Archive for November, 2007


November 30, 2007

I awoke to rain this morning. I didn’t think it knew how to rain here anymore. We had a little bit of rain a month or so ago, but not enough to do much. The hills are still bone dry. It’s a good, steady rain, but not too hard. Hopefully, that will keep the fire-burnt hillsides from turning into mudslides.


Christmas vs Holiday

November 29, 2007

Last night, Wendy was watching a show on decorating your home for Christmas. Except Christmas was barely mentioned. Instead, it was about “holiday” wreathes and “holiday” trees, never a word about Christmas.

After a fairly long segment about a “holiday tree,” the host slipped up a bit by singing a few bars of “O Christmas Tree.”

Why the fear about mentioning the word “Christmas?” Everyone knows a “holiday” tree is a Christmas tree, so why not just call it for what it really is? KOST-FM started playing “holiday” music, not Christmas music, a few days before Thanksgiving. The music is clearly Christmas music, so why hide behind the politically correct “holiday” term?

NEWS FLASH—From around Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, it’s the Christmas season. Whether a religious celebration of the birth of the Savior and a secular celebration with elves, reindeer and Santa, it’s Christmastime, not “Holiday” time. And it’s Christmas, not “holiday” music, Christmas, not “holiday” decorations, and it’s a Christmas tree, not a “holiday” tree. You don’t need to be a Christian to understand what season it is. And no one needs to be offended if the word “Christmas” is uttered in public. The PC people preach the importance of multi-culturalism and then are the first to eliminate the signs of a very important culture in America.

Please don’t offer me Season’s Greetings. It’s Christmastime! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Does Anyone Really Care?

November 28, 2007

O. J. Simpson will be back in court today to learn when he will stand trial for kidnapping and a bunch of other charges. The radio station I was listening to on the way to work said that they will carried the court proceeding live. My question: “Why?!” Why does anyone care anything about O. J. Simpson? He was a good football player, a so-what actor, and someone who got away with 2 brutal murders. And the news media treat him as someone who matters.

I really had to think if I wanted to put the photo of a murderer on this blog or even if I should even mention this. I don’t want to give Simpson any undeserved attention. However, I think it is an important issue. Why does anyone care anything about the string of celebrity felons anyway? Drunk driving arrests happen everyday. Why should anyone care if it happens to someone whose claim to fame is that they are famous?

Dennis Prager has asked high school kids, “Would you like to be famous, good, or smart?” A very large number answered “Famous.” It doesn’t matter why they would be famous, they just want to be famous. What a skewed set of values.

If I possibly can, I will filter any mention of O. J. Simpson and his latest criminal adventure out of my consciousness. He just isn’t worth any of my attention.

Cheap Thrills

November 23, 2007

This morning, my daughter Stacy let Trout (our dog) outside for his morning routine–chase the non-existent rats or squirrels, look for birds, pee on the bushes, and then demand to come back inside the house.  She let him in and he quickly disappeared.  When she when to get back into bed, Stacy found out where Trout had gone—under the covers at the foot of the bed–with no intention of leaving.

When I posted the photo on Flickr and on my Oakford 365 site, my other daughter, Julie, saw the photo almost immediately and Josh, my 21-month old grandson saw the picture and started yelling “TROUT!  TROUT!  TROUT!”  I’m glad Trout’s photo made Josh’s night.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day has become one of my favorite holidays. It is a time the family can get together without the stresses of Christmas. It is usually a quiet day. There isn’t a lot happening or expected. Just a nice, quiet day.

It’s a good day to think and to reflect on my blessings. It is too easy to become complacent and not remember how blessed we are. Because we have become so used to what we have, we can easily forget to be grateful for our lives and all the things that make our lives so full.

Twenty-five Thanksgivings ago, I was out of work. I had been out of work for 9 months and I didn’t have any good prospects for a job. The week before Thanksgiving, I got a call from an employer that I had contacted a few months earlier. I was interviewed and received a job offer the day before Thanksgiving. I finally had a job! I would start the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. It was a great Thanksgiving. I knew I would be grateful forever for the job and never take it for granted. But it doesn’t work that way. Once I was into the daily grind of work, it was too easy to forget what a blessing having a job is in my life. We need special days like Thanksgiving to stop and to concern the many blessing we have.

This forum is too public for me to list my blessings. I think that is an exercise best left for my journal. However, I do acknowledge the many blessings that I have received from my Heavenly Father and I do express my gratitude for them.

Enjoy the good food and company today. But please take the time to count the many blessings you have in your life. We are blessed more that we know.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

November 19, 2007
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered perhaps one of the most famous speeches ever–the Gettysburg Address–at the dedication of the National Cemetery four and a half months after the Battle of Gettysburg. The custom of the day was to give very long speeches–sometimes lasting hours. Edward Everett, known at the nation’s best orator spoke before Lincoln. His speech lasted more than 2 hours. Then Lincoln rose and spoke for 2 minutes. The most short-sided phrase of his talk was only half true, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, . . .” No one remembers anything the Everett said, but the Gettysburg Address has been memorized as one of the greatest American speeches even given.

William Tell Day

November 18, 2007

We have an oxymoron today. It is William Tell Day–today in 1307, William Tell shot an apple off the head of his son. The actual legend is quite interesting.

However, November is also Child Safety and Protection Month.

Please don’t shoot an apple off your child’s head this month. If you need to do it, please wait until Child Safety and Protection Month is over.

Homemade Bread and Hiking

November 17, 2007

My calendar tells me that it is Homemade Bread Day and Take a Hike Day. Again, I can’t find anything that tells me why November 17th is Homemade Bread or Take a Hike Day. It just is. Which is fine with me. I enjoy both activities. Perhaps I should bake a loaf of bread and take it for a hike.

I don’t remember the first hike I took, but I do remember the first loaf a break I baked. When I returned from my mission, I decided to take a cooking class. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do. The book learning part was too dry. However, the lab part of the class was really good. We dressed in lab coats–it was a Food Science class, afterall–but we were really cooking. About 4 or 5 weeks into the class, we made whole wheat bread. My loaf turned out OK, but it had a crack along the top. I can’t remember what caused the crack, but the instructor said if I wanted to try again, I could get a better grade. I went to Wendy’s house, made a new loaf–without a crack–and improved my grade.

So Happy Homemade Bread Day. And then enjoy your hike while walking off the calories of the butter on the hot bread.

Happy Birthday, Claude.

November 14, 2007

Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840 in Paris, France. He was a founder of the French Impressionist painting. Impressionism is my favorite style of art. It was considered radical that the time and the Impressionists weren’t allowed to exhibit their works in the accepted galleries. The style broke the accepted rules, concentrating more on impression of the light than on the details of the subject.

Poppies Blooming, 1873

Pappeln on the Epte, 1900


November 13, 2007

My calendar tells me it is World Kindness Day. If you look at one World Kindness Day website, it speaks of the importance of being a world citizen, whatever that means. I’d rather think of kindness at a more personal level. Forget the “world” and be kind to an individual.

The world can often be hard and mean. Kindness on a personal level is a quality that can be an antidote to the world.

In honor of the day, here are some quotes on kindness that I found that

  • Abraham Joshua Heschel: When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.
  • Charles Kuralt:The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.
  • Harold Kushner:When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.
  • James M. Barrie:Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.
  • William Wordsworth:The little unremembered acts of kindness and love are the best parts of a person’s life.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson:You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.