First of all,  I am not being compensated in any way for this piece, nor is it anyone’s opinion by my own.  I know that most people will not agree with it – and I respect that – but feel that I want to comment on these issues.

My heart is saddened that a teenager died,  and I want to cry with his mother and father and hold them up in prayer.   I think they know and understand that stuff happens in this world that isn’t always fair.   Just look around.  And in this case,  certainly Trayvon life was just really beginning.

Kudo’s to the 6 jurors who were able to cut through the misinformation in the media for all these months and still hold onto their integrity and decide this case based on the evidence presented to them. 

Shame on Al Sharpton and all the others who tried to influence their decision with demonstrations and other inappropriate behavior just to stir up the people of this country.  

Kudo’s to the lawyers on both sides who found 6 people who could look past all of that to the facts of the case and decide without the pressure of all of that misinformation.

From the start of this unfortunate event (and I do mean that sincerely), and all along the way from the tapes of the 911 call  which were “edited” before the news outlets even started playing them, to the end with rallies and other things — this wasn’t about race and it wasn’t about guns.

In the end — because of the way the events unfolded —  the way both “players” in this drama presented themselves, acted and interacted — it really was about being in a situation and making a decision about how to defend yourself.   Trayvon could acted differently, George could have acted differently, but neither of them did.  They did as their personalities directed them that fateful day and they ended up in a fight that ended in a death. 

From the beginning the Florida Prosecutor was correct in not arresting George Zimmerman.  He weighed the case and determined that there wasn’t a reason for it.  Both self defense and the Florida Stand Your Ground Law were on George’s side –but Al Sharpton had other ideas.  Ideas about pushing all the buttons he had available to him to make it about race and about guns and about all the things it was never about from the start.  He purposely and willfully incited people across this country with misinformation.  Information that was specifically designed to incite strong feelings for poor Trayvon, and hatred for George Zimmerman, while he pursued his agenda, got TV time and recognition for pushing his view of  justice.

But still a young boy died that day.  That part will never go away.  I honestly don’t think anyone ever wants that to happen.

I have a concealed carry license, and I have taken at least 8 gun courses, including some in tactical training.  I wasn’t fond of guns from a young age — and my dad was a pistol champion.  But there came a time in my own personal life, that I had several individuals try to break into my home and I thought I needed to know and learn and carry for my own self defense.  The courses were sometimes hard,  and there were tests both in shooting accuracy and in knowledge of the laws regarding firearms.  There was training on how to try to disarm another person and what to do if someone tries to disarm you.  One of the things that sticks out in my mind (because they drilled it into us)  is that if you shoot anyone be prepared to be arrested, charged and having to pay a minimum of $250,000.  But the directive always was,  if you are in fear for your life (and that “line” will differ for everyone) and you feel the need to use your firearm, shoot to kill.  

As a woman, we were instructed that could shoot a man coming at us at a distance of probably 5 ft – 10 ft, with or without a weapon and still conclude we were in fear of our life and that we had shot in self defense.   You cannot wait for someone to be in an actual physical confrontation with you, or to have wounded you first before you shoot… It’s not “if you are harmed you can harm back” – it is if you fear for your own life.

With men, it’s a little different, most of them can hold their own (or think they can)  even in a bit of a physical confrontation, but no one says you have to let someone hit you, knock you down, bang your head on the ground before you shoot them in self defense.  You just don’t know what the other person is capable of – and if they too have a weapon (knife, gun, etc) that they plan on using on you.

This really is just basic information.  Each case of self defense is different.  It needs to be weighed on it’s own scale to determine the outcome.  However, if someone of any color, of any gender, or any size or nationality, or even any age,  were beating my head on the ground,  I might feel the fear at some point that would cause me to use my weapon.  You might prefer that I didn’t because that person is young, or of a certain color, or certainly could not have killed me – but they are attacking me, and I do have a right to defend myself.  If you aren’t there, you don’t know, you don’t feel the emotions, or know the actual extent of it — therefore you cannot be judge and jury.


Mar 052013

Sinkholes are scary, unpredictable, and so annoying. You just never know when one might happen or where. And while there are certain places where they are “more likely” to occur, thousands occur each year, and they are increasing in frequency.

Geologists estimate that approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface has the potential to be prone to sinkholes. The cause is sometimes different in each case and while some are naturally caused, others aren’t. Things like sandy or loose soil, abandoned mines, fracking, new construction, acidic groundwater, aged and leaking water pipes as well as other causes are adding to their numbers. Anytime the support system under the ground breaks down or if the weight of the land surface changes, underground collapses (and then sinkholes) can be triggered.

They are common in some places like Florida or Guatemala, but they have been occurring with regular frequency in other US states as well as in Venezuela and China.

The one that just happened last week in Florida where a man apparently lost his life (I use the word “apparently” because I read they are not going to try and recover his body) was caused by water erosion of the bedrock below the land surface of their house. It is unusual for there to be loss of life with sinkholes.

This would actually be the perfect way to “disappear off the face of the earth.” I know you are thinking, how cruel, a man lost his life after all.

But seriously, they put mementos into that approximately 60 ft. deep hole and then dumped in gravel to fill it in. It was determined that the ground around the hole was too unstable to attempt a rescue, or “recovery” attempt. I understand that we don’t want to put any more lives in danger. I know it’s unstable, but I also feel like if they could bring a dump truck full of stone and equipment to knock down the rest of the house… couldn’t they try more than just lowering a microphone and video equipment to find any signs of life. Or to be sure he was dead? I guess not. The sinkhole occurred Thursday night and by Friday afternoon, they presumed that Jeffrey was dead.

And therein lies the perfect start for a novel.


For the first time since I was able to vote, I stayed up till 2 AM and watched the election results and the speeches.  And while I had not been involved in the actual political process in this election, I felt invested in the outcome. 

I came from a family who was divided (one parent republican and one democratic).  Each had their own ideas and was outspoken in expressing them.  My mother was a councilwoman.  They always talked  in terms of what “so and so” would do for the people of this country, each candidate having pluses and minuses.  I think in the end, they likely voted right along the party line because back then I think each party had some really good ideas and unique ways of handling things they had planned for their city, state, county, or country. 

This time, I feel that America voted their hearts.  I know I did.  Just this week someone came to my office and was joking with me about voting for Barack Obama —  I wasn’t joking when I said I would be voting for him.  They were seriously appalled, and of course a discussion ensued. I said Mr. Obama is “an evil I know, as opposed to one I don’t”  and meant that I knew where Mr. Obama stood on many issues and didn’t really know where Mr. Romney stood at all.  I told them my vote goes to whom I think will be the best person for the job, not because I am a member of either party.   I said I didn’t trust Mr. Romney because I never saw him clearly outline any plan for this country, just rhetoric about changing, eliminating, and fixing.  That “secrecy” did not sit well with me.  And while I am all for changing, eliminating and fixing — I would have liked him to outline how he planned to do that.  Instead it was more a campaign of persuasion ~  “I’ll fix it, just trust me.”  Lots of people bought that and did decide to cast their vote for him, but I don’t work that way.  You can tell me an investment is good, but I want to see the proof, the trend, the outcome over the last years, and I want to know why you think it’s going to continue on that path. 

In the end, I will always vote for whom I feel is right for this country, whether they be democrat or republican, old or young, white, green or even purple.  I think the republican party let the American people down with their choice of Mr. Romney as the candidate – I think it’s about time they reassess what AMERICA wants, not what they want for America.  It’s the health of this country and the people who call it home that I want them to have as the basis of their agenda.  I sincerely feel that if  Barack Obama didn’t think he could be a good fit for the job, and couldn’t continue to try and fix issues facing America,  he wouldn’t have ran for a second term. 

Congratulations Mr. President – I have high hopes and expectations that you will be able to steer this ship we call America onto a better and more prosperous path in your next four years.


I cannot believe that it has been eleven (11) years and 1 month today (10/11/12) since that fateful day when those airplanes hit the twin towers and they eventually crumbled.  It was a day we will always remember — it was the day things changed forever for us in America.

First, I want to say thank you to all the regular men and woman, the first responders, the fire, police and others who without thought for their own safety rushed in immediately to help others.   I also want to thank all the men and woman who put in countless hours after that disaster to help find the lost, and do whatever they could to bring back normalcy in the lives of those affected.  THANK YOU, it was heroic, it was brave, it was American.



I wish it was a dream that had never really happened.  The loss of life, the loss of security, the destruction of a landmark and the way we’ve moved forward from there to here.  I look back to that fateful day and see that as the day that changed everything.    

The changes didn’t happen overnight, and they aren’t all bad changes, but they wouldn’t have been as necessary nor as wide in scope had there been no disaster on 9-11-2001.  Some of the changes I am talking about include the Homeland Security branch to our government, the curtailing of our individual freedoms and the fact that just “talking about something” or discussing it, even if you are joking can cause you can be accused of being a terrorist. 

Since that date, we have poured our money into overseas deployments to try and curtail additional terrorist attacks.  We did it at a high cost to our own economy.  I am sure those investments saved lives.  But all the costs weren’t totally and fully apparent then.  The war on terrorism is one that is constantly changing and evolving with ever increasing costs which will never go away.  And… they have had a serious and destructive effect on our economy.  

 We lost more freedom after that event that any other in history – and daily more of those freedoms are being snatched from us “for our own good”. I understand that some of these changes really are for the good of all, and have been helpful to stop those who would harm our people, and our country — but some have just gone way too far.   Our individual freedoms have to now take the back seat for the “good of all”.  Things that weren’t even considered, talked about, or used in the past to try and find “terrorists” are now used freely without regard to any of our “basic” freedoms or rights – and done so without apology.  

One of the things I changed was my flying habits since 9-11…. it’s not because I think the plane will blow up, crash or be hijacked – it’s because of the treatment of passengers by the TSA.  I used to like to fly everywhere, anytime I had the opportunity, and took my chances with a disaster of any kind.  Now it’s something I try to avoid at all costs.  It’s just dehumanizing to have to “submit” to the whims, searches, and demands of the TSA.  If I could tell the TSA anything, it would be that I know anyone can be a terrorist but they are the exception, not the rule.

My business has changed along with millions of other small businesses who for lack of sales and disposable income in this economy have had to adapt or close their doors.  The sad part of that is Americans are losing jobs that will never be replaced.  Too many people are working for less than livable wages because they have no choice – they simply must to survive.  The gap between the haves and the have nots has indeed widened – and more people than ever in this country (especially children) go to bed hungry.

I do not mean to comment about if the changes were right, or just.  I am commenting on the state of our country – since “getting and stopping” ~ THEM ~ became the priority of the government  ~~ the lives, needs and desires of the American people had to take a back seat and I am just not sure anything will be able to stop that now.

*I was not paid or compensated in any way for this article, all opinions are 100% mine.


Who would have thought a straight line wind system coming from the Midwest, and generated, fueled and propelled by the high temperatures and humidity could cause so many issues.  They can be as powerful and deadly as tornadoes.

As I write this, 2 days after the incident occurred suddenly and violently, we are still without power. The wind hit like someone had turned on a switch, and a powerful one at that. The first indication was the wind, which came on suddenly, and sounded loud and violent.  When we saw it was bending the 60-80 ft. tall trees I have on my property, we headed for the basement.

The basement was for shelter not only the storm but also the rain, lightning and thunder which followed those winds. The winds reached 71 miles an hour (anything over 58 mph is considered severe) at Dulles International Airport and that’s just short of a hurricane velocity (Category 1 hurricane starts at 75mph). I knew this was incident was possible, only because for some reason I turned on the 6PM news that night. I don’t usually do that.  And I admit I was struggling to fully understand what they meant by a fast and dangerous “straight line wind” headed our way. Now I know.


Not only are we still without power, but we are without internet service as well. This also means no television service and no phone service for those who have the bundled services with the cable company. Many of the phone towers for wireless service have been down or out for one reason or another. Some of the 911 phone lines are not operating at all, traffic lights aren’t working and as of last night I heard that at least 7 people have been killed locally by storm related injuries.  Trees and pole damage is obvious, but most can’t access any information about what’s going on without power.  Ice is hard to find and at a premium cash price because even credit card processors aren’t available for charges.  The ATM’s aren’t working and neither are lots of gas stations because they cannot pump the gas out of the ground without power.  The destruction is not 100% in our area, but it is widespread  with random pockets of homes and businesses not only without power but also damaged.  Even the National Guard has been activated.

When this happened Friday night, no one thought it would take at least into Monday or Tuesday to restore power to our area. However, the electric companies are reporting many electric poles have been snapped in half. Replacing a telephone/electricity pole and moving the wires from one to the other, I am told, takes a normal crew half a day, and they have to find the broken ones first. The other reason  we’ve been told for the delay is that many of the crews could not be reached by phone to even know they should come in and work the weekend.

Usually since we have a whole house generator, our household weathers these outages with nary a concern. We function normally and conveniently and go about our daily lives. The cable service and internet hasn’t ever before been out for this long. I am glad that we purchased and installed that generator in 1999, as that generator as it has helped us in winter and in summer with power outage incidents. It’s still a wonderful help, it’s just that without the internet or phone service it’s a very different existence.

Life isn’t “normal” any longer and it makes me wonder – if the sun spots cut off or destroy the satellites, or any other incident for that matter, how prepared are we really to be cut off from the internet and that interaction with “the world”?

UPDATE:  07/02/12 – our internet and power is back on at home, but not at work.  Without internet, our business cannot process our orders, or do our shipping tags for UPS or USPS.  Worse, we cannot get through to the internet provider as all we get is a busy signal on the phone. Thirty minutes of “storm”, three plus days to recover.

UPDATE 2 : 07/03/12 – we have internet at work!  However the news is reporting that some residents won’t have power till this weekend.  Crews have come from as far away as Canada to help restore power.  Washington DC has even sent buses to neighborhoods without power that will just sit there with their air conditioning on to help with the heat.  It’s hot today, but it’s going to continue to be hot throughout the week.  The last time this happened in this area was 1980 – and it proved that the basic underlying power grid isn’t engineered to handle this type of weather event.


Counterfeit CouponsI know about coupons. You probably do too.  You cut them out, buy the product,  and hand them to the cashier to save money on your food and other purchases.  Is there more to know?

Yes, I think you should be aware that there are counterfeit coupons in circulation.  People who do not know they have a counterfeit coupon become guilty of coupon fraud when they try to use it…. and to me, that’s simply not fair.  I never know definitively if the coupon I printed or any other coupon I possess  is counterfeit.  There is no 100% sure way to tell.   All the advice I have seen to avoid coupon fraud says, “Don’t buy coupons from anyone.”  I have never purchased coupons from anyone, does this mean I am safe?  — no.  Because if I search the internet for a coupon, and the site looks legitimate, and the coupon looks like every other coupon I see distributed on the internet….it could still be counterfeit but how would I ever know?

Counterfeit Coupons

 The Internet has become the most cost effective way to distribute coupons.  This method saves money by not having to design, print, and hire a firm to place their coupons in local newspapers.  But, where there is money to be made, it’s just a matter of time before someone figures out how to get around the system.  Coupons are counterfeited with the express purpose of either selling them to unsuspecting victims and to “steal” products from the stores.  Getting away with it, is as easy as bringing in a printed piece of paper…or putting up an online auction ~  how easy can it get?

Counterfeit Coupons

The caveat is that  not all stores will accept internet coupons, and still others limit their use.  Why?  The ease in being able to “photocopy” and counterfeit internet coupons of course.  I don’t have a problem with limitations in theory –  although when merchants won’t accept them, that defeats the entire purpose of having a coupon.  When I buy the exact item listed on the coupon, I don’t just have “high expectations” the coupon will be accepted, I feel it should be accepted.

Looking at the list of “known” counterfeit coupons ( find it here:  most aren’t free coupons, but instead are a cents off coupon, or a buy one get one free coupon — why?  The counterfeit coupons people circulate aren’t always for a free product.  You would think they would be.  And did you notice I said circulate?  For some reason,  the people who counterfeit them, also like to share them (sometimes freely, sometimes for a fee).  And, I really don’t get it, they risk jail time, a huge fine, and their reputation in addition to the embarrassment for a discount off a purchase?

Many people have written articles lately to scare legitimate users — telling them they will be guilty of coupon fraud as well as ….”this, that, or the other thing” if they print and use them.   However, that annoys me because none of that is even close to fair to the normal user of these coupons.  If a person prints 1000 of them, and then goes to use them or sell them — that is one thing,  if another person uses one they printed when that user shared them — I don’t believe there is one shred of guilt there.  Whatever happened to common sense?  Thousands of manufacturers have chosen this method to distribute their coupons, and it saves them considerable amounts of money and works to encourage customers to try their products.   Will coupon fraud end that?

Counterfeit Coupons

The most help provided as a way to avoid coupon fraud for the average person is “don’t buy coupons”.  So  why are there still so many sellers of them on eBay?  Why hasn’t eBay shut the category?  If the CIC (link above) and the other law enforcement agencies truly believed this was the foremost way most counterfeit coupons get into circulation, why haven’t they shut the venue/category down.  My check of eBay today had 68,483 listings in coupons.

And then what do you do when even the legitimate coupons are rejected at the store level?  To an honest consumer, this is one of the biggest hassles you can encounter.  You feel like you’ve done something wrong when you haven’t — you feel accused and found guilty.  You are embarrassed for no reason.  In my opinion, and everything I write is 100% my opinion, there is no reason for a store, cashier or policy to do this to anyone.  If it happens to you, my advice is to just pick up your remaining coupons and leave.

UPDATE:  Ever hear of the universal consciousness?  My sister talks about it all the time ~ and just a few days after writing this article  – they arrested several woman who they allege were running  the largest counterfeit coupon ring in AZ!  This wasn’t ‘thousands’ of dollars, it looks like it might have be ‘millions’ of dollars.  More info, if you are interested here:  Counterfeit Coupon Ring Busted





Today June 22, 2012 marks the 68th anniversary of the signing of the G.I. Bill of Rights, or technically the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.   Originally meant only for those who served in times of war, it was adjusted in 1966 to extend benefits to those who serve in times of war or peace.  Since that time there have been other changes but the original intent to help those who serve in our military remains intact.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made many reforms during his administration, but this one piece of legislation has lasting benefits for anyone who serves this country in our armed forces.

The bill was meant to not only help servicemen and women but also to avoid a relapse into another depression after the end of World War II.   The American Legion, a veteran’s organization was instrumental in forming many of the provisions of the bill.  Truth is, they fought hard to get access to funding for benefits like education, low-interest home and business loans, and the unemployment compensation package included in the bill.

The implementation of the bill opened doors, and helped veterans cope when returning to the US from World War II.  Even today, it still provides aid and help to them and their families in ways that might never have been possible without this bill.

In my opinion the best benefit of the G.I. Bill is the educational one.  I believe that this could be the one which can be the most life transforming.  Before World War II, college was an option for only about 10-15% of Americans but by 1947 veterans made up nearly half of the nation’s college enrollment.  When you have an education (formal or informal), at any cost, you move yourself up to another level.  Your ability to get a job, keep a job, make a living wage and succeed in whatever you chose increase.

The G.I. Bill was one of the major forces that fueled expansion in the U.S. lasting over 30 years.  The impact on America in 50+ years has been enormous.  Over 20 million veterans have taken advantage of the provisions for education, and a whopping 14 million homes were able to be purchased through it’s loans guarantees.

The newest revision of the bill  (signed in 2009) extended benefits to veterans of the war on terrorism, post 9/11, including those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families, reservists and National Guard members.




Congratulations to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II who is celebrating 60 years as the British Sovereign this year.  I do not know about you, but that’s a long time.

So many things have changed, been invented and put into common use since when her reign started.  Changes to the world itself, its climate, economic situation and even to the way the monarchy itself functions.

One of those inventions was computers, and to show that the monarchy can keep up with changing technology…. Did you know…?

In 1997 the British Monarchy established their own website:  from which I obtained many of these facts.

In July 2009 the Queen joined Twitter – though I believe that she has official tweet-iers (tweet – t- ears, my word) who do all the tweeting for her on a daily basis.  Congratulate or send good wishes via twitter to @BritishMonarchy

The Queen joined facebook in 2010 with the establishment of the page called The British Monarchy and for those who’d like to see it, it’s located here:

And in just 3 more years – she will equal the reign of Queen Victoria who reigned 63 years. If she surpasses that milestone – it will make her the longest reigning British monarch.   I, for one, hope she makes that and many more!




The Indianapolis 500 will be run tomorrow Sunday, May 27th., just as it has most Memorial Day weekends since the first race on May 30, 1911. Winning this race is an accomplishment for a driver and team not on par with any other.

I haven’t had the pleasure of attending this particular race, or even visiting the Indiana track on an off weekend. However, I did have the pleasure of going to the Las Vegas Speedway and the last race of the 2011 Indy season in October, and meeting last years Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon. Dan was actually a two time winner of the Indianapolis 500, in 2005 and 2011. He was the nicest person we met the entire week we were there! He was infectiously bubbly, upbeat, positive and confident. In his trailer before the race he proudly showed us Susies’ initals he had tattooed on his wrist, saying it was a spur of the minute thing they just decided to do to mark the love they had for one another.

But then there was the ultimate tragegy in lap 11. I was standing behind Dan’s pit when the accident happened across the track. I couldn’t see anything but flying debis, fire and smoke. I found myself screaming, where are the fire crews? Why aren’t they out there? What’s taking them so long? And I watched as Susie screamed, took off her headset and ran crying to the waiting cart.

The only Indy car race that I ever attended ended in tragedy and was cut short, having only run 11 laps. But that doesn’t mean the race wasn’t extreme in both excitement, and in speed. The Indy cars go so very fast (over 200 MPH), you cannot actually see them go by ~ whish, whoosh and gone. I certainly would have preferred any other outcome but the one that day. Tomorrow as I celebrate my 40th. Wedding Anniversary, I am doubly saddened by the thought of Dan’s family without him.

Some of the biggest names in autosports have run and won this race, names like Bobby and Al Unser, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti. And although some of the drivers of the Indy cars have moved to other racing circuts, for example Tony Stewart, Scott Speed, Juan Pablo Montoya and most recently Danica Patrick, there is still nothing like the Indianaplis 500! So if you want to see some exciting racing start to finish, from the comfort of your living room without all the extreme noise that goes with actually being at Indy – watch the race tomorrow at 11:00AM EST.


Today is the 33rd anniversary of the day Etan Patz, a New York City 6 years old disappeared. He was on his way to his school bus stop – the first time he was allowed to go alone. He never returned home.

That day changed how we looked at things, caused us sadness for his family, and fear for our own children. Brought to national attention by the media and his picture being posted on milk cartons, all parents now had to worry, would my child be next?

I lived in a city close to NYC as a child. I can tell you in 1959, it wasn’t like that. Our parents didn’t show any sign of worry as they pushed us out of the apartment in the morning and off to school. I was 4 years old and walked ten city blocks to Catholic school. And yet, I don’t remember ever being afraid.

I know Etan wasn’t the first child to ever go missing, and I know he won’t be the last. Today is the anniversary of the day that changed the way we view other adults. It turned any interaction by another adult with our child from “innocent” to potential “suspicious behavior.” Somehow the realization that Etan (or any child) could be snatched on his way to the bus and never returned shakes any parent to this day. It’s the day that started us watching, waiting and doing all we can to avoid the unthinkable – losing our child to some stranger. It made us hold them close and not let them be a free to be children as they once were.

Is it good, or is it bad? I think it’s a little of both. I am happy to see that parents care enough about their children to take them to the bus stop and wait for the bus to arrive. I am happy to see them paying attention and holding onto them in the stores and around town. I am happy they installed GPS to the school buses – but down deep and overall I am sorry it’s all necessary. And despite all of our efforts, kids still go missing.

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