Saturday, August 17, 2013

Taking Responsibility

Susan Snyder of The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported that Penn State has made its first settlement for Jerry Sandusky's victims. Twenty-six victims, $60 million. In exchange for taking the money, the victims agree not to sue the university or Second Mile, Sandusky's charity. I wrote several posts in the past about the horror that took place back in my home state of Pennsylvania. I am glad to know that the school is taking responsibility. In exchange for the settlement, the victims agree not to sue the university or Second Mile charity.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The $6.30 Dress

This is a follow up post to the one called "The $4.95 Dress." Today I went into the same store where I found the $4.95 dress for my friend's wedding, and found one for the rehearsal and dinner the night before the wedding. It was marked down to $7.00, and with my employee discount I got it for $6.30. How about that? These are very important events, and I am so excited to have my dresses for both of them.

Money is tight for me. I'm not complaining, but just stating a fact. These two lovely dresses are just more proof that I can have pretty things, and that I can have what I need and want. You see, there were much more expensive dresses in the store both times I visited, but it just happened that the ones I really loved seemed to be waiting for me. The polka dot dress is a blue that is somewhere between royal and navy, and the dots on it are a light blue, close to an aqua.

Here is a picture of the dress, but not a picture of me. It is fun, and polka dots are one of my favorite things. I think I am a very lucky woman. The brand is Be Bop, which is also a fun name.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

The System

We have a lot of problems in our country, the United States of America. A lot of problems. There are many nations throughout the world that have some wonderful ideas that we would do well to implement here. I could give you my opinions on gay marriage and health care and our prison system and guns so on, but is that what you really come here for? If my father was still alive today, he would likely chuckle and tell me I'm a bleeding heart liberal. One of the things I loved about my father, is that he talked to me and conversed with me the same way he did my older brother. (My younger brother was only 13 when our dad died, so he didn't have adult conversations with him. Not that I was really an adult, but I think you know what I mean.) I have had extended family members tell me that my father hated women and had a low opinion of them and a general disrespect for them. I won't object to that, but I will say that as a girl child who was almost 18 when he died, I never saw that or felt it.

When I was in high school, I would work late at Burger King. In summer, we were open till midnight on week nights and 1 am on weekends, and I often worked the closing shift. I thought that my dad must like to stay up late, but now that I think about it, perhaps it wasn't so much that he was a night owl as it was he wanted to make sure I got in safely.

We would sit and have these discussions about politics and current events and life in general. And I am so thankful for them, for many reasons, probably the biggest being that although we didn't know it, my father would die at the young age of 54 and I would not be having any more conversations with him. I thought of them as "intellectual conversations," and it made me feel good that my dad thought I had a good mind. Sometimes he would poke a few holes in my arguments, and that's as it should be. It's no fun to talk with someone on a serious subject and not be challenged. But he never patronized me. He made me feel as I could hold my own on many topics, and it no doubt contributed to the confidence that I have always felt in the presence of men. I can remember over the years men old enough to be my father or grandfather, in business situations, seeming a little surprised and maybe amused at this young girl named Susan and how she conducted herself.

So while we have a lot of problems that need fixing in this country, one of the greatest things in my opinion is that each person accused of a crime is entitled to a vigorous defense, and a trial with a jury of his peers. That the jury is made up of people like you and me, is quite intriguing. It's not just a judge who decides someone's fate. It is not a group of professional, paid jurors. But just someone like me. Or you.

George Zimmerman went through the system. Although each is entitled to a speedy trial, most defendants choose to wait and allow a solid defense to be mounted. That takes time. So when it was all said and done, six female jurors concluded that he is not guilty.

The system works, the way it is supposed to, even when it surprises us. It was my guess that Zimmerman was overcharged with second degree murder, and when I heard that the jury would be permitted to consider manslaughter, I felt it likely he would be convicted of that. I didn't follow the case closely, but I kept up with it a bit. Mostly because it involved two young men. Martin was 17 at the time of his death, and Zimmerman 28. As the mother of two sons, as a woman who reflects on the values as a society seem to teach boys, as I think about guns and violence and such, it struck a chord with me. In this blog, my most popular post (the one that has been viewed the most) is one I wrote shortly after Martin was shot. It is called "I am Sabrina Fulton."

It is beyond tragic that so many of our young men kill our young men, for whatever the reason and whatever the circumstances. I wish them all peace. I wish peace for the families of Martin and Zimmerman, and I think of both Mrs. Fulton and Mrs. Zimmerman as my sisters. I wish George Zimmerman peace, for that night has forever changed his life. I would not want to live with the fact that I had pulled the trigger of a gun and took another person's life, regardless of the circumstances or reason.

Sometimes it seems that we will never have peace within our nation, that there will never be a day when some young man won't be picking up a gun and killing another young man. Not that women don't commit violence, for they do, but the young men just really resonate with me. I have to ask myself, however, what am I doing to make our country a better place?

The system works. I need to be working somehow to make things better.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

"Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword." Thomas Jefferson (writing to Thomas Paine)

Yesterday was her sixteenth birthday, and she spent it addressing the United Nations. Malala Yousafzai, you may recall, was shot last October for having the audacity to attend school. For her appearance at the UN, she wore her favorite color, pink. She has had surgery and is recovering quite well. Yousafzai received $3 million for a book deal. It will be titled, "I am Malala." Yes, my dear. You certainly are.


Photograph from Associated Press

Thursday, July 11, 2013


This quote is from Ursula K. Le Guin.

Sometimes the way we think of creativity limits it, as if the only creative people are the poets and the painters. We are all creators of some sort, from the man who creates a dinner from what he grew in his garden, to the woman who writes code for a living, and every person who creates a better life for himself through his thoughts and behavior.

One of the things that stifles creativity is that self-conscious feeling that maybe we aren't good enough. My first Art class in college was a few semesters ago. The course was called Color and Design, a very basic sort of class. Our professor was herself a talented artist, not that she ever drew attention (I used the word "drew." That is funny!) to that part of her life, but toward the end of the semester she showed us some of her work and it was amazing. It had been featured in various shows, and she even earned money by selling it, which is something not every artist can say.

What she created that meant the most to me, was a non-judgmental place where we as the students could create. We could express ourselves fully, and in fact, she did not allow us to criticize ourselves or be negative. I loved that class, because I stepped inside that classroom and I felt like I was a child again. One who was simply who she was, and let that come out with her Art.

My dear reader, what are you creating?


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Heart of Gold

This morning I'm in the mood for Neil Young. Enjoy.


"Heart of Gold" written by Neil Young

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The $4.95 Dress

I found the most wonderful dress for my friend's wedding, coming up in a few months. Since I will be the reader, I won't really be a part of the wedding party, but we thought a dress that would sort of harmonize with her colors (black and gold) would be just perfect. Because I have been losing weight, I have really been looking for a dress yet.

The other night, I was driving home when I my intuition told me to stop at a store which is on the way. It is a sister store of the one where I work, and I get an employee discount. I really, really didn't want to stop, because I was tired. And after working all day in a store, I didn't feel like going into another store. I actually was not even thinking about a dress for the wedding. But I obeyed my intuition, and walked in the store and began to look around, and there it was. It had several clearance tickets on it, one on top of each other, with $5.50 being the one on top. It must have been in the store for a long, long, long time to be marked down so many times. And even before then, it must have been around for a long time because this store is an off-price retailer which has merchandise other stores don't want. The dress has been waiting. Just waiting for me. 

The $5.50 dress, which with my 10% discount, makes it a $4.95 dress. I tried it on, and can you say perfection? I have eight more pounds to lose, but it fits now and will look great then, too. It has black and gold sparkly spangles on the top, and the bottom is a creamy ivory lace that is almost yellow. I love this dress. Love. this. dress.

It is a Mimi Chica, which is a brand I knew nothing about, until now. I did some searching online, and found it on Macy's website under "item no longer available." Well. Of course it is no longer available, because it is mine. So here is a picture of my dress, but not a picture of me. The model looks happy, which is how the dress makes me feel.

So once again, my intuition leads me somewhere wonderful. Isn't this a great story?