During our vacation in Disneyland I came to believe that it was the persistent attention to detail that made it so wonderful a place to visit. I took photos of things that caught my eye.

Coccoons dangle above pathways. I imagine these are lights, but I didn't come through A Bug's Land at night.

Coccoons dangle above pathways. I imagine these are lights, but I didn’t come through A Bug’s Land at night to see it.

Close up of the coccoons.

Close up of the coccoons.

A boat in Pixie Hollow.

A boat in Pixie Hollow.

 

 

 

 

 

Inside a shop in Condor Flats. Look at the tools hung on the wall behind the cashier.

Inside a shop in Condor Flats. Look at the tools hung on the wall behind the cashier.

More stuff on the walls in the shop above.

More stuff on the walls in the shop above. It really felt like being in a garage.

Inside Mickey Mouse's house in Toon Town.

Inside Mickey Mouse’s house in Toon Town.

These stone towers and wooden door are beautiful, and yet high above the crowds below, so no one can even go up there and see it. We can only admire from afar.

These stone towers and wooden door are beautiful, and yet high above the crowds below, so no one can even go up there and see it. We can only admire from afar.

Shops are built in the design of the area, to keep the atmosphere consistent.

Shops are built in the design of the area, to keep the atmosphere consistent.

A view along Disneyland's Main Street.

A view along Disneyland’s Main Street.

Zoomed in shot of the view above.

Zoomed in shot of the view above.

In A Bug's Land, the landscape had overlarge items to make one feel bug-sized.

In A Bug’s Land, the landscape had overlarge items to make one feel bug-sized.

Teeth over the doorway, eyeballs on the posts, even a tallbike behind the lampost. The boy is looking warily at Randall in the window.

Teeth over the doorway, eyeballs on the posts, even a tallbike behind the lampost. The boy is looking warily at Randall in the window.

Decorations in a shop.

Decorations in a shop.

Mickey's garden shed.

Mickey’s garden shed.

This is where they make the laughs.

This is where they make the laughs.

A pile of unused raccoon stickers just waiting to find a home.

A pile of unused raccoon stickers just waiting to find a home.

Oh! Oh! Oh! I am so excited to get this in the mail, you can’t even know. I am simply giggling with happiness. Hee hee. :-)

Several months ago I wrote a blog post about a raccoon that had captured my imagination. I searched the Internet and found a webpage from the artist, and I left him a note saying how much I liked the raccoon, and sending a link to my blog post.

Monday I received all this in the mail! A simple manila envelope noting “Jst Productions” as the sender, and I hoped, but wasn’t sure, till I opened it up and found a huge pile of handmade raccoon stickers. I was bouncing with glee. Thank you Just1!

In case any of you are wondering, the answer is “yes.” Yes, I do intend to deface public property. I play the part of a good girl pretty well, but I’m a rebel inside and I am dying to get out into the city and tag something. I am a little disappointed that I didn’t receive the package in time to slap something up in Anaheim. But maybe my partner in crime, Arno, will help me spread them into the Gorge.

The first one goes on my car. This way I can take the raccoon with me all over the place.

The first one goes on my car. This way I can take the raccoon with me all over the place.

Looking at the rock cliffs from the downtown Radiator Springs community.

Looking at the rock cliffs from the downtown Radiator Springs community.

I really enjoy the Pixar/Disney movie Cars, and if you haven’t seen it, I recommend you do. One awesome thing about being a parent these days is that kid movies are made just as much for parents as for the kids.

When I was growing up, my mom was firmly opposed to all “cartoons,” as she called them. Any animated TV show or movie was dumb in her mind and she refused to watch any of them with us, and generally would not give us permission to even see an animated movie at a theatre, believing them to be devoid of any educational benefit to kids, and certainly not capable of providing entertainment to an adult. When Tara was a toddler, it was with a big show of tolerance that Mom begrudgingly allowed herself to be coaxed into watching Toy Story with us. Mom was surprised to find herself caught up in the story, announcing at the end that it was better than she had expected.

So, it’s along those lines that I recommend the movie Cars. If you haven’t been watching animated movies for the last 15 years, you are in for a treat!

If you have seen the movie, you might be able to imagine our delight at finding in Disney California Adventure park a re-creation of the little city of Radiator Springs, on an abandoned section of Route 66, and thus trapped back in time a little, as the modern world has been slow to influence the town and it’s citizens.

A coworker told me to make sure to see it at night, and he was absolutely right!

A coworker told me to make sure to see it at night, and he was absolutely right!

Cozy Cone motel hosts a cafe. You can see the shadow of Mater there in front of the office.

Cozy Cone motel hosts a cafe in the back. You can see the shadow of Mater there in front of the office.

Luigi's tire shop looks exactly like it does in the movie, including the leaning town of tires.

Luigi’s tire shop looks exactly like it does in the movie, including the leaning tower of tires.

Miguel with the monument to Stanley, the town's founder

Miguel with the monument to Stanley, the town’s founder

So much realism makes it easy to lose oneself into make-believe.

So much realism makes it easy to lose oneself into make-believe.

neon signs

neon signs

blinking yellow light

blinking yellow light

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flo's Cafe welcomed all hungry visitors

Flo’s Cafe welcomed all hungry visitors

Here is Flo's in the daylight

Here is Flo’s in the daylight

Attention the detail included uniforms that suited each section of the park.

Attention the detail included uniforms that suited each section of the park.

I couldn't get enough of the neon

I couldn’t get enough of the neon signs that lit up the main street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All buildings

Buildings in town all matched the theme.

The entrance

The entrance to Luigi’s Flying Tires was through the tire store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We rode our giant tires like pucks on an air hockey table.

We rode our giant tires like pucks on an air hockey table.

The kids shared a tire.

The kids shared a tire.

Radiator Springs Racers was one of our favourite rides.

Radiator Springs Racers was one of our favourite rides.

The scenery was unbelievable.

The scenery was unbelievable.

Cave paintings of old cars inside the Radiator Springs Racers ride.

Cave paintings of old cars inside the Radiator Springs Racers ride.

View of Radiator Springs from the Ferris wheel at Paradise Pier.

View of Radiator Springs from the Ferris wheel at Paradise Pier.

Thumbnail moon through birch seed pods.

Thumbnail moon through birch seed pods.

Out in my yard one evening, I looked up and spotted the moon through the branches of the weeping birch tree in my back yard. There is something very appealing and artistic about the shape of those seed pods, dripping down from the branches. I have noticed my birch tree several times during the last few days, and I am loving the changing views with the changing light.

Morning light makes dark shadows

Morning light makes dark shadows

Afternoon sun bursting between clouds lights up the pods to their yellowy fullness.

Afternoon sun bursting between clouds lights up the pods to their yellowy fullness.

The old brown pods are gone, and the new golden pods are packed with life potential.

The old brown pods are gone, and the new golden pods are packed with life potential.

Do you see what I mean about their shape? The field of vertical rods contrasts the branches of the cherry tree behind them.

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

Blossoms exploding in the sunshine like popcorn

Blossoms exploding in the sunshine like popcorn

{Oh, how clever this is! Click for what one crafter has done with birch seed pods.}

The fabulous Disneyland castle, mini-sized to be more fun for kids, but still pretty darn immense and impressive.

The fabulous Disneyland castle, mini-sized to be more fun for kids, but still pretty darn immense and impressive.

Look at that castle! I think it’s stunning in the morning sunshine. We were in Anaheim for six days, and the first four of them were cold, grey, cloudy, and even a little wet. But on our last morning to go into the park, there was blue sky everywhere and the sun came out and made everything sparkle. We could see the mountains around the city of L.A. from our hotel room, it was so clear.

Wandering around the two parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure), I marveled again and again at how drastically our landscape changed. We were in jungles and cities and deserts and on spaceships and underground.

Where do you think Disneyland is? Looking at the photo of the castle above, a reasonable person might guess it’s in the forest.

And if you guessed forest, you would be right. Disneyland is in the forest, with rivers and geysers.

And if you guessed forest, you would be right. Disneyland is in the forest, with rivers and geysers.

But… a reasonable person is not familiar with the forests of Anaheim.

Disneyland is in a desert! Everyone knows LA is in the desert.

That’s because Disneyland is in a desert! Everyone knows Anaheim is in the desert.

It's a beautiful desert, with live cacti, Route 66, and red cliffs.

It’s a beautiful wide-open, empty desert, with live cacti, Route 66, and red cliffs.

But wait… weren’t we in the middle of a gigantic city in southern California?

Yes, a city packed with buildings and people is where one finds Disneyland.

Yes, a city packed with buildings and people is where one finds Disneyland.

It's a large city, with industry, a town hall, a pagoda, a fire house, and more!

It’s a large city, with industry, a town hall, a pagoda, a fire house, and more!

That’s not a real city.

Are you thinking of a city like this?

Are you thinking of a city like this?

With a grand City Hall instead of a Toon City Hall?

With a grand City Hall instead of a Toon City Hall?

And a stately entrance like this?

And a stately entrance like this?

Yes, yes, that looks like a city to hold Disneyland. So, where did those trees come from?

Disneyland is in the snowy Alps, with crashing waterfalls, birch trees, and granite peaks.

The trees are in the snowy Alps, with crashing waterfalls, birch trees, and granite peaks.

Don't forget the Bavarian ski lodge.

Don’t forget the Bavarian ski lodge.

Let Olaf assure you: Disneyland is in the snow, for certain.

Let Olaf assure you: Disneyland is in the snow and trees, for certain.

I thought California was known more for….

Vineyards? Yes! California is where one finds grapes.

Vineyards? Yes! California is where one finds grapes.

Well I was thinking more along the lines of….

Jungle? With bamboo and cicadas screeching all day while we walked beneath dripping vines.

Jungle? With bamboo and cicadas screeching all day while we walked beneath dripping vines.

Wait a minute, things are not normal in that jungle! Since when do fireflies provide nighttime lighting?

If you see a jungle you want it to look like this.

If you see a jungle you want it to look like this.

With temple ruins and Bengal tigers and fat lazy rivers?

With temple ruins and Bengal tigers and fat lazy rivers?

Yes! Now that’s a real jungle! Now wait, you tricked me. We were trying to figure out where Disneyland is.

It's in a jungle, I'm telling you. And all the people live in treehouses.

It’s in a jungle, I’m telling you. And all the people live in treehouses.

Stop messing with me.

In a manicured garden beside a pond, you will find the park.

In a manicured garden beside a pond, you will find the park.

Or you may find it in a crazy Small World castle.

Or you may find it in a crazy Small World castle.

Again, I must protest. That is no castle.

Ah, but you see, the park is in a castle.

Ah, but you see, the park is in a castle.

The park is contained in high stone walls with turrets and towers and royalty.

The park is contained in high stone walls with turrets and towers and royalty.

It's a truly beautiful place.

It’s a truly beautiful place.

You are not being direct. You haven’t given me a clear sense of what kind of place I’ll find it in.

A Moroccan marketplace

A Moroccan marketplace

It's in an Old West frontier town.

It’s in an Old West frontier town.

Or possibly you'll find it in Hollywood of days past.

Or possibly you’ll find it in Hollywood of days past.

Here's a lovely place. Why don't we put Disneyland in this area of gardens and hills and foliage with mountains in the background. Hm, that peak looks a bit ominous.

Here’s a lovely place. Why don’t we put Disneyland in this area of gardens and hills and foliage with mountains in the background. Hm, that peak looks a bit ominous.

Ok, now that is a threatening mountain. Maybe Disney shouldn't be here after all.

Yikes! That is a threatening mountain. Maybe Disney shouldn’t be here after all.

Alright, stop it. You’re messing with me. Where is the park?

You'll find your park at an enormous carnival at the beach.

You’ll find your park at an enormous carnival at the beach.

See? Mickey Mouse logo and all; the park is here.

See? Mickey Mouse logo and all; the park is here.

Or, maybe it's in this wild world of futuristic science and space travel.

Or, maybe it’s in this wild world of futuristic science and space travel.

Possibly you'll find it in the deep South, with huge plantation houses and dripping Spanish moss.

Possibly you’ll find it in the deep South, with huge plantation houses and dripping Spanish moss.

Or in a regular California town in the warm and sunny coast lands.

Or in a regular California town in the warm and sunny coast lands.

Enough! I’m tired of playing at this. In order for everything you’ve shown me to be true, Disneyland must be in an entirely different kind of place, where the world changes completely around every corner. A place where every new sight is even more surprising than the last. If all of this exists, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks must be awfully big.

Indeed. So big that we used this to go from place to place.

Indeed. So immense that we could use this to go from place to place.

Mickey joins a group of paperboys to talk about the headlines and about Walt's dream of going to California to make it big.

Mickey joins a group of paperboys to sing about the headlines and about Walt’s dream of going to California to make it big.

One person was at pains to point out to me that these are not actual celebrities, but people in costume. I am not one easily discouraged out of my delight in magical make-believe. Trust me, I have been asked to act more like a grown-up for a couple of decades, and no one has succeeded yet. Leave your logic at the door! This was a week packed with the who’s who of our favourite characters on the screen, and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Only succuming to the joy of fantasy role-playing allows the kind of happiness seen here.

Only succumbing to the joy of fantasy role-playing allows the kind of happiness seen here. Too adorable.

Storm Troopers in Tomorrowland. Selfie in progress, there in the background.

Storm Troopers in Tomorrowland. Selfie in progress, there in the background.

We caught the Aladdin show, and saw Jasimine, Jafar, and Aladdin himself there on an elephant in the audience.

We caught the Aladdin show, and saw Jasmine, Jafar (seen on stage), and Aladdin himself there on an elephant in the audience. Genie stole the show, however.

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!

Pooh gets some love.

Pooh gets some love.

All of these characters were mobbed the instant they were spotted. I mean, all of them. A storm trooper passed me, and I asked if I could take a photo, but he waved and kept going because if he stopped, there would have been an instant crowd. Instead I followed him to a gathering point, where multiple storm troopers were getting ready to put on a show. (ha ha, isn’t that a hilarious thought)

People mobbed them for photos and autographs. Yes, we were so excited to get autographs from Disney (or Disney-bought) characters. We were willing to stand in line for it. But we had our limits. Princesses Anna and Elsa, from Frozen, were there, but the wait was from two to three hours for an autograph and photo. Though Tara wanted to meet them almost more than anyone else, she was not willing to squander precious park time standing in line that long.

Miss T's fave stop was probably Pixie Hollow. She confessed to me later, "I was expecting a person playing Tink, but she was the real Tinkerbell! She was perfect!"

Miss T’s fave stop was probably Pixie Hollow. She confessed to me later, “I was expecting a person playing Tink, but she was the real Tinkerbell! She was perfect!”

C3PO was on duty at Star Tours and kept us entertained while waiting in line.

C3PO was on duty at Star Tours and kept us entertained while waiting in line.

This is one of those trouble-makers that was messing with Mack when he fell asleep driving.

This is one of those trouble-makers that was messing with Mack when he fell asleep driving.

R2D2 was also entertaining us at Star Tours, doing maintenance and beeping.

R2D2 was also entertaining us at Star Tours, doing maintenance and beeping.

And who is to say these celebrities did not win their fame in the exact same way as most of the ones we idolize? What makes a person famous: the fact that we’ve heard of them or seen them so often that they are familiar. How is that any different from Donald Duck or Mater?

We asked for an autograph from our amazing skipper on the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. Taylor was so much fun she became a celebrity on the spot.

My very favourite character to meet was Mater, but he drove by so fast I couldn't get a sharp image at night.

My very favourite character to meet was Mater, but he drove by so fast I couldn’t get a sharp image at night.

My second favourite was this big blue monster. I was literally squealing "Hi Sully!"

My second favourite was this big blue monster. I was literally squealing “Hi Sully!”

Princess Merida

Princess Merida

Lightning McQueen

Lightning McQueen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russell

Russell

Donald Duck

Donald Duck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tara met Mickey in his studio, after walking through his amazing house

Tara met Mickey in his studio, after walking through his amazing house

Fabulous blue headed male Mallard duck

Fabulous blue headed male Mallard duck

Typical green-headed Mallard duck

Typical green-headed Mallard duck

Birds at THE park. Let’s see if you can guess which one.

The Brady Bunch has been gone all week for Spring Break. Typically we head to the mountains with our tents and propane stoves, right? This one turned out totally different. I have a lot of photos to sort through, and it’s a bit overwhelming. So let me begin with the birds and a few of the flowers. Lately I’ve been taking many bird photos from my home office and I’ve developed a habit of noticing birds. So it’s no surprise that when I’m on vacation, I notice the birds there too.

Lucious

Luscious purple clusters

Unfurling into lovliness

Unfurling into lovliness

Lovely yellow petals

Lovely yellow petals

My bird photos were often an after-thought amid the cacophony of colours and sounds and activity bursting around us in calculated displays of amazingness at all times of the day (clue #1). So only a few photos are in focus. I include them all because one fun thing about my week was discovering the variety of birds in a place I did not expect to find so many birds.

Female Mallard duck

Female Mallard duck

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Seagull

Gull

 

Black Crowned Night Heron, I believe. Isn't this one beautiful?!

Black Crowned Night Heron, I believe. Isn’t this one beautiful?!

 

Sparrow

Sparrow

delicate drops of flowers

delicate drops of flowers

 

You want more clues now, don’t you? I can give photo clues.  The following photos will definitely give it away. What do you think?

Sparrow resting on a sign in the shape of a caterpillar with a name and a ridiculous fake German accent.

Sparrow resting on a sign in the shape of a talking caterpillar with a ridiculous fake German accent. (Clue #2)

An American Coot glides through the water (clue #3).

An American Coot glides through the water. (clue #3) Look at the reflection.

 

Sparrow munches popcorn. (Clue #4)

Sparrow munches popcorn. (Clue #4)

The Ladies of the Tiki Room sing us a song. (Clue #4)

The Ladies of the Tiki Room sing us a song. (Clue #5) Quick, who can name them? Collette, Fifi, Gigi, Josephine, Mimi, and Suzette

Yep, you know it. We were in Disneyland all week. It was crammed full of people, cold & windy except for the very last day, incomprehensibly expensive, and yet….magical in so many ways. It was my very first visit to a Disney park in my whole life.  My faery girl heart was so happy to discover the wonder – the pure Disney perfection of wonder – that was there to be discovered around every single corner.

I can’t wait to show you. Tune back in later!

It’s the season for blossoms!

There is no better pink in the world than the pink of blossoms.

There is no better pink in the world than the pink of blossoms.

Flowers, sunshine, blue sky - if I'm not mistaken, it's Springtime!

Flowers, sunshine, blue sky – if I’m not mistaken, it’s Springtime!

Rivendell in Legos

Rivendell (from Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit) in Legos. Please click the image for a larger version.

Over the weekend, I agreed to meet the boys at Bricks Cascade 2014 Public Expo at the Convention Center in Portland. Legos are not a big deal to me, but I was not about to admit that outloud. The convention center hall was filled with people who love Legos. These were geeks with a capital G.

We mainly walked around and looked at what the inspired Lego Geeks had built. There was a superhero section, an insect section, and a train section. There were space ships and imagined planets. There was a whole section dedicated to Old School Lego (I’ll put that photo in for you to see). I am going to post some of what we saw.  Look how super fun and amazing these creations are!

close-up of a portion of Rivendell

close-up of a portion of Rivendell

close-up of a portion of Rivendell

close-up of a portion of Rivendell

The Quidditch pitch at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

The Quidditch pitch at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Close-up of the spectators and players

Close-up of the spectators and players

Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery in Bhutan. The builder was kind enough to pose for me.

Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery in Bhutan. The builder was kind enough to pose for me.

One of my favourites: Downtown Portland

One of my favourites: Downtown Portland

Another fave: surfin' Lego Dude

Another fave: surfin’ Lego Dude

One of several battle scenes. Check out the exploding dirt.

One of several battle scenes. Check out the exploding dirt.

Battle scene.

Battle scene in the jungle, on the edge of a sea. (That’s an entire enormous ship down at the other end.)

A different battle scene.

close-up of the battle scene above. I like the 3D trenches.

Plenty of happy scenes were interspersed to cheer us up after the war scenes.

Plenty of happy scenes were interspersed to cheer us up after the war scenes.

If your Lego creation is really awesome and you get an award... what do you guess it's made of?

If your Lego creation is really awesome and you get an award… what do you guess it’s made of?

Notre Dame cathedral. I like the idea of overlapping architecture: How Legos are used to recreate a cathedral that is remarkable for its construction.

Notre Dame cathedral. I like the idea of overlapping architecture: How Legos are used to recreate a cathedral that is remarkable for its construction.

There were a couple of movie theatres. This one has famous patrons.There were a couple of movie theatres. This one has famous patrons.

A temple surrounded by cherry trees.

A temple surrounded by cherry trees.

Old School Legos! I looked at this and all the Legos of my past came back to me.

Old School Legos! I looked at this and all the Legos of my past came back to me.

17

flags of power

I am not the only one shaking my head in disbelief over the official outcry from Washington about Russian President Vladimir Putin taking unilateral military action in Ukraine. Yes, what Putin has done is wrong: sending troops into a nearby country without threat of imminent attack. But the big news story is not Russia! It’s the U.S. pretending to be outraged.

“It is diplomacy and respect for sovereignty and not unilateral force that can best solve disputes like this in the 21st century,” Kerry said, after accusing Vladimir Putin of 19th Century behavior.

Secretary Kerry, for all your intelligence, you are not thinking! It was as recent as September 2013 when you were championing Obama administration’s proposed unilateral military action in Syria, whose government was not threatening attack on the U.S. You thought that particular 19th Century behavior was justified.

“We’ve also seen an acknowledgement from the Foreign Secretary about the United States’ right and ability to make our own foreign policy decisions that are in our national security interest,” said Josh Earnest, the White House deputy press secretary, August 30, 2013. It’s an argument that the U.S. has the “right” to make our own decisions and take action. Even with no support, not even from our closest allies, the British.

I remember how angry Putin was with the U.S. at that time. Isn’t it obvious – dare I say predictable – that Putin would do the exact same thing in retaliation when he got a chance?

And the 800-pound gorilla in the room: March 19, 2003 we invaded Iraq. We went to WAR unilaterally. How can Secretary Kerry publicly imply that we wouldn’t take unilateral military action and therefore can cast judgement on those who do? Well, how can he say such things and not feel ashamed, I should have said.

Hypocrisy.

When my own country’s leaders are as oblivious as that, when all they can think is that the U.S. is always right and everybody else is always wrong all the time no matter what the question is, then they lose my respect. They lose a little more of my patriotism. They lose a little more commitment. My country started off with a devoted fan, and lose me a little more all the time. I am disgusted. Again.

It’s been 26 years since I registered to vote in time for the 1988 Presidential election. I could have been successful at any University at the time, I had great grades, involvement in a dozen clubs, awesome SAT scores, but out of patriotism I joined the Air Force to serve my country instead.  I’m crazy about the U.S.A. This dang country can be so embarrassing and arrogant…and yet I still keep loving it.

The decision-makers in D.C. are not learning, not growing, toward being a better nation, nor are they interested in real solutions. The very top people in government are obsessed with the wrong goal: finding more effective ways to win the game of power. I know a lot of cynical wisecracks might come to mind, but it’s actually pretty dismaying to discover that.

Someone said it really well in a recent BBC World Service podcast (4 March 14 pm). Struck so close to the truth I nearly flinched. 

Questioned about recent talks with world leaders, Vladimir Putin responded through a translator: “We are often accused of carrying out illegitimate actions, and I asked the question, ‘So, you think everything you do is legitimate?’ They say ‘Yes,’ and I have to remind them of American actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Our partners in the United States have clearly defined their own geopolitical interests. If you follow what they say, carefully, they use a framework of ‘those who are not with us are against us.’ This forces the rest of the world to align themselves accordingly. Those who refuse get badgered. And more often than not they get badgered into submission.”

Let me be clear: I understand that Putin is a sneaking, conniving, power-monger like all the rest of them. But these words above are true. It tells us that those countries who have the ability to badger the others are the ones who win the power game. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it works. (“Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” said President Bush)

Stinking ugly hypocrisy. Putin called it right.

Most of the time there is so much good in the United States government that I am able to forget the idiotic moments. I never have to pay bribes. Nearly everyone on the highways behaves as I expect them to. Same sex couples kiss in public. Immigrants are CEOs of major companies. If I am hurt, I will get treated at any hospital emergency room I go to. My own job is taking care of military veterans – what other country on earth cares for veterans like this? No one! Not even close.

Despite all the good it does, I can’t help but be astonished when my government shows that its primary goal is to maintain power. Not to take care of me. Not to be honorable. Not to do good with all that power, but only to use it to get more power.

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