This is the beginning of a new era. Your high school graduation has arrived. You have had an amazing journey since the beginning. Your education journey took you from Pre-School, which is: Twoodles, Building Blocks and Stepping Stones, Coal Creek Elementary, Louisville Middle School and finally to Monarch High School (MOHI) and the adventure was amazing.

COVID, insurrection, devastating weather and fires, and threat of war were all obstacles you had to overcome, and yet you persevered. The learning process has filled you with hope for a better future, and the desire to make the world a better place.

You met a multitude of amazing people and teachers along the way, with Legos galore, Robotics, TSA competitions, and a fantastic trip with the band and choir to New York City on Spring Break! Your learning excelled, creating who you are today, a person prepared for higher learning. Marching band competitions created a sense of belonging to something bigger than an electronic world. My gift to you is communications skills. You can communicate with anyone, any age, any size, any race and any gender, and your ability to maintain multiple different and dynamic groups of friends. Your Dad’s gift to you is your ability to understand the inner workings and processes of a computer. Lifetime friendships will remain in the future for you. College will help you continue to grow, and you will make another group of friends, while holding the ones you already have close to you and in your heart forever.

With “Buzz Lightyear” on your side, you are ready to advance to “Infinity and Beyond.” You will achieve greatness once you apply yourself to your finest endeavor. You will fight the good fight and win the battles that are important. And all the while we will stand by you and support you.

Seniors, you all went through heartbreak and tragedy these past few years and still excelled, despite all the tragedy – it was more than us parents went through in our entire lives.

Be grateful for a world that embraces you and allows you to change things that need changing.

Love your parents and family no matter what happens in the future.

Love your life and reach out to others who need your help and embrace them.

“Learn as if you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

AND…. “Overthrow selfishness and replace it with kindness.” – Dru Tieben


Dear Graduating Seniors:

There was a golden rule centuries before religious conquest and political dogma took over the world. Simply put, the Rede stated: “An it harm none, do what ye will.” This thought helped create an ancient mythology that those who lived close to the land didn’t harm the people or their surroundings because they knew what was needed to survive. The community cooperated and created an environment where everyone contributed and reaped the same rewards. Our ancient ancestors were smarter than what we believe of them. Sure, they didn’t have electronic communication, but somehow, they communicated with each other, got along, and survived, at least until the next hoard came along to take over. I would like to believe that they didn’t destroy everything for simple political gain and support to be re-elected. I would like to believe they were more accepting of each other and didn’t try to stop conversations because another tribe believed something different. Of course, there were wars for territory and property, just as it is currently, but once the dust settled, perhaps our ancestors listened to each other a little more and adapted innovative ideas that helped them survive. Perhaps the conquerors worked in harmony with the conquered and created a better society as a whole and accepted each other.

However, when the ruling class kept the spoils for themselves and enslaved others, classism began, and the ruling class engaged in both physical and mental wars to lord over the peasants, using thoughts and religious fervor as weapons. The psychological divide and conquer games became the new normal, and the world changed. There were no common goals. No one was safe. Ultimate power over others at the expense of life became the new normal. Money was the new religion. New regimes convinced people that ruling class ideas were much better and were the correct way of thinking, at the expense of free thought. Oppression became yet another new normal. People began to isolate in their communities, convincing themselves that they were staying out of it, and lived their lives in  a bubble, ignoring the next onslaught, sometimes at a great price. Civilizations shrank and grew, depending on the conquerors, and no one listened to each other. Fear dominated the world. No one spoke up or fought back, pretending that this was what was expected of them.

Today, the cycle has returned to divide and conquer. Those who have the most power and resources want to keep them at the expense of both the land and the people who make up the rest of the population. It is more important to be a powerful multi-billion-dollar corporation at the expense of everything else. Wordplay to get increasing media exposure is now vital for the ruling class to get people listening which will sway all others towards their belief systems. People are listening, but they are not responding. And, if they do respond, it is in anger, causing others to spiral downward into anger and depression. A vast majority feel that there is nothing they can do to make the world a better place.

Dissemination of misinformation has ruled the world, and the people with the most money and power are currently reigning supreme, having conveyed so many conspiracy theories as factual. The general population accepts these ridiculous ideas, because deep down there is something inside them that makes them afraid of the truth. Deep down, people know that they need to research for the facts in a context that is not biased. Unfortunately, good research takes time and thought so many will not always make the right choices. People want to believe what is told to them because the truth makes them uncomfortable. Physical and mental violence are becoming an accepted practice. If someone doesn’t want to have a dialogue that might change their minds, they get angry and lash out. Everyone is angry at each other all the time and it is exhausting! Discourse has left the playing field. No one is listening to diverse point of views without getting angry. Everyone is taking a side and not coming to any compromise. There is no middle ground. Uncomfortable conversations have become the quest to make changes in the world.

However, having said all of that, I acknowledge that there are so many injustices that have happened in our generation, but that does not mean we can’t move forward. My advice to all of you is simply this: 

Don’t disseminate misinformation even if you think it is a joke and your generation finds the humor in it. A vast majority of people want to believe in conspiracy theories. People will believe anything when they are afraid of change. Know in your hearts that these conspiracy theories on the internet aren’t real. Know that:

Birds are real.

Climate change is real.

Changes within an organization is real and can happen.

Respect is real and everyone should strive to gain it from each other.

Dissemination of hate is real and is a crime.

Replacement Theory is not real!

Further advice to you as upcoming responsible adults:

We all need to take personal responsibility for our actions and strive for goodness, not hate. Don’t hurt others in both thoughts and actions. Those who hurt others with their voices need to look inside and see why they do what they do and why it is important to them to point out others’ frailties and faults. Listening is a hard life skill to learn, but it will be the best tool in your toolbox. Go out there and make a difference. Make everyone’s life, including yours, a little better each day. You have an exceptionally large burden on your shoulders to make changes that will affect everyone’s futures. Reach deep into your hearts and go out in the world and make it better. Don’t blame the elders, just shake off any old hurts and slights and become a better elder. With higher learning and working to uncorrupt the system from within its very walls, you will help us all survive for another millennia. Remember that your parents may not always agree with you or your friends, but they do have a few answers for you if you ask them. You can believe in them if they are on a right and just path. They really do believe in you and will support you no matter how weird you think they are in their behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Be the calm person in the dialogue and just listen.

So, get going Seniors! Make things happen. Make changes. Remember the basics you’ve learned throughout your lifetime. Be kind, be beautiful, be fair, don’t spread mean rumors, and pick up the trash! (Don’t send photos of what you found on the ground in disgust of what others left behind. Just pick it up no matter who did it.) Have the respect to make your life and your neighborhood a beautiful place to live.

Congratulations Class of 2022!

THIRTY-SEVEN PAIRS OF SOCKS – In Search of Perfection

I gathered up my slightly used winter clothing, shoes, socks, and other paraphernalia, packed it all up and took it to the ARC Thrift Store. After having been turned down by the stores giving away items for the Marshall Fire because they were overwhelmed with new clothing donations, they turned me away. They did not want any used stuff. It was nice to know how generous people were to help the victims, but I felt a little rejected. Therefore, I went back to ARC, where I always go, to help in the way that I could.

I made a list of what I had to donate. I had filled two large plastic storage containers by the time I completed my task, sorting through everything. There were coats, shoes, purses, women’s business clothing, and finally two grocery bags filled with thirty-seven (37) pairs of socks that I had recently collected. 37 pairs…. I began to wonder why I had so many socks. My sock drawer had turned into two overflowing sock drawers. Therefore, I knew it was time to purge. I sorted the socks out and identified what I really needed to keep. I threw away the ones that had seen better days or was missing a mate, disappearing into the dryer dimension, never to be seen again. In the end, I produced 37 pairs to give away. It made me think about my shopping habits and continued search for the most comfortable and perfect sock.

I posed these questions: Why do I continue to buy? Am I hoping my purchases will help me achieve perfection? While some people might have an endless pursuit for the perfect bag, or the perfect pair of shoes, my search continues to be one of comfort for my poor feet. Years of abuse such as cramming feet into poorly designed shoes and ever poorer designed socks have wreaked havoc on them. Age has determined my fate. I am forever searching for that perfect fit and creature comfort – no pinched toes in shoes (wide sizes only!) and no ridged seams in socks (brands that are soft and seamless!). This makes me wonder why production of these ill-fitting items has not changed. Why do we as consumers continue to buy them? Why don’t we complain to the companies when they don’t feel comfortable? But, that is a blog post for another time.

If my house and my closet is still the same size, why do I keep all this stuff? I don’t want to take a bedroom and turn it into a closet like what we see on those home makeover shows. Therefore, I needed to re-evaluate my purchasing decisions and be comfortable with less, only choosing what clothing works for my body. Clutter can do us in, whether it is physical or mental. Throwing out items or thoughts that do us harm is satisfying to our mental health.

Striving for perfection is a noble goal, and we should continue as a society to do so in every endeavor. Yet, when we become obsessed with that goal, or that goal harms others, it is time to take a step back from the frenzy, be thankful and satisfied with what we have today. We can choose clothing (or causes) that are worthy of the expense – in both time and money. We can give away so much more, albeit slightly used, to others which will help them along their paths. It is time to strive for a better outcome and getting rid of emotional attachment to all things less important. It is time to step up and say it will be okay if we do the right thing through our thoughts and actions. It is time to give up on old ideas, stop fretting about the small stuff and give it away. When we can commit to positive action, we can be satisfied with our lives (and our belongings). Overall, we are better human beings for always doing the right thing. Welcome to Spring!


I grew up in a family that read everything they could get their hands on from the bookmobile and the bookstore when there was extra money. We were encouraged to read and think about the things we read. Our parents didn’t always understand our point of view, and sometimes disagreed loudly about it, especially during our teen-aged years, but they allowed us to express our opinions and remind us about making the right choices during our lifetimes.

I also respected and understood the value of my teachers and what they chose to read to us as students from elementary through high school. They were not in favor of censorship, and trust me, I lived in a very conservative environment where they wanted to ban books like The Fountainhead and Catcher in the Rye (mild sexual content compared to today). Many of our teachers and librarians had an understanding about teaching the appropriate age books – right things at the right time.

And yet, today we strive to have “Blissful Ignorance.” Do people understand the concept that the truth will sometimes hurt, and therefore they choose blissful ignorance? Is this really a better choice? Have the parents who are protesting these books even read the books they are opposing? Have the politicians read the entire book that they are opposing? Did their families ever create an open mind in them, one of lifelong learning? Or do they want everyone to just “tow the party line?”

Research has demonstrated repeatedly the negative effects of banning and even censorship of books. According to the American Library Association, they note that for teachers, book banning means shaky, ever-changing curriculum, fear for personal choices, and the tragedy of self-censorship. They also state that for students, book banning means a denial of First Amendment rights, a narrow world view, and psychological deficits. For the classroom, book banning means discourse is hindered.

Why is Freedom of Speech so important for us, especially when it comes to banning books? Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. John Stuart Mill is famous for his quote regarding liberty of speech and the written word:

“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind….But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

If you are interested in reading more about censorship, feel free to look up these links to the American Library Association’s website: OR

A post in Common Sense media states that people tend to ban books for religious or political reasons: An idea, a scene, or a character in the book offends their religion, sense of morality, or political view. Some people feel they need to protect children from the cursing, morally offensive behavior, or racially insensitive language in a book. They think a book’s content is too violent or too sexual. We all want to protect our children from harm, but how is this helpful? Reading a challenged book is a learning experience and can help your kids define their own values and opinions of its content. Further information on this subject can be found at:

Regarding the moral issue, I would like to pose this question:  Do you, as a parent, think you are helping your children by showing up at school libraries, waving dildos in the air and shouting expletives about anal sex? More than likely, it just embarrasses the child and those around him/her and they become scarred for life. I think the better question for these parents and politicians is this:  Why are you so afraid of knowledge of uncomfortable subjects? Why are you so afraid that your child really needs to gather all off the facts about a subject? They are smarter and savvier than you think they are.

We, as adults, have our parents and our grandparents’ voices in our head. We can break the cycle and allow our children to have the tools they will need in life to be free thinkers. We can provide for all the physical and safety needs, but we should let the teachers create the atmosphere where children are free to think and understand the facts and grow up to become rational human beings. They should be free to go with what is logical and sane instead of hosting a slew of ghosts in their heads.

I will never believe in censorship, or fanatical religious beliefs. I do believe that parents have a voice in what they personally teach their very young children at home. However, parents shouldn’t show up in a school and have such ridiculous behavior that it interrupts the education process. When you berate educators, it makes them question why they do what they do for such little pay. Educators want to be there to open the eyes of young children to a world larger than you or even your parents. They want to help. I have only had a few teachers that I felt shouldn’t have gone in the field and didn’t like teaching. However, most of my education process was defined by amazing teachers who worked hard and tried to help us understand the world at a level we could embrace. Each year, each book, builds on the next and as a result, we come out with open minds and a quest for knowledge that drives us to move onto the next level. By analyzing books and breaking them out into micro-bits of information, we create a thought process that allows for informed conclusions that are rational and logical. You can determine whether your child is old enough to hear some of this information when they are younger. However, children are smarter than you think and will eventually figure out that you have prejudices that you will not acknowledge. They will form their own ideas and resent your attempts to smother them.

You as a parent to your child cannot chose to ban books for all other children and teachers in the classroom. Listening to your testimonies at publicized meetings on the nightly news does not encourage me that you have a better understanding of the subjects the teachers are trying to convey to all children. It furthers my belief in your willful ignorance. It makes me wonder how embarrassed your children feel about your actions. Your children want to believe in you, but your actions spur on those who disagree with you into wanting these books to be included in the classrooms regardless of content.

Public Education is for the many, not the few, and you don’t have the right to impose your belief systems on other people or their children who may think differently from you.

Finally, writers please think about what you write and its ensuing effects on the audience. Yes, knowledge of a subject is powerful and what you have lived is important. But is it important to air your views to children at a very vulnerable and early age? Please think about your impact on the world. Sometimes you are hurting others more when you write something explicit. Sometimes it needs to be said to air your anguish and hurt. However, writers can tone down the explicitly sexual and gore content down for the youngest minds. We can get the picture across without the gore. For example, extreme sexual content and gore in horror movies stay in an adult’s brain forever. I can only imagine what it does to children. Think about the impact something intense had on your young mind, and what you felt before you demand they include your book in the curriculum.

I know this is hard concept to grasp, but let’s take a moment to think about our choices.  We cannot change our parents’ way of thinking or what they thought was the right thing to do, but we can change how we approach educating our children. We must rethink our personal bias and indoctrination and listen to what the teacher is trying to accomplish. We can only recommend curriculum for his/her classroom. We cannot as a group decide what is right for every child in their classroom. That is not our job as a parent. Public education is just that: PUBLIC. Our job as parents is to raise our child to the best of our ability, open their eyes to the world, and let them grow up and into their own opinions. They may sometimes disagree with us, and they may sometimes hate us, but they will choose what is the right thing to do if given a choice and we teach them the basics of love and acceptance at home. We must let them grow and form their own opinions as they get older and begin to separate from us. They may not choose our current belief system and path and we as parents must learn to be okay with that. All people must come together for the truth and what is right. We must stop being angry and actively listen to each other and not automatically dismiss someone who isn’t on the same page. It is time to disregard negativity and let children learn in a free world and develop their own opinions and mindsets even if we don’t agree with them. Let’s all grow together. Happy Spring Everyone!


Even today, this song is relevant. I’m saddened by what is going on in the Ukraine and its people and yet amazed at their resilience. Whatever we decide to do as a nation, let us never get to this point. We are the people who help oppressed nations. Let democracy ring true. Thank you.

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
, uhh
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y’all
War, huh (good God)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me, oh

War, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mother’s eyes

When their sons go off to fight
And lose their lives

I said, war, huh (good God, y’all)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, just say it again
War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) Friend only to The Undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die? Oh

War, huh (good God y’all)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War (uh-huh), huh (yeah, huh)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) It’s got one friend that’s The Undertaker

Oh, war, has shattered many a young man’s dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much too short and precious
To spend fighting wars each da
War can’t give life
It can only take it away, oh

War, huh (good God y’all)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again

War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) Friend only to The Undertaker, woo
Peace, love and understanding, tell me
Is there no place for them today?
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way, oh

War, huh (God y’all)
What is it good for? You tell me (nothing)
Say it, say it, say it, say it

War (good God), huh (now, huh)
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it (nothing)

Sung by Edwin Starr; Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield; 1970


I used to love to go shopping in the traditional way – drive to a brick-and-mortar stores. We would go to the big Sears, the Belk downtown, and of course the local bookstore! And, then we got to go to the cafeteria for lunch! Such a treat for us little girls in a small town.

I was off to college when the Malls appeared. This was my younger brother’s era. My mother and he would go to the stores and stay all day. Once he got his license, the mall would become the social atmosphere where he could hang out with his friends.

The malls were still in full swing in the 1980’s when I came to Colorado. Lerner’s was my hangout and all those heavy shoulder padded dresses, sensible two-inch heels, and panty hose (remember those! Ugh!) were business attire of the day. The Mall also had those unique boutique shops that introduced us to flowing skirts and blouses made of polyester (horrible fabric that it is!) which allowed us to dress for the nightclubs for dancing the night away. My work wear and play wear were different animals. Of course, being in such an active environment, compared to the south, I was introduced to sporting goods stores (not your father’s place) to every kind of outfit and associated gear imaginable to allow us to bike and hike the hills and mountains. I was young and ever moving.

Today, however, life has changed. The malls are not what they used to be. The shopping experience has changed to an environment that we do not recognize. Disposable income decreased dramatically, and inflation reached a high of over 7% in 2021. The pandemic kept shoppers away for over two years, and recovery is slow. Lack of goods on the shelves is due to the manufacturing shutdowns as well as bottlenecks in the delivery. As a result, there are currently large numbers of empty stores, shuttered and forlorn looking.

The older generation looks at shopping in a unique way. We no longer have stores that cater to us as a group. The media focuses on a much younger demographic, knowing that we as seniors will not buy unless we really feel it is a fair price. Most older shoppers have years of experience in finance compared to young people and want our money’s worth. Perhaps we have come to the realization that it does not bring us satisfaction in buying what we don’t really need such as an expensive dress or something in home goods. We are homeowners, after all – and would rather spend our money on cabinetry or new plantings for the yard. According to researchers, people like to go to stores for experiencing the product. They like to feel like they are receiving in person expert advice. The stores used to guarantee availability and returns were not perceived as difficult compared to online (although I have learned this is an exaggerated difficulty depending on how you persist with the online retailer).

Our economy is based on retail and consumerism, and people will always buy more than necessities, but the last nail in the coffin for me shopping in a store is something called a “Crime Spike Fee.” Denver shop owners have decided to add a 1% tax on their goods and place the burden of increased shoplifting losses on the consumer. Shoplifting is increasingly rampant, and the losses are astronomical for the shop owners. They may claim this on their insurance and on their taxes, but they have been telling the media that they are operating at a loss. The owners report that even though it is a crime, the police have told them they will not pursue property crime investigations. Therefore, there are no consequences for the people who steal from them, especially in downtown Denver. People can just walk in and threaten the owners and take whatever they want. While I completely understand there is a need to recover their losses, and that shoplifters, or any theft for that matter, takes its toll on retailers (another blog post in the making), is it right to pass on those fees to law-abiding consumers? Why do we as consumers always have to bear this burden? Shoppers are being more frugal with their money. They do not want one more tax to shoulder. I believe most people will stop going to these stores in the future if they feel victimized. Thus, these stores will close and owners will lose once again.

These last two years have changed our lives forever. There will never be a “get back to normal” stage, a sentiment that I often hear espoused from seniors I am in contact with each day. We all must be willing to change, and help retailers change the way they do business. The supply chain will eventually be fixed, and availability will open back up. Having less employees to help the consumer is something the stores will have to come to grips with unless pay scales, benefits and other necessities become a guarantee for these workers. Employees want to feel invested in a place of business, but they now have the capability to get better jobs if more incentives are offered to them. Business owners must take heart and think about how they can re-shape their businesses in the future and provide a great service for both their employees and their customers.

Consumers want to feel welcome and needed in a store. The more an owner caters to them, the more they will buy. I am not an expert, and I have never owned a retail store, but I know what I want as a consumer. I don’t mind going on a shopping adventure in a new place if I know it will make me happy and I can purchase items at a “reasonable price.” I am willing to pay more if I really like an item. But, if I see this fee on my bill, I will not make a purchase at that store. It’s just wrong. Enough said.


We survived. Over 1000 homes burned, and hundreds damaged. We are still standing strong. We reached out to everyone we knew and were saddened by their loss, but also inspired by their resilience. In so many ways, it felt so weird to come home to an intact home. Things will never be the same, yet the important aspect of this life lesson was that we will continue to strive. We change the world a little bit at a time, no matter how many times we get beat down. And, we have felt overwhelmed this last year, wondering what else can happen now. The President visited us, this small town, to encourage us to keep hope alive.

There comes a time when you must make a choice in your thoughts and actions. A belief in something that is totally, unabashedly wrong is not the right choice. Belief in false facts such as those that other “news” agencies spew out into the universe is wrong. We must move forward and recognize that the system can work if we all do it together, if we change our attitudes about society, if we work together to “Build Back Better.” We are a bunch of neighbors working TOGETHER, moving forward to rebuild, helping each other as much as we can.

We do not know everyone who suffered, but we help them anyway. Why should this be any different in any other neighborhood suffering from tragedy or the pandemic? Selfishness has no place in our society. We must make the effort to change the minds of the “privileged people.” We must strive to help them understand that they are part of this society, one made of people of all social classes, and also help them recognize what it means to be a part of this United States.

Knowing that our economy is based on spending, supply, and demand, we must recognize that other people make different choices about spending their money, even if we don’t like it. It is not our responsibility to belittle them for the choices they make. That is what democracy is all about: having that choice. If they ask for advice, we are free to give it to them, just as they are free to decide what is best for their families.

Fascism vs. democracy. Which would you choose? Your current choices are based on democracy. In a fascist society, no one is right except the person who is in charge and his/her minions. Is that a society that you want to live in? It’s okay to believe in the greater good. If you take everything that “they” (whoever they are) are just trying to take your money, you will not have a happy life. Sharing and giving is okay.

And, while we will always have the Joe Manchins in the White House, those who will not vote with their conscience instead of their pocketbooks, to the detriment of his constituents, we as voters must speak out. As a voting constituent, it is okay to let him know your thoughts and help him recognize that he must make good choices. Help him get out of his comfort zone. Help him say “No” to the big corporations that fund him. Help him make the right choices for you who live in his state. It is a sad day when a democrat does not help his own people who are in desperate need.

For more information about the Build Back Better bill, here is the link to the original publication of the bill. It seems like the logical and right thing to do to help our society become strong once again.

Welcome, 2022. It is a wonderful day to be alive. Let’s strive for a better New Year!


Sometimes you must push through to complete a task no matter how much you don’t want to do it. That was the last piece of advice I gave out in 2021 to my son, encouraging him to complete all his work for the end of the semester. This thought will expand into 2022 in the hopes that people will come together for the betterment of the nation.

This semester I took a sustainable landscaping course at the Front Range Community College. (Shout out to Professor Saunders of HLT132!) I would like to share a little about what I learned. Creating a beautiful environment without harming the earth for generations to come is what sustainable landscaping means.

I grew up in the south and the land was lush and green, sometimes in excess. I came to Colorado in the 1980’s and had to learn about drought conditions, high desert and mountain environments. It takes a big effort to create a beautiful garden in a western back yard. Water restrictions makes you learn how to successfully grow plants and trees with limited resources in the west. Learning about the 7 Principles of Xeriscaping (Denver Water, look it up! It’s not just about cacti!) taught me about plant placement and tree selection based on  water needs in  order to create that cool backyard that everyone wants.

My original mentor (Val) was the mulch queen and she taught me so much about mulch. The clay soil must be amended and will promote healthy soil. I am an avid mulcher to this day and although the harsh conditions of these last two years saw the death of so many plants and trees, yet others, such as the natives she suggested, have survived over time with frequent mulch additions. “Right plant, right place” is a motto I will continue to live by when I am re-designing parts of the yard and, hopefully, presenting evidence to not only the Planning Department in my city but to other cities, to help refurbish and create sustainable landscapes in parks and open spaces. Reducing the heat in the land through tree canopy and shade structures will keep me outside for years to come. The mosquitos were less vicious this last year because I learned about how to control pests with “good bugs” and native “bug-friendly” plants, rather than pesticides. I hope that my efforts have saved contamination to the streams in my neighborhood with less deadly runoff from harsh pesticides.

How can we apply sustainability strategies and methods to the industry of landscaping in the areas of design, maintenance, and installation? First, in the future, embrace strategies such as “Do no harm” to people and planet. We can expand our beautiful gardens to our cities if we voice our opinions at the local government level. We can work with cities and private industries to create realistic goals to change at least one harmful thing every day. We can submit re-designs for landscapes that use the 7 Principles of Xeriscaping.

Work with city planners to create a sustainable landscape. Use native species to help renew the landscape, use less water, and provide decent air quality in the neighborhood. Make inquiries to the stormwater and water treatment managers to see if the reclaimed water is not creating more harm in the landscape. It is okay to ask the leaders in this industry questions such as How “clean” is the reclaimed water? Work with local governments to encourage changes to their equipment such as changing out gasoline engine tools and vehicles to electric and/or renewable resources. Create better open space areas and always lobby for planting more trees that will create a beautiful, cool, and clean corridor in your city! Lobby to raise wages so more parks and open space maintenance workers and advocates will be excited to seek this job market. Even if a city is building condominiums and apartments as fast as they can, it is still possible to make sure there is a pocket park and tree islands in these new builds.

The adage that “you are never too old to learn something new” holds true to this day. Learning about sustainability creates a skill and knowledge base that will help cut through all the negatives of others. When dealing with the public and government entities, remember that sometimes established work plans take precedent and innovative ideas might threaten the status quo. Help them get a new perspective on sustainable practices. Help them see “the light at the end of the tunnel” and that new ways are sometimes easier than the old. Government and landscapers must be on the same page from the beginning that this investment in time and money will be worth it for the future endeavors and thus create a new ethic and workforce beyond the throwaway society of the last forty years. Understanding your skillset is the most important aspect of your life. If you have ever watched Young Sheldon the episode “A Research Study and Czechoslovakian Wedding Pastries” brings home that being smart is only one of the skills that you need in life. Sheldon excelled in tests and facts, but Missy, his twin, excelled in people skills. Being able to combine those skills is part of a continuing education, the most important dynamic that will convince others to embrace your cause for a sustainable world.

Let us all get onboard for change. Help the environment. Help the climate. Make things happen. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Turn all the negative into positive action. Happy holidays everyone!


It’s okay not to make everything political all the time. It’s better to have deep conversations about life in general. It’s okay to be able to zone out with a good book. It’s okay to sit and just be with your family. It’s okay to let go of the “Yeah, buts,” and let go of the anger.

It’s not okay to lie, berate others and generally be mean to each other. It’s time to banish the lies and conspiracies from your lives and treat people with kindness once again regardless of their views. It’s not okay to be obnoxious just because you are young or old.

I don’t hate anyone; I just don’t like people who are bullies. We have to believe in consequences. We have to believe that the people who are bullying the most, spreading hate and lies will truly be held accountable in the future. It’s time to stop the hate and anger and get back to work. Let’s get down to living our lives. Let’s get back to democracy—not being democrat or republican—just democratic in our behavior! Now is the time to save our future. There is more opportunity now than ever before. It is time to bring back love for each other for our sameness as well as our differences. Stop yelling at each other. Bring back patience and kindness once again. Thank the servers that are trying to help you even though they may not be fast enough for you. Thank the teachers for putting up with your children. Tell the store managers how much you appreciate the kind workers who have helped you. Stop shooting and killing each other. Seek outside help before you get so depressed to the point of going out and shooting people.

Do something good every day, something that would make your mother proud. Turn off the news. The world will get back to the new normal if we let go and do what is good for everyone. We just have to be patient. We must be willing to live each day and not worry about some perceived slight, or what we think our future will become. We need to embrace change and move on from this day forward. We are ready to move on. We can do this!

Summer is almost over and school will be in session in a few weeks. Embrace teachers and knowledge seekers. Realize that you can go back to school no matter how old you are. Community colleges offer a myriad of programs for everyone – from high school students, working moms to seniors. For the first time in a very long time, I am going back to college and learn something that I want to learn. I got my degree a long time ago, and it helped my career. Nevertheless, for now, I want to go for learning’s sake. I may not get another degree, but my brain craves learning and contact with others who are just starting out in life. It will be good to see what young people think the future will hold for them. It will be good to see what a senior citizen really is to them. Most people in their teens and twenties tend to ignore anyone over forty. It is my hope to change their attitudes and broaden their way of thinking about aging and how they want to be when they are my age. It is my hope that I also learn from their lives up to this point. We can all learn to embrace a future in which we can age into and enjoy.

So for the next few months, let us all take a step back and breathe. Stop the negativity and seek a peaceful solution no matter what the consequence. Moreover, Florida people! Go home and leave the teachers alone. Your children are looking at your behavior and you are embarrassing them! So don’t be surprised if your kids turn out like you (and I don’t mean this in a good way!) Just take the vaccine. Just wear a mask! How hard is that? If you can’t abide by the rules, then keep your children home! You can teach them!

 Let’s create a year that only gets better and better without all the negativity.


During former President Obama’s campaign, he spoke at a gymnasium in Greenwood, South Carolina. As he walked into the venue, and stood on the sidelines, waiting to be introduced, he heard someone shouting: “Fire it up! Ready to go!” Thanks to Edith Childs, a local activist and politician, this became a campaign slogan for him and he changed the nation with his presidency, even if the change was short-lived.

Now President Biden is attempting to do same thing, getting the nation on the road to recovery while experiencing the same tremendous opposition. I believe it is time for us to step up as citizens and vote the craziest of the opposition out of office. Those who still believe in the orange-haired blustery one with all of his drama need to take a long and hard look at their lives. They need to determine a more reasonable path to the truth. Power has corrupted him and now its insidious hand is gripping those that believe in his legacy. The fair and balanced system needs to return.

Over half of the nation’s citizens are stepping up and changing their old ways of thinking. They are helping at a local level, helping each other work through all of their struggles and learning to release their prejudices. It is now time for this to translate to Washington. The people in power need to embrace the changes their own people have made and do the same for each one of their states. They need to listen to the majority of their citizens from their states and strive to make change. They need to let go of those who don’t believe in science and the how the real world should work. Magical things happen when the worldview is big and full of promise. People need to change for the better. People need to take the vaccine and live. People who have hate in their hearts need to become kind once again. It is only then that they make a difference.

We have been debating a long time and now we need to move forward. Start a local movement and make it happen. Leave violence behind and promote the good things in life. Let’s all get back to work. It’s time. Rethinking time is over. Let’s be productive once again. Help the economy out. Encourage the passing of a wealth tax. We need to believe that it’s okay to have those people whose salary is over $50 million to pay an extra 2% tax. After all, the majority of people pay at least 25% of their total income in taxes. This is the tax on all of us who make under $50,000.00 a year! Why is that not fair to tax the multi-millionaires the same? President Biden reiterated what we all believe and refused to admit the truth to ourselves: “Trickle down economy doesn’t work. It has never worked.” Why should those with the vast majority of wealth pay so little? If you don’t believe me, check out the broadcast from March 12, 2021 with Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In 2020, while millions of Americans struggled with job loss and economic turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic, the richest 100 Americans’ fortunes grew by $598 billion. This is the backdrop for the wealth tax introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. In this article, the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act would impose a 2% tax on individual net worth above $50 million and an additional 1% surtax on net worth above $1 billion. Only two percent! Payments would begin in 2023 based on wealth in 2022. This bill would only affect people who make over $400,000.00 a year. We must embrace the fact that this is not us! The average person makes far less than that. Wealthy people will find a way to hide their money and that is not right. We have to create legislation to require those who make in the millions put their money back into their companies and people who work there. We have to close the tax loopholes where they hide their wealth. Everyone has to pay his or her share. Why do lawmakers continue to let them get away with this?

Now is the time to ask individuals to be grateful for the life they have lived. Now is the time to give to the future generations. Now is the time to stop beating up and shooting anyone who is different from us. It is time to stop and breathe. It is time to find out what are the real underlying problems. It is time to self-reflect and come up with a plan. It is time to respect each other for our differences. It is time to turn off the TV and get back to work.

It is time to stop the intellectual bashing. Go out and learn something different today. Continue to question your motives and your reasoning. Try to work through what is bothering you. Everyone deserves a better way to live. Money is not the complete answer to all of our problems, but good-paying jobs where we make a difference are necessary for us to believe in ourselves and our country once again. We can do this as individuals and as a nation. I believe in all of you. You should believe in yourselves. Your children and grandchildren are depending on you to make it better.