Rest in peace my brother

I’ve had a heck of a year!!  Two weeks after my adorable cat Fritz died I headed west to attend the wedding of my brother with his long-time companion (22 years!).  It was a fabulous weekend, the weather was perfect and everyone was so happy.  Then tragically my brother passed away on October 14th.  He learned that he had pancreatic cancer in March. He had surgery to remove the tumor and then he was supposed to start chemo. That kept getting postponed as he had one setback after another.  He was to start again the day after we all left northern California, 9/6.  I believe he had a mini-stroke and just went downhill after that.  My sister and I attended his memorial service the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We both talked about our brother and then asked if anyone else wanted to say a few words.  Our cousin from Chicago spoke about his early years with our brother. They were five months apart and spent their first eleven years together. Then Aunt Lilah, my father’s sister, told a few tales about him too.  It was a nice weekend and there were close to 70 people at his memorial and that was nice to see.

Below is what I spoke about my brother.  And below that are a few photos.

I’m Joel’s younger sister and we’re 13 years apart so we didn’t really know each other that well but he was always there for me and I can’t believe that he’s gone. I had a difficult time when David Bowie died, one, because it was such a shock and two, because, well, there was always David Bowie!! As far back as I can remember, there was always David Bowie so it really hurt to learn that Bowie was gone. And before Bowie, there was always my brother and now they’re both gone. They were the same age too. But I want to focus on the fact that Joel was always there for me, beginning with our father’s death when I was 11. I have a vivid memory of us at the funeral and Joel put his arm around me to comfort me. Then when our father’s dog needed to be put down I called my brother because that dog was the last tangible thing that I had of my father. And I just couldn’t bear to do that task so Joel did that for me. He was there when I bought my first car and he was there for my high school and college graduations. He was there at the airport when I left for a year of study in Spain. I’m not sure if he knew how much I appreciated him always being there but I did tell him how much I loved that he gave me away at my wedding. He was the perfect choice. And because of our age difference you can hear someone on my wedding video saying “that must be Mr. Nadler”. Well, they were right but I think they thought he was my father.

I’m still not quite over David Bowie’s death and I know it will take me a while to process that my brother is no longer here. But he lived a good life and got married to the love of his life just over two months ago. I was so happy and grateful to be able to attend the wedding to see him one last time. I know that he died happy and he was so loved. And really, that’s all any of us can hope for. Well done my dear brother. I love you and I miss you. Rest in peace.

While in northern California for my brother’s wedding we visited a vineyard. Look for a future post about that. Here’s a sneak preview and one from his wedding in September:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Electoral college electors: Vote your conscience!!

This is not a political blog but I feel this is serious enough to create a political post on my blog, and this would be perhaps the second time I’ve done this.  I’m going out on a limb in an attempt to save my country, my world and this is likely a long shot but I have to try! Yes, America apparently voted in the chump but did you know that doesn’t become official until the electors cast their votes on December 19?  I’m not necessarily hoping that they’ll vote Hillary in, though that would be nice because I know in my heart of hearts that she actually did win.  I believe there was enough “hanky panky” that went on and that this election was stolen, just like in 2000 and 2004.  But that’s a story for another day and plenty has been written on this subject.  It is my hope that there will be enough petitions and voices that when the electors vote on December 19 the chump is ousted from the most important position in the world.  HE HAS NO BUSINESS IN THAT ROLE!!! Every day since the election he has proved it even more.  For those of us paying attention, he indeed showed it throughout his campaign.

A little education on what the electoral college is can be found here.  What I’d like to point out is that the founders of the United States created a “fail safe” in the constitution for exactly the situation that we in the U.S. find ourselves in.  Robert Reich, via Michael Signer at this link (updated 11/29/16), perfectly explains each point and why the electors should vote their conscience instead of the way the states voted.  Here is his explanation:

Should conscientious electors decide against Donald Trump when they turn in their ballots December 19th? Michael Signer (below) has a credible argument they should. Constitutional history makes clear that the founders had three main purposes in designing the Electoral College.

1. Stop a demagogue from becoming president. At the Constitutional Convention, arguing in support of the Electoral College, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said he was “against a popular election” for president because the people would be “misled by a few designing men.” In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the electors would prevent those with “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. They would also stop anyone who would “convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements.”

Check one against Trump.

2. Stop foreign interference in an election. The framers were extremely concerned about infiltration by rivals including Great Britain. In Federalist No. 68, Hamilton wrote that one major purpose of the Electoral College was to stop the “desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” He said that the college would “Guard against all danger of this sort … with the most provident and judicious attention” from the electors.

Check two against Trump. There’s incontrovertible evidence Russia interfered in the campaign by hacking the email accounts of top Democratic officials and cooperating with WikiLeaks’ parallel campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton campaign. Meanwhile, Trump has business entanglements in Russia and other foreign countries, the extent to which are unknown because Trump has not released his tax returns.

3. Prevent poor administration of government. In Federalist No. 68. Hamilton wrote that “the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration,” and for that reason, he said, the electors should be “able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration.”

Check three against Trump, who has no government experience and whose character and temperament – as revealed both from his personal history and his campaign – are arguably inconsistent with good government.

4. One additional factor: Hillary Clinton is on track to win the popular vote by over 2.3 million votes — nearly 5 times Al Gore’s narrow margin over George W. Bush in 2000.

Modern-day conservatives favor so-called “originalist” understandings of the Constitution, looking to history and to the original texts of our founding documents for guidance. On this basis, electors have every ground for refusing to make Donald Trump president of the United States.

Indeed, there has been much written on this subject as well.  Just googling this morning I found this:

This presidential elector will vote her conscience on December 19

From that article: If no candidate gets to 270 Electoral College votes, then the decision will go to the House of Representatives, as it has happened twice in our nation’s history.  And this is ultimately what I’m hoping for. For if the electors choose Hillary, even though I know that she actually did win this contest, I am quite certain there would be violence and likely people would die.  That is the only reason I am against this scenario.

There is also Bret Chiafalo who narrates this video which describes the electoral college and what those electors can do to save our country and the world from this demagogue.

Other writings on this subject include Time’s piece: The electoral college was created to stop demagogues like Trump.  And this one from The Atlantic: The electoral college was meant to stop men like Trump from becoming president.  And the Huffington Post: The electoral college was designed to prevent Trump. You can make this happen.  This one suggests that we actually write the electors and ask them not to vote for Trump. I prefer to remain anonymous so I signed a petition or two.  Change.org has one here.  And evidently this petition is the largest in change.org’s history!!

Editing to add this interesting story of a 19 year old elector: Teen becomes 7th faithless elector to protest Trump as president-elect.

Please sign the petition and share.  There is too much at stake!!  This American and the world will thank you.

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Seeing Nature, Minneapolis Institute of Art

I just went through my phone to remove a bunch of photos because I got the nastygram from my phone that it was running out of space.  I happened upon the photos for this exhibit and wondered why I hadn’t put together a post for them. Then I realized that we saw this exhibit the weekend after our darling cat Fritz died.  We needed to get out of the house and this was the perfect thing to do.  This exhibit was at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for several months which included the day we went in August. I apologize up front for not having much information to share.  I have a brochure…..somewhere but I’m not sure where.  Instead of looking for it I thought I would just share the photos that I took.  We both enjoyed it immensely. We then had a nice lunch in the museum’s cafe, a perfect time to relax and chat about the art we had just seen. I hope you enjoy.

There was one painting by one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keefe along with a photo of her:

The view of downtown from inside the museum and the beautiful bright yellow glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly called Sunburst:

 

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Minnesota State Fair 2016

Guessing most of you know that we always go to the state fair. Every year, without fail.  And now that I think about it, this is one thing I will really miss when I leave Minnesota.  A wonderful treat every year.  Although this year we noticed it was a bit more crowded.  The attendance numbers seem to go up each successive year. Hubby went to the fair while I was in California over Labor Day weekend and he said it was the most people he’s ever seen there!  Indeed, that was the record breaking attendance day this year with just over 260,000 fair goers. I’m glad I missed it.

Coming up are this year’s favorite photos from the fair.  I hope you enjoy!!

First up, various scenes at the fair.

We always visit the agriculture building:

This year’s crop art had many Prince tributes.  I think the Prince crop art overtook the political art this year. We sure miss our native son rock/pop star:

This last gallery displays something that I imagine has been at the fair the entire time we’ve been going (about 25 years).  We decided to take a short cut and ended up going through this very interesting log cabin.  It’s directly across from the agriculture building and it never beckoned to us.  And now I’m at a loss a little bit to explain what this is exactly since it’s been almost 3 months since I took these photos. As near as I can remember this is a replica of a type of cabin the earlier pioneers in Minnesota would have lived in.  It’s a museum with items from daily life from those days.  These are the folks that lived in Minnesota before it became a state in 1858.  Oh, ah, I did find this link with a bit more information in case you’re interested.

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Post election thoughts

Here we are America three days after the most shocking and disheartening election of my life.  I’m starting to accept that it’s a new world order now.  At first I thought I would not pay as close attention any more but I can see that isn’t going to happen.  The husband turned me into a political junkie over the 28 years that we’ve been together and we enjoy seeing who has heard the news first about whatever is the story of the day.  I still need to pay attention but I’m not going to obsess about it any longer.  I can see what it’s done to me in the past year.  But truth be told, I have had many things “thrown at me” over the last several months(my cat died unexpectedly and horribly and then my brother died) so it’s hard to say that my nervous habits, lack of sleep and tension in my neck and upper back were caused solely by this election.

I am very curious how this new presidency is going to turn out.  Since we couldn’t believe anything that Trump said during his campaign, saying one thing one day and the complete opposite the next day, it’s hard to determine which campaign promises he will keep.  Indeed, already I’m reading that he might not actually repeal Obamacare and instead amend it.  He said that he began thinking this way after his meeting with Obama this week.  This should be interesting since the leaders of the House and Senate have been hell bent on repealing this much needed health insurance law from the get-go.  I am curious how the president elect is going to get along with his republican congress.  Time will tell.

Last night I went to my daughter’s fall concert and I was treated to some lovely and soothing music.  And I began thinking, gosh, I’m going to spend more time doing things like this over the next several years.  I’m going to spend more time reading, blogging, visiting museums and doing other things that I enjoy.  Garrison Keillor’s piece prompted these thoughts. You can read that here if you like. We need to focus on how to get Miss M to college as well as plan for our retirement to southern Spain.  On that point there was another prediction that did not occur.  Tuesday night when it started to look like Hillary was going to lose the Dow futures dropped several hundred points.  Then magically the market did not crash!!  I guess investors were calmed by Trump’s speech? We met with our financial advisor last night as it was time for our semi-annual meeting.  And, so far, knock on wood, our investments are holding.  I was so sure that if Trump won that the market would crash, my funds would disappear and I would never be able to retire.  So I’m going to go forward and assume that I will actually be able to move to Spain.  Time to start planning!!

We went to one of our regular spots for dinner tonight and sat at the bar, a favorite as the bar tenders know us and it’s so comfy.  Hubby started talking about Veteran’s day and how it started out as Armistice day and the woman next to him asked if he was a veteran.  Uh, no, it’s just because it’s Veteran’s day, he told her.  And he volunteered his story about his father being stationed at Guam during WWII and I told the story of my father who landed on Utah Beach on D Day.  She was with her husband and they both shared the stories of their fathers in the military. We all toasted to Veteran’s day and shared a bit of humanity.  A few minutes later one of them asked what we thought about the election.  We were all on the same side and discussed a few things.  One of my thoughts today had to do with the low turnout this year.  And I shared that and said that if it gets as bad as we fear, perhaps it will startle those that didn’t vote to the point that they do vote in the next election.  We all hoped that this will happen. It felt great to share some conversation with like-minded people in our own community.

Yes, there are scary things going on out there but this encounter with two strangers, our neighbors who eat at our neighborhood restaurant, renewed my hope in humanity.  We do need to pay attention to what’s going on in Washington but I also think it’s a good idea to live your life, do the things that you enjoy, talk to your fellow citizens.  I intend to focus on my own life and hope to God we don’t have a stock market crash before I can fulfill my dream of retiring to Spain.  Coming soon are some more travel-related posts.  I hope you will come back for them :) Meanwhile, enjoy a nice photo:

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Autumn colors in Minnesota

This year’s autumn colors have been spectacular!  Please enjoy some of my favorite autumn shots.

We took a stroll along the Mississippi one weekend and the colors were brilliant!

The rose bush in our yard managed to produce some late blooming flowers. Here’s one of them:

Finally, here are two spectacular sunrises I managed to capture.  One was a few days before autumn officially began:

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An Open Letter To Donald Trump From Some Angry Women.

Another must read. I repeat this blogger’s sentiment: We won’t go back!!!!!

Drifting Through My Open Mind

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Dear Mr. Trump… can I call you Mr. Trump? Is that ok? I want you to be happy, that’s very important to me.

Before I get started, let me say this letter isn’t from all women. The Trumpettes surely won’t approve of this message. But this is from most women.

We see right through you. We have all known you at some point. Your ways are not unfamiliar to us. We see through you because we’ve been dealing with you our whole lives.

We heard you call women pigs. And disgusting. And stupid. And bimbos.

We watched as you called a former Ms. Universe “Ms. Piggy” and then spent four days continuing to insult her.

We see your weakness. Your lust for attention at any cost, your need to denigrate women. We see all of it. And we’re mad.

Yes. We’re mad. And fired up. And here’s the thing about us……

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