February 2009


28 Feb 2009 02:38 pm

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Charlotte on a wooden bowl

My maternal and paternal grandmothers played important roles in my life and I’m lucky my parents let me spend lots of time with both of them. Looking back there was never enough time. Something I heard last night touched me and got me thinking about roles that grandparents play in the lives of grandchildren.

I was talking to my fellow co-conspirator and friend, Myra who is also the grandmother on the maternal side of my grandson, Aidan. I am his paternal grandmother. Myra is his maternal grandmother. How lucky Aidan is to have her.

We had a good time last night spending the last (hopefully) Friday night watching Aidan being an only child, reminding him of that fact and watching carefully (and sometimes painfully) his poor mom who is in her last few days of ordered bed rest.

Our little girl’s room is all ready. Pray, God, that the doctor and the sonogram is right and she really is a girl because there is just too much pink, rose, rosebud-red and lovely sweet little girl items to return and it wouldn’t be fair to a newborn little boy.

Getting back to our little five year old boy, Aidan who told his grandmother, Myra a story the other day as she was taking him to school. He informed her that he remembered what it was like in Heaven before he was born and came to earth. Aidan said that he was in a series of rooms and they kept moving him from room to room. He said he met different people in these rooms. One person he remembers meeting was the first president. “The first president, you say,” Myra said. “Who was that?”

“Well, that was President George Washington!” Aidan said emphatically.

Sitting around with Myra and watching our grandson play is just the best. I wish she lived here but she’s a steel magnolia from Louisiana. She will stay for a month after the baby is born so I will be having more than my usual share of coffee for the next month with one of my very best of friends.

25 Feb 2009 01:58 pm

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Tilles Park back in the day

When I was a child, my brothers, sister and I spent a great deal of time at Tilles Park, a park about six blocks away from our home. Our parents took us to play on the swings, and the slides and to swim in the “wading pool.” We brought our pets to Tilles Park for the Pet Competitions. Our cats, our dog, Cookie, our horse, Scout and even our turtle, Squeaky came home with ribbons. Our parents entered us in the summer park competitions. I won Miss Tilles Park one summer. My sister outdid me, winning Miss Tilles Park and going on to win the all city competition, Miss City Park.

Tilles Park was a fun and safe park back then. We had picnics there. We loved climbing on the big cannon. We went to Easter Egg Hunts and had fun looking at the unique rock formed Japanese architecture. Back in 1978 when I was asked to illustrate a calender for the Fort Smith Junior League I included Tilles Park for one of my months.

The park lost its place as a safe and fun family destination in the sixties when the culture started to destruct. Hippies took over the park with their drugs. Later, the younger brothers and sisters of the hippies moved in, then came the gangs and meth users and not long after homosexuals started to meet each other in the park. Today the neighborhoods surrounding the park are rundown and most are rentals, not single family homes.

Parents don’t let their children go to the park to play anymore so why in the world would they take their handicapped children to the park?

Of all the parks in our city why in the world are there plans to put in a 40,000 dollar playground for physically challenged children at Tilles Park? Who asked for this money? Why is it part of the stimulus?

The school where I teach art just had a big renovation, adding a new cafeteria and lots of new classrooms. What pitiful playground equipment there was had to be taken out to make room for construction. The parents were naturally outraged and started a fundraiser but so far have only raised five thousand dollars.

That only takes care of one piece of playground equipment. That stuff costs big bucks anymore. When I was a child the only thing we had on our “playground” were swings and the old seesaws. I used to love it when the kid on the other end of the seesaw jumped off and I landed with a big bump. I don’t know why, but I did. The arbiters of the political correct don’t allow that type of childrens’ playground equipment anymore, along with the harsh play ground games like Dodge Ball. (which I loved) Gone from our city parks are the merry go rounds where kids could sit on a round bench and push each other round and round, getting dizzy. (as portrayed in the drawing above) That equipment was taken out. In its place are a bunch of individual spring riders which aren’t very satisfying to the little ones.

Most of the kids at our school would really enjoy the $40,000 playground that is going to be put in at a park a few blocks away that will be trashed almost as soon as it is put in.

Talk about a waste of money.

22 Feb 2009 06:37 pm

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Despite several days of lengthy debates, the remaining senators were not able to agree on a measure to remove the louse colonies. While one faction argued that the application of petroleum jelly or mayonnaise would suffocate the lice, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) made a privileged motion that all affected heads be immediately soaked in kerosene.

The folks at the Arkansas Project are convinced that the epidemic of head lice was caused by one of our very own Arkansas representatives, Mike Ross, democrat, who is known to favor sweat suits.

22 Feb 2009 06:00 pm

A nice weekend with a blue sky and cool temperatures had me outside where I could hear some birds twittering and I overheard a little bird speaking in a surprisingly human voice. This little bird overheard some other little bird saying that there is some secret construction going on in the old section of Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in preparation to bring some GITMO detainees to stay in some of the old renovated housing. Possibly the money is being provided by the funds from the stimulus. Hmmm. Wouldn’t put it past Obama. Arkansas really turned up her nose at him this year in the election. I knew there would have to be some pay back.

Just a couple of weeks ago the board of directors voted in no uncertain terms that our city does not want any detainees brought anywhere near our city. But there is one director on the board who was against that vote and may be working with the administration. Still, I better not name names.

21 Feb 2009 02:59 pm

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Miss Katydid and her dolls, Wimples and Lumley and other friends are having a tea party. Miss Katydid is my daughter Kate, who, along with her brother, Drew and sister, Charlotte, inspired lots of artistic output from me in their childhood lives. Their unique outlooks on life and funny comments gave me all the entertainment I ever needed. What is wrong with parents today who have to have their cable television and ipods and Wii’s and all that other stuff? If they would just take the time to sit down and interview their children they would find a universe of wonder.

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My brother trying to spoil my tea party

There was always a tea party in me. Perhaps it is genetic. My maternal (and some paternal) ancestors were from New England and were Revolutionaries. My direct ancestor, Ebenezer Whitmarsh built a house in what is now Whitman, Massachusetts in 1714 on ten acres of land (in what was then the wilderness) he had purchased for ten pounds of hard coin. Apparently he was a good builder because the house is still standing. It was up for sale last summer.

Our ancestors contributed to the growth and the goodness of this nation. The Whitmarshes, Haydens, Adams and Faxons were from Braintree, Massachusetts and the Rands hailed from Charleston, Massachusetts. In fact, Nehemiah Rand was a minister and a hatter and owned a part of Bunker Hill but after the British burned Charleston he and his family moved to Lyndeborough, New Hampshire permanently.

Having to flee the city didn’t mean they didn’t fight. Charles Whitmarsh, my direct great something grandfather took off to fight in the Revolutionary War at the age of sixteen and so did my great something grandfathers Benjamin Wright and John Wright. So did Mathew Payne and Josiah Payne. And it came down to taxation without representation. After all the blood, sweat and tears given to the building up of the nation the citizens weren’t willing to let a King from across an ocean send his army to terrorize the people and confiscate the goods the people had worked so hard to produce.

That brings us down to this very day and that so and so in the Oval Office who has in just one month brought such despicable change.

This is what Barack Obama intends to do with the hard working citizens of this country in this day and age. Barack Obama wants to mortage the future of our children and grandchildren, keeping them as renters, unable to take ten pounds of hard coin to build a house as my ancestor, Ebenezer Whitmarsh did and leave it to their children as he did. Why Obama wants to do this, we can only surmise, but stop him, we can, if we join together.

Apparently the American people have had it with the so-called hope and change Obama’s been forcing on the tax-paying, bill-paying producers in this country.

Sissy Willis writes about Rick Santelli, a CNBC host who roused the week with his revolutionary comments about Obama’s distributionist mortgage bailout plan: “Y’know, Cuba used to have mansions and a relatively decent economy. They moved from the individual to the collective. Now they’re driving ‘54 Chevys, maybe the last great car to come out of Detroit,”

Pajamas Media’s Roger Simon asks, Will there be a ‘Chicago Tea Party’?

Wanna Have a Tea Party?

I know I do.

We will have to be doing this while the MSM will be scrubbing the news for Obama, not something the Revolutionaries of Old had to deal with so much or did they?

15 Feb 2009 05:49 pm

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Yesterday’s celebration of Valentines Day was sweet and savory for the females in our family. It was a sweet day to throw a shower for my daughter-in-law who is expecting our first granddaughter in early March. They say that it’s proper to give showers for first time mothers only but this second time mother is expecting her first daughter this time. Little girls can’t wear their big brothers’ hand-me-downs. (even in these supposedly gloomy times)

My sister, Lucy, daughter, Kate and I love to talk about all-things-party: color, theme, feeling, design, menu, and budget, so as we mulled over our plans for the shower I looked into some of my albums to find my collection of antique Valentines. These Valentines tend to be less pink and more red, violet and vibrant in their presentations. None of my children or grandchildren or my childrens’ spouses are pastels in any sense of the word, all are rich and vivid, colors as individuals. Lucy, Kate and I all agreed there would be little pink in this Valentine Baby Shower.

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The Valentine Baby Shower would have as it’s basic theme, antique Valentines.

The most romantic of all poems makes little use of the word, pink. I would never suggest that the color be banned, perhaps just lessened. We used just a little of the pink in some of the napkins and fluffy paper to soften the edges. I had fun going shopping at The Now and Then Shoppe where I found the beautiful red and white vase and at Target where I found the heart trees. I would say that I’ve done my share in helping to boost the economy in our local area.

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My sister, my oldest daughter and I took on the happy task of putting the party together. Lucy helped Kate arrange the flowers and the two together went out early in the morning to find the best and tastiest selections for the table. The cake was an Italian Creme purchased from Sacred Grounds, a fun little coffee shop-Italian deli located in downtown Fort Smith. The punch was made of cranberry juice and ginger ale. We had creme puffs, fresh strawberries with chocolate dipping sauce, almond flavored heart shaped cookies and for the savory: two kinds of crostinis: artichoke and chicken fajita, mozzarella puffs with Marinara sauce, and little parmesan cheese straws.

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The light’s fantastic, as Sissy Willis would say.

We sat together later, after the guests had departed and watched the baby having hiccups in Joni’s tummy. We examined the pretty little baby girl outfits that were given as gifts and we watched as the light of the day grew gradually more dim, and we savored the memories the day had given.

The days before a new female Donoho emerges into the world are full of anticipation, for her world will be a very different place than the one her grandmother entered fifty some years ago and even the one her own mother was born into twenty some years ago. This baby girl’s world will be starkly different but our hopes for her are not unlike those our own ancestors cherished for us. I hope our little granddaughter will have dark black hair and a milk white complexion like her mother and will be an honest and trustworthy individual like her father.

I hope she will grow up in a country that still values freedom and love of family and God. I hope she will come to know her Creator at an early age and she will make Him her best friend and guide.

Most of all, I hope she will be born healthy and that the birth will be a safe event for both mother and baby. That we are already celebrating before her birth should in someway tell her how we are anticipating her arrival and how welcome she will be in our lives and in our family.

11 Feb 2009 10:01 pm

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I don’t spend as much time on hold as I have in the past because I just don’t have the patience to sit and waste my time, waiting on the phone. I’ve usually had a pen near me when I’ve been on the phone for whatever reason so I can doodle or keep notes but since I can’t stand being put on hold anymore I don’t doodle as much, so I suppose you could say with me, it’s a lost art.

But, I have spent some excruciatingly, frustrating time recently calling my representatives and senators about the porkulus bill. (the little good it’s done us) The only positive response I received was from our one lone Republican congressman who voted against it.

Unfortunately, our Senators are Democrats and both voted for it. I’m going to do everything I can to see that Blanche Lincoln, who is up for re-election in 2010, is defeated. When Mark Pryor, who just won re-election this past November, is up again, I won’t be forgetting.

Instead of being put on hold, when I called Congress, most of the time the phones were either busy or the messages were full. Congress has to know the American people are against this egregious act of generational theft but they don’t care. Yes, Senator Schumer, we do care.

We have to make them care. I’ve always been good at breaking windows and dumping tea when it comes to something I feel strongly about so I am up for Michelle Malkin’s idea. Hat tip: Ed Driscoll

09 Feb 2009 02:37 am

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US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (not shown) read to children during their visit to the Capitial City Public Charter School to meet with the 2nd Grade Class and read the book ‘The Moon Over Star’ at the school in Washington DC., USA, 03 February 2009. EPA/GARY FABIANO / POOL

Approaching the keyboard in the age of Obama is becoming ever more dicey. What with dealing with the winter of our own discontent, disinfectants, and distress, there’s a slow realization that the dystopian society some of us suspected before the election might be the true construct behind the flashing neon lights of Hope and Change is indeed the audacious aim of Barack Obama and it’s beginning to unfold.

A scary time made even more scary by our Horror Story Teller in Chief, Scary Barry.

I’ve always been skeptical of the pushy car salesmen who insist that a car I am mildly interested in must be purchased immediately because there are so many buyers in line, there are no more like it, the price will go up tomorrow, etc…. but this is what we have been getting from Empire Obama re the Stimulus Plan.

If the rotting fish/lard/pork bill is not passed with all its earmarks and goodies the seas will rise, and we will be in for catastrophic times, according to Barrack Obama.

Things haven’t been going so well for Barack and Michelle in the White House, it seems, since most of the Obama cabinet selections have been found unworthy in one way or another. The day Tom Daschle had to bow out of the post of secretary of Health and Human Services due to tax troubles the Obamas took off to a charter school in Washington D.C. where they told the second graders they were ‘tired of being in the White House.’

Such an inspirational couple.

The escapist pair read The Moon over Star to the delighted and useful children all in order to divert attention from the bad news of the day which, truth be told, was all of Barack Obama’s making.

Obama’s impaired judgement in his selection of tax cheats, lobbyists and sleaze artists has hit full mass and even the puppy dog press has been forced to cover his mess of a presidency.

It’s bad enough that Obama and his Democrat Party are promising the country the trillion dollar pork sandwich will be good for the economy even though support for the stimulus is sinking, the rabbit eared Obama cannot take the heat of the criticism of the package and had a snit-fit at the Democrat Retreat in Williamsburg, Va.

Unsurprisingly, the writers at Newsweek have seen the rising socialism and have shrugged their shoulders.

We Are All Socialists Now

As the Obama administration presses the largest fiscal bill in American history, caps the salaries of executives at institutions receiving federal aid at $500,000 and introduces a new plan to rescue the banking industry, the unemployment rate is at its highest in 16 years. The Dow has slumped to 1998 levels, and last year mortgage foreclosures rose 81 percent.

All of this is unfolding in an economy that can no longer be understood, even in passing, as the Great Society vs. the Gipper. Whether we like it or not—or even whether many people have thought much about it or not—the numbers clearly suggest that we are headed in a more European direction. A decade ago U.S. government spending was 34.3 percent of GDP, compared with 48.2 percent in the euro zone—a roughly 14-point gap, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2010 U.S. spending is expected to be 39.9 percent of GDP, compared with 47.1 percent in the euro zone—a gap of less than 8 points. As entitlement spending rises over the next decade, we will become even more French.

Perhaps this is the reason why most of the Republicans in Congress are fighting against the stimulus.

But what of the things that matter without as well as within our nation? Not only have there been troubling foreign policy changes… Obama directed that charges be dropped against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the U.S.S. Cole bombing mastermind; in addition, the NSC will be restructured to be more like SpongeBob SquarePants.

The new structure, to be outlined in a presidential directive and a detailed implementation document by Jones, will expand the NSC’s reach far beyond the range of traditional foreign policy issues and turn it into a much more elastic body, with Cabinet and departmental seats at the table — historically occupied only by the secretaries of defense and state — determined on an issue-by-issue basis. Jones said the directive will probably be completed this week.

Melanie Phillips, possibly the wisest woman in Britain writes here about what she suspects is the true aim of the Obama presidency.

I have argued before however that, given Obama’s radical roots in the neo-Marxist, nihilist politics of Saul Alinsky, it is the undermining of America’s fundamental values that is likely to be this President’s most strategically important goal. I have also suggested that, since this agenda is promoted through stealth politics which gull the credulous middle-classes while destroying the ground upon which they are standing, his second-tier appointments should be closely scrutinised.

And here’s a humdinger. Obama has picked a man called David Ogden to be deputy Attorney-General. Ogden has made his legal career from representing pornographers, trying to defeat child protection legislation and undermining family values. As FoxNews reported this week, he once represented a group of library directors arguing against the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which ordered libraries and schools receiving funding for the Internet to restrict access to obscene sites. And on behalf of several media groups, he successfully argued against a child pornography law that required publishers to verify and document the age of their models, which would have ensured these models were at least 18.

Two + two = five?

The Dystopian world of Barack Obama approaches. His allies in Congress are calling for the fairness doctrine to Hush Rush and everyone else who opposes Obama’s policies. For the first time ever ‘the director of the Census Bureau will report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce, according to a senior White House official.’ The centralization of power continues in the empire of Obama.

Perhaps there is still hope that there will be a change from all this doom and gloom rhetoric the new president has been piling on his fellow Americans. It’s not likely, the man is 47 years old and his character is pretty much formed for better or worse by now. He’s moved into the job of president with very heavy steps. Still, the two weeks of mistakes, embarrassments and temper tantrums are pretty breath taking.

President Obama is not unlike another leader who led at another time in history, King Ethelred the Unready.

Of all the kings in English history, Ethelred II has perhaps the worst reputation. By the end of his reign, he’d managed to lose almost all of England to Viking Invaders.

To fully appreciate the story of Ethelred II, it is important to go back to the reign of his father, King Edgar. Edgar was the great-grandson of King Alfred the Great, and it was during Edgar’s reign that, for the first time since before Alfred, all of England was united under one king. The Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England was at its height, seemingly free from dangers, internal or external. And thus, King Edgar was given the nickname “the Peaceful.” It was a much better nickname than would be given to his son.

Ethelred was born around the year 968, the younger of two sons of Edgar. Unfortunately, for England, the two sons came from different mothers, and from the moment of Edgar’s death in 975, a power struggle ensued. The struggle ended with the murder of Ethelred’s half-brother, Edward. In 978 Ethelred was crowned king of England at age 10.

It should come as no surprise that someone who was granted so much authority at such a young age might suffer from a lack of wisdom in how to wield that power. In fact, Ethelred’s reign was characterized by his inability to control or maintain the loyalty of his subjects.

Still, while the unity of England was slowly unwinding from within, the country faced a new threat from outside the island. In the early years of Ethelred’s reign, the Vikings returned. At first, they made small raids along the coast, but as the years passed their boldness grew. Their raids became bigger, more brutal, and struck deeper into the heart of England. Try as he might, Ethelred could organize no effective military resistance to the invaders. So instead, Ethelred took to paying them to go away. These payments were given the polite word of Danegeld, but in reality were nothing more or less than extortion.

Poor old Ethelred was only a young boy when he became king. President Obama is 47 years old.

Our country will be lucky indeed if Danegeld is all we will be paying in the next four years with Obama at the helm.

04 Feb 2009 10:01 pm

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Love can teach you so much, especially when it’s as well reciprocated as it has always been with my Dad. I have always written about my hero worship of him, how I followed him around and watched him draw and paint and sing and play fast pitch soft ball and be a role model for my brothers, my sister and me.

Daddy turned eighty one years old the other day, on Ground Hogs Day actually, and he saw his shadow, a very long shadow indeed, and we, his children, walk in his shadow.

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I remember when I was learning multiplication in school. One day when we were out for a ride in Daddy’s black 48 Chevy, Daddy taught me my nines times tables just by explaining the patterns the digits made if you started from either end and added or took away from the ones or tens places and switched the digits.

For example……

1 × 9 = 09 -Daddy said, do the switcheroo. take one away from the ones place and put it in the tens place. Then we’ll have the answer to 2×9.

2 × 9 = 18 -He said, try it on this one too. Take one from the 8 and you will have 7. Add that one to the 1 in the tens place and you will have 2. Hence, 27. It works all the way down to 90.

3 × 9 = 27

4 × 9 = 36

5 × 9 = 45

6 × 9 = 54

7 × 9 = 63

8 × 9 = 72

9 × 9 = 81

10 × 9 = 90

He explained all of this to me while he was driving the car around town.

It’s not that my parents were the pushy kind of parents who insisted on their kids making straight A’s and stomped down to the principal’s office at the first hint of a B+. Not at all. Sometimes our lives were so busy and interesting that our doing our homework was the last thing on our parent’s minds but our conversations with our parents were always interesting, engaging and naturally educational. When Daddy taught me that interesting trick with the nines table it opened my eyes to patterns in numbers and made math much more interesting to me, which was something, unfortunately, none of my elementary teachers did.

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Daddy has always been an excellent artist. I find that I am just a pale immitation when I compare myself to him.

Watching Daddy’s kindness to people who were down and out was not an unusual occurrence to my brothers, my sister and I when we were growing up. Both of our parents were of one mind when it came to taking care of our neighbors, our friends and family who were in need. Daddy has a deep faith in God which should come as no surprise. I remember some calm words of faith that he offered me when I was leaving home for the first time to go to college. He didn’t have to tell me to be careful either. All he said was, “All my ships are leaving the harbor.”

When you watch your own father pray it makes it easier to believe.

Here’s to many more Ground Hogs Day Shadow Making Birthdays for my Dad. The love will just keep on multiplying.