Category Archives: General Interest

Toxic leadership writ large

“Men lived like fishes; the great ones devoured the small.”

– Algernon Sidney

Here’s a link to a short bio on Algernon Sidney, a seventeenth century British politician, who penned a political treatise, Discourses Concerning Government in 1698, which gained popularity decades later during the American Revolution.

I also have another Algernon Sidney quote in my old quote notebook:

“Liars ought to have good memories.”

– Algernon Sidney

An amazing aspect of  many of the media and pundit reactions to President Trump’s behavior is that so many of them seem stunned each time he attacks, even people in his own administration.  He is the living, breathing embodiment of the definition of a toxic leader.

So, what is a toxic leader?  Here’s an excerpt from a 2014 Forbes article, Toxic Leaders And The Social Environments That Breed Them:

“Toxic leadership is a combination of self-centered attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that have adverse effects on subordinates, the organization, and mission performance. This leader lacks concern for others and the climate of the organization, which leads to short- and long-term negative effects. The toxic leader operates with an inflated sense of self-worth and from acute self-interest. Toxic leaders consistently use dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce, or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves. The negative leader completes short-term requirements by operating at the bottom of the continuum of commitment, where followers respond to the positional power of their leader to fulfill requests. This may achieve results in the short term, but ignores the other leader competency categories of leads and develops. Prolonged use of negative leadership to influence followers undermines the followers’ will, initiative, and potential and destroys unit morale.”

President Trump often lashes out about the leaks coming from Obama holdovers or former Obama officials, but the media report many of their sources for these leaks are often Trump White House officials.   With a White House staff shake-up in the works, the new WH communications director, Anthony Scaramucci,  stated that trying to plug the leaks is a top agenda item:

“Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump’s new communications director, said on Sunday that one of his first tasks will be to halt leaks and that staff on his team would be fired if the leaks do not stop.

“If we don’t get the leaks stopped, I am a businessperson, and so I will take dramatic action to stop those leaks,” Scaramucci said on Fox News Sunday.”

This morning President Trump has been tweeting again, attacking his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for taking “a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”  It’s petty and vindictive, but also meant to not only prod Sessions to resign, but to instill fear among his staff, that they could fall into disfavor and be publicly humiliated too.

Now, I am going to quote  a blog post,  My review of the GOP field, that I wrote December 14, 2015:

“In the GOP camp, Donald Trump creates drama, chaos and endless controversy.  Assuredly, on the big issues he champions, he mouths many home truths that are inconvenient for the DC cocktail party crowd to hear and acts like gasoline tossed on the liberal press and pundits’ self-righteous, politically correct  pieties.  He’s reduced their arguments to a heaping pile of ashes and for that alone, we should all cheer.  However, there are several “buts”, like, but he doesn’t have a clear grasp of The Constitution and his cures often come without clear plans and overstep constitutional bonds.  Of course, those who believe in his great business acumen, don’t harbor the doubts that I do – they see the great American success story, while I see the  yuge glowing red warning sign of toxic leadership.

I left my job at a retail store earlier this year, where I  worked for a man, whom I believe was the most talented merchandiser I have ever seen.  Along with that talent came a huge ego and the worst people skills I have ever seen in my life, that is, until I’ve watched Donald Trump brag, insult, bash and mock his GOP rivals.  This man threw anyone under the bus to make himself look good and he bragged as much as Trump.  He loved to fire people, very much like Trump.  One tirade too many right on the sales floor and I decided to put in my two week notice, after working there many years.  He was my 8th store manager and I had never had a single problem with any of the others.  YUGE relief is what I feel not having to deal with him anymore!

The only team The Donald is on, is his own.  He does not care about the GOP party or causes per se, they’re just the vehicle he is driving to become President, where he believes his dynamic business acumen will single-handedly “make America great again”. ”

Jeff Sessions might resign, but no matter who President Trump selects as a replacement, the leaks will continue, the chaos will continue and the total dysfunction of this White House will grow.  Most of us learned how this story ends as children:

“A vain emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is either unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothes themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions, and the emperor does the same. Finally, the weavers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him, and the emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all, and the cry is taken up by others. The emperor suspects the assertion is true but continues the procession.”

The problem is not the people around this president; the problem is that this petty emperor has no clothes.

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Quotes To Ponder

“To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of riches.”


Since I am really sick to death of “Russian collusion”, Trump, the media, and Dem hysteria, some days I’m just going to post quotes.   I have my old beat-up quote notebook full of them, several quotation books, my “Little Book of Virtues” perpetual calendar, and if all else fails the worldwide web…

Have a nice day!

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Talking to ordinary people

“My country is the world and my religion is to do good.”  – Thomas Paine

Here’s another quote I had typed on a piece of my “cute” stationery in the 70s, which was in my beat-up quote notebook.  The type is fading on these saved quote loose pages, but then again that old typewriter I used in the 70s was a second-hand, manual one my Pop found somewhere.

I had mentioned that I wanted a typewriter and Pop came home with a used one shortly thereafter.   My Pop always encouraged my interests.  When I came home with stray pets, he let me keep them, when I told him I really wanted a large desk, he found an old wood schoolteacher’s desk.  The top was badly damaged, so he covered the top with a woodtone formica, which I absolutely loved.  I didn’t have to worry about damaging the top when I set a glass of iced tea or cup of hot tea (my two favorite drinks – always) on it.  In 7th or 8th grade, I needed to do a science project and science is not my strong suit.  I decided I wanted to order some liquid that I saw in a science catalog a boy in my class had.  It could preserve snowflakes on glass slides.  My mother helped me order the liquid and sure enough, my Pop came home with a microscope and slides, he found somewhere, probably a flea market.  It worked and I got an A on that “saving snowflakes” project…

After looking through my old quote notebook, I decided to tape the falling apart cover back together the other day, using some dollar store, red duct tape I had in my sewing/craft room.  It might be good for another 40 years:

The quote at the top of this post is from Thomas Paine, one of America’s foremost political theorists, activists, and revolutionaries.  He fought with words. The American Pamphlet Debate, probably set the stage for how big issues in America are fought in the public square, as intellectuals, politicians, and often, unheard of American citizens rise from the rabble, with a voice or message that will not be silenced.  America has always had a very egalitarian view when it comes to the voices that gain prominence and effect enormous influence and change.

I like The Smithsonian magazine, because in every issue there are so many articles that spark my interest.  From the July edition I mentioned the article on the history of maps a few days ago.  There’s a very interesting article on Earl Shaffer, who was the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in 1948, that’s definitely worth a read.   Another article in that edition, What Happened to America’s Public Intellectuals?, written by Elizabeth Mitchell, got me thinking, again, about America’s long history with our very open, often loud public debates.

Mitchell lays out the current angst with America’s seeming dismissal of experts, in favor of populist fervor:

“This painful conclusion weighs heavily on public intellectuals, who created the country during the 116 steamy days of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, when Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and crew crafted a new nation entirely out of words. Then they bolstered it with 85 newspaper columns under the pen name Publius, now known as the Federalist Papers, to explain and defend their work.”

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Understanding America’s long tradition of public debate leading to great political and cultural changes leads me to believe that public intellectual battles, to win American hearts and minds, are ingrained in the American psyche and I don’t believe the soul of America is lost.

Millions of Americans may have fallen for a fast-talking, NYC real estate hustler/con man turned reality TV star, but even with the power of the bully pulpit of the Office of the President of the United States and his just “great” tweet storms, brimming with 140-character rants, he still seems to have a public image problem, if his flagging approval poll numbers are to be believed.  While some of the self-professed “experts” on politics and national security fuss and fume daily, via their own tweet storms, about how people aren’t listening to them, perhaps many of them have the same problem as Trump – overblown egos and constant braggadocio repel many people.

America’s Pamphlet Debate began more than a decade before the Revolutionary War.  I mentioned the 2-volume Library of America set, The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate 1764-1776, in a previous blog post.  The set was edited by Gordon S, Wood and it includes many of the most influential pamphlets in the Pamphlet Debate, which really defined both American political beliefs and principles and later, the very framework of The Constitution. Volume 2, which covers 1773-1776, includes this explanation on Thomas Paine’s writing approach:

“Paine was determined to reach a wide readership, especially among the middling sorts in the tavern and artisan centered worlds of the cities, and to do more than explain and persuade; he wanted to express feelings — even revulsions and visions — that the traditional conventions of writing tended to disparage.  He refused to decorate his work with Latin quotations and scholarly references; instead , he relied on his readers knowing only the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.  He used simple, direct — some critics said coarse, even barnyard– imagery that could be understood by the unlearned.  He wrote for ordinary people and forever changed the rules of rhetoric.”

p.647,  The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate 1773-1776, edited by Gordon S. Wood, published by The Library of America, copyright 2015

President Trump may have lowered the bar with his effort to reach the common man, resorting to ruthless, modern mass media information warfare tactics (GOP insurgency, indeed), but Americans, even “the worst deplorables”, are not beyond having their hearts won over to American principles, defending The Constitution and above all treating other people respectfully.   Even with FOX news serving as a powerful Trump propaganda platform, America is not becoming Trumpistan.

The real crisis for America’s current intellectual class, is not Trump, but that many Americans are sick of puffed up pontificating pundits, parading a pile of degrees from posh pillars of academia, posing and primping before the cameras  — talking down to them.  Trump, while certainly no Thomas Paine (or Mussolini, for that matter), has learned the fine art of the con man, he identifies his mark and speaks directly to him.  That is why Trump relates to ordinary people – he knows he’s got to get them and keep them buying into him.  He talks to them.

The media faces the same problem as many of the pundits, especially given how many times, in recent months, the media spun themselves into a tizzy with a new, devastating revelation about Trump, which within 24-48 hours fell apart, as the facts in these stories turned out not to be facts at all.  The constant media and punditry Trump hysteria is destroying their credibility way more than anything Trump can do.

I agree with Mitchell’s view on America’s present crisis of spirit.  She writes:

“If we look back at our history, public intellectuals always emerged when the country was sharply divided: during the Civil War, the Vietnam War, the fights for civil rights and women’s rights. This moment of deep ideological division will likely see the return, right when we need them, of the thinkers and talkers who can bridge the emotional divide. But this time they will likely be holding online forums and stirring up podcasts.”
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One of the things I love about YouTube videos is that I can find so many crafting and sewing tutorials.   I can watch several videos on how to make something and get different approaches about how to make it.  I don’t have to buy an entire book or magazine for directions for one project.   Often, I end up using bits and pieces of instructions and advice from several videos.  Many of these videos are made by ordinary people and completely amateur.  Yet, some of these amateur videos are carefully edited and produced with the dedication of professional videographers.  Some have tens of thousands of subscribers.

Most of America’s intellectuals and experts on politics and public policy talk to each other, not to ordinary Americans.  And while castigating Trump’s use of Twitter, many of America’s intellectuals lazily lecture and throw temper tantrums about Trump, daily, on Twitter, and of course, boringly brag about all their “expertise”.

Love him or hate him, Trump talks to ordinary people.

Note: Here is a podcast that is a Library of Law and Liberty conversation with Gordon S. Wood, discussing the American .Pamphlet Debate

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Filed under American Character, American History, Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics, The Media, Worthwhile Quotations

The value of a Goodwill book?

My kids were teenagers in the late 90s, so I got exposure to “reality TV” with garbage like MTV’s Real World.  I hated it!  There were others they watched too and I was a harsh critic, even back then.  I rarely watch TV these days and if I do, I don’t watch reality TV shows.  I never watched Donald Trump’s reality TV show, but now, as a political news junkie, here I am stuck watching The President Trump Reality Show.  It is disgusting, demeaning to the Office of the President, a national embarrassment and exhausting.   President Trump is as disgusting, perhaps even more so, than the Democrat partisans, who will do or say anything to advance their political agenda, that I’ve harshly criticized for years.

Frankly, if he gets impeached, I’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief, even though another impeachment drama would be very damaging to the country.  At this point, I don’t know which would be more damaging – a full-term of this President Trump Reality Show or impeachment.  It seems to me we are headed toward a constitutional crisis either way.

Yesterday was Jeff Sessions turn to be thrown to the wolves or under the bus, depending who was behind the leak of the Russian ambassador’s accounting to his superiors in Moscow, that Sessions discussed campaign-related matters in their conversations.  This is high-level, national U.S. intelligence intercepts being leaked to the media.

When Trump’s tax return from long ago, showing he paid a lot in taxes, was leaked, I suspect that Trump was behind that leak.  He played it for all it was worth, extrapolating that one tax return as indicative of all his tax returns.  It was a self-serving leak, I suspect.

With the intel being leaked, it doesn’t matter who leaked it or why they leaked it, it’s completely illegal and beyond that this scorched earth partisan use of national security intel is completely corrupting the national security system.  If high level officials, based on their own whims, can use intelligence for partisan political objectives, then what good are any of the rules?

Trump’s leaked tax return, well, if someone else leaked that without his consent, the law was broken, but even if he leaked it himself, while perfectly legal, lying and acting like someone else leaked it is very unethical and a corrupting influence on the country’s moral fiber.  Yeah, yeah, I know – we don’t have much moral fiber left or the two major political parties wouldn’t have chosen Trump and Hillary.

During the election many conservatives, who should have known better, fell sway to Trumpthink, espousing morally bankrupt talking points to keep the Trump GOP insurgency ruthlessly laying waste to all rules and decorum, with a cutthroat scorched earth information war against, not only Hillary, but also the mainstream media.  Hillary and much of the mainstream media were definitely colluding to wage a scorched earth campaign to dump anything and everything on Trump in an information war too.  Here we are 6 months into Trump’s presidency and this scorched earth information war is still raging, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Yesterday I had to go to the vet to pick up some dog medication refills and on the way home I decided to stop by the Goodwill to look for cheap books that I wouldn’t mind cutting up for this “junk journal” hobby.  The picture at the top is a 1995 perpetual calendar book, I found.  There are lots of great quotes in it and my first thought was, I can cut a lot of these out and put them in my new quote junk journal.  I think the lady at the Goodwill charged me 39 cents for this calendar, but many of these quotes are priceless.  I also found a few other books, like this 1941, A Treasury of Gilbert and Sullivan, filled with music for 50 cents:


Later in the evening, I sat flipping through the pages of The Little Book of Virtues and I realized that I didn’t want to cut this little calendar book apart.  In fact, I doubt that I will cut the music book apart either, since it’s very difficult for me to tear any book apart.  So, I spent some time thinking about books that matter to me and then I watched a few videos on how to repair old children’s board books.  Yes, I want to repair my little, Prayers For Little Children  book.  I also have the old, large dictionary that came with our set of World Book Encyclopedias, when I was a kid, which is in need of repair too:


Instead of buying anymore books for “junk journaling”, I think my next purchase will be a Speedy Stitcher sewing awl, so I can properly repair my little prayer book….

I decided to set that virtues calendar book on a shelf here on my hutch and enjoy a new quote on virtue every day:

Since endlessly writing about how corrupt and unfit President Trump is for the presidency won’t help anyone or add anything to the political debate, I might share some of these quotes on virtue instead.

Of course, I also wish President Trump would have this book on his desk in the Oval Office, but I doubt he would read it.

He prefers tweeting…

I can hardly stand so much “winning”…


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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, General Interest, Politics, Public Corruption, Quotes To Ponder, Things That Matter

Lovely Things


In the July 2017  The Smithsonian magazine, there’s a very interesting article,  From Ptolemy to GPS, the Brief History of Maps, about the history of maps, written by Clive Thompson.  The article begins by relating some recent incidents of mishaps attributed to hapless drivers mindlessly following inaccurate GPS directions while driving.  Thompson writes:

“You can laugh, but many of us have stopped paying attention to the world around us because we are too intent on following directions. Some observers worry that this represents a new and dangerous shift in our style of navigation. Scientists since the 1940s have argued we normally possess an internal compass, “a map-like representation within the ‘black box’ of the nervous system,” as geographer Rob Kitchin puts it. It’s how we know where we are in our neighborhoods, our cities, the world.

Is it possible that today’s global positioning systems and smartphones are affecting our basic ability to navigate? Will technology alter forever how we get around?”

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The article is definitely worth a read and I don’t have the answer to whether our “smart” computer technology is making us dumber or more inattentive, but it sure does make us lazier and more inclined to take short-cuts.  A year or two after we had our first home computer, I lectured my kids for their insistence on checking the weather online in order to decide on their apparel for the day or whether to wear a coat heading to the bus stop in  the morning.  I told them to step outside and see how cold it was or to look at the sky and they could see it was likely to rain.  They scoffed at that, telling me how the weather report relied on “expert” meteorologists and besides, who wanted to walk outside, when they could find out more “accurate” information online.

I prefer to look at the sky or look at the leaves on trees, which can speak volumes about impending storms or even how the birds act, as my first barometric reading, so to speak.

One thing I have noticed with my use of computers for almost all of my writing is that my spelling has become atrocious without spellcheck and now with beginning my “gratitude” journal, my handwriting is beyond terrible and it felt very awkward holding a pen for more than a few minutes at a time.

One of the first books I learned to read was a small board book my grandmother gave me, as part of my Christmas gifts for Christmas in 1964.  I was 4 years old:

I think I was around 7 or 8 when the cover started coming loose and I took some of my mother’s bandage tape and taped it back together.  I remember this, because my mother told me that wasn’t a good tape to use to repair a book.  I kept that book all these years and I came across it recently, sorting through some old paper stuff in my decluttering efforts.  Perhaps, I will attempt a better repair job.  The prayer at the top of this post is one of my favorite prayers in this book.  I remember loving this prayer as a child.

It is a prayer about gratitude.

That brings me to my ugly, dollar store journal, that is now my “gratitude” journal.  Why I picked the ugliest journal to start a journal is part of how I always worry about messing things up, so I didn’t want to begin “journaling” in my nicest journal, in case I messed it up.  It’s the same reason I keep many very nice things and don’t use them, because they might get ruined.   The same applies to many of my sewing and craft supplies, where I purchased fabric I loved or a craft item I thought was wonderful, but then I put off using it, because I was afraid I would waste it on a project that turned out crappy or that I might mess it up.  So, I have many lovely things awaiting the perfect project or for me to feel that my crafting/sewing skills will do justice to them.

“Junk journals” might be the perfect project for me.  My first junk journal turned out nicer than I expected.  Now, with this gratitude journal,  where I’m starting with junk, if I mess up this ugly dollar journal – so what!   And besides it’s just for me to write in, look at and read.

From the time I was around 9 or 10, I began cutting out pictures and stories from old magazines, like Highlights for Children, that I wanted to keep.   I had folders and an old shoe box for my clipped items.  By the time I was a teenager, I still had folders and I had boxes that I had decoupaged clipped pictures or old, pretty wrapping paper onto, making them pretty, but still functional.

After gluing some pictures in the altered composition books for my granddaughters, the other night, as I was trying to think of what to write in my “gratitude” journal, I decided to cut out pictures from some old magazines to glue into my journal.  I always try to make everything perfectly straight and agonize over perfect color combinations, perfect page layouts and if the overall arrangement is perfect.   As I started gluing in pictures, I decided not to stress over it and just glue in some pictures.

I started with just a picture or two on the two-page spread of the journal, but the next night I decided to do some collages of pictures and I started with this one, with the very crooked edges on the left side:

Then I decided to do collages inside the front and back covers:

Usually when I think of collage art work, I think of those edgy artists, who paint bold sweeps of colors and combine dismembered body parts into odd new arrangements or who have some giant eye somewhere in the picture peering at you.   I lack artistic ability, so mine is just gluing in pictures I like, with a glue stick.

I had done the porch page on Monday or Tuesday night , then yesterday I found the words, “The Porch: The soul of the house lies just up the front steps”,  in another old, Southern Living magazine and knew it had to go on this page.

Funny how something like gluing in pictures from some old magazines made me realize how grateful I am to have grown up poor, in a large family, in the mountains of PA.  The front porch of our house was where I spent hours in the summertime cutting out pictures from old magazines.  We would carry my great-grandmother’s rocking chair out on the front porch for her in the evenings, because she didn’t want her rocking chair left outside.  It was a part of the routine to cart her rocking chair in and out, when she wanted to sit on the front porch.  My parents, brothers and sisters, cousins next-door, sometimes neighbors too, congregated around our front porch in the summertime.  Often, friends of my parents would stop to chat a few minutes, as they were driving by.

We were never bored, we talked a lot, we never wanted to go inside and we begged our parents to stay outside longer, long after it was dark.

And of course, I do get lost easily, so I pay close attention to everything when I drive, taking careful notes of landmarks, buildings, road markers of every kind, even distinctive trees.  I don’t use GPS directions, instead I keep road maps in my car and I write down careful directions on a piece of paper before I take any trip.  My father built roads for a living.  He taught me to keep track of the mile markers on the interstate, so anytime we are on the interstate, I can tell you which mile markers we are between and which direction we are headed.

There’s no way I am going to trust a GPS voice on my phone to guide me.   Years ago, I did a google mapquest search for a friend from work’s home.  I had never been to her house, so I typed in my street address and hers.  Those directions included a turn onto a street that does not exist.

And, amidst having so many gadgets,  gizmos and fancy things, I am going to refocus on being thankful “for the lovely things” in my life, like “the pretty flowers and the little birds that sing”.  Kind of odd that a “junk journal” brought all the real treasures in my life into focus.

Note: The prayer, For Lovely Things, was written by Edna Dean Baker and the book, Prayers For Little Children,  was edited by Mary Alice  Jones and illustrated by Suzanne Bruce.

Books with collages of all pictures glued in are often referred to as “glue books” and it’s a very relaxing pastime.  There are many good videos on YouTube explaining how to go about doing a glue book.  Here are a couple of videos that I found informative:






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My “junk journaling” journey


My beat-up quote notebook, started in the 1970s and a yellowed piece of my “cute” stationery with quotes I liked.  I used to hang up pages of quotes for inspiration.

Like many people, especially girls, I kept a diary as a young teenager.  Into those pages, I poured out my heart, especially about how madly in love I was with some boy.  That diary-keeping probably set the tone for my life of “journaling”.  One of my sisters found my diary and she had it in hand, ready to regale me with a dramatic reading of it, when I walked into our bedroom one day.  She proceeded to give it her all to her performance of reading out loud how much I loved that boy, interspersed with her wild laughter.   A chase around our bedroom  began, as I tried to retrieve my diary, as she continued to laugh hysterically and mock me about what I had written.  I got so angry that I picked up my desk chair and was ready to smash her over the head, when our mother rushed into the room and stopped me.  My mother took my diary from my sister and handed it to me.  I burst into tears and ran outside.

Out in the country many people burned their paper trash and we did too.  A short distance from our house, my father had an empty oil drum, with holes spaced near the bottom for air circulation.  Later that day, I tore my composition notebook diary apart, page by page, and burned it.

I had taken up letter-writing and acquired numerous foreign pen pals.  That served as my outlet to express myself in writing for many years after my rather humiliating diary writing experience .

Over the years I thought about keeping a journal, but always hesitated.  I signed up for a free Penzu journal long before I began this blog in December 2012, but I had written only a few very impersonal entries.  I have purchased many nice blank books and even notebooks over the years, intending to keep a journal in them, but never doing so.   I did turn one into a personal cookbook, where I jot down recipes, but I always got stuck when attempting to keep a journal.

In October 2012, I pulled out the ugliest blank book I have (pictured above), a Dollar Tree purchase, after watching a woman on a show talk about the benefits of keeping a journal.  One journal entry made it onto paper and then I put that journal on a shelf on the hutch of my desk.  In that journal entry, I mentioned the episode with my teenage diary:

That episode made me wary of writing down my thoughts.  Add to that the fact that my life flows rather uneventfully for the most part.  Same ordinary worries and concerns – work stuff, what to cook for dinner, chores around the house that need to get done.  So, do I have anything worth putting down on paper?”

The answer is probably not.  That was the last entry in that journal, until I pulled it out on July 10, 2017 and decided that it is going to become my “gratitude journal”, where I focus on the many blessings and things I am, or should be, grateful for.

Just a few words on my Penzu journal.  After I began this blog,I  did begin writing a great deal in my Penzu journal and I sent my password to Gladius Maximus.    I moved to the Penzu Pro journal option in March 2013 and presently have 22 journals with titles, beginning with “Susan’s Journal”, through  “Sweeping that witch into the dust”, “Messages of mhere decoded”, and I am currently writing in “Sick of the BULLSHIT”.  Yes, I have vented a lot since 2013.  However, I want to stop venting and work toward more positive personal expression.

After watching a lot of YouTube videos on “junk journals”, which are homemade journals, made out of anything from an old book to pieces of old cereal boxes, I decided I wanted to attempt one and I posted the picture of my first attempt a few days ago:

Here’s the back of the book, decorated with all stuff I had on hand – bits of lace, a piece of 6″ X 6″ floral scrapbook paper and the stamp is one of my favorite rubber stamps from Stampin Up.  I have used that stamp many times on cards and bookmarks I made:

What I am using this “junk journal” for is to write in quotes and poems I like.  There are no rules to junk journals, but I prefer some sort of rules or parameters with everything I do, so the pages are mostly florals and birds.  I’ve worked on decorating a few pages so far.   I want to type out the quotes and poems in pretty fonts, then print them on cardstock paper, because my penmanship is a big, fat F.  Here are a few pages I’ve decorated:

This Victorian girl image was a free image from online that I printed out and cut around.  That plant tag is one of several I’ve stuck in this journal and I found them in a junk drawer in my kitchen, that I cleaned out.  Decluttering my house is also an ongoing project in recent months.  These plant tags are all plants I planted in my yard and I like them in my junk journal.   The Yellow Rose of Texas post card, I’ve had for decades.  I didn’t have washi tape to match, so I used plain old masking tape to tape it in and it flips out, so I can write on the page underneath.


This “junk journal” adventure has been very enjoyable thus far.  Aside from a $1.99 booklet of Audubon bird seal stickers, I haven’t bought anything to go in this junk journal.  As I said in the previous post, I used an empty cereal box for the cover, which I covered in brown kraft paper.  At the same time as working on this junk journal, I’ve made very simple altered composition books for my granddaughters.  With that project, I glued in some pictures throughout their books, but decided to cut pictures out of old magazines for them to glue in.  I also made some paperclip tassels for these composition books, using all stuff I already had in my sewing/craft room  The paperclip tassel idea, I saw on YouTube videos, naturally:

Later today, or tomorrow,  I’m going to write another blog post on some life lessons relating to my Dollar Tree “gratitude” journal and I’ll post more pictures, but in that post, hopefully, there’ll be a bit more introspection, thoughtfulness and less crafting how-to.




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Bursting into a full bloom summer scandal

After hearing about Russian collusion, breathlessly reported by Democrats and the media since last year, I had  pretty much written it off as mostly wishful thinking or feverish dreams by Trump’s ever-growing throng of opposition – until Don Jr.s meeting with the Russian lawyer came to light.  In over a week of that story budding, then bursting into full bloom, the story moved from a closed up bud of a few people met with Don Jr and Kushner in June 2016 and it was a nothingburger meeting, no collusion,  the Russian lawyer wasted their time talking about Russian adoption and the Magnitsky Act, to full bloom scandal.   More petals unfurled, with flaming colorful tidbits, like an allegation that Don Jr. and Kushner were handed information, purportedly dirt on Clinton from the Russian government.

The interesting tipping point, if it comes, will be when big name Trump supporters jump from the Trump ship, which is taking on quite a bit of water in the past few weeks.  I referred to them as 5th Avenue Loyalists and perhaps they will cling to him until the bitter end.   Then again, sleazy politicians, like Newt, will assuredly abandon ship and become a pious Trump critic rather than go down with the ship.

Don Jr.’s own words moved the perception of the Russian collusion story from overheated Dem wet dreams to a serious matter worthy of full investigation.  Don Jr.’s explanation of that meeting clearly states that Don Jr. and Jared Kushner walked into a meeting intending to initiate Russian collusion.

The thing I’m watching for is the “what nows” if President Trump fires Robert Mueller.  I still believe my November 2016 prediction, that we are headed toward a constitutional crisis with either Trump or Hillary.  I’m sticking to that prediction.

Today, Bloomberg is reporting that Mueller’s investigation is expanding:

Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions

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