It’s Nearly Too Late

When I was young, our house backed up to my mother’s uncle house, whose yard was filled with apple, pear, and cherry trees (not to mention his grape vines). My first house as an adult backed up to a buffer of woods between our property and the homes behind ours.

The house we purchased in New Jersey again backed up to woods, so there was always plenty of wildlife to eat my tulips and woods to play in, which also added a bit of serenity to the view out of the back window.

Our home in Chapel Hill sat on a piece of property half the size of the other two, but the previous owner had built that very serene Japanese garden in the backyard, which always sounded like a gentle rainfall and was quite soothing from my perch in our screened porch. When we rented the house in Atlanta, not only did we have trees again, but also a nice little stream in the back yard to look down upon from our deck.

As I write to you today, I am enjoying my view from the screened porch of house #6, realizing that the time to do this is numbered as the days grow shorter and the temperatures are beginning to drop. I listen to the birds call out to one another, watch the butterflies chase each other on the lantana, peer across the pond at the pine trees along the banks of the water, and look for my friends, Ozzie and Harriet, those two very beautiful white herons which I recently mistook for drones. (I don’t know why but they did!)

This is my favorite view, and as I drive around my town and watch as thousands of beautiful pine trees are decimated to make room for one housing development after another, I realize that views such as mine are disappearing forever.

Bryce told his mom that if he were to run for president, his platform would be to make it illegal to cut down trees. While he is only six and does not realize that a blanket law like that could not be made, he told me that he learned while listening to a podcast that “pretty soon we won’t have good air to breathe.”

So today I went to the library and found two books on global warming for him to read, because although it is happening in my lifetime, my children and grandchildren will be impacted by its effects much more dramatically than me. And Bryce was correct about the loss of good air. One of the books I borrowed for him was written by a scientist, who teamed up with the Smithsonian Institute to write the book. The author mentioned that trees and other green plants covert carbon dioxide into oxygen, but those trees and forests are being cut down in such huge number that there is no longer enough plant life to absorb the carbon dioxide on the planet.

We are in deep trouble, my friends, and while we have so very many problems to repair in this country, in my opinion, if this is not at the top of the list, the other problems will disappear along with the life on this planet. Anyone who chooses to deny this science is ignorant and selfish.

 

 

Just Another Presidential Oops

When I noticed the “Esperanto” trending on Twitter recently, I was brought back to my school days when I had done a report on this subject. Don’t worry if this is unfamiliar to you. I thought it was a dead issue long ago.

For those of you not in the know, I will give you a brief lesson. Esperanto is a language which was developed during the late 19th century with the intent that it would become an international language. Although it did not take off, it is still spoken today by anywhere from 200,000 to 2 million individuals worldwide. Clearly there is not accurate data on the language.

If you want to learn Esperanto, I would suggest you go to Hungary, where it is taught in some universities, or use good old Google to find the Esperanto-USA group. It really exists but I am not interested in doing your research.

But getting back to why it was trending on Twitter. It turns out that our president, who has an annoying habit of not proofreading his Tweets because he is perfect and does not make mistakes, he erroneously referred to the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, as Mark Esperanto. I guess it’s like when Grandpa called Doogie Howser Hogie Dowser.

Where Was the Broccoli?

As you all recall, your elementary school did not serve lunch, so twice a month Margaret and I sent out order forms to each child in the school, calculated the amount of food and beverages to purchase, placed our orders, and bought the supplies from the vendors. One vendor happened to be a local nursing home, who had the best price on the hotdog rolls.

Reflecting back on those lunches, I am astounded that we were able to feed those young children such unhealthy lunches: pizza (not too bad) or hotdogs (bad, bad, bad), soda (so much sugar and no nutritional value), and potato chips. In my defense, I will say that I did not craft the menu. It was thrust upon me by my predecessor, Gladys. I naively agreed to take on the task for one year year but ended up cooking hotdogs and storing soda in our garage for years.

I bet a million bucks that those awful lunches that every kid loved would never pass muster today because those lunches were full of way too much sodium, sugar, and fat, and not a single carrot or piece of fruit to be found.

Now we are so much smarter.

I Don’t Get It

I once wrote that my hope for my children was that in the end, they have “a good life with plenty of laughs and good memories.” I will add that I don’t care if they live in a small home or a huge mansion, if they have fancy cars or a single second-hand automobile, and I don’t care if they wear designer clothes or outfits from Target. All that matters is that I have raised happy, independent children, each with a strong sense of right and wrong.

I taught them to be truthful and kind to others, so it was difficult to watch when their friends were unkind or made disparaging comments on the playground. I am hearing about this happening already in preschool and it breaks my heart.

Cursing was not spoken at home, and when one of them hurt the feelings of another, they were taught to write a note of apology. So it has been with a heavy heart that I have watched our country being led by a man who clearly was not raised with any of those values—where money was worshipped over integrity, and people still believe in him.

As I watch our country’s reputation erode throughout the world, our clean air and water get dirtier, and our climate continuing to warm unchecked, I know that the experiment to elect an outsider has failed miserably. And I truly don’t understand why everyone in this country does not see this.

Elijah Cummings said two important things:

  • “I’m hoping that all of us can get back to this democracy that we want, and that we should be passing on our children so they can do better than what we did.”
  • “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?”

I will fight.

This Will Make Your Head Spin

Yesterday I finally solved the mystery of Dad’s cousin, I.J. (Izzy) Wagner, who was one of the most influential men in Utah. You may recall that I wrote about him three years ago. (Wow People I have Met) I have been trying to figure out the connection between our two families on and off for years and am thrilled to have finally unraveled the pieces. I realize it is an eye-rolling event for anyone but me and possibly other genealogy addicts, but nevertheless, I wanted to share my news.

The key was Dad’s extensive family in Boston, a fact that was news to Dad when I told him that his paternal great-great grandparents resided in the capital city of Massachusetts. That grandfather was a man named Harris Wolfson, who came to America from Russia in 1900 along with his wife and five children. He became a teacher of Hebrew. Dad’s grandfather, Misha, was Harris’ grandson.

I learned that cousin Izzy was the son of a man named Harry Wagner who also immigrated to Boston from Russia, so I focused on that family. Izzy’s mother’s obituary told me that her mother was a woman named Leona Wolfson, so I believed the Wolfson family was the key. (Izzy’s mother was named Rose.)

It was not until yesterday that the case broke wide open when I examined the ship’s record for Rose’s brother-in-law Abraham and learned that Abraham was heading to the home of Grandpa Harris, his wife’s uncle. This (along with many other minor details) confirmed that Grandpa Harris was the brother of cousin Izzy’s grandmother, Great-Great-Great Aunt Leona Wolfson.) Are you dizzy yet? As confusing as this appears, I have actually simplified all the dots that I connected.

I know, I know, who cares! But I am thrilled that I solved my human crossword puzzle, and you should again be warned that I am relentless in my search for answers. I can eventually find almost everyone, so I guess when I said in my high school directory that I was a private investigator, I was really not lying.

Perhaps I should have been sent to the Ukraine to help untangle the web of deceit that is being uncovered in the impeachment investigation.

P.S. Izzy is Dad’s 2nd cousin twice removed.

No More Flipping!

Our mattress had been feeling a little uneven, so we decided it was time to turn it. At one time, mattresses were two-sided, so it was possible and recommended to flip them several times a year to prolong the life of the mattress and to avoid those dents which are created from our bodies lying in the same spot night after night. With most mattresses having those nice padded areas on top, flipping them over is a thing of the past, so Dad and I decided to rotate ours 180 degrees. This was much easier said than done.

We stripped the bed of everything—the new comfy topper, the sheets, blankets, and spread—and positioned ourselves for the task of rotating our very heavy king-sized mattress. The four posters on our bed added to the difficulty.

The procedure involved a lot of pushing and pulling and grunting and groaning and complaining, but in the end, with the mission accomplished, our bed felt almost as good as new. It was quite the workout, so I did not feel the need to ride on my bike that day, and Dad threw out his knee in the process. He avoided “work” (aka golf) for a few days, but this morning, with a brace on his leg and a few Advils in his body he was off to the links.

I read that rotating a mattress is still recommended to be done twice a year. That won’t be happening. Dad said we will buy another mattress before he will put himself through another rotation or pay a professional mattress flipper to do it for us.

Five and Counting

I have lived in five states, but South Carolina is the only state where I can be assured that it will not snow every year, and where I have the opportunity to meet (or at least hear speak) each candidate running for president. My list for the 2020 election is currently at five (Klobuchar, Harris, Biden, Buttigieg, and Bullock), and as the February primary approaches, that number will definitely increase.

This past weekend I met Governor Steve Bullock, who is unfortunately not well known since he jumped into the race later than the others and has not been in any debates. I knew little about him, so as we were driving to our meet-and-greet, I went to his website and reviewed his positions. Dad and I arrived early, as did Governor Bullock, so we had time to chat with him before he spoke to those in attendance.

I liked him and am upset that only those at the top of the polling and fundraising are getting much attention so early in the process.  Many of his views align with mine, and I think the fact that he won as a Democrat in a Republican state makes him a strong candidate to consider.

I don’t have a preferred candidate yet, so I would like the chance to hear from more than just the leaders of pack. I am also bothered that at least four states, including my own, have cancelled the Republican presidential primaries. While I am not a fan of South Carolina’s candidate, our former governor and congressman, Mark Sanford, I believe it is wrong for the Republican Party to not give the other three declared candidates a chance to run against Trump.

There are too many people making decisions for me. Mommy is not pleased!

P.S. I have it on good authority that Elizabeth Warren is now advertising on the Kid’s Learning Channel along with Tom Steyer, so I will probably have to bring Bryce to get a selfie with her.