August Walk

On my neighborhood walks even though it’s the dog days of August, I see secret signs of autumn to come.

Goldenrods, their yellow flags announcing six weeks ’till frost remain unfurled even though I see their heads peeking out from their hiding spots. 

The burning bushes green all summer long now showing signs of smoldering tips.

The leaves atop the trees dry and wait for a cool wind to transport them in flight to distant places where they decay as do all living things.

A child’s pink birthday balloon falling lower each day. It now barely moves, wet against the mailbox post. 

by Sue Baugh Mattingly – August 2013

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

Facebook

Goodbye Facebook

Several friends have asked me why I deleted my Facebook account a few months ago. They miss my comments and photos. They miss me. I do not doubt this because I miss them also. I miss their updates and photos and I miss being in contact. But we see Facebook through the lens of their own relationships. Friends, grandchildren, lovers, church members, baby photos, kitten videos, all good I thought.

I was one of over 2 billion users, showing off with little to no thought of how my personal information was being used. I didn’t read the terms of the agreement or try to understand the privacy settings. I was having fun and for free!

Giving up Facebook was not something I did lightly. After being a member for so many years it was a sacrifice. One thing I’ve learned though and not unexpectedly is that while being a member I was sacrificing time. The time that I could be doing more productive things but this is not why I left Facebook.

My last comment on Facebook before I departed was this:

“I have been betrayed. Facebook used me and used my friends and our data. More importantly, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have endangered the democracy of the US and the safety of democracy globally. After 10 years of FB membership, I am hurt and disillusioned. I will never be back and will encourage others to take the same step.”

Full Stop

That is the reason and it is not hyperbole. Facebook sold our information to a foreign government through Cambridge Analytica and by other means. Cambridge Analytica alone obtained information from 50 million Facebook user profiles without permission from members.

Experts believe that Facebook, more than any other social media platform, has facilitated the spread of fraudulent news because of its vast number of users and the many mechanisms it offers for sharing information quickly.*

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Billions $

Facebook lost over $120 billion in stock on July 26, the largest one-day stock loss in history when investors dumped over 20%. One might say it serves them right, but how many millions did they make off us over the past three years or so? Also, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t miss his $16 billion loss any more than I’d miss one hundred. He is a multibillionaire, down from third richest person to the sixth. I do not begrudge him his wealth, but I vehemently resent how he earned it off of unsuspecting members, like me, like my friends and family.

Those fun Facebook quizzes were designed to learn our preferences and our weaknesses which were played upon in advertising and bogus news. I didn’t do many quizzes but learned that when my friends did so it opened up my data. This devious plan duped the highly educated professional just as it did the uninformed.

Zuckerberg has a history of saying “I’m sorry” but that is not enough when things stay the same. Facebook VP Carolyn Everson recently made the following statement:  “The entire company is focused. We’re adding over 10,000 people, we’re using technology to help us find bad actors and bad behavior.” It doesn’t take that many people nor technology to figure out that the bad actor is the company founder and CEO.

No Return

I’m enjoying the extra hour or so I used to spend on Facebook each day even though I do miss folks I care about. True friends will stay in touch, the other few hundred not so much.

I hope that others have reached a similar decision, but I am only responsible for my own and I refuse to be used to weaken the democracy of the country I love.

Sources: CBS This Morning and *Alicia Shepard of USA Today and NPR.

“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice speak out because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.”                Thurgood Marshall

 

Graphics by Pixabay

Our Planet Earth

Good News

On July 9 Starbucks announced that it is phasing out plastic straws by 2020. They have already begun in some cities to use specially designed lids that eliminate the need for straws. They will roll out this design over the next two years while also offering paper straws. These alternatives, paper and other biodegradable materials for straws should be achieved more quickly if there was not a problem with supply.  See: https://crookedcreek.live/2018/07/02/saving-planet-earth/

While plastic straws do not make up a big percentage of plastic that ends up in our oceans, they are a hazard to wildlife and they are unnecessary. It is a start to reducing single-use plastic items and a way to make us more conscious of the problem of plastic waste on planet earth. We can do this: https://crookedcreek.live/2018/07/02/waste/

Other companies making changes to packaging include Dunkin Donuts which is phasing out all polystyrene over the next two years. Probably the largest, MacDonalds, is committed to reducing plastic materials too and has already begun in the UK and Ireland, planning to meet its zero goal over seven years. 

Some cities are outlawing plastic straws, too including Seattle and Ft. Meyers. Others are considering following suit, e.g., New York and San Francisco. This will make an immense impact. 

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We Can Do Better

Now if we could just get customers to stop idling cars in the drive-thru lanes and instead to park and walk inside, think of the air pollution that could be eliminated. A subject for another day perhaps. 

“Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.” Stephen Hawking

 

Theme photo in title and graphic by Pixabay

P.M. Walk

The Parklands

How lucky we are who live near the Parklands.  Whether one is a biker, a runner or like me just a walker, there is a trail for you. Nature is abundant and stunning. Here are a few scenes my walk today. 

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“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, (s)he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”   George Washington Carver

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Wedding Dresses

Wedding 1927

In 1927 Samuel Baugh (1899-1982), my Uncle Sam married Thelma Kissel (1913-1975). They were married for forty-eight years and had no children. In 2009 I obtained Aunt Thelma’s wedding gown and kept it hanging in a closet with her rosary. I didn’t know what I would eventually do with the gown but knew it was too precious to not protect. 

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Katie

My granddaughter, Katherine Rae Puckett, graduated from IU Bloomington with a degree in Theater Arts. Her grandfather and I worried a little that she might have trouble finding work in her field. We should not have been concerned. After working at various costuming jobs, including with The Louisville Ballet, Shakespeare in the Park and Butler University she began to plan her wedding at age twenty-six. 

Imagine my surprise when she asked if she could use Aunt Thelma’s wedding dress in making her own! I knew intuitively that Aunt Thelma would approve and I gave the dress to Kate. After soaking and cutting and adding fabric Kate’s dress was ready for her big day at Locust Grove in Louisville, KY. https://crookedcreek.live/2018/04/19/soul-7/

 

The Process 

Wedding May 18, 2018

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Jolea Brown, Photographer

Mr. and Ms. Tom Elliott, Stroud, England

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Jolea Brown, Photographer

“A wedding dress is both an intimate and personal for a woman – it must reflect the personality and style of the bride.” Caroline Herrera

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

Looking Back Again

Maybe it’s my recent milestone birthday, but I keep looking back. Please walk with me as I recall some things of years past. 

Do You Remember When?

  • Gas stations were Service Stations? The attendant checked your oil and cleaned your windshield as well as pumping your gas. I remember my Dad driving into the station and requesting “A dollar’s worth please!” That was approximately three gallons back then. 
  • There was one vehicle per family rather than per driver?
  • Funeral homes provided ambulance service?
  • Doctors made routine house calls?
  • Horses were used to farm?
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  • Babies were born at home?
  • The deceased were “laid out” at home? That was before the parlor became a “living” room. 
  • Farm homes had smokehouses? They were not for smokers of cigarettes and cigars. They were for preserving (smoking) and then storing meat for the table.
  • You didn’t own a computer? 
  • You learned to used email?
  • Your phone wasn’t in your pocket?
  • You didn’t know who was calling until they spoke? 

 

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

High BUN

Google

Who has not looked up medical terms, test results and diagnoses Online? I do it often even when I know or think I know what something means. It never hurts to review and become better enlightened, right?

Today I wondered about a BUN value on my Metabolic Panel. I knew it meant Blood Urea Nitrogen and involved kidney function, but I googled “high BUN” anyway.

Among all the excess information I received were literally hundreds of photos similar to this one! 

 

High-Bun-Hairstyles

 

“All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Photos by Pixabay

Book Review – Ghost Girls

Book Review

Recently I read the true story of young women who lost their health and their lives due to exposure to radium on their jobs. Several aspects of this tragedy stand out in my mind, but especially the fact that girls were hired as young as thirteen to work six days a week. Throughout the years that followed they were still referred to as “girls” no matter their ages. The radium dial companies they worked for kept important information about the dangers of radium from them and treated them as expendable. These young women had no way to know that the pretty glow that showed on their clothes, hair, and bodies was slowly poisoning them. 

As they suffered tooth loss, amputations, sarcomas and extreme pain these brave women eventually fought courageously for the truth and for monetary compensation. Their suffering and their efforts resulted in workplace regulations still in place today and even safeguards in the manufacture of the atomic bomb. 

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I highly recommend “The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore. The story begins around 1917 and covers the WWI and WWII eras and well into the 1970s. The results of the courage of these “ghost girls” protect us all even today in the 21st Century.  


 “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of.” Bethany Hamilton

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Meema Pants

Recently I was in Lenscrafters looking into new glasses. The young man working with me was very attentive and professional. After completing my business I started to leave the store when an employee who I had not noticed loudly proclaimed “Meema!” He was looking at me, but surely not talking to me. I was wrong. This young man walked over to me and told me that my pants reminded him of his “Meema in Florida.” I was speechless, but he was not. He proceeded to tell me how much my pants made him think of his grandmother who wore similar ones and always with brightly colored tops. I was wearing a black sweater. 

I told him that I was sure his grandmother would love to know he’s thinking of her. I left the store and returned home deep in thought. Before I exited my car I took this photo of the pants fabric with its tiny embroidered work. IMG_7365

I have a “donation” box in my garage where I collect clothes for a homeless shelter in Southern Indiana. Suffice it to say that by the time I reached the inside of my home, I was sans the Meema pants. 

“Older women are best because they always think                                                  they may be doing it for the last time.” Ian Fleming

 

 

A.M. Walk

A rare lower humidity day brings a cute youngster out to play at Pope Lick Park. It was curious, but not a risk taker. This was as close as I came.  

A surprise on the walkway was this baby frog. It was definitely a day for juveniles. She/he was the perfect subject for photo taking, holding still and posing. fullsizeoutput_18e1

“You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” Saint Bernard

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As will flowers, deer and frogs. 

Book Reviews – Stiff, Smoke Get In Your Eyes, & Confessions of a Funeral Director

So much has been written about the subject of death since Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s seminal work was published in 1969. Kubler-Ross was a Swiss psychiatrist who worked with the terminally ill at the University of Chicago. She wrote “On Death and Dying” which presented the “five stages of death,” more accurately the five stages of grief. Thus began an open dialogue on the subject of death in medical schools and other clinical settings and to some extent in social conversation. Nearly fifty years later we are much less reluctant to discuss the subject of death and dying.

That does not mean that everyone is terribly comfortable with all that has been written over this time span or even with the general discussion of the subject of death. I devour the subject as my modest library demonstrates. I have learned from each author, but my favorites to date are Mary Roach, Caitlin Doughty, and Caleb Wilde. fullsizeoutput_138b

“Stiff”

First I would like to recommend “Stiff” by Mary Roach. Published in 2003 it is far more interesting than “Spook” released two years later. “Stiff” is full of history as well as contemporary subjects surrounding death. Want to know a little about cannibalism? How about cannibalism in the name of medicine? Have any idea what can happen to the human body donated to science? Most people think anatomy lab for medical students, few think of crash dummy. 

Roach’s macabre sense of humor has resulted in “Stiff” chapters with names like “A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste, The Cadaver Who Joined the Army, How to Know if You are Dead and Eat me,” just to name a few. Don’t let her way with words fool you, she does serious research and travels the world to gather information. 

 

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”Other Lessons from the Crematory

 If you like both the subject of death and memoirs, this book is for you. Caitlin Doughty shares her experiences in the funeral business, but particularly in her job at a crematorium. Her gallows humor not only made me laugh frequently, it kept me grounded while I read about situations that were sometimes heartbreaking and disturbing.

Before we take that last journey into our own death shouldn’t we be as informed as possible about our options? Doughty will guide you through so much that you didn’t know you needed to know and she will do it with wit, charm, and compassion. Read it. Allow her to help you develop the “Art of Dying” which is appropriately the name of her last chapter. 

After reading this book you may want to check out her blog and other things this busy author is doing.  http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com

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“Confessions of a Funeral Director” How the Business of Death Saved My Life

Caleb Wilde is a very sensitive and honest writer whose blog I have followed for several years. His book like his blog contains humor, but the purpose of his writing is much more on the serious side. Published last year this book covers Wilde’s life growing up in the family business and the adjustments he had to make in his life to remain a funeral director. 

The book is true to its title and contains confessions especially regarding Wilde’s battle against chronic depression. His journey is instructive, interesting and enlightening.

I recommend both this book and the blog by the same name. https://www.calebwilde.com

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“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.”    Edvard Munch

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

 

 

Saving Planet Earth

Straws Again  

https://crookedcreek.live/2018/07/02/waste/

After writing Wasting Planet Earth posted earlier today, I read a comprehensive article in the Courier Journal (7/1/18) about plastic straws. The movement to eliminate these devices is picking up steam. There was even a report on broadcast news last night about the subject (NBC). 

In the CJ I learned that there is only one manufacturer of paper straws in all the United States. That company, Aardvark Straws in Fort Wayne, IN, cannot meet the demand so now many paper straws used in the US are from China. Aardvark’s natural cellulose product is both compostable and biodegradable. 

We have been using plastic straws since 1970 and they are a part of the eight billion tons of plastic we dump into the oceans each year! By 2050 it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the planet’s oceans than fish. We must do better.

Challenge

If you still are not convinced that these small cylinders of plastic that we suck on so cavalierly are a problem, I challenge you to watch all eight minutes of this YouTube video. If you are sensitive to coarse language you should watch without sound. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=4wH878t78bw

Thank You

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“Small Acts, when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.” Howard Zinn 

 

Theme photo in title and graphic by Pixabay

Wasting Planet Earth

Do We Need It?

Plastic Straws

Plastic drinking straws are taken for granted, but they should not be. The United States uses and disposes of over 500 million of these devices per day. Straws are unnecessary, but if one does not agree with that, how about this? “Plastic” straws are unnecessary. Paper straws are less hazardous to our environment and to wildlife. Reusable straws can easily be washed and reused for a lifetime. The next time you are in a restaurant, how about saying “No straw please.”

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Thank you to “The Last Plastic Straw” for this illustration. 

Plastic, Plastic, Plastic

Starting out with straws is easy. It’s a little thing that each of us can give up without any pain. Plastic, in general, is a different challenge. Take a minute and look around where you are at the moment. How much plastic do you see? Are you touching it? I am, both the keyboard and the protective cover over the top of it are plastic. There’s my phone case, my TV remote and on and on. I know we cannot eliminate plastic completely, but that does not mean we cannot reduce it. I’ve been trying but barely making a dent. I can do better. 

First, we must care. Then it helps to be informed. I’ve done some research today and the statistics are sickening. Here are just a few provided by EcoWatch.  

  1. The average American discards 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  2. Americans throw away 35 billion water bottles per year.
  3. Worldwide, one million plastic bags are used per minute!
  4. By age six years 93% of all Americans’ blood tests positive for BPA, a plastic chemical.                                                       

Read more of these alarming statistics at https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html

We cannot do without many things that are plastic, perhaps, but what about the things we can eliminate? What about the things that we can use over and over again before tossing?

There are many who do better than I. My cloth grocery bags are often forgotten in the back seat of my car, only to be remembered after I have filled my grocery cart. I carry a nylon bag in my purse to carry smaller purchases in other stores and forget to use it as well. Today I put the cloth grocery bags in the front seat where I can see them more easily. I plan to say, “No bag please” for more purchases in other stores. I can do better.

I know someone who has completely eliminated non-recycle materials from her life. It began during March of this year, her birthday month, when she eliminated all plastic of any kind for thirty-one days. I couldn’t believe what she was able to accomplish, buying food in bulk and placing it in paper or nylon bags, for instance. That was an inspiration to me to do better.

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Ideas? 

Are there ways that you eliminate waste and especially plastic that you’d like to share?

“Pollution is a serious one. Water pollution, air pollution, and then solid hazardous waste pollution. And then beyond that, we also have the resources issue. Not just water resources but other natural resources, the mining resources being consumed, and the destruction of our ecosystem.” Ma Jun

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Photos and graphics by Pixabay