Monday, November 30, 2009

Whazzit 2

While folding clothes in the laundry room my eyes were attracted to the one-pint Ball jar on the shelf between the detergent and the bleach. The jar is a third full of thumb tacks for our bulletin board on which BBBH and I post reminders, then promptly forget to check the board again. That is, until after a decision has been taken due to expiration of the notice, so to speak.

Anyway, what really caught my attention was the gizmo atop the tacks. I know my mother had one of these, and used it frequently. What I couldn't find anywhere in the house was the 12-oz. aqua-colored RC bottle with the red and yellow logo. And that is a must-have if the item here is to be utilized.








Scarce there be a person who yet today uses one of these for its intended purpose. In addition to the minimal cost for this appliance, there was an additional 2 cents for the cost of the bottle, for each purchase of the product required a bottle deposit, and if you didn't return the bottle, you bought it.

While Mom kept such a bottle with her laundry supplies, my favorite thing to do with one was this. I would go to the corner grocery with a dime, buy a bottle of RC and a bag of Planters Peanuts. While still in the store (remember, I didn't have the two cents for the bottle) I would swig heartily a couple times, rip the peanut bag open with my teeth, then pour its contents carefully into the throat of the bottle. Then -- aaaah! Such pleasure. What a memory!

(It rather seems in memory that Mom's gadget was aluminum rather than the colorful avocado green plastic. Yeah, that green is so sixties, Mom's must have been aluminum.)

[Bottle photo, rccolainternational.com]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday in Advent


Today is the First Sunday in Advent. It is a joyful time, as we celebrate the anticipated coming of Christ at His birth. Moreover, we celebrate as we look forward to His coming again! (One purple candle is lighted.)
The Psalm is the Twenty-fifth.
From the Prophets, Jeremiah 33:14-16. "Lo, days are coming, an affirmation of Jehovah, And I have established the good word That I spake unto the house of Israel, And concerning the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, I cause to shoot up to David a shoot of righteousness, And he hath done judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days is Judah saved, And Jerusalem doth dwell confidently, And this [is] he whom Jehovah proclaimeth to her: `Our Righteousness.'" --Young's Literal Translation
The Epistle is I Thessalonians 3:12-42.
The Gospel is Luke 21:25-28, 34-36.
The congregation may sing "Love Divine All Loves Excelling." The Choral choice might be "It is Well With My Soul." (Stanza Five quoted here, though entire song is to be sung.)
But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

It is well with my soul, It is well, It is well with my soul.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eleanor Castile

Eleanor of Castile, first queen consort of Edward I of England, died on November 28, 1290. She was married to Edward when she was but thirteen years of age. She bore to him sixteen children, of whom three were boys. Edward was the only son to live to adulthood and he eventually became King Edward II.

Eleanor is credited with having a system of reimbursement for the queen consort established, and this continued down through the years.

She and Edward had many adventures, and apparently were much enamored of each other. Following her death, Edward took her to London and at each stopover erected a cross in her memory. Very interesting history if you are into that sort of thing. Look it up.

(Picture of statue, which may not be a true likeness of Eleanor, from Wikipedia.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Bloated Friday

So it is late Friday morning, Thanksgiving Day 2009 having passed into history. While myriad flocks of humanity all across the country invade the malls and swarm over the merchandise, doubtless rudely shoving and mauling each other in the process (I'm only imagining this, for I have never seen it happen), I sit here in the comfort of my own home. But that is not to say I am comfortable. Because the inevitability of discomfort following a day of complete inertia, except for the incessant motion mouthward by the right hand holding one or another comestible, has inundated me, body and spirit.


Serves me right.


But better that, much better, than being out with the madding crowd.
How many days will you have turkey leftovers?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

And for what am I giving thanks? Among the many other blessings that God has granted, I am also thankful for the pure enjoyment of sitting here in my living room with no other company but the dog. The clock hands just dropped to the back side of the noon hour and I am not involved in messing with anything. Except this. There is no aroma of roasting turkey or baking pies. There is no rattle of pots and pans from the kitchen. It is comfortable, warm and cozy here. The cars are parked in their accustomed spots and are not being impressed into road duty today. The house is not filled with our progeny. There are no family arguments taking place, kids still airing their grievances with one another after more than forty years of harboring their grudges, some of their 'annoyances' having been embellished over time, to the point that the differences in their recollections have become a major part of their disagreements. There are none of the children's kids, our grandkids, adding to the confusion by their whining about how "not fair" everything is in their lives. Nor are there any of them sulking in a corner. Nor are there any of our greatgrandkids calling their friends on their cells, or more likely texting silently as they glower at all assembled, while the youngest of the lot are throwing toys or food, smacking one another just for the fun of it, or screaming at the top of their lungs, distorting their cherubic little faces into red crevasses running with tears and snot. The phone has not rung this morning. No one wishing us a "Happy Thanksgiving." Right. Everyone is too busy dealing with all the "stuff" hinted at above. Yes, we have an abundance of blessings for which we are truly thankful. And sometimes we need to take time to be grateful for what we don't have! (Oh, btw, our family celebration will be on Sunday.)

Ham for Dinner

This scrawny bird showed up here on the farm two years ago. He escaped the executioner's axe because, frankly, he was too skinny to eat. So his image was circulated to wish friends and family-->
The following year, we scared him out of the woods again, and behold, there seemed to be no improvement in his physical condition. Once again he survived, this time to wish my blog pals a Happy Thanksgiving. So we sought the little dickens again this season. But to what avail? He not only is too small to butcher, he is by now too old and too tough, I suspect, to eat. So, again we send him to you to say
Happy Thanksgiving, and eat more Pig!
Special feature for your entertainment: Grace's post.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ready for Winter Rest

Our fields for the most part are harvested and ready for the winter layover. We can see for miles in most directions.
This is literally the last leaf clinging to the weeping cherry in front of the house. (Remember O. Henry's story about the Last Leaf?)

But the Bradford pear is still a palette of many colors.


And this, the largest tree in front of the house, is being quite ornery. See the leaves on the ground? I'd like to rake them and get them off the grass. But look at the tree. The bottom third is still in leaf, in green leaf yet. What is that about? Aggravation, that's what.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Looking Ahead

A few days ago I put up a post which showed a picture of an elderly man feeding the birds. I wrote a little piece to accompany it, which son Carl referred to as my cri du coeur. (He studied at The Sorbonne). So today I am highlighting another local artist, Bev Holliday, who painted this pictorial philosophy which hangs in our living area. I shall interpret.

The loving youngsters represent my progeny, specifically the myriad great grandchildren I have. They are watching me sail "into the sunset," so to speak. They have a lifetime to look forward to as they mature and prepare to launch out into life's sea. Little do they realize that my ship shall not return to them, but rather will sail to a far shore.

The artist might disavow my interpretation, perhaps even averring that it portrays her kids at the beach last summer. Good for her. I see what I see.

In memory of Ellie, who sailed into the sunset eleven years ago today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Badges of Honor

I engaged in a couple of chores around the house for which I was awarded two, count 'em, two badges of honor horror. First, I moved a bureau in order to access an electrical outlet. After inserting plug and moving dresser back into place, I saw blood streaming down my right index finger. Good flow, too, no itty-bitty trickle. I haven't the foggiest clue. Anyway, the second band-aid managed to stanch the flow.





An hour or so later I was working behind the refrigerator, and thinking to get a dust bunny under the back edge of the box, I stuck my left hand beneath the behemoth. I cannot tell you how quickly I jerked it back, only to find a double slice half-inch long down the back of my left other index finger. That little sucker fan was rotating like a dervish. Who knew that thing was under there?

So, all in all, not a very surprising record for a couple hours of chores. A certain person tells me I am "an accident waiting to happen." No, I am not. I go right ahead on and have the accident, especially if it is a possibility during the commission of a household task.

So, on a much brighter note, my kind friend at Secondary Roads has granted me this lovely award. I accept it as a badge of honor. Thank you, Chuck.

The rules of the award state that you must post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted you this award and a link to his/her blog.

Pass the award on to 15 other blogs you have recently discovered* and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers you’ve awarded to let them know they have been chosen. Here we go. YOU are awarded this honor:
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*I have not necessarily "recently discovered" these. They are award-worthy blogs which I believe you will enjoy reading.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Be Ye Thankful

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High. --Psalm 50:14

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. --Psalm 69:30

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. --Psalm 95:2

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. --Psalm 100:4

Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God. --Psalm 147:7



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John Fitzgerald Kennedy May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963 RIP




Saturday, November 21, 2009

Behind the Scenes

Package store; alley utility& courthouse; loading dock;
fire escape; furniture store; theater;
thrift shop; ink cartridges; telephone co.;
thrift again; envelope co; US Post Office.
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S&L; jail yard; hardware store;
back door jail; two restaurants;
optometrist; 100 W. Jeff; Masonic lodge;
alleys intersect; office supply.
We're pretty proud of the old Hometown and we believe that when you drive through our city you will see that our pride is warranted. The city has gone so far as to sponsor a "facade improvement" initiative, which I must say has made a nice looking town look even better.
But you will see no signs inviting you to drive through our alleys. So I thought we would take a little tour through the backside of downtown. The pictures above are the result. Read captions left to right, top to bottom. You know the drill. Enjoy the trip!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 20, 2009

Royal Wedding

Today Elizabeth II Regina and Prince Philip celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary. I am unable to provide a photograph of the happy couple at the time of their wedding because a) I was not present, and if I had been I would have been a mere lad of thirteen and totally barred from the environs of Westminster Abbey; and b) I could find no on-line images which are not copyrighted.

If you are interested in seeing the happy couple, she in her scrumpdillyicious gown, look at this site:

http://prints.paphotos.com/pictures_680397/royal-wedding-princess-elizabeth-and-prince-philip-westminster-abbey.html

If you are not an Anglophile, that is okay. I wouldn't say that I am one, either. But anyone who stays married to each other this long deserves our congratulations.

Congratulations, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Image: Knights of the Bath, by Canaletto 1749. Procession at Westminster Abbey
Semi-apology. Or better, apology to those who don't know me well enough to understand my humor. Yesterday I posted a little verse I wrote three years ago. Please do not infer that I am a "gloomy gus" type, nor that morbidity has set in. I deeply appreciate the gifts God has given me, and specifically the gift of life, which I enjoy very much.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glad You Asked

Thank you for asking for pictures of the office, for it gives me another post for the old blog!














The Kokopelli Room, aka my office. Four bookcases, two desks, two recliners. The roadrunner is the 'throw' on the back of a recliner.





















The wall hanging is a gift from a friend in Oklahoma. The curtains were made by BBBH. Note the "Kokopelli" border all the way around the top of the room.















The "Wall" and the Family Tree.







Irony: I just happened across this right at this time as I was cleaning out files.



ON HAVING PASSED SIX DOZEN YEARS

My libido is long gone.
My ego’s on the way.
Soon the id will go,
Then will come the day
My body, just a husk,
In silence will decay.

--David W. Lacy
November 19, 2006


Well, three years later I'm still kickin' along!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wind Farms

Our trip last weekend took us along US 52 through Benton County, Indiana. This route passes through the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm which currently consists of 222 power-generating windmills, jointly owned by BP Alternative Energy and Dominion. It is an awesome sight driving along for miles and seeing these towers marching along from the eyeball to the horizon.

This facility is the first of two phases on this "farm" and is rated at 400Mw. It is much easier for me to understand when I am told that this set of windmills can produce enough electricity to power 120,000 average homes. The second phase is currently under construction and is scheduled to go on-line in early 2010, bringing the total rating to 750Mw and making it one of the largest wind farms in the world.

This is not the only such producer in Benton County, as there is an older though somewhat smaller collection of mills at Goodland. Nor is this the only wind-powered generation facility we passed through on our trip. Along Illinois route 47 is a similar sight with both completed towers and towers under construction.

When I was a kid we used to visit friends who lived on a farm. They had a "wind charger." It's mounting frame was on the gable of the barn. The fan had two blades and made a distinctive "whap-whap-whap" sound as it turned in the breeze. It provided enough power for a twenty-five watt light bulb in the kitchen, and a refrigerator! The light flickered as the whap-whap could be heard outside the window. The point of relating this is this. The technology existed to generate and utilize wind power in the 1930s. So why did we drag our feet so long? Really, I know the answer to this, but there isn't anyone who would hang around long enough to read it if I were to post it!

It was announced in July this year that we are to get a wind farm right here in Tipton County. Pending approval, construction is to begin early in 2010.

(Fowler Ridge photo from Wikipedia. I could have stopped and taken a picture, but I didn't. When we travel, BBBH avers that for me the destination is the trip, whereas she believes the trip should be the destination. If that makes no sense, try: she believes half the fun is getting there, I believe I'll have fun when I get there. I doubt if BP will object to the use of the logo. After all, this whole article is almost an advertisement for them, and I didn't get a dime for it.)

Guess who does the driving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Painting

This painting by artist friend John Pore graces a wall in our greatroom. I believe it pretty much reflects the stage of life in which I find myself. For the curbstone, think my soft chair on which I sit; for the bag, the keyboard. The birds are the interwebby thing and the popcorn random bits of information.

So long as my fingers are agile enough, ditto my mind, I shall doubtless sit here in a charade of real life, pretending desperately that I am still involved in the world in which I exist. This is an important thought, perhaps much more significant than it might appear. For it is so easy to be deluded into believing that what happens on the screen in front of me is real life. Meanwhile, the muscles atrophy and so, I fear, will the mind by and by, and then where or who will I be?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wheels, Family and Cats



This post goes up a little late on this totally soaked and soaking Monday morning here in the Hometown. We arrived home from Northern Illinois following a long, very wet, but uneventful drive. Traffic was minimal, and though the roads were wet-slick, a little care insured safe return to the domicile.
Saturday evening we attended the play Reaching Outpost. Nephew's writing provided a great vehicle for an excellent performance by the Kaneland High School players. Afterward, visiting with the playwright, we had the opportunity to hear his rationale to the approach he had taken. JD said that he started with the thought in mind that he would like a light drama specifically designed to be performed by kids, not something in which high school students were playing adult roles. In this he succeeded very well. We were entertained.

Sunday morning my niece, her husband and her son had arrived from New Jersey. I had not previously met Heidi's husband, nor had I yet seen the grand nephew. What a beautiful child he is, and good-natured to a fault. At fifteen months, he is a real "people person," a charmer if there ever was one. A crew of family members, thirteen in all, met for brunch in beautiful downtown Elburn. It was great.
The creatures above are residents in my sister's home. At top, Isabella, and below her, Peaseblossom.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Words of the Master

John 6:51" I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. --NIV

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reaching Outpost

This evening we will attend the Fall Play at Kaneland High School. My sister Ilene is the drama instructor at Kaneland. The play was written by her son, my nephew James Carter. The kids have had the experience of a work shop with the playwright.

We are excited with anticipation of seeing the work of my sister and my nephew. We were not able to attend the "World Premiere" of Reaching Outpost which was Friday evening, but to the cast for the next two performances, Break some legs!

November 13 and 14 at 7:00 pm, and November 15 at 2:00 pm. The Kaneland High School fall show is a world premiere by professional New York playwright, James Carter. This play is especially exciting to the cast members because they met and work-shopped with the playwright on the weekend of September 25th.---from Kaneland High School website.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kokopelli

BBBH designed and we redecorated my office recently. (She is an HGTV enthusiast.) Since I was born and raised in Colorado, she thought to choose a "Western" theme. During our travels in the West, BBBH found the Anasazi very interesting, and the ubiquitous appearance of Kokopelli througout the Southwest inspired her to choose his image as a recurring motif.

Kokopelli is the little dickens depicted here. He is the music-loving flute player who also happens to be a trickster as well as the god of fertility. So it is said. He appears in the legends of the Anasazi and modern tribes such as the Hopi. Historically, it has been determined that his image appeared among The People well over 1000 years ago.

Many of the images much more clearly suggest the "fertility" aspect of his behavior. Some legends say he carried unborn babies in the sack on his back (the depiction of Kokopelli often shows a distinct hump). He was said to "distribute" these little tykes to young women so that they might bear them into the world. For this reason, the girls were often frightened of this being, very reasonably fearing pregnancy.

There is much information about this personage available, so if this little vignette has piqued your interest, start by entering his name in your browser, and have fun.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tanya

Tanya Harding, born in Portland, Oregon on November 12, 1970, has lived a life which runs the gamut from fame to notoriety. She has stood on the heights and descended to the depths of human experience. Yet she soldiers on. As recently as this August past, she set a land speed record for the vehicle class at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.

In 1991, Miss Harding won the United States Figure Skating Championship, and was second in the World. In 1994, her world came crashing down around her silver skates.


My father was not an avid figure skating fan, but he was in his later years a bit of a news junkie. When a story caught his attention he pursued it relentlessly. In the case of Tanya, he followed each detailed story about the charges, the plea and the outcome of the case.


In the end, Dad was convinced, and was vocal about it, that he had witnessed the case of an innocent young girl who was caught up in circumstances beyond her control, the victim of being associated with the wrong people.


Unfortunately, Dad did not live to see Tanya's boxing career, or her numerous encounters with the law in incidents relating to alcohol consumption. Nor did he hear of the "hubcap incident." He was spared this, although I am convinced that he would have found that "extenuating circumstances" had plagued the young lady even into her fourth decade of life.


While I cannot condone many of her choices, I admit to an admiration for her athletic prowess, and for her courage in "pressing on" in spite of the negatives and the spotlight on her behaviors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

is today.
Originally called Armistice Day, the holiday was established in commemoration of the end of World War I and was celebrated on November 11, the date of the armistice signing. Since that time, having been engaged in too many wars, our freedoms requiring defenders, we have changed the appellation to Veterans Day and thereby honor all who have served in our armed forces.
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard.

No matter the branch of the military, so many have served selflessly and valiantly. Many have lost their lives in the defense of liberty and myriad others have suffered trauma, physical, mental and spiritual.
Thank a veteran, not just today, but anytime you have occasion to visit with one. Honor the fallen, specifically today, but be ever mindful of their sacrifices.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Harvest Contest


The flower and the fruit, June and November. You tell me.
No prizes, spelling counts.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Praise

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.
Amen. --Jude 1:24,25
I gulped down my first cup of water this morning, let out a long "aaaah." BBBH said, "Good old water. The more you drink, the more you want. I think that's why Jesus called himself water. 'I am the Living Water.'"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fading Fall


The little ash, so colorful ten days ago, is now bare. The catalpa leaves were still green a week ago. Now, brown or gone.

We still have a few roses, though. This is "Simplicity." (Yes, I am that kind of guy.)

There are still a few snapdragons and dianthus bordering the walks.



The cherry's flaming glory has died down to a few "embers."




But the Bradford pear is quite gaudy!
Somehow I think that the colors will soon be all white, blue and shades of gray.