Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Don't tell me...

Don’t tell me...
     To look at things in the past.  You tell me the same or worse things have been done.  It doesn’t justify the now.  Regardless of timing, wrong in the past does not ameliorate wrong in the present.
     That he is better than the alternative.  You simply can’t prove it.
     You’re up in arms about sexual harassment but you have the gall to support a misogynistic embarrassment to my gender.
     You can forgive the deceit and blatant lies.  
     To respect the office of the president.  How can I when he doesn’t?
     That we the people elected him.  No!  WE!  Didn’t!
     To remain quiet because I will alienate others.  If I don’t speak my mind, I’m akin to those who support him!

I taught speech.  In my career, I spoke to my children of respect; it should not have to be earned...it has to be lost.  He has.  Yet today, I speak to the good in this country.   I speak to the good in this people.  I speak to honesty, dignity, and fair play.  Mr. Trump, I can not speak of you.  
Don’t tell me...to remain silent any longer!

Friday, August 11, 2017

"A man and a woman are meant for each other--are meant for each other as husband and wife."

I sit here on the deck, the fan hard at work keeping the flies away, the whirligig spinning in the light northerly breeze, a third of the way into my whodunit, the dinner plate hibiscus proudly displaying three amazing blooms, the beast curled up at the feet of his mistress and the woman I love, having ingested a small glass of wine and a nosh, the sun casting a shadow on the garage proclamation..."You Are Loved," and I know it just as well could read "You Are Blessed!"  We have chosen to spend this, our 44th anniversary, quietly together.  We have spent previous anniversaries in exotic places, exploring new and unusual things or returning to places we love.  Each has been an amazing event.  But somehow, this is right.  The beautiful yellow butterfly.  The busy dragonflies.  Even the youngster who has apparently started band this summer and has learned how to make his trombone make loud and definitive noises stresses the idyllic feeling of the day.  I know that somewhere passed these garden fences, there is turmoil...there is hatred...there is uncertainty.  But today?  For us?  The world is a quiet, a beautiful place...one in which we truly celebrate each other--where we have been, and where we are going--according to the most beautiful song sung at our wedding ceremony:  Together Forever.  It is true.  Blessed!  And the garage is right!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Music to my ears

"They" say, music soothes the savage breast.  Miss Lucy used to judge the tenor of our mood by how we played the piano.  The harder we struck the keys, the farther from the piano she went.  Eventually, "they" became right--the physicality of actually beating the piano keys had a calming effect on us as we played.  Aggression was often replaced with the simple pleasure of making the instrument yield to our desires.  Now don't get me wrong.  After 9 years of lessons, I'm still lucky I can play from the John Thompson third grade book...but thank god for those 9 years.
Miss Lucy is gone.  I understand "they" are still around.
During the first years of our marriage, we bought a Yamaha (the piano, not the motorcycle).  And let me tell you, while there have been times I have "ridden" that instrument, during the last few months it's been ridden hard!  Injustice irks me.  Play.  Bullies irk me.  Play.  Lying irks me.  Play.  Lying about lying really ticks me off.  Pound.  Pound.  Pound.
A good friend of ours recently donated to our musical library--Reader's Digest song books--tunes with which I am familiar--old hymns, songs of the 50's and 60's, The Beer Barrel Polka and Puff the Magic Dragon.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than to sit at the piano and hit about 85 % of the notes correctly.  Hot stuff!  Sometimes, if they are in my 6 note range, I even sing along.  You would be stirred by my three verse rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."  But I digress.
Let me give you an example.  I watched the World News Tonight (for me, usually a HUGE mistake).  The president's lawyer lied.  And then lied about lying.  Mr. Trump did write Trump Jr.'s response to the question of meeting with the Russians.  And I pounded out a chorus of "Call Me Irresponsible."  The North Koreans could easily have killed passengers on a plane with their latest ICBM missile test, and it was "Ring of Fire."   Two sheriff's deputies were repeatedly shot, and it was "What the World Needs Now."  Thankfully, by song three, I could begin to actually play rather than pound.  "Brighten the Corner Where You Are" made me smile a little.  "America the Beautiful" reminded me of the incalculable good that still exists in this country, and you would have stood up for "God Bless America!"  "When Day is Done", I believe that there is goodness and truth in the world.  I believe that in the end, it will win.  I believe "We Shall Overcome!"  I just hope the piano survives!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dear Mr. Scaramucci

I've never met you.  I'm glad.  But I wish you had met Miss Lucy.  She would have looked you in the eye (as she did me on SEVERAL occasions) and informed you that language is the true indicator of intelligence and class.  The baser the vocabulary, the lower the intelligence and the lower the class.  I just read on-line the publication of The Independent Daily Edition:  UK and World News.  You rant at the President's chief of staff using vulgarity and yellow journalistic epithets.  The humorous comment that follows "I sometimes use colorful language" is perhaps the most blatant example of misrepresentation I have heard.  Or so I thought.  I went on to read that leaks upset you because you are a Roman Catholic?  Huh?  (See Miss Lucy's first caveat above!)  Had you been in my classroom, Mr. Scaramucci, you would NOT HAVE BEEN in my classroom.  I would never allow a student of mine to speak that way. I would never allow a child of mine to speak that way (nor would Miss Lucy!).  I would never expect a reasonable adult to speak that way--especially a representative of the President.  I know the words.  I've used the words.  Selectively.  In private.  When an appropriate audience is present.  I would never speak that way in public.  You see, I was a communications instructor for 34 years.  I understand the power of language and it's ability to heighten or debase the speaker.  And I am, above all else, Miss Lucy's son.  Shame on you!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Reflections on being Presidential

As my second (and final) year as President of the South Dakota Retired School Personnel swings into full gear, I believe it is time to look back and reflect on what I learned year one.  (Understand, my “ascension” to the presidency was a hard fought battle, fraught with late night strategy sessions and early morning coffee.  I ran unopposed, and I believe came quite close to losing.)  The lessons were many—some a review and some brand spankin’ new!  I will enumerate them—in my own executive order!

1.         When (not if, but when) you screw up, OWN IT!  The phrase, “I made a mistake”, is not anathema.  If, however, you choose to sound a little more erudite, you can always do it in a foreign language—like German—“Ich habe upgescrewed!” (I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes)—or Latin “Mea Culpa!  Mea Culpa!  Mea maxima Culpa!”  Perfection is simply unattainable.  Heck, even the electoral college screws up occasionally!
2.         Having admitted your humanity, you have several courses to follow.  You can ask for forgiveness.  You can attempt to atone.  You can cry, gnash your teeth and pull your hair, but you must do all three. Unfortunately, not having the ability to do part three, that option wasn’t open to me!   Once you have followed every course available, MOVE ON!  Dwelling on past mistakes is like choosing to live in a dormitory your entire life.  EEEEEEK!
3.         When confronted with a Herculean task (like planning the yearly convention), decide where you want to have it, come up with a theme, appoint an amazing committee and then sit back and watch the true masters at work.  Put another way, pick the right people and then get out of their way so they can do their magic.  (Side note—having made those "appointments", not one chosen member has had to resign for collusion with a foreign power!)
4.         Recognize the worth of EVERY member.
5.         Never underestimate the abilities of the people around you.  You will only be wrong (see #1).
6.         Plan ahead. 
7.         Monitor and adjust.  Your original ideas may be brilliant, but there is always someone out there with higher wattage!  Allow them to shine.
8.         Be visible.  You can’t help someone if they don’t know you are there.
9.         Delineate what is expected of your “staff”.  Each person has specific responsibilities, but can’t/won’t perform them if they are unclear (or non-existent!)
10.       Always, always, always bring fudge!

I don’t take Air Force One to my meetings—I take Ford Edge ’15—with the VERY BEST DRIVER in the world.  I don’t own a plethora of red silk $500 ties (or for that matter, $.50 used ties purchased at a thrift store).  I wear old man shirts that are somewhat loud, eschew ties, and are TOTALLY comfortable.  My shorts show my old man legs, but they’re my best feature so if you’ve got it….   My hair is cropped short, my wife is the prettiest lady (and thankfully the most forgiving) I have ever met, I use invectives on occasion (but NEVER Tweet), I have a treasure trove of PG 13 stories (and even more R rated that I don’t get to tell too often—Dirty Johnny was my hero growing up!), I associate with the very best of the best, and can truthfully say that edging out my non-existent opponent has been an amazing experience.  I definitely can say it’s a great year to be president—at least for me!  Know you are loved!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fiddler Jones

Perhaps it's because we ran into former students and/or their progeny.  Perhaps it's because on occasion, Mother Nature has an amazing way of reminding us to enjoy the time we have.  Perhaps it's just because I am old and my mind wanders to an earlier time (and at least to this point, comes back!).  Whatever the reason, this morning Fiddler Jones rests at the forefront of my thoughts.
Those who truly know me know I have, since high school, been infatuated with Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology.  We performed the play as our senior drama farewell.  Invariably, I had interpers do selections from the Anthology.  I directed the play for Town Players.  You would have thought I had cleansed my soul's need for sharing Mr. Masters.  Yet, this morning, for whatever reason, there he was.

The earth keeps some vibration going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest of clover?
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands
For beeves hereafter ready for market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
And the creak of a wind-mill--only these?
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle--
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
And not a single regret.

All too often, we become driven by rhythms others would have us hear.  We succumb to the expected...the norm (if there is such a thing!).  We strive to be a "success"--in the eyes of others--and subjugate our own inner drums.  We are the amalgam of other expectations.  Don't misunderstand.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  It can be, however, if during the process, we lose our own heart's vibration.  There's a popular philosophy that states in the end, we don't regret the things we have done, we regret the things we never did.  Socrates said, "know thyself/"  Or as Mr. Shakespear;s Polonius opined, "To thine own self be true."  (Thanks, Harlene!)  You may not fiddle...but you have your own beat.  Syncopate today!

Monday, April 10, 2017

I miss you...

I miss you, little Ruth Marie Nelson Chase Olson.  When I hear that Mitch McConnell’s proudest moment is success at thwarting the constitution to get his desires, I miss you.  When I hear that the Senate effectively voted to overturn the rights of the minority to crown a new supreme, I miss you.  When I hear we have lobbed missiles into Syria and are steaming toward Korea, I miss you.  When I hear “fake news” and “alternate facts” and watch the demise of programs that care for the poor and threaten to cut support of the arts, I miss you.  When I think of Betsy DeVos, I miss you.  Your clear head and rejection of ridiculousness would have provided, if not answers, at least understanding.  And along with you, I miss my country:  The country that supported democratic processes:  The country that worked toward reconciliation rather than division:  The country that understood that those less fortunate than we need care:  The country that knows the impact of the arts on development of a caring population.  Someone is taking it away from me.  I can’t listen to the news.  It only fuels my incredulity.  Instead, I read, or play the piano, or work on a speech or volunteer…or cry.  I tell people professionally that anger is a wasted emotion.  It cedes control to the instigator.   But I am to the point where I fear anger is better than the feeling of despair.   I am 67 years old.  I have lived my life to do what I can to add value to the circumstances that I encounter.  With a little luck (and some decent genes), I will live a few more years.  I believe that in time, my country will recognize what’s happening and return to the humanity it used to symbolize.  Tweets will come from birds, bullies will be rebuked, and even though we disagree, my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be recognized.  Sooner than later, please!  Cue music—“This is My Country.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The "tour" de force--in rhyme, of course!

For those of you who have been here before, you know that inside me lurks a rhyming savant--I may not do many things well, but I can rhyme!  Case in point...

The Great White Stay--Le Grand Sejour Blanc


So some of us drove and some of us flew
Some we did know--we'll know all when we're through.
Exposure the first? A room full of stuff
'Twas boots, coats, and hats to warm us enough
And thousands of geese who gave up their all
To keep up us quite warm so we'll have a ball!

The group quite diverse but not so with name.
There's Bill, Bill, and Bill and none quite the same.
The Y chromosomes, replete with three more
And two start with T--Trent--Tad names they wore.
That leaves us one man whose name is unique
'Tis Jeffrey our friend, and fun he does seek!
The ladies?  Quite differ in manner and name
There's Barbara, Denise, in no way the same.
We've Jackie and Peggy, Patricia, Miss Vaugn,
Nancy and Sarah and Cathy along.

And this was the group Samantha did meet
Her job?  To inspire and make trip so sweet.
We start out with food, a supper surprise...
The weather determined a railroad demise
A plot shift indeed but options we talk--
Then back to our rooms...I waddle...some walk.
The bed it does call...adventure awaits
I bid you good night...we're friends now...we're mates!

Day two--jour deals

A breakfast that's hot, then on to the bus
Morning museum with nary a fuss
The planets glide by, the sparklers appear
Two bears--two dogs in the sky--not to fear.
Then hist'ry of province and ship named Nunsuch
Displaying it's bosoms on stern oh so much!

A taste of the French is our stop for lunch
Receiving high praise from our motley bunch
Then ' other museum, high tech--bits and bytes
Remind us of tenets--of wrongs and our rights.
'Twas supper came next, then hotel did call
The morning comes early--good night one and all!

Day 3--Jour trois

We're working real hard to stifle a yawn
For leaving was at the butt crack of dawn,
To airport we head, board plane that will go
To Churchill, our goal, and wait for the show.
The morning?  Explore!  Then what do we do?
Why eat...need you ask...let's try something new.
There's ops for photos and Myrtle, a hoot
Be strong and be brave, but your own horn don't toot!
Comestibles done we gear up and go
The breath we do hold while waiting for show
Aurora provides--Amazing, Devine
A long day is done, it's time to unwind!

Day Four--Jour Quatre

Good breakfast is done, we pull up a spot
Samantha informs of things we know not!
But thankful are we that she knows a bunch
Two trivia champs when we go eat lunch!
A tour through a part of Center quite large
A bear's mouth a slide?  It gives us a charge.
Itsanitaq  lore--aboriginal things
Like carving, and stories, the history brings.
A stop at Parks Can., then home for a rest
Before we eat more, it's what we do best!
And following supper, a film and a drink
One made us sleepy, one made us think
But now is the time for eyelids to close
To rest for what comes--tomorrow--who knows!

Day five--Jour cinq

Appropriately named--a church on a hill
A hist'ry lesson with our host named Bill
The stained glass window that if it could talk
Would tell us a story our minds it might shock.
Of course there was lunch--we shall not abstain
The thought of a diet goes right down the drain
Then curling begins, the stones we do throw
We choose up our sides--we won don't you know!
And special this day, not just cause it's cold
We celebrate Barb...my god she's how old?
The birthday dessert gives just the right touch
To send us to dome--to see lights and such.
And two stay out late--for them light teasers
The rest head to bed...I guess we be geezers!

Day 6--Jour six (pronounced sis)


No way that this day could start any better
The toast it was great the coffee seemed wetter
And what was the cause? Of course you must know
Potatoes for breakfast!  We're ready to go.
On bus we  do gather to head to our spot
Researching up north--some learnin' we got
And snow cut with saws and piled up just so
The igloo was built while the wind it did blow!
Then Gypsies for lunch, desserts were our start
From Fred and mom Helen, we sadly depart!


It's back on the bus, to mushers we go
The very best way to get through the snow!
One final attempt to capture the lights
Alas sweet Aurora she gave us no brights. 

 So home for one more--one time we do sleep
We're needing our rest for schedule to keep


We start with plot twist, we end the same way
The last day has changed--we learned it today.
The shoes for the snow we give up quite hard
But early we leave thanks to Mr. Blizzard.
We break our fast then we get in the van
Sweet Lawrence does drive, he's such a nice man.
We'll finish the trip--Fort Garry we'll sleep
And say our goodbyes, but mem'ries  we'll keep.
Life's not defined by the places you end
It's simply about the joy of a friend.
And that's what we are and because this is true
It's safe to say thanks...we truly love you!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A "tasty" vent

Food blogs--an interesting phenomenon!  32,850 pictures.  Descriptions that would make WAR AND PEACE seem like a light, short read.  By the time you get to the recipe, thoughts of retribution float through your head, along with the overwhelming belief, "This had dad-gum better be worth it!"  And some are.  Most aren't and in the time you have taken to get to the recipe, you could have solved world hunger, walked on the moon, visited (and returned from) Mars, or at least have had a cup of coffee and a piece of left-over pie!
Not this blog! 
Here's the recipe you REALLY want to try--good at first bite--good for breakfast warmed over (or up!).  Try it, knowing how much you are loved!

Mushroom Chicken Sausage Casserole
3/4 cup cubed chicken (I also have used left-over turkey!)
1 pound Jimmy Dean Hot pork sausage
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 head cauliflower, broken into flowerettes and steamed in the microwave until crisp tender
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage with the celery, onion, and mushrooms.  Stir in the softened cream cheese and stir until well blended.  Add the chicken, cauliflower and 6 oz of the cheddar cheese.  Turn into a greased 9X13 pan.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Recipe says makes 8-12 servings.  Fat chance.  Your first serving might be normal.  After that, you will begin with a little more, and perhaps go back!!!!  ENJOY!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The biggest question...

Who speaks for me?
Obviously not the president of the United States.  He thwarts the first amendment by denying public media access to information.  He thwarts decency by calling that same media the biggest enemy of the people.  He surrounds himself with people who obviously live in an alternate reality, averring "alternate facts" and "fake news" when they can't explain their lies. 
Obviously not our senate contingent, who voted to seat a Secretary of Education who has no experience in or knowledge of public education, citing the battle cry of "local control" as their reasoning...never explaining how Secretary DeVos or her privatization of education would enhance local control.  Instead, their lock-step support of a partisan vote totally ignored and discredited the thoughts of the educators in the state who vehemently opposed this nomination.  And don't get me started on economic support of their campaigns!  Really?  You didn't know, Senator Rounds, where $47,000 of campaign support funding came from?  That's frightening!
It's time! The answer to the original question is...I!  Complacency is no longer an option. It's time to speak out...to decry the usurpation of my constitutional rights.  To question just exactly who our "representatives" represent.  There are those of you who will take exception to this post.  Good!  There are those of you who might consider things from a different perspective.  Better!  And the answer is not only I.  We ALL need to speak for us, before we no longer have the right!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stand up!

When the flag passes, I stand and salute.  I respect the emblem of our republic.  When a state or nationally elected presiding officer enters the room, I stand out of respect for the office.  I always have.  But what happens when you have no respect for the officer?  What happens when a man, selected by a minority of those voting, tramples on the constitution and/or the principles I espouse?  Then I stand for my country.

The question?  What can Mr. Trump accomplish in his first 100 days?  With a flourish of his pen, he can attempt to completely altar the constitution of the United States.  Executive order Trumps rights.  With cronyism at its worst, he can put in place a cabinet that has little or no regard for what it takes to make a living for the majority of the country.  Power Trumps rights.  With inflammatory rhetoric and a smirk to match, he obfuscates the truth with “alternative facts”.  Bold faced lying Trumps rights.
By nature, I have a tendency to be a-political.  I’m not a party person.  I’m an issues person.  I take issue with this president.  As you trample on the right to free expression, I take issue.  As you profile people based on ancestry, I take issue.  As you destroy faith in a fair republic, I take issue.  As you inflame peoples across the globe, I take issue. 
To the elected representatives who are allowing this to happen, I ask you to stand. Stand up for the constitution.  Stand to protect those of us who do not suffer the problem of privilege.  Stand to withhold confirmation of cabinet members not suited for the job.  Stand for decisions based on facts, not “alternative reality”.  I ask you to be the check on unbridled power and corresponding ego.  I ask you to provide the balance that must exist for our nation to survive.  We cannot, we MUST NOT wait 100 days.  If the choice is to “stand by”, none of us will be left standing!   

Thursday, January 26, 2017

It's all about me

For the three people in the world who don't know, today is my birthday.  67.  It will be a good year.  They all have been.  Every one.  I'm sure there have been some episodes in that era that may have provided ammunition to dispel that belief, but hey, I'm old.  Why choose to remember those?  Instead, I will dwell on the most positive thing I can.  Today.

Episode 1
It started early.  Since I was born at 4:00 am, I got up at 4:00 am.  After all, I had this post to do on Facebook.  And while I was sitting at the computer, I realized the beast had pretty much covered a 360 square mile area of the basement floor with dry food, so as the coffee dripped, I swept.  Then it was coffee and one of the most exciting gifts of the day--the Dakota Style salt and vinegar potato chips my lovely bride had found.  If you are amongst the uninformed (as I was until I asked), they no longer are making those.  This was a "vintage" bag we had somehow managed to ferret away (maybe one, maybe two) years ago.  The thrill of unsealing the bag--the aroma--the first touch of the piquant vinegar to the tongue--the after effect of salt on the lips--the chorus of angels singing in the background--all was right with the world.
Now, with a fresh coffee fix coursing through my veins on its way to assuage my one true addiction, I have printed the puzzles and will accede to my throne--the recliner in the front porch--to test my mental acuity, to solve the problems of the world, and to prepare to deliver the PACH totes this morning.  As the day progresses, I shall return to update you.  Try to control your enthusiasm.

Episode 2
The totes are delivered, there are fewer chips, and breakfast has been consumed.  What was for breakfast, you ask (I heard you, you asked!)?  What does everyone have for breakfast on his birthday?  Baked creamed pheasant and grilled sour dough bread!  The pheasant was provided by Bradley--one of our children with whom we are well pleased!  The sour dough was mine!  Even in retirement, our former students amaze and sustain us!  Fortified, it's onward and upward--go pick up the birthday cake!

Episode 3
Running of the beast.  Cath had book club at Our Redeemer, so the beast and I delivered her.  Never one to fail to opportunize (I'm old, I can make up words!), I took the flinger and the ball with us on the trip.  Big parking lot.  No cars.  Beast friendly.  Get out of the car.  Toss the ball.  Walk the length of the parking lot to toss from the other side.  For those of you who have never experienced the parking lot at Our Redeemer, it makes Chicago wind seem like a gentle zephyr.  And cold?  Sweet Mary, the word bitter does not begin to describe.  After what I considered the absolute minimum beast fetches (and the maximum cheek freezing!), we bundle back into the car and head home, awaiting the call to pick up my bride and go to Dempsey's for lunch.  Okay.  Go to Dempsey's for fries!  And probably an adult libation.  Have I mentioned it's my birthday?

Episode 4
The fries.  The amazing thing about Dempsey's is the menu rarely changes but the food does.  Sometimes, the chicken strips are beer battered.  Some times they aren't.  Aren't today.  Usually, the fries are coated in a beer batter and deep fried.  Pretty much regular fries today.  That is NOT a complaint.  Regular fries are still fries, and I managed to eat all mine and 99.5% of Cath's.  I do believe I'm attempting to set a record for salt intake in one day!  Anyhow, we came home to prepare for bridge tonight.  Believe it or not, there are no fries on the menu.  Chips.  Lots of chips.  And a new cheese dip that is baked in a loaf of Italian bread.  And curried chicken salad.  And home-built buns.  And to keep it healthy, there are the vegies (to dip into the cheese dip)!  We may even play bridge!

Episode 5
The afternoon passes, and it's time to heat up the oven for the dip, get the ice bucket out, and generally start putting it all together.  Oven set to 375.  Sit in the porch until it is pre-heated.  Buzzer announces process has completed.  Somewhat put off by the aroma coming from the oven.  Whoever baked something last must have let it run over.  Hmmmmm.  Come to the kitchen.  Can't see the back porch.  Smoke and questionable aromas greet me.  Turn on the fans.  Open the doors.  Pray.  Our guests probably didn't know we believed in burnt offerings.  Thankfully it's still an hour until they get here.  By then, we should be set.  Cold, but set!

Episode 6
Bridge.  What can I say?  The food was good, the company was better, and the cards?  Well, let's just say the food was good and the company was better.  I may have whined a little.  A lot!  But what an amazing group of ladies with whom to share my natal day.  And we were done by 9:00.  That's only 2 hours past my nap time.  Not bad.

As per our usual, everything is put away, the dishes are done, the left-overs stored, the house in its pre-company form.  Years and years and years ago we made a pact never to go to bed with the onus of a dirty house greeting us on rising.  And now, as my eye lids sag (along with a phenomenally full stomach) it's time to reflect on the day.  Started early.  Stayed busy.  Ran long.  And you would have to sand blast the smile off my face.  I am overwhelmed with the greetings on Facebook.  I am overwhelmed by the kindnesses extended.  I am overwhelmed by how bad my cards were (who says I have to quit whining?).  I shall sleep tonight with the knowledge that I am decidedly the luckiest man in the world.  I am full.  I feel loved.  After all, it's all about me!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The promised recipe

Home built sourdough bread:

In an eight-cup bowl, combine
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Stir to combine
Add 1 5/8 cup tepid water (1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs.)
Stir to combine.  Cover with sprayed saran wrap and let rise in a warm place for 12 to 14 hours!
Remove to a floured surface and knead slightly.
Clean original bowl, spray with a vegetable spray, and return dough to bowl.  Cover and let rise for another 3 hours.
When ready to bake:
Place heavy covered casserole (or heavy enamel pot with lid) in oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Carefully remove pot, uncover, and spray with vegetable spray.  Roll the dough from its bowl into heated pot.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 30 minutes.  When done, tip onto cooling rack and allow to cool as long as you can stand it!
This truly is a bread ANYONE can make.  Start it right after supper.  You will have amazing bread for lunch the next day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In my opinion...

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. 
                                                                                                           Edmund Burke

Dear Mr. President elect,
I just finished reading the farewell speech delivered by President Obama.  Quite literally with tears in my eyes, I was reassured that my opinion of and support for him were both justified.  The use of language to inspire, not denigrate; the use of a call to unify, not isolate; the re-clarification of our democratic principles; the call to come together; the call to action; all resonated within my soul.  The peaceful transition of power is necessary for our republic to survive.  Therefore, Mr. President elect, I pledge to you my support for proposals you put forward to advance our nation—to uplift those in poverty—to add equality both in rights and the ability to make a living—to keep us in good standing in the international community.  I do not, will not support any effort to undermine the true bastion of democracy—our public education system.  I do not, will not support any effort to impose social values that belong in the purview of the individual.  I do not, will not, cannot support a new form of “bully platform” in which the advancement of one person or group occurs by diminishing those who disagree.
Mr. President elect, you have an amazing challenge in front of you.  I wish for you the intelligence to know that there are two sides of every issue, the grace to occasionally recognize you may be wrong, and the wisdom to surround yourself with people willing to disagree with you—for only then can advancement take place, and only then will we survive as a nation.  With all my heart, I wish you a term that truly keeps us GREAT.  And most fervently, Mr. President elect, I hope you lose your Twitter account