1.08.2013

No long good byes...

Just a simple thank you.

I've had a lot of fun doing this over the years but my heart simply isn't in it any more.

Thank you for your friendships, your recommendations, and your kind words.  I appreciate all of them.

Blogging has become more of a chore than a pleasure...

And there are things about it I just don't like, to be perfectly honest.

So...

As Dr. Seuss said:

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

I'll leave the blog here for a bit, at least until the spam drives me nuts and if anyone wants to drop me a line, you can find me at

cinjinn at hotmail (.) com

Put something in the subject line about the blog, so I don't accidentally delete you!

The best to all of you...

12.15.2012

A cry from a sorrowful heart...






And so, we grieve again.  This time, the pain seems unbearable.

Who could shoot a classroom full of children.  Babies, really.

What kind of monster does something like that?

We've been here before.  We've asked the same questions.

How is this possible?  Who could do such a thing?  And, the never ending, never answered...

Why?

I'm normally one of those asking the questions that do not get answered.

Tonight, however, I am going to try to put my thoughts down, my thoughts on the why of these things...  I am not an expert.  I claim no insight or special knowledge.  I am simply a woman who is tired of having her heartbroken by monsters...

Why?

Because we are a nation in free-fall.

We've lost our way and are stumbling around in the dark, groping for something better while cursing what we've left behind.

The problem is there was nothing wrong with what was left behind.

Respect.  Decency.  Civility.  Honesty.  A true, genuine concern for each other, not just ourselves.

A realization that we are all in this together, no matter our race, no matter our political leanings, no matter our differences.  We knew, when it came down to it, that we were all the same:  mankind.

Old people were listened to and respected, if for no other reason than they had lived and survived things we hadn't.  Their stories taught us so much...

Babies were not fetuses, to be disposed of because they were inconvenient, imperfect, annoying.

Marriage was a good thing and it was for the long term.  It wasn't tossed away over petting things.  Husband and wife worked at it because that's what you did.  You didn't wake up one morning and head off to the lawyer because you no longer wanted to be married.  It was a commitment.

Families were the core of society; mom, dad, and kids.  There was love but there was also discipline.  Kids didn't expect to be handed their every whim.  They worked for those things while being given guidance, discipline, and love.

Today, old people are no longer valued; they are warehoused, hidden away, out-of-sight and mind.  The president wonders if it isn't better to send the old person home with pain medication instead of fixing that broken hip because, after all, they've lived their lives and the medical care should be for the young...

Babies are 'tissue' and there are people out there advocating for abortion up to the child reaches the age of one because, until then, they aren't really people...

Marriages last 55 hours...

God isn't welcomed in very many places, certainly not in our schools.

It is our children who are suffering.  They are growing up without clear guidelines, without ethics and morality that is hard and fast not situational.  They are submerged in the messages of Hollywood from the moment they can watch a TV... and they have no way to understand any of it...

Bigger, faster, more... buy, buy, buy.

Sweet sixteen parties cost thousands of dollars and have become normal.

Under-age drinking is a right of passage because, after all, we all did it, didn't we?

Images of young children dressed up to look sexy are everywhere while we still pretend to be offended by sexual predators who hunger for young children.

We feed every vice, every perversion in the name of freedom.  How dare we judge any one's behavior?  We have no right.

Our children believe in nothing, not even themselves.  What is there for them to believe in?

God has been taken from them.

Life has become meaningless.

Nothing is more important then their wants.

We saw the outcome of that today.

A 20-year-old killed his mother then walked into a school and killed twenty children between the ages of five and ten.

There are those who would call the killer a child.

Why?

Here's my answer:

Because we have stopped being adults.  Because we have stopped expecting respect and decency from our children.  Because we have taken away rules and expectations and discipline and left them with nothing.

We need to look in the mirror tomorrow and understand this.  We need to stop searching for answers that are in front of us, answers we have become to blind to see.

It has to stop...

And we, the adults, are the ones who have to stop it.

Now.

11.24.2012

Classic Literature

My reading habits are pretty sad, really.

I don't push myself to read new things.  I stick with what I know I like, authors who have become something like trusted friends.  Genres that are familiar, solid, welcoming.

As a kid in junior high, it was science fiction; Andre Norton was a favorite, as was Isaac Asimov and a smattering of others.  I also liked mysteries - Agatha Christie ruled there, but Dell Shannon was just as welcomed.  Fantasy was The Lord of the Rings and the Dragon Riders of Pern.  My love of the paranormal began with Dracula, which is still the best vampire story ever told.

I read what I enjoy, what relaxes me, what helps me get away from my life for a short time.  That is why I read, most of the time.  It is my escape from a job which can suck a lot out of you.  That's what happens when you deal with people in crisis for a living.  At the end of my day, I don't want to curl up with a book about people suffering, for whatever reason.

From my viewpoint, there's nothing wrong with reading the way I read...

But.

I have missed out on a lot of amazing literature.  I'm aware of it and I've decided I need to change it.  I've downloaded a lot of free 'classic literature' onto my Kindle and I'd started in on several but hadn't finished any.

Until I watched The Big Sleep on Turner Classic Movies.  I adore Bogie and Becall and The Big Sleep is classic Bogie and Becall.

What got me thinking about books,  however, was a comment made by the host, Robert Osborn.  He said the movie didn't stay true to the book.

That made me curious.

So, off I went to Amazon where I downloaded two Raymond Chandler titles:  The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely.

Know what I've discovered?

I love Raymond Chandler.

For me, he was a wordsmith who didn't go into flowery, overpowering words.  His style is gritty and simple but it still packs a punch.  Phil Marlowe, private investigator, is an old-time tough guy.  He calls women dames, guns gats and he gets beat up, a lot.  There's nothing splashy or spectacular about him; what you see is what you get.

But Chandler could certainly turn a phrase, without all the flowery language that often leaves me bored:

From Farewell, My Lovely:

Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.
He had a battered face that looked as if it had been hit by everything but the bucket of a dragline. It was scarred, flattened, thickened, checkered, and welted. It was a face that had nothing to fear. Everything had been done to it that anybody could think of.
"Uh-huh," the voice dragged itself out of her throat like s sick man getting out of bed.

And from The Big Sleep:

The plants filled the place, a forest of them, with nasty meaty leaves and stalks like the newly washed fingers of dead men.
"Tsk, tsk," I said, not moving at all. "Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains. You're the second guy I've met within hours who seems to think a gat in the hand means a world by the tail.
"What did it matter where you lay once you were dead?  In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill?  You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that.  Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you.  You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.
I'm sure there are detractors out there, because Chandler wrote during a time when calling people names was accepted, names we don't dare utter today and I  have to admit to feeling a little uncomfortable when I came across them.  They do not, however, distract from the genius of his writing and they show he was a product of his time.  I won't dismiss him for that.

I will be reading more Chandler...

And checking those books waiting on my Kindle out.  Who knows what I'll find?

11.21.2012

Politics and books...

No, I'm not really going to talk politics here, not in any depth but still, maybe more than I should.

For those of you who don't know, I also have a political blog, An Angry American, where I voice my often frustrated opinion of politics and the state of the world today.

This is not going to be a post like the ones I post there.

This is about books.

A series of books, in fact, called the Fatal series by Marie Force.  The series consists of four and a half books:


Fatal Affair
Fatal Justice
Fatal Consequences
Fatal Destiny (novella)
Fatal Flaw

The main characters are Sam Holland, Washington DC Metro Police detective, and Nick Cappuano, politician.

Hence the politics.

But first, I like Sam and Nick.  They're great characters and the chemistry between them sizzles.  While reading the series, I kept picturing it as a TV series.  I think it would translate great.  The supporting characters are well-defined and, mostly, likable, including Sam's father, who was paralyzed in a line-of-duty shooting shortly before his retirement.

Fatal Affair brings Sam and Nick back together after a torrid one night stand, a fact they both regret.  They are brought together by the murder of Nick's boss and best friend, Senator John O'Connor.

Fatal Justice involves the murder of a Supreme Court Justice nominee, another friend of Nick's, who happened to have been gay.

Fatal Consequences deals with the murder of an immigrant woman who worked for the cleaning company which cleans senate offices, including the office of Nick's friend Henry Lightfeather.

Fatal Destiny is a novella and, just in case anyone wants to read the series, I won't give it away.

Fatal Flaw has to do with a veiled threat against Sam and Nick, who have become to DC society what William and Kate are to England, along with the hunt for a serial killer complicate their lives.

So...

There are a lot of good things going for this series, the main one being, as I've said, Sam and Nick.  I'd love to see them on TV, provided the characters were cast correctly, with the right chemistry.

Now, unfortunately, the politics.

In Fatal Justice, Force identifies a character as a "hate-mongering, homophobic Republican".  I have an immediate, knee-jerk reaction to that sort of name calling because, one, I am a conservative and two, I have been accused of being a racist, a homophobe, an Islamaphobe, and other things based solely on my political identification.

I, for the record, am none of those things and my being conservative does not make me one.  My reasons for being conservative have to do with fiscal issues, with the size of government, and with free market principles. They have nothing to do with race or sexual orientation.

I emailed Marie Force to let her know how disappointed I was to find such pointless, vitriolic name-calling in her books.  I was both surprised and pleased when she answered me.  That answer, however, was disappointing.  She told me the character is based on a well-known conservative spokeswoman, who, according to Ms Force, is a hate-mongering, homophobic Republican.  I've read books by the woman and listened to her on TV.  While she does say some incredibly inflammatory things, I have no way of knowing how much is what she believes and how much is 'packaging' in an attempt to gain attention.  I no longer pay attention to this woman because I got tired of her stupidity.

Ms Force also said the Democrats 'get it' in the next book.  I was curious enough to purchase the next book on my Kindle and yes, the Democrats were the bad guys but they were never referred to by such intense, hate-filled rhetoric as 'hate mongering' or 'homophobic'.   In the political world, these are buzz words, hot topics, rhetoric used to vilify and marginalize people with my political beliefs.  I despise them and those who use them for that reason.

Perhaps it is silly of me.  I am willing to accept the possibility that I am far too sensitive when it comes to political name-calling.  That's what happens when you are constantly being accused of being things you are not.  Perhaps I should be able to put these sorts of issues aside when I read.  But, I find myself wondering why Force couldn't simply have identified the character as 'hate-mongering' and 'homophobic' and left the Republican out.  Readers are smart enough to make the identification on their own, if they choose to while it gives people like me a better chance to let it slide.

There is another book in the series due out, if it is not already out.  I have to decide whether or not to spend my money on it.  At the moment, I am leaning toward spending it on something else, something written by someone who doesn't identify people of my political persuasion with so much vitriol.  But... I really do like Nick and Sam, so who knows?  Maybe I'll buy it.

My point is this:  Why would a writer put a reader in a my position?

I have no idea.

9.29.2012

Sifting thoughts... on the road

It is fall here.

Which, unfortunately, seems to mean we're now getting all of the rain we didn't get during our miserably hot summer.

Yesterday, however, was an exception.  It was beautiful - mid 60's, plenty of sunshine.

Time, I decided, to shake the cobwebs off and take a little trip with my favorite companion...


Our first stop was at my sister's house to pick something up...


The tree in her yard isn't as glorious as some years past, but what with the heat and drought, the colors are probably not going to be spectacular.

First stop was a gas station, which is not a fun way to start anything these days.  Price pumps are $4.10 here abouts...

Second stop wasn't where I expected it to be but Riley needed a potty break.  We hit the beach at a place called Birch Point, which we accessed via a public access site...



That accomplished, we headed for Mission Hill and the Spectacle Lake overlook



If you look really closely at the first photo, you might be able to pick out the tree in the second.  It was the one blaze of glory in the muted colors.  The blue in the background of the top photo is, of course, Lake Superior.  The other blue is Spectacle Lake.  The spot has changed since I was a kid but it is still breath-taking.

We then headed off...

To enjoy the sunshine and the color...


And the road less traveled:


Our ultimate destination, however, was the Big Pines Picnic area:


Where we found the remains of summer, perched waiting til next year...


Riley, of course, did what Riley does at the beach

She swam...



And she played with a rock...

I sat and watched her, letting the silence and the sun sooth me.  I recharge when I find myself in the presence of God and nature.  Truly, I do.

I also learned something, watching my dog play with abandon.  She lives in the moment; there is nothing else for her.  No worries, no problems, just . . . the bliss of sun, water, sand, and a rock.  

What I learned from her was this.  

I let things get out of proportion.  I worry too much and I enjoy too little.  I fret too frequently and I am thankful far too infrequently.  I need to let some of the burdens go and enjoy the moment more often...

I need the roots...


... that I have been given; roots that reach deep:  God, family, friends...

But, I also need the sky...


To soar, to dream, to live in the moment...

Here's hoping y'all find whatever moment of bliss you can...

9.11.2012

September 11th...



I remember.

I will always remember.


8.25.2012

"That's One Small Step..."





Neil Alden Armstrong

August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012

Perhaps the man most responsible for my life-long love of NASA and the space program.  
An inspiration for millions of children...

God Bless you, sir, and thank you for making my childhood one of awe and wonder.