Shotgun Trauma: Whodunit?


Receiving a Trauma patient...back in the day.
It was 1991-ish at around 5:30 am when the 'Bat Phone' rang. The phone itself was red with teensy photographs of a gun and knife taped to the handset and it was our hotline to Biotel - a centralized Emergency Dispatch center. in Dallas, Texas. " male, multiple gunshot wounds, Code 1, Priority 4, five minutes out”, cautioned dispatch. This was bad.

A five-minute ‘heads up’ was a blessing.

Our patient arrived alive. Oxygen, fluid resuscitation, blood and diagnostics were all being done simultaneously. He was shot with was not just a simple handgun but, a shotgun. A shotgun typically uses a ‘shell’ and when fired, shoots a number of pellets which is why his abdominal x-rays looked like stars in the night sky - almost too many pellets to count from the multiple shots. His injuries were devastating and he was drifting in and out of consciousness. The ER doc made it clear to me that he would not survive.

Suddenly it seemed as though everyone lost interest in this case except for me and a cop who was left sitting in the corner of the room, making notes. He told me that when our victim left for work that morning, someone was waiting for him, across the street, with a shotgun.

My patient would most likely die soon. I maintained his blood pressure (and consciousness) with blood transfusions and oxygen, while waiting for the surgeons arrival. This was before we had designated Trauma Response Teams, Trauma Centers, Trauma Case Managers and the like. This was how it was done. Hard to believe.

I didn’t know how much longer my patient would remain conscious, so it was critical to me that family be given the opportunity to be with him. I opened the door to 'The Family Room' where it was filled with distraught family members and friends. The doctor had explained the gravity of the situation and they were clearly heartbroken. His parents. siblings and friends came forward to be at his bedside. Recalling the tearful, anguished sobs, followed by prayers of strength and validations of love, it was a powerful moment and told me how much this man meant to everyone. The only person who had not stepped forward was his wife. She, still in her nightgown, wearing pink sponge curlers in her hair and staring blankly overwhelmed by grief.  I asked everyone to leave his room in order to provide the couple privacy. 

She stood beside him with tears streaming down her face. She didn’t speak a word and barely moved. He told her that he loved her. She did not respond. After a few minutes I brought her back out to the waiting room where she was comforted by her friends and family.

My patient died that morning. He was 28.

A few weeks later, while out shopping, I saw a familiar face in the store but just couldn’t place him. So, I approached him and said…”You look so familiar, do we know each other?” He paused for a moment and then said, “You’re the nurse.” I nodded. He said, “I’m the cop.” The cop from my patient's trauma room.  I asked, “So did ya'll find out who did it?”

I was totally unprepared for his response,

“His wife", he said.

A promise of  $500.00 to kill her husband - to be paid when she collected from his Life Insurance policy.

It just affirms the fact that you can't judge someone in our business.

#TheIsolationJournals - Write about when you were dead wrong about somebody

The Seven Dwarfs of Menopause


Disney's Seven Dwarfs in Snow White
A few years ago, Oprah had Suzanne Somers on as her guest, promoting her latest book, "The Sexy Years". This was how I learned of Suzanne's take on menopause. She alluded to what she called, "The Seven Dwarfs of Menopause. Itchy, Bitchy, Sleepy, Bloated, Sweaty, Forgetful and Psycho". And I recall thinking that her remedy to banish the little fellas by taking 40 pills in the morning, 20 pills in the evening, intravaginal estradiol and applications of topical bioidentical estrogen and progesterone indicated that an 8th dwarf "Squirrelly", had joined the group.

Comforted in the thought that I was one of those fortunate women who experience little (if any) discomfort associated with the hormonal shifts of menopause...BAM! With little advance warning,  I was as surprised as the next guy when I suddenly became an itchy, bloated, sweaty, bitchy, forgetful psycho.

The good news: The dwarfs would exit within minutes of their arrival.
The bad news: I was left to sheepishly explain just why the dish towel folded over the oven handle incited WW III at the Spotswood's.

A word of warning: It was not in anyone's best interest to discuss my displeasure of trivial matters during a hormone surge. I'm just saying.


Sorry for shouting. It wasn't me. It was "Bitchy and Psycho".

So, as 'Mr. Something' scrambled to turn on a fan, provide me with a glass of ice water and a cold pack, I can't help but reflect on his wistful reminisces of what he refers to as, "the good ole days of PMS".
#TheIsolationJournals - Choose a line from a book to inspire

The Train


Recently, I've been thinking of the words of a friend who is an ER Nurse, in the frontline during this COVID19 Pandemic...

"I look into the eyes of my coworkers and wonder which of us will lose our lives in this battle. It will happen. We all know it will happen and yet we continue to show up...shift after shift...This isn’t political. This isn’t a hoax. This doesn’t discriminate." - Kimberly Wainwright-Morrison. 

These words stirred my soul. I reflected on all of the friends and colleagues I had surrounded myself  throughout my career in healthcare and paused to think of who will we lose. 

In times like these, I rely on the wisdom of my husband who introduced me to the concept of The Train... "My life is a lot like a train trip and I've been lucky enough to get the window seat in a comfortable car. Undoubtedly, there will be a few bumps and curves along the way, but the train will stop at destinations that are colorful, fun and terrific as well as other destinations that are grey and difficult to navigate. But, neither lasts and I will eventually re-board and continue on. One day, I will reach my final destination and know that by and large, life has been a great ride in a comfortable window seat." 
His view comforts and speaks to me. I add another aspect to the train-ride of life.
It concerns family and friendship...

We will meet fellow passengers that board the train.

We will laugh and talk, eat and drink together.

We will comfort and support one another during arduous journeys and celebrate our successful trips together.

We will love each other.

Some of us have been travel-buddies since the beginning of life, some of us have traveled together for years, some we would prefer not to travel with, some have to depart for different destinations and sadly, some will reach their final stop.

We will miss them.

But, never-the-less, our train trip continues until we reach our final destination.

#TheIsolationJournals - Close Your Eyes...What Do You See?

The Shoe


Fresh out of ER orientation and really wanting to prove myself to be a competent nurse. An unconscious petite young woman was brought in by DFD* ambulance.

She had a high fever and had experienced a seizure PTA*. She stood about 5 feet tall and may have weighed 100 lbs. As a team, we stabilized her condition and were preparing to send her to the ICU when a resident announced that he had to perform a spinal tap first.

Well hell.

The spirit of the ER was to “Treat & Street” meaning…“Stabilize them and get them out of the ER”. Our rationale was (since you never know what will come through the ER doors at any time) a bed must be available for the care of the next patient. It made sense to me and was a priority of the ER nurse to facilitate transfer to another area of the hospital as quickly as possible.

So, I (reluctantly) set up an LP* Tray for the resident and left him and three other residents to their own devices while I took care of other patients – this was my first mistake. About a half hour later, I couldn’t help but notice that they hadn’t finished the LP yet – the procedure usually just takes a few minutes. So, I poked my head in the door and saw that all four of them were still inside. “What’s up?” I asked. The senior resident replied, “Dr Surly (a pseudonym) is coming down do it.”  Another delay.

On a good day, Dr Surly, a tall, imposing doc was grumpy. Today, he was grumpier. Being summoned to ‘the pit’ because no one on his service was successful in performing a simple L.P. put him in ‘a mood’ to be sure. He walked into my patient’s room, and without saying a word, rolled up his sleeves and began the procedure. The tension in the room was palpable. Everyone, including myself remained in the room, silent.

I took this opportunity to quietly create a written inventory of my patient’s belongings - a hospital requirement prior to transfer – and (as I was told) one of the signs of a good ER nurse. I found her bag and began my list…
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 towel
  • 1 bottle of unmarked blue pills - “I should mention this later – after the tap is done”
  • 1 bottle of unmarked white pills - “Wow. This is critical information, but it can wait until after he’s finished” thinking to myself. 
Despite 4 Residents, 1 Staff Doc, myself and a sick lady, the only sound heard in the room was the ticking of the clock. Back to my list...
  • 1 set of keys
It was then I made my second mistake.

Reaching into my patient’s bag, I removed a HUGE tennis shoe. It must have been a size 13. Unable to stifle myself, I held the shoe high in the air and blurted out, “Holy Cow! Would you look at the size of her feet!” With that exclamation, everyone looked at our petite patient's feet. Without missing a beat, Dr Surly (with the spinal needle still in the patient’s back) said, “May I ask just what you are doing in my gym bag?”

One by one, the residents filed out of the room. We could hear them howling with laughter in the hallway. Then, Dr Surly’s eyes met mine - I burst out laughing, tears streaming down from my eyes. Dr Surly, ever the professional - successfully completed the LP. All the while, his shoulders quivering and biting his lip. As he was leaving, I handed his bag back to him and without a word, he walked out of the room.

I wonder if he got a kick out of finding the completed "Patient Valuables Record" I had left inside.

#TheIsolationJournals - Glorious Awkwardness

*DFD - Dallas Fire Dept
*PTA - Prior to arrival
*LP - Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap)




It's really quiet here.

Wait. What was that?

A sigh? A yawn?

It really doesn't matter. I suppose I could play a little music or turn on the television, but the silence is somewhat comforting today.

"Home" is the townhouse we bought about four years ago in the 'burbs'. Downsizing was our effort to decrease the carbon footprint and free up some travel-time. Newly retired from firefighting and nursing, we had a bad case of wanderlust. Travelling the world while we were young and healthy enough was a priority. And travel, we did. Asia, Europe, North & South America. Not the cruise-ship type, we enjoyed travelling with a back pack, map, currency calculator and translation app. That was then.

For now, we are at home. "The Villas of Westridge". A small, gated community in McKinney, Texas.

Looking outside, through our living room window, it's an overcast day during the COVID19 pandemic in April. My view of our orchard (plum, peach and pear trees) is temporarily obscured by an elderly dog-walker. He's a regular around here with two little dogs. Strangely, whenever I've said 'hello' - he hasn't responded to me. Maybe he has hearing issues. I call him 'Ove', (from the book, A Man Called Ove) but have since learned his name is Steve. He'll always be 'Ove' to me.

His dogs bark. And then, silence. Again.

Tick. Tick. Tick. It's peaceful here but c'mon. The silence is deafening.

And just like that, without any provocation or discussion, the love of my life, travel-partner and best friend, 'Mr. Something', excitedly hollers out... "CAR!" just to break me up - along with the tranquility of the place we call "home".

#TheIsolationJournals -  A travel journal entry from home. 

2020. The Year of the Nurse. As if...


A glimpse of the camaraderie, professionalism and science of Nursing
My inspiration for this post is not to praise my colleagues, although they deserve praise...
but rather to put the call out there for backup. 

I'm talking to the kind, organized, intelligent and compassionate people out there 
 to be the next generation of Nursing.

I'm talking to you.

So, here I am making masks for my friends who are on the front-lines of care during this COVID19 pandemic. 

Nurses in the ER, ICU and Screening Centers. I think of them. And how cool they are. How smart they are. How 'science-based' they are. I've been retired for a few years now and anticipate that there may be a high probability I will get back into the fray - should it be necessary.

The 'calm before the storm' in Dallas has got my head back into 'Nursing Mode' and my training to never quit and to anticipate worst-case scenarios has been revived.

Hence, the masks

Recently, our current Lieutenant-Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick implied that I would gladly give up my life for the US Economy... but I say- hold up there, Dan - not so fast. 
 I take good care of myself and I still have a little life left in me. 

Believing in science and knowing how expert Nurses, Doctors, Techs, Respiratory Therapists and all those in concert, encompassing a wide variety of healthcare disciplines, I'm confident that this virus will be managed safely and effectively with all hands on deck. 

That includes you, Dan. You are in a position that can help move mountains in this crisis. 
Be a Nurse, Dan. Don't be a Dick.
Anticipate worst-case scenarios and work your ass off to prevent them.

Awright... back to Nurse Recruitment...

Who knew that Nurses were not all about bed-baths and pill passing?

Beginning my Nursing career in Toronto, Canada and I became a 'Dialysis Nurse' at age 19. To say that I was scared shit-less would be an understatement. That year in Dialysis was one of great introspection and self-assessment. Not counted as one of the best Nurses in my unit, I had some growing to do but I realized that what I brought to the Nursing table was a passion for learning, and a profound degree of compassion and love for others.
Just a kid, really.
Nursing provided me an opportunity to travel. I made it to the USA from Canada and found myself  'Jones-ing' on 'Cardiac Medicine'. It was a 'Telemetry Unit' where I got a crash course in Organizational Skills, EKG Interpretation and Cardiac Resuscitation. Loved it!

Being young. I had a restless heart. The ER strangely soothed that restlessness. Hard to explain but there ya go.

Advised to be an ER Nurse by a Doc I had met while working in Cardiac Medicine, I loved it. It was exhausting, and difficult, and life-altering and taught me more than I can ever know about the fragility of life.  

Later in life, I anticipated (Hey, Dan) that the pace of ER Nursing might be a little much on my 50 year old body and decided to learn how to be an ICU Nurse. 

Back in the day, our CT scanner was a 0.5 mile trip each way from the ER. Multiple trips to/from CT included running all the way while pushing a stretcher loaded with a sick patient, monitors, defibrillators, IV pumps etc. Good News... since then, I hear things have improved as most ER's have their own CT Scanner in the department now! Yay you!

Although ICU Nursing was no picnic, it was physically hard work as well but you generally had a chance to get a cup of coffee before you took report from the off-going Nurse.
In the ER - this was not always an option as many times CPR/Traumas/Hemmorhagic Emergencies/Crazy/Stoned/Drunk People (the list goes on) required that you immediately step up.
ICU Nurses, et al
ER vs. ICU:
It seemed to me that in ER you relied on your super-keen observation skills & spidey-sense to anticipate if a patient was going to 'crump'. In the ICU? Everybody looks like they are about to 'crump' to begin with - so you have to rely on the numbers to help you prevent 'crumping'. Numbers? That's where it gets really interesting. ICU Nurses use high tech monitors to identify specific values of pressure, rate, volume etc. simultaneously in real time while administering care to their patients. But that's yet another post. Oh, and I was surprised at how 'thankful' families were in the ICU - the 'emergency' was now over and they had time to process what had happened to their loved one. Gifts of cookies, flowers, pizza abounded ...Sorry ER.

In have an instant 'peer-group': The friendships are real and lasting and many times profound. So many memories of the fun (and not-so-fun) times with my Nurse-friends. I could write another post on Nursing-friendships alone...but you get the idea.

At one point, I gave Nurse Management a whirl - it was not well suited to my personality - but is definitely the way to go for some great Nurses out there - I'm talking to you, Susan Rossow RN, Jody Phillips RN, Jessica Wilson RN, Jane Norris RN & Lillie Crain, RN name just a few. I wish I could name them all but after 42 years... it's a lengthy list.

And I kid you not... I was an 'underachiever' in Nursing.

Nurses that I have been honored to work along-side throughout the years, are now...
  • Infection Control Nurses
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners: Some of their specialties include Emergency, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Trauma, Critical Care, Family Practice, Gerontology
  • CRNA's : Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists 
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists: Critical Care, Pediatrics, Nursing Education
  • Professors of Nursing
  • Case Managers: They assist patients, families, and the Health Care Team with determining future needs of the patient, prevention of 'issues' and identifying potential barriers to their progress.
  • School Nurses
  • SANE Nurses: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners
  • Flight Nurses
  • OR and Recovery Room Nurses
  • Day Surgery Nurses
  • Plastic Surgery Nurses
  • Home Health Nurses
  • Nursing Entrepreneurs
  • Neonatal Nurses
  • Hospice Nurses
  • Palliative Care Nurses
  • Oncology Nurses
     So I'm writing this in anticipation that one day soon, we will need you. I will need you. 
ER Nurses, et al
Granted, Nursing is not for everyone. 

A good attitude about dealing with shit that you really don't want to do is necessary for Nursing. But Nursing as a career choice was the best choice for me and I'm here to say... if you think you might have what it takes... do it. If you already have a degree, it will take you about 2 more years (give or take) but that would be 2 years well spent. At the risk of sounding crass, the pay is good - starting around $65,000 in Texas for a new grad. (depending on your area) with health care benefits for you and your family, flexibility in hours and shifts, tons of specialties, incredible job-security and a lifetime of unbelievable experiences.

Any Questions? I'm here for you. 

And for my Nurse-Colleagues, the Techs, RT's, Docs, Unit Clerks out there... I know this is a scary time for you and your families. Please know that I love you, miss you, pray for your safety and thank you. But I also know that you are all over this and will help see us through this difficult time. 

2020. The Year of the Nurse. As if Flo planned it this way.

The Women's Chorus of Dallas


Photo by Marius Masalar on Unsplash
This is a re-run of a post I wrote last year - I'm re-posting it because we have a concert coming up soon and I would love to see you there!

Thursday, March 5th at 730pm 
The Women's Chorus of Dallas will be singing at
The Moody Performance Hall
with The TWU Women's University Choir and The Dallas ISD Choral Students! 
Don't miss us!

Here's the link for tickets
 "Travelin' Voices - Voices of Women VI"

Let me know if you'll be there and I'll meet you in the lobby after the show!

➤ At the beginning of last year, I decided that it was time for me to sing in a choir.

     Because I love singing.

However, without any singing experience, nor any musical background or education I set the bar a little low and decided to look for (something along the lines of) your basic church choir - no mega church - just a Mom & Pop kind of church. That's what I was looking for. No pressure. Surely, church-people would be a forgiving bunch.

So I started looking around.

It soon became clear to me that church-choirs generally want their singers to be a part of their 'flock', so to speak. Fair enough. But evidently, I needed to give this church-choir thing some serious thought if I would be required to embrace a new religion. Maybe there was a non-secular choir out there?

Google popped up The Women's Chorus of Dallas and I got right on it. Contacted them, attended a rehearsal and info session. I heard the chorus sing "How Can I Keep From Singing" and I was hooked. That being said, I solidly braced myself for humiliation as the next step in becoming a choir member was by auditioning.

FYI: Don't search YouTube "Choir Audition" to prepare for a choir audition. I did. And heard a 9 year-old sing like Aretha Franklin. If it weren't for my husband encouraging me, I never would have auditioned.

The Women's Chorus of Dallas has been around for 30 years and is funded primarily by private donations. If you would can help support us so that we can continue making great music and representing a link to get you there... TWCD

Oh! And you have got to hear us! We don't suck!
 This clip is from Voices of Women Concert last year... 

A few photos of our performances from the past Spring Season...

Mother's Day - Texas Discovery Gardens, Dallas Tx

Carnegie Hall, New York City

Carnegie Hall, NYC

Hugh Jackman, American Airlines Center, Dallas Tx

The Women's Chorus of Dallas. It's been quite a ride!

Don't Look Away: How You Can Help


Recoleta Cemetery - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Photo Credit: Joan Spotswood
I can't bear to re-post 'that' photo.You know the one. A dad and toddler. Dead. Face-down in the murky water's edge of The Rio Grande. A failed attempt to cross the water in hopes of finding peace and prosperity in America.

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". When my friend and colleague, Kory Caughie posted the aforementioned photo, these were the words she chose to caption it with.

And I cried.

I cried for the man and his child, for his wife - as she bore witness to their deaths, I cried for the struggle so many human beings endure to make it to our country. Their beacon of hope. And then, I cried for the country that I had proudly adopted as my own just a few years ago.
Photo Credit: Matt Hudgens-Haney

Kory lives in the Texas border town of El Paso and is founder of El Paso Cares  A non-profit established in November 2018 whose goal is to increase awareness and understanding of human trafficking, exploitative relationships, prostitution and trauma [National Trafficking Hotline 888-373-7889]. Needless to say, she literally has her 'boots on the ground' with first hand knowledge of what's happening in her city. I contacted her this morning as I needed to know what we can do to help. Here is what she said...

1. Annunciation House: "They have operated for years and money fully goes to help the refugees.  They distribute donations to all churches who help with feeding, transporting, etc.  I work with these churches and everyone in this city will tell you that Annunciation House (and Rubin Garcia who runs it) are operating in full integrity and 24/7 to help.  He is the voice of the voiceless here.  He is highly respected by our city council and anyone working in the issue." 

2. Compassion International: "Jimmy Mellado, CEO, said, 'Kory, none of our children are fleeing because they are in safe, healthy, villages...They are one of the highest ranked organizations on how much money goes to the child.'"

"The stories are true, Joan.  They are running from unlivable places. We can’t house everyone here, but they can’t live there right now. We need to help on both ends until a solid solution is in place. Every time I leave the bus station or airport and see a little kiddo walking toward a new safe healthy life with their momma or daddy, I thank God for one more life spared and for their opportunity and hope when their situation was hopeless AND for the people who helped me provide a good safe healthy life for my own kids when life was hard... but never one of life or death! Spread the Word!!!".

So this is my plan - I'm spreading the word and have chosen to donate. Will you join me?


What's So Bad About The NRA?


So, What’s so bad about The NRA?

Personally, I have friends and family who I admire and respect that have been and continue to be members of The NRA. They are responsible gun owners and gun enthusiasts. That being said, in the past few days there has been more mass shootings too close to home and it really seems that these incidents are becoming the new 'normal'...

Santa Fe, Texas -May 18th, 2018 - 8 Students & 2 educators killed - 10 others injured.  The 17 year old shooter had access to his parent's shotgun and handgun. Every 36 hours, a child unintentionally fires a gun and kills or injures himself or someone else. That doesn’t include the number of suicides and homicides that occur when kids have access to unsecured guns.

Ponder, Texas – May 17th, 2018 - A mother of three, shot. Her kids and boyfriend were killed. Her ex husband then killed himself. The judge who handled her divorce case, knew that her ex-husband had tried to commit suicide. She warned the judge that she considered him mentally unstable. Those warnings had gone unheeded.

What can you do?
Vote and learn what politicians have accepted money from The NRA.

What politicians have accepted money from The NRA in Texas?
President Donald Trump, Governor Gregg Abbott, Senators Ted Cruz, Dan Patrick & John Cornyn ... These politicians have a choice - they can choose to not accept NRA funds - a simple fix.

Why Should You Care?
Because The NRA includes a powerful lobbying group under their umbrella called The NRA/ILA (Institute for Legislative Action). It is supported by gun manufacturers and designed to promote sales of guns and gun accessories (silencers, armor piercing bullets, bump stocks).

The NRA/ILA has presented "The Hearing Protection Act" to congress. A law designed to allow silencers to be sold legally. Really?

The money that politicians accept from The NRA has strings attached and why so many politicians are complacent about enacting any kind of gun legislation. It has very little to do with anyone’s 2nd Amendment Rights and everything to do with needing and wanting NRA money, careful not to ‘bite the hand that feeds them’.

Gun Legislation that 'can't hurt and might help' include...
  • Background Checks for all gun purchases
  • Raising the age of gun purchases to 21
  • A 'Red Flag' Law - Allowing law enforcement to remove guns from a person who has been deemed a threat to himself or others.
  • Those convicted of domestic abuse denied firearm ownership.

As of today, in 2018 we have lost 5,436 Americans to gun violence. American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a firearm than in any other country and an American woman is fatally shot every 16 hours in the US. And as of today, America has eclipsed 1,000 teens (ages 12-17) shot or killed in 2018.

Something has got to give. It could be the life of your kid, next time. And there will be a next time.

Another Mass Shooting in the USA


Last week, 17 students and teachers were killed in Parkland, Florida by a mass shooter wielding an AR-15 and along with so many others, I am angry and I grieve.

The thought of any child staring down the barrel of an assault rifle was, at one time, inconceivable. Not any more. Children participate regularly in 'Active Shooter' drills at school, part of a necessary safety plan and my heart breaks for them and their parents.

We live in a country where the 2nd Amendment in our US Constitution reads: " A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

I sincerely doubt that banning all the guns in this country is the answer. We really do have a shitload of them. Personally, the gun owners that I know are responsible and safety-conscious people who enjoy target-practice and hunting. But do we really need weapons of war?  

The way I see it, is that a powerful and wealthy organization that once was devoted to marksmanship, safety, craftsmanship and education of firearms - The NRA - is our problem, as a nation.

The NRA is 'in bed' with gun manufacturers. 
According to Business Insider,  The NRA "made 20.9 million from selling advertising to industry companies marketing products in its many publications in 2010, according to the IRS Form 990. Crimson Trace (which makes laser sights) donates 10% of each sale to The NRA. Taurus buys NRA memberships for anyone who buys one of their guns. Rugar (Sturm Rugar) gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA's revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business."

Our US Elected officials are 'in bed' with The NRA.
When The NRA donates over $11 million to elect Trump (and $20 million to defeat his opponent), when US Senators and Congressmen receive up to $7 million from The NRA per candidate, I'm thinking it would be a safe bet to say that any gun legislation designed to change our current gun laws will not be enacted. Common-sense gun laws that would prevent someone from purchasing a firearm if they have a history of mental illness or domestic violence. Gun laws that would make "bump-stocks" illegal - thereby turning semi automatic assault weapons into fully automatic.


In 2013, after twenty 1st graders and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, legislation was proposed to ban assault weapons. Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (AWB 2013). It was defeated by the Senate 40-60. 

Think about it... the young man who brutally killed 17 in Florida last week would not have been able to purchase his very own AR-15 if AWB 2013 had passed. He was 14 years old in 2013. In Florida, the minimum age to purchase a gun is 16.

So,what can we do?
The politician who accepts "blood money" from The NRA is a problem. Being 'owned' by The NRA makes them complicit. Clearly a conflict of interest.

I am a new American Citizen (2/2015) and although this may sound naive to many of you, the only way I see out of this dilemma is by encouraging one another to look closely at your chosen candidates. Specifically...who contributes to their campaigns? If they take cash from the NRA...they will not support common-sense gun laws. That is all.

This November, Governor Greg Abbott (Rated A+ by the NRA) and Senator Ted Cruz (rated AQ and has received $36,000 from The NRA) of  my State of Texas are just two recipients of NRA funds that are up for re-election during the midterms in November.

As Maya Angelou once said,  "When you know better - you do better". They know better and so do we.

How The NRA rates elected officials...

A+: A legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.
A: Solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.
AQ: A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate's responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.
B: A generally pro-gun candidate. However, a "B" candidate may have opposed some pro-gun reform or supported some restrictive legislation in the past.
D: An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation and opposes pro-gun reforms. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted on to vote wrong on key issues.

My Latest Obsession...


Little did I know that when I met this man...
Elliot Fallas
I would look forward to getting oil paint under my fingernails, use waxed paper as a palette, own a color-wheel, learn that 'GoJo' was my BFF and that odorless mineral spirits would be a close second.

Bob's Sea Turtle 2015
Far from being an expert, my latest obsession brings me joy.
Newfoundland, Canada 2015

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada 2015

Tobermory, Ontario Canada 2015

Red Flowers 2016

'Protector'' for Michaela's Nursery 2016

Puppy Portrait: Lexi-Lou 2016

Who knew that 'gray' was not just a mixture of black & white?  That 'depth' can be achieved by combining at least 3 shades of the same colors? That I would find myself inspired, guided and challenged by such a wonderful artist? 

Thank you Elliot.

Paranoid in South America

Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...