Is It Wise To Build A Wall?

Berlin Wall and view of "No-man's Land" 1985

Berlin Wall and view of “No-man’s Land” 1985

The Berlin Wall existed from 1961 to 1989. “During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that had marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period”- excerpts from Wikipedia.

I personally saw the Berlin Wall twice-in 1979 and 1985. Each time I viewed it, I felt its negative energy. It divided people and caused much suffering because many families and friends were separated from each other. I value connecting people instead of dividing them. I also sensed the fear that was created by the visible guard towers and the machine guns poking out of the openings-armed and ready to kill anyone who attempted to cross the barrier.

Donald Trump would like to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The proposed cost varies but it is in the billions. There is an initial cost of construction and then there are the costs of maintaining this divider. The erection of massive concrete barriers didn’t seem to serve Germany well and was eventually demolished. I wonder if that money could be used in a more positive way? Might we look deeper to solve the root of the issues that prompted Trump to make this suggestion?

Trump says that this will make us safer from illegal immigration and drugs. Will a wall really stop these issues? Might there be other ways for people and drugs to find their way into the United States? If the people within the US continue to want drugs, they will find a way to get them. Might it be prudent to look at the root of the drug problem for a more effective solution? If someone really wants to enter our country, they will find a way around the wall. There are many methods and points of entry. Can all the ways be controlled?

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Trump claims his wall will be beautiful and that it will have his name on it. Does he really need his name on another structure? Is this desire more about fame than logic? Is a concrete barrier that divides people anything but ugly even if shiny gold letters spelling “Trump” adorn it? Did the Berlin wall graffiti help the Germans enjoy the wall? [Read more…]

My Favorite Books of 2015

I read and enjoyed many books in 2015, but the standouts are worth mentioning. All my reviews of books in the last several years are on Goodreads. As I looked over my completed reads this past year, I took excerpts from my reviews on Goodreads to share with you my favorites.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Guest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

My review:

I devoured this book! The story was enthralling, and I rank it as one of the best books I have read this year! I listened to it on audio and Edward Herrmann was such a good reader, I will likely seek out other books he has recorded. The story was beautifully written with such vivid adjectives that the story came to life in my mind. Magnificent!

 

The Signature of All Things

My review:

Absolutely outstanding! I had read Eat, Love, Pray and thoroughly loved it. This book is incredibly different in style and has increased my admiration for the talent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s skill at crafting a marvelous tale. Her writing is excellent, and it was an absolute pleasure to read. I highly recommend it although I suspect it will be most enjoyed by females.

 

Bel Canto

My review:

I loved this book! So rich in feeling and sensory pleasure that I could almost hear the singing. A real treasure.

[Read more…]

Robert V. Shultz-A Tribute to His Life

Bobby with his father Ralph Shultz

Bobby with his father Ralph Shultz

Robert Vernon Shultz, 1925-2015 grew up in South Dakota but spent the majority of his life in Colorado where he moved in 1951. Prior to his move, he researched which state might have an ideal climate, business opportunities and beautiful landscape as well as a good place to raise his family. His oldest son Robby was born in Madison Wisconsin, but the subsequent 3: Lindy, Randy and Lisa were all born in Colorado.

Ralph, Jane and Bobby Shultz

Ralph, Jane and Bobby Shultz

Turtle Peak Ranch near Wessington Springs, South Dakota, where his son Randy currently ranches, is just four miles from his birthplace and where he grew up. His parents farmed before opening a hardware store during the depression in 1934. He grew up on Main Street, Wessington Springs. He spent summers with Aunts and Uncles on nearby farms. He was proud of his one room schoolhouse education for the first three grades. Like most people in rural 1930’s, he didn’t live in a house with electricity or running water until he was nine.

Bob Shultz in high school

Bob Shultz in high school

Growing up in South Dakota included working on threshing crews, general construction and a short stint as the drummer with Les Kutil and his Kings of Swing (originally Lane Ramblers), the beginning of a lifelong affair with Swing, Jazz, and Blues. “The Waltz You Saved For Me” was his theme.

And he liked Ford V-8s, Buck Jones, Aunt Grace’s baked beans, Ruskin Park, Winchester rifles, Colt six-shooters, Stetsen hats, Hieser and Fred Mueller saddles, Northern Plains Beaded Indian goods, beefsteak, rhubarb pie, and hunting jack rabbits. [Read more…]

Robert Vernon Shultz Obituary

Cowboy Bob9Robert Vernon Shultz, 1925-2015 grew up in South Dakota but spent the majority of his life in Colorado. He was proud of his one room schoolhouse education for the first three grades. He lived in a house without electricity or running water until he was nine years old. His parents, Jane and Ralph Shultz, gave up farming, moved to town and opened a hardware store in Wessington Springs.

After graduating from Wessington Springs High School, he volunteered for the Navy in 1943. He was assigned to the Battleship USS Missouri during World War II as a radio operator. The ship was the site of the Japanese Surrender Ceremonies ending the war in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945.

Bob married Norma Schwabauer in 1948, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1951 and then moved to Colorado. He started his insurance career with O’Rourke and Daniels in Denver and with his wife raised four children, Rob, Lindy, Randy and Lisa, in suburban Cherry Hills Village. He founded The High Country Corporation in 1955 and sold out in 1979. [Read more…]

The 70th Anniversary of VJ Day-The End Of World War 2

September 2, 1945
This was the day World War II ended in the Pacific. The Japanese surrendered aboard the USS Missouri, the battleship my dad Robert V. Shultz was on at the end of the war. View a video showing about the ceremony.

 

Here are my Dad’s words about that day:

It started out as a gray day, sort of cool. Ships everywhere and lots of small craft. Busy, busy. Plying to and from the ships. Battlewagons, Cruisers, Tin Cans, Supply ships, Service Craft were everywhere. Must have been the biggest assembly of ships ever. Lots of war planes too. Heavy patrolling. Everyone on board was in awe of the scene. We were in Tokyo Bay, at anchor, the first real port city since leaving Pearl Harbor in December while we were still on Condition Easy. All guns manned, but you knew it was over. The defeat was complete. It was hard to believe what we heard about the big bombs. [Read more…]

Are You An Internet, Email and Facebook Addict?

I will admit, I am an addict. Yes, checking my email and Facebook is a part of my day, every day throughout the day. I have attempted to wean myself with occasional, moderate success. I have thinned out my email, unsubscribing to newsletters and other unwanted notices. I have reduced my inbox to under 50 and on a good day to under 20. I have created files of important emails to keep as reference and I periodically review and weed out obsolete items. I think all that just means I am an organized addict and that I am fooling myself to think that those measures make me less hooked!

Despite becoming efficient and proficient, I am obsessed with checking my email and checking in on Facebook. I log on in the morning and review my accounts over my cereal and coffee. I don’t feel I can move on to other things of greater importance like writing my next book or this article until I have cleaned out new emails and reviewed the newsfeed on Facebook. Real work or productivity comes second.

I have made strides in posting less on Facebook unless I am traveling (I love to post travel pictures). Now a few days can go by without a Facebook update from me but never a week! I love to feel connected to my friends and relatives, many of whom live far away from me and I might be out of touch with their lives without Facebook. I learn things, laugh and feel a part of a community when I browse the newsfeed. If I don’t look in, I feel a loss of not knowing what is going on in the world (I have stopped watching TV) and I begin to feel invisible.

I recently finished reading the book The Shallows, What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. He described having more difficulty keeping his attention focused on concentrated reading and deep contemplation. I have been noticing this trend myself, and it bothers me. [Read more…]

Who Are These People?

Shultz Family 1920

Shultz Family 1920

As I look at an old black and white photo taken about 1920, I see serious looking people who I know are my relatives, but they are all dead now. Only my dad who is almost 90 can identify them. He is mostly sure he got their names right, and I think to myself, does it matter?

Somehow I found myself the only one in the family willing to look through countless boxes of photos and old newspaper articles of someone’s wedding or death. I look at photos with stern faces that seem to reflect hardship beyond my comprehension. Their eyes are hard and it is hard to imagine them smiling or laughing. Did they have joy in their life or was it mostly survival?

Viola Cemetary, South Dakota

Bob Shultz at Viola Cemetary, South Dakota

I know where some of them are buried in a little country cemetery in rural South Dakota. I hope their souls have found rest and peace after burying children, surviving wars, depressions, dust bowls and untold hardships that today’s kids will never understand.

I return to the task of looking through the boxes and trying to figure out what to do with these relicts of the past. I write on the back of the photo the names: Grace, Viola, Milo, Ralph, Henry, Ellen, Mable, Minnie, Peter, Caroline and Lydia. Ralph was my grandfather and I never met him because he died before I was born.

Do I frame the picture of my ancestors? [Read more…]

10 Ways To Reduce Mail Clutter In Your Life

Are you tired of all the clutter that keeps coming in your mailbox or inbox? Are you zoning out and barely looking at most of it? Would you like less coming in so you can breathe more and read quality correspondence as well as feel more caught up?

Take the next week or month to trim paper and electronic clutter. Here are 10 ideas of how to do that! [Read more…]

Does Anyone Want A Bunny?

How in the world did I get so much stuff? Whatever space I have lived in, I fill every inch of it in stuff. I have been in a declutter mode for years now, and I have made good progress. However, I am still sorting and getting rid of stuff each month.

Stuff just crept up on me. Having kids really brought on the stuff. Buying a big house gave us lots of room to put it and soon it got out of control. I was encouraged by TV commercials and other media to buy, buy, buy stuff, and I accepted the offer and did. Bought a house that I couldn’t really afford and one that had more room than I really needed. We were all told it would help the economy to buy and buy. Did it?

When the weight of debt and too much stuff felt like 5 elephants on my back, I sold the big house with a 3-car garage and moved to a much smaller house with no garage. No more bikes and garage stuff. I kept a few garden tools and shovels but they had to fit in my small laundry room.

Kid stuff went bye-bye and so did over half of my wardrobe and knick-knacks because I had virtually no storage and my closets were small. I refused to pay for a storage unit but kept a few things in my mom’s basement. It was liberating. And still there was more.

BunniesI just got out my Easter decorations. Now that I live in a small space, the holiday decorations are more confined instead of spread out all over a large house. I counted over 20 bunnies that are now on all surfaces in my living, dining and main floor bathroom. Do I need that many bunnies? How did this happen? [Read more…]

The Better View at Midlife

I believe the age that one transitions to midlife varies, but for me it was at age 51. And there was no going back! The view is outstanding. Colors in a sunset or autumn leaves are more vibrant. Music and sounds of nature reach new depths of enjoyment in my soul. Smells of pumpkin bread baking or turkey in the oven brings me bliss. The taste of a well-made latte or fresh salmon from Alaska makes me swoon. And the feeling of holding hands with my new boyfriend makes me tingle! I enjoyed all these things before, but in midlife, I experience them at a deeper level.

Midlife nudges me to move forward with the now or never motto. “Letting go” is reaching profound levels, and sometimes it hurts just before the release. [Read more…]