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 | Leave a 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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