Posted 5/2/16 at 7:31 PM | Karen Kramer
One teacher can make all the difference. Take time to thank them this week.
By second grade she could see that most of the kids were smarter. She envied how they could whip through their assignments—getting them back with hardly any red ink marks. And they always seemed to have the right answers when called upon.
Report cards were always the worst. She’d carry them home and then overhear her parents whispering about her. Year after year—failing enough to feel inferior but never failing bad enough to be kept behind.
Now it was a new school year. The slate was clean. No failed efforts yet. She’d been assigned to Room 5, but the teacher hadn’t been announced yet. Rumor said he’d been hired at the last minute. No one knew who he was.
As the students filed into Room 5 the teacher looked like someone’s college-aged brother. He introduced himself and said he was just beginning his teaching career. He smiled and said that he’d be learning right along with them. She smiled back. FULL POST
Posted 4/28/16 at 4:06 PM | Karen Kramer
Mount Storm King in the Olympics is a quick but intense climb since it’s 1200 feet of elevation per mile. But the last 500 feet truly test your limits.
It was Christmas Day, and as a gift to myself, I wanted to hike to the top.
The Very Top.
Beyond the end-of-trail warning sign, ropes are securely (?) tied to outcroppings enabling the fearless to climb to the summit.
From there one can see the entire glacier-fed Lake Crescent and beyond to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the watery dividing line between the United States and Canada.
A bonus on this Christmas Day climb, was fresh snow on the rugged summit. So, Tommy, my son and official Storm King guide, and I laid fresh boot tracks through a couple feet of snow. FULL POST
Posted 4/27/16 at 5:25 PM | Karen Kramer
A clock, with hands rigidly aligned close to midnight, hangs on the wall in the office of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This is where an elite group of scientists and Nobel Laureates meet to analyze data and then determine how close we are to global nuclear armageddon.
Currently, it’s set to three minutes to midnight—or doomsday.
In our brave new American world, rogue nations threaten key US cities—like Seattle, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and Manhattan. North Korea recently test-fired an intercontinental missile. They boast that they can put nukes on them.
We should assume North Korea can do this.
Then there is Iran with their recent launch of two intermediate-range ballistic missiles. On the missile boosters, the Iranians wrote in Hebrew, “Israel must be wiped out.” Touché. This is a flagrant disregard for UN resolutions.
In response, America could resurrect President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. He was mocked for his forward thinking—for his Star Wars-type anti-ballistic missile systems. FULL POST
Posted 4/21/16 at 2:32 PM | Karen Kramer
Besides providing an efficient means of travel in the big city, public transportation is also an effective barometer of cultural sentiment.
Especially when it’s the hottest day on record and all the seats are taken.
Sunshine in Seattle is cause to celebrate, but not when humanity is tightly packed and a rider loudly declares that we’d better get used to this because climate change is getting worse.
As my friend sat on that humid bus, she glanced at the faces huddled too close for comfort and knew she wouldn’t say anything.
Someone old enough to know how to maintain peace decided instead to share that “global warming” was a bunch of left-wing b******* and no one could prove otherwise.
Well that set off the climate change commenter. Shaking his head in disgust he called the older man an f****** idiot and agreed with Al Gore that climate change dissenters deserved to be in jail. My friend wondered if either one would exit soon. FULL POST
Posted 4/14/16 at 11:11 AM | Karen Kramer
Jerry* was a quick learner at the mill. The foreman noticed and picked him for operator training. This led to advancements and a terrific salary.
About twenty years into his mill career, overseas competition undermined profits. Layoffs became routine. Money got tight. Unable to find work, Jerry became despondent.
Sitting at a bar mid-day, Jerry struck up a conversation with a man sitting nearby. Suffice it to say, he made a deal with the devil. All Jerry had to do was make a “special delivery” and he’d be able to pay his mortgage that month. Sometimes people can pinpoint the beginning of their downfall. Jerry would look back and remember his.
More deliveries followed, and soon Jerry enjoyed “all” the business perks and got just as hooked as those who desperately needed his “deliveries”. He kept his new business from his wife. A ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy is never good in marriage. FULL POST
Posted 4/11/16 at 4:27 PM | Karen Kramer
April: STD Awareness Month
For years I visited middle and high schools in the rural county where I live. As a volunteer, I still had to be “state certified” to talk to students about health issues relating to sexual choices. While it wasn’t hard to get their attention talking about sex, getting them to understand the consequences was much harder.
Sexually transmitted diseases/infections happen frequently and the effects can be long lasting.
Throughout the month of April, an awareness campaign educates the sexually-active about sexually-transmitted diseases and treatment options. But leave it to the politically incorrect left-leaning liberals to make light of the epidemic levels of STDs in our nation.
With the hashtag campaign #ShoutYourStatus, STD victims can boast about their diseases on social media like it’s a badge of honor. Instead, social media should be an outlet to give pertinent information about the dangers and the pitfalls from random sex. Another truth—the more sexual partners one has the higher the odds for contracting a lifelong disease. FULL POST
Posted 4/7/16 at 1:33 PM | Karen Kramer
Of course I didn’t realize it at the time. Things were too chaotic. In the long chapter titled, “mothering a young child”, time is elusive. Up hours before dawn to get some work done, then a rush to get work done during naptime.
Then it’s playtime, dinner time, story time before bedtime, and prized moments of my-time before it begins again.
For a break, we’d taken a weekend to visit my mom—which meant an interminably long drive with a squirming child.
Mom’s rustic cabin seemed timeless nestled in its wooded acres—and it was a child’s paradise with new things to see and touch. Including a beach with waves, shells, seagulls and miles of shoreline.
It was cold and wet—but that didn’t matter when the beach was waiting to be explored. Soon our pockets were laden with the rock and shell treasures our little girl found. I didn’t stop to wonder if she’d would remember this day. Would I even remember it? FULL POST
Posted 4/5/16 at 12:29 PM | Karen Kramer
I’m not against raising the minimum wage, nor am I opposed to paying more for my meal to cover the additional costs of my server’s pay. But it isn’t as simple as raising wages; we need higher skilled laborers and better jobs.
Californians are celebrating the mandatory minimum wage increase to $15.00 per hour—but for the 600,000 California minimum wage workers and the millions more across the nation they better face the new economic reality: automation.
Automation is replacing low-skilled jobs at twice the rate of jobs that pay $20-40 per hour. Robots are getting smarter.
To compete, humans need to get smarter too. Those minimum wage jobs were never intended to be anything more than the ground floor of a young adult’s work experience.
We’ve been told that the culprit for our current economic woes are all the jobs we lost to China and Mexico. But bringing back those jobs doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. FULL POST
Posted 3/31/16 at 3:38 PM | Karen Kramer
The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) director shared some of the worst atrocities he'd seen in Iraq and Syria. Traveling straight into the bullseye zone of evil, his organization cares for the persecuted and the suffering while offering hope.
His stories of horror were not meant to paralyze us but propel us to action. I felt a plea for money was coming, but I was wrong.
Scanning the audience, he said together we could make a difference.
One family at a time—inviting Muslims into our homes and becoming friends.
Sharing meals, getting to know one another, not attempting to sway them with our faith, but just offering friendship. Not a one-time event, but an on-going effort to love Muslims in our communities.
Images of ISIS brutalities flooded my head. How about those rioting Muslim immigrants in Europe? The Belgium and Paris terrorist attacks?
Would making friends with American Muslims help? According to VOM it does. Millions of Muslims aren’t jihadists. They are fathers, mothers, kids, aunts, uncles, and grandparents like us. FULL POST
Posted 3/29/16 at 12:30 PM | Karen Kramer
Some federal employees have been viewing porn on government-owned computers on government time. Porn filters need to be installed on all government computers.
North Carolina Representative Walter Jones has asked House Committee on Appropriations to add language in any future appropriations that will force federal agencies to block access to pornography on all government computer networks.
We shouldn’t pay our government employees to peruse porn. Not only is our nation in debt, we are morally bankrupt as well.