About Alice

Grew up in Florida where I was born; only left because the man I married insisted he was a scientist, not a farmer. Over the years lived in Pittsburgh, Pa., Windsor (Hartford), Ct., Grove City (Columbus), Oh., Knoxville, Tn., Las Vegas, NV.; Now retired and currently living in Utah with husband. My biggest accomplishments were two daughters, who both earned Ph.D.s and became professors of academia (Psychology & English). I have two grandchildren, a boy and a girl, who are not only good looking but, like the people of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wabegon, are both way above average.

making wise choices . . .

Every once in awhile, Hubby does or says something that confirms the validity of the life altering decision I made all those years ago when I decided to cast my lot with him “from this day forward, ’til death do we part.” I saw an email he’d written, and was so proud I told him I was going to steal it and post it as “my” blog. He gave full permission:

What the hell is wrong with India? I just finished reading a book called Pink Sari Revolution: A tale of women and power in India and I was beginning to think that some changes may be possible. And then I read this article in today’s news on the internet. I hate to think that this case makes India as bad as [terrorist organization] regime or worse. It seems that the police or the politicians don’t care.  Why aren’t the general public outraged by this?

He was referring of course to two prominent and recent headlines from around the world:  Indian Woman Gang-Raped By 13 Men On Orders Of Village Court In West Bengal: Police  and Danish Tourist Gang-Raped, Robbed And Beaten Near Connaught Place, Indian Police Say . . . . It was enough that he was concerned enough and cared enough to defend these women, but when challenged that it wasn’t  India but the fact that women were afraid to report these incidents (until recently of course), thereby implying that the fault lies with the victims (now where have I heard that before?!), and that in reality–and especially when or if you considered the population numbers, percentage wise India was doing much better than the U.S. in such matters–his reply was:

I am sorry, I don’t agree with your statement “there is nothing wrong with India”. Even if there is one incident of gang rape of a woman or a young girl, it is one too many. When you read that the local panchayat ordered the gang rape because she was seen with someone from another tribe, this borders on barbarian practices. The Taliban routinely kill the women in these cases. I am surprised that the elders did not order stoning to go with it.

Population sizes, the reporting frequencies, and we are no worse  than other places etc are totally irrelevant.  In fact, I believe that the number of cases reported to police are miniscule as the police usually blame the victims. For a country that brags about being an ancient civilization and more civilized than the Islamic fundamentalists, assault and gang rapes on women should not be acceptable at any level. Add to this the so called “honor killing of women”, it gets worse.

When women are treated as less than equals and this is socially and culturally accepted, there is something wrong with the country.  See the following headline from the Hindu:
Hundreds of Indian election candidates accused of sexual violence – Figures released by the Association for Democratic Reforms show that hundreds of election candidates had allegations against them – as had scores of those in power.

When politicians get elected in spite of their sexual crimes against women, it says that there will be no laws created to address the problems.

Yes we know that rape happens in all places, but no where else [do] the village elders order it.

By the way, a “panchayat” is an elective village council in India, usually made up of five “wise and respected” elders chosen and accepted by the community who traditionally settle disputes between individuals and villages. The response from one of our daughters to her dad said simply “that was awesome. you’re the best.” The other followed with, “Ditto!” So as not to be outdone, or left out of the conversation, I responded to both daughters with this simple truth: “You may thank me for choosing your papa wisely! Mom” Young single women should take heed and remember the man they’re thinking of choosing to marry will (likely) be the father of their future children.

what happened to those 12 gifts after Christmas

Here it is January 6, or the 12th Day of Christmas, the new season of Epiphany observed primarily by Orthodox Greek, Catholic, and Anglican Christians. It marks the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the wider world as embodied in the story of three wise men visiting the newborn Jesus with gifts in the Gospel of Matthew 1:1-12. After today, I don’t expect to revisit Christmas 2013 until after Thanksgiving 2014. And I’m running so late, I almost didn’t get this post done on time!

One more year that I didn’t even get to hear all the Christmas music I’ve collected over the years, and I do have some great ones. (Hubby will be quick to point out when he reads this how I probably have enough time but too big a music collection.) However, I did discover a new song to love, the first new one in awhile–since Mariah Carey came out in 1994 with “All I Want For Christmas (is you).” A couple years before that it was “I Bought You A Plastic Star For Your Aluminum Tree,” so you can see my Christmas music tastes aren’t very traditional, though I do like those too. And I heard this song in the most unlikely place! It was at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas Concert. Deborah Voigt sang a catchy new (to me) tune I’d never heard before. Although the CD of that concert won’t be available until next year, I couldn’t wait to share a version of that song–with a different artist from YouTube–with you this last day of Christmas. It tells me we should really not worry so much about gifts after all. Here’s what happened to those 12 gifts she got during the 12 days of Christmas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDeIdAow4R8

what I won’t worry about anymore

Happy New Year everyone! It looks like we made it to another year all in one piece, having survived one more road trip, this time to spend Christmas with the daughter’s family in their Oregon vacation home, a fine change of scene. For the first time since we left Tennessee in 1997, we enjoyed the earthy smell of woodlands and a real old-fashioned fir tree in the house.We thought we’d escape the extreme temperatures and heavy Utah snows, but instead found a different kind of cold (humid), and re-discovered what it’s like to drive on fog and ice-laced country roads. “Oh my heck!” as my Mormon friends might say, but it was beautiful and sunny every day. Christmas Eve we drove to a nearby village to see a Christmas play–sort of a Sherlock Holmes spinoff of Charles Dickens Christmas Carol. Except for the long distances you have to drive to get to everywhere else, there’s something very appealing about small town living.

In reflecting on 2013, the Hubby, who’s usually just fine with whatever happens in the world, who’s so well-versed in rolling with the punches, remarked that he was happy to be done with it because of so many health issues for various members of the family–and to him as well if you count the re-injury he’s still suffering with the shoulder. This despite the surgery he underwent in the spring to repair it. I predict another surgery soon. In retrospect, turns out 2013 was especially expensive even though we decided to forgo foreign travel this year so we could invest in routine maintenance we would have done ourselves 30 years ago, plus another unplanned purchase–a new furnace!

And on top of that he still got itchy feel by summertime, and booked a tour to France. I live and learn though. I learned how spoiled we are in the U.S. because of our strict anti-smoking bans in public places. I have always been at the very least hyper-sensitive, if not downright allergic, to tobacco smoke. About three days into the trip I succumbed to the cigarette smoke all around in the open air with an upper respiratory infection that persisted for weeks after our return. Despite that, France was beautiful. I hope if (or when) I ever go back, they will have established at least a partial ban on smoking in public. The best things I found there were the cemeteries–I photographed painter Marc Chagall‘s grave in a lovely church yard on the mountainside commune of St. Thomas-en-Royans in southeastern France. After living in Las Vegas eight years, Monaco was pretty boring. I’m leery of most things that cater more to the rich than to the common man!

That brings me to 2014, and thinking mostly positive thoughts about what the year may bring. I’m taking a portrait drawing class this semester. Two days a week, and I was warned it will mean a lot of homework. I hope I’m up to it. When I was growing up, my second goal in life, after I got over my initial ambition of becoming a waitress (I was VERY young!), was to go to art school. I’d decided on Ringling College of Art & Design on Florida’s Gulf Coast. I’m pretty sure I never breathed this to a living soul. So whatever made be think I could draw then may no longer be there, plus I’m a little anxious about how the arthritis in my fingers may pose limits. Friday I’ll be consulting the ENT section of the University Hospital about a possible surgical procedure to improve my hearing. Previous ear surgeries have left me with little hearing in one ear–no eardrum–but tests show I have nearly perfect bone conduction. The new device will allow sound to be conducted through the bone to balance things a bit. I wouldn’t even tell about it except that it was such a jaw-dropping experience when they fitted me with a trial model to see how it would work. It was like moving from the back of a noisy class-room to the front row right next to the teacher’s desk. While I dread the surgical insertion, I look forward to no longer straining to hear.

So what else did I learn last year? I learned to listen to my own instincts more. They’re probably as good as anybody’s else when it’s about me and my health, and there are no guarantees in life, anyway. I listen to and read the experts, and then go to the gym and do what I feel good about doing, not what someone else thinks I ought to be doing. Three years now after the cancer treatments of 2010, and I go for days without thinking about it anymore. I get along very well and have energy to do all the things I really want to do, and the ability to admit it if I don’t want to. I’ve learned that food is not really my enemy, that I can eat things I ate while I was growing up even if those foods aren’t “cool” anymore. Sometimes I do cut back on the sugar and butter, I’m no longer as active after all, but I still believe in “everything in moderation.” My nod to embracing the new includes learning to “massage” and eat more kale, because mustard and collards just don’t taste the same without bacon drippings. I still hate and avoid beets, I don’t care what anyone says. And, I no longer feel guilty about the rarity of my inviting anyone outside family to dinner anymore. Here’s a perfect example why:

Hope everyone of you have a happy 2014, and find the peace of being just who you are with no apologies to anyone.  :grin: