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This Is America Now?

In case you aren’t aware there’s a man named Alex Jones who runs a conspiracy website called InfoWars.

Our current president has often said he respects Alex Jones and watches him regularly.

He’s been videotaped saying so – you can see videotapes of his lovefest with Alex Jones via online videotapes.

Alex Jones is, along with other things, responsible for convincing many uneducated Americans that the killings of young, innocent, children in Sandy Hook were “made up.”  I guess he thinks it was a government ruse intended to take away guns or something?  In any case, it has resulted in some of these poor parents who have been devastated by the murder of their children to be CONTINUALLY HARASSED by Alex Jones supporters who want them to “confess” they’re making up the deaths of their beloved kids.

It is heartbreaking.

Can you imagine losing your young child in such a horrific way and then have crackpots harass you for years “to just admit it never happened.”

???

In my opinion, Alex Jones is pure evil.

He spreads hate, lies, and is quite proud to do so.

In addition to the cruel Sandy Hooks lies, Alex Jones also states the US intentionally created 9/11.

Donald Trump is an Alex Jones fan … and believes many of his conspiracy lies – birtherism being one of them.

In fact, Donald Trump primarily believes/gets his news from InfoWars and Breitbart which is why so many people in our country think, “What the hell?” when they hear Trump say outlandish things on a regular basis.

He does, in truth, trust information from these crackpot sources more than he trust the 17 intelligence agencies that advise him.

This week, Donald Trump, has officially made Alex Jones an official presidential information source/adviser to the president.

I am, truly, so frightened for our country.

Sometimes, it helps to turn towards our comedians in times like this.

To keep from crying … it helps to laugh?

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Fountain Pen Fun!

Last weekend, I went up to L.A. to spend some time with my daughter.

On my way to see her, I stopped at the L.A. Pen Show in Manhattan Beach.

A week ago, I didn’t even know such a thing as a pen show existed.

But, I’ve been contemplating buying a pretty fountain pen so I started paying attention to the pen world.

I write with fountain pens 95% of the time, but the ones I use are very  cheap  inexpensive fountain pens.

I didn’t want to buy a super fancy one – some fountain pens cost thousands of dollars!

But, I was interested in trying one that was PRETTY and a little nicer than my current not-pretty fountain pens.

Long story short, I decided to stop at the pen show before meeting my daughter so I could actually TRY the one I was thinking of purchasing.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived and THOUSANDS of people were lined up around the building waiting to get in.

Seriously?

I thought I’d be the only one there!

OK, maybe I did expect a few pen collectors to be there but thousands of people??

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEN NERDS IN THE WORLD … and I’m not even in the beginners league!

It appears mainly men purchase/collect/trade/covet fountain pens?

Ladies?

If you want to meet a man go to a pen show!

I didn’t stay long. I went right to the booth of the brand I was interested in and began playing with the pen I thought I wanted.

And … after asking a few questions, and playing with a few different nib choices,

I bought the very pen I’d been too afraid to buy online without first trying.

Franklin-Christoff fountain pen (Pocket 66 in solid ice)

I love how you can see the ink sloshing around inside it when you write.

Currently, I have a violet/pinkish/reddish ink in it as you can see in the above photo.

And, yes, you can change the ink/color of ink whenever you want.

I’ll probably try a blue/turquoise in it next … and then the pen will appear to be blue.

It writes SO well, too!

I really like it!

The only negative I can find with this pen, is the difficulty in finding it in the first place.

The clear versions of it go out of stock within minutes of being available.

(Clear versions are: Solid Ice, Antique Glass, and Italian Ice.)

I sort of wish I had bought two of them while I had the opportunity.

I like my new pen so much … what if I can never find another one like it?

(Currently, there is no available inventory via the company website.)

In any case, this is definitely my favorite pen now.

Do you have a favorite pen?

Do you like fountain pens?

Or ballpoints?

Or rollerballs?

How about ink?

Do you always write with blue ink? Black ink?

Or do you like lots of color variations??

I mainly write with black ink, but I’ll keep a pretty color rotating in my new fountain pen.

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Update, Update!

I’ve been busy lately trying to get my life back in order.

I’m seven weeks post-op.

All the things I’ve neglected for seven weeks are beginning to implode.

I’m trying to tackle one or two neglected things each day.

I’m still, of course, not operating at pre-surgery speeds so many simple things take me a loooooong time to accomplish.

But … I’m making progress, and my pain level is decreasing, so I’m happy.

Today, I’m getting my hair cut.

Isn’t that exciting?

But, honestly, I can hardly see with my hair hanging in my face.

I’ve done a couple fun things, too.

I saw Hidden Figures on Valentine’s night.

It was excellent and inspiring.

I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.

Last weekend, I went for a walk at the beach.

The view during my San Clemente beach walk.

It was, for the most part, my first post-surgery venture out into the real world.

I ran into some friends and ended up spending a spectacular afternoon staring at the ocean, and getting caught up with them.

A few weeks ago, I decided to decorate my Instant Pot to give it more personality.

Ryan Gosling brightens up my Instant Pot.

I can’t help but smile now whenever I begin cooking.

I’ve also made a recent addition to my antique/vintage typewriter collection.

1950’s Smith Corona Typewriter

I’ve purchased four typewriters over the last decade.

One was a gift for my daughter as she began a writing-related career.

I’ve had two on display in my house … one doesn’t work, and the other works very poorly.

They’re very, very, VERY old and funky looking.

My new, pink, typewriter is the most modern in my collection – it’s about 60 years old.

It’s been completely restored and it’s fully functional.

I really wanted to have a working typewriter and I’m absolutely thrilled with it.

In addition …

I’ve *almost* completed a very lengthy art class I signed up for.

I seem to mainly work on art play when it’s raining.

When there’s sunshine I find all sorts of reasons to be outside instead.

Another storm is expected tomorrow, so maybe I’ll be able to finish up my class.

I have two more classes ahead of me, but they shouldn’t take nearly as long to complete as this first one.

What have YOU been doing lately?

Do you have a favorite movie?

Book?

Anything else FUN??

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Rings on My Fingers ….

I’m FAILING at blogging lately – so sorry!

I wanted to tell you about some fun handmade rings I recently purchased.

The larger solitary ring (seen below) is a silver moon ring.

There are all sorts of myths surrounding the moon.

One of them relates to female intelligence and intuition.

I’m a highly intuitive person so I used that as an excuse (!!) for purchasing the moon ring.

(I also really like how the look of it contrasts strikingly with the stacking rings.)

The three stacking rings are called comet rings.

I have one in gold with a rose gold comet, one in rose gold with a silver comet, and one in silver with a rose gold comet.

I got three to symbolize my three kids.

Handmade rings by When Catie Met Soda.

I also purchased a simple gold band to wear on the thumb of my left hand.

I’ve been eyeing Catie’s jewelry for quite some time.

I learned about Catie’s shop when one of my friends purchased jewelry from Catie awhile back.

Recently, Catie began selling through Etsy which makes purchasing much easier for those of us who live far away from Catie.

As a “reward” for surviving Surgery #12, I decided to treat myself to something special.

After all, Surgery #12 is my LAST surgery and it will be a full eleven years on this journey by the time I’m done with my current surgical recovery.

I made the mistake of NOT measuring my ring sizes prior to surgery so I was forced to wait for the swelling in my hand to decrease.

(I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that my hand would swell after elbow surgery.)

But, FINALLY, I was able to place my order.

The waiting was the hardest part.

Catie lives in the UK.

She’s an absolute pleasure to work with, and an excellent communicator.

She got busy making my rings and even emailed me with progress photos as she made them.

Four of my five rings completed – photo by Catie.

The day she shipped them, I began tracking their expected arrival.

They got to L.A. customs very quickly.

And there they sat.

And sat.

And then …?

They were finally “out for delivery” according to the USPS website.

But they didn’t deliver … day after day, after day!

Finally, last Friday, the USPS website updated and showed me my rings had (for some reason?) been visiting post offices all over Southern California.

I was relieved to discover they weren’t lost.

That afternoon, as I drove up my street my mailman waved me down.

He’d already visited my house and was leaving the neighborhood.

But, he saw my car and flagged me down so I could sign for my delivery from Catie.

(I have a REALLY NICE postman!)

I was so happy my rings were HOME.

I was also thrilled to discover they’re way more beautiful in person than the photos depicted and/or I had ever imagined they’d be.

The quality and workmanship is all I’d hoped for and more.

Not only that …

They fit perfectly!

I haven’t taken them off since they arrived.

My fingers are so happy they’re having a party.

I can’t recommend Catie highly enough if you’re purchasing a gift or treating yourself to something special.

And, in case you’re curious, “Soda” in her shop name refers to her dog Soda.

You can find Catie at:  When Catie Met Soda on Etsy.

**  This post is not sponsored and I didn’t get a discount, or anything for free, for writing it. Catie doesn’t even know I wrote it – yet! **

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Six Weeks!

Yay!

I made it to the six week point post-Surgery #12.

Six weeks is a milestone after an orthopedic surgery, and I’m glad it’s finally arrived.

(Not a whole lot of six week changes happen for me this time around, but it’s a milestone nonetheless.)

My surgeon has given me very strict orders for the time being, so my life will continue to be slow paced for awhile.

He thinks it will be May before I can return to (job-like) shooting which is pretty much what I expected.

This is what it looks like when I try to use my iPhone as a camera operated with just my left hand:

 

Surreal selfie?  

So yep, not a lot of shooting going on for awhile.

But, it’s been a busy week ….

A rainy day in L.A. to see the doc, a day at PT, a day of being “rained in” with two soaking wet giant Newfies …..

During which time I sketched, painted, and tried to complete a few lessons from one of my art classes.

I’ve been waiting on a delivery all week too.

For three days in a row, I’ve been notified a delivery (which needs to be signed for) is “out for delivery.”

The first notification came on Monday when I was in L.A., and I was bummed I’d miss it.

But, now it’s Thursday and the “out for delivery” package STILL hasn’t shown up.

I guess I’ll have to put a trace on it if it doesn’t arrive by this afternoon.

I was planning to write two posts about the items being delivered, but the package hasn’t arrived so ….

That’s why I’ve been quiet this week.

Every day, I’ve been telling myself to “give it one more day to arrive” so I could share it with you.

This week, I ordered this tank top (except I ordered it in black):

Nevertheless She Persisted tank top.

I purchased it, not just for its relevance to this week’s political mess,

But also because this statement could be/should be my life motto.

(Especially for the last ten and a half years, right?)

It’s available as a t-shirt also, but I wear a lot of tank tops …

They rub less on my very sensitive scars.

I hope to be back tomorrow to share news/photos about my missing package.

It’s a girly item … just warning you!

Fingers crossed it isn’t forever lost!

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We Have More in Common Than You Think?

I’m in Los Angeles getting a post-surgery check with my surgeon today.

One of my friends shared this video with me.

It’s from Denmark.

It’s very pertinent to what’s happening with the societal divisions in the United States (and around the world) right now.

I hope you’ll take the time to watch it.

It’s worth a couple minutes of your time – I promise!

 

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Random: February 3rd 2017

I spent nine hours on art lessons yesterday and my brain was a blur by the time I finished.

I think I overcommitted when I signed up for several classes in an attempt to “keep busy” post-surgery.

Two days ago I threw out my back when I, very awkwardly, attempted to lift something heavy one-armed.

I’M A WALKING DISASTER – !!

I need to be wrapped in bubble wrap.

Between arm pain, and now excruciating back pain, I haven’t been getting sleep.

On a positive note, that means I’m seeing some stunning sunrises.

Sunrise in South Orange County.

We get some great sunrises in the winter months.

And yes, I did take the above photo, but it’s okay.

I’m perfectly capable of taking one photo … maybe even a couple.

I just can’t take MANY, and/or do a work shoot.

That’s okay, I suppose.

If I can just take one or two photos occasionally, while I heal, I’ll be happy-ish.

In other news, I discovered this week if you comment on ANYTHING … even by just making a casual observation –

People, or at least SOME people, will try to make it about politics and show up ready for a fight/argument.

Our society has gone off the deep end and it’s making me want to run away and hide from all the angry people.

Have you ever seen so many angry, hate-filled people?

I guess this is what we get when white nationalism, white separatism, white supremacy and Leninism (see: historical statements by Breitbart propagandist/conspiracy theory creator Steve Bannon) run our White House.

If I could disappear, and come back when/if people re-learn how to be nice, considerate, polite, and kind …

I would.

In other news, one of my good friends from Australia cancelled plans to come visit the United States (and me!) because her husband is from a South American country and they’re worried he would have trouble getting into the country once they arrive.  Also, our new President got in an argument with the President of her country (one of many allies he’s offended in his first two weeks in office) and she (and her country-mates) no longer want much to do with the United States  – a country they see as having a leader who “doesn’t value human rights” and “lacks personal integrity.”

This made me terribly ashamed to be an American.

I wonder how many billions of tourism dollars we will lose in the next few years?

Yet another friend had a planned trip to China cancelled BY CHINA … due to “recent increasing tensions with the United States.”

We’re quickly becoming one of the least respected and most hated countries in the world.

We’re alienating our much needed allies on a daily basis and embracing our enemies.

Like Russia.

Russia, who kills it’s own citizens who defy Putin, and kill innocents with no regard for human life ….

Russia is, apparently, our President’s favorite country.

There’s a lot of speculation as to why that is, but I’m sure it will be public knowledge at some point in the future.

Okay, so I just broke my own rule about never discussing politics on my blog.

I’ve never felt such shame about being an American.

It’s something I’ve always felt very proud of – regardless of which party was in office.

This isn’t about Republican vs. Democrat ideology, for me …

It is about being decent human beings.

I can’t accept hate based on who someone loves, the color of their skin, or what their religion is.

I also can’t accept a country where everyone’s at each other’s throats turning innocent comments and/or observations into a reason to pick a fight.

Last night I witnessed a woman who is supposedly an “evangelical leader” saying she hopes our President continues to anger and alienate our allies because “that’s why evangelicals elected him.”

Really?

This is what she wants …

For us to alienate our allies – countries we desperately need for own safety and security?

And she considers herself a Christian?

I’ve also heard several “Christian leaders” endorsing all the hate we’ve heard directed at anyone and everyone who is “different” …. whether it be based on sexual orientation, skin color, religion, etc.

Maybe I grew up in the wrong church, but based on what I was taught ….

I don’t think Jesus would act like these “Christians.”

I think he would be embracing the people who are most marginalized in our society and shower them with love and kindness.

**  Comments on this post are CLOSED **

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January 31, 2017

Where did January go?

We’ve (finally!) enjoyed sunshine the last few days –

It’s been WONDERFUL!!

I’m still under lots of activity restrictions, but I did manage to enjoy a long walk at the beach.

Newport Beach – Crystal Cove State Park

The ocean was very aqua-ish and super sparkley.

The sky was clear and it was a fantastic day.

I took my camera with the idea I might be able to operate it 100% with my left arm/hand.

(See the above photo.)

But, it didn’t work very well at all … I was only able to take a small number of photos.

I got very frustrated.

I’m impatient to get my life back,

But, I’m not going to risk undoing/damaging Surgery #12.

I’ll have to wait.

Paul Newman said it’s a good thing my arm is still painful because it forces me not to do what I’m not supposed to do.

(That makes sense – really, it does!)

In other news, Fred and Frank got baths over the weekend.

Wet Newfies are happy Newfies!

They both look very handsome now that they’ve been blown dry and brushed thoroughly.

Today, I’m finishing up a care package for a friend in Australia.

It started as one item to ship to her, and it’s become multiple things over the last week or so.

I also hope to get some outdoor time to enjoy the nice weather.

I can’t even express how happy sunshine makes me!

I don’t think I could ever live anywhere else ….

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sorry, this is going up so late.

I’ve had an unusual week.

I’ve been “home alone” … completely alone (without Fred and Frank!) all week.

You’d think I’d have MORE time for blogging, but instead I’ve used the time to focus almost entirely on some classes I’m taking.

I’ve found myself falling behind and I wanted to get caught up without distractions/interruptions.

My giant (!!) companions came home this morning and it’s been a flurry of fluff, cuddles, and kisses.

Frank greeted me with ecstatic puppy exuberance.

Fred …?

Well, Fred glued himself to me and proceeded to “talk” to me for ages.

(He does this … not barking, but verbally expressing himself – at length – in a manner I’ve never heard a dog do.)

It was very clear from his tone of voice, he was complaining about being separated from me.

Afterall, it’s his job to take care of me and he knows it!

I’d love to videotape Fred having a serious talk with me sometime,

But it’s hard to predict when he’ll start talking.

I never seem to be prepared to video it when he does.

You might be wondering why Frank and Fred were away.

My newly operated arm needed a few days of no activity at all so they went to “camp.”

I felt terrible about it, but I knew they were in good hands with people who love them.

I also knew my hope of healing as quickly as possible demanded a few days of total arm rest.

A few days of being away = a quicker return to Newfie adventures with me.

Now that they’re home, I still need to be exceedingly careful with dog activities and care …

But, hopefully my arm has had time to “calm down” and my body will be able to handle it.

My heart is happy to have them here with me where they belong.

After giving me a long, happy, greeting we played for awhile.

Now they’ve both fallen asleep.

They’re SO happy to be home … and exhausted from their adventures at camp.

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Let’s Talk About Kindness

I avoid politics on social media.

I do so for two reasons.

First, I don’t think there’s a person in the world who has ever changed their political opinion by reading someone’s update on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Second, I have friends and family members who I value greatly of all different backgrounds and political beliefs and I do my best not to offend/alienate any of them.

Let’s be honest – we have a problem in our country right now.

In my entire twenty four years (ahem!), I’ve never seen so much anger/hatred/divisiveness.

The U.S. has just experienced the most negative/hate-filled/disgusting political campaign in our history.

Yes, we did have a politician take campaign rhetoric to a new low …. but many, many, people responded positively to that hatred.

We need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves why?

I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking about why people now feel they’re RIGHT (and therefore a GOOD person) and anyone who thinks differently is WRONG (and therefore a BAD person.)

I believe there are several reasons why we’re seeing this in our society right now, but more importantly it’s up to EACH ONE OF US to make changes in ourselves so the hatred can stop.

There are now news channels/news outlets for every opinion.

People hear their own opinion echoed back to them repeatedly, and when they hear the echo they *know* they must be “right.”

If we weren’t listening to the media of our particular bias,

If we weren’t on social media having our friends echo back to us our own beliefs what would we be doing?

Probably, living our lives in more productive ways than being filled with extreme hate towards “the other side.”

We live in a republic where our constitution gives us many rights.

It’s NEVER okay to vilify someone for exercising those rights.

If you don’t like what someone says with their freedom of speech, don’t listen.

But, guess what?

You should also be respectful just like you would want someone to be towards you.

You don’t like it when you see people are protesting?

Too bad, they have a right to do so.

You should be respectful because someday it might be you.

Instead of blaming, condemning, making rude/ignorant comments ….

BE THE CHANGE OUR COUNTRY NEEDS.

Why don’t you really try listening instead?

And when you listen, open your heart and experience empathy for a life and situation that is not yours.

You might not agree with what you hear, but you might also grow as a human being in the process.

Understanding, and I mean *true understanding*, of another person is never a bad thing.

Why not give that person you don’t agree with the benefit of the doubt?

Maybe they misspoke and you’re taking their words out of context.

Maybe they had something happen to them in their life ….

Something you can’t even imagine that created a belief system very different than yours.

If you have strong political beliefs, that’s great – become politically active in your community, etc.

DO SOMETHING …. don’t just talk about it.

It really comes back to the most basic thing we all learned as children,

Treat others the way you wish to be treated.

And, if you don’t have anything nice to say about/to someone,

Don’t say anything at all.

Or, should I rephrase that to say,

“If you can’t post nice, positive, things on social media please don’t post anything at all.”

Look in the mirror – please.

Can you do better?

Can you BE better?

Let’s all give it a try ….

We can make the world a better place one person at a time.