Wednesday, October 31, 2007

happy halloween

What a scary witch Jenna makes
Power Ranger (Hunter), the wicked witch (Jenna), Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (Marley)

Trick or treating down town. Burk pushes Jenna while Marley and Tara walk along.

another absurdity of american life

A little over two years ago when I retired; the people at work gave me a party. My boss presented me with some service awards for 27 years of faithful service, and he made a speech bragging on my dependability and how I would be missed, blah, blah, blah. We had cake and ice cream. I walked away from the job with a modest pension and health insurance for life, a valuable reward for enduring the stress and strain of working for years and years at making a living.
Yesterday, there was a news story about the CEO of a major company who was fired for losing the company eight billion dollars. Where I worked if I had been responsible for the loss of as little as 100.00 because of my own negligence, or malfeasance, I would have been fired too. There would have been no pension, insurance, nada.
But, this person, who dropped 8 billion (Yes that's 8 followed by nine zeroes) into the abyss, walked away with a paycheck of 160 million dollars. Most people today think there is something amiss in America, and this is just one of the many things in our country that makes no sense. If a person is so talented and competent that he can earn his company billions of dollars in profit, then, OK, cut him a check for a few million. But, if that person causes a loss of 8 billion dollars, shouldn't he be held accountable? Jail may not be out of the question. What do the share holders think? If he's not going to be summoned to an inquisition to explain himself, maybe a talk show host should invite him to appear on their show for an interview. I would like to hear what he has to say. What was he doing when the dollars began to flow out the sluice gate?

Monday, October 29, 2007


Marley is ready to carve pumpkins

Grandma shows Jenna how to remove the seeds and pulp but Jenna has doubts Hunter is reluctant to get pumpkin slime on his hands too.

While Marley is busy removing the pulp, Jenna is still not sure about putting her hand in there.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

quote of the day

The head chief told us that there was not a family in that whole nation that had not a home of its own. There was not a pauper in that nation, and the nation did not owe a dollar. It built its own capitol, in which we had this examination, and built its schools and its hospitals. Yet the defect of the system was apparent. They have got as far as they can go, because they own their land in common. It is Henry George's system, and under that there is not enterprise to make your home any better than that of your neighbors. There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization. Til this people will consent to give up their lands, and divide them among their citizens so that each can own the land he cultivates, they will not make much more progress.

Senator Henry Dawes --speaking of the Cherokees at the Lake Mohonk Conference of the Friends of the Indians in 1883

Friday, October 26, 2007

weenies and marshmallows

We haven't had the younger grand kids down for a while so tonight all three of them came to spend the night. We built a fire under the maple tree and roasted some weenies for hot dogs and then blackened a few marshmallows in the flame. Then, we popped popcorn the old fashioned way, in a skillet. we haven't done those things in years and it was fun.

Grandma has a marshmallow for Jenna.

the arrival of fall

I know that fall officially arrived a month ago, but yesterday morning it made itself known . It started off with 38 degrees and frost on Dorothy's windshield. Today it cloudy and cold. I'll enjoy the chilly days until I'm forced to wear a coat outside, but, until then I'm sticking with shorts and a t-shirt.

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quote of the day

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
-- Robert Brault

senior survey

Yesterday, I received a report on The Attitudes of Seniors and Baby Boomers on Aging in Place. There were some interesting revelations about the concerns of Baby Boomers and their aged parents. The biggest concerns for the aging population are being able to maintain their independence and staying in their own homes as they get older. Very few of those surveyed received any financial help from their children, and both the parents and Baby Boomer children were satisfied with the level of involvement in each others lives.

This survey was conducted by Prince Market Research on behalf of Clarity, a company that offers products such as amplified telephones, and devices to enhance the sound of television for the aging and hearing impaired.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

quote of the day

"The main effort of arranging your life should be to progressively reduce the amount of time required to decently maintain yourself so that you can have all the time you want for reading."
--Norman Rush

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

cherokee women

Dorothy is taking a class in Cherokee history. She was telling me some of the interesting things she learned yesterday. It seems Cherokee women had more control over their personal lives than women have today. In their culture, if a woman decided to end her marriage she simply packed her husband's belongings in a bundle and left it outside the lodge door. When her husband came home from work (hunting) and found his things, he knew it was over. Ending a marriage was the sole prerogative of the woman. A man could not walk away from the responsibility of providing for his wife and kids. A Cherokee woman would likely have at least three husbands during her lifetime. The first would be a young, sexually appealing warrior, who would take care of her physical needs and father her children. The second husband would be a good provider of material goods and economic security. And, finally, an older man for companionship in her old age. I hope I've been all three husbands in one for Dorothy. I don't ever want to see my suitcase sitting on the front porch.

fall walking

Lately, I've been doing my walking at Wal-mart to avoid the ragweed pollen, but this morning I was able to take a stroll around the pasture. It was recently mowed and on these cold mornings the ticks seem to be inactive. I wore shorts and a t-shirt so I had to walk at a brisk pace to keep warm against the cold wind. The brittle leaves were noisy in the trees. It's a good day to be alive.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

pronounce you man and wife

Yesterday, we attended the wedding of my oldest grand daughter, Tara. It was a simple but beautiful affair attended by family, and friends of the bride and groom that they have known since grade school.
For more photos go here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

autumn wedding cake

Here's the final wedding cake. Who left the window open and let those leaves blow in? Now to transport the cakes 25 miles to the wedding tomorrow.

groom's cake

Dusty's gnome cake

anatomy of a cake

Dorothy is busy making cakes for Tara's (our grand daughter) wedding.

For the groom's cake I designed and built this stand. What's it going to be? Let's let that be a surprise. Whatever it is, it looks like it will be wearing boots, doesn't it?
Dorothy's starting to build the groom's cake Progress is being made.

I'll post the finished cakes as soon as I can.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

a poem

I just finished reading a post by Lucilocket over at Lucy Volume II where she says that eating a donut helped out of a bad mood. It reminded me of this poem I wrote years ago.

Donuts Give Me Solace

Donuts give me solace.
I'm embarrassed to make the claim,
But donuts give me solace
Just the same.

When life has my nerves frayed
And they're in need of balm
The sugar and carbohydrates
keep me calm.

A doctor could give me Prozac
whenever I feel crazed.
Instead let's have some donuts,
and make mine glazed!

What happens, I know your thinking,
When my blood sugar begins to drop?
I just have another donut
With chocolate on top.

Monday, October 15, 2007

do go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas wrote the poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night for his father who was strong and fierce in his youth, but had become weak and gentle in old age.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This has always been one of my favorite poems. I always thought I would put up a fight against the oncoming frailty of old age and that I would, at the last, go down with both barrels blazing. But I was much younger then. Now that I have arrived at that time in life where I no longer have to work for a living and my strength and energy are gradually fading, I can see the wisdom of going "gentle into that good night". Not that death is knocking on my door, but I can see it in the distance from my back porch.

I know that in our culture, men are reluctant to give up the image of the aggressive and masculine Alpha male, but, fierce and militant old men don't make good grand fathers. As elders of the tribe older men need to be strong, yet gentle pillars for their grand kids to lean on. We are the story tellers, the joke tellers, and the ones that can be depended upon to set aside our dignity for any silliness that will bring a smile to a toddler.

So, as time goes by, I'm going to allow myself to go gentle in the area of approachability, vulnerability, and kindness, while maintaining my strength to act as a family protector, advisor and loyal friend. And when it comes time for me to leave the planet, I'll simply slip out the back door unnoticed.

corn maze

Yesterday, Dorothy and I went with our daughter Kelly and her family to the Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Missouri. This is a great place to get your Halloween pumpkins and then find your way through the seven acre corn maze. There are lots of things for the little ones to do; slides, swings, hay ride, and even a corn cannon.
Getting pumpkins for Halloween

Bird's eye view of the corn maze. Finding our way through the maze. After 30 minutes we find the exit.
The cow train Hunter comes down the slide

The Keys family. A handsome lot, eh?

quote of the day

Suddenly, it becomes a subversion of progress to assert the common-sense principle that communities exist for the health and enjoyment of those who live in them, not for the convenience of those who drive through them, fly over them, or exploit their real estate for profit.
--Theodore Roszak

Friday, October 12, 2007

grab an orange, mother and child

My seven year old grand daughter, Marley, came home from school in tears because she didn't get the part she wanted in the school Christmas program. Her mom told her maybe they're saving a better part for her.
"Yeah, a donkey!" Marley replied.
She wanted a solo singing part. "I don't get stage fright," she claimed. "And I know the words, just listen: 'Silent night, all is bright. Grab an orange, mother and child' ".

i turned around and she was grown

This picture was taken almost twenty years ago. Here I am with my very first grand child, Tara. She's getting married this month.


Dawn asked me recently how my painting was coming along. Here is my latest painting. It's now hanging in an art store (not a gallery, but a store) for sale.

To the right is the photo I used for the painting. It was the banner header for this blog before the current one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

quote of the day

The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.
--Jessamyn West

the real me

I don't work. By this I mean I don't do things I don't want to do for other people or organizations in return for money. I did that for 42 years and now I'm done with it. A person that spends the bulk of his life working will have his true personality subdued. During our work life we're pressed into the mold of corporate culture and our true selves are shaped along social convention. So, when the day of retirement finally arrives (and there are those who are never able to retire), and the constraints of the world upon our selves are relaxed, our souls unfold like a sponge that's been compressed and then released. It's been two years since the day of my retirement and I'm still waiting to see what will blossom. It seems that working has changed me. Some of the things that I had planned to do no longer hold an attraction for me; and some of the talents that I seem to have possessed in my youth have faded. So, instead of the real me just popping out like a jack-in-the box, it looks like I'm going to have to go into my psyche and drag me out.

Here's a quote from Alan Watts:

"The conventional 'self' or 'person' is composed mainly of a history consisting of selected memories, and beginning from the moment of parturition. According to convention I am not simply what I am doing now. I am also what I have done, and my conventionally edited version of my past is made to seem almost more the real 'me' than what I am at this moment, for what I am seems so fleeting and intangible, but what I was is fixed and final. It is the firm basis for predictions of what I will be in the future, and so it comes about that I am more closely identified with what no longer exists than what what actually is.

quoted from, Three: The Way Of Zen

Sunday, October 07, 2007

quote of the day

In order to live with integrity, we must stop fragmenting and compartmentalizing our lives. Telling lies at work and then expecting great truths in meditation is nonsensical.
--Sharon Salzberg

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I'm back at the remodeling thing again. Before I could start on the new room I had to rent a storage space to store all the stuff that has accumulated in that space for the last few years. I've taken four pick-up truck loads and now I can start pulling down drywall and ripping up the floor. While going through the stuff to haul away (we had three piles, one went to storage, one to a yard sale, and the third pile gets burned) I came across some old record albums. Remember the 33-1/3 rpm records? I played a few and was saddened to think how many years have rolled by since we first listened to those songs. Dorothy and I have had some of them since we were teenagers. We have the Beatles first album, Chuck Berry's greatest hits, and The Righteous Brothers. Our hormone driven teen love was intensified by listening to Johnny Mathis and Elvis. Just looking at the album covers brought back images of the years we've been together. The Beatles album reminded me of the times Dorothy and I would go to the record store to buy the latest hit. The Ventures albums brought back my efforts to learn the guitar and become a rock-n-roll lead guitarist. Memories of my time in MP School at Ft. Gordon Georgia were evoked by the Lovin' Spoonful. Album by album I visited the scenes from my life over the last 50 years. (sigh)