Confusing Thoughts For A Confusing Day

During the last year of Jeff’s life, we sometimes talked about what I was going to do after he was gone. We knew I couldn’t stay in that house for very long — there was nowhere around there for me to work, and I couldn’t pay the expenses on my own — so we knew a move was necessary. (We couldn’t have known how short a time I’d have afterward to figure things out, but it turns out I was evicted almost immediately. I have no idea why except that the landlady seemed to think I had designs on her husband. For some reason, widows get a bad rap; she’s not the only one to think we are a rapacious lot, looking to replace what we lost with someone else’s husband.)

Jeff wanted me to go stay with my father because he said I’d have a place to stay where I’d be safe, but I absolutely refused to even consider the matter. My parents and perhaps even my brothers had always taken for granted that I would be the “designated daughter,” the one who would take care of her parents when they couldn’t take care of themselves, and having had to cater to my father at various times in my life, I truly dreaded the possibility of doing it for the rest of his life. As long as Jeff was alive, I was safe from what I thought would be a hell, but when his life drew to an end, the dread returned. (Strangely, I never considered that I would grieve. I figured I’d be sad for a while, but would continue on without a blip. What a shock it was to find out what grief really was!)

Even after Jeff pointed out that taking care of my father wouldn’t be forever, I still refused to consider the matter. It wasn’t until the end, when Jeff was comatose, that I changed my mind and told him I would go stay with my father. A few hours later, Jeff died. Apparently, even unconscious, he was worried about what would happen to me and couldn’t leave until he knew I’d be okay.

My father was 93 at the time, and though he was doing well, he really did need someone to stay with him. He was terrified of the night terrors he sometimes got as well the sundowners hallucinations he’d experienced during a hospital stay. The two of us worked things out. Although he would have liked me to wait on him, I wanted him to be as self-sufficient as possible, so I talked him into continuing the routine he’d adopted after my mother died. And he did keep it up until he couldn’t any longer.

Those years seemed interminable at the time, made worse by the arrival of my dysfunctional older brother, but as Jeff had said, the stay with my father wasn’t forever. He died four and a half years after my arrival.

Today is the seventh anniversary of my father’s death, and it perplexes me to think he’s been gone more years than I stayed with him. How did all those years slip by? The hardship of my time with him (though admittedly, it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be) now seems like a hiccup in my years of grief over Jeff.

It’s odd to think that those men — Jeff, my father, my older brother — who were so significant to my life are now gone. Odd, too, to think of how each of those deaths has contributed to my current well-being.

Confusing thoughts for a confusing day.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

The Coming Seasons

It’s been ten days since the grass was put in, and it’s still alive! Yay! Maybe my brown thumb is gradually turning green. I’ve still been watering the grass every day, but strong winds are bringing in cooler temperatures, so it won’t be long before I switch to every other day, and then gradually fade out as winter pushes its way into my world.

I’m not especially fond of winter, but I have a hunch this year I will appreciate it more than normal — no watering grass and plants, no digging, no landscaping. Except for the watering, I’m mostly done with the digging. My final two hundred bulbs should be here Friday, and after they are planted, all I have to do is watch the forecast for the first snowfall, then scatter my wildflower seeds and tramp them into the ground before the storm hits.

Then it’s all about waiting for spring. Or not. Too much of my life has been about waiting, so perhaps I should change my focus to something beyond my yard and garden. Playing house and cleaning all the corners that have been neglected during the past few months perhaps. Walking, probably. All too often, I was too tired from the gardening chores or my knees too incapacitated to walk this summer, so winter would be a good time to concentrate on mobility. Ooops. But snow! I don’t walk in the snow, so that might not be the best thing to concentrate on. Still, there are my knee exercises to do to make sure they are as strong as possible as I sink deeper into old age.

The only thing worse than waiting is planning, so I’ll be better off not planning what I will do when the yard chores are finished especially since there is a good chance they won’t be finished for a long time. After all, the neighbors on all sides have trees, and somehow most of the leaves end up in my yard. It will be good to have the leaves, but I don’t particularly relish raking them off the grass and blowing them off the rocks. Still, tools are always fun to use, so it will be just a different focus.

It is interesting the way having a yard and spending time in that yard every day makes one cognizant of the seasons in a way that merely staying inside and switching from heat to air-conditioning and back to heat does. Even walking didn’t make me as aware of the seasons, perhaps because I wasn’t as involved with my environs as I am with yardwork.

Next year should be interesting. I’ve dug up about all the weeded areas I could, and those I couldn’t will be sown with wildflower seeds. If my raised garden is built by then, I will have a garden to plant, but if not, I’ll mostly be taking care of what has already been planted. Though, come to think of it, the lure of bedding plants is strong, so I’m sure I’ll find some place for a few. Or even more than a few.

Last night I was thinking about age, brought on by a neighbor’s comment that I was too old to go tent camping, which I might be. But I do think in another decade, I will look back on this year, my first year of unarguable elderliness as a time of relative youth. I mean, look at all I’ve accomplished with the landscaping. Admittedly, I did not lay the sod, the ornamental rocks, or the crushed rock for the pathways, but I have been out there every day doing something to turn my property into a micro estate.

It has been a good experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing where all this takes me in the coming seasons.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Hatching a New Book

I just finished reading a book where a couple moved to an small town where the families of the inhabitants go back generations. As in most stories using this particular scenario, the couple had a hard time fitting in because they were outsiders.

A counterpart of this story is the Hallmark movie version where a big city success goes home to the small town where she was raised and suddenly, she finds everything she’s ever wanted.

Basically, these are the same story, just told from different points of view. The returnee, of course, is welcomed because she is one of them, and left unsaid is the part where if she had been a stranger, things would not have worked out as well for her.

There is a third version of this story, where a person is stranded and finds a home in the town. Bagdad Café and Doc Hollywood are two examples.

When I moved here, I expected the first version to hold true, especially since I’ve lived in small towns before and never found in them a home except what Jeff and I created between the two of us. In fact, when I left the area where Jeff and I had lived for two decades, only one grocery clerk and a librarian bothered to say good-bye. When we left the previous place, no one but our landlady noticed. And the place before that, not even the landlady cared.

Obviously, the second version can’t hold true because I am not coming back to my roots. I have no real roots. My parents left the east coast where they were raised, camped out in Denver to grow their family, then headed on to the west coast where they’d planned to go all along.

I’m also not stranded here accidentally, but it was accidental (perhaps) how it came about. Although I had never signed up with Zillow, they sent me an email one day saying, “This is your new house.” I looked at the photos, and I agreed. It was my house, the one I had been conjuring in my mind, and a person goes where their house is, regardless of what problems she might encounter once she moves in. (I never even saw the house in person before I moved in, which freaked out my real estate agent, but didn’t bother me because . . . well because it was my house.)

Luckily, my story is a happier version of the first example. Although most people who live here have generational roots, some going back to when the town was founded, some people seem more than willing to accept new people, especially if the new people are willing to get involved, such as writing mysteries for local events. There might be undercurrents I am unaware of, but it seems as if this is a town on the cusp of a new identity, no longer dependent solely on agriculture and ancestry, but not yet sure where it is going or where it can go. (Businesses seem reluctant to come here, except for marijuana businesses — those seem quite willing to move here, though some of them are having a hard time getting employees, and some are having a hard time finding housing for the employees they import. One problem with the area is that less than half of the houses are owner occupied, a transiency that makes businesses nervous.)

This changing identity might explain in part the willingness to accept strangers, but the willingness also comes from the long-time newcomers (those who have been here for a decade or more) and from the returned natives (those who left to find a different life, and then returned to look after aged parents).

Despite my acceptance from others, I do think that some of the small town clichés should find their way into my new book, the one that’s currently hatching in my brain. And there certainly should be examples of the way people around here talk: “She’s the sister of my nephew’s ex-wife.” “Her grandfather is my uncle.” “He is the son of my aunt’s sister-in-law’s mother.”

Some of these relationships boggle my mind. I can’t even imagine knowing so much of one’s family tree let alone other people’s. Oddly, despite all the knowledge of one another’s ancestry, no one seems to know anything about the people who lived in this house before 1965 or so. Not that it matters, I can make up my own history for the house, but I am curious about previous tenants. It seems so much an old woman’s house. The owner before me was a man, but he had to move out because it was my house, at least that’s what I jokingly tell him, but both owners before him were old women. One of those women had a relative who was able to help her get grants to upgrade the electricity, the heating, some windows, the plumbing, the roof, leaving the kitchen, the rest of the windows, and stucco work for the previous owner to take care of. But before those women? No one seems to know.

I don’t think I need to go back that far for my story to be as mysterious as I hope it to be. After all, there are other houses in the neighborhood where nefarious folk can live and have lived. (A murder took place in the house across the alley a few months before I moved here.)

And, if I want my story to have an elder-related sub story, then the people should be more contemporary to help emphasize the current issues of the very old. Which means, I have to create the characters and figure out how they fit into the story. Luckily, I have no deadline for finishing the book. I don’t even have a deadline for starting it.

All I know is that I somehow the unique smalltownishness of this place needs to be reflected in the story.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

A Pot of Olio

Olio is one of those words beloved by crossword puzzle creators because it can fill spots where a lot of vowels are needed. That’s the only place where I ever heard the word. One of the definitions is a highly spiced stew originating in Spain and Portugal and made from pieces of beef, mutton, venison, poultry, bacon, pumpkins, cabbage, turnips, onions, spinach, endive, marigolds, and various herbs. The other definition of olio is “a miscellaneous collection of things,” and that’s the meaning I am using here because of the disparate comments and updates I will be including in today’s blog.

Last night, after the “Nite at the Museum” featuring a mystery I wrote, the woman in charge called me all excited because the mystery worked, they had a great turnout, they made money, and people had fun. I think people around here enjoy this sort of mystery where the characters don’t have to memorize anything — they just wing it — and the “audience” can participate or not as they listen to the entertainment, have a bite to eat, and wander around looking for clues. The mystery I wrote for a dinner put on by a guild I belong to didn’t work because no one wanted to participate, some of characters didn’t want to circulate but instead huddled together and mumbled their lines, and very few people knew what was going on. If that guild wants a non-participatory mystery, I will suggest they buy one. But that’s not until next year, and who knows what will happen between now and then.

My grass is still green. It’s turning brown on the edges of some of the sod pieces, but I pay particular attention to those areas to make sure they get plenty of water as well as to make sure water seeps beneath the sod to keep the ground wet in the hope that the roots will seat themselves more thoroughly by winter.

I received email notices that my bulb orders are on their way. I panicked when I saw what I’d ordered — three hundred bulbs? Really? I can only hope my knees hold up! Luckily, the weather will cooperate. Although the week after I get the bulbs will be getting a bit below freezing, the high temperatures will be in the fifties and sixties, so I should be able to take my time with the planting.

And speaking of knees — I chatted with a neighbor for a few minutes this morning about his plans to turn a bus into an RV. I asked if he was going to outfit the vehicle with solar panels, and he said yes since he plans to camp off the grid. Too many places with electrical hookups charge a bundle for the night, and he doesn’t want to pay it. We talked about being able to camp on BLM lands, and I mentioned my defunct plans to go on a year-long camping trip, and he said that I was too old now and my knees are going bad. His comments took me aback, but he’s right. I couldn’t do that sort of trip anymore, and in fact, it’s why I moved here and spent my trip money fixing up the place.

I could do shorter trips, if I wanted and could get the money together, but I have responsibilities now. Grass itself is a huge responsibility! And then there is the house and all the rest of it.

I also made plans for Thanksgiving. A widow friend, like me, feels out of place having dinner with other people’s families, and though we both are pleased to be invited, it does turn what should be a celebration into a reminder of what our lives have come down to. So we’re going to celebrate together. I doubt either of us is up to dealing with a turkey, but we’ll figure something out.

Meantime, happy week before Halloween!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Murder at the Museum Tonight

On the front page of the local paper, there is an article about the murder that is taking place tonight at the museum, and my name was listed as the writer of the mystery. There haven’t been too many times in my life when I’ve been mentioned in a newspaper article so that was nice. Of course, if the article was about my winning the Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer Prize or something like that, it would have been much nicer. Or maybe not. Would I really like that sort of fame? Or any kind of fame? Luckily, this mention won’t change my life at all.

Being the writer of the mystery rather than an actor means I don’t have to attend the event, which is a good thing. I didn’t feel well last night and wasn’t doing much better when I woke up, so I slept most of the day. To be honest, not feeling well shocked me more than pained me because except for an occasional allergy flair up, I haven’t been sick at all since this whole Bob thing started. I haven’t been around people any more than I have the past eighteen months, so who knows where I got the stomach cramps and nausea. Maybe something I ate.

I was pleased with the mystery I wrote. I was even thrilled that I managed to come up with a few clues. A poster proved that a particular character was performing in another town on the day the sacred artifact was hidden in the hotel. A train stub proved that one suspect had come to town early enough that he could have checked into the room with hidden object if he had wanted to. A diary entry proved that two suspects had never been in that town before. A fingerprint proved nothing since it was a from a chambermaid who had an excuse for being in the room. And a guest register proved that the one person who had said she’d never been to the hotel had actually been a guest at the right time.

You can find the mystery here: Wow! What a Story!
And the characters here: A Murder of Crows

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Gardening is Like Writing

I’ve heard it said that there are two kinds of writers, plotters and pantsters. Plotters outline, so before they sit down to write, they know exactly what they are going to say. Pantsters write by the seat of their pants, so when they sit down to write, they never know what they are going to say.

Me? I’m neither. I start with an idea, then add another idea, and keep adding ideas until I know where I am going to begin and where I am going to end. The middle part is a matter of finding ways to connect all my disparate ideas, so by the time the book is written, the story seems inevitable, as if had been written by a plotter.

As it turns out, I garden the same way. I started with a few lilac suckers from a neighbor’s lilac bush. At the time, I just planted them more or less at random because there was no order to the yard. The fence that was here at the beginning of my tenure enclosed only a small part of the back yard, which to me was a selling point because I didn’t want a huge yard to take care of. Between the fence and the alley was a carport, and next to the carport was a decrepit garage.

I had no plans for anything back then except to shore up the garage, but eventually a sibling talked me into fencing the property, which turned out to be a great idea, even though I ended up with a huge yard. The fence adds a modicum of safety, from marauding dogs if nothing else, and it defines the property. Eventually, old garage and carport were removed and a new garage built.

And during all these projects, I added a few more bushes. Then other plants. Then the pathways. Then the grass. Now I am filling in the gaps in the landscaping, and suddenly, the yard looks inevitable, as if it had been gardened by a plotter.

The truth is, I did everything wrong. The hardscaping is supposed to be done first before the first greenery is planted, but in my case, the hardscaping grew along with landscaping. And I planted by trial and error, which is a gardening faux pax, even though that’s how I do everything. (I’ve heard there are two kinds of geniuses — the early bloomers who are born super intelligent, and the late bloomers who learn a sort of genius through trial and error. I still have a long way to go to reach genius status, but through trial and error, I might get there someday.)

I suppose with gardening, like writing, rules don’t matter as long as what you do works and you end up with cohesive plot, whether a novel plot or a garden plot.

I will be interested to see what it all looks like next spring, though as long as nothing major occurs to destroy the grass and plants, it should be beautiful.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Peace and Lies

It turns out I am not the only innocent writer being blackened by lies of being a spammer. A friend, the woman who started the Blog4Peace movement, had her site removed by Blogspot for being spam. She’s fighting it, of course, and I hope she has more luck with Google than I did with Facebook. After almost two years of protesting and letter writing, FB still claims my blog is spam. Luckily, all they can do is prevent me from posting my blog link on their site, a ban I get around by copying the link to another blog, and then posting that blog link on FB. I wouldn’t even do that but several people like to see the link in their feeds, and besides, some friends I only “see” on FB.

My peace blogging friend, on the other hand, had to create a whole new site, then replace the defunct URL with the new URL on all fifteen years worth of postings. Ouch.

I had to do that when my original publisher changed websites. Took me months to replace all the URLs on my various sites as well as individual blog posts. (His IT person lied and said they couldn’t do a redirect, but she was just too lazy to do it.) When he did the same thing a few years later, I  gave up and did what every other author does — used the URL for my books on Amazon. At least that URL never changes.

As I have learned, the internet gives and the internet takes away. I did as my friend asked and edited my post about blogging for peace to reflect her new site. I am also posting the information here, so if you want to join us in blogging for peace on November 4, all you have to do is:

  1. Choose a graphic from the peace globe gallery http://peaceglobegallery.blogspot.com/p/get-your-own-peace-globe.htmlor from the photos on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BlogBlastForPeace#!/BlogBlastForPeace/app_153284594738391 Right click and Save. Decorate it and sign it, or leave as is.
  2. Send the finished globe to blog4peace@yahoo.com
  3. Post it anywhere online November 4 and title your post Dona Nobis Pacem (Latin for Grant us Peace)

Sounds cool, doesn’t it? See you on November 4!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Malls Near and Far

A couple of friends are currently living in Bangkok. She’s Thai by birth, and he’s from various places in the USA, and somehow they ended up here in this town, where I met them. Now that she has end-stage cancer, she wanted to go home where she was most comfortable, so I haven’t seen them in months. I do hear from them periodically, however, partly because I am looking after their house and partly so he can touch base with his home country. At least that’s my theory.

She’s mostly housebound now, which works okay over there, since they have restaurants and food carts spread throughout the city, rather than clustered in specific areas as in this country. Even better, all those food outlets deliver.

What really caught my attention in the last email they sent were the photos of a mall they visited — a real treat for them since she hasn’t been able to get out except to doctors and hospitals.

The mall they went to is huge. Make that HUGE. The 26th largest mall in the world. 300+ stores. Parking for 5,000 vehicles. There are more people working in that mall than live in this entire town. And when you add in visitors, there are probably more people in that place on a given day than in the entire southeastern quadrant of Colorado.

When I stayed with my father, there was a mall I visited occasionally, and that only had 114 stores. Combine that with the mall closest to where Jeff and I lived in western Colorado, which had only 100 stores, and you’d still come up short.

I can no longer conceive of so many stores in one place. In this town, I’d bet there are only a couple of dozen stores all told, and that includes thrift stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, and pot shops.

The last time I was in a real mall was many years ago when I lived in Denver — Cinderella City. It was something special back then, the first mall west of the Mississippi and supposedly the biggest mall under one roof. With 250 stores, it still falls short of the mall in Bangkok. It’s gone now — it seems as if it made history again at its end because it was one of the first malls to go obsolete.

(I’d forgotten, but I once had a store in Cinderella City, not on the main floor, but in the “Alley” where there were a bunch of boutiques. A friend and I sold clothes we designed as well as various hand-crafted gifts. My main claim to fame was a macramé pinafore with a halter-style top that I made, envisioning it as something to slip on over other clothes to dress them up, but a stripper bought it to use in her act. How did I forget that? Maybe because even though it makes a great story, it was merely a blip in my life.)

I’m sure there are many malls within a couple of hours from here in the major cities along the front range, but I have no real desire to visit any of them. I don’t particularly like to window shop and I certainly don’t need — or want — to buy anything. (I look at the images of all those container ships off the coast of the USA waiting to be unloaded, and I wonder what they could possibly contain that people want in such quantities. Almost anything I need is in this country already. And if it’s not, I probably could do without it.)

Still, it’s interesting to think of such places and imagine a different world from the one in which I live.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times

Carrying a Big Stick

A city council member told me that they finally got a leash law finalized, with hefty fines laid out for people who let their dogs run loose, and it’s about time. Actually, it’s way past time, considering all the problems with dogs around here.

A lot of people turn their dogs loose at night to forage for themselves, which seems bizarre to me. If you want dogs, you take care of them. What’s worse is the damage these dogs can do. A woman who lived not too far from me was mauled by a pit bull, and nothing happened to the owner of the dog, but the woman’s husband was arrested for shooting the dog to save his wife’s life.

One woman took care of her dog, but still let it run loose. She told me, “If I were a dog, I’d rather be able to run free even if I get hit by a car.” Well, that dog did get hit by a car. So did her next dog. And apparently, the third dog (the third since I’ve been here) was also hit by a car because I met the guy who ran it down. He simply couldn’t stop in time. (When he told me he was the one who ran down the dog, I asked if he’d swerved, and he said he didn’t have time. Which is good. I learned early in my driving career that you never swerve to avoid a cat or a dog or a small animal. One of my teachers did so, and because the road was icy, she lost control of the car. She was maimed, and her passenger was killed.)

Some people around here chain their dogs outside because they don’t have a fence, and though one man told me the chain was perfectly safe, I found that same man wandering around the neighborhood one day looking for the dog’s collar and chain, because the dog had broken free. Luckily, chaining dogs will be illegal.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve only had one bad incident where a dog tried to bite the back of my knee. Generally, when I am out walking, I go along the streets where there aren’t any dog problems. Hopefully, this new leash law will help, though the truth is, leash laws don’t necessarily help prevent injuries and intimidation by dogs running loose — I was bitten on a hiking trail once that did require dogs to be leashed. The dog owner blamed me for the attack because she said hers was such a friendly dog, and had never done anything like that before. Apparently, she had it in her head that the trail was for dog walkers only despite signs that clearly marked it as a hiking trail, and clearly stated that dogs must be leashed.

Still, a law allows some sort of recourse, so that in the case of the woman mauled by the pit bulls, the dog owner might be arrested and not the husband.

As for me, I’ll still be careful, and I’ll still carry a big stick — a walking stick. And maybe I’ll invest in a suit of armor.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Global Catastrophe

I recently came across another of those ubiquitous articles about what we can do to stop climate catastrophe. Those articles always amuse me because some of their suggestions are the same sort of things Americans were told to do in the depression, in the world wars, in the early days of the population explosion. In fact, they are the very things I have been doing my whole life, such as reducing food waste (what food waste? I have no food waste) and reducing water usage.

Other things, though, are about spending money. Lots of money. The article stressed weather-proofing one’s house, which is a good idea because it reduces energy bills. It also said to invest in energy-efficient appliances, but if you keep your use of appliances to a minimum, there’s no need to buy new appliances especially since the old ones are going to clog landfills. Same with vehicles. There’s no need to invest in an energy-efficient or expensive electric vehicle if you simply drive less. (In the past fifty years, I’ve driven fewer than 200,000 miles. Still way too much, but almost nothing compared to most people.) They conveniently forget to mention that the batteries on electric cars wear out and that they pose a hazard when they are dumped.

One thing they never, ever say anymore is to have fewer children. Back when I was child-bearing age, not having children was supposed to be good for the world and the environment to reduce the toll of overpopulation, a philosophy I adhered to. Unfortunately, most of those believers suddenly changed their minds when their biological clocks started ticking, so there was a bit of baby boom when those women who had put off having kids ended up having kids at the same time as the younger generation.

I know a woman my age who has 65 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. If she had not had any children, there would be 65 fewer people on the earth to contribute to any sort of global catastrophe. There would also be 65 fewer people to buy all those energy efficient appliances and electric vehicles, which is probably why the whole zero population growth movement died decades ago.

I suppose I should be less amused by the whole global warming thing, and I might be if it weren’t for the fact that the same panic mode has been touted my whole life while the subject of that panic has changed. And if there weren’t so much emphasis on spending money and making rich people richer. 

In thinking about all this, I considered writing a book about some catastrophe outside of our control that was about to descend on us, such as sun emissions or comets or aliens or whatever, and the whole climate change scenario was to keep us peons focused on our guilt while the power brokers raked in the cash until the catastrophe came so near that they couldn’t hide it any more.

And then it dawned on me. I already wrote that book — Light Bringer. In the novel, the problems Earth is facing has to do with a tenth planet in our solar system, one with such a huge elliptical orbit that it returns to affect Earth every 3,600 years, as was explained in this brief excerpt:

Philip made a harsh sound that might have been laughter. “In the fifties and sixties, stories of alien encounters were about saving the earth from nuclear weapons. In the seventies, eighties, and nineties, they were about saving the earth from global warming. Today they’re about creating a one world government, warning us that if we don’t have a unified global agenda, we don’t get to join the galactic federation.”

“Those are nothing more than systems of myth that each generation accepts,” Teodora said. “What we are dealing with here is a real problem. There is a tenth planet in our solar system, and it is close enough that it is already having adverse affects on the earth. Besides the growing severity of all types of storms, during the twentieth century there has been an escalating number of major earthquakes of unexplained origin. The global warming you mentioned is also being caused by the nearing planet, and during the coming years things are going to get worse.”

It could be true. Who knows.