Thursday, December 28, 2006

Road Trip

Road Trips

I love road trips and especially ones that are spur of the moment. I have driven 5 hours on a teasing invite from my sister to have pizza with her. 5 Hours later, I was knocking on her door at 2AM wondering why the party had broken up and where is the pizza.

My sister and I made a trip to Vermont a year ago to view the fall colors, and we opted to travel without reservations. The only agenda was a general destination for that day or the next. The days were unplanned, and we would look for dinner and a place to stay at 5PM for that night. If you know falls colors in Vermont, you already are surmising that we may have slept in the car or on a park bench at least one night.

Saturday morning dawned bright, clear, crisp and an excellent day for adventure. Our itinerary had us in Central Vermont, touring the Shaker Villages and ending the day, according to our plans in the Woodstock area. Our next day’s itinerary was to place us in Waterbury touring Ben and Jerry’s. At 5, we pulled into a motel and asked about availability, and were told that all rooms were booked or reserved, but they would gladly check out the web for other possibilities. After a minute, they came back and said everything in central and northern Vermont was booked for the weekend. We next tried a B&B, and were again told the same thing. As we headed back to the freeway, my sister’s husband asked if he should turn south towards Manchester, or go north. We both replied that our original destination was north and we will trust that all will work out.

Barr was our next stop and once again, there were not any rooms to be had. We decided to continue to Montpelier as there is a good eating establishment there we wanted to dine at. The place is the Vermont School of Culinary Institute, and the food is just fantastic. The chefs are all in training and serve as wait staff as well. We arrived there, and were seated after a 20 minute wait and the time was now 8PM.

On the table was a magazine of Vermont, and my sister opened it to the center and there was an article about the fall colors in Vermont as well as a motel add for a place in Stowe, Vermont. We talked about calling as we had tried everyplace else in the area, we might as well try there also. Besides it was within 20 minutes of Waterbury. I called, and said we wanted 2 rooms with 2 queen sized beds in each, a good shower, and an iron in each room. The response back from the clerk was that they close at midnight and how did we want to hold the rooms!

My sister and I did a “high 5” and her husband said you two are just unconscious. You pull into a parking lot expect to find “your” parking place, and it is there just where you want it, and now you find a place to stay for the night just where you desired it to be.

We checked in a couple of hours later and found nice, clean, comfortable rooms. The next morning, when we opened the curtains we were greeted by another surprise. The place was nestled in a valley, and all around us were fall colors of the master painter on the hillsides. The views were awesome.

Another time, I headed out on a road trip, only to have this feeling that we needed to turn around. It never let up, and finally two hours later, we turned around to go back home. The next morning, there was a knock on the door, and it was a neighbor offering me a job with his company. Since, I was unemployed at the time; it was just what was needed.

I like traveling without specific plans and just a general destination. Tomorrow, I leave on another road trip for Texas, to pick up a race car body and chassis. My friend, Crash, asked if I would like to travel with him to Dallas, Texas and back. Crash used to be a stock car driver, and now he owns and teaches Drivers Ed at a local school as well as doing his own business; Interstate Truck Driving School

I am bringing my camera, and will be snapping pictures as we drive, talk, laugh and just enjoy the trip. See you all next year!

How do you travel? Do you plan in details, or just go for the fun of seeing and experiencing life?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


At Christmas the cranberry signifies joy and prosperity. In 1765, General Washington's army was held up behind enemy lines in one of the coldest winters in Maine History. Out of food and other nutritious supplements the men survived by foraging the local berries. The enlisted man who found the berries was Infantry Corporal Benjamin Cranstock, thus the "Cranberry". The men survived and were able to defeat the British in the folllowing days.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Paul Ferrini's Weekly Wisdom


Every moment is ecstatic if we take the time to experience it fully. So keep your eyes and your heart open, welcome each moment as it comes,and bless it as it goes.

Know that everything is okay just the way it is. Every experience you have had has already been forgiven. You are not a prisoner the past. You are free to respond as you wish in this moment.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Sammy Friday

Hi Folks, Sammy here, you all can call me King Sammy.
A long time ago in our history folks used to worship cats as Gods. We still think we are.

I have wonderful news to share with everyone. The man called the roofing contractor today to voice a complaint about his new roof. He had ordered a green roof and this afternoon the color changed to white. The contractor informed him he had received a new brand that would change color in winter to conserve energy.

We have snow! And just in time for the holidays that you folks call Christmas. In the Cat Kingdom, we thought the pretty lights, decorated trees, and wrapped presents were all about the equinox and the days getting longer. A long time ago, that is what the party was all about. Just about all cultures set aside the shortest days of the year as a “rebirth” of the sun. It meant spring was not too far off and people would celebrate this major event. The churches used to close their doors, and refuse to take part in this celebration. When the Puritans left the old country with us on board, and landed here in this new land, they banned the celebration of Christmas. It was that way for over 150 years. Some of the old laws are still on the books.

Eventually the “lords of Disorder” took over December 25th, and made it a drunken party in the US. With the holiday being a drunken street celebration, songs of the era, including “We wish you a Merry Christmas” alluded to the nature of the carnival. Christmas was a day that women, children, and cats feared to walk the streets. You folks have a celebration next month that is known as “Super Bowl Weekend” Another party time. The man received an email from a church he attended a while back, and the pastor phrased his comments like this:

“I can tell it's almost Christmas. My pulse starts to race a little bit. I don't sleep as well because I'm getting excited and a little anxious. My staff says I seem a little more rambunctious than normal - like a bull in a china shop. But there's a reason for all that. There's a lot at stake at Christmas. It's the "Super Bowl" of the church year........................”

I guess I will go back to sleep, as I am confused as to what this holiday is about. The man thought it was about celebrating a very wise man’s birth, but are we playing football now? Has the church decided to join the party?

The man has been wrapping presents, and me thinks he has one for me. He is a nice man, even though I call him a grouch. Did I tell you he stepped on my foot once? He has big feet, and my little footy hurt for days.

Meooorrrryyy Christmasssssssssss…………………

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


It comes for some of us as we stand in a long checkout line in an overcrowded store, tired and finally out of patience as we rush to finish that one holiday errand too many. Just then we notice unusual warmth in a weary grin of some fellow procrastinator, or a kindly sparkle on the bloodshot eye of some stress-out clerk.
Good wishes are exchanged with a chuckle, and it comes…….

Sometimes it comes carried on a fresh-baked cookies; grandpa’s aftershave and aunties perfume; a log smoldering on a late night fire. We stir a steaming pot of that special stuff mother always makes this time of year, or bury our noses in the new-ish smell of mittens worn for the first time, and memories rush in, along with feeling deeper than memory. And it comes…..

It comes for many from religious devotions. Tidings of joy and prayers of thanksgiving accompany an old, beautiful story of a humble birth and a glorious miracle, of angles and donkeys, shepherds and kings. We hear again a story simple enough for child and deep enough for any philosopher, and it comes……

Visitors bring it with them, whether they are famously festive friends or famously grumpy relatives. All that matters is that we belong with them, and they with us, and they have come. We find it, too, whenever we take time to visit with others, especially if they are sick or in need – and most of all if they are alone, It never leaves the side of the lonely, if only we will bother to seek it there.

It comes through the sights and sounds of the season – moonlight casting shadows in a snowy forest; a favorite carol; household decorations older than anyone in the house; the hearty laughter of adults over the smallest of jokes, and the laughter of children when there is no joke at all, only joy.

Sometimes it comes, all will admit, with a special seasoning of sadness – a melancholy that is almost a pleasure, but not quite. Our family lives do not always measure up to the sentimental ideals presented to us. There are frictions, misunderstandings and worse. Illness, disappointment and worry clash with the enchanted atmosphere of the holiday, and are harder t look at than in the ordinary light of an ordinary day. The absence of the missing breaks hearts that already seemed completely broken.

In spite of it all, it comes………………. Sometimes at the last minute, when we have almost ceased to hope for it. In spite of the hassle and hustle, in spite of the darkness in the world and in out souls, it comes…….. . and for a moment we are better. Not better than others, not even better than the world. But a little better than ourselves.
–Virginia McKnight Binger

An Eye Test

Can you find the C, 6 & N

This is not a joke..............................
If you can pass, you can safely turn on your ignition key again and
your annual eye examination.............

find the "C" ??? (Good exercise for the eyes!)


Once you've found the C..........

Find the 6!


Once you've found the 6...

Find the N! (it's hard!!)


Once you've found the N...
make a wish!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Paul Ferrini Weekly Message

Releasing Past and Future
Our greatest spiritual challenge is to be happy in this moment . We can’t be happy if we are upset about something that happened in the past or worried about achieving some outcome in the future. We can be happy only when our energy is invested in working with what is happening here and now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Legend of White-bear Lake

In 1883, Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi was published. In it he writes of the legend of White-bear Lake.

Every spring, for perhaps a century, or as long as there has been a nation of red men, an island in the middle of White-bear Lake has been visited by a band of Indians for the purpose of making maple sugar.

Tradition says that many springs ago, while upon this island, a young warrior loved and wooed the daughter of his chief, and it is said, also, the maiden loved the warrior. He had again and again been refused her hand by her parents, the old chief alleging that he was no brave, and his old consort called him a woman!

The sun set again upon the sugar-bush, and the bright moon rose high in the bright blue heavens, when the young warrior took down his flute and went alone, once more to sing the story of his love, the mild breeze gently moved the two gay feathers in his head-dress, and ads he mounted on the trunk of the leaning tree, the damp snow fell from his feet heavily. As he raised his flute to his lips, his blanket slipped from his well-formed shoulders, and lay partly on the snow beneath. He began his weird, wild love-song, but soon felt that he was cold, and as he reached back for his blanket, some unseen hand laid it gently on his shoulders; it was the hand of his love, his guardian angel. She took her place beside him, and for the present they were happy; for the Indian has a heart to love, and in this pride he is noble as in his own freedom, which makes him a child of the forest. As the legend runs, a large white-bear, thinking perhaps, that polar snows and dismal winter weather extended everywhere, took up his journey southward. He at length approached the northern shore of the lake which now bears his name, walked down the bank and made his way noiselessly through the deep heavy snow toward the island. It was the same spring ensuing that the lovers met. They had left their first retreat, and were now seated among the branches of a large elm which hung far over the lake. (The same tree is still standing and excites universal curiosity and interest.) For fear of being detected, they talked almost in a whisper, and now, that they might get back to camp in good time and thereby avoid suspicion, they were just rising to return, when the maiden uttered a shriek which was heard in camp, and bounding toward the young brave, she caught his blanket, but missed the direction of her foot and fell, bearing the blanket with her into the great arms of the ferocious monster. Instantly every man, woman, and child of the band were upon the bank, but all unarmed. Cries and wailings went up from every mouth. What was to be done? In the meantime this white and savage beast held the breathless maiden in his huge grasp, and fondled with his precious prey as if he were sued to scenes like this.

One deafening yell from the lover warrior is heard above the cries of the hundreds of his tribe, and dashing away to his wigwam he grasps his faithful knife, returns almost in a single bound to the scene of fear and fright, rushes out along the leaning tree to the spot where his treasure fell, and springing with a fury of mad panther, pounced upon hi prey.

The animal turned, and with a stroke of his huge paw brought the lovers heart to heart, but the next moment the warrior, with one plunge of the blade of his knife, open the crimson sluices of death, and the dying bear relaxed his hold.

That night there was no more sleep for the band or the lovers, and the young and old danced about the carcass of the dead monster, the gallant warrior was presented with another plume, and ere another moon had set he had the living treasure added to his heart. Their children for many years played upon the skin of the white-bear –from which the lakes derives its name – and the maiden and the brave remembered long the fearful scene and rescue that made them one, for Kis-se-me-pa and Ka-go-ka could never forget their fearful encounter with the huge monster that came so near sending them to the happy hunting-ground.

Legends are fascinating glimpses into life when they started, and I find it interesting to read and remember them. This is one of two legends of this community, and as in the telling of most legends, their is always some truth woven into it.

Christmas 2006 Lights

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sammy Friday

Good day to you all, and Welcome to Sammy Friday

In the great state of the Igloo land of Minnesota, I would like everyone to know it is 11 days until the gift exchange that you folks call Christmas. My order for those that care, are lots and lots of mommy hugs, some catnip, and lots of petting. Mommy, I miss you. The “man” is nice but this week, he has been grumpy and not very sociable. I even jumped on the table in front of him and offered to let him pet me.

Old scrooge has a lot of other names for Christmas. One of the names he calls it is “shoooooooopppppppping” season. And he does not like that kind of shopping at all. His idea of shopping is walk into the store, get what he wants, and leave. He got talked into “shooooppppiiinnnggg” on Monday evening by a friend and he was already eating nails when he got home from work. He was not a happy cat. His tail was twitching and just swaying from side to side. Then while shopping, the lady friend made a comment about a boy’s jacket in front of them, and the old grump said that they were in the girls department. The gal told him in no uncertain terms to “shut up” and just do what he was told, she was not asking for advice. The “man” turned “stone cold” and walked out of the store, he was done shopping. Oh - he was a fuming volcano!

I like playing, as I am a Maine Coon, and my family does like to play and create games. The grump has all kind of toys for me, and he also had put up just for me this tree loaded with tinsel, lights, and bulbs. Oh I was having fun, knocking bulbs on the floor, pulling tinsel from the tree, and wadding up the tree skirt. Each day, the grump would come home, chewing on nails, and pick up the bulbs and hang them higher up on the tree. Now after a week of this, the tinsel and bulbs are all higher than I can reach, much higher.

The grump also had some white trees outside and they fell over, as it was so warm that the ground thawed around the poles and toppled. He just looked at them and shrugged and walked away. He is talking like there may not be any snow for xmas this year. Last night it rained here, and as he left for work this morning – I was watching him out the window – as he drove out of the driveway and he spun the truck in circles. The grumps truck came to a stop in his lilac bushes. The road was coated in ice and as he stepped out, he quickly grabbed the truck to stop his fall.

The old grump needs to be more like me, and not let little things bother him. However, he had ruined the tree for me, and that was my toy to play with. Why else would he have put it up? He just does not make kitty sense at all. Life is to play, do some napping in the sunbeams, eat some snacks, chase dust bunnies, watch the birds outside, play some more, and be petted a lot. What is more important than that?

Hey, the “grumps” son was adopted by a nephew of mine. A little tiny Maine Coon kitty! He is a cute little fellar and not afraid of nothing. They had this ferocious cat that liked to play outside and hunt gray squirrels. Well, little kitty would pounce on that cat and show it that he was boss. He would hunch up his shoulders, lean forward, fluff his tail, lower his head and charge that cat. I have heard that the big old cat liked his spunkiness.

Have a great cat day…….moewwwww, purrrrrr, meooooooooooooowwwwww.

JJ response:
Yes, Sammy I was biting nails and being grumpy. Something was up at work, and after being with the same company for 15 years, one starts to see some patterns emerging. Multiple meetings, lots of whispers, and closed-door conferences all send signals that something is about to change.

The housing industry is in a slump, and most businesses in this sector are down 40% from a year or two ago. It is hard to react to that and today turned out to be a “Black Friday” 30% of the office staff was released, and financial cuts ran deep. Not a good way to start or be in a holiday season. But then, there never is a good time for such things. In my department, I saw 4 friends laid off, many I have worked with for many years. The day progressed much like being in a state of shell shock. My position was spared, but it will also require picking up the pieces and doing the work or 2 or more of the people that left. This will be a challenge and one that will require us to figure out a way of maintaining business to be ready for a better day.

Finally, the office meeting to explain tall the folks left what just occurred and why. The amazing part was the owner of the company almost biting his lower lip as he admitted errors, and having to accept the responsibility for what had happened. He had been a friend and in some form of a relationship with everyone being laid off and it hurt to know he was putting friends and families at risk. He also knew that they would be angry and could accept that, as he would be angry also. He was sad he had left so many people down, but knew the company would survive and be in a better position to be ready for a better housing market. It was one of the few times I have heard him speak from the heart.

Tomorrow is another day, but for now I am going to put my feet up and read a good book. G’night Sammy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Nate

Nate Birthday with Garfield
Nate In Alaska visiting Caleb
Nate as best man
Nate is 33 Today
Happy Birthday Son

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Thoughts of Christmas

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."
- Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus."
- Francis Pharcellus Church

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
- Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!"
- Charles Dickens, "The Pickwick Papers" (1836)

"Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling."
- Edna Ferber

"I do like Christmas on the whole.... In its clumsy way, it does approach Peace and Goodwill. But it is clumsier every year."
- E.M. Forster

"Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the most Divine Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven's making."
- Leigh Hunt

"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
- Washington Irving

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"I hear that in many places something has happened to Christmas; that it is changing from a time of merriment and carefree gaiety to a holiday which is filled with tedium; that many people dread the day and the obligation to give Christmas presents is a nightmare to weary, bored souls; that the children of enlightened parents no longer believe in Santa Claus; that all in all, the effort to be happy and have pleasure makes many honest hearts grow dark with despair instead of beaming with good will and cheerfulness."
- Julia Peterkin, A Plantation Christmas (1934)

"Love came down at Christmas;
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and angels gave the sign."
- Christina Rossetti

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
- Dr. Seuss

"A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year."
- Walter Scott

"To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year."
- E.B. White, "The Second Tree from the Corner"

"Somehow, not only for Christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.

"And the more you spend in blessing the poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing
Returns to you glad."
- John Greenleaf Whittier

Monday, December 11, 2006

Paul Ferrini Weekly Message

Waiting for Direction

We all need time to breathe and to be.
It’s a sacred time. It’s a time when we
gather our power and our direction.
If we don’t take this time, we may act prematurely or impulsively. Our actions may
lack power or they may result in unfortunate consequences we did not anticipate.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I've been TAGGED! Gasp



1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? Bailey’s in my coffee, and lots of rum for egg nog along with egg nog pie
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa has elves in apprenticeship that wraps the presents.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White on the exterior of the house, colored in the trees, and white on the fake tree in the house
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, what for? Poisonous to cats.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Sometime before Christmas, preferably
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Cookies
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Going out into the woods in search of the perfect tree
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Santa is very much alive and well in each and every one of us
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No
10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Sugar cookies, spritz cookies, and, Russian Tea Cookies. Used to be a family tradition as a child that we would make Xmas cookies by the dozens to give away.
11. Snow! Love it or hate it? Love it, and love driving in it.
12. Can you ice skate? No
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Cross Country Skis
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays to you? Remembering that Christmas is time of stories, hopes, dreams and “magic” being possible for everyone, and giving to others
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin Pies, I have this family recipe handed down for generations. Well, I started it and everyone loves them.
16. Favorite Holiday tradition? Helping some family in need, anoynmously
17. What tops your tree? A Star.
18. Which do you prefer--GIVING OR RECEIVING? Giving
19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? Do You Hear What I Hear
20. Candy Canes? Big Candy Canes

I am Tagging the ruby dairies , Arkie Trish , Making Use of Muse , Blog of Rand ,Vespers Escape

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A "Sammy" Friday

I am Sammy, and all you nice folks can call me “King” Sammy.

The “Man” conceded I could post today as it was a fine piece of negotiations that was accomplished to talk me into this. I understand that
Fred the Cat also posts on Fridays, and you may want to check him out also. However, the man thought he was being smart, and upgraded a bunch of things and then found out his capabilities to leave comments at old blogger sites is limited. Between you and I, this is probably a good thing????

On my nocturnal visits, I have noticed that people are mentioning about person of the year, and it should really be Al Gore. He has gone thru a lot, he has not fully understood why he lost the his election, but let us just say, he lost so he could focus his energies where they needed to be focused – on the environment. That is going to be his legacy. But, my subjects and the human that I own, want me talk about how all my friends will be impacted. I am not an alarmist, as I have been around a while. With nine lives, one gets lots of time to see the bigger picture. The Great planet Earth will go on, and my friends will be around a long time, as we have learned to adapt to what comes our way. Jesus, Budda, Gandhi, King Sam the 1st, all basically said the same thing. Go with the flow, be passers by! You humans thou have forgotten all of this, and insist on trying to control everything. Even the times you go to poop!

Talking about poop, you humans need to watch what you eat. I have heard the “man” and others complain about stinkin’ cat poop, and let me inform you your poop stinks a whole lot worse. You would never sneak up on a mouse smelling like that. Phewwee! You folks can really emit some noxious odors and it is because of loosing the ability to listen to your body and eat correctly. I know some of my subjects will leave a room rather quickly once the human emitting orifice starts working. Some of the things you folks eat are downright disgusting. I really think you eat it, so you can raise a bigger stink and get noticed all the more. And then you laugh like it is a big joke. Isn’t that kind of being narcissistic in some ways? Speaking of
narcissistic , EOTR had a nice discussion on this, and the “man” even took the test. He came up NA, and kind of chuckled about it. Something about all people being childish at times.

Talking about a joke and surprised looks. A Maine Coon legend says that our ancestors are the lynx and the house cat. I wish I could have seen that courtship! Who was pa, and who was ma?

But speaking of ships, our family traveled on ships to keep vermin under control. The vermin are my chosen cuisine of rats and mice. Mighty tasty!! Much better than this fake food I get to eat. Anyhoo, I digress, we are controlling mice and rats on ships, and the rats and mice learn that to escape us, they go deep into the holds of the ship where water is leaking in, and they are safe there. This goes on for a while, and my ancestors, my great–great-great grandfather is getting mighty hungry. He is watching the mice swim in the water, and he decides that it is better to join them than chose to stay put and starve. He enters the water and teaches himself to swim, then he teaches the other cats on board to swim, and one fine day, the mice run to the water and start swimming away thinking they are safe. Only to their surprise, they see the Maine Coon’s swimming right beside them with teeth bared for dinner. Those mice and rats were never safe again. And that is why; we will survive, as we are adaptable.

Say, the “man” had a birthday gift given to him last spring. It was a numerology reading, and it said he was older than dirt! No poop! He was also a nun in an earlier life, a successful business man several times, a Buddhist monk, a neglected wife, and his totem is a tortoise. He is supposed to make decisions slow and steady. And he is being slow! And he is supposed to get in touch with his heart this lifetime. Maybe that is what the other blog of his is about.

Meooowoooooooooo…………………….. I have had some visitors leave some might fine comments. Vesper and Ruby certainly know how to make a cat purr and think happy thoughts. If it wasn’t for the old “man’s” rules!

See ya next Friday………………

Tis the Season

Front Porch
Setting up The Tree
Lights on the Tree

A story of Wealth, Success, and Love

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them.She said "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat."
"Is the man of the house home?", they asked.
"No", she replied. "He's out."
"Then we cannot come in", they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home,she told him what had happened.
"Go tell them I am home and invite them in!"
The woman went out and invited the men in.
"We do not go into a House together," they replied.
"Why is that?" she asked.
One of the old men explained: "His name is Wealth," he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, "He is Success,and I am Love."
Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with yourhusband which one of us you want in your home."
The woman went in and told her husband what was said.
Her husbandwas overjoyed.
"How nice!!", he said. "Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!"
His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we invite Success?"
Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house.
She jumped in with her own suggestion: "Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!"
"Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice,"said the husband to his wife."Go out and invite Love to be our guest."
The woman went out and asked the 3 old men,"Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest."
Love got up and started walking toward the house.
The other 2 also got up and followed him.
Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success:"I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?"
The old men replied together: "If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him."
Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An Introduction

Uhmmm, I am Sammy, and you can call me "King" Sammy.
I am a house guest of this man, and I am a Maine Coon. My distance relative is the lynx and a housecat. I am also called a "gentle giant" and like all cats, I do have nine lives. Unlike many other of my friends do. The "man" watched a couple of movies this weekend, and one showed you humans are causing some trouble and quite possibly creating an impact globally. My friends in the wild have asked me to stop in from time to time and try to educate the "man."

Besides stepping on my little toes with his big feet once in a while, and the "man" not really liking cats, he does give a mean backrub and tummy scratch. However, I hear there is "Baron" out there that gets nervous if a cat likes him too much. Baron, I am sending some friends to talk to you. You can see the sneaky feline in the background if you look for him. If anyone would care to deliver this message to Baron, please do. The message is "puuuuurrrrrrrr."

Hey, "Man!" did you know it is going to get warmer, before its gets very, very cold? The warmth will cause ice caps to melt, and as they melt my relatives the polar bears will have to swim farther.They however, only have 1 life, and some are just not capable of very long swims. Unlike me, I like water! Once those caps melt, then the gulf stream will cool down, and things will get cold very very fast. I have a heavy coat, but even I will head south.

I'll be baaaacccckkkkkkk!

PS - I have to be sneaky, not hard for a cat, but the movie is "An Inconvenient Truth" - Ophra have Al on this afternoon, and some other dude saying Al is a alarmist.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sharing Community

There were 2 movies that I watched this weekend. One was "An Inconvenient Truth" and the other was Meltdown, with the back to the Ice Age characters by Ray Ramano. Both movies were good, and yet I wondered about my choices in watching Al Gore talk about Global Warming and then watching the mammoths try to avoid the flood caused by the melting glaciers. Meltdown had some sexual overtones between the mammoths, and “The Inconvenient Truth” was about the climate getting hotter, how it is affecting species, life and the impact of doing nothing by the people that choose money over Planet Earth. For more info click on the link. An Convenient Truth

Sunday, December 03, 2006


By Dina Donahue

For many years now, whenever Christmas pageants are talked about
in a certain little town in the Midwest, someone is sure to
mention the name of Wallace Purling. Wally's performance in one
annual production of the nativity play has slipped onto the realm
of legend. But the old-timers who were in the audience that
night never tire of recalling exactly what happened.

Wally was nine that year and in the second grade, though he
should have been in the fourth. Most people in town knew that he
had difficulty in keeping up. He was big and clumsy, slow in
movement and mind. Still, his class, all of whom were smaller
than he, had trouble hiding their irritation when Wally would ask
to play ball with them or any game, for that matter, in which
winning was important.

Most often they'd find a way to keep him out but Wally would hang
around anyway not sulking, just hoping. He was always a helpful
boy, a willing and smiling one, and the natural protector of the
underdog. Sometimes if the older boys chased the younger ones
away, it would always be Wally who'd say, "can' they stay?
They're no bother"

Wally fancied the ideal of being a shepherd with a flute in the
Christmas pageant that year, but the play's director, Miss
Lumbar, assigned him to a more important role. After all, she
reasoned, the Innkeeper did not have too many lines and Wally's
size would make his refusal of lodging to Joseph more forceful.

And so it happened that the usual large, partisan audience
gathered for the town's yearly extravaganza of beard, crown,
halos and a whole stage full of squeaky voices. No one on stage
or off was more caught up on the magic of the night than Wallace
Purling. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched
the performance with such fascination that from time to time Miss
Lumbar had to make sure he didn't' wander on stage before his

Then the time came when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding
Mary to the door of the Inn. Joseph knocked hard on the wooden
door sat into the painted backdrop. Wally the innkeeper was
there, waiting.

"What do you want?" Wally said, swinging the door open with a
brusque gesture.

"We seek lodging."

"Seek it elsewhere," Wally looked straight ahead but spoke
vigorously. "The Inn is filled."

"Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and
are very weary."

"There is no room in this Inn for you." Wally looked properly

"Please, good Innkeeper, this is my wife, Mary. She is heavy
with child hand needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some
small corner for her. She is so tired."

Now, for the first time, the Innkeeper relaxed his still stance
and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long
enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.
"No! Be gone!" the prompter whispered from the wings.

"No!" Wally repeated automatically, "Be gone!"

Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary and Mary laid her head
upon her husband"s shoulder and the two of them started to move
away. The Innkeeper did not return inside his Inn, however.
Wally stood there in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple.
His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes
filling unmistakable with tears.

And suddenly the Christmas pageant became different from all the

"Don't go, Joseph," Wally called out. "Bring Mary back." And
Wallace Purling's face grew into a bright smile. "You can have
my room!"

Some people in town thought that the pageant had been ruined.
Yet there were others....many, many others...who considered it
the most Christmasy of all Christmas pageants they had ever seen.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blogger "Angst" continues

Now, I cannot post a picture, or have fancy fonts, colors, etc. They just keep spiraling downward.

My other issue of blogger I think I have figured out. Yesterday at work, _ ON BREAK - I pulled up my blog to look at it. Then I looked at Liz's, then Vespers, EOTR, and then BBC. BBC was different, as the characters on the bottom bar, said betablogspot and it did not make sense. Then I hit Trish’s and saw just blogspot. So I went back to the others, and then did some random testing. Everyone I could post at came up betablog and carried my log in name in the header. All the other ones, did not. Since I no longer have a blogspot login, it will not allow me to post. I can preview, and hit publish, but then the error message comes up that says, they have been notified and are working on fixing the problem.

Now, I have patience, and also know that someday, it will be fixed. Maybe....

Feed the Birds

For those in the snowy climes.....:

For the birds . . . winter food
1 pound lard
12 oz. jar of crunchy peanut butter
1 pound melted suet
Put all of the above ingredients into a double boiler and stir
together over medium heat. When thoroughly melted and mixed,
pour this mixture over the following dry ingredients, which
have been put into a large pan:
2 pounds (32 oz. box) yellow cornmeal
10 pounds of wild birdseed
Mix all together and pour into containers. Use large cake pans
and cut into squares or use smaller containers such as small
cottage cheese containers, tuna cans etc. Wrap the "cakes" in wax
paper or foil and refrigerate. Pinecones can be used by pushing
this mixture inside the cones. Hang "cakes" or cones from tree
limbs or in a birdfeeder. Serves about 752 birds.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Early Childhhod Moves

My kids often talk about how often we have moved and lived in different areas as they were growing up. My parents did not do a lot of moving. They moved from Galva, Illinois to northern WS to an old potato farm. The place had an old barn, a story and half home, 40 acres of timber and 40 acres of tillable grown. Upon moving, dad brought with him his Clydesdale horses to work the farm. I was only 5-6 months old when they moved.

When I started walking, I would always go out to the barn to feed hay to the horses, Ben & Jerry. Once in a while, I would bring a carrot with me, or grab a handful of grass and feed it to them. My dad told me these stories, as I do not recall them. He said that I would approach the barn and whistle for the horses and they usually were tied up in the stall.

One afternoon, I came out, I was 2 going on 3 and I whistled. Dad had just put the horses away, but had not tied or closed the stall, and they came trotting out of the barn to meet me. The barn door was 2 doors wide, and I was standing in the middle of the doors as Ben & Jerry went by me. Dad was trying to run to pull me out of the way, but could not get there in time as Ben and Jerry came thru the door together. They trotted out the door, stopped outside and turned around to reach for the carrots in my hands. When dad reached me, and looked in amazement as neither horse had stepped on me.

That year, the crops did not grow, as the former owners had grown potatoes until the land would not grow anything else and then sold the farm. Dad’s 1st year of crops failed, and he resorted to cutting timber, which he was stopped from doing, as the contract of deed to the place noted he could not harvest the timber to sell. That winter, he worked in town, and managed to save enough dollars to buy more seed and some fertilizer. That spring while he was planting, he saw a white cloud of dust being hurled in the air by the fertilizer sacks. It was just little jimmy, having some fun, but dad was not pleased. He ran over, swatted my butt, and ordered me back to the house. That summer and fall, the crops again sprouted, then withered and died in the fields, except where I had been playing. There corn grew tall and dad knew then he would not be able to hold onto tthe farm as he could not afford that much fertilizer.

That winter, the owner called the loan, and we moved to town, so dad could be closer to work. Those are 2 moves that I do not remember. However, I remember all the rest of them.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Angst Blog Moments

Blogger has not been very cooperative of Late. I installed DSL, a firewall, and a couple of other things, and find myself unable to leave a comment at a blogger site. They say they are working on it, whoever "they" is.

But, then on the other hand, this may be your lucky day. LOL


Gathering the Tree

Tis the season and the day after Thanksgiving, when I was just a small fry, it was the custom for my dad and I to fetch the tree home for the holidays. We would usually go to a neighbor’s woodlot, - with permission - and gather up a tree each year.

One year, when I was 10, my dad and I visited with an elderly neighbor across the river, and she said to take a tree out by Gravely Brook. We walked out there, and saw several trees and dad decided he wanted to try a cedar tree, as he liked the smell of them and it would not have needles to shed all over the floor. He picked out a real nice one, and we chopped it down, thru it on top of the car and headed home. Upon arriving home, we set it up in a bucket of sand and watered the sand down. The tree would sit like this for 2-3 days, so it would adjust to the warm temperatures before we would decorate it.

Since we had several cats, we would be careful to cover the sand so they would not use it as a place for pooping and peeing in. A couple of days later, a strong smell of urine permeated the room, and we wondered if we had protected the dirt. We looked and we had, but we also noticed the smell was stronger in the area of the tree. Sniffing the branches, we realized that the tree smelled of urine, and after some research found out this variety of cedar would smell like that. Needless to say, the tree was escorted outside and dad and I went back and picked a balsam for the tree that year.

When I was 14, my dad was in the hospital the month of December and I decided to go it alone. It was snowing that day, the wind was a blowing from the Northeast something fierce, and the drifts were piling up to a point taller than I. Now, this was before my physical growth spurt of 6" one fine summer, so I was still "little". If one would call 5'-6" "little." I bundled up and headed out down our lane, crossed the gravel road which traversed the valley and followed the neighbor’s fence to a wood lot about a mile away, just below the ledge of limestone outcropping. The area had a creek running thru it, with marsh grass along its banks.

By this time the wind and snow had created white out conditions, and it was uphill - really! When saw to the woodlot, I made left hand turn and sought out the evergreen area. Scouring the area in front of me, I spotted a grey form not far in front of me, and when I managed a closer look, found the Xmas tree to take back home. I was not being too choosy today, as any old green tree would do. I cut it down with my trusty hatchet, yes a hatchet! - ghezz, my story - and tied a rope to the base. I then looped the rope around my waist and started back for home.

After struggling a hundred yards, I then noticed that my back trail had all but disappeared, so I headed in the direction to where the fence should be. After some angst moments the fence line was spotted thru the blowing snow, and now the path to the road was assured, and I could see the tree setting in its entire splendor in the living room corner. I dragged that pesky tree for a mile downhill and then uphill and finally made the lane to home. Walking down the country lane, I felt like an explorer returning from a great adventure. The chair beside the wood fire and heat from the pot-bellied stove in the kitchen became my resting place while I sipped hot chocolate.

My socks and pants hung on the back of the chair and steamed as the snow and ice melted off them leaving little puddles on the floor.

The Legend of the Cedar Tree

A long time ago when the Cherokee people were new upon the earth, they thought that life would be much better if there was never any night. They beseeched the Ouga (Creator) that it might be day all the time and that there would be no darkness.

The Creator heard their voices and made the night cease and it was day all the time. Soon, the forest was thick with heavy growth. It became difficult to walk and to find the path. The people toiled in the gardens many long hours trying to keep the weeds pulled from among the corn and other food plants. It got hot, very hot, and continued that way day after long day. The people began to find it difficult to sleep and became short tempered and argued among themselves.

Not many days had passed before the people realized they had made a mistake and, once again, they beseeched the Creator. "Please," they said, "we have made a mistake in asking that it be day all the time. Now we think that it should be night all the time." The Creator paused at this new request and thought that perhaps the people may be right even though all things were created in twos... representing to us day and night, life and death, good and evil, times of plenty and those times of famine. The Creator loved the people and decided to make it night all the time as they had asked.

The day ceased and night fell upon the earth. Soon, the crops stopped growing and it became very cold. The people spent much of their time gathering wood for the fires. They could not see to hunt meat and with no crops growing it was not long before the people were cold, weak, and very hungry. Many of the people died.

Those that remained still living gathered once again to beseech the Creator. "Help us Creator," they cried! "We have made a terrible mistake. You had made the day and the night perfect, and as it should be, from the beginning. We ask that you forgive us and make the day and night as it was before."

Once again the Creator listened to the request of the people. The day and the night became, as the people had asked, as it had been in the beginning. Each day was divided between light and darkness. The weather became more pleasant, and the crops began to grow again. Game was plentiful and the hunting was good. The people had plenty to eat and there was not much sickness. The people treated each other with compassion and respect. It was good to be alive. The people thanked the Creator for their life and for the food they had to eat.

The Creator accepted the gratitude of the people and was glad to see them smiling again. However, during the time of the long days of night, many of the people had died, and the Creator was sorry that they had perished because of the night. The Creator placed their spirits in a newly created tree. This tree was named a-tsi-na tlu-gv {ah-see-na loo-guh} cedar tree.

When you smell the aroma of the cedar tree or gaze upon it standing in the forest, remember that if you are Tsalagi {Cherokee}, you are looking upon your ancestor.

Tradition holds that the wood of the cedar tree holds powerful protective spirits for the Cherokee. Many carry a small piece of cedar wood in their medicine bags worn around the neck. It is also placed above the entrances to the house to protect against the entry of evil spirits. A traditional drum would be made from cedar wood.

The Creator did not make the people because of loneliness, but because the Creator wanted to show generosity and love to the people. Accept the blessings and the gifts given and always give thanks for them.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Paul Ferrini Weekly Message

Communication is a Sacred Act

Listening takes energy and attention. It takes receptivity to the other person. When we aren’t receptive, we should not try to listen. We should let the other person know that we are not in a receptive state. Conversely, when the other person cannot offer this attention to us, we shouldn’t try to share with him or her.
Communication does not happen by itself. It requires both the speaker and the listener to be present. When both are present fully, it is a sacred act.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Being Thankful

I was going to write a blog on being thankful earlier, but instead did something else. Now after spending the day playing board games with my sons and their families, I will share some of my being thankful items here, if you do not mind.

I am thankful for bills as it means I have a job and creditors trust me, and the Universe provides me with an abundance to share with others.

I am thankful for my family, friends and all the people in my life
I am thankful for my many teachers in life that taught me;
To be loving from the unloving
To be forgiving from the unforgiving
Being nonjudgmental from the judgmental
Compassion from the uncompassionate
Silence from the talkative
Tolerance from the intolerant
Kindness from the unkind
Love from the angry one
Patience from the impatient kind
Acceptance from the judgmental
Being positive from the negative teachers
Faith from the fearful
Honesty from the liars
Charity from the hardhearted
Humility from the self-important
To be open minded from the close minded
To see gifts and opportunities instead of trouble
To see solutions instead of problems

I bless my teachers and thank them for the gifts and opportunities of learning that each and every one of them brings to me.

I am thankful for this moment, as it is the only one that I choose to live in, yesterday is but an illusion and tomorrow is but a dream.

Is it "splitsville" for Santa Bear?

This year Macys' released the latest Santa Bear at their department store with little fanfare, and without Mrs Bear. Immediately rumors started flying and eyebrows started rising with people that have collected the Santa Bears for years. I have purchased the Santa Bear collection on the day after Thanksgiving for my daughter. This year, it was purchased well before the traditional release date, fueling more speculation. They have been a featured couple since 1984, when Dayton's launched the couple onto the public scene. They had been courting privately for several years, when the couple decided to go public.

One collector wondered, "Is the Santa Bear Collection being phased out under the new store owners?"

Another collector commented; "I have heard rumors that Mr. Bear and Mrs. Bear are thinking of ending their relationship. Mrs Bear has gotten tired of always having to spend the holidays in the public arena. She would rather have some private time. All Mr Bear does is work and help others be happy. Since the kids have come along, he is always gone, or working, or just sleeping. He never has anytime for me."

A street person remarked that he heard that Santa Bear felt he made a commitment to his friends and the public and Mrs. Bear knew before hand what she was getting into. If she would rather spend time watching the grass grow, knitting, and sewing, that was her choice. Santa Bear seemed to be saying, "If you're there, you're there, if you're not, then you're not."

Some people wondered if the couple had lost one of the twins, as Santa Bear has only been seen with the son. Where is the other twin? Is she ill, and Mrs Bear stayed home to take care of her?

Meanwhile, the quote from the family is "The marriage is strong, and Mrs. Bear was tired from all the work. Mr. Bear gave Mrs. Bear a vacation and spa retreat on a Caribbean Island. He had sent a colorful limo with a couple of her close female friends to pick up Mrs. Bear as a surprise anniversary gift for a week of relaxation and pampering."

A passer by snorted on hearing this, "Mrs Bear should be out there with Mr. Bear, it is only proper that she help him out, even if it meant grabbing the extra blanket to keep warm in the sleigh. She needed to show she supported her husband in his endeavor and dreams. That is her place!"

Meanwhile, there is "no comment" on the whereabouts of Mrs. Bear.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, Gift of Quotations

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
-- Brian Tracy.

Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you thing about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.
-- Norman Vincent Peale.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
-- Unknown.

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
-- Thomas Alva Edison.

Courage is not defined by those who fought and did not fall, but by those who fought, fell and rose again.
-- Unknown.

God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right, even though I think it is hopeless.
-- Chester W. Nimitz.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
-- Calvin Coolidge.

Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.
-- Robertson Davies.

Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.
-- Orison Swett Marden.

Don't get discouraged; it is often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.
-- Unknown.

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
-- Seneca.

A journey of a thousand miles always begins with one step.
-- Ancient Egyptian Proverb.

The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
-- Unknown.

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
-- Oliver Goldsmith.

Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
-- Milan Kundera.

It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.
-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Try and fail, but don't fail to try.
-- Stephen Kaggwa.

Refuse to compromise what you know to be right for anyone or anything.
-- Brian Tracy.

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.
-- Erma Bombeck.

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
-- Langston Hughes.

Speed bumps are of negligible effect when the vehicle exceeds triple the desired restraining speed.
-- Murphy's Law of Disobedience.

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night stays these Couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
-- Old Post Office Motto.

Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.
-- Albert Einstein.

Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.
-- Eddie Rickenbacker.

I laugh in the face of danger... then I hide until it goes away.
-- Xander Harris.

A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.
-- Norwegian Proverb.

Reach for the moon, even if you miss you'll be among the stars.
-- Unknown.

The only thing required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
-- Unknown.

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says... I'll try again tomorrow. -- Mary Anne Redmacher-Hershey

Trust the still, small voice that says, "this might work and I'll try it."
-- Diane Mariechild.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
-- Anais Nin.

Train your head and hands to do, your head and heart to dare.
-- Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr.

Courage is a special kind of knowledge; the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared.
-- David Ben-Gurion.

Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.
-- Dale Carnegie.

Our time is fix'd; and all our days are number'd;
How long, how short, we know not; this we know,
Duty requires we calmly wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission.
And wait th' appointed hour, till they're relieved,
Those only are the brave who keep their ground,
And keep it to the last.
-- Blair.

You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated.
-- Maya Angelou.

Action is the antidote to despair.
-- Joan Baez.

It's not enough to have a dream, Unless you're willing to pursue it. It's not enough to know what's right, Unless you're strong enough to do it. It's not enough to learn the truth, Unless you also learn to live it. It's not enough to reach for love, Unless you care enough to give it. Men who are resolved to find a way for themselves will always find opportunities enough; and if they do not find them, they will make them.
-- Samuel Smiles.

Defeat isn't bitter if you don't swallow it.
-- Unknown.

Events are less important than our response to them.
-- Unknown.

New ideas pass through three periods: *It can't be done. *It probably can be done, but it's not worth doing *I knew it was a good idea all along!
-- Arthur C. Clarke.

You can't test courage cautiously.
-- Unknown.

To sit back and do nothing is to cooperate with the oppressor.
-- Jane Elliot.

All serious daring starts from within. -- Harriet Beecher Stowe

Snowflakes are one of natures most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
-- Vista M. Kelly.

In Russia all tyrants believe poets to be their worst enemies.
-- Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Don't wait for your ship to come in. Row out to meet it.
-- Unknown.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore.
-- Unknown.

Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
-- Mark Twain

And the trouble is if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
-- Erica Jong.

Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.
-- Doug Larson.

Do not go where the path may lead instead go where there is no path and leave a trail.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt.

To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet.
-- Charles Caleb Colton.

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
-- Henry Drummond.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What was your Dream?

View of White Bear Lake

I remembered as I was thinking about "Under the Ledge", that when I was in my teens, a dream was to build a house on the wildlife area overlooking the Peshtigo River not far from Harmony, WS. I could sit on the deck and watch the ducks and geese come and go, watch the deer play in the Red pines that I had been planting with my dad for 10 years, and fish in the pond that I was going to build to hold privately stocked fish. I was going to dam a creek and flood a small valley to create the pond. The pond would have been 20' deep at its deepest point. There is a spring in the creek, so the water would have stayed cool also. I would also be retired by the time I hit 40 as I considered that "old" then.

I am slightly older now, but not as old as sand, and this thought of the house on the wildlife area came up. I started thinking about that dream, and where I live now. There is a quest house, a pole barn and the newly remodeled home with a view of the wildlife area. The wildlife area is a large area of marshland between 2 lakes - White Bear Lake and Bald Eagle Lake. There is a wet water creek that runs beside the property into the wildlife area. The other day, I came out to the pole barn, and there were 5 deer munching grass and leaves in the back yard. Every spring ma & pa duck return, they are Mallards, to nest in the fringe of the yard, squirrels are numerous, birds are colorful and of many varied species even the Pileated Woodpecker visits the feeders, and all of it is visible from the screen porch just completed on the house. While the location is different, and the Peshtigo River is hours away, there are a lot of aspects of the earlier dream of 40 years ago and today that are same or similar.

The career path has altered from the high school years, to what is done now. The dream then was to be a forester or forestry engineer and instead the chosen field turned out to be as a carpenter and then a cost estimator.

Now I plan to work until 80 or so, as I want to keep active, it may be part time, or it may be like Jimmy Carter and be involved in a lot of charity work, but the idea is just to keep active.

What was a dream of yours in high school and how has it changed?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What time of day am I?

I Am Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tis a Puzzlement

All historical thinking involves tinkering with the lenses that shine the light of other days into our lives. ~ Richard F. Snow

I have always wondered about Christianity, and how so many people can have so many twists, turns, ideas, fears, and concepts about what is true. We see the monks in undeveloped countries living as hermits without any possessions in service of other people; TV ministries touting about ways to wealth and being a millionaire; folks living in isolated communes; the shakers of men and woman who lived in abstinence; snake handlers in the Appalachians; preachers predicting doom and wrath striking us down; groups drinking poisons to prove their righteousness; and followers of David Koresh and others believing these are the “end times” and all saying that all the others are heretics and wrong in their beliefs. One of the few things in common with all of these groups is they all point to the Bible as their sacred scriptures. This is just confusing.

As children, we learned that the Bible is the Divine Word of God and it will never change. It is the same today, as yesterday, as tomorrow. So who wrote the Bible? For a while, I was married into a family that is evangelical in their faith, and believed that everything in the Bible is precise and true. After all, it is the written Word of God.

For many years this was a core belief that I had accepted for myself, and wondered how science and the Bible could be so at odds. It tis a puzzlement.

Bishop Spong recently wrote “In the ninth decade, Matthew added such details to the growing mythology as the miraculous birth, the heavenly star, the wise men, and the physiological appearances of the raised Jesus. Some five to ten years after Matthew, Luke added to the developing story such parts of our tradition as the shepherds, the swaddling cloths and the appearances of the angels. Later he intensified the physical character of the resurrection until it became resuscitation back into the life of this world, which in turn necessitated his eventual escape from this earth in the story of the cosmic ascension. Still later John identified him with the Word of God spoken in creation. As these mythological layers were laid on top of him, his humanity began to fade. That is where the faith crisis of today emerges. We have begun to strip away the mythology, and as we do we begin to fear that there is nothing under it. So we hesitate and even pretend to believe what, when pressed, we would say we no longer believe. Many of the fundamentalist churches are made up of pretenders who reveal their vulnerability by getting angry whenever they are forced to face the game that they are playing.”

So, what is fact and what is myth? Can we find out? For 1900 years the “smoking gun” lay hidden in the deserts where people buried old documents for fear of life! Then the Nag Hammadi Library was discovered and started to reveal it’s secrets of long ago. The old documents are made of papyrus and show a whole new story of the early Christian era. We often think today’s idea of Christianity is confusing, and radical, but folks this is nothing compared to 2000 years ago. This is where the winners really got to do a rewrite on history.

There are over 5400 copies of the early scriptures of the New Testament, and by copies, it needs to be understood, that these copies are not originals in any form. To be closer in understanding, these copies are copies of copies, of copies, of copies, and of other copies, of still more copies. And within all of these copies, some pieces no bigger than a thumbnail, not one agrees with another copy, except in the smallest of details.

To compound the numerous copies, there are errors in the copies, and some estimates put the number of errors well over 300,000. To put it in context, there are more errors than there are words in the New Testament! Then add to it, there are forgeries, text changes, and text added just where you might think they would turn up.

We have to keep in mind the period we are visiting under this prism of glass. In this period there is a war going on, in Christianity, or should it be called Christianities. The faiths are more diverse, than imaginable, some believe that there are 34 Gods, and others believe 1 exists. You would need a scorecard to keep them all separated. But, the two main sects were the Christians that practiced gnosis and that God is within, and those that believed that God is out there someplace watching over everyone. Under Constantine he was the unseen policeman on every corner. What better way to control a population than by using fear.

In the first hundred years, the apostles, such as Paul, could not be in all places at the same time, so they had letters sent to various areas and churches. Since most people could not read or write, including a lot of scribes, textural errors occurred, or a scribe would change or add to the words to try to clarify something for another church.

Some textural changes can be important for interpretation. For example, the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark end at 16:8 with the report that the women fled Jesus’ empty tomb in fear and told no one what they had seen or heard. But later manuscripts append and additional twelve verses onto this chapter. What are those verses added? Here they are:

9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

One of the reasons sighted for the change, is that a man had to make and proclaim this discovery. It would not look good for a women to be the first in the know.

Are there any other verses added? Yes, There is the famous well known story of the adulterous woman, with the men wanting to stone her to death, and Jesus writing in the sand. Most scholars believe those verses were also added by a scribe. They were not in any earlier copy, but appear later in history.

There are other changes in the text, some small, and some not as large as the preceding ones. Most of the other changes were made to give the appearance of Jesus’ divine nature. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was pictured as being in earnest prayer, and sweating blood. That was to show his Divine nature, but as human. When Jesus went to the temple as a boy, the earlier text said his father and mother came to find him, as they were worried. This was changed to leave out the word “father’ in referencing Joseph, as Jesus’ father was God. There could not be two fathers.

Paul wrote 7 books in the New Testament, and none of them set up a hierarchy in church structure, as he firmly held the belief that Jesus would return in his lifetime. However, a total of 13 are credited to his name, the others being written long after his death. Specifically, Timothy 2, where the church hierarchy is set up and women are subjected to their husbands.

As the war waged on over beliefs, the proto-orthodox church, which means the universal church, or Catholic Church, used the sacred text to aid in stating their case. But the major reason of text alterations, added text, and added books in canon and scripture was to close the doors on gnosis or going within. The church wanted it to be the only “right” belief system and to make gnosis and Gnostics – heresy and destroy this alternate way to God. Many volumes were written to answer Gnostic claims, but the articles by the Gnostics were missing. On the other hand, the Gnostic Christians believed that there was nothing worth dying for on this world. Eventually, the proto-orthodox church was victorious over all the other belief systems, and one of the orders was to go back and rewrite history to give the semblance that everything was as ordained. And I thought spin-doctors were a new phenomenon.

The next step was to give more credibility to this new religion, as they knew that without “roots” it would not take. Since the Jewish books were the only written books of any religion, they decided to tie the two together. Now they had a history, and a resemblance of being there from time beginning.
Now, how far back did they go? Your guess is as good as mine.

In 1963, John F Kennedy was shot, there were camera’s rolling, pictures being snapped, and numerous people as witnesses, and yet with all of this evidence, people still disagree as to what happened.

An author writes a book “A Million Little Pieces” and it becomes knowledge that he made up some things and is chastised on TV and in the press. Are there any parallels? What makes one ‘right” and the other “wrong”?

I can imagine there will always be folks that will disagree with what happened 2000 years ago. However, I do think we all can agree that a great man lived and died, and the truths and lessons he lived were profound and changed the course of history.

The core truths of his life were to love unconditionally, to love God and to not sit in judgment of ones brother. For as we judge and condemn our brother, we judge and condemn ourselves to that same harsh judgment. What we put out to the universe comes back to us. It is all-circular.

For myself, I have come to understand that the New Testament and Bible were written by human hands; with human judgments; human interpretations; and human agendas. There is a lot of wisdom in the books, and it is up to each of us to discern its relevance in our lives.

I have considered myself as a Christian out of a respect for our heritage and a recognition that Jesus taught the universal truths we value. However, I am not Christian as Christianity defines itself today through its dogma.

For further reading;

“Lost Christianities” by Bart D. Ehrman
“Misquoting Jesus” by Bart D. Ehrman
“Why Christianity Must Change or Die” Bishop Spong
“The Gnostic Gospels” Elaine Pagels
“Gnosticism” Stephen A. Hoeller

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Summer Dreams

It was a hot humid summer day as thoughts turned to winters brisk winds. Sitting idly around a table sipping iced tea, several members of my family thought of possibilities and methods to cool down. As a lark, it was suggested that a day of cross-country skiing would be enjoyable and cold. As talk turned to bravado, the webs were spun and before long we were planning an expedition into the Boundary Waters for a little cross-country skiing and snow camping in the following winter. January was to be the targeted month, and the third week as those were the days that it was at the coldest temperature of the winter As the day progressed into the evening we plotted, planned, made lists, and decided who was to take care of which tasks. Now, this was before I knew about personality traits along horoscope lines, and if I did, I would have been aware of potential issues. Lists and Pisceans do not mix well, and Pisceans have a tendency to loose a list as fast as they are given one. Pisceans are dreamers and visionaries. I am a Piscean.

Several times thru the fall, phone calls were made, to remind us of the deal struck on that hot, humid, sweltering July day. The total group consisted of 6, and as the days became shorter, the temperatures dropped, the group became smaller. People were dropping out as fast as ice cubes had melted on that July day. I was even having second thoughts.

The day of reckoning arrived, and the surviving three dreamers met up in Hudson, WS. We quickly double checked our lists, gathered up our gear, and headed north. The evening temps were hovering around 28, and it had just started snowing. As we miles ticked off, the snowfall became heavier, until at times the road became obscured. We hung our heads out the window to eye the side of the road, and no one was talking about turning back. We had struck a deal, and we were not going to be deterred from our goal. We laughed as we drove, and decided we needed coffee and lots of it. Around 2AM, we pulled into Duluth, MN and stopped for that much needed coffee. We were slightly behind schedule considering the slow going of the roads. We were headed for the Gunflint Trail out of Grand Marais, and our goal was to start cross-country skiing at the end of the trail to our campsite by early morning. We had a 5-6 hour ski trek to make before we hit the campsite.

As we drove old Hwy 61 along the North Shore of Lake Superior, we could hear thru the snowfall the pounding of the waves on the rocks below us. 61 followed the lake, and at points was a shear drop to the lake without any shoulders. The only thing that separated us from the drop was a cable guardrail.

Around 5AM we turned out of Grand Marais, heading west, and the snow was piling up, the snowflakes being as big as boxcars, and the pine bows were along the road were sagging heavily under the weight of the new snow. The picture was an awesome black and white image in the headlights. We often thought we were part of a picture as the trees slowly crept by. Just as the early twilight of the morning had brightened to the day, we arrived at the trails end and a cabin stacked high with snow. We talked for a while with the lone owner and then strapped on our skis and headed out. We snapped some pictures and left the camera in the truck for safety. The sound of the skis on the new fallen snow was the only sound that broke the silence. It was very much like a lovers whisper in ones ear in the middle of the night.

After a couple hours of skiing along the lake, we heard the sounds of wolves in pursuit of some prey. Looking thru the pines in the direction of the howls, we saw a lone deer running ahead of 4 wolves, with 1 in the lead running down the middle of the lake. The sight held us spell bound as we witnessed the wild of nature and we were without the camera!

After another couple of hours of skiing we found our campsite and set up camp, and as we unpacked our gear, we decided we were slightly hungry. We searched all of the backpacks and discovered that food had not made the lists! We had coffee, 2 giant chocolate bars, some nuts, some granola and of course, I had a book! We made our coffee and decided that we were okay. This was not planned as a long trek, just 48 hrs, and we could shorten it and head out the next day instead.

We built a fire, melted snow, and told stories as the snow fell around us. Finally around 10 we decided to bank the fire and head to the tents. We could see the stars and the moonlight on the moonlight on the snow, the air biting at our cheeks, the frost icing up on my beard created a snapshot in my mind for years to come.

Around 2AM, I woke up, and thinking it was because I was cold, decided to do some isometrics in the sleeping bag to warm myself up. Then I heard what had woken me up. The sound was like a high-pitched scream in the night, and very much like a woman's scream of terror. Now, I was awake, and so were Frank and Oscar. After some intense discussion we concluded it was the northern Lynx on the prowl.

The next morning dawned clear and cold. The snow was still falling, and we marveled at the sight. We had our coffee, ate some granola and nuts, and packed up our gear. By mid morning we were skiing across the frozen lake, making excellent time. By mid afternoon we reached the truck, stole the gear and drove to a restaurant in Grand Marais, where we ordered a large dinner to end the day.