Medical/Technical Social Travel

The Taste of Bittersweet

In but the most profound of evil, almost any contrary situation may demonstrate an edge of advantage and a glimmer of beauty. Conversely, even the most exemplary of affairs may have a flicker of the ugly.

Such is called bittersweet.

My newspaper, The Press-Enterprise, has two such stories today.

Immigration Arrests Soar

"In recent months, newly created teams of federal agents have arrested thousands of illegal immigrants who've lived and worked in the United States for years without interference. Most have been deported immediately."

Although I lay no claim to magical answers, I am quite convinced that we must solve our immigration problem. The securing of our borders with fences and troops is the place to start, I quite concur. There remain, however, the multiplied thousands who have already come here illegally, and who continue to break our law by virtue of being here without proper documentation.

"John Torres, the director of ICE's detention and removal operations said officers weren't arbitrarily arresting people off the streets but were targeting immigrants who'd been ordered deported after exhausting all appeals. Of the 45,728 immigrants arrested since March 2003, when the first fugitive-search teams were created, 21,367 had criminal records."

The Bitter: Mario Arseno, 31, was one who was arrested and deported.

"(He) came to the United States legally in 1993, and he forgot to renew his visa, his wife said, and an immigration judge ordered him deported in 1995."

From these reports it appears that Mario Arseno, from 1995 to today, did nothing to correct his status.

"She (his wife) said he never received any notice of the deportation and he missed his chance to challenge it in court."

The couple have six children.

It is right that we correct our immigration problem, but inevitably,there will be grief along the way. May we be touched with the feelings of all who suffer and endeavor to assist in the resettlement of these families.

John Donovan's Remains Found

The bitter:

"A search team on Sunday found the remains of John Donovan, 13 months and two days after the missing 60-year-old Virginian was last seen hiking in the San Jacinto Mountains."

The sweet:

"(In the San Jacinto Mountains) Brandon Day and Gina Allen, both of Dallas, wandered away from their convention group while hiking near the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway's mountain station and were lost for 2 1/2 days before being rescued thanks to the fire that they started with matches found in Donovan's pack."

From bitter death, came the sweet hand of John Donovan, virtually assuring the rescue of Brandon and Gina.

Children Photography Social

Nebraska Appeals Sentence of Richard Thompson

In late breaking news, the state of Nebraska says it will appeal the sentence of child molester, Richard Thompson.


10:00 am. Well, this has been some morning. First thing when I booted up my computer, I found help from the wonderful forum at WordPress, and following their directions, was able to resolve my link problem. Only to find, sadly, that the link was to a now expired page.

I took a few trips back and forth from the forum and its people, then I took my camera from its perch on my desk and proceeded to prepare a nice friendly post for today. I took pictures of an amaryllis in full bloom, planning all the while my calm, non-provocative post.

In thinking this through, however, I suspect there may be someone lurking out there who may take me to task for having the audacity to harbor an amaryllis flower inside a stuffy house, when everyone knows such a creation is designed to be in the wild openness of the great outside. I fear there may be a lobby, a tree-hugging group, or a government mandate that will bring me grief.

Anyway, when again I checked in here, and found certain comments, I immediately abandoned Project Amaryllis. Ernie Blanchard's comments in my post, "Entire community wiped Out…" snatched me from a placid, amaryllis mood, to one of cautious defense and sweet aggression. For you see, Mr. Blanchard suggested strongly that I may be doing a "disservice to truth."

Just to let you know, I have never in my 67 years had a fist fight. I guess I'm not strong enough, don't know the techniques, and I really don't have the inclination to fight people. However, when I read that I may be doing a "disservice to truth", a cliche clanged in my head: "Those are fighting words." For above all, I feel I am a person of truth in my relationship with God, with my family, within my daily life, and with my writing.

In direct response to Ernie's post, I checked my facts, and as I did so, I came across the current news that is posted as a title here, and is linked to the current story.

I won't reiterate my response to Ernie. Please go to that post and let me know your thoughts.

Children Social

Child Molester Ruled Too Short For Prison

I heard about this horrendous story a few hours ago, and after reading the full account, I became incensed and knew I could not neglect bringing this to your attention. Please follow the link and read the full story.

Original link to story no longer functional. Please use the link in the previous post.

(When I first began blogging, I believe I envisioned a sweet little site where I would talk lovingly of my family, my daily activities and where I would occasionally show you a few pictures I had snapped. I have done all that, and will continue to do so, but somehow I feel that is not enough. I realize I have taken on some hardhitting subjects that extend far beyond what I originally envisioned. I somewhat addressed this subject in a post called, The Face of this Blog. It's just that the discussion of all these issues is really who I am, for they tremendously affect my family, my nation, and my world. I feel unable to ignore them. Martin Luther King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.")

There is no question that Richard Thompson is guilty of child molesting, and in the words of the district judge, Kristine Cecava, "deserves a long sentence." She, however, only gave him probation, saying he was too short to go to prison. Too short!

How can we not call for reform in our judicial system when such ridiculous rulings are handed down? This sentencing is an insult to the honor and integrity of America. On some issues, I can see merit on both sides. Not on this, and while I am not calling for it, it is this kind of action that calls vigilantes from the woodwork.

Tags: child+abuse, Richard+Thompson, child+molester+gets+probation, child+molester+too+short+prison, liberal+judges

Children Christianity/Religion Medical/Technical Social

Entire Community Wiped Out in Ten months (with before and after pics)

Human rights group Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday released the first-ever satellite images of the effect of the Zimbabwean government's controversial Operation Murambatsvina, which left 700 000 people homeless last year, according to a United Nations report.

Close friends of mine were missionaries to Africa for over twenty years, and we have talked often about that country and their experiences there. It is a troubled, war-torn land.

As I read the article this morning, and looked at the pictures of this terrible devastation, somehow I was able to see past the general chaos of three quarters of a million people being displaced, and was able to think deeply of the personal pain and suffering these people are enduring. Where are they now? How are they living? What of their babies, their elderly, the sick and infirm?

We who read this today are so blessed. Oh, we have our problems, of course: We grow sick and weak, have family squabbles, aren't completely happy with our governments, our water pipes spring leaks, the petunias fail, not quite enough money lines our pockets, the neighbor's dog barks too much…and on. Set that way, though, laid up against this story, much of it seems petty and inconsequential.

What say for today, we truly count our blessings, thank God for His abundant mercies to us, and consider long and hard our suffering world, and the pain of our fellow humans–multiplied millions of them. Their travail is not that of news story, of black marks on white paper, or of satellite images, but of flesh and blood people gripped by personal agony, hopelessness and distress. They have no homes; they are injured and hungry.

God help us all.

Tags: Africa, Operation Murambatsvina, Amnesty International

read more | digg story

Medical/Technical My Home Social

“Number, Please”

Many consumers are not impressed by the endless tricks and functions manufacturers keep adding to cell phones. They just want a sturdy phone that's easy to use.

You will want to read the entire Digg story.


I can't remember for sure, but I believe one of my aunts who lived in Arkansas had a wall-mounted crank style telephone. I have a vague memory of being in someone's home and watching them wind up a telephone and speaking into the black mouth piece, while holding a separate part of the phone to their ear. Those phones are cherished now, and provide a significant look into the earlier days of our homes and our community life.

In our home, we had one black telephone. It sat on our desk, and when we were ready to use it, we lifted the receiver and waited for the operator to say, "Number, please." I recall that our telephone number was 24555, no prefix, no area code, merely 24555. We really didn't use our phone that much, and I have no memory of hanging out on the phone with any friends. During those days, there were many people who had no telephone and sometimes a neighbor would come over and ask to use ours. People who lived in the country often had party lines, so that more than one family utilized the same telephone line. They could pick up the receiver and listen in on someone else's conversation. Lots of jokes about that, and probably many people did eavesdrop, quietly snickering and gasping at what they heard.

Later, our telephone company went to a dial system, but I believe our number stayed the same. The new telephone the company provided for us looked just like the old one–black and squatty–except that now it had a dialing apparatus on the front of it. Not push buttons–a dial. Took quite a while to initiate a call, for each number required a finger to be inserted in the circle, then the dial wound to its zenith, and on to the next number.

Probably sometime in the early 50s, colored, slim, push-button telephones became available. Princess phones, they were called and they were quite desirable. Oh, you could still have the plain black model for free, but if you wanted a pretty one, you had to buy it….

And so the progression to where we are today, telephones everywhere. Some time back, I visited friends who live in a swanky house and when I went into the bathroom, lo and behold, there was a telephone. Now, I'm accustomed to seeing telephones in hotel bathrooms–the thinking being, I suppose–that you are probably there on business–in the hotel, I mean, not in the bathroom–and it would be unthinkable to be out of range of a phone for more than a few seconds. But, I have never before nor since, seen a telephone in the bathroom of a private home. I giggled as I emerged and asked my friend about it. "Oh, yes, hubby does lots of telephone work in there," she said. Beats me.

Not long ago, I saw a family cartoon: The telephone was ringing, everyone was scurrying around to find the portable phone which had been taken from its cradle. A boy stood in the middle of the commotion and said, "Looks like someone could invent a phone that could be tied to one place." Well, we've run the gamut, from a wall-mounted cranker, to a black squatty "number, please", to a dial model, tied down ones, portable ones, cell phones…into an explosion of telephones everywhere…in our purses, garages, airplanes, and automobiles. Children have one, and be assured the drivers on freeways will always have telephones planted onto the sides of their heads. No one gives a second look to people who walk around with antennas poking up from their heads, or things curled around their ears. The air is punctuated with fancy ring tones, symphonies playing, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, a certain sound from Mama, another from Daddy, ascending scales, and deep basement music.

Funny thing. For years in our home, we had the one black telephone, never had a problem with it, we never called the phone company to complain about our service, and no repairman ever came to check on our instrument. Now in this great age of advancement and enlightenment, many decades down the road, I cannot tell you how much money we have spent on telephones in the last few years, how many times we have changed carriers, the many frustrating conversations we have had over service, the complexity of the billing statements, dropped calls, worn out telephones, charging cords that fit only one type phone, so of course you must buy a new one…

Oh, well, I must stop this rambling. Out and about with errands today. My Verizon phone is at full charge and Jerry and I will stay in touch. This evening when I approach 40th St., I will call to say, "I'm starting up the mountain now." Jerry will be happy.

Tags: telephones, Verizon, cellphones, dial telephones, crank telephones, "number, please"

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Holidays Social

Disdain For America

upsidedown flag, Mexican flag atop US flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I had thought to post this yesterday, along with the other flag images, but I decided against doing so. I didn't want to muddy our significant holiday with this dispicable picture.

This is the epitome of disdain for our flag and for our country. I am saddened…and angered.

For more pictures and discussion go here

After reading from the above referenced page, a reader identified only as TMJ writes as follows:

I live in a small farm town in Nelson County, Virginia, and will retire from the Virginia Army National Guard in April 2006, after 22 years. I have spent almost one half of my adult life preparing myself and my soldiers for a time, such as now, that our country might successfully face our enemies, foreign and domestic. Looking at your webpage this morning and seeing the pictures of the high school students raising a Mexican national flag over an upside down American flag saddened me terribly, insofar as there are American soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen currently putting their lives in danger in order to provide these "citizens" the comfort of knowing that their protests will not result in being lined up against a wall and executed for their behavior, as they might in other countries around the world. What would be interesting to know is if these young men and women are enjoying their educations on the back of the American taxpayer at a public school, while denigrating the country that provides these benefits to them, and so blatantly desecrating the flag that serves as a beacon to draw them to America in the first place.

 Tags: American+flag, Mexican+flag, upside+down+flag, America, disdain+for+America

Holidays Social

A Memorial Day Tribute to Our Troops

America IS America the Beautiful. We are a generous people, God-fearing souls, who, with love for mankind, strive to do our best, as we endeavor to scribe a positive mark on our world. On this Memorial Day holiday I salute America, my beloved country. With distinct pride in them, I pay tribute to our troops around the globe.

In a spirit of joy and thanksgiving, I bring words from Sgt. Mike Stutzke, 1st Cavalry Division, Baghdad, Iraq. May his upbeat words of thankfulness ricochet through our land, and ignite anew a spirit of gratitude and honor among us. Despite our dissimilar views on war, may we this day, be in peace, and may our breasts swell with pride in our country and in the men, who today, stand in harm's way…for you…for me…and for our babies.

I am a member of the Washington National Guard, an infantry squad leader, assigned to the 1st Calvary Division, in Baghdad Iraq. After spending approximately 6 months in Iraq, I got to go home on leave. I had many people, strangers, walk up to me and thank me in a variety of different ways. I would like to share some of the experiences I had while traveling across our great country.

Some of the people would look at me, and quickly look away when I looked at them, eventually they would say something. Some would see me from across the airport or wherever I was, and make a B-line to me and say something. They all appeared to have nothing in common, some were old men, old women, young men and women and children. I enjoyed the children the most, the way they look at a soldier, with wide eyes and open admiration. I told each of them about my daughter who was at home who I was getting to see after a long time of being away from her.

Most started out the conversation by asking where I was going, or where I was coming from, others asked if I had been in Iraq. When I told people I was on leave from Iraq, they all made some kind of physical contact, shaking hands, putting a hand on my shoulder or arm, and a surprising number hugged me.

Some bought me drinks, some bought me lunch, some gave up their first class seat to me, some shared stories about their family members or friends who were in Iraq, and each asked me if I knew their family member or friends. Some asked for my address to send care packages to me and my platoon. All were incredibly polite, thankful, and inspiring.

Some, who spoke to me, did so with a red face, some with tears in their eyes, some crying. Each were, once again, inspiring.

The people who I spoke with made a lasting impression on my life, to me it was awe inspiring. I wish everyone could experience the love and appreciation I felt while traveling home to see my family.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the people who have inspired me.

To the people at the Bangor Maine airport, who where there at 5:30 am with coffee, cell phones, cookies, a handshake or a hug. THANK YOU!

To the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport fire department (real American heroes), who showered our plane with water, with their lights flashing, giving us a "heroes welcome". THANK YOU!

To the people at the Dallas/Ft.Worth airport, who applauded, shouted, held up "welcome home" banners, handed out water, and made us feel great. THANK YOU!

To the bartender who bought me a drink at the Sacramento airport, who only said to me, "Thanks" THANK YOU!

To the man at the Sacramento airport who spent almost 2 hours just visiting with me and insisted on getting my address so he and his company could send me and my platoon care packages. THANK YOU!

To the woman at the Sacramento airport who shared her stories of her family members who were in Iraq, shared her fears, hopes and dreams for when they came home. Who hugged me to the point where I didn't think she was going to let go. THANK YOU!

To the cab driver in Portland OR., who was a Vietnam vet., who I had to argue with to pay my cab fare. THANK YOU!

To my daughter, who nearly knocked me over at the airport. I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU!

To all my family who traveled from all over the state of Washington to have BBQ's with me. I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU!

To the TSA lady at the Spokane airport who shook my hand and hugged me on my way back to Iraq. THANK YOU!

To the maintenance supervisor at the Spokane airport who visited with me and bought my lunch. THANK YOU!

To the women who were going on vacation from Spokane who invited me to be in their group picture. THANK YOU!

To the many, many people at the Denver airport who spoke to me, thanked me, and told me they will pray for me and all the soldiers in Iraq. THANK YOU!

To the woman who approached my friend traveling back to Iraq with me, and said "Thank you." Then later returned and gave us a hundred dollar bill and said "I came across this unexpectedly and want you guys to buy lunch somewhere nice" Then quickly left the area with tears running down her face. THANK YOU!

To Keith, who I sat next to on one of the flights, who visited with me the whole flight, and offered many things, which I could not accept because I was reporting for duty. THANK YOU!

To my new friends at Belo interactive in Dallas. Who took my friend and me out, welcomed us, then opened their business to us, took us to lunch and just spent time hanging out with us. Who also send our whole platoon care packages every month. THANK YOU!

To all the people at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport who took time out of their schedules to visit with me. THANK YOU!

To all the flight crews who flew us overseas and back. THANK YOU!

To all Americans who support the American soldiers, simply because we are serving all over the world, who we will never meet, or get to personally thank for their enormous support. THANK YOU!

The support, love and respect that I received all across America, is humbling. To be treated like a hero for doing one's job, is something I wish everyone could experience. It is incredible. For the record, none of us consider ourselves heroes, we are just soldiers trying to do a job, then to get home to our families.

I know I've said it many times, but THANK YOU AMERICA.

A grateful American Soldier

Sgt. Mike Stutzke C Co 1-161 Infantry Baghdad, Iraq

Tags: Memorial+Day, Iraq, soldier, Mike+Stutzke, Baghdad, thankfulness, tribute, troops

Christianity/Religion Holidays Social Uncategorized

Our Glorious Flag

Our Glorious Flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

This is the beautiful flag of our glorious country, the United States of America. It is being flown here from our deck, where Jerry posts it almost every day. In the background is a glimpse of the San Bernardino Mountains.

This is Memorial Day. Have a great holiday, enjoy your families and be sure to eat lots of good food. Throughout the day, let us remember to give thanks to God for our exceptional country. May we take pride in our troops who are scattered around the world, and remember with gratitude, those who gave their lives for our many and exceptional freedoms.

GOD BLESS AMERICA, land that I love.

Tags: God+bless+America, flag, Memorial+Day, troops,

Holidays Social

Sad Degradation of Our Flag

Sad Degradation of Our Flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We support our troops, is printed on this flag. When it was first hoisted, it was no doubt a glorious sight.

Such a ragged flag should be removed, though, and replaced with a new one. No vision of tatter, nor of failure, or disregard should be connected with our flag, the symbol of America, the greatest country in the world.

Tags: America, American+flag, disrespect+for+flag

Holidays My Home Social

Sad Degradation of Our Flag

Sad Degradation of Our flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

This scene is not too far from my house, and, in a passing way, I know the people who live there. I really don’t think they are evil, and they probably mean well. The flag is actually not being flown, but is flopped among empty pots. This is certainly a careless way to handle our flag.

The flag represents our country, the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. It should be displayed with honor and with due respect.

Tags: America, flag, American+flag,