles is then spread out over the purchase price of the other vehicles that most people actually WANT to buy.  Not only is the cost of their new vehicle now more than it would have been, they have to pay more taxes on the increased cost of the vehicle.  HERE is a nice article dissecting the math for us…

3)  The Pentagon is buying the Volt to prop up the miserable sales.  I’m sure they’re being forced to in an effort to green up the military, as well as to help the Volt not look like the taxpayer funded Obama debacle that it is.  Does it come in camouflage?  Where does the Pentagon’s money come from?  Yes, dear fellow taxpayer…from your wallet.

4)  When purchased, the Volt comes with a $7,500 tax credit!  Money taken right out of the treasury in order to bribe someone to buy a car that is worth twice what they are going to pay for it.  ARGHHHH!!!

And there’s still the matter of the bailout that GM received from We The People.  Technically they have paid back the bailout money, as was outlined in the agreement.  But even though they have met the terms of the agreement, the stock that was used to pay a large amount of the bailout money back isn’t worth enough to equal the money given to them.  So technically, the Volt has cost us FOUR times at least.  You can read about that HERE.

I think that if I thought about it long enough, I could come up with half a dozen less direct ways this car costs us, but I will stop at four/five.

In whose universe is this good policy and a good way to spend our hard earned tax dollars (rhetorical non-question).  For shame.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 761 other followers

%d bloggers like this: