Posted 6/16/16 at 11:28 PM | Karen Kramer
Several wedding invitations are on my desk. Each couple has planned a special day with flowers, flowing dresses, serious vows, love, laughter, maybe some joyful tears, and a gathering of families and friends.
But beyond the moments shared at the altar or in a garden, and after a brief honeymoon, the real journey awaits. And honestly, their future is unknown.
Many couples delay marriage—sometimes fearing failure, money issues, or just too much uncertainty in our weary world of horrible tragedies, suffering and misfortune. But please don’t let that stop you from saying I do.
Scary highlights from the year I married:
Revolutionary forces in Iran under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini took over Iran.
Militants later seized the US embassy and held over 50 Americans hostage—for over a year. FULL POST
Posted 6/9/16 at 3:38 PM | Karen Kramer
When my grandson expressed concern about the election, I realized he was older than his years. What kind of America will he inherit?
I’ve always been impressed with how smart you are—okay, you’re my grandson so I may be biased, but I was genuinely surprised with your interest in this presidential election.
When I was your age politics and TV news seemed boring—so when you asked thoughtful questions about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and you even knew about Donald Trump, I was really astounded.
I wish you weren’t inheriting a debt-ridden nation from me and my generation. We haven’t done a good job stewarding our nation’s resources or making good choices in how we spent our money.
We haven’t solved the hardest problems, but it’s not because we didn’t have smart leaders. We just couldn’t work together. We even failed in helping the poor not be poor anymore. When I was a child our president started the War on Poverty. We’re still fighting that war and have spent 11 trillion dollars failing to win it. FULL POST
Posted 6/7/16 at 5:29 PM | Karen Kramer
Oh, to be child in elementary school these days. Learning to be equipped to handle life is far more inclusive than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Understanding gender begins in Kindergarten.
And each grade level incrementally increases understanding. Students are learning how to express gender identity. But have no fear, by fourth grade nine year olds can define sexual orientation. By fifth grade they learn how media influences them and are guided in seeking out “trusted adults” to help with their own questions about personal identity.
When students head to middle school they’ll understand how people sense their own gender and the how they should act based on how they feel based on their “assigned biological sex”.
This sexual health curriculum has been approved for Washington State’s elementary public schools. And there is plenty of outrage that school officials would seek to “educate” students on gender. FULL POST
Posted 6/2/16 at 1:28 PM | Karen Kramer
Graduating forty years ago qualifies me for some nifty senior discounts. But it also comes with some hard-earned lessons.
Here’s some advice I wish I could have given my 18-year-old graduating self:
You were successful in school, but you can’t be afraid to fail. Lessons from failure teach things books never will.
The classroom isn’t the only place to learn. Life teaches unforgettable lessons.
But there is a distinction between unforgettable lessons and regrettable ones. Often the regrettable lessons involve poor choices. (Like your choice to drink alcohol on that school trip).
You discovered that you can make the choices, but the consequences are yours too. (Like losing a scholarship because of the alcohol mishap. While it hurts now, this lesson will help you). FULL POST
Posted 5/26/16 at 3:26 PM | Karen Kramer
The car’s air conditioning kept me cool, but Grandma insisted we step outside in the glaring sun and relentless heat. Not one to argue, at least not audibly, I slid out and joined her on the hot sidewalk.
We stood without speaking, watching a solemn procession following a black hearse into the cemetery.
We’d come to town for farm supplies and this was a detour I hadn’t expected. But once Grandma saw the procession, she and every other person in proximity stopped what they were doing to “pay their respects”. This was a first for me.
Oh sure, I knew about the Vietnam war. Even at twelve I was aware that young men were traveling halfway across the world to fight communism. Although I had no clue what fighting communism meant.
But what it meant today was evident. In the glare of the mid-afternoon sun, a family gathered around an open grave.
We watched in silence as a group of men hoisted a flag-draped casket and slowly walked to the gravesite. I observed the grieving family, an older man was holding onto a woman who was sobbing openly. FULL POST
Posted 5/23/16 at 3:34 PM | Karen Kramer
Due to continued sluggish sales, executives at Victoria’s Secret, the premier sexy clothing retailer, will no longer carry clothing, shoes, and accessories in their stores.
Even those barely-there swim suits are on the chopping block. Perhaps the purveyor of skimpy attire is losing market share because women are realizing their bodies aren't for sale.
Perhaps a new generation of shoppers prefer to keep hidden what Hollywood and Victoria’s Secret has blatantly exposed.
Now the cleavage inspired VS intends to only sell lingerie—bras and undies which are typically off-limits to the eyes of the general public. One can hope this is a general trend towards more modesty on the part of shoppers, but it appears to be a more desperate move as Victoria's Secret hopes to remain fiscally solvent during this prolonged recession. Many American homes are tightening their belts and high-priced skimpy attire just isn't worth it.>
Posted 5/19/16 at 3:49 PM | Karen Kramer
I love beach walks; the salt air clears my mind. It’s also my go-to place when I’m thinking about those who are struggling. I have a friend whose journey is filled with anguish. Her future could get better, but she can’t seem to move forward. I can relate.
Some people get frozen in bitterness, others are weighed down with regrets. For me it was self-loathing. For her, it’s debilitating sadness.
For some, moving forward into the unknown seems worse than staying someplace unhealthy. But for things to get better, change has to happen, even when it’s hard and a bit scary.
They say that the things that break us can make us better people. But who wants to be broken?
Well, at the beach we can take a lesson from the crab.
As a crab grows it must periodically shed its hard shell. Keeping the old one isn’t an option. Shed it or die. FULL POST
Posted 5/18/16 at 11:39 AM | Karen Kramer
According to studies at the Academies of Science, genetically engineered crops are safe for both humans and animals. More than 900 studies were reviewed by a committee of fifty scientists and researchers.
They analyzed data stretching over twenty years of genetically modified crops. While genetically engineered (GE) crops were introduced to increase crop yields—it appeared that crops did not increase significantly.
In the Midwestern United States, GE crops did have lower pest populations, but it also increased herbicide-resistant weeds. It was also noted that GE crops did not affect monarch butterfly populations.
Genetically engineered crops artificially manipulate the genetic material of plants to help them be pest resistant and to withstand certain herbicides. This allows farmers to spray crops for weeds, while not harming the crops.
To determine whether GE foods were harmful to humans the committee compared disease reports from the US and Canada, where these foods have been eaten since the mid-1990s and in areas of the United Kingdom and western Europe, where they have not been widely consumed. FULL POST
Posted 5/12/16 at 12:35 PM | Karen Kramer
First off, I do support federal medical research to find cures for deadly and debilitating diseases.
But there’s a bunch of federally-funded scientific waste. Highlights of your tax dollars at work:
Did you know that birds given alcohol-laced grape juice slur their songs?
Americans forked over almost 2 million dollars to find out if we could outrun a dinosaur.
Why do people spill coffee when they walk? Researchers discovered that walking slower will “reduce the chance of spilling.” Duh.
Another half-million was spent studying whether or not Facebook is addictive.
Even with our separation of church and state, taxpayers gave $3.5 million to figure out why the face of Jesus appears on toast.
I bet you didn’t know that congressional female Democrats are less feminine than Republican congresswomen. Thankfully we only spent $50,000 on that National Science Foundation grant.
Speaking of Republicans and Democrats, almost a million dollars was spent figuring out which group is more disgusted by eating worms. FULL POST
Posted 5/10/16 at 4:27 PM | Karen Kramer
It’s all about money. But promises are cheap and sadly many of the Sanders sign-waving throngs haven’t even been taxpayers all that long.
We can blame it on youthful stupidity. But what’s Sanders' excuse for believing in fiscal nonsense?
The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, has fully analyzed the costs of Bernie Sanders' economic plans and concludes those plans would add $18 trillion to the federal deficit.
There just aren’t enough American upper middle class and rich people to tax enough for all of Bernie’s free stuff.
His free health care (run by the government, so we KNOW it will work) costs $30 trillion. But the tax policy findings indicate that the huge increase in national debt will lead to higher interest rates, causing our borrowing costs for our debt to substantially increase. And since the government needs to borrow all the money to stay afloat, there wouldn’t be money leftover for new businesses to borrow—which would “retard” economic growth. As if we haven’t had enough slow down over the last eight years. FULL POST