“1918?!”

Dad is sitting in the kitchen, finishing breakfast, when I arrive. I ask him if he’d like to go for a drive or if he’d like to stay home and rest, and he says, “Drive.” Dietrick and Amanda wheel him out to the car and help him get into the passenger seat. We buckle up and begin our adventure.
Dad: I’m so glad to be getting out!
Karen: I’m glad we’re going on another drive, too!
Dad: We’re heading west now, I think.
Karen: Yup!
Dad: And now we’re going under I-5.
Karen: Yup.
Dad: There’s the top of Baker! (He keeps his eyes on Mount Baker until it disappears behind the hills.)
Karen: Let’s go see if we can find Mount Baker again. (I plot a route in my head that will give Dad another view of Baker. On our route I pass a field of trumpeter swans. I, of course, have to pull over and get some photos. Dad is very patient with me while I snap pictures. And then I get back in the car and head for Thomas Rd. I plan to stay on Thomas from one end of it to the other – Dad should have a pretty good view of Baker from most of Thomas Road. I can see Dad scanning the horizon, looking. And then Baker appears and I point to it.)
Dad: (Nodding.) Yeah. Mount Baker. (Dad keeps his eye on the mountain – I know he must have been thirsting for the sight of a volcano the last couple weeks while he’s been house-bound and the weather has been cloudy.)

Sisters Espresso is closed temporarily while old gas tanks are removed from under the parking lot, so I head for another espresso stand I know is on our route. Dad has earned a treat, for sure. I pull into Diedrich Espresso and pull up to the window. I ask the barista, Jenna, if they have vanilla shakes there, and she says they do! While she’s making Dad’s shake I tell her my dad is 101 years old. Her mouth, literally, drops open. She says she would have guessed he was maybe 70, at the most. (Which makes me wonder how old she thinks I am – but, to my credit, I let that one slide.  )
Karen to Dad: You’re 101. She thinks you look 70.
Dad: (Smiling.) Seventy-ONE.
Jenna to me: What year was he born?
Karen: 1918.
Jenna: 1918?!
Karen: Yeah. He was born before women had the right to vote.
Jenna: (Grinning.) Wow! He’s seen a lot of presidents! This is the first person I’ve ever met who was over 100! How does he stay so fit?
Karen: He’s a mountain climber. Actually, he’s kind of famous. You can find him in wikipedia. (I always love throwing that out there.  )
Jenna: What’s his name?
Karen: Molenaar (I spell it out for her) and his first name is Dee.
Jenna: I’ll look him up!
(Jenna hands me Dad’s shake and my change – I leave her a tip – and I hand Dad his shake.)
Dad: Thank you! Are you going to get one, too?
Karen: No, I’m fine.

I drive Dad back to his home.
Dad: I recognize this place.
Karen: Yup. (I go in to get help to get Dad out of the car and into the wheelchair. Megan volunteers – bless her heart! – and comes out to the car. When Dad sees her coming, he waves through the window at her. She starts laughing…)
Megan to Dad: Hello!
(Amanda comes out and joins us and she and Megan help Dad out of the car and into the wheelchair.)
Karen: (I hand Dad his milk shake) Thank you for the drive today, Daddy. I love you.
Dad: I love you!

(Here are some photos of trumpeter swans I took today – some while I was with Dad, and some while I was on my own.)

Impeachment Inquiry: How to Defend a Guilty Client

I feel like I’m in a mini law school course here. Here’s what I’ve learned: If you know your client is guilty –
1) Try to besmirch the reputations of the witnesses to the crime. This includes ridiculing a military man for wearing his uniform to the court.
2) Try to make it look like the witnesses don’t agree on what they witnessed – even though they both describe witnessing the same things – by pointing out that one witness used the word “demand” in his description, while the other witness did not.
3) Try to pull the focus off the actual crime. Use “red herrings.” This includes focusing on one word (like, for instance, “bribery”) and noting that none of the witnesses have used this one word in describing what they saw.
4) Make it look like a personal attack. Say the only reason this inquiry is taking place is because the people asking questions don’t like your client. (Ignore the fact that your client was caught committing the offense.)
5) Try to ridicule the whole process. Call it a circus. Call it a farce. Belittle the importance of the process and infer it is a waste of everyone’s time.
6) Talk about the millions of people who voted for your client. Infer that popularity is more important than truth. (Caveat: Do not talk about the millions of people who do not support your client. Do not talk about election interference by Russia that may have won the election for your client.)
7) Spin it. If your client is accused, for instance, of trying to get a foreign government to find dirt on his political rival in exchange for weapons paid for by tax-payer dollars – spin it so that your client looks honorable – like he was only trying to get rid of corruption. Never mind that your client showed no interest in learning about the corruption in this foreign government, or that the foreign government had already been cleared by United States intelligence. (“The Pentagon in May officially certified that it had seen enough anti-corruption progress to justify releasing the congressionally authorized aid, according to documents provided to The Associated Press.” Military Times, 9/29/19.)

Feel free to add on anything YOU have learned from the impeachment inquiry about defending a guilty client. 

Message to Rep. Nunes

Dear Rep Nunes:

You have referred to the impeachment inquiry as a “circus” and a “farce.” You have inferred that the inquiry is a waste of time. I do not agree with your characterization.

I, for one, am very appreciative of the news coverage of the impeachment inquiry. As an American citizen – someone who considers it my duty to be informed and knowledgeable about the actions of the people elected to serve us – I am grateful for the transparency this inquiry brings us.

I’m glad I live in a country where no one is above the law. I’m grateful to live in a country where all of us have the freedom to question our political leaders.

The job of our elected officials is to serve their constituents and uphold our Constitution. It is not the job of elected officials to serve the president. And during an impeachment inquiry it is not the job of our elected officials to serve as defense lawyers for the president – it is their job to learn the truth about the president’s actions.

Karen Molenaar Terrell

Season of Shameless Plugs

It’s that magical marvelous magnificent season of giving – the season of shameless plugs.

So here’s what I’ve got…

My most recent book is Are You Taking Me Home Now? Adventures with Dad. Those of you who have enjoyed reading the stories of my drives with Dad will probably recognize some of the stories in this book. It has nine reviews now – all five stars!

I have two books of poems out there – A Poem Lives on My Windowsill and The Brush of Angel Wings. Here’s a poem from The Brush of Angel Wings:

Two Earthworms

I came upon two earthworms on the sidewalk today –
their noses suspended in the air, frozen by the heat
of the sun – dried out and stiff
and I reached down and plucked up the first
and carried him to the dirt.
I dug a little hole for him and covered him
with earth – a grave to bring him back to life.
Gently I used my fingers as tweezers and pulled
the second worm from the sidewalk
and lifted him to the moist soil, laid him down,
and covered him with a wet leaf.
Fare thee well, my new friends –
May you revive and spend the rest of your days
happily leaving a trail of rich earth in your wake

I am also the author of The Madcap Christian Scientist series. The first book in the series, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist, has 32 reviews and 4.7 stars! Here’s the beginning:
:
Years ago an old boyfriend said to me, “I can’t see that Christian Science has made you any better than anyone else.”

“I know!” I said, nodding my head in complete and happy agreement, “But can you imagine what I’d be like without it?!”

He raised his eyebrows and laughed. What could he say? He was looking at a self-centered, moralistic, stubborn idealist who saw everything in terms of black and white. But I could have been worse. I believe without Christian Science I would have been worse.

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I am not the best example of a Christian Scientist. I’m not as disciplined as I could be. I have fears and worries and doubts. I’m a little neurotic. I am the Lucy Ricardo of Christian Scientists…

***
The second book in the series is The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book. Here’s an excerpt:

At the age of 51 I went insane. I did not like it so much. But I learned a lot from it…

If somebody had tried to talk to me about mental illness before I’d had this experience, I wouldn’t have had a clue what they were going on about. Mental illness was something that happened to “other” people. Mental illness was not something a madcap Christian Scientist would ever know anything about, right?

Yeesh.
***
The third book in the series is The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New. Here’s an excerpt from that one:

Two years ago I would never have been able to guess where I’d be today, what I’d be doing, and what new people I would be calling my friends and colleagues. Two years ago my youngest son was close to graduating from high school, my 20-year career as a public school teacher was winding down, and I was looking for a new job and a new purpose to fill my days. Two years ago I was starting over.

It was scary. It was exhilarating. It was absolutely awesome!
***
To find any of these books you can go to my Amazon Author Page.

 

These Cosmic Connections

Something really amazing happened this morning. And just when I really needed it, too.

I think I need to back up for a moment to 2011. Eight years ago I was in a transition between one job and the next. It was a scary, exhilarating, audacious, crazy wonderful time for me – rich with possibilities. I was unfettered and open to whatever new opportunities came my way – ready to create a whole ‘nother career for myself. For the first time I went to a counselor – and she helped me discover for myself what it was I needed to do to bring sanity to my life – what I needed to discard, and what I needed to nurture. My financial advisor (of all people!) suggested I meet a local woman named Laura Lavigne – the originator of the Happiness Sprinkling Project – and Laura showed me how to make a vision board for myself. Creativity moved up to the front of my life – photography and writing and music.  The insane stuff – nonsensical edicts (stuff like that scene from Office Space), schedules and bureaucracy, fear and anxiety – got tossed.

And, once I opened my thought to all the infinite possibilities, cool things started happening: I was offered a small salary to work as my church’s Reading Room librarian; I got a contract to proofread and write for an educational publishing company; I made note cards of my photos and started selling them at a little coffee shop; my book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist, was bringing in a small amount in royalties every month. I wasn’t making a LOT of income at first – it was more of a symbolic income, really – but it was enough to give me hope that there was something waiting for me beyond the career I’d left behind. And soon I was offered another job, teaching at an alternative high school, that brought my life purpose and great joy for the next seven years – until I retired last June.

Which brings us to today and the amazing thing that happened this morning.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning and went downstairs to feed the cats and check out the news online. The news was disheartening. Greed. Corruption. Dishonesty. Crises. And I felt myself getting discouraged and going to that dark place – asking myself what in the heck we’re doing here, and what’s the purpose of it all, and etc.

Still feeling discouraged, I went to my Facebook notifications and found there was a message waiting for me on my Author and Photographer page from a woman named Floriane. Floriane wrote: “Hi! Just wanted to reach out to you because I purchased a picture of yours in 2011 while stopping on a Greyhoud bus from Vancouver to Seattle. I love it to this day and wanted to say thank you.”

Whoah. I tried to figure out where Floriane might have found one of my photos to purchase, and asked her for more details. She sent me a picture of the photo she purchased and told me she remembered buying it at a coffee shop while she was traveling around on her own for two weeks – moving between Vancouver and Seattle and Portland – before starting an exchange program in Texas. She said the photo is now in Normandie and will soon be in Paris. Like. France. Yes. My little photo note card of Bellingham Bay will soon be in Paris, France.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this was one of the cards I sold at the coffee shop during the months I was transitioning from one career to the next. I’d almost completely forgotten about those note cards and that little coffee shop. But look what that card did for me! It connected me to a woman who lives across the Atlantic, on another continent, 5,000 miles away! I never could have seen THAT one coming.

Cosmic.

What in the heck are we doing here? We’re sharing joy and beauty with each other, that’s what we’re doing. And what’s the purpose of it all? To connect and discover each other, and bring each other hope and love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Endorsed by Equal Rights Washington

I just discovered that I was endorsed by Equal Rights Washington for the election this week. I didn’t win the election, but this recognition by ERW is bigger for me than winning or losing the race for school board. Finding my name on ERW’s list of endorsements was one of the highlights of my week.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“ERW’s non-partisan endorsement committee uses a specific set of carefully developed criteria in making our endorsements. We back candidates who have a track record of support for LGBTQ equality in a number of areas, and who advocate on behalf of the issues we support, such as trans justice, gender and racial equity, anti-bullying and banning conversion therapy for minors.”

Taking Down the Signs

“Karen…as you deal with the results of the election, please know that you ran an ethical, honest, community-driven, and student-focused race. What a fine woman you are. I am grateful my sons had you for a teacher…and I am glad we are friends. You are an incredible example of what humankind can be.”
–  Kathy

Okay – THAT brought me tears.

Rich won. I could not have run for school board with a nicer person. I guess if there’s one emotion I’m feeling right now it’s relief. I’m so glad it’s over! And I’m so glad I put my name in and had this adventure. I’ve met so many wonderful people on this journey. I feel huge gratitude for the support I’ve felt from my community the last six months. I am truly blessed.

I spent most of the day taking down campaign signs. It was a cleansing; a closure. Almost every sign had some memory associated with it that brought me a smile – new friends met; old friends who stepped forward and asked if they could plant signs in their yards; memories of strangers waving and smiling at me as I hammered stakes into the ground. I found one or two signs that I hadn’t even known were out there! That made me grin. 🙂

Today I’ve put two questions to myself –

If I had to do it over, would I still put my name in the race? Yes. I needed to run for this office. I wouldn’t have met all the amazing people I’ve met if I hadn’t done this. If I hadn’t run I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to move outside my comfort zone and challenge and stretch myself. I have this sense that there are other reasons I needed to run, too, that I haven’t even realized, yet.

Do I wish I’d won? No. I think I was meant to go down another path. I think there’s something else I’m supposed to do – something that’s tied in with running for this office, but not necessarily with winning. I’m not feeling any kind of disappointment or sadness at all in the election results.

“I love you Karen. Every person you encountered along this journey is a little better because they got a glimpse of you.”
– Linda

Yeah. THAT one made me teary, too.

campaign sign