Sunday, June 29, 2008

Me, My Cats, and I...

It's 8 p.m. Sunday and I'm "waiting for Godot." (Shoulda named Ashley Godot...)

The dogs, Archie the cat and I are all that's left in Jackie's old place -- well, except for this PC and an Internet connection and a printer. We're in "standby" mode. I have here one kid's sleeping bag (designed for a four-footer) on the floor and two pillows. The house doors going to the back yard are open just wide enough for a cat. The dogs are locked into the kitchen, to make the way clear for Ashley to hop the fence and come home, so I can nab him, his brother, the two dogs, and drive us to the new place, where there are beds, refrigerators, food, boxes... all the comforts of home...

So we wait... and wait... and wait...

Last time Ashley came by (yesterday morning), I should have nabbed him, instead of grooming him (which he loves) and letting him go back to being a Nature Boy again. He's digging it just too, too much. He'll love the new place -- if I can ever get him to come home HERE so I can take him there...

I'm bored outta my gourd. Waiting for Godot...

Archie is zero help. He won't go fetch his brother for me. "Am I my brother's keeper?" he seems to ask through large brown eyes every time I implore him to go out on a search and fetch mission. "Do I look like Captain Kirk -- willing to risk all to save a crew member?" he seems to wonder when I ask again...only minutes later... and minutes after that, again...

No, Archie. Fetching isn't one of the tasks God saddled cats with. But go find him anyway, will ya? I want to go HOME and get some sleep... in a real bed... sometime tonight. Before midnight... 2 a.m.... daybreak..

T'is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Obama Love Story...

Thanks to Billie Rae Walker for this YouTube link:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

EEgads! 90 Degrees Today!

I was up at 5:30 this morning, loading the SUV with the last vestiges of "one-person-loadable" stuff. It took three trips to get it all over to the new place, but what's left here for the movers tomorrow morning is just large furniture (about ten pieces, most of them not all that large, but too large for me alone). The guys (and one gal) are supposed to be here by 9:30 and should have it loaded out -- and hopefully unloaded as well -- by 11:00, when a "hot weather " alert takes effect. I'm praying the guys and Dawn and I can finish before 11:00 because this level of heat is brutal in the Pacific Northwest (humidity is high here).

Jackie's two dogs and my two cats did fine on the back porch until about 5 p.m. today, but then I brought the dogs in because they started to pant. The cats are still fine out there - they seem to luxuriate in warm weather. I've noticed that during the winter they love to lie by a fire or hot stove and their fur gets so hot, you'd think it would ignite... but they just love it (purr, purr, purr)! There's no accounting for taste or common sense in the cat world!

The back porch here at Jackie's old place is raised, so air circulates nicely, and there's a roof and a bamboo curtain to keep the direct rays of the sun off them. (They only get sun exposure when they elect to leave the porch.) It's a good set-up for critters, but again, when they start to pant, I bring them in. I may be overly protective, but panting is my own personal "signal of stress" when it comes to dogs. Unless they're running their hearts out, they shouldn't be panting!

Pray for the movers tomorrow morning. It's the last day of this seven-day trek. I'm almost a solid mass of bruises from chest to ankle and my "lifter" muscles have pretty much had it. (It's just amazing how quickly I recover, though.) But hey, I've lost about five pounds this week! I'm celebrating that every time I pull up my jeans to keep 'em above my still-ample hips!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Simply Amazing -- Some Folks STILL Think Obama is a Muslim/Terrorist/Scoundrel!

It's a wonder just how gullible some people can be!

If you have any doubts where I stand, read my blog entry titled, "In Defense of Barack Obama."

And fer gosh sakes, go to and type "Barack Obama" into the search field and satisfy yourself that the guy is a true-blue American -- always has been, always will be...

I shake my head and wonder... are a bunch of baseless, unfounded fears about the very name BARACK OBAMA going to deny us the change we need to hold our heads high in the world again? If they do, we deserve to be looked down on for another four or eight years...

I can see disagreeing with him on his policies, but to FEAR the man is insane. Fer gosh sakes, read his two books and get a grip, if you're afraid or hearing all kinds of nuttiness spoken about him.

I've been fearful of Bush and Cheney's policies for years now. For the first time in a long time, I'm NOT afraid of a politician. Obama has all the earmarks of a truly remarkable statesman...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update.... Moving, Moving... Moving... (ARGHHH!)

I'm all by my lonesome for a week. Sisters Jackie and Laurel and the McNiven clan flew to Maui this morning. I took two SUV loads of boxes and small furniture to the new place today. In between the two drives, I put all my bedroom stuff away, organized the den for when Qwest comes by tomorrow to install a jack and get my phone and Internet up and running, then got the stuff of mine that was stacked in the new garage stored on shelves (my hundreds of journals, De and TREK memorabilia, etc.). It took about five hours at the new place to feel a sense of definite accomplishment. I'll be there all day tomorrow again getting things put away. I'll try to get some of Jackie's stuff squared away, too.

At 1:30 Vernita Porter (Women's Ministry Leader at Church For all Nations) stopped by to see the new digs. Then we went to Shari's Restaurant for lunch and had a good time, a good meal, and even dessert! (As hard as I've been working all week, I knew it wouldn't trip me up too badly.)

I thought that "should" be the end of my day, since I started at 6:30 this morning, but when I turned on the radio I heard that it may reach 90 degrees on Sunday, so I went back to loading Jackie's SUV with everything I can load by myself, no matter how heavy... because no way do I want the movers having to move anything more on Sunday than they absolutely have to, in that kind of heat.

I moved the smallest TV and DVD player, some small cabinets and dressers, a golf bag, coffee maker, toaster... you name it, if it wasn't nailed down or too heavy to lift, it went into the SUV! There's more to do, but seven hours of totin' and fetchin' is my limit for one day -- especially after several days straight of it! I'll start fresh again tomorrow. Slow and steady wins the race...

Got an email card from Billie Rae congratulating me on the new home. Thanks, BR!

Also got an email from a long-time friend, Cathy Strote, saying her dear Zoey (a large breed dog) is approaching the end of her days and will soon be crossing Rainbow Bridge. It's always so hard to lose a critter pal... Cathy is in my prayers and in my heart especially at this difficult time!

And Cleve Kingston in Hollywood lost his dad (on the east coast) two days ago at a ripe old age, but that doesn't make it any easier! Cleve and his family are in my prayers, as well...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Move In Day For Me Today!

Today is move-in day for me. I should get the call this morning telling me the realtor will meet me at the new place to give me the keys. Then Wendy and I will start unloading the U-Haul. Jackie will join us sometime after noon when her meetings in Olympia are finished, and another friend of hers will be along mid-afternoon (about the time Wendy has to leave to clean a lady's house) to pitch in. So I should have 99.9% of my stuff moved in by day's end. (.1% is here at Jackie's house and can be taken over in Jackie's SUV.)

Jackie and her brood fly to Maui tomorrow, so for the next few days (until Sunday) I'll be on my own, getting boxes from Jackie's garage into her SUV and bringing stuff over piecemeal. Then on Sunday two big, strapping guys (Denny Mullens and Jeremy Wallace) will come to Jackie's in the Weir's truck and load up Jackie's big stuff -- furniture, beds, etc. -- and bring them over and unload them. If all goes according to plan, Jackie won't have much to do when she gets back from Hawaii. She needs the rest -- she's been burning the candle at both ends for too, too long. I'm going to try to get most of her stuff put away for her -- the stuff where I feel comfortable knowing where it should go... There will still be some "mystery" boxes for her to unpack -- anything I'm not absolutely sure about where she wants it to reside in the new place.

Update on the Library position: I passed the tests. 40 people have applied for the two open positions in Orting, so the odds are 20-1 that I'll get it... if they all pass the tests, too. My one ace in the hole is that Jackie knows the lady who would be my supervisor in Orting. (Having a sister who manages two bank branches and does a lot of outreach is a godsend!)

Re the testing: Gads, it's a good thing I'm a reader and inveterate learner: One of the tests was a list of some classics and pop culture favorites. I had to match the author/composer/actor to his or her Named Title. (e.g., Will Smith and Men in Black; HG Wells and War of the Worlds; L Frank Baum and The Wizard of Oz. These are just examples -- not from the actual test.) I mean, it was a challenge! I got over 60% right, and the lady told me that was GOOD -- most people get less!

The other tests were composition (easy for me), typing (also easy for me), and filing. I did fine on the alphabetical filing, but an optional test was on filing by the Dewey Decimal Classification System. I didn't do so hot on that, but fortunately, this test didn't relate at all to the specific job I'd be doing in Orting, anyway. The H.R. lady was just screening me for other open positions at the library by giving it to me. As soon as she showed me how the right-hand extensions on the filing number worked, I got it and quickly rearranged the cards in proper order. I could pass it now, and was invited to go back in two weeks and re-test so I have a good score on that, too. It will open up more options at the Library if I don't get the Orting nod.

The Library has health, dental, eye care, and life insurance, too, even though it's part time... so getting in there would eliminate my need to have an individual health insurance policy. That would save me a bundle every month, for sure!

What else? It's gonna be a scorcher on Sunday -- above 80 degrees. That's why I want to get as many boxes moved before then in Jackie's SUV as I can. I don't do well in high heat (and it's humid here, too) and the guys are going to have enough to do moving furniture. My hope is that nearly all the boxes will be over there before Sunday so Dawn and I (the ladies) will be pretty well "useless" during the final move. I don't wanna get heat stroke!

That's about it for now.

Oh! I should be able to blog the entire time. Jackie is leaving her Internet connection intact until she returns from Hawaii, so if I can't figure out how to get mine up and running at the new place on Friday or Saturday, I'll still be able to use hers. (My techie nephew Phil will be in Hawaii, so if I can't figure out the new modem connection and get it up and running, I'll have to wait until he gets back to make it go for me.) In either case, whenever I'm not moving, I'll do my best to stay in touch and let you know I'm still alive and kicking!

Prayers, please! It's all going well so far -- so your prayers are working wonders!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What We, Inside the Obama Campaign, See...

...that others don't often get to see:

Here's just part of why we're so fired up!

If you know we need a change from the politics and policies of division and of the past, please get on board and help ensure the changes that need to be made to benefit America and the world.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Evening Post

Sneak Preview of my new Den-To-Be (Before Owners Moved Out)

Tomorrow I get the last of the boxes out of my garage at the condo, and leave the keys, the garage door opener and a nice note welcoming the new owners.


I have loved that little condo with a passion. If ever I were going to create a blueprint for a condo for me, what I had there is the one I'd create. I fell in love with it instantly the moment I walked in back in February, 2004... and it closed on my birthday that year. (My Clybourn condo in CA closed on my birthday in 1996.)

It shouldn't take long to get everything buttoned up tomorrow. Jackie and Phil are going to meet me there and help load. I'll rent a good hand dolly for the task. I have one sub-standard dolly but need a better one for some of the boxes.

Monday is the day my place officially closes. The money from it gets wired the same day or early the next morning to the title company, to immediately fund my part of the down payment on the new place, so it should all fall into place exactly as planned.

This morning Jackie and I went to Sears and got a stackable washer and dryer that we'll both use. Then we went to Weir's and looked at a dishwasher for my part of the abode. These will be delivered on July 3rd or 5th or slightly after that, depending on how soon our contractor can build a platform for the washer and dryer and move the water heater.

I bought a piece of formica for my new bathroom at Lowe's --- got it for a steal and it's just lovely. There was just one piece of it left. Jackie spotted it and we both freaked, it's so terrific-looking.

I'll get cabinets at Lowe's for the kitchen area.

After more than a year of trying to find just the right place, it is finally happening, and we're thrilled. Tired, too! Jackie will get some rest in Maui and I'll get some rest about a week and a half from now... when we'll be in, in, in...

Those of you who have my phone number now -- I'm told it will remain the same, so that's terrific, and Jackie can keep her current number, too. One thing we won't have to learn is new phone numbers! We have the new address memorized... and.. shhhh... I've already ordered address labels for each of us from Colorful Images. (Other than helping her move, this my house-warming present for Jackie.) I got her some "New Address" labels and some "grandchildren spoiled here" (four different styles). She'll love 'em -- especially the last ones.

I also went in half and half and got her a fountain about two feet around and two feet high that she flipped over at a discount/overstock place. She wouldn't have bought it otherwise and she was really taken with it -- as was I. It's of a young boy and girl looking into a large flower sitting between their laps as they sit on the ground. Out of the flower comes the water. It's just precious. It was deeply discounted, but still kinda pricey. Worth every dime, though, for the smiles it gives us to look at it.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I've been walking again all week, four miles at a stretch, now that the weather is decent (dry and warm) again. I was two miles out three days ago, walking at a good clip (what I call "a trek", as opposed to "a stroll"), when my feet became ensnared by a loop of wire that was invisible against the gravel background. Down I went in a flash, HARD, thinking all the way (in the fraction of a second it took me to hit the gravel), "Oh, God, no! Don't break anything!"

I didn't (thank You, Jesus, for answering my 9-1-1 prayer "on the fly" like that -- pun intended!) but I had sore wrists for a couple of days and a slightly scuffed left knee and left palm. I'm not much the worse for the experience, but when I get up first thing every morning I feel a little like I've been hit by a truck until I get moving again... It's quite jarring to "fall down go boom" at age 57, let me tell ya!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Michelle Obama on THE VIEW -- In Case You Missed It!

And a new NEWSWEEK POLL has Obama with a 15-point lead over McCain.

Cool beans! WAHOO! I'm thrilled!

I've sent the Obama campaign a resume, too, to see if I can do something locally for his candidacy until the election...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nuclear Energy? Jeez Louise! What is McCain Thinking?

"Where there is no vision,
the people perish." Isaiah

Nuclear energy is a bad idea for at least three reasons:

1.) Nature: Planet Earth is demonstrably unstable. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and more can damage nuclear reactors, releasing their deadly brew and spreading agonizingly slow, horrible death over a wide area. (At least one nuclear reactor in CA was built near the San Andreas Fault; Hanford in Washington State is on the Columbia River. Brilliant placement strategies, eh wot?).

2.) Human or equipment error: Remember Chernobyl?

3.) Acts of Terrorism: How would we like thinking about the possibility of terrorists flying planes into a series of nuclear reactors strewn across America?

A fourth reason is that if we can build them, how can we convince Iran, Korea and China that they shouldn't also build them? Because we're "the good guys" and they are part of the so-called "axis of evil"? Pshaw! That reason won't fly anywhere in the world -- not even here!

Nuclear power was a bad idea before the terrorism issue visited our shores. It's an even worse idea now! For a man ostensibly very concerned about national security, I find McCain's advocacy of nuclear power beyond puzzling!

And drilling off the coasts and in the Alaska Wildlife Reserve is unacceptable, too.

What are the Republicans thinking? Or are they thinking at all -- beyond who can line their pockets?

Good Lord...

We need alternative energy sources, yes, but the ones we go after must be environmentally sound: wind, water, solar, geothermal. All four of these are limitless. The energy companies need to get on the bandwagon and stop trying to wring the last barrel of oil out of the ground before they turn to methodologies that will provide power and protect the planet from pollution at the same time.

It's time to start acting on this, without ceasing, until it's a done deal. Nothing else will sustain us for much longer. I want to be sure my sister's grandchildren are protected before we're shoveled off this mortal coil.

Let's get busy!

Why Oh Why Do I Do This To Myself?

I just finished reading Thurston Clarke's excellent book, "The Last Campaign: Robert F Kennedy and 82 Days that Inspired America." I also recently bought "A Time It Was," a mostly-pictorial full-color rendition of the same period of time in 1968, when Robert Kennedy ran for the Presidency of the United States. This probably brings my RFK book library to something like 15 volumes.

The problem with every one of these volumes is that they all end the same. I despise the ending of the RFK story. It half kills me every time.

Every five years or so, I buy the newest RFK books, getting all involved again in the excitement, hope and promise of the campaign -- and then get my heart broken all over again, which leaves me pondering, "If only he had stayed in Malibu at director John Frankenheimer's beach house, as he wanted to do, and not let the networks coerce him into going to the Ambassador that night to give his acceptance speech... If only he hadn't been taken through the kitchen at the Ambassador... If only Sirhan had hit him a millimeter behind where he shot him, he would have been fine after a few weeks of rest and recovery... the past forty years of our history would probably have been so much nobler and better... we'd be so much farther along..."

If only, if only...

Alas, there is no happy ending in any of the books.

But I keep buying them.

I guess it's because I never want to forget what it's like to feel palpable hope that things can get better for all of our citizens and for the world. I guess it's because I want to be reminded that one dedicated individual can make a difference that can rock the world -- for good -- as readily as callous or crazy individuals can rock it for evil...

I want Barack Obama to win this time because for the first time in four decades, I think he's the kind of guy who cares enough about citizens who are under-represented and so much less well off than most folks in America.

Every one of Robert Kennedy's issues are still with us: Native American teens commit suicide at three times the rate of the general population because they have so little hope; people of color and poor white people are given hand-outs rather than hand-ups -- and even the handouts are given with such degrading condescension that recipients cannot accumulate enough pride in themselves to believe they can make a change in their circumstances...

The rich get richer -- and some get more corrupt the richer they get -- and the middle class and poor get poorer and more challenged.

RFK believed and spoke of one thing that was prescient back in 1968: He said that within forty years an African-American could be President. Back then, most people -- black and white -- probably believed it was a preposterous prophecy. (A few still may.)

This year his prophecy should come true -- and then, perhaps more compassionate programs will be instituted that will make the rest of his hopes for America come true, so that no American child goes to bed hungry, or loses out on education or college because of poverty, race, gender or disability... so that no father or single mom has to hold down two or three jobs to make ends meet... so that a medical crisis doesn't bankrupt anyone...

We've been waiting a long time for the dreams of Robert Kennedy and all the people he loved to come true. I'm happy to think that we'll soon be heading in the right direction again.

His story can have a happy ending, finally. And soon.

I pray that it will.

Barack can help heal the divisions and the stains that continue, as of this writing, to mar our national soul.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What a Shocker! Tim Russett Has Passed Away

What a shocker to hear about Tim Russert's unexpected passing. I could tell he was a lovely man. Very sad... [Prayers have gone out to his family.]

As a result, I've felt more or less like a deer caught in headlights, all while doing everything possible to tie up loose ends prior to the "Smith sisters" big move:

1) calling all the utility companies and putting in shut off dates and advising of the new address

2) arranging to have my homeowner's insurance dropped from the condo on a certain date

3) emailing the people who send me magazines or newsletters (Moody Bible Institute, Charles Stanley Ministries, Shambala, etc.) to provide my new snail mail address

4) getting stuff consolidated and taped up in the garage for next weekend's move

5) peeling away old caulk and installing new in the areas in the condo that need a fresh, "Welcome To Your New Home!" look.

It has been a very long day, but oh so productive! I'll only have two other places to advise of the move after the fact: Department of Licensing and the Employment Security Department. There's no way at their websites to notify them in advance of a move, or they would be done by now, too. (I'm an inveterate "gun-jumper." I think my whirling dervish dad had a lot to do with instilling this particular dysfunction into my cranium. I'm almost insanely "pre-punctual" in matters having to do with time management. As a result -- and this is a good thing -- I have never felt any pressure regarding stated or pre-determined "deadlines," because I do my stuff waaaayyy ahead of them!)

My condo closes on the 23rd, our new place closes on the 25th -- both are in escrow, and the appraisal on mine came in at $1K above what the buyers offered for it, so they're very happy about that... and word has come down the pike that their loan was approved, which has been the only "wait and see" hurdle to the deal... so WAHOO!

In the next day or so I'll get the MLS listing URL posted here so you can take a "sneak peek" at where we'll be living real soon... our own li'l slice of heaven in the Pacific NorthWet.

Just today a neighbor of Jackie's here in Spanaway put out a perfectly good vanity with a sink in it, along with an added faucet (still in the box), and put a FREE sign on them. Wouldn't you know it? It's EXACTLY the kind of thing we were going to have to buy to adapt my side of the new place -- so Phil and I walked over and brought it here to Jackie's, saving a few hundred dollars at least! God has a way of smiling on things when it's right! I take this as His approval of our new home!

This evening I received word that a client at Elance wants to hire me for copywriting services long-term for what I think will be half a day every day. This is phenomenal news! I suppose it's possible he might even need me more than half a day. So I'm counting my blessings and would be walking on the ceiling tonight if only "grabity" would let me. [Oh, to be a gecko tonight!]

As you can see (by clicking on my photo in the left-hand upper corner, which will take you to my Elance profile and reviews), my fees start at $25/hour at Elance -- ten an hour more than I was making in my last position and five an hour more than I made at Warner Bros in my last position there. Of course, I have to cover my own health insurance and have my own Internet connection and get my own paper and other stuff, but it's still do-able because I can work from home, so I don't have to drive my car, put expensive gasoline into it, or spend time commuting to and fro from hither to yon and back. So, all in all, it's a win-win situation for my Elance clients (they don't have to pay any overhead on me) and me! WHEEE!

Remember: If you need a freelance writer for any reason, think of me! I'll do my level best to impress you! Promise! Within the next twelve months it's on my agenda to be earning a substantial living as a writer...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Please Visit ...

There's a new website dedicated to squelching baseless rumors about Senator Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee for President. Here's the URL:

If you're an Obama supporter, please visit the site and bone up on the answers so you can respond, within your spheres of influence, to the concerns people may have about Obama.

If you're concerned about Obama's candidacy because of something you have heard about him, please visit the website to get the truth.

If you've heard something else, not yet addressed at the website, please go to and type Barack Obama into the search field. You may well find the matter you're concerned about listed there, and it will be noted as "True" "False" "Undetermined" or "Various" (parts true, parts false). is the premier Urban Legends website, and is not affiliated with any political party.

And of course is also a great place to go to read his stand on all the issues facing us in the years ahead.

Then there's my earlier blog (June 7th entry) titled "In Defense of Barack Obama."

DeForest Kelley Remembered at

Thanks so much to for compiling so many great memories of De on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his passing...

...and in over 100 emailed responses, there is not one negative or derogatory word at all about him -- just love, love, love, respect, fun, and honor.

De's fans are expressing the decency that "knowing" him (whether near for from afar) and loving him gave them... in their own words.

Take a moment and remember. Click on the link and add your own special reflections. I did.

And if you want to buy and read the two books that are out about De, the titles are DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES (I wrote this one) and FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST: The Biography of DeForest Kelley, STAR TREK'S Doctor McCoy, by Terry Lee Rioux. Both should be read to get the full story of the man, his times, and his inestimable legacy.

To save money on my book about De (or any of the other books I've written), click here:

In this way you'll be taken to my book website and from there straight to, the publisher, eliminating the middlemen (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, et al), and you'll get a really great price and lightning-fast delivery! Going through an online bookstore will slow things down and cost you more. (I love to save De's fans money, 'cause I'm on a shoestring budget, too!)


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jim McKay Leaves this Wide World for Greener Pastures

I was saddened to hear of Jim McKay's passing. For those of you too young to remember him, he was the face and voice of The Wide World of Sports for many years. During that time, he found himself smack dab in the middle of history while reporting on the 1972 Summer Olympics in Germany. 12 Israeli athletes were sequestered for long hours by a group of terrorists, and were eventually assassinated by them. With three words all our hopes and prayers were crushed: "They're all gone."

As with JFK's and RFK's assassinations and the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, every one of us alive at the time knows that the world's population stopped and held its breath in unison during those grueling hours in '72. We were shocked, horrified, glued to the set, wondering, hoping, praying...

Only one other time -- and it was a happy time -- was the world made captive by a single event: the moon landing. "The Eagle has landed...That's one small step for a man... one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, three names etched into our collective memory.

Our national and global times are captured in our brains in vivid snapshots (JFK Jr. saluting his father's flag-draped coffin) and sound bites ("They're all gone."). We know where we were (if we were alive) when Pearl Harbor was attacked, when the bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, during VJ Day and D Day (I wasn't alive for these, but my parents spoke of them with the "quiet awe" reserved for only the most powerful of emotions)... The Challenger and Columbia disasters... The Kennedy and King assassinations... Columbine and Oklahoma City... September 11th...

The 1972 Olympics are among those times for baby boomers. And Jim McKay's face and voice are the "synaptic snapshots" (along with hoods and rifles) of that momentous, terrible time.

It's so sad that, in our present times, terrorism has become almost the norm -- no longer as jaw-droppingly alien as it was in the 70's.

We've gone to the moon and almost down the tubes using the same technology in the past fifty years. As advanced as we are scientifically, unless we advance in leaps and bounds relationship-wise with our fellow man across the globe, and decide to "boldly go" forward together (despite our differences and past sufferings), these terrible, terrific technological times may indeed be "the end times."

I'm ready -- and not ready. I have grand-nieces whose lives have barely begun. I'd hate to see them facing worse than we have had to face (and here in America, within our homeland, we have been truly blessed, and have suffered less than almost any other place). I pray that all those with progeny across the globe will think about their own children and grandchildren and elect to stop the madness so that the world all of our children inherit will be relationally superior to the one we live in.

It's up to us. We're the grown-ups. Let's put on our grown-up panties and deal with it, one-on-one. Let's ask ourselves: What can each of us do, every day we wake up, to make the world a little saner, a little safer, and a little more "sacred" (set apart for holy happenings with others) than it is right now?

Jim McKay kept even the wide world of competitive sports sane with his quiet, unbombastic, friendly commentary and demeanor. Quite the feat. I honor him beyond my ability to describe it for that.

And I pray he has Little League and Major League successors as adept, so all participants -- players and fans -- realize that winning isn't everything and that good sportsmanship is what matters, win or lose!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Now, Here's a Thought -- From Billie Rae Walker!

Received this thoughtful (and wise, and balanced) email from Billie Rae Walker this afternoon and it gave me a grin...

Wouldn't it be terrific if Dems and GOP'ers worked together THIS closely and got us back together as an "American family" again (but alas...) :


Hi Kris....

I hope you enjoyed the play this afternoon. If I lived next door I'd be right there with you.

I'm also so sorry to hear that your long-time friend is frightened of Senator Obama.

You know, of course, that I've strongly supported Senator McCain since before the New Hampshire vote..... and will continue to do so, as I feel that he can best protect us in this dangerous world [I'll cling to my faith AND my gun thanks..... tho' I don't believe Sen. Obama meant any harm by his reference to folks like me].

I also believe that both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton are people "of integrity" [Senator McCain's words, by the way..... and he knows both of them]. These dedicated public servants, any one of them, would do his/her best to lead our country well and protect our citizens.

My "dream ticket", by the way, would have been President McCain and Vice-President Obama [to become President next, after he had some experience], with Secretary of Health and Human Services Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of State Joe Lieberman. Since that's probably not possible [there are a lot more Independents out there these days, but not enough], I hope Senator Obama asks Senator Clinton to be his Vice-President. If he doesn't, then I'd like Senator McCain to cross the isle again, as he has so often done..... and ask her to be HIS Vice-President!

Senator Clinton's fate has reminded all of us that women in our country historically have to wait at the end of the line [Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton lived to see African American men get the vote, but did NOT live to see women vote..... and women still didn't have the vote when my mother was born]. If they don't want Sen. Clinton [and her husband] on board, there have to be many, many qualified women in BOTH parties who would fill the bill admirably [but they can't call her "sweety"].

Although not a supporter of Senator Clinton [probably because she likely came to live in my state in order to become the Senator from New York ..... a great political springboard, which Senator Robert Kennedy also chose to do - by pushing out a long respected NY Democrat, [Kenneth Keating], she has been a great Senator and is deeply committed to the people I think. [Bobby Kennedy was committed heart and soul, there is no doubt.]

Whichever gentleman now becomes President of the United States, I hope he offers Senator Clinton an active place in his administration, as she would be a terrific asset [tho' what position to offer her husband would be a puzzle].

On a similar note, Senator McCain and Senator Obama could each offer the other's administration a great deal [and they have already worked together in the Senate].

So, like the lifelong Registered Independent/moderate that I am, I will ignore the name-calling on BOTH sides [I do NOT think Senator Obama is a danger / I do NOT think Senator Clinton would let her husband run the White House / I do NOT think that Senator McCain is a clone of President Bush !!! ].....

I will go to their web sites and read their positions, just as you do. Since I lean to the "right" on national defense, gun control, etc. / lean to the "left" on social programs, health care, civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, etc./ and stand in the "middle" on immigration, environmentalism, abortion, stem cell research, etc..... it would be impossible to find a candidate that shares all my views. (The same is true for most voters I think).

I have dear friends (like you) on BOTH the "right" and the "left".... very few in the middle, however. Senator McCain is basically a moderate [which is why his party did not choose him until the voters forced them to], while being VERY strong on national defense, so I strongly support him..... although I certainly respect Senator Obama's belief that diplomatic talks will triumph. I just believe that Teddy Roosevelt was right: "Walk softly but carry a big stick!"

At the end of the day, however, I will just continue to pray (as I know you do) that the Lord will protect our country, guide our leaders, and watch over us all ---

"Our Fathers' God, to Thee.... Author of Liberty.... To Thee we sing; Long may our land be bright..... With freedom's holy light..... Protect us by Thy might...... Great God, Our King".

God Bless....

Luv you,

Billie Rae

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In Defense of Barack Obama... To a Friend...

Yesterday afternoon I received an anti-Obama rant from a dear friend, telling me that if I was going to vote for Obama, he could no longer be my friend. He's a Navy veteran and I was pretty much devastated all night long.

What he sent to me to "prove his claim" that Obama was "dangerous" was a tirade against Democrats -- up to and including Bobby Kennedy -- along with the oft-repeated and never proven "claims" (debunked at and at Obama's website) that he's Islamic (the Reverend Jeremiah Wright problem should have quieted that rumor for all time), bent on disabling the military, willing to talk to Hamas, and other stuff.

I was so upset that my friend believed -- and feared -- all these things that I laid awake part of last night, feeling angry. But then I thought, "Eegads, if this one, intelligent, patriotic man believes this, I'm guessing a lot of other people do, too!"

So I thought I'd better put down, in black and white, all the reasons that I believe Barack Obama is a safe person to be leading our nation. Here's the email response I sent to him, and I hope it settles other peoples' minds as well:

"Even before reading your response -- which I'm sure will upset me since you're so upset and fearful of Obama -- I want you to know I've slept on this overnight and I don't want to lose you as a friend, even though we disagree, so I prayed on it, and here's what I've come up with:

Just for starters, with a name like Barack Hussein Obama, it's perfectly safe to assume that this man's life, background, resume and connections have been gone over with a fine-toothed comb by Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA, and anyone else with any kind of suspicion since 9/11. So go ahead, as you wish, and decry and disbelieve the "biased" (in your estimation) news media and his website -- even forget, which is totally apolitical and independent -- and THINK ABOUT IT!

Now, if you're creeped out just because he's a Democrat -- as you seem to be -- this is where we can legitimately disagree and part company with honor. I'm a Democrat. I've voted Republican in the past, so I'm not a blind Democrat. I know Barack and Hillary and Bobby aren't (weren't) perfect human beings, but their policies and attempts to establish justice and a level playing field for every American resonate in my heart. I don't have an evil heart, and I know you don't either.

Democrats are patriots, too,as I've said so often in my blog. RFK was my favorite politician ever and Barack runs a close second. So for you to be afraid of Obama concerns me greatly.

If you really believe all the rumors about him, it's your duty as an American citizen to contact Homeland Security and the FBI and CIA and tell them of your suspicions, and supplying any evidence you can find on the Internet or elsewhere to underscore why you think he's a threat. I have done so when suspecting a neighbor of mine, because I sensed there was something "not quite kosher" about him. (It turns out I was wrong, but I did the right thing and reported him, as you should, with supporting evidence.)

I trust Obama. I trusted Bobby. I feel certain, given our times and the present administration's emphasis on terrorism and villainy, that Obama has been "vetted" as no candidate ever has, with a name like his.

With this as a starting point, why don't you simply do a little research: read his two books (THE AUDACITY OF HOPE and DREAMS FROM MY FATHER), or visit his website and read his stand on the issues you care so much about.

In a nutshell: The man is not going to castrate our military forces, or weaken us in any way. If I thought he would, I wouldn't be supporting him and would sit this election out (because I don't think McCain can bring our nation to the place it needs to be over the course of the next four to eight years), or I'd be writing in the name of a person who I feel would be superior to either of the two on the ballot.

I also don't know what you have against Hillary, but lots of people have believed the stuff the opposition party has put out about her, and so she's a bit of a pariah these days. I think it's sad and unfair, but there you have it. It is what it is.

In conclusion, I think you've been listening to opposition spin-meisters who are, for the most part, unprincipled loud-mouths. I don't listen to McCain's opposition spin-meisters -- I go to his website, read his stand on the issues, hear his speeches, and make up my own mind. I encourage you to do the same, because I believe to the core of my being that, unless something awful happens to him (God forbid!), Barack Obama is indeed going to be our next President, and I would hate to see you looking upon that event as "the day America died" when it is nothing of the sort. We'll survive Obama. We survived Bush. I believe Barack will be one of our greatest Presidents if he/we can take his vision for America and bring it to fruition. It will take all of us, working together, since we'll only have eight years to give it a shot.

So I feel hurt that you'd think I haven't thought this thing through. I've studied this campaign like no other. If we disagree, we disagree. But I'd hate to lose your friendship over it. If I do, it was no friendship to begin with. I have a number of terrific friends who disagree with me and have thoughtfully told me why -- but none have tried to sway me with the unsubstantiated renditions of Obama's "disqualifying qualities" that you have.

Think about it. The man is known by every "national protection agency" in existence, and he would have been "outed" and would be in prison instead of running for the highest office in our land if there were anything real in the reports and emails you've received or heard about him.

I love ya, pal, and I want to be your friend... but if that's not possible after this email, I'm sorry for it and wish you well. I bear no ill will toward you and hope you will feel similarly once you have settled down just a little and really thought this through...

God bless you and God bless America!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

For Those Too Young To Remember Bobby Kennedy... are a couple of retrospectives from NEWSWEEK to give you a little more insight into the man:

Please read them. And let me know if you hear of anything on TV that will commemorate his life BEFORE it airs. I want to watch as much of it as I can. If there are DVDs (copyrighted professional DVD's, not knock-offs) available of the program(s), let me know how to order them.


And here's the speech Bobby made (YouTube) in Indianapolis the night Martin Luther King was assassinated. You'll get a great insight into the man by hearing it. It was extremporaneous -- he didn't have time to write or finesse it, yet it's great, like his heart...

I also just today added a couple of YouTube videos to the earliest blog about Bobby (Forty Years and I Still Miss Bobby), earlier this week. Please view those as well...

And, here's Bobby's eulogy, by Edward M Kennedy:

Finally, here is the eulogy again, with a montage of photos illustrating the points being made by Senator Edward Kennedy in the eulogy:

And Chris Matthews remembers:


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Historic Evening... Obama Wins the Democratic Nomination

Mark your calendars. Today will go down in history books across the nation. This evening, Barack Obama earned enough delegate votes to become the party's nominee for President of the United States. It has been hundreds of years and generations in the making but tonight it happened: a great African-American will become the nominee of the Democratic Party for President at the convention this coming August in Denver.

Today a false ceiling ("only white Anglo Saxon men can successfully run and become President in these United States") has been brought down --- and good riddance. Now ALL Americans of every race (and I believe both genders, because of the valiant efforts of Hillary Clinton for the nomination, during which she came so very close to breaking the false ceiling for women) can know, to the core of their spirits, that the only potentially crippling obstacle to their dreams, hopes and ambitions is the quality and the strength of the energy, faith and devotion they bring to achieving them.

I believe Barack will win in November. The breath of hope and excitement that resides in the breasts of millions of people will energize politicians and public alike to work hard and do whatever it takes to lift America and Americans to the next level.

We're a good people and a good country. The next eight years will re-establish that in the minds of people across the globe.

I'm so looking forward to that!

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Got a lovely P.P.S. tonight from a dear friend, Margot Worthington in Denver. She's always so swamped at work (and takes it home with her, too) that she can rarely catch my blogs, but when she does... well, she always makes me feel SO great afterward. I'll put my toe in the rug and blush a little as I publish what she wrote. (As Mark Twain once confessed, "I can live for a week on a compliment." Me, too -- a MONTH!)

P.P.S. .....I LOVE your writing're just so AMAZING!!! I get so wrapped up in everything that you write. I know I don't tell you that enough, but you're such an excellent writer. You have this magical ability to draw your "reader" in and experience what you have experienced. Lissa said the same thing to me not long ago via email. She said she was crying as she listened to the end of your audio book [DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories. I have precious few copies of it left on audio but it's still available in an e-book and as a hardbound and soft cover. The URL address to order it is above in my signature line.] . I have to say, what you have is NOT just a talent, it's a TRUE gift from God.

Oh, good. I can take my toe out of the rug now because Margot finished by giving credit where credit is due in her last line.

And I give a hearty AMEN to that!

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Hillary's FABULOUS concession speech

(If you didn't hear it in its entirety, please do so here):

It's Coming 'Round Again... Kennedy/Kelley Month...

June has never been a particularly good month for me.

As June approaches every year, I think of Kennedy and Kelley -- the two men who inspired me most: RFK in the political realm, DeForest in the creative and personal realm. Both passed away in June (June 5, 1968 and June 11, 1999).

If a person is shaped and molded by the people whose stories and personalities most resonate with her, I'm one ugly duckling whose faint swan-ness can be traced to the influence of two men the entire world knows about as a result of the way they lived their lives. How deeply they touched the public's imagination and conscience!

Bad things do happen to good people. Bobby's and De's death dates are scars, painfully branded onto my heart and mind. Every June I feel newly orphaned. I realize, "My heroes have been gone... 40 years...nine years." Every year the number of years since I've seen them inexorably increases. But it just never hurts any less. Sometimes I wish it would -- but that would be forgetting. And I can no more forget these two benefactors than I can un-live the times and the memories.

Every June I also acknowledge (usually just to myself, but this year to you) that I never feel I do "enough" to carry either of these men's legacies forward. And that pains me. I have always thought I was given these men as role models (by God) so that I would continue to emulate them to some degree for the rest of my life after they were gone.

For the longest time after Bobby died, I thought I "should" get deeply involved in politics and joust at the windmills Bobby took on. But after Watergate, my ardor to be seen as a politician plummeted. I didn't want to be thought of as "one of those" -- so pervasive was the belief and assumption by society that 99.9% of politicians were unsavory, to say the least. Of course that perception wasn't and isn't true, but I wouldn't have felt any more comfortable going all out to be a politician after Watergate than I would have felt deciding to be a bank robber. Not my style -- smoke-filled rooms, clandestine operations, "Deep Throat"-ing around trying to get something decent done in an environment of criminality... No, thanks! Think I'll pass!

I failed Bobby. I have his heart for justice, but not his guts for taking on what's wrong and doing whatever it takes to make it right.

Then there's De. I didn't "fail" De. I feel good about that. Oh, sure, I would have liked to have written a screenplay that would have brought him roaring out of retirement with a big, eager grin, a screenplay that would win him an Academy Award at the end of his life. That would have been grand. I wish I had believed in my ability to string words together as much as he did -- in time to do that for him.

But if I had, would I have been in a position to just be his friend, and to drop what I was doing (wherever I would have been doing it as a screenwriter) to help him at the end of his life? And Carolyn afterward?

Probably not. So I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

We all are. Some of us just don't know it yet.

I'm going to be missing Bobby and De for the next few days in lots of ways. Don't know for sure if I'll blog it or not. But just know that if you, too, are feeling the loss of either of these two men, I'm with you... and I know how much it hurts.

Forty Years -- and I Still Miss Bobby Kennedy...

Hope died for millions of people of all races, colors and creeds the day RFK died (June 5, 1968), a hope that has recently been resurrected after forty long years by Barack Obama's candidacy to become our next President. Senator Obama is a life-long benefactor in all RFK (and JFK and EMK) began and wanted to continue to do....

I was stunned, shocked and devastated when Bobby died. It has been only recently that I have felt a change in the pulse of America, to a point where what Bobby brought to the table as a statesman and man of faith may again happen.

No one not yet born (or too young to remember) the times when Bobby lived and died will ever know what a massive and heart-rending blow RFK's death was to the nation and the world during the contentious, horrendous, fractured 60's. (But renting the recent movie BOBBY by Emilio Estevez will give you some idea. I highly encourage that so you can see extended interviews and coverage of his campaign and the way he touched people. Click the links below for a foretaste.) RFK was our brightest beacon of hope -- to right so many of the wrongs in this country and the world. He was as beloved in South Africa and elsewhere as he was here.

I think of him often and hope he can look down and smile at what is beginning to happen again. His name and legacy are written all over it.

He was the best of the best.

Miss you beyond words, Bob!

Where Are They Now (People in the Ambassador Hotel the night Kennedy was shot; RFK's widow and children...)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Praying for Ted Kennedy's Surgery and Surgeons Today...

Senator Kennedy is undergoing surgery to remove as much of the gliolastoma as possible prior to chemo and radiation treatments.

Please join me in praying for him.


Amazing Dream... Gotta Tell You About It!

Just before waking this morning, I had a vivid dream so true-to-life that I felt I was "living" it. When I got up, it remained with me in a palpable way, so I need to tell you about it...

In the dream, I was at a state fair -- one of those sprawling landscapes where people are milling in all directions laden with cones of cotton candy, elephant ears and scones, cute little (or very large) carnival toys won, and with kids or friends of all ages at their sides.

For some reason I can't remember now (whether I was invited, or a request went out for extemporaneous thoughts, or what-have-you), I began to speak about why I thought Barack Obama would be and should be our next President. I don't recall what I said (probably similar to something I said at the caucus when I was a precinct captain back in March that caused so many undecideds and a couple of Clinton fans to decide for Barack that day), but as I spoke, I could see, right away, that a few of the people gave me a brush-off signal as they turned and walked away, either in complete disagreement with me, or thinking that politics had no place at a "fun" fair, or for whatever reason. But most of the people stayed, and I could tell that they weren't all automatically Obama fans. But they were curious, respectful, and listened.

I do know I was passionate and fully "sold out" with what I was saying, because the effect on the audience was obvious and as I ended the spiel, people cheered and clapped and shouted nice things. (But, again, not all of them...)

To leave the area, I had to ascend a flight of stairs, and as I did, others in "my" audience began to step forward and, with equal passion and level-headedness, began to express why they thought one of the other candidates was the one who should be our next commander in chief.

I stopped halfway up the stairs, thinking, "Hey, I started a trend here! And these people are as passionate about their candidate as I am about Obama!"

So I decided to stay on the stairs and listen to what my fellow Americans were saying about their favorite candidate.This went on for a while (because those who spoke weren't just speaking about presidential politics, but about local or regional races as well).

As it seemed to be winding down, I started to ascend to the top of the stairs and spotted a red-faced (not angry, just determined) former President Clinton (with his wife in tow by the hand! Very unlike Hillary, to say the least), coming down the stairs, dedicated to bucking the crowds coming up in enough time to tout HIS favorite candidate before the crowd below dispersed.

As the Clintons reached my level on the stairs, I realized I needed to tell them, from my heart, how much I thought of them, too, as leaders and patriots. I said, "President Clinton (as Hillary was still behind him and I hadn't come face-to-face with her yet), I just want you two to know that if Barack weren't in this race, I would SO be a spokesperson for Hillary, the way I just was for Barack."

President Clinton, still in a civilized rush to get past me to get to a microphone, responded, "I understand." He wasn't unkind or unfriendly; it was just a statement of fact -- he did understand -- he just felt Hillary was the candidate who should be our next President. I "got" that.

As Hillary came by me (still being brought along by Bill), I realized, almost painfully, that I was in her demographic (white, middle-aged woman) -- she did, too -- and I looked into her eyes and said, "I'm sorry!" She said, "It's okay..." but she looked sad, even hurt, momentarily. (Not mad.)

For some reason, I went back down the steps with them and stood close by as people began to recognize that President Clinton and Hillary were present and began to regroup to hear what they had to say.

Just before he spoke, Hillary looked at me again and I could just tell that she had heard my Obama speech. (It hadn't been anti-Clinton in the least. It had extolled her virtues as well and stated that I hoped they would form a ticket and run together in the fall.) She still looked sad, and resigned to her "fate": that people were going for Barack who would otherwise have been in her court just as forcefully. Tears came to her eyes and she realized she was about to cry (not a good thing for a Presidential -- or any other -- candidate to be seen doing if they want to win. Remember Edmund Muskie?). She quickly said, "Oh, my!" as she realized what was going to happen.

Quickly, quietly, she said to me, "May I?" -- and I started tearing up, too, and brought her to me and held her against me while she recovered (which took at least ten seconds), patting her on the back and saying silly things into her ear to cheer her up and so onlookers would think we were just exchanging hugs and comments to show "no harm intended or taken," even though I had just spoken for Obama.

She recovered quickly and as Bill started to speak, I began to wake up...I was still upset by the dream. I remain upset by it -- enough to blog it and let you know what I believe my conscience (a.k.a. the Holy Spirit, in my belief and vernacular) was trying to get through to me as I dreamed it.

Presidential candidates are people, too. They get their feelings hurt -- and they probably cry during rare private moments, so that their human-ness isn't caught and "spun" as a weakness or seen, by the stoic among us, as a disgrace.

There are very real hearts and hurts involved in any campaign. Most candidates (wish I could say ALL candidates, but I know that's not always true) are invested, heart and soul, in the issues and concerns they care so much about. Most could make better money elsewhere in the private sector. But because they care so much, they undergo scrutiny few can pass (nobody's perfect), wear themselves to a frazzle talking day and night in the hope that their constituents will catch their feverish passion for righting wrongs and jump aboard their bandwagon and help get them elected, or at the very least, that they'll decide to vote for them.

My dream was telling me that if -- when -- Hillary loses the nomination to become the Democratic candidate this fall, I will be as upset as she is (sharing her disappointment equally -- and I will cry, even though she can't) and almost as upset as I would be if Barack were to lose it.

I care about both of these candidates -- deeply. Their stand on issues is almost identical. They are good people. Because I have to pick just one, I hope they'll end up on the same ticket so I can vote for both of them in November. But that is truly something the nominee of the party must decide -- and I steer clear and say that my heart-felt desire for an Obama-Clinton ticket might not be the best way to go. I just don't know. And neither does anyone else, or it would be a done deal already.

What I'm saying is, I hope you are "living" the candidates' campaigns and not just "enduring" them. All of the candidates are in positions that can impact our lives for years or generations. Elections are important. Pundits can spin them every which way but loose, but in the end, it is the voters who make the choice.

I hope you'll remember my dream and pay attention to the candidates of both parties. Be kind. And don't gloat if "your" candidate wins. For every winner, there's another winner who just did not win "this time." They're all patriots and they deserve our thanks and our prayers.

'Nuf said. I abdicate my soapbox and await your responses.