Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the end of the road

This is the end of the road. I'm not going any further. If you want to keep up with the family check out Kelly's blog Life With Kids from time to time. See ya.

Monday, December 15, 2008

what i'm reading now

Whenever I need some escape reading I always turn to Nelson DeMille. The Gatehouse is the sequel to the novel Goldcoast, and brings back the characters from the first novel to tie up all the loose ends in their lives. In Goldcoast John Sutter's wife has an affair with a Mafia boss with catastrophic results. They divorce and John spend several years sailing around the world. This book begins 10 years later when John returns to the Gold Coast to attend the funeral of an old friend and is reunited with his ex-wife Susan. He learns that the son of the man his wife had the affair with lives next door to the gate house where he is staying. If you haven't read the book it's based on don't worry; this book will bring you up to date with all the characters. If you like Nelson DeMille and the quick wit of his lead characters you'll like this one.

Friday, December 05, 2008

quote of the day

Every single one of us can do things that no one else can do -- can love things that no one else can love. We are like violins. We can be used for doorstops, or we can make music. You know what to do.

--Barbara Sher

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

quote of the day

Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.

-– William James

Monday, December 01, 2008

quote of the day

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

-- Thomas Jefferson 1802

1st snow

This is what we woke to this morning.

quote of the day

Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

--Hermann Goring at the Nuremberg Trials


Our first Thanksgiving in our new dining room

We set up a table in the old dining area for the youngsters.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

quote of the day

I was held back by mere trifles, the most paltry inanities, all my old attachments.

– Saint Augustine

Monday, November 24, 2008

tara turns twenty one

Tara wanted egg rolls for her birthday dinner. We also had teriyake meat balls and corn dip.

The candles are lit.
The girls blow out the candles, but I'm afraid Hunter doesn't feel well enough to try.

Marley and Jenna lick the frosting from the candles while Kelly checks Hunter for a fever.

Aftger dinner the kids had fun with the Rockband and Singstar game.

Marley helps Tara on the vocals while Sam plays the guitar

Hunter gives the drums a try.

You play Rockband by watching what's happening on the screen and simultaneously playing the instrument.

Sam and Kelly sing a duet with Singstar.

Lizzie will be glad when all the racket stops

Sunday, November 16, 2008

short fall

I took this picture November 4. The view is looking out our dining room sliding door toward the west. The picture in the above title banner was taken just this morning, twelve days later. I've never seen the leaves fall from the trees so quickly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

quote of the day

My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.

--Sarah Palin


Monday, November 03, 2008

what i'm reading now

One of the reviews printed on the cover of Blood Meridian describes the book as Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece. I liked All The Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men better. This is the story of a 14 year old kid who falls in with a band of renegades who murder whole Indian tribes for the bounty of their scalps. The violence is graphic and horrific, yet told with poetic prose. The elaborate prose is sometime near opaque. For example, here is a description of the band riding across the desert: "Like beings provoked out of the absolute rock and set nameless and at no remove from their own loomings to wander ravenous and doomed and mute as gorgons shambling the brutal wastes of Gondwanaland in a time before nomenclature was and each was all." Not the language usually found in the Western genre is it?

Friday, October 24, 2008

quote of the day

Avarice in old age is foolish, for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach our journey’s end?

– Cicero, Roman statesman, philosopher (106-43 BC)


I went shopping yesterday. I had a list. Shampoo was on the list. When I turned the shopping cart down the shampoo aisle I was confronted with shelves stretching to the horizon loaded with every brand and variety of shampoo. I found Dorothy's brand but there were many types within the brand. For example: classic care, moisture renewal, texture conditioner, ice shine (ice shine?), volume conditioner, brunette expressions, blonde expressions, and color renewal. That didn't exhaust the list of types of shampoo/conditioners. When I was a kid shampoo was just shampoo. I remember White Rain, and Halo, in fact I can still hear the old radio jingle, "Halo everybody, Halo. Halo shampoo Halo!"

I called Dorothy. She talked me through it and I successfully secured the bottle into the cart, or so I thought. When Dorothy came home from work the bottle was sitting on the kitchen counter, a trophy of my quest for the precise product. She picked it up and said, "I'll have to take this back. This is conditioner only". Doh!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

quote of the day

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.

--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Friday, October 17, 2008

what i'm reading now

The Dhammapada is one of the ancient Hindu scriptures. This book presents the text of the scripture along with commentary by Eknath Easwaran.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

quote of the day

The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little.

--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Sunday, October 12, 2008

quote of the day

For too long we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product now is over 800 billion dollars a year, but that gross national product, if we judge the United States of America by that, that gross national product counts air pollution, and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic squall. It counts Napalm, and it counts nuclear warheads, and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our city. It counts Whitman's rifles and Speck's Knifes and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet, the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play; it does not include the beauty of our poetry of the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate for the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country it measures everything in short except that which makes life worth while. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

--Robert F. Kennedy - 1968

Friday, October 10, 2008


Winter is just around the corner. If you find yourself in the dumps from the cold weather and dark days, you may need a vacation in the Caribbean. When Dorothy and I were in St. Thomas this summer we took the day trip below. Of course, for us it was outing with Rachel and Bob. They've decided to make a commercial venture out of taking tourist on day long trips to Water Island where they can snorkel in the lagoon, swim, or just lay on the beach sipping a cold drink. The price will include all meals and drinks.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

quote of the day

“I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

--Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

Friday, October 03, 2008

the bailout

I was encouraged this week by the House of Representatives' refusal to accept the 700 billion dollar bailout proposed by the president and the Treasury secretary. Why should we fork over that much money just because the people who drove our economy over the cliff tell us it's necessary? But now congress has approved the new improved bailout that is costing 150 billion more dollars than the first one. Were our congressmen just waiting for more pork to be added to the barrel? We're in trouble. We cannot trust anyone in government. There has been a tremendous transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy and powerful. I don't understand why Americans are not rioting in the streets.

Members of congress, can I speak to you for just a moment? You're gonna have to quit taking money from lobbyists. I know it's going to be hard, especially since you are so morally weak. If a representative from a corporation sends you on lavish vacations, contributes to your campaign, or extends any other favor, they will expect something in return. They will want your influence and your vote in matters that will help them get an advantage in the marketplace. There was a time when that was called bribery. You can call it by anything you want, but it's still bribery. You're gonna have to quit it. The American people expect you to be honest.

Lobbyists, your gonna have to quit taking advantage of our ethically challenged public servants. You might think what you're doing is legal, but that's only because you have influenced the legislators to pass bills whose language make it legal, but it's still wrong. I know you have bought and paid for our congressman and insist that they belong to you, but I'm asking you to set them free. For the good of the country. Isn't that what your asking to taxpayers to do? To bailout the corporate incompetents for the good of the country?

And voters, we have some hard work to do. I would never presume to tell anyone how to vote. But, I urge all voters to investigate, read, study the issues. If we are uninformed voters then we are all fools. Write your congressman and tell him how you feel. And next month, vote.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

quote of the day

"A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity."

Jimmy Carter

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

what i'm reading now

This book was recommended by my blogger friend Mary Lee Fowler, author of the book Full Fathom Five and the blog of the same name. This may be the best book I've read all year (not counting Mary Lee's). Here is a blurb from the back cover: "When his girlfriend takes a job in Thailand, Mischa Berlinski goes along for the ride, planning to enjoy himself and work as little as possible. But one evening a fellow expatriate tips him off to a story: a charismatic American anthropologist, Martiya van der Leun, has been found dead -- a suicide-- in the Thai prison where she was serving a life sentence for murder. Curious at first, Mischa is soon immersed in the details of her story. This brilliant, haunting novel expands into a mystery set among the Thai hill tribes, whose way of life became a battleground for the missionaries and the scientists living among them.

Field Work by Mischa Berlinski

Friday, September 12, 2008

quote of the day

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.

– Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian (1805-1859)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

quote of the day

If middle class Americans do not feel threatened by the slow encroachment of the police state or the Patriot Act, it is because they live comfortable enough and exercise their liberties very lightly, never testing the boundaries. You never know you are in prison unless you try the door

---Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus

what i'm reading now

This book by progressive web columnist Joe Bageant is a description of how the American working class votes to keep in power the people who are undermining their interests. It's interesting and provocative, and although the language is sometimes crude, it describes the historical and cultural forces that have worked to create red neck America.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friday night I took my grand son, Hunter to a Monster Truck rally. We had a great time. I think I enjoyed it as much as he did.

Believe it or not this huge hummer is full of kids. Look in the second window from the left. You can see the very top of hunters head.

Hunter exits the big hummer.

The race course included the hazards of these junk cars.

Hunter eats an ice cream cone as he inspects the big trucks

Monster Patrol

In addition to the monster trucks they had the tough truck racing. These are regular trucks with beefed up suspension and roll bars that raced around a course of earthen ramps and berms. It made me want to go home, strip my S-10 and come back and join the fray.

Ozz Monster

Each monster truck competed in the wheelie event, jumping over these wrecked cars.

Alter Ego and Monster Patrol line up toe to toe to get set for the drag race over the wrecked cars.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

quote of the day

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.

– Stephen Grellet, French Quaker missionary (1773-1855)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

what i'm reading now

I enjoyed All Over But the Shoutin' so much that I immediately searched for other books by Rick Bragg. Ava's Man is the tale of Bragg's grand father and it is told with such southern flavor that you can taste the catfish and cornbread as you read. Charlie Bundrum is a man who grew up in the woods of Georgia and Alabama, never learned to read, and augmented his meager income by distilling moonshine while consuming a good portion of each batch. He was a man prone to violence in defense of his honor and his family, yet he was gentle to his children and kind to the defenseless people in his community. He was a man who was loved.


Labor Day weekend coincides with the Cherokee National Holdiday festivities. I took the grand kids to Tahlequah for the parade. We ate breakfast accross the street at the Boomerang Cafe and then while Dorothy worked an information booth the kids and I watched the parade.

Friday, August 29, 2008

quote of the day

Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but....that sort of home is not our real home; it's only nominally ours. It's a home in the world, and it follows the ways of the world. Our real home is inner peace. An external, material home may well be pretty, but it is not very peaceful. There's this worry, and then that; this anxiety, and then that....It's external to us and sooner or later we'll have to give it up. It's not a place we can live in permanently, because it doesn't truly belong to us; it's part of the world. Our body is the same: we take it to be self, to be "me" and "mine," but in fact it's not really so at all; it's another worldly home.

--Ajahn Chah

Thursday, August 28, 2008

retirement report

The third anniversary of my retirement is approaching so it's time for a report. Before I retired I was afraid that once my work life ended time would fly so fast that I would be on the way to meet my maker before I had a chance to enjoy the leisure. You know the old maxim: time flies when you're having fun. But, I was delighted to find that the opposite has happened. Time, at least in my perception of it, has slowed to an unhurried pace. One of the reasons for this is that I resist busyness. People have told me that they were reluctant to retire because they didn't know what they would do to pass the time, and a few of them have returned to work just for something to do. I don't have that problem. I can sit in the yard and watch the traffic on the highway. I don't need things to do.

So, here's how I spend my time these days:
  • I'm reading a lot of books.
  • I'm continuing the battle against weeds and brush. I've always had the desire to remain organic and not use herbicides, but the jungle is winning the war. So I've started using chemicals to kill out the brush that keeps cropping up year after year after I clear it away.
  • I baby sit the grand kids. Although I'm worn out at the end of the day, these young'ns keep me laughing, and that's good medicine.
  • I'm not painting as much as I had planned, but I took a lot of great photos while we were in St. Thomas and perhaps I'll start a new project soon.
  • The pressure to continue the remodeling is building and I won't be able to resist for much longer so I'll start the next phase soon.
  • I'm still learning to play the piano, in fact I can play these songs with a modicum of skill: Over the Rainbow, Danny Boy, You Lift Me Up, The Entertainer, A Wonderful World, Moon River, and Don't Worry, Be Happy. Our recent trip to St. Thomas has inspired me to pick up the guitar again and sing some of the old songs I used to enjoy.
  • There a so many things that need to be done, but I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and go at a leisurely pace. Frantic activity (especially mental) is a killer.

Friday, August 22, 2008

quote of the day

The most indifferent thing has its force and beauty when it is spoken by a kind father, and an insignificant trifle has its weight when offered by a dutiful child.

– Sir Richard Steele, Irish writer, politician (1672-1729)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

what i'm reading now

This book by Pulitzer Prize winning, Rick Bragg, is an account of life in the red dirt poverty of Alabama. It describes the suffering and sacrifices his mother went through to raise three boys and protect them from their mean alcoholic father and the shame of being poor in the south.

Monday, August 18, 2008

hunter's first day of school

As is our family tradition, mom and dad, baby sister, gram pa and gram ma, aunts and uncle, accompanied the kids to school on the first day.
Of course, Jenna is there for moral support.
Hunter poses outside the school. Notice the tie. He says it's important to look handsome on the first day of school.

Hunter is at his desk and ready to start.

Marley starts at a new school for 3rd grade.
For more pictures, go to Kelly's blog, Life with Kids!

Monday, August 11, 2008

our last day on the island

On our last day Rachel picked us up at our hotel and took us for a tour of Charlotte Amalie where we met her co-workers, shopped for souvenirs for the family at home, and picked up some local food to take with us.

It's common for motor vehicles to park on the sidewalk because the streets are so narrow.

Not only narrow streets but narrow sidewalks

Being a retired postal employee I'm always interested in what other post offices look like.

I love this great mural on the post office wall. We arrive at the gallery where Rachel works.

Rachel's co-workers

Rachel poses with her friend, Julia.

Rachel and her supervisor, Jackie

Here's an example of black coral sculpture. You don't want to know the price.

the interior of the gallery

Back into the fray in our search for t-shirts and other souvenirs

We went to a shop and bought a roti (a large burrito-like concoction full of conch (sea snail), potatoes, curry, and other hot spices.) And at this store we bought coconut tarts.

We had a little time so we ate our roti before the plain took off.

We leave the islands.