Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goodbye, 2015 it really almost 2016?

What a year it's been. More of my friends have had grandchildren this year, our youngest son entered his junior year in high school, and a beloved horse passed away, leaving lessons of love and commitment behind. Our oldest son makes Tennessee his home, and yet another makes strides in the business world of Boston.

Time seems more precious, and time with our parents increasingly precious. Nationally, 2015 saw an increase in domestic terrorism, and scenes of chaos from Paris that seemed from a nightmare. Society continues to change, and an election for President will happen this year.

Here's my prediction: Trump vs. Hillary in the general. Did I really just write that? How fun and interesting it has already been to observe  and we're just getting going!

Here at the cusp of a new year, enjoy a more light-hearted piece from LifeZette about baby names. Come on, people  they're just getting weird.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

You're A Mean One, Mrs. Grinch

Many times, if you have traditional values, you are akin to the Grinch. To others - especially those who hold values counter to yours - you seem to always be screaming, "Stop Changing Things!" into the wind, furrowing your brow and wringing your hands like a curmudgeon (great word). You slink around corners and with your long, hairy fingers stealthily snatch all forms of interesting, captivating, modern fun.

You are a stick-in-the-mud, a fuddy-duddy, intractably stubborn and mired in "the old days." You're a mean one, Mrs. Grinch. 

It is not a resistance to change that motivates traditional, or conservative people. It is an energetic and optimistic belief that certain things just work. It is an ability to see down the road and say, at the end of the day, this will bring discord and dissatisfaction and a hollowness to either personal or national character.

An applied, exercised foresight. Change for change's sake, or worse, to fulfill empty whims of children, is not worth our time or effort.

This may seem harsh when applied to the story linked to, below, but honestly, we are doing our girls a disservice if we bend to this latest example of whim-ery.

Work to make things better, girls - don't blow them up when they don't suit you.

Here's the subject of tonight's blog post:

To prove that I'm neither curmudgeon or fuddy-duddy, here's a list of modern things I DO like:

1. Texting
2. Chipotle Burrito Bowl (get your act together with the e-coli, Chipotle!)
3. Adele
4. Sweaters on Dogs (as long as they're comfortable)
5. Fancy wine-openers that come in a velvet box
6. The Fitbit - it's on my Christmas list 
7. Budweiser commercials with puppies and Clydesdales

Monday, November 30, 2015

Jazzed for Christmas

This year I am so jazzed for Christmas!!

Most years I feel under-whelmed at this point in the holiday calendar; I love to start the holiday craziness a little later than what is now popular. Around December 12th I decorate the house and do the bulk of my Christmas shopping. I begin to listen to Christmas music in earnest around that time, and attempt to  make cookies, too. I basically self-immerse in it all.

 And if it snows? Forget it - I'll be the first one to make a snow angel in the yard.

This  year, I'm feeling that beloved holiday spirit early. I am excited for the Masses at church and the Christmas carols to come. I have also decided to do the following to usher in my interior celebration:

1. Although news-watching is a part of my job, I will limit the amount of time I watch bad news on television. The world is crazy, and we'd better get used to it. Seek out the good.

2. I will go to Adoration once a week - this quiet chapel time where your thoughts expand in the silence and yet are more focused, too.

3. I will pick a way our family can give that is meaningful - and as Mom, drag them to do it. That's the American way.

4. When my boys were little, I used to make tea and sit in front of our creche at night after they were tucked in, contemplating, imagining, and generally being blissed-out on a fact that my human brain can't even begin to totally take in - a loving God sent a Son He so loved into this poor world, and that Son for a time walked the earth among us.

I will try to have a few of those quiet times alone in the dining room again this year.

I would like to thank the Simons, the Lewises, and Pam Koner of Family to Family for helping me remember what is important; it was an honor to write their story. Check it out, below:

I hope you, too,find your way to a meaningful, super-connected Christmas or Hannukah celebration. I hope you have those moments of seeing how loved you, in your imperfection and striving, really are.

And I hope the shivery light-bulb moments of true understanding come to you as we ready our homes for this most joyous of times.

T hank you for reading. :-) God bless!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Campus Craziness - Don't Attend Victimology University!

College craziness - kids needing safe spaces, apologies, the re-writing of history, and the list goes on, and read on

Have a great weekend, stay safe, and talk to your kids about staying grounded in an increasingly bizarre world.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Don't Spoil Your Teen!

Are you raising a great teen or a self-centered wreck? Read this cautionary tale. Our kids are our greatest work - so lets keep up the work  to have them turn out right - good citizens and adults capable of caring for themselves, as well as others.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Michelle Obama - don't bother with punctuation - that's not cool!

Click here to read all about Michelle Obama
s new social media sharing initiative - where you should forget grammar and keep content "raw."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Last Game in the Old Stadium at ENMU

I am taking a trip next week that I am so excited about I have a case of the butterflies. Something on the horizon that is so special, it's as if  my whole system can''t wait to go. I am going back to my college town - Portales, N.M.

 A small dusty town nestled in the southeast corner of the state, next week-end Portales will be my Paris or London.

I live thousands of miles from where I went to college. In what was a blip in an otherwise smooth experience of east-coast-ness, at 17 I left home and traveled from Maryland to New Mexico for higher learning with a side of desert sunsets. It was a culture shock, an adventure waiting to be had, and a savior to a perpetually restless personality - a trait that would continue, in ever-lessening frequency, for a lifetime. 

Restlessness is not cool; it does not make one mysterious in that good way once you're a grown-up. It is a fatiguing, sometimes frustrating need to always see more than what you are seeing; do more than you are doing. It has been a lifelong lesson in appreciation of the now, to mostly overcome restlessness.

I live an ordinary life and am happily immersed in my work as a journalist and the day-to-day of family with a husband and three sons - the last of whom is now 16, the other two well into adulthood and thriving on their own. Now is a good time to take a breath and look back,shading my eyes and scanning the horizon like an archaeologist looking for clues to answer the question: how did this place, put firmly in the past years ago, become so formative to who I am now?

 I am travelling back to the place I've only been once since I left, to see the last football game in the old stadium at ENMU before it is torn down to make way for a new one. I am meeting some old friends back there, and rushing time - that robber, that albatross - will briefly stand still.

After I left school I never looked back and never went back - one of the hallmarks of restlessness. Actually I did go back once, when I was in Arizona with my husband and "popped over" alone to New Mexico for two nights. During that trip, I walked my campus as a grown woman, I let two freshmen excitedly give me the tour I went on 30 years prior as a teen, and I had lunch with the town sheriff (by accident; he was reading the paper and offered me a section; one thing led to another.)

I can't wait to see faces I haven't seen in years (and may have to struggle for the name that goes with them.) I'm not a particularly rabid football fan, so I'll talk through most of the game. (And I have a crazy fear of mascots - anything in a costume with a fully enclosed head - but that's for another post.)

I can't wait to feel the New Mexico air, have a real burrito or chimmichanga, and see faces that are now a bit more lined, topped with gray, perhaps, and the dearer for it. I am ready to time-travel.

Houston, commence the countdown.

And there's of my LifeZette articles on FOX

Have a great week-end. Get a little restless.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pope Francis comes to America

Why has the Pope come to the U.S? Is he wary of America? Is he also a political force? What does he want to let us know about what is important in life?

Click here to learn more.

 Enjoy Cuba, Pope Francis!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Child with Downs syndrome joins the family

Click here to read about an inspiring American family that I am privileged to get to know in relating their story. The video within the story is amazing, too.

90% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted. This is effectively the genocide of a population. Read the article the get the facts on these special people, who may one day disappear from society, as well as a big dose of inspiration.

Life is meant to be lived fully; enjoy what it brings to you, in the way in which it is brought.

Happy Friday. :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Queen Elizabeth is Britain's Longest-reigning Monarch

Tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth becomes Britain's longest-reigning monarch. I, for one, love the Queen.

Britain and I have a complicated relationship; I adore her, and she is not aware that I exist. How I long to walk (hopefully through a light mist) beneath the Tower of London; how I'd love to have tea or a pint where theologian and scholar C.S. Lewis met with his crowd, The Inklings. I'd love to ride a horse along a craggy shoreline (any craggy shoreline will do), and I'd love to tickle a palace guard to see if they can keep a stiff upper lip.

Click here to read about the Queen Mum's continuing majesty. I will be here, hoping I can soon go there.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Mother Theresa, we miss you...

Happy Labor Day weekend! Hopefully anyone reading this is doing so because they are taking a break and relaxing a bit. Like many of my friends, I will be in various hockey rinks arund the Boston area.

I was on Laura Ingraham's radio show yesterday talking about the new "babywearing" rage, and also about an inspirational barber from Iowa who offers kids a free haircut if they will read to him. Good stuff, I hope - funny and inspiring. Even though there are a lot of bad/scary stories in the news, there's a lot of good stuff, too -- and that;s what LifeZette is interested in covering.

And lastly, a piece today about Mother Theresa. We often remember Princess Diana's passing, but we lost another important figure around that time - a humanitarian who is on her way to sainthood in the Catholic church.

Click here to read about this inspiring woman, whose legacy continues today.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Katrina 10 Years Later - A Hero Remembers

Click here to read about Lt. General Honore, who was tasked by the Bush Administration with taking hold of the disaster.

 And I loved that he called me "Darlin'" when we talked.    :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Modern-day Schindler Rescues Girls from ISIS

Click here to read about a modern-day Oskar Schindler who is raising money to rescue girls from hellish existence as ISIS sex slaves.

Not a fun story,but this is the world. or a slice of it, at least...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Monday - talking about too much homework on Laura Ingraham today...

Hi all, and happy Monday!

If you have the chance, at 11:30 EST this morning I'll be talking with Laura Ingraham about my article "Homework Hell" for her site, LifeZette.

Should be interesting - a new study shows that our kids are swamped with they don't have enough to do, just trying to be the best at everything!

I remember my best friend Nicole bringing me a Reader's Digest article years ago called "The Joys of Being Average." Can't we flip things around so that kids are average in sports (meaning, it's ok if they are - of course gifted athletes should zoom to the top of their sport) and excel at school - without hours of homework but instead solid teaching in the classroom?

Food for thought...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Check out the Los Angeles Post Examiner

I would like to thank the LA Post Examiner and the Baltimore Post Examiner very much for allowing me to have a space there to write for the past year or so.. I encourage all readers to bookmark their site - diverse and wonderful material including poetry, song lyrics and short fiction - perfect when you want to think, ponder, laugh or be amazed.

Here they are - check them out!

I have accepted a full-time writing position with Laura Ingraham's new website LifeZette, so I won't be writing for LAPE anymore.

I will miss you guys!! Thanks, Tim, for the support and encouragement. Enjoy your beautiful coast and all its wonders.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Guest Blogger - Lisa Ferrari - Some Dreams Do Come True

Life in the city with a slice of country...  my dream come true.

Well, I always wanted to be a cowboy. Yup, that's right, we called everyone in western gear, western movies, and in the west in general "cowboys," (and it was not offensive...) So, half way through my life, I finally achieved a dream come true. I purchased my first horse, a 14 year old registered quarter horse named "An Obvious Gentleman," "Gent" for short.  Well, I cannot even describe what it feels like to finally have a lifelong dream come true - it still tickles me when I see him, my dream come true, and I'm a cowboy at last; well, in this day and age, I suppose I'm a "cowgirl."

Even though I lived in the city I managed to have a horse, as well as beautiful trails where him and I, alone, meandered through beautiful woods, contemplating life. Not really, I suppose - I just simply sat on his back, and took in every moment, every breath of his, every click and clack of his hooves, and we sauntered luxuriously through those trails.  I didn't need to trot or run, although we did, and I trusted him completely. I had no fear, just like when I was a child, and all of it was enjoyable. As long as I was with him, life was perfect.

I remember a specific trail that I loved. Gent wasn't a real fan of this trail, because it was the longer route back to his barn, where there was hay...  but I always went this way. You had to ride uphill at one point, and then the trail flattened out, and all of a sudden, it opened up to the most serene beautiful view. I always, at this point, took my feet out of the stirrups and let my legs dangle - no fear - as we slowly just walked this part of the trail, alone, in peace and tranquility. Just me, my horse's hoof steps, and his breath.

There is nothing more special to me than those rides with him, just me... and my dream come true.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Netflix Offers Sweet New Maternity Package

Click here to read about Netflix's abundantly generous new maternity/paternity package offered to keep great talent - no more breast pumps in the conference room!

My 16 year old's comment - "Wait, how do people even work at Netflix? Isn't it just like videos and stuff?"

Maybe that's what I should have been covering...

Brian Regan at Hampton Casino Ballroom

So excited to be going to see this guy, Brian Regan, tonight with the family! Our oldest son introduced us to this family-friendly comedian's work, and it has become a tradition to see his show if he is anywhere in the area.

Click here to see one of my favorite bits... and happy Saturday!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Trump in Debate - Viewers in Caucus State Focus on Economy

Click here to read about what viewers at Trump headquarters in New Hampshire care about most in the upcoming (years away still!) election. The "Live Free or Die" state usually calls it like they see it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

College Punishes Student Rather than Teaching Him

Click here for an  article on an interesting free speech much weight do you give social media used by a young person - enough weight to suspend them from their college?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Where are you, Ghandi?

Click here to read stories of average people who are open to learning from our enemies. Is there any "Ghandi" in today's population, or are we just too polarized, stressed, and busy?

Mommy Porn Gets a Brown Wrapper

Click here to read about "Cosmo" finally getting the brown wrapper it deserves. Too many times I have seen toddlers staring at those racy, vacuous covers.

On a cheerier note, happy Monday! It is still summer, no matter what those darn back-to-school ads say.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Are Extreme Sports Selfish?

Kayaking the falls, wingsuit-ing off antennas, rock-climbing over gorges. Are extreme sports enthusiasts selfish? Read here for one viewpoint.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bugaboo Runner Stroller Ad Heats Up Moms

Have you seen the mom/model in the new stroller ad? Its enough to bring on either hysterical laughter or a reach for the wine for most moms of little ones:

Copy and Paste:

It's okay Moms, it will be fall before you know it. :-)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

School Discipline Policies Are Unsafe, Unrealistic

A few months ago I worked on a series about school discipline for LifeZette, and it was posted Thursday or Friday (I was at the beach so I'm not sure!) I found the topic to be eye-opening and frightening. These policies, in my opinion, are destined for failure - and someone is going to get hurt.

Here is the link to the main article:

Please copy and paste: I WILL figure out why these links aren't live!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thousands of dollars spent on Kids' Birthday Parties? New LifeZette piece...

Check this out - the new trend is to go whole-hog on kids' birthday celebrations, breaking the bank to keep up with the Joneses'. Gee, I remember setting up nine empty liter bottles like bowling pins and handing little party guests a tennis ball to "bowl"...I still remember how excited they were!   (I'm sorry these links aren't live - but you can copy and paste into browser. Thanks! It's worth it, I promise!)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Disarming Our Military

Proud to have written today's story on LifeZette entitled "Disarming Our Military." I'd like to thank every service member, past and present, for their brave service. I hope that laws in his country will soon allow you to protect yourself from the increasingly violent world around us - we owe you that much.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Equine Celebration

                 Celebrating the life of my horse Nello with a run up a hill in Montana last week. 

A Swing and A Mrs:My Golf Story

Latest LifeZette piece...
Cut and paste article link below to see how the heck I'm doing at golf:

Let's just say it ain't pretty - yet.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lifezette Launches!

Good morning,

I am pleased to share that I have been writing for Laura Ingraham's new website LifeZette, and today we launched! I will be writing parenting stories mainly, and a bit of politics. Please bookmark the
site, and come back often! I will also try to load my stories on to blog, here. Cut and paste links to review!

Looking forward,

Monday, July 13, 2015

Goodbye, Nello

In a previous blog post I shared my deep hope that the passing of my horse Nello would happen peacefully and painlessly. Indeed, we were blessed with such an ending.

Beginning in May, Nello showed more and more signs of painful arthritis, evidenced mostly be his inability to rise to his legs after lying down. I spoke to the vet several times - a gentle, skilled man who understands the special needs and unique weaknesses of senior horses. I asked him about a horses' ability to mask pain. "Indeed, they can," he sighed over the telephone. "As a prey animal, they have inherited that ability from their forefathers - a visibly weaker animal doesn't last long in the wild. Horses are soldiers that way."

We hoped to make it to next October, so that Nello could enjoy the summer and one more beautiful fall. I tried to prepare myself for our goodbye - an unimaginable parting. I knew every inch of him - his large, bulbous knees, the faded scars from a long-ago accident that criss-crossed his lower legs, the dalmation spots above his hooves, and the splash on his forehead shaped like a baby duck. My rational mind said, he's a horse, he's old, and you've been so lucky. But my heart beat back the coming darkness, still praying for some sort of miracle that would keep this gentle, courageous animal by my side. God loves both of us, right? Maybe he will show us some mercy.

He did. Three weeks ago I went to see Nello at the barn, located five minutes away from my house. I saw him every day of his last three months, walking him, watching him, making sure his hay was sweet and his paddock clean and rock-free. I began talking to him about the future. "I think you're going first," I told him, rubbing his neck. "Wait for me, okay? When I get to where you are, wait for me where I can see you."

This particular day, a Wednesday, Nello ate the red apple I offered, the sweet juice running down the sides of his mouth, his eyes looking off into the distance contemplatively. No creature ever enjoyed a ripe apple the way Nello did. We started to walk around the ring, side by side, as was our habit. I wanted him to flex those achy joints, in the hope that it would lessen arthritis pain. He was, as usual, completely happy, glad to be with me.

Suddenly, he pulled me to the middle of the sand ring. "No," I said, once. He wanted to roll, to scratch his back. He looked at me, flicked his ears, and down he went.

Nello never rose again. He tried once to get up, with a great groan, but soon relaxed down into a resting position, neck stretched out, head lying in the sand. I turned away as I began to try to accept what I had so long feared. I took off the long-sleeve cotton shirt I wore over my tee shirt, and put it under his head. His almond eyes closed in appreciation. Soon, his feet were moving and he was breathing deeply. He was dreaming - of running. I called the vet. "It's time," I whispered, not wanting to wake Nello up.

The vet let me know that it would take him an hour to arrive, and we quickly disconnected. Amazingly, during the middle of the day at a small but busy boarding barn, we were blessedly alone. I used the hour to stroke every part of Nello I could reach, to brush his mane back with my hand and to rub his head gently as he dreamed, his hooves still moving. He awoke several times, at the sound of a truck or another horse snorting, but quickly abandoned the idea of getting to his feet after making a few weak efforts. Enough, his relaxed body lying in the sand ring seemed to say. Enough. I curled my body over his head, my tears dripping onto his velvety ears, and said the Lord's Prayer over him, in reverence, in awe, and in gratefulness for what I had known. I made the sign of the cross on his head.

The vet arrived. My heart began pounding; my tee shirt moved visibly with each beat. I was putting Nello down. He was going on, leaving me behind. The vet clasped my shoulder and said he was sorry in a strangled whisper. I got up and Nello raised his head after me - where are you going, his wide beautiful eyes questioned. The vet motioned me into position. I clasped Nello's large, heavy head between my two hands and nodded to the vet. As the syringe pricked Nello's neck I began talking - as I has many times before when he got a vaccine - about how good and fine and brave a boy he was. I told him how perfect he was, and reminded him to wait for me at the gate of paradise. Then, we would ride the far country together. We would run.

Nello died a few minutes later, painlessly and at peace. In death it was as if he had turned to stone - his beauty was motionless and empty. His spirit had indeed flown. I stumbled away from his body and out of the ring, his dirty lead rope, my shirt that smelled of him, and the carrots he never got to finish all in my hands.

Friends and family surrounded me immediately. I was showered with well wishes, gifts, cards; every common expression of sympathy. I was given a necklace with Nello's name engraved on it, which I treasure. The kindness of friends and family - particularly my husband - has truly gotten me through. By losing Nello, I have seen how good and caring people are. It has made the loss bearable.

Still, at night, I hug his bridle and beckon him into my dreams. He has yet to come. I shut my eyes as tears slide out and imagine us on one of our rides - running down a wooded trail, his neck reaching out as he flies, always wanting to beat the other horses - wanting to win. There wasn't a lot of winning in his life prior to me - he was an abused carriage horse who had never had his own person. With him I found adventure, freedom, and a once in a lifetime partner. I hope with me Nello found out just how good he was. That was important to him - being a good boy.

I miss you, Nello. Please, come into my dreams. I am waiting.

                                                      My "Nello necklace" from my friends.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Keb Mo at the Wilbur Theater in Boston

Last night my son Matt and I went to the Wilbur Theater in Boston to see three-time Grammy award winner Keb Mo perform with his band. What a treat - if you get the chance to see this artist, jump at it! My oldest son Fred is housemates with Keb's stage manager in Nashville, so a big thank you to both Fred and Ryan for the amazing seats and the chance to chat with Keb Mo afterwards.

It is interesting to see an artist that you know nothing about. We went in with clean slates for brains - we had youtube-d a few of Keb's songs, and I especially like his version of Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues (at dinner the night before Ryan told us he was not performing this on the current tour - bummer!) But other than our youtube exposure, I didn't know anything about this talented man.

Keb is very tall and slim, and is visually magnetic - his large feet tapping out rhythms, his long arms cradling his guitar, his smile radiant, capturing every person in the room with his enthusiasm and organic love of performing. He is jazzed by playing live, and so are his players - keyboards, bass and drummer often grinned at each other, at the crowd, as well as at a young guitar student from Cape Cod that was the band's special guest for the show. The set list was a blend of ballad, funk and blues, the lyrics simple and moving or funny, or wry. (My favorite - a song called Government Cheese.) Keb's showmanship extends to chatting easily to his rapt audience, and he stopped to take pen and paper and create a list of the songs audience members were shouting out as requests in a very funny interlude on stage,

Thank you Keb for a amazing live show - Matt and I are new and passionate Keb Mo fans. :-)

Government cheese on youtube :

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Quick Nine Holes, Anyone?

I have just started golfing. Well...almost golfing - they don't actually set you loose on the course until you "are not a danger to yourself or others,"  whatever that means. Apparently you have to hit 1,000,000 drives off the tee before you are deemed course-worthy,

My husband Fred is a big golfer. He loves/hates the game, depending on the day. He attended the Masters this year, and was just totally amazed by the whole experience. I was so happy he got a chance to be there to see Tiger Woods throw up his hands in total frustration.

My husband has tried to teach me to golf several times. He is exceedingly patient and I'm happy that he wants me to golf with him, but acting out his list of demands in one fluid motion was challenging: keep your elbow straight, eye on the ball, weight on back leg, follow through your swing...for some reason, I got mad at him. And he wasn't doing anything wrong; I was.

So I attended a golf clinic at our course. The most memorable phrase was our teacher yelling "No Elvis!" meaning he didn't want our swing to be in our knees (here he did a pretty impressive Elvis imitation in front of us), but in our hips. Interestingly, because the class 1) is a little older, and understood this Elvis reference and 2) was not married to the teacher, we all immediately improved.

The next day, I was sore in muscles I never knew I had - my upper left torso, my lower legs, my wrists? Do my wrists even have muscles? If they do, they were hurting. As I ate Motrin like chicklets I assured my husband I did, indeed, love golf.

My clinic included a glass of wine and appetizer, and frankly this was the best part. But I am determined to keep swinging. My kids are growing up, so I can either get in the game, or spend a lot of time away from my husband. Plus, the outfits are cute.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Benghazi, the Foundation, Private Email Servers...Hillary Clinton: Her ducks are far from in a row

It seems that it will be forever until the next election, but in the political world things are just getting good. Many do not understand Mrs. Clinton's reticence to answer questions thus far, but I have a theory - sometimes a lady just likes to have her ducks in a row before she speaks. Read on. Happy Wednesday!

Hillary Clinton: Her ducks are far from in a row

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Lion and the Lamb and the Horse

This is Nello, my horse. He and I both are glad that the harsh winter is over, and that warmer weather is here, finally.

The winter took its toll on Nello - I saw him age in front of my disbelieving eyes. Like an older person, Nello's arthritis flared up terribly, and the vet had to rush to the barn twice when he couldn't get to his feet after laying down to rest. Both times, I prepared myself to say goodbye. Both times, when he saw me he somehow staggered to his feet, and we avoided the end I so fear.

Nello looks older, now. Still beautiful, his face has hollows under his eyes, and his cheekbones are more pronounced. His hocks (back knee joints) are bulbous, as are his front knee joints. This is what will get him, in the end - these terrible knees, the result of a harsh working life as a carriage horse. Nello was originally brought over from Argentina years ago as a harness racing prospect, but had a terrible accident at some point due to a careless, impatient owner, and was subsequently used - overused - as a carriage horse. When I met him, over four years ago, he was just a lawn ornament, and ridden gently for lessons. I took the plunge, bought him for a few hundred dollars, and trailered him from upper New Hampshire to the Boston area. And the rest has been marvelous, unforgettable history.

Despite those knees, Nello has never allowed me to fall off his back. We have had more adventures on trail rides in our years together, but have had even more special times just being together quietly. I fuss over him, making sure his water is clean, his pain pills loaded into his homemade cookies, and his teeth, hooves and general health are well cared for. I have switched him to a senior feed to lesson the sugar in his system that his old feed produced, and I brush him and walk him by hand almost every day.

But you can't overcome time. Our new vet at our new barn (I moved him closer to me so that I can see him every day) told me that Nello is not 24 or 25, as I had thought, but at least 30. (Maybe even 32.) If only I had met him when he was younger. If only his previous owners hadn't abused his fine legs, turning his knees to stone. If only there was a remedy for age.

All we can do for those we love is to be there. That's it. I will be there now, and when Nello draws his last breath, too, if God allows. I will be there when it's cold, and when it's hot, and when he's lame, and on the days when he's feeling fine, and we can enjoy a ride slowly, walking around a large sand ring.

I have come to understand that Nello was a gift to me in middle age. He fulfilled a childhood dream, and he helped to create new ones. He has made me more patient, more adventurous, more open to what life can bring, and in what forms. Now, one of my life's most fervent wishes is that Nello go out with dignity, and without pain. I will do everything I can to allow this to happen, and he can count on me the way I, on some many rides, have counted on him.

Is it wrong to pray for an old horse, with so many other troubles in the world? I don't think so.

Not this horse, anyway.

I put Nello out in a field alone yesterday, and I took this picture. Right after I did, he raised his head and the breeze lifted his thick black mane, ruffling it beautifully. He looked at me then, so calmly, so at peace that tears filled my eyes, and I knew that my prayers are being answered. Answered by a Creator that cares as much for the lion and the lamb as he does for all the rest of his creations.

And I am filled with thanks, for this horse I love so much.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Poor Baltimore

The television coverage of the Baltimore protests had me mesmerized - I grew up in Columbia, right up the road. I didn't really go to Baltimore growing up, except for special nights out (birthdays, anniversary celebrations) so it remained mysterious until I myself was a grown up.

Then, the Inner Harbor was revitalized. I had my own children, and on visits from Boston to Columbia we would travel into the city to go to the aquarium, a play, or to stroll by the water on a beautiful evening while enjoying an ice cream.

There is another side to Baltimore, as there is another side to all cities. A side filled with crime, poverty, gunfire, death,

It was this side we saw on television. But within the emergent situation we saw clergy, good parents, concerned citizens, children. No matter what part of the city you live in, you will find citizens hoping to make a difference.

Here is my column for the LA Post Examiner about the riots, presented as a letter to the protesters.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Christian murders escalating to religious cleansing in Middle East and political leaders silent

Why is it not an emergency when Christians are killed for their faith? Honestly a group of murdered kittens would get more outrage, it seems, in today's media and on the President's agenda. We must stand with our imperiled brothers and sisters on far-off lands and keep the pressure on world leaders to recognize atrocities specifically aimed at Christians. We need more eyes on this than just the Pope and Fox News.

Read more here:

Have a great day! Despite the dire subject matter of this column I feel that each day is always a brand new chance for change, and with prayer, focused attention and good works we can change any tide!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ransomware, Malware, Etc...Protecting Your Digital World

Recently I was the victim of a ransomware virus. I couldn't believe it - an unknown, shadowy figure or figures was offering to restore my files - which now looked like a mass of hieroglyphics when opened - if I would send them $300 (Visa, Discover and Paypal gladly accepted.) What?

The worst part is - I need my computer for all my work, and I should know better. Back up, back up, back up!

Read on, friends - and take steps to protect your computer, of you haven't already.
Have a great week!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New England Shoots for Record Snowfall

Hello Readers,

It may seem somewhat redundant to talk about the weather at this point, what with spring right around the corner, and all. Plus, haven't we talked it to death - at the gas station, the coffee shop, and the office?

Unfortunately, being redundant has never stopped me before, so I covered the (almost) record-breaking snows of 2014-15 in my latest column. So grab a cup of hot chocolate (or, for those pesky optimists, an iced tea), and say goodbye to the snow with my latest effort!

Read on here:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Brian Williams - I wasn't Actually on THAT Chinook...

So Brian Williams is called out on social media about his decade-old story of being in a Chinook helicopter during an embedding in the Iraq War that came under enemy fire. Why did he lie? Isn't it enough to have hair that good?

Read on:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

This past week's massacre in Paris, at three different locations, shows us the need to clarify who and what we are dealing with when it comes to terrorism. Here is my latest effort in the Los Angeles Post Examiner:

Obama's Missed Legacy

A thought I find so troubling and just plain sad in the wake of the Dallas shootings and all the other racial unrest bubbling up in our na...