In November 2003, a friend offered to buy my 10-year-old daughter a real, live dog for Christmas, versus the stuffed variety or a cat that only requires an occasional hot fluff cycle in the dryer. I’m certain the idea was mine, because I’m female, emotional, and, therefore, don’t thoroughly think through things.
Owning that, I believe children need to be raised with pets, particularly a dog, through whom they learn responsibility, a precursor to parenting, and reciprocal, unconditional love and companionship. Inevitably, a parent will disappoint a child, and in a dog, a child has someone he or she can rely who offers a wagging tail and a warm, furry body and belly to rub. Dogs smile and groan with satisfaction. Their ears go back and head goes down when they’re apprehensive about a situation. Essentially, they are like children, so kids can relate.
It had been three and a half years since my son, the sweetest yellow Lab in the world, had passed. I honestly believed I would never have another dog, because Alex was amazingly humanlike and I knew no other would be like him. His passing was a devastating tragedy. To this day, I can’t talk about his final months without feeling deep despair and a heavy heart.
After Alex’s passing, my daughter’s dad bought our little muffin a kitten from the Humane Society. Autumn was a gray, striped shorthair, the type I always called a tiger cat. Autumn had a feral nature and would slip outside and chase foxes, a strange and courageous act first reported by my neighbor across the street. Though hard to believe, the day after she told me, we looked outside to see Autumn chasing a fox that was carrying a wriggling squirrel in its mouth.
Autumn the cat even baited a fawn, enticing it to come closer to her by pretending she wasn’t at all interested, turning her backside toward the little ungulate, flicking her skyward-directed tail back and forth, encouraging the fawn to investigate. When the fawn was close enough, Autumn pounced and chased the fawn out of our yard. I have the photos to prove it.
Eventually, Autumn started urinating on my waterbed, my double papasan, and my daughter’s bed. We tossed the mattress and papasan, and I continued to wash and rewash all my bedding several times until one day I made the decision. Sobbing as I approached the Humane Society’s intake receptionist to relinquish Miss Autumn the Micturator, I was flabbergasted when the gal asked me for a $60 disposal fee. I looked up from my soggy tissue in astonished disgust. “We paid the Humane Society for this thing, and she ruined a quarter of our furniture. No! I will not pay you any more.” I garnered some attention from onlookers, setting precedence for the next patrons.
A young pup with its infant needs seemed minimal compared to paying trash services to crush our ruined furnishings and having a home smell like urine. What I’d forgotten was that some dogs and men are like children that never grow up.
For weeks I made calls to Labrador breeders in Colorado Springs, attempting to divine a trustworthy one, whose canines had admirable AKC lineage, lineage I would quickly nip in the testicles with a timely visit to the vet. Once I finally felt firm in a decision, Ivy, the gifting friend, and I drove a diagonally long distance from our home to the breeder’s. After a half-hour visit inside their house, then some chilly puppy play in the early December snow, Ivy chose her new companion—a romping, fuzzy, gold, kumquat-on-steroids-shaped puppy with six appendages.
Because he was too young to be separated from his mother, we agreed to return the week before Christmas when he’d be eight weeks old. My friend and I split the $400 cost since he suddenly and surprisingly couldn’t afford a whole dog, and we excitedly and expectantly drove toward home to prepare for the fuzzball’s arrival. Ivy and I purchased books on natural nutrition and training, leashes, food and water bowls, alfalfa, kelp, salmon oil, vitamins, food, and a bright red collar to complement his beautiful gold fur.
Anyone who has chosen a child for adoption knows how difficult it is to wait all those weeks anticipating the new life in their home, so four days early, I called the people many miles diagonally from me and made my way to retrieve this newly named retriever. On the crazy return drive southwest, Shiloh wailed and leaped around in the back of my Trooper like a cat in the dryer.
At the elementary school, I parked in my usual place, carefully opened the back of the Trooper to leash the Euphorbic* jumping bean, then bounced him on the sidewalk to go and greet his fifth-grade sister.
Children and puppies. They aren’t much different from each other. Both get really excited to see the other and wet their pants like my new boyfriend does when he sees me. Ivy took one look at Shiloh donning his Christmassy collar and let out a little yelp. Shiloh, not really recognizing Ivy, felt he needed to emit an obligatory “hey!” then all the other kids heaped over him like a scrum of soccer players.
Children and puppies are also different. Children eventually go to the bathroom on their own and not on the floor, feed themselves, walk without a leash (except one guy I know), and essentially, grow up.
Canines don’t. They become adults in their own right, but good, caring humans still need to assist them with potty breaks, twice daily feedings, fresh water refills, lots of exercise, almost constant attention. Unlike a cat, you can’t leave a dog or teenager for the weekend and hope to find the house in the same condition you left it in. Essentially, dogs don’t grow up. They grow older and, eventually, even more dependent on their caregivers to determine the locations of their aches and pains and other ailments, for which the caregiver has to pay, or pretend not to notice till death do you two part.
It takes a lot of work, time, and money, more for some dogs than others. Shiloh is the former.
Not that admonishments steer the emotionally blinded in a different direction, but I am here to advise anyone who is thinking about adopting a dog to seriously consider and write down all the possible consequences.
The excitement of having a puppy can certainly replace sanity, sleep, and ever having a clean, puke- and excrement-free home. And if you truly believe you are getting a pet for your child, you’re wrong. Don’t ever, that means never, believe your child will rise to parenting until he or she is married and becomes a parent.
I honestly didn’t think I’d have to handle most of the dog-ownership responsibilities. Ivy was healthy and capable of handling any chores associated with Shiloh. When I was 10, our family had a dog, 40 head of cattle, multiple cats, ducks, and horses, and all needed our entire family and hired hands for care, and believe me, I worked all the time, in the home and on the ranch. But just because I’m industrious and a hard worker does not mean anyone close to me is, which is quite an unfortunate thing.
And although I was good at addition, I hadn’t mastered subtraction until 2011 when Ivy was about to dash off to college and Shiloh was almost eight. Labs live to be about 12, so, right, I will care for him all by myself for another four years, a total of 12 years of my life. Trapped. Can’t leave home. And I can’t bring people here, because Shiloh’s a puker.
Alex was more human than canine and was little to no work. Shiloh’s another animal. He pukes all the time, for years, anywhere and everywhere. I sometimes spend weeks sucking up vomit with one of my two shampooers, then redoing each spot the next day and often the next, which can number seven huge spots each day. All upheavals coming from a 100-pound dog and the expensive food such an animal can consume. An ultrasound revealed no cancer, no blockages. Blood tests showed nothing too unusual for a Lab his age. He eats too fast, and sometimes puts stuff in his mouth that doesn’t belong there, then swallows, which is one of the reasons I cannot leave him outside.
Once he had a major mishap, causing me to go into shock. Fortunately Ivy’s dad came to the rescue, physically, emotionally, and financially, or I’d have had to put Shiloh down. And there are days I wonder what would be easier.
And since Labs are socialites, he’s alerted us to two kittens in the backyard who needed a home, asking if we could keep them. Yep, more testicles to nip.
So if you still want a dog, remember this long story and send me a note. And if someone offers to buy you a dog, or even half of one, go with neither. It’s just my opinion.
* Originally I’d used “Mexican jumping bean,” whose definition is (usually) a Euphorbiaceae seed containing a moth larva that grows and moves inside the seed. Therefore, meshing this seed with Shiloh’s anthropomorphic characteristic of euphoria led me to coin a potentially new word.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
In November 2003, a friend offered to buy my 10-year-old daughter a real, live dog for Christmas, versus the stuffed variety or a cat that only requires an occasional hot fluff cycle in the dryer. I’m certain the idea was mine, because I’m female, emotional, and, therefore, don’t thoroughly think through things.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
My daughter means everything to me, and I am voting for Jim Bensberg. Though that might sound like a non sequitur, I will explain why it is not.
In 1997 when Jim was working for U.S. Senator Wayne Allard, my daughter, age four at the time, was court ordered to visit opprobrious people, two biologically related, two not. Even now when she returns to Colorado from college, more events surface that make my gut wrench.
Of the myriad public figures I contacted—political, legal, entertainment, such as Oprah, and others made public circumstantially—Jim was the only human being who helped.
Most who have been in a stressful situation know, the brain can function on survival mode. Fearful for my daughter’s safety, yet doing what I could without retribution, my challenge was finding an objective legal defense group that could potentially save my daughter from further court-ordered abuses.
Jim found that group for my four-year-old.
Finally knowing someone in the world cared about children’s safety, happiness, and well-being, I breathed a bit deeper. And though my little girl was forced into unspeakable situations for another eight years, she became empowered through Jim’s help and that of a police officer. At 12, she emancipated herself from that horrifying situation. Everyone, especially her many teachers who worked to help her throughout elementary school, immediately saw the metamorphosis from an injured little girl into a beautiful, intelligent young lady.
I thank God for Jim Bensberg.
Jim believes as I do on another vital issue: money. As he has grown to become a friend of our family, and I his, we both live conservatively, wisely, with thought. Waste is not a part of his lifestyle, private nor public. One needs only to see Jim to believe that point—he maintains a healthy, trim physique.
Learn more by clicking here.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
My last post stimulated the imagination of one reader to such an extent, he couldn’t contain himself. So he sent me an email and said he wished I’d have extrapolated more on condom modifications, and since I didn’t, he did. Building on his momentum, apparent expertise, and discretion-challenged ways of expression, I toned down and added to his new business plan.
Being a man of age and experiencing all physical implications of a less-responsive body, he liked the idea of selling condoms in a variety pack—but for the same user, just different situations. Here are our joint efforts.
All-occasion Pack for the Mature Man
• Brick: deep-red-colored condom with sparkles for the deflated
• Awesome: geometric design gives the illusion of greater proportion (and for the man with too much to offer, a reverse design creates a less-ominous mien)
• Memories of Olde: musical, sepia-colored condom plays one of four Frank Sinatra tunes from Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! when fully inserted, with emphasis on the bass (“You Make Me Feel So Young,” "I’ve Got You under My Skin,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Anything Goes”)
• Earth Daddy: for the environmentally conscious, comes with a doggy bag, so the wearer can take the leftovers home for proper recycling
• Wyoming: sheepskin interior condom bleats satisfied after a few minutes; this model has an opening at its end for men with vasectomies
• In the Mooood: flexible, durable, calfskin leather with an inoperable, decorative outer zipper—it doesn’t take much to imagine what a real zipper could do
• Asia: Velcro-fastened, tiger-striped, sarong-style wrap for the exotic look
• Steed: zebra-pattern, rivulet-textured thick condom aiming for the younger woman
After a Few Beers Pack
• Chrome: metallic-appearing finish designed with pipes and racing stripes
• Measurably Better: buff colored with subtle, black lines delineating each half-inch, and starting with 2
• Tulips: two voluptuous, thick lips imprinted into this model for when your date won’t come in
• Condamend: sufficiently padded to offer the inebriated less embarrassment
Tell me what you think.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
At my age, reading the fine print is more than difficult—it’s sometimes impossible, particularly poring over the ingredients of skin care products. You know the kind: antiaging, antiwrinkle, antibagging, antifart-producing, anticlogging (noncomedogenic), anti-belly-fat-producing creamy stuff, the kind of stuff most guys don’t give a crap about. I want to look as young as my mind says I am, and at the rate I’m going—forgetting simple math and acting childish—my mind figures I’ll be entering junior high pretty soon.
One day I set out for King Soopers, my favorite grocery store, with the goal of reading and comparing antiwrinkle cream and lotion ingredients. Once I identified the best product for the money, I planned to purchase two so I wouldn’t have to subject myself to this embarrassing ordeal more than once a year, like sex. I thought of carrying a magnifying glass, portable potty, and a bottle of wine with me, knowing this project would consume some time, which would give me time to consume some wine, but instead I grabbed my best seeing-up-close glasses, ones I likely scored for an entire dollar plus tax.
Into the store I skipped, demonstrating I was younger than I looked. After picking myself up off the floor, I headed toward skin care. Comparing these age-defying skin formulae felt much like choosing feminine hygiene products when I was a teenager or like evaluating condoms to keep on hand just in case. Really now, what size package was I buying for anyway? Forward-thinking packagers and marketeers should offer a condom variety pack, a just-in-case-the-first-one-doesn’t-fit kind of thing. (Maybe they do already.) And for the small guy, shouldn’t condom manufacturers offer padded sheaths just as bra manufacturers do for the less endowed?
I’d already been buying Olay Complete for a couple years, and Olay was promoting their new Regenerist product line like a guy promotes his best friend, so I gave it some attention. And here is where this whole exercise was worth its weight in coinage: Olay Complete with SPF 15 and Regenerist Age-Defying Anti-Wrinkle Daily 15 SPF had the same ingredients, but the cost was very different:
4.0 ounces of Olay Complete with SPF 15 cost $7.35 that day ($1.84/oz),
3.4 ounces of Regenerist Age-Defying Anti-Wrinkle Daily 15 SPF cost $14.50 ($4.26/oz), and further research showed that
2.7 ounces of Regenerist UV Defense cost $22 ($8.15/oz).
It’s all about the packaging! So I bought two more Completes and smiled as if I’d just been laid in a field of soft, green grass with no bugs.
Now that my second one-ounce bottle is low, I decided to conduct research on its ingredients compared to my previously purchased Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle cream (1.4 oz for $13.50). (I hate it when they don’t hyphenate antiwrinkle.) Both products contain retinol; however, the less expensive cream lists retinol as ingredient number 10. If my aging eyes are seeing correctly, and if my mind is calculating accurately, the more expensive one lists retinol as number 26.
So again, I’ll likely skip, carefully, into my favorite grocery and purchase Olay Complete and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle, knowing deep inside my skin-covered soul that I’m still going to get older and wrinkle. What I’m really in a quandary about is how to repackage myself so I can charge a higher rate. What would I sell, though?
But the bigger question is, if a guy repackaged, would he have two?
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Recently as I did the laundry I found something that brought back a sweet memory. In a whoosh moment, it transported me back to early December 2012 after the deep, navy-blue clouds of November had parted. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, had passed, thank god, because for three years I’d spent it alone, and the one in 2010 devastated me to such a point, I almost died. But I tripped and stumbled my way through the final remnants of November and greeted December with as much hope as a wounded heart could muster.
It’s funny how my mind can linger on depressing events and make them as bad as the day they happened. Some are life altering. Some have changed a tradition that began after my daughter’s birth—our own traditions, like our annual Thanksgiving dinner shared with friends around our big marble table. She’d ensure the placemats were lint free and the napkins’ open edges faced left. It drives her crazy when I don’t fold them properly after washing them, but I’ve learned, as all obedient moms do, that daughters know everything and to heed their advice. When our friends would arrive, the feasting and storytelling would begin. I missed that for three years.
And then I got the text. “I’ll be in Colorado Dec 18,” my baby girl wrote. Even without toothpicks, I was able to open my squinty, depressed eyes a bit further. and I felt a warm well of hope bubble up from inside. My daughter, my raison d'être, was coming home for Christmas.
Now, my funny mind also romanticizes good memories and sometimes makes them better. In my daughter’s younger years, she slept in my bed with me, not all the time, but particularly after her nightmares—and she had a lot. I’d hear her get up, use the toilet, then walk back into her room and turn on her light. I sleep through nothing.
“Did you have a nightmare?” I’d ask.
“Yeah (pause). Can I sleep with you?”
“As long as you don’t kick.” That’s another funny thing, how a little girl can start on one side of a king-size bed and end up kicking me in the gut on the opposite side. Even with my body pillow in between us, her little foot somehow packed a powerful under-the-pillow punch, so I learned to sleep on a one-foot width of space. Eventually, her subconscious took over and she quit kicking, and I had fewer bruises. So I hoped when she came home, we could fall asleep talking as we sometimes did, like college roommates or good girlfriends.
Another tradition we started years ago was our annual Christmas Eve soirée. We invite about forty friends to pop in for a bite to eat and have a cup of holiday cheer or stay the night if they’d like. The event always fills our home with loving energy for weeks afterward. Memories of guests’ mini gatherings warm the house and replenish the spirit. I wondered if my 19-year-old boss would like to continue that event.
“We have to,” she texted. “It’s tradition. And we have to make our chocolate-chip chili, ’cause people expect it.”
A month’s worth of despondency lifted like removing an x-ray-proof lead apron. I felt as if I’d taken a ten-pound dump and could breathe again. During the following week, I pulled Christmas décor from its box and, with the help of a few notes on where the decorations were to be placed, the house soon started looking bright and festive. Even the gal in the mirror donned an occasional grin and brighter-colored clothes.
December 18 finally arrived, and due to nature’s way, my daughter’s flight was late, but safe. During her time here we played a lot of Ping-Pong, chess, and Pick Two. She even bought me four new pairs of pants, the first new clothes I’ve had in seven years. and I had a treasure hunt for her on Christmas morning. Then on her last night here, I heard her get up at 4:00 a.m., use the toilet, then walk back into her room and turn on her light.
“Did you have a nightmare?” I asked.
“Do you want to sleep with me?”
Click. Off went her light. I heard her walk into my room and get into the other side of the bed.
“Good night.” I said, smiling. “No kicking.”
“Night,” she groaned.
* * *
So simple. So sweet. So miraculous. A precious memory of a beautiful daughter captured in one precious strand.
Posted by Auntie at 9:34 PM
Monday, January 7, 2013
Saturday, January 5, 2013
“You don’t realize how much you need something until TSA ruins it.” LAWestin, Jan. 3, 2013
“There’s a correlation between shampooing the carpet one day and either the dog vomiting, the cat emptying his bowels, or a friend spilling a glass of red wine on it the next.” LAWestin, Dec. 15, 2012
If there isn’t one already, there should be a law I will dub Auntie’s Law whose definition is “as soon as you make a commitment to accomplish a goal, complications will erupt like a volcano and flow searing lava over your life, halting all action toward accomplishing your goal.” Auntie Eartha, July 16, 2012
Negative emotions and closed-mindedness stunt spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth.
Is our country and those things for which our country stands important enough to die for? Even if United States citizens don’t stand behind or vote for a particular president and his policies, ideas, and beliefs, our nation still has a better chance of thriving if we work together toward common goals, such as peace, sharing meals, and exhibiting positive actions to indicate our connectedness to each other. A president needs receptivity to absorb others’ input sans judgment, while actually trusting and believing himself. Do we currently have that?
Posted by Auntie at 4:59 PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Glenn, a dear friend of 30 years, has a daughter, Sandra, who needs a new kidney.
Another friend of 30 years, married Glenn's son, and they now have three daughters, all beautiful in spirit and intention.
Let's make this wish happen! Anyone interested in donating should contact the University of Washington Medical Center at 206-598-3627. The identity of the inquiring person is never revealed to Sandra or her family.
Here is some background information Glenn posted in April.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
At fifty-something, manless, and poorer than a millionaire next door pretends to be, I tighten my muscles and tackle most big jobs myself. In the two years past, I’ve had to buy new batteries for my drill, a pump for my hot tub, a new bathtub and surround, roof, windows, manpower, and crack fillers of many kinds—evidence of a writer with too much time on her hands.
My neighbor loaned me Home Improvement 1-2-3: Expert Advice from the Home Depot (1995) that teaches in blonde terms and illustrations how to build and repair things around the house. They usually feature male illustrations, further convincing me I’m attempting gender-inappropriate work and should really return to carrying a briefcase filled with sales material and gender-inappropriate items.
Due to my 1954-vintage house founded on shrinking-when-dry then swelling-when-wet bentonite clay soil coupled with a 10-year dry spell, Mississippi River–size cracks creep up walls and across ceilings making thick moaning and breaking sounds like a lake freezing in wintertime. It’s ominous, though my nightmarish thoughts are prime fodder for a horror flick. Imagine drowning in a king-size waterbed after it fell through the floor. It’s happened to me twice.
In DIY mode, I researched and learned that each of my cracks might need a different filler, sort of like being on the air again (DJs and radio/TV types unite!). Depending on size and location, each substance has its own problem if not inserted into the appropriate crack. Believe me, I’ve had my share of experimentation, not always choosing correctly, and it has led to time-consuming extraction complications. There’s joint compound, Spackle, expandable foam, vinyl concrete patch, concrete latex crack filler, epoxy, and a dizzying variety of caulks. Some materials, once inserted and allowed to age, tend to be rather difficult to remove. I chipped away two-year-old silicone caulking from the upper periphery of my lower brick fireplace with putty knife and hammer. It was no easy job to pull off. Now I understand how hard it must be to remove those big, expensive boobs girls have installed after their spines atrophy.
Last Saturday I used expandable foam to fill a two-inch crack between drywall and the entire chimney masonry unit, an 8’ x 4.5’ x 30’ structure containing two fireplaces and four chimney pots that is literally heading south. It is separating from the rest of the house, headed for warmer climes. By next year, I’ll be able to add a large gun closet where the fireplace used to be, and I’ll build a house around the chimney’s new location. That two-inch crack allowed me to see the garage from inside my home. It also created quite the draft, so I foamed it.
Since the entire can of expandable foam had to be used or it would self-seal, I decided to use the remainder and fill the open-air space between my large, wood garage door and its frame. I don’t waste stuff, including Great Stuff, but I’m blonde and tend to use materials in unconventional ways. A 70-year-old cashmere sweater has been transformed into door insulation, for example.
The day after I foamed the garage door, I got a call from an old friend, “Hey, you want to be spontaneous and enjoy fermented grapes with me?” I said sure, I’d be over in a bit.
But my garage door wouldn’t open. It was expandable-foam shut. Being a bit later than expected, I called my friend and asked, “Have you ever done anything stupid?” then realized he’s a politician and didn’t force a response. So I powered off the phone and chipped the hard, foam-looking material from my garage door, then drove up the cañon for a grape tasting.
That said, a result to seriously consider is that crack fillers are not eternally pliable as girls are with wine. Spackling dries and separates. Some caulk has elasticity, though it’s unsuitable to span large crevices between parting walls. And not all foamy liquids make you burp and pass wind.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The following arrived Sunday, October 14, from a friend whose dedication to changing the world continues for the better, at least most of the time:
[edited version] "I just read [El Paso County, Colorado, Sheriff] Terry Maketa’s essay on “Why I need a tax hike for the Sheriff’s Department” and looked at his current budget: $47.8 million. Taking the land area of El Paso County, I subtracted the City of Colorado Springs, which has its own police department, subtracted Fort Carson (military police), the Air Force Academy (more military police), took out Peterson Field [Peterson Air Force Base] (ditto), took out Space Command/NORAD, and did not include Woodland Park, which is in Teller County.
"It just struck me that the government is sucking up all of the money 'per square foot,' or 'per capita,' or whatever—one of the reasons the private sector is dead.
"We have to do 'Stormwater' at half a billion dollars, because of lawsuits from Pueblo about the water coming down Fountain Creek. Well, for that money, actually about half that, we could buy the whole town of Pueblo and move it somewhere south of Albuquerque. Things are just getting all out of proportion."
The above-mentioned friend is a successful entrepreneur who established a few national corporations and continues to travel internationally, helping less fortunate countries become self-sustaining. So, with permission, I forwarded my friend's email to other friends, saying, "I'd welcome your comments and received the following."
This friend obviously credited me for the entrepreneur's research, but I need to give him a break—he also resigned from his job the same day he wrote and plans to leave this cowtown. Next…
B. This from an unlikely Harvard Business School grad and current adjunct professor: "I'm against the logic being used and prefer the concept of 'zero-based budgeting' where we don't assume that the infrastructure needed to support the troops on the ground has been well-invested and justified ... the other aspect to consider is that population density varies (open land versus single-family homes versus mega-apartment complexes) ... the purported arguments and logic appear flimsy and we need to review how much of the budget is currently for hands-on protection versus equipment and paper pushers amd middle management ... at least that's my quick overview."
C. "Good to hear from you. Give me a call," from a politician friend.
D. From a former DoD-contractor employee and educator: "If he would deport every illegal alien and make Colorado Springs a very distasteful place for illegals, it would save the county one whale of a lot of money. If the jail were a little more unpleasant, maybe the illegals would leave. They could hassle all of the medical marijuana places. His law enforcement budget covers jails, etc.
"Maybe he needs to copy Joe Arpaio in Arizona. Check this out: www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxNgJk0WSqs
The next astute response comes from the most credible friend I know, whose intelligence, drive, talent, and sense of humor still blow me away after 27 years. Cream of the crop, this guy. He actually gave me a tour of NORAD in 1985 when he was first manufacturing satellite equipment.
E. "You activist, you! I am in agreement with the writer. I present a few reasons I believe the Sheriff's budget is sufficiently funded at this point. Is there really a need for an El Paso County Explosives Response vehicle complete with robot, or is this an asset that could be shared between city and county? The El Paso County Tactical Rescue Unit? Really? Two HazMat vehicles?
"I am chairman of the PSSTOC, the citizens' committee that oversees spending of these funds. So, if we not only fund our own protection through the general fund but also pay an extra 0.4 percent specifically for our own protection, why in the world should we, as residents of COS, be expected to pay an additional 0.23 percent for protection outside our city limits?
"It should be remembered that the Sheriff's Department does maintain much of the jail facilities. However, we currently pay a 1 percent county sales tax that should generate about $62 million a year from city residents. We also pay miscellaneous fees for roads and bridges through our property taxes and register our vehicles through the county DMV. How much do we need to carry those who live outside our city limits? How much do we and should we rely on county services?
"I believe Falcon should incorporate, pass their own city sales tax, and create their own police force. Obviously, the residents do not agree. However, we are once again being asked to take responsibility for them. Let them take responsibility for themselves. This, to me, is the crux of the argument. Why are we, as city residents, being asked to fund our public safety and their public safety?
You heard him: Vote No. Vote No on all judge-retention petitions too—they are not God.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Climbing out of a big, black hole this morning, I could finally see the light of day. As I opened my bedroom blinds and cautiously opened the window, a wonderful, clean, sweet, moist waft of air freshened my lungs and filled the room with much-needed relief. The six o’clock sun’s warmth on my face complemented the cool air emanating from our rain-drenched earth. Praise god. All but two of us made it through hell.
During record-high heat for days in a row, fires devastated a large section of our half-million-peopled city. Those on the west side of I-25 that bisects Colorado Springs found it hard to breathe for a week—not just because of the thick, particulate-filled smoke, but because of fear—fear of being forced from their homes with possibly no home to return to. This happened to 347 families. One couple was unable to escape and succumbed to fire in their destroyed home.
Like water, wind, and the earth’s bowels, fire has a life of its own. It moves and breathes like a wild animal, but can grow exponentially at lightning speed. Given austere conditions and abundant fuel, all it needs is a spark or dull smolder to bring heat to life. Further encouraged by even a small breeze, fire converts all that is beautiful and ugly into ash. The wild creature, tense from being caged for years, breaks free and grows larger with each discovery. Dried pine needles crackle and spit. Its flames loop around tall cylinders of wood, dancing from limb to twig, changing colors as they interact with sap, moisture, and air. Fire transforms, licking and lapping like a wave at land, sucking life from its victims left dying in its wake. Insatiably, fire consumes the desiccated and affects the green in parched, lively gulps until it is depleted of fuel or man tames it.
Waldo Canyon, whose trail I used to hike at least monthly, held ripe components for a dramatic firestorm for years. How the most destructive fire in Colorado history got its start, we have yet to learn. What we do know, though, is how better to mitigate fire’s reach, how to build more fire-resistant homes, how to more intelligently landscape in an arid clime, and how much we care about each other.
[written Tuesday, July 10, 2012]
Friday, May 4, 2012
In my yard, alone, dandelions took the brunt of victimization by pluck, hours of it. Now I’m free, and so are they! I love ’em.
Posted by Auntie at 12:24 PM