He is back

The man who walks through my dreams is back.

Elizabeth Moon co-wrote the first and last of a trilogy, the first being Sassinak, the third being Generation Warriors.  The second book was titled The Death of Sleep, with her co-author of the first and third co-writing the second with another writer.  The trilogy followed the heroine Sassinak from her earliest years to becoming an admiral.  The second book was about her grandmother who ended up sleeping many years in between adventures, and ended with her being around the same age as the elderly Sassinak, who called her her great great grand.  I never knew the story behind why the split, but I am certain there was a conflict between Elizabeth and her co-writer in the first book, which was resolved by the time they got to the third book.  Anyway, about the man who walks through my dreams.  He plays a lot of different parts.  Sometimes he is a relative, sometimes he represents someone I have known in my dark past – a man I married, a man I didn’t marry, a man who helped me out money-wise, a man who was an employer.  He is tall, straight, blond, dark-haired, but the face is never quite clear to me.  I think he might represent the dad I was never allowed to grow up with, my natural dad.  The dad I blamed for all the bad until one bright day when I was in my 40s, who explained what had happened in my early life to cause him to be absent.  It was a classic psychological occurrence, and it was all my mother’s doings.

Lately, I spend the bulk of my days sleeping.  I will wake up, look at the clock, think I really need to get up, and then two hours later the same thing.  Until the day is almost gone.  When I get up, finally on those days, it is usually late afternoon, and I stay up almost all night, most of it reading after I turn the TV off once I have seen what has happened in this country during the day.

I am firmly committed to the idea that my generation, and maybe the first one behind me, needs to die off to allow America to become what it was intended to be from the beginning.  I am a great liberal, a person who believes that every religion, every race, every choice of sexual loves, every gender, deserves to be equal to every other.  I thought we were coming close to that in the 60s and 70s, but it seems to have been run over by bigots of all kinds who have just been lying in wait for someone to come along and allow them to ruin it

I am not ready to die – I can’t say that has always been my intent – but it certainly is now.  But if my generation has to die off, I cannot think that would spare me.  So here is my theory.

It isn’t going to happen yet, but my sleeping throughout a day, with the mysterious man who walks through my dreams, represents the death of sleep.  It does not happen in the dark times of night in my life.  I feel safer and more alive during the night time.  But I cannot seem to face the day time very often.  I get up when I have something I need to do, a place I should be.  At my age, I don’t have that many obligations.  I have done my bit for god and country and life.  But I hang on hoping to see things change.

And then that man appears in my dreams, during the daytime hours when I am still asleep, not wanting to get up and face the day, and makes everything clearer to me.  Probably better, but at least truth as seen through my subconscious’ mind.

This man does not scare me.  He makes me feel safe.

So I can only think he is a benevolent sort of god, the half of the god/dess I believe in who represents all the men who have been in my life, because it was almost always a man who helped me when I most needed it, and is around again to let me know that things are not all bad, and it will get better.  I just have to work through it all, but I am not alone.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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Christmas for the Elderly Redux

This is by far the most popular blog I ever wrote, getting more than 2,000 readers on one day alone.  I have repeated it every year for those who have not seen it.

I am among the elderly. I am nearly 77, so I have an idea about what we want. Most of us don’t need any more talcum powder, or perfume, or nighties or bath robes. Most of us have homes full of things because we have collected stuff over the years. I have gotten rid of more things than I have left.

What most of us want are things you may not ordinarily think about as a decent Christmas present.  But here is what I would appreciate, and I bet your elderly relatives would say so too.

A 24- or 48-role package of toilet tissue; wrap it in a big fluffy beautiful bath towel.

Gift cards to places like CVS, Walgreen’s (good for use with meds), Target, Wal-Mart.

Books or panes of stamps, preferably the pre-stuck kind, and if they still sell them, the good-forever stamps

Gift cards for grocery stores where you or the person lives, for me, it is HEB.

You get the idea; there are necessities for every elderly person who is maybe living on social security that they sometimes cannot afford. Most of us simply don’t want another knickknack or bottle of bath product that are just going to collect dust.

We mostly live on limited incomes, and necessities, especially paper products, can be very expensive.  So use your imagination – give us things we can use but might not have money for – and just get creative with the wrapping, adding a set of towels or new bed sheets.

Children want fancy, expensive things. The elderly don’t.

Love from Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Happy Holidays to all.

Posted in Economics, Family, Friends, Holidays, Other media | 1 Comment


Sorry I haven’t been around much. I have quit watching the news, and buried myself in Christmas movies (Hallmark) and college football games. I just cannot stand what has been going on in this country since the trumpeter got elected. It got to where every time I tried to catch up, things only seemed worse. I have faith in the good people of this country to make things right, but it seems to be taking way too long. Patience has never been one of my best virtues, so the answer seemed to be to just leave it alone, and wait.

Today I thought I would write some things that I learned in my latest Badgerdog Writing Classes. My instructor taught me about Haikus. They have been fun. The rules of Haiku, for those who might not know, is three lines: The first has five syllables; the second has ; the third has five. The third line is traditionally supposed to be the catch, the unexpected, but something that fits the idea. So here are some I have written.

Bacall and Bogie
In love since the day they met
Dynamite on screen.

Sunshine bright and warm
Thunderheads interrupt it
Cat runs back inside.

Lazy afternoons
Sitting in quiet and bliss
Must wash the dishes.

Victory at sea
Rockets glaring thru the night
Silence is profound.

Churches on the piazza
Not Guadalcanal.

Hiroshima and
Nagasaki are on fire
Peace at any price?

My big red scooter
Gets me where I need to go
Freedom in the sun.

Our best trait is honesty
It’s also our worst.

Loquat trees, orange fruit
Two yellow pots under one
Bright colours always.

A breeze flutters by
My hair catches one small gust
Who cares if it’s neat.

Aunt Agatha ate
Apricot aspic alone
She was a real peach.

Cousin Carrie cries
Crickets chatter ceaselessly
Do not step on them.

Bluebonnets Texas
Mexican paintbrush better
Mariachi beat.

Poppies, lilies grow
Scents lift you up on a breeze
Heroin all wrong.

Badgerdog is fun
Makes you think of odd moments
Who knew I could think.

Give it a try. It is not always as easy as it seems. One think I have to think about is that a 3-syllable word does not count as one – it counts as three. As an example, Sagittarius is actually 5 syllables, thus the sole word on that line. There are also two here, Aunt Agatha and Cousin Carrie, which was my experiment with alliteration. Haiku is really fun, and something I want to play with.

ESPN is running a contest in which you take one of the sportscasters, and Tweet something to them. I don’t use Twitter, but I wrote one for Kirk Herbstreit.

Kirk Herbstreit, my man
Even with my silver hair
I am old, not dead.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

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We Are Under Attack

I get out of bed at my normal time, early afternoon. I take my pills and fix my coffee. I turn on the TV and watch disasters and devastation everywhere. I hear how many have died today, and how many acres of land is being destroyed. Hurricanes, wind and rain, fires, earthquakes, fracking quakes. The South Coast of Texas, places like Port Aransas and Rockport, are calling this their new normal. Houston, Beaumont, the Louisiana Lowlands, Florida, Puerto Rico. Then you go to California. The wine country is pretty much destroyed. All those fabulous homes. Well, I have empathy for them, but perhaps less than I do for the poorer areas of the country. However, despite the value of those homes, still, memories for the one-time inhabitants are gone.

Hey, I’m watching the Weather Channel.

I shudder to think what I will find when I switch to the news, which I may or may not do because I will get to watch reality TV there.

I checked out the movie channels. War, zombies, evil monsters. Oh wait, I’m watching the news.

I don’t know where life is going from here. Oh, I’m safe here in Austin, TX. We have bright sunny days, cool nights. I haven’t even unpacked my winter stuff because I’m still living in shorts and halter tops.

The biggest change in my life seems to come from relatives who actually still like me, some of whom I have never met in person. I wrote a comment on FB a few days ago about how my life seems to be turning backward. My niece in Tennessee is planning a road trip for late December-early January, to go to Ingleside to pick up my granddaughter, then come get me, and headed for OKC to meet my third daughter whom none of us really know except through FB. Who knows, maybe this will be the first and last time all of us will be together.

A friend has turned off or cancelled her FB page. We worry about Darlene. She has said to me that the mountains she and I have conquered we have now slid down. All the things we worked for through our long lives – tolerance, women’s rights, children’s rights, the gay communities, the black communities – are gone. Lives that have gone useless. Fear, confusion, depression everywhere.

I fear that the US of A has lost their way.

I think of how it was for eight years. How things were better under President Barack Obama. Oh, he wasn’t perfect, there were a few things I wish he had not done, but things were getting better for everyone. Then we get the trumpeter. We are all suffering a malicious case of whiplash. And every day, something causes our necks to fling in another direction; smacking our heads sends it back the other way. I fear we shall never get better.

Well, I’ve lived a long life; perhaps too long. And I have seen some good days, in spite of coming up through a lot of wrongs, a lot of mental abuse. But I have hung on, and hope to hang on long enough to make that trip in two months.

Do I sound like a miserable whiny person. I hate that if it is true. I have always tried to retain an optimistic, rosy, sunny outlook on life. I don’t want it to eventually end in this horror we are living through today.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring. People talk about World War III. For one thing, a war between the US and North Korea, or Iran, do not fit the thought of a World War. There are many more countries that are probably not going to join in, unless they are attacked. Terrorism lives everywhere, but I don’t think love for nuclear war lives everywhere.

All I can say right now is God/dess help us all.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Children, Crime, Economics, Equality, Family, Freedom, Friends, Gay Rights, global warming, Health, Homelessness, Mental health, personal thoughts, Politics, Voting Rights, War, weather, Women's Rights | 1 Comment

I’m back

Well, for the first time in several weeks, I am back on my blog. Google told me my password had been changed some weeks ago, and it has taken me this long to get back in.

I don’t know what happened, but I don’t have a lot of trust in the Internet sometimes.

I have written several things in FB that would have been better here. But I will write a new one in a few days.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

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White Supremacy, Statues

The trumpeter was never meant to be president.  He was never ready for this office – he was brought in by those who want to see the United States of North America brought down – to become weak.  We are a war-mongering country because of those who would continue to get wealthy off the war machine.  Eisenhower made this clear, and since then, many, many have done their best to make this true.

We are not a country that was intended from the beginning.  It was meant to be open to all those who wanted a chance in life, a place of freedom and equality for all.  This seems to mean just white people in these past 100 years.  I keep hearing white people saying this country was meant only for white christians.

I suppose this has been thought over and over.  First we cheated and killed the Native Americans.  Then we had a civil war over slavery.  I mean, who brought those black people here anyway?  We put native Japanese people into concentration camps at the beginning of WW II.  We want to keep Muslims out.  I suppose these white christians want to kick out all the Jewish people as well.  I don’t get it.

Anyway, apparently there has been success.  White people from other countries, i.e., Vladimir Putin, has managed to show exactly how weak we are.  He chose a man who has no idea how this country should be governed.  Of course, real people also voted for him – not all votes were stolen, or hacked.

We don’t have a military any longer.  No bodies to send into war, since the white supremacists don’t believe they have to go.  The trumpeter took five deferments during Vietnam – he was a coward.  He is still a coward.  And he has no clue how to defend the honest people of this country against the white christians who make up most of these hate groups.

It all started because of a statue?  Well, perhaps it is time we take down every statue in this country because they are all going to offend someone.  I don’t want to take down any of the memorials to military who have fought in foreign wars.  I don’t want to take down any memorials to any president.  But individual statues – whether I appreciated the person or not – should probably all come down.

Just don’t put up any more statues to anyone.  There will be a big picture in the capitol rotunda of Donald Trump; I don’t believe it belongs there, but he was elected by at least some of the people, even if it was not a legitimate election.

As for me, I was born a white woman into a christian family.  I am not a christian, however.  I could not believe in any messiah who christians think is approving their actions.

I cannot change the fact that I am “white” (though I have little white in my skin), but I have not and never will involve myself in anything that says I am superior to anyone else.  Because I am just a human being, just like every other human being.  Except there are many I do not think like.

I have no faith in the USA.  It will fall; it will never exist as long as the European countries.  It will never exist as long as Australia, or China, or Japan.  I hope I am dead long before that happens.  Kim Jong Un seems to be rethinking about throwing missiles at Guam.  I suspect he knows he simply has to wait because we will destroy ourselves from within.

Carol Stepp, Austin TX

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Karma beats Vengeance Every Time

Try this on for size, my friends. I just finished another book. One I bet many of you have read. The Obamas by Jodi Kantor, copyrighted 2012. In the last chapter, What We Came Here to Do”, she writes about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner when he mocked the trumpeter many times over the birther incidents, and about his Celebrity Apprentice show, one of the comments being “these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night” (knowing the decision he was making right now). A lot of people laughed at the trumpeter’s expense. And a few nights later was when he reported to us about how they had gone and found Osama bin Laden, and killed him. Later that year, he went to Ireland and the UK, and at his first stop in Dublin, said (because his genealogy had been traced to Ireland) “my name is Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas, and I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way.” Finally, in London, he gave a speech in Westminster Hall, a place where the only ones previously privileged to speak were Charles de Gaulle, Nelson Mandela, and Pope Benedict XVI has spoken before, with the Queen finally giving a state dinner for him, Beefeaters in full dress uniform, herself in a glittering crown and blue sash toasting the President.
So here is the scenario: we know the trumpeter takes vengeance on those who have ridiculed him, and on top of that, Obama succeeded in ridding the world of bin Laden, and got the same kinds of welcome in Ireland and London that he has received in Oslo a year or so earlier when he got his Nobel Peace Prize. He was, and is, very well loved by people around the world. Then he got us the ACA, called “Obamacare”. Oh how the trumpeter must be angry. He calls in some tabs from the Russians to hack the voting computers and take the election away from Hillary, whom Putin already disliked. But he had to give something to them in return for the favour. What he gave is what is being investigated – that and the many, many lies being told by him, and by his posse.
Finally, even Mitch McConnell has given up on getting rid of the ACA, and Paul Ryan is backing away from the trumpeter. They hitched their wagons to the wrong star. And while the trumpeter is screaming again at the Senate to get rid of it, it seems to be a dead horse.
So this is why I think Putin is finished with the trumpeter, and is calling back his spies and is running out all the Americans in Russia. And yet there will be a price for the trumpeter to pay.
Vengeance is best served cold? More like Karma is making him pay, a little piece at a time. The trumpeter’s own chutzpah is biting him back, in a BIG way.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

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We’ve Been Had

These are the following remarks I made to go into the second paragraph which was something I was originally writing about. I really do believe we, as a country with many weak-minded people who simply don’t thin, have been had through the manipulation for years of Putin over Donald Trump, and those that would and did vote for him. Putin really did take advantage of the split in the United States.

I have just finished watching the Richard Engel report, and this is what I wrote concerning whether to keep my Kaspersky Anti-virus ware. I also think we have been had, and have no real problems with Russia as We the People. I get the impression that the trumpeter fell for the lures of Putin, perhaps over several years of time, and got himself into a situation that he had to do what he was blackmailed into. I think Putin, who really does not like our freedom and democracy, chose the weakest mind he could find with power, and used him to create the chaos we are in now. Putin is trying to put distance between us as it was during the Soviet Union years, and expects to succeed because he has nothing to fear from the chaos in our present-day government.

This was my reply to someone over the use of Kaspersky, which is my anti-virus program. The show taught me a lot tonight.

It seems to be safe for us who are of no interest to Putin. Eugene Kaspersky says he has nothing to do with what Putin is doing. I, of course, don’t know if he is lying or not, but I am tired of being suspicious of everyone. I am going to go back to Best Buy and have them fix the system on my computer because when I tried to recover it by remote, the license I run it under was apparently not put back on, and it does not open for me fully. The Defense Department is apparently using it, and the senator from New Hampshire says they are checking it out. Frankly, I think we have been cowed by the old Soviet Union so much that we are having a problem with Russia. Putin, yes, was with the KGB, but at the moment, it seems We the People (the trumpeters) were fooled enough by what we have heard from him, and that they really messed with trumpeter’s mind, and scared him, that the result of his kowtowing to Putin is why we are in the position we are. But having messed with us, and our voting system, it appears that Putin is pulling out all his people, and getting rid of a lot of ours in Russia, and that he has done the job he intended to – put us into utter chaos. I’m pretty sure the trumpeter is about to learn he no longer has Putin’s backing.

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Why We Will Never Make It.

This is an exchange I had on FB. I am taking out the other person’s name, but I have indicated the break in the two conversations. What a shame it has come to this.

Oh, well, problem solved. We will never get an infrastructure repaired because no-one wanted to follow the jobs. OK.
Are any of you familiar with the movie Serenity? Because there was a bit in it to explain River, and what she learned about Miranda. It was a booming society where people lived in peace, and the government decided to make them happy. So they filtered their air and their food with a combination of Pax (as in Paxil) with another ingredient, and everyone got so happy, and so somnolent, that they laid down and died, starvation and other things, because they had no will to do anything any longer. About ten percent of them, though, turned into Reivers, who would go about attacking ships, raping people to death, skinning them alive, and then eating them. It wasn’t until Mal and his people discovered this that the mistakes of the government that didn’t want to deal with the people that they just let them have to live this way.
In this case, though, the universe was so big that not everyone was affected, and it was repaired.
Unfortunately, it sounds like if this is true, people are not going to get up and do things for themselves – they don’t want any help that requires them to do anything for themselves – they will be happy to see the country die rather than make anything better. So those of us who remember what it was to work and make our own way are going to soon die of old age, and the rest will be killed off by having no health care.
Problem solved.

Comment I was reacting to:

Infrastructure would be a fabulous idea, but no one is entertaining it. I think that’s because many Congress members have realized something that has been slowly dawning on me this year:
People don’t want to go to the jobs. They want the jobs to come to them.
My ex’s grandfather, for instance, helped build the 5 Fwy. That required moving from Mexico to Canada as the freeway was constructed, depending on where his particular part of the construction job took him. He left his family behind in Fresno, going to visit them when he could.
My grandfather and father installed lighting in places everywhere from Pershing Square to the Coronado Bridge, at the Hollywood Bowl, in Red Skelton’s studio, in San Francisco and New York and points in between. They were management, so they got to come home to us in L.A. more often than most (and L.A. was booming, so many of the projects were there and they could drive home at night), but they often had to go away for weeks at a time.
My great-grandfather ran out of farming work in the Midwest and moved to Colorado, where my great-grandmother wound up running a boarding house for miners (My great-grandfather died making the trip). My maternal grandfather had his farm fail in Iowa and moved his family to Long Beach and then Pasadena (during the Great Depression!) and wound up becoming an accountant for a dairy. We have a ton of jobs here in California that people who are already here don’t want to do. Planting and harvesting our crops, for example. That’s probably no harder work (and much healthier) than digging coal out of the ground. Yet I don’t see a mass migration from West Virginia to California.
And the people who are going on about the manufacturing plants just need to get a clue. They have been replaced by robots. Their former jobs are as relevant to modern society as a blacksmith who repairs medieval armor. They need to learn how to do something else and move wherever it is those jobs need to be done. For instance, states with a lot of sun are figuring out how to harvest solar power, those with a lot of wind are looking to wind power, those with too much water–maybe they could figure out how to harvest water power or do something else with that water?
Lacking innovation, the willingness to move, and/or the willingness to retrain in another field, things are simply going to remain stuck between a 4-5% unemployment rate. (We were heading down to 3% in L.A. in April, and I think we’re even lower than that now with the entertainment industry booming again. We’d be doing even better if the Federal government would get its nose out of our tourism industry. There are “help wanted” jobs all over the place. They are simply part time and without benefits. Welcome to the Free Market.

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On a happier note

I realize I have written some really dark posts lately, sounding like someone going over the edge. There is a line of rage in me, and I have let it rip out.

But it is amazing what the subconcience holds, and apparently lets out while you are in deep sleep. I had a really enlightening dream last night. And so I write this.

If you are a teen, or college student, I say enjoy your life. Do what you want to do, and be as happy as you can. If you are still in high school, you have the right to do and see what all youthful people should do. If you want to go to college, I hope you do. I hope you find a way to enjoy everything, meeting and getting to know others of your age group. Go to dances, have parties, go to movies, go shopping. Try to stay up with what is going on in the world, but don’t let it stop you from being young. When you get to college, study hard, but have a good time. College is a wonderful experience for those who get to go. I did not, but I worked at a university for many years, managed to get a few college credits at the same time, and most of the work I did allowed me to interact with students. I even joined a couple of organizations that accepted me, even though I was twice the age of the students that were in them. I saw how much fun they were all having.

I spent my 20s, helping out with the civil rights movements, and during the worst of Vietnam – and I drank a lot to help me get through it – but I met a lot of wonderful people from around the world due to my management of a merchant seamen’s bar. It was a good time in my life, and helped make me who I am today.

Please control some of the worst things that could catch you up. Don’t use drugs, though I personally have no problem with marijuana if you want to experiment with it, but don’t get involved in dealing it. Stay away from crack cocaine and heroin. They really don’t help, and can ruin your lives. Experiment with sex. I don’t think sex is a sin, and it is a gift from the deities. But respect your own body. Take all precautions, don’t be promiscuous, try not to get pregnant, or get a girl pregnant. Don’t get an STD. It could cause deep health problems later in your life.

The main point is enjoy yourself. You have a right to your life. You have a right to get involved in things that were much easier back when life was simpler. Not necessarily better, as I can attest to, but before life tries to get you caught up in silly things. There are a lot of really silly, non-compassionate, mean adults out there trying to make life difficult for you, and for your children. Be open-minded about everything, and learn what is worth learning, ignore that which is not.

I hope some of you will get involved in politics. I have loved them all my life, among other things, but they have played the most in my choices, good and bad, and have continued to love them. No, I am not happy with what is going on, but believe me, most of the bad is being caused by ignorant, tight-assed, stubborn folks who work against themselves. Don’t allow them to keep you from having and doing what is rightfully yours.

I love you all, and I want you to have the lives you deserve to have. So go out and do it, but try to get smarter as you go along. And then come back and fix the world some of us are leaving you with. Don’t get angry and give up. Remember that those of us who lived through the world of the 60s did not believe we would live to be 30. But most of us did.

Get wealthy if you can and want to, but don’t do it on the backs of those less fortunate than you are. Just try to learn how to give yourselves and your children a better world, but don’t let it rob you of the things you are entitled to, including having fun what you go along your paths.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Education, Family, Foreign Affairs, Freedom, Friends, Mental health, Music, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, Sports | Tagged | Leave a comment