Memorial Day Hike

It was a lovely idea my Hubby came up with to go on a hike Memorial Day.

However… the route he’d suggested was extremely popular, so we would have to get up very early to find a place to park and go up.  Groan.  I didn’t want to get up early on a holiday!

As it turned out, it was pouring rain when we woke up, groan again.  Not to be deterred, Hubby managed to get me up and going.  He said, if nothing else, we’ll get in a nice drive.  By the time I was dressed, however, the clouds were dissipating.

We got up to the trailhead of Iron Mountain, after first picking up a Starbucks of course, at around 7:30 AM.hike1

It was lovely.  The beginning portion had us going through a canopy of scrub oak.

The trail was long and arduous, and I was gasping most of the way up.  I was never known to have super strong lungs, even when we did this all the time.  I’m super strong from working out, but did not have the stamina for this long haul.  My understanding was that it was a 2 1/2 mile hike,  It was more like 6 miles round trip with over 1,000 foot altitude gain. Ugh.

We saw so many people, happy people coming down and ones who passed us going up.hike2

One group were these vets, carrying a flag in honor of all the service people who’d fallen.hike4

They’d been up and were now heading down and were only too happy to pose.

WE saw lovely flora and fauna (are bees in the category of fauna?) plus marvelous views of the mountains.  Many wished us Happy Memorial Day and we wished it back.

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I also had a video that I haven’t managed to download though I keep trying. My apologies.

On the way down, we saw this clump of bees that we can’t figure out how we missed seeing it on the way up, given the size it was and that it was right there.  hike10One woman told us it was a relocating bee cone.  I think that’s what she said, so if anyone knows better, please tell me.  She explained that when a hive gets too big, they break off and regroup until a new queen is formed and then they take off and find a place to hive. hike7

At the top they had a telescope and also this tube-like thing, that had the directional for all the peaks and locations in the area. You would point to the location you wanted and look through it and find where you just drove in from or whatever marker was near your home.  I was all turned around and things were not where I thought they’d be.  Pretty neat actually.

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Something else I hadn’t noticed much was the dressing of flowers on the path down just before getting near the end of our hike. Which, I noticed later,

made a great backdrop for our own Memorial Day pose.hike12

When we got down, I could hardly walk, my calves and back were in agony.  And,  and I thought I was fit!  I guess I’ll have to have a chat with my trainer.

All in all, it was a great day!hike3

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The Younger Man

From a woman’s perspective, it is an ego boost when a younger guy “hits” on you.  It’s been written, that the passion of younger men are better suited to that of older women and yes there is so much more energy and enjoyment to be found between the sheets. Trust me.  But then, to be honest, I’ve not had the pleasure of being with an older man, so who really knows?

My hubby is 13 years younger. We did not intend to become a couple. He was definitely not looking at me in that way, nor I him. We were co-workers. He, worked for my ex husband, truth be told. My Hubby Then was all work and no play. My Hubby Now, was always doing something. He loved the outdoors and mountain climbing, skiing and riding bikes.  I did none of those things because Hubby Then, thought I needed to only do “mom/wife” things, cook, clean and help out at our business. I was in my early 40’s at the time. I still wanted to play.

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I finally talked Hubby Then to let me learn to ski and I got a bicycle, (for Pete’s sake, we owned a bicycle business, how could I not own a bike?) but forget anything else. Can you imagine having to beg someone to do things? I still wanted to learn to rock climb though and it was just killing me.  Especially, when Hubby Now would come back from his trips and share all his adventures. I was envious, but for sure that was out.  Let me point out something else here. Let me also point out and clarify that age is not the reason Hubby Then was how he was, because he was 10 years younger than I, so it wasn’t an age thing, but a power/dominance thing.  Perhaps because of our age difference, he felt he had to exert his “alpha-ness”.

“Hubby Then” liked “Hubby Now” then and gave in to letting me do a few things with him, like… help him shop for a house and later help him pick out stuff for his new house. Woman things. Hubby Now and I became best friends and that’s all it was for a long time. Then one day it changed. I told Hubby Then that I thought I was growing fond of Hubby now and he poo-poo’d it.  I quit working at the business by my choice and eventually divorced Hubby Then. No one wants their feelings trivialized or ignored.

A year later, at a mutual friend’s house, I ran into Hubby Now and we discussed the ridiculousness of our attraction for one another, age not being the main thing and eventually started dating, but not until he went to the ex and asked if that would be a problem, especially since they still worked together.  It wasn’t.  We have little in common other than we like each other. We don’t share the same music, but he’s getting to like mine and I tolerate his (he used to be in a punk rock or is it hard rock(?) band which still exists) and much of the activities we used to do, we have stopped doing to the degree we did them.  Sex is still a perk and life with him can still be an adventure and well, we just get along.

The downside of our age gap are many.  At times, he seems so immature and I ache to be with someone my age. That can be true of any sex at any age. There’s also the broad cultural base I came from and his limited tastes that we are working through.  As a former flight attendant, I had a love for travel, education, culinary tastes, the arts and so much more.  His life was pretty basic and has always been limited to his bicycle, his style music and the sports he enjoyed when he was younger but has little desire for anymore, especially my favorite, rock climbing.  Foreign travel has been unappealing and well foreign to him.  Then he will surprise me with the help of his mom and treat me to a sunset wine cruise on a sailboat.Russ and I

We moved from Colorado to Alabama and now California. We no longer ski, but still hike and he rides his bike. I no longer bicycle here, not since I was run off the road and got a head concussion. Traffic is too intense here, so at my age, I won’t risk it. I am still adventurous and will be taking my first leap from an airplane, any day now.  He will watch. That has to be posted, of course. Even though his mother is extremely well educated, she never taught him anything, but that’s another story.  He is learning though.

One of the downsides is that Hubby Now still needs to work. I’m retired, so that means putting any travel plans on hold until he is able. My friends are all gallivanting around and I must wait.  I sometimes worry, I might not be able to keep up when he’s free to go. I know I’m hardy, but it is still scary because there’s no one I’d love to travel with more.  He’s fun to travel with. He likes looking for the out of the way, unknown places, especially in the U.S.  He’s not as open to foreign travel…yet but I think he’s warming up to it, especially since I made friends with a young lady from France and she stayed with us awhile.

Our energy levels are slightly different and I think I’m stronger than he, at times.  (It must be the sex.)   BTW, I have no clue how I got red lettering up above, I noticed I’d misspelled chauvinistic and when I corrected it, everything in that paragraph turned red, except the corrected word.  Ooops!  When I posted, the red didn’t show up, so now I need to fix it somehow. Well, it bleeped it all.  I guess it wasn’t important.

Anyway, back on track here. Back to the good thing, is that we still have the friend and lover bond in tact.  We can talk about our differences and he is seeing that he does need to broaden his perspectives.  Thank goodness his mom is on board with that too. Fortunately, she likes the arts as well, so he’s seeing it’s importance.  Right now, she and I go to events together, but on occasion, he too will buy tickets to this or another and share it with me, though it’s rare.  One wonderful and humiliating things he does for me,  when I dare to have him look at something I’ve written, is proofread.  He is the best.  So, if this is less than perfect, it’s because he didn’t see it. LOL

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I’m into movies and such and he’s not, but I got him to run lines with me the other day to help my daughter with an audition she was prepping for and he loved doing it. (Yes, that’s my daughter, she likes being the tough “guy”) My daughter Marco Polo’d me that it sounded like he was having fun and it did.  It’s not just him that has had to make changes. I do things with him I don’t care for as well. The main thing with big gap marriages or any marriage or relationship for that matter,  is that for them to work you must be flexible and communicate. Without communication, it can all go to hell.

Why So Many Homeless?

A great line from the cartoon Yogi Bear comes to mind. “DON’T FEED THE BEARS!” You feed them, they won’t forage for themselves.

I don’t like to get political, mostly because I’m a horrible debater.  I can’t come up with quick, witty, “smart” comebacks, so I avoid confrontation like a plague. So what comes next is not intended to spark ire or dissent from any of my followers. I am one of those that is registered non partisan.  I WANT to vote for the person not their party.  That’s not always easy, because parties have “leanings”.

What got me going on the homelessness issue is that we have a lot of them in our area and it has become a major problem.  So much so that a FB Web page was created to vent and possibly find solutions to the problem.  Mostly to point out problem areas and…. vent.  Then, a friend of mine asked me to help her film a video featuring the homeless issues in our area.  Our goal is to find out who these people are and what is being done to alleviate their problem.  I skimmed on some of these points in my blog, Senseless deaths.  And, here’s the teaser… “in interviewing some of these folks, I made an interesting discovery …” but,   I’d be giving away too much if I say more. I won’t spill the beans.

In all this, my curiosity was peaked. I wanted to know more.  So, I began my research.  What follows is based on that and my own conclusions.

My research took me to website after website with statistics.  (I’m only sharing the one) What was interesting to me is that the majority of states with the highest number of homelessness are also states, with the exception of one, who vote primarily Democrat and are majorly “liberal”.  Yup!  It’s true.

Keep in mind, they did not break it down as such. It was just something that caught my attention.  Is it political?

Since liberals tend to dominate these states and are big into their causes, they are also states that offer the most services. In other words “HANDOUTS”.

This is how I feel about handouts.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Proverbs 13:4 : “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

The Bible is not the only place this is found.

Qur’an 13:11 Allah spoke that Allah would not change the destiny of a tribe(anyone) if they do not try hard to change it themselves. (This was the best I could find)

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Do these folks, passionate about their causes, know exactly what they are doing? Possibly.  Maybe not. I’m sure the government does. Notice, I said “government”, not any one political entity.

PONDER THIS:  If they (the powers that be) keep the people poor and dependent then they become more pliable to whatever future purpose and they remain controllable. Nothing new here. It has been that way since time immemorial. Isn’t that how it is in third world countries? Yet… Why is it some of the people from those countries are breaking free of that cycle?  We, in this country used to have a very comfortable middle class, but that is disappearing. Why?

So how does this work?

Liberals are by and large educated people who can eloquently dictate to the poor people how to think. They make a lot of noise to push their way of thinking out in the forefront and they are very good at it.  One message constantly being force fed to the public is that Rich American’s are getting “rich” on the backs of the poor. Rich Americans are why they are where they are.  So they create this divide and festering angst against the rich or really anyone who is the power figure. What few people realize or take into account is that many of these same folks are also very rich.  Those in the entertainment field are the best examples.  They make their money dissing “corporate America” and playing up “the little guy” who has to go head to head with the “big guy”.  They create dramas all around the poor and the oppressed and victories over the “bosses, the power hungry billionaire tycoon of big corporations, who are evil and nasty.”  Some are, but I’ve met many an evil, oppressive “little guy/gal” in the work place as well.

Please know this,  I am not wealthy.  I did not retire on a fat pension.  I am 70 plus and guess what I still work. Heck, I drive for Uber and Lyft, (and I write) but that’s another story.

What people don’t realize is that, all this help and those wonderful programs is the equivalent of nothing more than “horse hobbling“.  The end goal is to keep people subservient. Horse hobbling limits their forward locomotion. Yes, let’s feed the children and do everything else for them,  kill their drive, so they never rise above doing what’s best for themselves. Yes, it is our Christian duty to help those needing help.  I’m sure other faiths have an equal thought on this as well.  This country, no this world was founded on survivors. You do or you die.

I’m not saying we don’t want to help people.  Heavens no.  The Bible has countless verses that tell us to feed our widows and orphans.

James 2:14-17 states:  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Psalms 82:3 : Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

Despite the tendency to believe Islam violent, the Qur’an and especially the hadith highlight how helping another human being is a fundamental aspect of Islam.

So do we help?  YES!  Absolutely. But we must consider to what end or to what extent.

Notice the Bible constantly refers to the “widows and orphans” and in some places the “elderly” .  We have a responsibility to help those who cannot, not will not help themselves.

So, my point is to get people to rise above their situations.  Life can get us all down.  I’ve been down enough to want to find a remote place and disappear to.  When I watch the news sometimes, I get so discouraged at how people treat each other, the crazy things they do to one another, that I’ll shout out “Stop the world, I want to get off!”.

Without disclosing what some of my interviewees have said, but based on that, giving up is not the answer.  

BUT,  for all I said about the liberals, the one thing we can all agree on, is that we have to  find ways of showing them love and getting them the help they need without enlarging the problem and that is the hard part.

Do’s and Don’ts –

Do’s

BE Kind

If you have time, talk to them, if only to say hello.  They are not invisible.  This lady on the right was fascinating.

No two people’s story is the same.V. Maria

If you know where the nearest outreach program is or if your church has one, let them know where that is. Carrying a list or card with that information on it to hand out, gives you something to share. Doing this lets them know you care.

Don’ts

Warning:  Be smart. Don’t go into places to find them, some are hardened criminals, ex-cons or drug dealers and could be dangerous.

Don’t give them unopened bags of food for their dog – it could be a sympathy ploy. They’ll return it to the store for cash for drugs.  Seen it happen.

Don’t give money-  I know it’s hard to resist sometimes, but one guy told my husband how much he made panhandling and it was more than hubby makes in a day doing legitimate work. Don’t think that wasn’t discouraging.

Money goes to booze and drugs.  If they need medication or health care, there are state programs that give that to them for free,  if they will go and get it. I know, I know nothing is truly free, but at the taxpayers expense free.

If they truly want help, they know where all these services are anyway. Food

Many of these folks already collect food stamps and social security or financial assistance of some sort.  Many have phones, courtesy of family and friends that want them to stay connected but have given up on rehabilitating them.  Some even have computers they can use at pretty much any coffee shop, library or restaurant.

There are college students and young people who are homeless.  Yes, that’s true. I don’t have documentation or interviews on them… yet.  When I do, it will be posted.

For some it’s a temporary situation.

All in all, if nothing else, I hope I’ve given you some pondering fodder.

P.S. This is some of the garbage the homeless have left behind my home, which was one of the things, the above lady talks about in our interview.  The main thing, is be kind.

Trash

Matthew chapter 25, 34-46

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply,
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.