Trumpster perfect for the Dumpster!

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Trumpster paperweight, made in America, is a true collectible for your political friends.

 

Right before my son, Scott, left for college he came up with idea that I should create a paper mache Trump figure.  Wacky Trumpster featured in this blog would make a great gift  for politicos from either major party.  Trumpster is a convenient paperweight to keep track of all those nasty receipts you need at your finger tips when you are audited by the IRS. If Trump had a Trumpster, we may have seen his tax returns by now. Remember Trumpster comes with real hair which you can wash and comb. If you are loosing your hair, here is your opportunity to style someone else’s hair to your heart’s content. Trumpster is made entirely of recyclable products when you grow tired of him just toss him in the Dumpster. Each Trumpser is unique and lovingly made with only the finest old, used products. Don’t wait to order yours!

More reasons that Trumpster is this Election’s trendiest gift.

Trump Supporters: Give them a Trumpster along with a carton of legos.  Trumpster is entirely made in American by a 6th generation American (me).  The legos are so your Right Wing friend and Trumpster can build walls to their hearts’ content at no cost to tax payers.

Trump Detractors.  Give them a Trumpster to help them work off anger and frustration with the current Congress:

  1. Made of paper, Trumpster  can serve as a bulletin board to remind you of key dates. For example, the Presidential election is Tuesday, November 8, 2016.    If Trump looses, political commentary won’t be near as much fun.
  2. If you have a ghoulish side you could just push pins in Trumpster any time you are upset. I don’t think Trumpster contains any voodoo magic but punching holes in a wind bag is bound to make your day better.

To Order your own Trumpster or Trumpster for your friends and loved ones message me on Facebook  or WordPress or go to:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/myprivateidahopm?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Background on Trumpster’s Build

I started working in paper mache this summer to create sellable items for a Christmas Bazaar where the funds go to charity. So far I have created assorted cats and woodland angels. These items have not proven very popular on Etsy or Facebook. I am beginning to have a craft room full of colorful  cats and flying nymphs made of paper, paint and paste.

My college son, Scott, is of the opinion that anything “Trump” no matter how bizarre will sell. Scott may have a point. Trump seems to hold a weird fascination even for his detractors. All across America we wait with baited breath to hear the next outrageous Twitter or giggle at Trump’s explanation of how Obama created ISIS only to learn that these wild statements are a new form of “sarcasm”.

I took Scott up on his challenge and created “Trumpster”. Paper mache Trump is functional which is more than can be said for his real-life counterpart. He is a paper weight. Mr. Trump sits on a replica of Trump tower, a raspberry box filled with rocks(I liked both the  symbolism of Trump perched on raspberries and his tower covered with a gold facade but really holding nothing but rocks like many of his failed real estate deals). Trump’s body is made from a recycled brew cup. We have lots of these from coffee every morning, might as well put them to good use.

As Scott noted, the only  things you need to denote Trump are big hair, pointing fingers and orange skin. The reality bar is quite low because Trump has made himself into his own reality TV character. The hardest part of the project was the hair. I finally  clipped hair off my Sheltie, Shani, and glued it on  a wig form. When I told Scott this, he worried that I had given Shani bare spots. Do not be alarmed, Shani has more hair at any one time than most dogs grow in a life-time. As you can see by the picture, Shani looks no different after providing Trump with his gilded hair than she did before my gentle clipping. Once the hair  was glued in place, the wig fell off the model into a cup of water. Not to worry, made from real hair, the wig dried out and remains perfectly groomed unaffected by this potential castrophy.

 

 

Redneck Lives Matter

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Playing on Payette Lake provides a metaphor for life

I have lived in Idaho almost 22 years, a third of my life. Idaho is the most Republican state in the nation.The state where a perfectly normal question is “Have you heard of the group Black lives Matter? Well, in Idaho Redneck Lives Matter.”  In rural Idaho, PETA stands for “People eating tasty animals.” (Probably shot with a concealed weapon, all perfectly legal.)

In this staunchly  Red environment,  I have transformed into a strong Democrat. I drive a blue car with a novelty license plate that says BLUEGRL. I am proud to be a Blue girl (Democrat)in a Red State.  I sometimes worry about the car getting keyed for advertising my political opinions.

I have a Republican friend who says Idaho Democrats could hold the state convention in a phone booth if we could find a phone booth anymore. Idaho Democrats running for statewide office get consistently  about 30% of the vote if the individual candidate runs a good campaign.   We haven’t had a Democrat elected statewide since our Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction, Marilyn Howard, retired in 2006. No other position has  even been competitive in the 20 years I’ve lived here

The miracle of Bernie Sanders in Idaho is that thousands of people showed up for Democratic caucuses all over the state. In Boise, there are still Bernie yard signs up. Before the Democratic National Convention several hundred people marched in Boise in support of Bernie.While I still see Bernie stickers on cars and yards signs, I haven’t seen any Hilary stickers. I got an email  last week that Hilary had hired an Idaho  field organizer, a young woman, recent  graduate of  the University of Idaho.  The email said Hillary could use some help in Idaho. NO KIDDING! Hillary and  Idaho? Talk about an oxymoron! The fact Hillary has paid staff in Idaho shows the fundraising process of the Democratic Presidential campaign.  Maybe Hillary has a field organization in Idaho to recruit Bernie fans. But the few I know wouldn’t vote for Trump. They may choose to not vote and thus the need for Hillary to have a grassroots  organization.Paying to organize Idaho Democrats for a national election is like seeing how many people you can get in a Volkswagen. You can run around a lot, create frenetic energy, spend a great deal of time but in the end the number will be quite small.

In this environment,  where there are no decent Democrats running for national office why do I remain a Democrat? Afterall, I will be voting for Republican Congressman Mike Simpson in my Congressional District. Congressman Simpson is a retired dentist who supported expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He recently got Congress to  pass the White Cloud Wilderness Bill, designating three areas in the Owyhee Mountains  as wilderness. This legislation took years of  work. In other words, Simpson is a good guy.  Why bother with  the Democratic label at all when I am clearly the minority?

I have wrestled with my Democratic values for some time. I am forced to when I am consistently in  the minority. Saying my political alliegence aloud can lead to crazy arguments and loss of friendships.

I grew up a Republican in Wyoming. I can remember standing on the tamarack at the Cheyenne airport. My sister was dressed in white holding glittery  gold poms poms along with other teenage girls. I tasted  the bitter bile of jealousy as the wickedly cold wind made my eyes leak because I wasn’t old enough to be a Goldwater Girl and stand with the cheering girls. Goldwater went on to win only  six states,  Arizona (his home state) and five southern states.  He even lost Wyoming and Idaho.

Early in my early professional career I worked for both Democratic and Republican Governors. I considered myself an independent, supporting the individual rather than the party.

I capitulated to dyed-in-the-wool, bright Blue Democrat as I saw the Idaho legislature become progressively conservative giving tax breaks to business, failing to appropriately fund our public schools, repeatedly defeating Medicaid Expansion. Last year in the legislature an emergency room physician testified that at least a 1000 low-income Idahoans  die a year because of lack of health care. Our Republican  Governor Butch  Otter’s response was, ” Lots of people die every year.”

My husband  and I give monthly to Idaho Democrats.   I am volunteering to stuff envelopes for state legislative races. All of this money and energy with no expectation of it making a difference. The question is why bother?

I got the answer on Saturday at Payette Lake in McCall.  I was sitting on the dock at Ponderosa State Park watching my daughter and her friend  jet skiing across the lake. A woman with head covered, black leggings and a beautiful white lace top got on the back of a new jet ski behind her husband. I presume she was Muslim and the man was her husband. After bouncing across the water at full tilt, she came back to the dock sporting a huge smile. At that moment it became crystal clear to me why I am a Democrat. Jet skiing provided  a great metaphor for living in our complex world. My Chinese daughter was out on the same water with the Muslin couple and behind me some black families who were speaking a language other than  English, also in full dress,  probably refugees, were playing on the beach and wading in the shallow water, laughing and splashing. All of us from very different backgrounds were sharing  the lake  linked by our human capacity for laughter and joy.

I am a Democrat because I believe all lives matter. Hurrah for Rednecks, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, Jews, Gays and everyone else! You all matter and American should be a big enough place that we can embrace and live with our differences.

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Everyone at the lake had a moment of shared joy across cultural boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man Bun vs. Mom Bun

 

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Our competing Muns at the breakfast bar

My son Scott headed out for his last fall at the University of Idaho this week. He is President of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau and had to be at U of I early to get the fraternity  house ready for Rush.  Before he left he took time for our Man Bun versus Mom Bun (MUNs) head shots.

The family teased him all summer for his long hair on top, cropped short on sides.

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Scott’s hair , looking great!

His hair looks great for work but for lacrosse or workouts flops down his face in a long veil unless it is held back by a bun and sometimes bun and headband. When he has his hair up, he is part of the man bun crowd started a few years back by hipsters in New York, moving to San Francisco and becoming popularized by  celebrities Jaquin Phoenix, Jared Leta, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik. (both of One Direction, boy band fame).

MUNs are popular enough now that you can purchase one on Amazon.com if you don’t have enough hair.  Nick Cannon has been wearing  a  MUN the last few weeks on America’s Got Talent.  Mr. Cannon told folks on Good Morning America that it takes a couple of hours to get his corn rows and man bun in place.  Man buns aren’t for everyone. Since many men have a hereditary tendancy to loose their hair as they age, there have been recent cautions that wearing a too-tight man bun can pull out your hair permanently, prematurely.  Scott doesn’t have to worry about that. The hair loss gene comes from the mother’s side of the family.  My dad had fabulous wavy hair until he died.  The popularity of the man bun has moved it into the realm of humor.  If you want to see  politicians with man buns including Donald Trump check out this link: http://twistedsifter.com/2015/11/if-politicians-had-man-buns/

My hair is a different story.  By the time I hit thirty, I was in professional jobs and kept my hair short to ensure  I had some semblance of a coiffeur at work.  Before short hair, I had extremely thick, long, and amazingly unruly hair.  In my late twenties when I had long hair and  was at a meeting of all men, I turned my head and a rocket shot across the room.  Everyone in the room asked what it was.  When we finally rescued the flying object from under a table across the way from me, it turned out to be an electric roller caught under my very thick mane, left in-place unnoticed as I hurried out the door to work.  Turning my head displaced it and propelled it across the board room.  Since the late seventies were a time when women were just clawing their way into management positions, it was essential that I look as prim and polished as possible.  I challenge you to  remain dignified when claiming a sailing roller from your supervisor at a major meeting.  The roller incident was the beginning of my many efforts to tame my wild mane by keeping it short.

By my early thirties, I was starting to get premature white hair.  Both my mother and grandfather had gorgeous white hair by 35 but  I chose to color my hair to be in step with the times.  I have now been coloring my hair for almost 35 years.  I actually have no idea what color my hair is now.  I thought about letting it grow gray when I retired but decided to wait to see my true color until my daughter Kayla is out of high school.

I started growing my hair the day I retired.  My hair is now down to my shoulders but hard to pull up into a bun.  It takes two small buns to make one.  My hair is long enough to whip around in the Wyoming wind on vacation.  I love the freedom of feeling my hair blow when we are out on our bikes or on a boat.  I have also gotten my hair long enough that my daughter can braid it though it ends up with a little tiny pig tail rather than an long beautiful streamer.  I plan on growing my hair to about the length of Meryl’s Streep’s hair at the Democratic convention, slightly below my shoulders.   The ability to grow my hair and let it do as it pleases in retirement has been a great joy.

I miss my son already though he has only been gone a couple of days.  I have no competition now in the MUN contest.  When he is around the house, there are moments every day of great laughter about silly things.  University of Idaho you are lucky to have him this fall and I was fortunate indeed to spend the summer growing my hair along with him.

 

 

Zip lining at Tamarack: A Bucket List Experience

 

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Tamarack zip line

Zipping from tree top to tree top, I felt like an eagle soaring high but going so fast I would never be able to spot prey.  While in my fantasy I was an agile winged bird of prey, in reality I looked like a rotating chicken on a spit because I never could keep the line straight as directed and found myself twisting around.  I could only take in the splendor of Cascade Lake and the mountains when standing on the wooden perches waiting my turn.  There were  9 in our group but the tour can accommodate up to 10. The first zip, the tour guide, had to pry off my hands from what he described as the “clutch of death”.

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My helmet is askew from spinning
For safety purposes, everyone is tethered onto the tree platforms in-between zips. The highest perch was 125 feet. The platforms are  sky-high tree houses about 12 feet square with a tree rising through  middle of the platform and serving as the structure.  The tree is partially covered with padding to avoid out of control humanoids slamming into bark and surrounded by tethers to keep the tour group from accidently pitching over the side and becoming a causality of the exercise.

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Tree top platform for taking off.
The correct position is a tucked canon ball with one hand on the zip tether for guidance and the other free floating for an airbrake if necessary.  An air brake means you stick you your hand out and madly grab for air to slow yourself down in an awkward flapping maneuver. The demonstration of this  technique looks like  sky diving without a parachute.  Fortunately, I was never going fast enough to try to stop myself.  On the other hand, if you aren’t going fast enough to reach the landing you are to grab the safety cord so the tour guide can pull you in.  The second zip,   zipping in my own little zone, I didn’t hear the guide shouting at me to grab the safety line.  I came to my senses just in time to avoid an incident of hanging out in the middle of line needing to be fetched in by guides.  When this happens, you are called “fish on a line”.  That gives you some idea of how ungainly a non-moving zipper can become, hanging in mid-air waiting to be rescued. My daughter was on a different trip where a younger member (not enough weight, certainly not my problem) had this happen.  Apparently, it took considerable time to fetch the kid from mid rope back up to the platform.

Trying zip lining was on my bucket list partially because my balance problems have eliminated so many of my challenges I easily accomplished when I was younger. Since one is held up when zipping, I thought I could accomplish this adrenal pump even with my limitations.  I did drag my husband, Pete, along.  At first, he said he would take me to the site and drop me off to do it by myself.  But after shrieking at him that this wouldn’t help me at all, he came along reluctantly. In a bind, I can count on him to hold my hand  and pull me up or down areas I can’t accommodate on my own.  It turned out there was another gracious guy on the trip who kept stopping to help me.  His wife had stayed at home and the guides were top notch and helped everyone.

I would like to report that the next day given my excellent condition I jumped out of bed not feeling anything.  Unfortunately, I am 65.  The next day my body felt like I’d been flung around in a dryer.  I had bruises on my thighs from the equipment and a cut on my leg from the suspension bridge.  One cannot be an adventurer without being willing to take the pain with the adrenal pump.  Would I do it again?  Oh yes.  My bucket list also includes  is sailing over the rain forest in Costa Rico.

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My husband, Peter and I, after our zip line experience with a gorgeous view of Cascade Lake in the background.

Why the Republic Convention reminded me of the Hunger Games

The-Hunger-GamesThe Republican primary season wrapped up last week with Donald Trump crowned the Republican nominee  for President in Cleveland.  Over the course of the last year, the American public has watched the 16  Republican presidential candidates drop to 1. After listening to a week of gloom and doom about the state of America presented by speakers at the Republican convention, I am reminded of the authoritarian spectacle presented in the first Hunger Games movie.

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Trump accepting Republican nomination.
For those of you who haven’t seen the first Hunger Games (2012).  The movie is set in a futurist society, the  Capital of Panem. The leadership keeps the peace by annually hosting the Hunger Games.  Participants in the games, called Tributes, are a randomly selected  boy and girl from each of 12 districts.  The Tributes fight to the death until only one remains in a nationally televised event called the Hunger Games.  The Games are kicked off with much fanfare, drawing the viewer in by being both terrifying  and fascinating in the leadership’s total lack of humanity.  The battle to the last person standing takes place within a televised  bubble in which new barriers for contestants emerge on a regular basis, reports of the progress and trials of the teens is routinely  broadcast throughout the nation.  A solitary cannon boom notifies the nation as each child is killed by another.

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President Snow, presides over the Panem and the Hunger Games with an iron fist.
This event is presided over by President Coriolanus Snow, the ruthless, tyrannical and primary antagonist. He is a cruel and manipulative dictator who has no qualms about using force to maintain discipline.   The Games are intended to give citizens a little bit of hope by allowing the victor to live but not so much hope that citizens revolt.

You may ask what is the similarly between this dark movie franchise and the Republican primary season?  The Republican primaries proved to be a hard test not only for the candidates but for the Republican Party. The divisions created during the primaries have recently been discounted by National Republican  Party Chairman Reince Priebus . But the fracture lines are still there.  Many prominent Republican chose to stay away from the convention. Senator Cruz’s caution to the convention goers of “vote your conscience” resulted in boos, personal rejection by  mega-funders and media assessment of the fall-out of Cruz’s speech possibly  ruining his political career.

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Senator Cruz is booed for telling Republicans to “vote their conscience”.
In between the opening of the convention and the Cruz political theater, Melania Trump became involved in a plagiarism controversy.  Her eloquent speech lauded for it’s sincerity upon close review was remarkably similar to Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008.  While imitation is the greatest form of flattery, I am sure the attendees at the convention would not have liked to have Michelle Obama be their  guiding light. Mrs.Trump’s speech became the major media story for at least 24 hours. Finally, the story was put to rest when a loyal Trump employee, Meredith McIver, was offered up as the responsible person for the mistake. This tempest in a tea pot is still not over.  A major Democratic super pack, the Democratic Coalition against Trump has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging Trump broke the law by using his personal corporation to help with the campaign.

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The best parts of Mrs. Trump’s speech were from Mrs. Obama 2008.
On the final night of the convention, Ivanka Trump presented a winning view of her father.

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Ivanka Trump presenting a positive image of her father at the convention.

She described Trump as a family man committed to gender equally; evaluating workers results rather than positions, degrees, gender, ethnicity or color;  understanding the need to make child care affordable and accessible for working women (a position ardently opposed by Idaho Republicans  and probably nationally) and committed to making America great again by focusing on results and talent rather than degrees and bureaucracy.  Though I strongly disagree with her dad on many of his political positions, I found Ivanka’s  portrait of her father quite compelling.  To put my faith in Ivanka’s  Trump, I have to forget that this is the man who described women during his highly publicized career as fat, pigs, dogs, slobs, disgusting and when asked about these characterizations by Fox News Megyn Kelly described her as “a bimbo”.  Angry about Kelly’s tough questions during the debate, Trump took to twitter saying, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever. ” (August 7, 2015).  These are not comments of a man who understands and respects professional women.

Like the Hunger Games, the entire Republican primary season has been hosted under the magnifying lens created by  the intense and constant attention of national media.  There is no escape either for the willing participants (the candidates) or Americans.  Every sound bite, twitter, picture, comment is captured and reflected out to the world to see.  We know who was fired and why, who said what and when. Similar to the Hunger Games, the media keeps score of each day. During the convention, the Washington Post ran a daily analysis of the winners and losers.  This constant attention to ever minor and major detail has moved campaigns from a civil discussion of legitimate policy differences to the rancor  of realty TV where every day people shout that the opposition should be shot or sent to jail.  Conveners at the Republican convention ganged up on each other  and on those of us with different beliefs outside the convention as if having a difference of an opinion makes one an enemy rather than an neighbor who pays the same taxes, sends their children to the same schools, drives on the same highways  or sits in the same pew  at church.

After listening to the Republican presentations at their  convention, one would think that Hilary Clinton is President Snow come to life on American soil.  In this fiction, Mrs. Clinton is single-handily responsible for every ill in this country rather than one of the most respected women in the world.  Scapegoating, laying the blame for societal ills on one person, is much easier than developing cohesive national policy.  At the Republican convention, we heard many platitudes about “Making America Great!” and very few specifics about how we would achieve a new unified vision of the future.  I wanted to hear specific proposals on how to bring  our nation with admittedly many challenges together so we can build on the multitude of strengths we share.

This election is not a reality TV show, it is not a game with winners and losers, it is not a movie with three sequels, it is about what we as Americans want for our future.  I, for one, am not yet ready to give up on civil discourse and the ability to look for concrete solutions to the many pressing problems facing us.  Like Katniss Everdeen at the end of the Hunger Games, I refuse to follow the rules presented at the Republican Convention.  I will not demonize the opposition.  I am anxious to hear real solutions to real problems.

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Katniss Everdeen, heroine of the Hunger Games, leading the effort at reform by refusing to follow the rules of the Game.

Malleable Barbie Adapts to the Times

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1959 Barbie.  An icon for 57 years of America’s focus on women’s breasts and looks, over achievements

First introduced in 1959, over the past 57 years, Mattel has tried to update Barbie to adjust to the times. To that end, the company introduced last week, Barbie for President with a female running mate. This combination is intended to be an inspiration for young girls. “By introducing the new President and Vice President Barbie dolls, the first all-female ticket, we hope to inspire girls to imagine themselves as leaders,” Erin Loos Cutraro, co-founder and CEO of She Should Run, tells Babble.

Throughout her life-span, Barbie has become ethnically diverse, moved from a beauty queen  and model to a professional.  Her hair originally a classic long pony tail which couldn’t be combed has transformed to long, short, curly, black, red, blonde, silky and brushable to totally changeable. Barbie’s  originally stiff body is now flexible.

But one thing that has not changed is her shape.  Research suggests that a real woman with Barbie’s figure would be 5’9″,  host  a 39 inch bust, 17 inch waist and wear a size 3 shoe. Given the wildly disproportionate trunk to base,  a real woman with this shape couldn’t walk, would have extremely frail bones, half a liver and probably be anorexic. Mattel is currently working on changing Barbie again by incorporating more diverse body types, though the exact nature of these changes has yet to be specified.

Rather than  launching a new wave of socially engaged little girls, Presidential Barbie seems antiquated.  This is particularly true when viewed in combination with Jennifer Aniston’s For The Record in the Huffington Post (7/12/2016 ).  Aniston writes about unwanted speculation from the media and complains about the objectification of her body in particular and women’s bodies in general.  Given these two pieces of evidence,  it appears  Americans have not progressed very far in their expectations of what an attractive young woman should look like.

I am left in a quandary about what American cultural expectations do to little girls self image.  We are pushing young girls in to pursue STEM programs (we want girls to go into math, science and engineering).  Women’s sports are on the rise with girls participating in every imaginable activity.  Cheerleading is still around but not the sole way for a teenage girl to be involved in a sporting event.  Yet with all these changes, Aniston writes just this week  The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty”. 

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President Barbie and her female running mate continue the oddly proportioned Barbie shape.

I would argue the newly released presidential Barbie doesn’t encourage young women to be whoever they want but rather reinforces strongly held  cultural beliefs that attractive women sport large breasts, narrow waists and are stilted rather than engaged in life.  These icons of American woman have fabulous hair styles and always dress correctly.

The Republican and Democratic conventions are rolling into our media space the next two weeks.  Speaking only last night, we learned within minutes of  Melania Trump’s presentation that she wore an off-the-rack white Roksanda dress costing between $1500 and $2000. The dress was described as “perfect for the White House.”  I am willing to bet we  will read about Tiffany and  Ivanka Trumps’outfits as well i.e. who designed it, cost and whether the dress looked appropriate for the setting.  All three women are drop-dead gorgeous so I can’t image any tacky comments about hair or appearance.  I doubt we will read anything about Marco Rubio’s, Newt Gingrich’s or Donald Trump’s suits (what they cost and what fabric they were made of, how did the tie go, did they get wrinkled or hang perfectly on TV).

While snide comments are frequently made about Donald Trump’s hair, these remarks don’t seem to have any traction. In comparison, an article about Hilary Clinton wearing an Armani suit went viral.  Mr. Trump’s suits routinely cost at least $7,000 but this does not seem to be of interest to the American public.  Sara Palin had a budget of $150,000 to purchase clothing for her Vice Presidential run.  Demonstrating that focusing on the importance of women’s appearance  rather than just judging individuals based on competence is not limited to party but rather to gender.

Michelle Obama has made being a Presidential wife or candidate accessible for the everyday woman by wearing clothes from Target along with custom designs from high end designers.   A gorgeous woman and outstanding representative of America women,  Mrs. Obama has also received considerable criticism from the right for “being angry” and  emphasizing “being black”. Passionate women when they speak are frequently seen as “angry” rather than committed.  One can hardly blame Mrs. Obama for sharing her black experience with all of us when so many of us seem to have such limited understanding of diversity. Brown versus the Board of Education, the landmark decision requiring integration of American schools  was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954, five years before Barbie was launched.

More than fifty years later, Americans  are still struggling with their vision of women and race. Feminism was largely a white movement  and only recently recognized that American women as a group are quite diverse, representing many cultures and colors and have immensely dissimilar experiences.  American women’s commonality is their struggle to be seen as unique individuals with vastly under-recognized and under-utilized potential, capable of crafting a great American future.  It’s seems time to ditch the long-standing, stultifying stereotypes adopted into our culture many years ago.  Maybe instead of saying “Hello”  to Presidential Barbie and her look-alike running mate,  we all should  say”Goodbye” to Barbie and what she represents.

 

 

Crafty Cats

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”
Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer and I have one thing in common, we like cats.  When I am feeling down, I like to lay on my bed with Angel and listen to her purr.

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Angel, our white cat, can be very comforting.

It is not surprising that when I took up paper mache, cats are the first series I worked on.  The cats I have created from various materials have some connections to my past.  For example, the featured orange cat reminds me of my first cat, Puddy Cat, who we got when I was in first grade. Puddy Cat lived at our family home for 21 years (far longer than I did).  Paper mache, Puddy, has a body entirely of newspaper to provide structure.

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Paper Mache, Puddy Cat

I wadded up paper into balls in the shape of a cat and then taped the paper in a few places to hold it together.

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Brindle Cat with coat of many colors

After I completed, Puddy Cat, I worked on a replica of the Satchel, the lord of the Ashtree Manor.  My first effort at Satch  was constructed of a toilet paper roll and Styrofoam ball for the head.  There was no effort to capture the shape of a cat but rather to express the sleek, stylish nature of a cat through paper.  I was pleased with the actual shape which I may try again.  But the color was all wrong.  I started with a black base coat and instead of creating a grey tiger stripe, I ended up with a brindle cat.  I call this cat, “Cat with Coat of Many Colors”.   My son told me that you always have to begin with base coat being light and then add on the darker colors later.

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toliet paper roll and paper mache frame
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Satchel in paper mache
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The extremely handsome Satchel

My next effort at Satch was a combination of experimenting with glue-based paste which creates a white clay and two toilet paper rolls.  The cat structure that evolved from this effort was quite elaborate.  I painted the cat all white and then layered on the various tones of gray.  I am pleased with the coloring but probably won’t do such an elaborate cat structure in the future.  To accurately capture Satch’s beautiful coat, I need to start with a gray base and then layer on.

I am working on paper mache prototypes because I need to have 10 items for a Christmas bazaar, a fundraiser for women’s scholarships.  When I took in the cats to the planning committee, they didn’t think that cats would sell well at Christmas. I am  now moving on to Christmas angels.  I will blog about my angels, wood nymphs, and sprites soon.

I learned when I was visiting one of my good friends in Wyoming that she spends many hours joyfully engaged in adult coloring. She has many beautiful, brightly huged pictures she has produced.  Coloring for her provides a grounding effect.  Adult coloring has become very popular by providing stress relief and improved fine motor skills.

I told her I got similar joy from working on paper mache. The big different is the coloring books are easy to carry and the pens can be packed in a box.  I have paper,  paint, and glue strewn all over our upstairs playroom. Fortunately, the kids have outgrown the room so I can leave my objects out to dry and paint for long periods of time.

The distinction between art and craft is that art is a creation from an emotional response that cannot be replicated.  Craft usually has a structure and can be replicated by others.  Most of the time, I would define paper mache as a craft with structure and the ability for others to copy.  However, I think in the case of my crafty kitties they are more art than craft.  I will probably not make more cats but the ones I have made have reminded me of my furry feline friends.

Father’s Day gift reminds me of my father’s skill with dogs

Talking with my sister, Jane, reminded both of us what tremendous skill and love our father had for dogs

Ralph (Robbie) Robinson was a shrewd  entrepreneur. At one point in time, he leased lady shoe departments from the Sweet briar and Dillard Department Store chains in Cheyenne, Casper, and Laramie Wyoming; Logan, Utah; Greeley, Colorado and Rapid City, South Dakota. He also opened a children’s department in the Cheyenne stored called Robbie ‘ s Zoo, complete with a stuffed animal zoo and six foot tall, electric, nodding giraffe under the stairs.

The majority of his career he managed the Cheyenne stores and he had two male managers in Casper and Rapid City who stayed with him his entire 30 odd years in the business. He always said the managers made the business. He closed the other stores in Utah, Laramie and Greeley finding it difficult to keep his small shoe empire profitable without  key managers in place.

With the three locations, he provided us with an upper middle class life style. We belonged to the country club, owned a quarter horse, had lessons in a variety  of sports, traveled a little, had cars in high school and went to a private college. My sister and I were both in college at the same time so the private school was not a small bill to pay.  When I was young,  I didn’t think much about money or life style. We owned a store and when extra hands were needed, for example Christmas and back-to-school we worked at the store. In retrospect, I can see that maintaining our life style through economic ups and downs  was no small feat.

This blog, however, is not about dad as a business man but dad’s  life as a dog trainer. Knowing his business skills and take no prisoner competitive spirit in cards and golf, it is surprising  that he was an expert at training dogs.

The first dog I can remember was Hokey-Dokey, a red-gold cocker spaniel. I remember Hokey as big. Since I was 2 or 3 at the time, it occurred  to me writing this blog  that Hokey was probably cocker size and I was dimiutive, eye-level with the dog. Dad trained Hokey to jump through a hoop, dance on his hind legs, and sit up. Dad and Hokey would dress up in costumes.  Hokey wore a tutu, and dad wore a bow tie. They would  go to events to perform. I was always delighted to be included in the audience for the performance. I was in second grade when Hokey died.

Barney, the beagle, was dad’s one failure. The dog was adorable except for his baying voice and the fact that he ran away all the time, even though we had a brick fence. He would run up to my grandmother’s house three blocks away. When the animal control officer would come to her door because of a complaint, Barney woukd stick his head around grandmother’s leg and bark. Dad finally gave Barney to one of his employees.

Along the way, we had two more black cockers, one after the other. Dutchess and Princess. Dutchess was particularly adept at jumping from the ground to the saddle so she could ride on my quarter horse with me.

Probably the best example of dad’s dog training skill was Bumper, an extremely large, absolutely gorgeous, purebred Black and white English springer spaniel. Bumper was the last of dad’s dogs. My family home was dogless when I moved back to Cheyenne for a job after graduate school.

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Bumper looked like this when I brought her home. She quickly grew to the size of a golden retriever.

I saw an animal shelter advertisement with Bumper ‘ s picture. Bumper was about six months old and had been relinquished because she was afraid of guns. My family didn’t hunt so this wasn’t a problem. I asked mom and dad if they would like the dog. I wasn’t living with them so it wouldn’t be my dog. When they said yes, I went and got them Bumper.

I am not sure it was love at first sight. Bumper had acquired some annoying habits before joining the family such as jumping up on people. She was large when I got her but she grew to be as large as a small golden retriever, way over-sized for an English springer spaniel.  But Bumper certainly had her day when our family found her.

My dad trained her to walk from home to the store every day with him. She and he stopped at the post office each morning where she became well known. She stayed under his desk by his feet but would come out and greet children in the store when the sales clerks asked the kids if they would to pet a dog. Always polite when meeting children, she would sit quietly soaking in the attenton, jumping vanquished to another life time. But her greatest skill and one of my dad’s greatest joys was he trained her to carry the bank bag of deposits to the bank and stand up at the teller’s desk to deliver the cash. All the tellers’ had treats for her. She had her choice of lines. Dad and Bumper were featured in the bank’s print advertising as an example of the bank’s home-town, customer friendly service. Bumper and dad became known all over Cheyenne. They would be greeted as a team where-ever they went.

My dad retired when the Sweet briar stores went bankrupt. He was doing fine in his leased departments but had no base of operation. Fortunately, his business acumen held. He was able to support he and mom for many years on his investments. Bumper lived the life of leisure during this retirement period; going for rides, swimming for sticks in the country club lake, an activity she never tired of.

When my mom died, my dad remarried within six months to a woman who didn’t want Bumper. Dad asked me to take her. I declined because my job required a lot of travel. I had a sheltie, Ginger Rogers, who went with me everywhere. I couldn’t see taking two dogs all over Wyoming for work. With the perspective of age, I can see I could have been more flexible.At the time,  I thought Dad’s new wife should have been more flexible. Family dynamics after a death with a quick remarriage are complex. Finally, Dad found a friend who was down on his luck and needed a place to live. Dad let the man stay in our family home rent free as long as he took care of the house and Bumper.  Dad and I both regularly visited Bumper who seemed  fine with  this arrangement but I think missed her owner, my father. Bumper died two years after my mom. At that point, my dad emptied our family home (the family was now all living elsewhere) and sold it.

What did I learn from my dad about dogs. First,patience yields great rewards. Dogs love to meet their owners expectations and in turn a well-trained dog can bring joy to a family and in Bumper ‘ s case an entire community.  Second, dogs are pets not children. We gave Barney away when he was disrupting our family’s life style. Dad married his new love even though she didn’t share his passion for dogs. After dad died, she got two cats whom she was fanatical about. Third,there are solutions to complex family dynamics. Bumper had a forever home because she was a great dog with a huge heart.

Top Ten Reasons I’m Voting for Hillary

Hillary on historic night
Hillary Clinton, 2016 Presumptive Democratic Nominee for President of the United States

Number 10: Hillary Clinton is not Donald Trump.  I would support almost any reasonable candidate over Mr. Trump who continues to be a bully, racist and misogynistic.  The concept of Mr. Trump as leader of the free world is terrifying.  His campaign rhetoric has shown him to be a thin-skinned, unstable narcissist and a pathological liar.  Since winning the primary rather than demonstrating he can be Presidential, Mr. Trump has shown a total disrespect for the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers and continued on his path of “my way or the highway”.  I deeply respect the Republicans who have refused to endorse him and publicly rebuked his commendation of Judge Curiel, the Mexican-American federal judge overseeing the Trump University law suit.

Most frightening to me is Mr. Trump’s strong support across a variety of income and educational groups in the Republican Party.  The Economist in April reviewed Trump’s support and found that he has appeal to Republican voters across all income and education levels.

I have heard supporters of Mr. Sanders say they will boycott the election or write in Mr. Sanders’ name.  I would argue this is a dangerous strategy. Given the sluggish economy and the fact that a Democrat has been President for two terms, past voting trends favor a Republican being elected. Mr. Sanders’ remarkable campaign and many victories have demonstrated that the future of the Democratic Party lies in a progressive agenda.  We know, however, from Al Gore’s failed presidential run in 2000 that it is possible to win the popular vote and lose the election through the Electoral College.  In my mind, Mr. Trump as President is too worrisome to waste a vote.

Number 9:  Mrs. Clinton is a Feminine Warrior.  I read recently that Hillary practices the yoga warrior pose when she is tired and needs to re-energize for an upcoming event.  I was taken by the image of a strong woman rising to battle time and time again.

After more than forty years in politics and advocacy, Americans certainly know all her professional and personal baggage.  We quite literally know her dirty laundry. Anyone who was an adult in the late nineties links the names Monica Lewinsky, President Bill Clinton and impeachment proceedings.  Former President Clinton’s bimbo eruptions are a tawdry stain on his policy accomplishments as President.  More unfathomable to me than President Clinton’s behavior, a known womanizer is Hillary’s ability to get through that dark period still married to the man and to have emerged with an amicable marriage intact.

On the professional front, Hillary has been beaten many times but she never accepts defeat. In 1993, Mrs. Clinton received a bludgeoning for her leadership on a proposed national health plan, a precursor to the arduous battle we are still fighting to provide health care to all.  After a grueling primary campaign in 2008, she politely endorsed then Candidate Obama and later agreed to serve in his administration as Secretary of State. Time and time again over her political career, Mrs. Clinton has been pushed down and like a phoenix she has recreated herself and risen again, a proud, regal female warrior ready to do battle for what she believes in.

Number 8: Mrs. Clinton is fallible (and that makes her more human).  As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton took responsibility for not providing enough security in the Benghazi Attacks (September, 2012) that led to the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a friend of Clinton’s.  Eleven hours of Congressional hearings on the subject never directly implicated Clinton but given her position of Secretary of State the responsibility for her staff did and should fall on her shoulders.

The Benghazi Hearings subsequently led to the investigations into Mrs. Clinton private server hosting her email account while Secretary of State.  Apparently, this was common practice by other high ranking officials in other administrations. For example, Colin Powell used a similar approach to email when he served as Secretary of State.  With the gift of hindsight and the Snowden (2013) leaks and numerous mass hacking of corporate accounts such as Target, the naiveté of keeping a personal server for government business seems absurd.  But for those of us carrying Blackberry phones for business during this period, these choices don’t seem Machiavelli.

As recently as June 9th, 2016, the email debacle was still being raised as an election issue in Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.  Possessing the warrior spirit, Hillary politely told a reporter she would not be indicted and the email problem would not interfere with her presidential bid.  She rose to the question with grace and aplomb.

To vote for Mrs. Clinton, I do not have to agree with all of her decisions or actions.  I would never assume this level of support for a male candidate.  I find it maddening when talking to potential voters who do not support Hillary because she is “untrustworthy”.  Would they say the same about Colin Powel (a man I greatly admire) who testified that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S. went to war? After all, we didn’t find any weapons but that was the opinion of experts at the time.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has managed to stick the moniker of “lying Hillary” on Mrs. Clinton with some ease.  Yet we see Mr. Trump revising his version of the facts and his comments at almost every turn.  Only recently has the media begun rapidly and accurately checking his statements. Many of which have proven to be false.

Number 7:  Mrs. Clinton is a policy nerd and incrementalist.  When campaigning against Mrs. Clinton, Bernie Sanders cited Hillary’s incremental approach to most policy issues as a fault.  As a student of public administration, I can tell you that we are a nation of incrementalists.  With few exceptions, Americans tend to respond the best and most creatively when in crisis or at war.  For example, the transcontinental railroad had been stymied due to bickering in Congress on whether to follow a southern or northern route.  The railroad only became possible with the succession of the southern states from the Union allowing Lincoln to authorize a northern passage.  Once a decision was made, we were able to overcome all engineering stumbling blocks and become a nation united.

A less successful example of American incrementalism is health care. As a country, we implemented Social Security in response to the Great Depression. But even popular four-term President Franklin Roosevelt was unable to get universal health coverage because of opposition from Republicans, conservative Democrats and organized medicine. President Truman was the first president to strongly advocate for universal health care and his proposal was stalled in Congress.  President Lyndon Johnson was successful at getting Medicare approved in 1965 (thirty years after the first discussions began).

Since then, Congress has been slowly expanding Medicare benefits including covering qualifying disabled individuals, improving quality of nursing home care, adding hospice care, drug benefits (with a donut hole) and encouraging preventive care and providing the option to purchase private insurance.

The problems of Obamacare are a direct outgrowth of our nation’s inability to implement the “Grand Idea”.  Harris polling indicates that a large majority of Americans believe every American should have access to health care.  Unfortunately, we are unable to agree on the details. The same poll found that 87 percent of Democrats and only 33 percent of Republicans favor a universal health care system (Harris Poll, September 8 2015).

While Americans may want to hear grand ideas in presidential debates and speeches when it comes to moving a policy agenda forward Americans proceed at a snail’s pace (thirty years to get to Medicare and almost fifty years of refinements have not resulted in full coverage for Americans).  The fact that Mrs. Clinton is an incrementalist is not an indictment of her politics but rather a high compliment to her clear understanding of the difficulties of implementing policies in a large diverse nation with many viewpoints and a fractious, politically divided, stonewalling Congress.

Number 6: Mrs. Clinton is inclusive. My family is inter-racial. I have an adopted daughter from China. My sister has an adopted daughter of Mexican and Native American descent. My sister’s daughter was married for a period to an undocumented Mexican man. Together they had 3 darling Hispanic children, ages 7, 8, and 9.

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My niece and nephews visiting Boise from Colorado.

These children are American citizens. While my niece is now divorced, the ex still has joint custody of the children. In summary, we have a very complicated multi -cultural  extended family. But we represent the future of America. We are a diverse nation and becoming more so by every day. It is our very diversity which has traditionally made us a strong country. Mrs. Clinton attracts large numbers of black and Hispanic voters because these groups see opportunities for economic and social equality consistently pushed by Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is interested in developing road blocks to forward mobility of all while creating a divisive culture. Other countries have discovered to their peril that exclusionary policies lead to social unrest and ethnic  violence. We are already beginning to see this response by Hispanics at anti-Trump rallies.

Hillary dancing with little girl
Hillary Clinton dancing with Hillary Anjoela Makabikwa an immigrant from the Congo

Number 5: Mrs. Clinton recognizes that women’s issues are family issues.  The demographics of American families have been shifting for many years.  The Pew Research Center (Census data 2013) has found that four in 10 American households with children under age 18 now include a single mother who is either the sole or primary of these breadwinners. The median family income for single mothers — who are more likely to be younger, black or Hispanic, and less educated — is $23,000. The transformation of black families clearly highlights the changing dynamics of American families. In 1950, 18% of black families were headed by a single woman today that number is 68% of families.  This is the reality of American children, especially low income children.  They are growing up in families headed by their mother with an income at or below poverty level. Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for a family of three in 2016 is $20,160.

Mrs. Clinton throughout her forty year political career has advocated for expanded, high quality day care, expansion of pre-k education, educational opportunities for women and equal pay for women.  The issues on the surface appear to be “women’s issues” but with the transformation of the American family these issues are fundamental to providing a strong beginning for most of America’s children, particularly America’s low income and ethnically diverse children.

Number 4: Mrs.  Clinton wants to build bridges not walls. There are two primary philosophies about how to approach U.S. foreign policy.  The first is protectionism and isolationism. The second is that our community is the world and we must be strategically engaged globally. The isolationist/protectionist approach worked well for America when we were a young nation, expanding across a vast continent.  But Pearl Harbor and our entry into World War II was a wake-up call that United States could not depend on the boundaries provided by the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans for its primary protection. Our safety as a nation required that we develop strategic alliances globally.  The arrival of the internet has brought further globalization. The destruction caused by 9-11 was a devastating way for Americans to learn that we sometimes harbor enemies on our own soil. We know from Orlando this week, that we continue to harbor home-grown enemies within our borders.

The choice this election is unequivocal.  Mr. Trump has emphasized repeatedly his protection/isolationist approach to foreign policy.  He has been clear about building a wall to keep undocumented Mexicans out of the U.S.  He has suggested that entire ethnic groups such as Muslims are not welcome in our country.  I believe both proposals, a wall and mass screenings, will be extremely  expensive and cumbersome to implement.  Assuming these polices were implemented, I’m not sure that our country will be any safer. I am sure both proposals will create further enemies both within and outside of our country. I personally do not believe that isolationism/protectionist approach is the way to keep America safe. Developing strong allies across borders and creating a global community with shared goals united against terrorism both within and outside our borders seems like a better approach to me.

Mrs. Clinton has consistently demonstrated her willingness to reach out to other nations and cultures. When Mrs. Clinton served as 67th Secretary of State, she became one of the most traveled Secretaries of State in American history. She visited 112 countries during her four-year tenure, and logged enough miles to span the globe more than 38 times.0130hillarytravel_final.png

Number 3: Mrs.  Clinton has vast experience at the state and federal levels and executive and legislative branches of government.  President Obama in his video endorsement of Mrs. Clinton for President said “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.” (June 8, 2016). Need I say more?

President Obama
President Obama endorsing Hillary Clinton for President

Number 2: Mrs. Clinton is a well-respected international icon.  Hillary is well known throughout the world for her roles as politician, diplomat, and as an international champion for opportunities for women and girls.  Her list of awards throughout her forty year career fills pages including many honorary degrees awarded worldwide.  The awards vary from having a tulip created in her honor in by The Netherlands (1994) to receiving the Mother Teresa Award, the highest civilian honor given by Albania (1999) to the Chatham House Prize, Royal Institute of Internal Affairs, London (2013) for “driving a new era of diplomatic engagement and for her particular focus on promoting education and rights for women and girls.” Of particular interest to me was that Mrs. Clinton topped the list in Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll in 2015. This win was her fourteenth in a row and twentieth overall.  She has held the top spot in the poll longer than other woman or man in Gallup’s history of asking the question.

Number 1:  Did I mention, Mrs. Clinton just happens to be a woman.Hillary Clinton

 

Top Ten Ways I know My Son is Home From College for the summer

My twenty-two year old son is home from college for the summer.  He has one more semester left before he graduates and is interning at Simplot in Strategic Optimization this summer.  The atmosphere in our house changes when he is home.  The top 10 changes are:

Number 10: The day of arrival the front door and entry hall, approximately 12 feet square, are blocked by a 36 inch smart TV, 30 boxes of size 14 shoes (my son collects Nikes and resells them online) and numerous boxes of assorted sizes filled with who knows what.

Number 9: The second day of arrival the smart TV, playing rap music, can be heard in the entry hall through the  door of my son’s  second-floor room. The entry hall otherwise remains jammed with college gear. The closed bedroom door is marked Scott Kozisek, Please Knock.

Number 8: By the end of the first week home, the entry way is empty except for a large backpack propped against the wall and camel pack, laying on the steps, both will probably remain there all summer.   My son’s possessions are now leaching out of his bedroom filling up the 12 by 12 landing at the top of the stairs and hindering access to the playroom.

Number 7: Household dynamics are slightly off kilter, like falling down the proverbial rabbit hole. My son is a vegetarian, a dozen eggs last three days instead of a week. Grocery shopping is expanded to include tofu, dozens of eggs, chocolate milk,whey protein. Our three car garage is challenged to provide parking for our fleet of four cars, juggling cars and keys is now the norm. Beautiful sound systems up and down stairs  play competing music with jazz, James Taylor, and Carole King dominating downstairs and hip/hop, rap, and electric dance music echoing through the upstairs.

Number 6:  I hear the front door opening and closing at 2:30 or 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Or I don’t hear anything and get a text in the morning about crashing at friends. I have to continually remind myself that my son is an adult and can make his own choices. My tongue aches as I bite it to keep from saying something that I may regret or may damage our relationship.

Number 5: The dogs, Shani and Violet, whine and beg to get out of my office where I am watching TV or working on the computer whenever  their hero, my son, comes in the back door. This adoration for the lost boy is somewhat annoying since I continue to do all the feeding of the pets.

Number 4: I hear shouting at 11 p.m. between my daughter’s and my son’s bedrooms about a large bug that must be removed from my daughter’s ceiling fan. My son’s removal efforts result in random dust explosion and the bug being knocked off the fan onto my daughter’s bed.  More shouting erupts when the bug in a remarkable rebound returns to the fan.  Using my daughter’s belt, the bug is exterminated by my son. Because my daughter is unwilling to touch such an ugly thing, my son must extricate the insect from the down comforter.  Placing the bug in the trash will not do.  It must be flushed down the toilet to ensure the room has been de-bugged. I hear the vacuum turn on. I go upstairs to investigate. My daughter is vacuuming her bed, guaranteeing no other bugs have lived through the dust bowl event and removing the remaining dust mites from her quilt. Interactions of this nature will ensue throughout the summer, when previously the upper floor was silent.

Number 3: The amount and quality of conversation at the dinner table has increased geometrically with the addition of a third adult. We have moved from discussing high school and the weekly schedule ( who is going to be where and when) to discussing politics (no one in our family likes Trump though there is division on which Democrat to support), upcoming music and events in Boise, hit summer movies (who has seen what and who wants to go to what) and weekly schedule (who is going to be where and when).  We managed to coordinate well enough at dinner to allow us all to see Captain America Civil War together the first week it was out.  A good movie for families with kids 13 and up. We have also managed to schedule our Father’s Day Celebration for Wednesday, June 15th attending Alive After Five.  That was the closest date, we could find when we were all in town.  Kayla has a particularly busy summer traveling to camps and mission work all over the country.

Number 2: I have someone to watch streaming of Dare Devil , Season 3 on Netflix late at night.  We are moving on to Jessica Jones. My son is watching the third season of Peaky Blinders, his favorite show. I watched my first episode this week. Peaky Blinders  received a rave review in the Wall Street Journal  as a fabulous period piece. Focused on Irish gangs in London after WWI,  the episode I watched was bloody but haunting. My daughter by comparison and I watch Bones, America’s Got Talent, Kids’ Baking Championship and Chopped.

Number 1: I get regular hugs for making coffee in the morning and for packing lunches to send out the door to work.20160605_141159