thinkless

A million thoughts makes one unable to think, really think.

So how does one corral those thoughts into a thinkable manner?

Wondering minds with loose files floating everywhere would like to know.

The High Cost of Retail Theft

This past week I was privy to the circumstances and outcome of a terrible misfortune.  A person was accused of walking out of the local Walmart without paying for $46.60 worth of goods.  According to the accused, the oil that was placed on the bottom of the cart was forgotten as the self-checkout was being executed.  Well, I have been through one of those self-checkout ripoffs, and I can see how one could forget there was something on the bottom of the cart in the process of doing the shopping and then being required to check out the items and bag them as well plus paying for the merchandise and the privilege to be a Walmart employee for those minutes it takes me to check out.  Or wait in the long lines at one of the two open registers run by actual people.  Please, Walmart, let me do it all.  That way perhaps you can lay off a worker or two, or four, or… 

Oh, it’s not just Walmart that wants to scale back on service to the consumer.  Kroger does it, too.  I’m sure there are others somewhere along down the road, but I live in a rural area, and we are limited in our choices in shopping unless we want to drive a ways east or west or north or south.  And it’s not just Walmart that’s greedy and wants to make as much profit as possible.  I am amazed at the difference in the service to the customer now as compared to just a few short years ago.  Did it start with pumping our own gas?

The aforementioned person was arrested upon passing through the front doors, admitted that, no, those items indeed had not been included in the checkout process.  Or maybe deliberately left out.  Who really knows?  There were factors that would lead one to believe that perhaps the items were intentionally forgotten; however, considering the accused also has an addiction to drugs, it is very possible to believe that the items truly were forgotten.

None of that matters.  Deliberately taken or accidentally taken.  The point is it cost $3660 in the court of law for taking that $46.60 worth of goods.

That just seems a little steep to me.  Especially for someone who doesn’t have a pot to piss in, so to speak.  I haven’t seen an addict yet living the high life.

The free attorney was $750.  So, even though you have a right to an attorney, that free one they tell you that you can have may cost you a lot of money when it gets down to the “costs” portion of your fines and costs when you plead guilty.  And you also have to pay a little bit of money to the prosecutor to prosecute you.

The fine for the $46.60 worth of goods was $1500.  The probation fee was $25 a month or, as it was charged right up front, $600.  There was a $570 lump sum surcharge.  I’m not sure either in case you’re asking What the heck is that?!  There were other charges too numerous to outline.  Some for the state police, the clerk, the probation officer, child advocate.  Oh, the list is long.

Rather amazing.

I wondered why would a defendant even sign that?!!  Then I remembered.  A drug-infused brain doesn’t make the best choices nor does it understand all that is taking place.  A person using drugs needs at least six months off of drugs to be able to think correctly.

Now, I do not uphold stealing in any form or fashion.  Nor do I uphold greedy counties and states that want to fill their coffers on the backs of the people who already have nothing.

How can anyone think this is fair or right or conscionable or a just disposition?  It isn’t.  To charge an indigent defendant $750 for the appointed counsel seems indecent.  That’s why the person needs appointed counsel:  indigent, poor, no money, destitute.

Fines and costs are a necessary punishment to those who steal.  Let’s make them appropriate and an amount that has a foreseeable conclusion.  $3660 may as well be a million to an indigent person.

The moral of this story:  Children, do not steal.  Do not do drugs without your own prescription and even then be very, very careful.  Do not drink if you have alcoholism in your family for it is genetic, and you may very well become an alcoholic.  Stay out of Walmart.  (just kidding)

 

Invasion of the Insects (or whatever they were)

This summer right around the first of August, just in time for Kate’s swim birthday party in the backyard, we were invaded by stinging insects.  Never in my entire lifetime have I seen anything like this.

IMG_9243

WHAT IS THIS THING?!!!!

They were as big as my little Ava!!

This is only one species of the flying, attacking THINGS! The points on their rears look like they could cut your throat!

Now, this one on the sunflower I am used to seeing:

IMG_9224

One of the stinging species in the backyard this year

The bugs were so thick you couldn’t walk through the yard.  So I did what I don’t like to do.  I went to the store and bought cans of hornet spray.  There was no way I could have a bunch of kids coming over with those things swarming (best word I can use but it was an invasion) all around the pool and the yard.

So like a gunslinger, I walked out in the yard with my “guns” and chased and sprayed those bugs (some chased me back) until I got rid of them.  Mainly just scared them off because they came back.  I just kept my “guns” with me at all times while the kids were here and met them at high noon whenever I needed to do so.

WHERE WERE THEY COMING FROM IN DROVES LIKE THIS?!!!!!

After the two-to-four-week frenzy they all settled down.  It was then I found all the mounds of sand and dirt in the yard and the huge holes.  All the old timers said to pour gas down the holes.  Some said light it on fire because they have a way in and a way out, which I found to be true in every mound.

I went with the gas-only method because if I set fire to all the nests in the ground, I am fairly certain my yard would have blown up.

I used a lot of gas.  I wanted to get rid of them.  Really, really wanted to get rid of them.

Searching for… Hope

001

by Jarred Dobbs

Another New Year has come and gone, and we are steadfastly headed down the pathway of 2017.  I always make resolutions at the beginning of each new year.  Some I resolutely work on until I reach my goal, and others linger around until they come to completion.  Then there are those that somehow slip through the cracks and don’t make the cut that particular year.  On occasion, and more often than not, they get put on the burner again at the beginning of the next new year.

So far this year my resolution schedule is behind only a tad.  That hasn’t been the case in the previous years.  The drawing of the kitchen with an Aprons&appetites plaque is by my son.  He drew this several years ago.  I am just now getting this one on here.  There is another one simmering on the burner somewhere, and someday it will make its way to the blog table as well.

What does all that have to do with hope-blog?

All those New Year resolutions keep me pressing forward, keep my goals in front of me.  hope-blogThey are carrots spurring me on, giving me the prize if and when I finally get to it.  The methodical doing and ticking off of items on my list gives me a hope that transverses from New Year resolutions into daily life struggles.  “I got this accomplished, so maybe that can happen, too!”

Over the past few months my hope gauge has been broken, and that has left me with question upon question upon question.  In the search of some way to mend my state of mind, raise my hope quotient, I am reading a book entitled The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston as well as The Question That Never Goes Away WHY by Philip Yancey.

The carrot is before me.  I feel a twinge of hope.

I’m No Angel and Never Will Be

angel-blog-2

Snapchat is such fun!!!  I have been having a ball posting those short videos to Facebook about the deer committing suicide (deer season) because they wait on the side of the highway until a person gets right up even with them, and then they bound out either in front of the vehicle or smack dab into the side of it.  W.E.I.R.D.

My deer motto:  Kill them all!  Eat hearty!

There is a reason I dislike deer so very much.  Too many people have died as they tried to avoid these animals or from the result of hitting them.  My friend, Bob, an Indian motorcycle enthusiast, was killed by a deer doing one of the things he loved most:  riding his Indian motorcycle.  It came out of the trees as he cruised along one morning and either ran into him or right in front of him.  He laid that beloved motorcycle down trying to get away from the deer.  But the deer won.  The trauma was too much for his body.

Now, here is the whole purpose of telling you about Bob and why I will never be an angel.  Bob was a believer and a follower of Jesus the Christ as am I.  He struggled with stuff as do I and most other believers that I know.  Those things range anywhere from saying something we know we shouldn’t to you name it.  Those things break the good relationship, the good friendship, the joyful association, between Christ and us unless and until we acknowledge that, yes, that was sin, and we are sorry.  It does not, however, take away my salvation nor take away my assurance that what Jesus did for me, and what I accepted as truth and embraced for eternity, can ever be jerked away.

God the Father, our adopted Dad, forgives and gives us peace about making that wise choice.  God the Son is joyous that his sister or brother has made a leap in her/his faith and walk with him.  God the Spirit breathes easy for his work was accomplished, that nudging to recognize sin as sin, no matter how large or small.

And so, you see, when I die, I will be in Heaven with Jesus.  I will be walking by his side and talking with him and enjoying in the most profound sense his essence, his glory.  I will not be an angel.  I will not gain my wings.  As a believer and child of God, I will be so much more than an angel.  Scripture says believers will judge angels for we are the sons and daughters of God.  Only we human beings are made in the image of God; not angels.

If you have someone who has moved to Heaven already, as I have, then you can rejoice in your great sorrow because you know without a doubt that they have surpassed getting wings.  They are in the presence of Jesus in a very close and personal way as we cannot experience here on this limited earth.

And sometimes… perhaps those now unfettered by time or space people we love check in on us now and then.  Or perhaps they send angels to do that job for them.  Either way is fine with me.  I just know that someone is.

And when they are not, this little angel is:  my Ava.

angel-ava

My little angel

 

ava-2017

May you have a happy new year!

Open Letter to Mr. Warren Buffet

This little blog doesn’t make much difference in the world.  Not like your billions can.  All those billions you are dedicating to philanthropy.

Will this money go to better schools and universities?  I’ve read where some of your club members — for that really is all your giving pledge group is, a club for billionaires to pat themselves on the back that they aren’t really keeping all that wealth –have already given to the sports programs at universities.  I’m sure their name is on a building somewhere as it rightly should be.  They did give the money to that sports program.  I’ve also read where some have already given to Harvard for molecular causes of disease research and another to Cornell for medical research.

Will this money be given to the arts?  Perhaps to the schools in rural counties that can’t afford any type of art program, or music program, or dance program, or, well, any program except basic classroom classes.  Will there be a head honcho who decides who is in more need of these pledged billions?  Say, Harvard or Gallatin County K-12?

Will this money go to provide a stronger foundation of learning where it needs to be strong:  In the elementary schools, in the poor communities in dire need of funds,  in the high schools in these same types of communities?  These areas are where you will find your future Americans that will one day buy the products and use the services that made you the billionaires you are today.  Perhaps one of those industrious persons will become a hedge fund manager themselves someday and boost their rags to riches stories.  Anything can happen when one is given opportunity and has a drive for the bigger and the better.

The word “opportunity” is why I write this open letter that you will never see.

Most of the giving of the $373.25 billion dollars in private giving is given by U. S. citizens.   (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/content.view/cpid/42)

The giving per income level and amount given may rival your mighty pledges.  The boasting of your wealth sickened me from the very first media outpouring.  The fact that you are proudly giving your money away to charity also sickens me.  I and my friends give to charity.  With our paltry earnings we give substantial sums to charity.  We will never have a wing of a university with our name emblazoned on it, but we may have given a child in our local school system a chance to go to Washington D.C.  We may not be able to help with finding a cure for a dreaded disease, but we may have helped a family who has someone with that dreaded disease to eat and pay the bills.  We may not be able to provide opportunities for those in the arts to progress and sell their wares so to speak, but we have provided those who have lost their jobs with smaller, less-paying  jobs to provide for some of their needs.

This country needs less of your charity, Mr. Buffett, and more of your ingenious money-making ideas that will benefit its citizens, not just you and your chosen few. My first thought when I heard of your glorified club was Why doesn’t he take that money and provide incomes for people?

Build factories wherein  you don’t make one dime, but the people working in it do.

Provide those gum-selling opportunities where people are given the chance to sell their wares with less risk and more gain.

Give children the chance to learn well: The chance to use new books instead of the hand-me-downs of classes and classes before them; the chance to see the world with a field trip that’s beyond the public park; the chance to embrace those arts you speak of so highly with an arts program in their school.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  A man with your mental acuity, your influence on your billionaire buddies and their mental acuity, and all those billions you all are just eagerly waiting to give away should be enough to create jobs as well as promote all those things you want your billions to promote.

We need jobs, Mr. Buffett.  Can you and your cronies not come up with this fantastic Giving Pledge to constructively help the backbone of America?small town 2

You want a museum in which to give a billion?  Visit any small community whose coal mines are closing and businesses have dried up and blown away.  Visit any river town whose docks are closed and boat traffic floated off.  Visit any rural county.  Visit any rural school.

I thought this article by thedailybeast right on point.  I’ve been thinking this sentiment ever since your high and mighty giving pledge.

“Perhaps the most troubling issues posed by the Gates-Buffett crusade is its potential to intensify the inequities that exist both in the nonprofit world and in the rest of society.” wrote Pablo Eisenberg, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute, in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy column. “Foundations, corporations, and other forms of institutional philanthropy tend to favor the nation’s most-privileged citizens and neglect the neediest people and organizations.”  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/08/06/buffet-pledge-where-the-billions-will-go.html

A Delightful Day

It’s not often I can get the wild ones to hold still for a photo or two.  Ava usually cringes and puts her hand in front of her face.  Kate shows me her, um, backside.  So when we accidentally wondered into the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique in Disney when we were down there in May, into the Photo Opportunity portion of the Boutique, the girls lit up.  This wasn’t any old picture-taking by their old granny!  This was the real thing!

There was a photographer there (older than ME I might add) and a fainting couch to pose upon with a blue backdrop.  Oh, yeah.  They had hit the big time.  So they posed and smiled and never once acted like they did not want their picture taken.  And being the good granny that she was (I am almost certain) the photographer asked me to join them on some pics.  And they were actually happy to have me in them.

WDWRESORTSANDMORE_DTDMEMR_20160518_386459621579

I guess this was the highlight of my trip!

Girls hugging I mean… they even HUGGED!!!

Posing.  Unbelievable!

The new plan is to get me a vest like the ones they wore in Disney, hang my camera around my neck, and see if I can’t get them to do this for me.

If I had known we were walking into a photo shoot, we might have doodied up a bit.

Scooter Scandal

Kate on scooter

She flies as fast as it will go.  If it had a pedal, it would be on the metal.  I have a real premonition that she is going to take after her Gigi and her momma.  Kate has already received her first ticket from one of our observant and kind and considerate police officers  (which I must thank for doing such a good job) as  she was scooting around on the mall, being her nosy little  self.

Kate and ticket

The defendant looks like she’s been in the pokey all night!

Isn’t there some saying about being nosy getting one into trouble?!!!

Noaming

No, the title is not supposed to be “roaming;” however, it is sort of like roaming.  When we go a “roaming,” we learn all sort of things, discover wonders, revisit once-discovered favorites, learn something new, see something we haven’t seen before… the list is long.

So as I have moments of time during this day, I plug in my earphones and listen to/watch Noam Chomsky.  I may or may not agree with all he says, but listening to his perspective and educated opinions causes me to question some of the opinions I may have had or bolsters some that I still have.   Those opinions that we make based in feeling, tradition, or the biased/ distorted media.

Here is just a little sample:

One video leads to another to another to another.  And from Professor Chomsky, I then want to see the opinions of other learned people, people that really, truly know what’s going on in the world and know  who is/are making the decisions.  I want to find out just exactly what the decisions are that are being made and how those decision affect the world.

I will warn you:  It’s addictive to watch these types of things that inform and develop independent thinking, perhaps provide a thought outside the box of memes on Facebook.

But so worth it.

 

 

Thinking about Thanking

Today at my brother’s house, my little niece, Charlotte Ann, had a prayer/speech she had prepared.  In it she wanted us all to think about what we were thankful for, and the plan was then to share those thoughts.Brenda in thought

We never did get around to sharing our thankful thoughts.  We were too busy eating and playing games and eating and yelling over each other to try to be heard and eating and laughing and eating and accusing the guys of cheating and eating and actually cheating ourselves.  Until we were so full and so hoarse and so tired that we all scattered and went our own ways to our own abodes or wherever else we had planned to go.

The thing we didn’t do, of course, was share in our bounty of thankfulness.  And bounty is an accurate description of the list of things to be thankful about:

1.  My salvation through Jesus the Christ.

2.  Family who love and fight and play and strive to make time to get together as our families expand and that time is more precious.

3.  A home.

4.  Plenty of food.

5.  Work that provides me with a paycheck and work that must be done in order to keep a clean house, grow a garden, have a lawn… you get the drift.

6.  The opportunity to help others whether it is monetarily or hands on.

7.  Good choices.

8.  Good doctors and staff that actually care about one’s health.

9.  My church.

10.  You guys who read my blog.  🙂

As I ponder on my good life, my heart cries for those who are in real struggles right now:  mental health, the fight for life as they struggle with a disease, the loss of a loved one, drug addiction, sexual abuse, hunger, oppression of different forms…

God, pour mercy and grace upon these people.  Give me direction to turn my thanksgiving into theirs as well.