Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mistletoe: a great Christmas tradition

Among all the traditions people follow at Christmas time, one of my favorites has got to be the traditions of kissing under the mistletoe. I've actually liked this one for a very long time. Even in my youth, I once went out an bought some "Moose-eltoe" (a gag gift that looked like moose droppings with a plant attached to it) and hung it in my car, hoping to snag a kiss or two from my date.

When all else fails, tape it to the ceiling.

These days, it's easy to just find some fake mistletoe (real works just fine too) and hang it in a likely spot. Then, all that needs to be done is to wait for the opportunity of your loved one walking beneath it and use that opportunity for a bit of smooching. Of course, you can't always predict what will happen next.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dave Koz is some great smooth jazz

Here's a great tune for the day. Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Leftists, liars, and losers

Leftists are losers. Take one look at any society that has embraced leftism for a long time and you will find the most decrepit, unworkable, poverty-stricken, oppressed, and just plain bad societies on the planet. Leftists are often liars too, with those who are in power claiming great things will come if we only follow their despotic program of ruin and despair.

To a leftist, the ends (having the people wholly dependent upon the state) justifies the means (anything they want to say or do to get us there). They spread a gospel of feelings. How one feels about something is more important than the actual results of doing something. For example, if you feel good that the government is taking money out of your pocket and giving handouts to millions of poor people in America, all in the guise of helping them out of poverty, well, that's good enough. Never mind that programs that urge perennial dependence on welfare have not worked to reduce poverty rates. The actual results do not matter to a leftist. What matters is that it feels good to do it.

Perhaps one might say that those to the right of the political spectrum offer the same dream of unfulfilled hopes and tragedy. You might even be able to provide a few examples of extreme right oppression. Countries in which Islamic fundamentalism rules should be chief among these examples. We cannot discount the effect that extremism has upon its adherents.

Yet leftism has just as many detrimental outcomes as Islamic fundamentalism does. One need only to look at the purges of Mao Tse Tung's China, Stalin's Russia, or the horrific conditions of North Korea and Venezuela to see the evidence mount up that any ideology that doesn't include principles of morality, liberty. and free markets doesn't add up to any place worth living. Corruption and extravagance among the elite is what needs to be purged, not those who have differing religious or political views.

Committed leftists, like Obama, are often misconstrued as weak. Obama isn't weak. He's very strong in his leftism. And if you like the false ideals and solutions promulgated by the left, he is your champion. But everyone must take responsibility for that which they espouse. If and when those who are fighting the left fail to change the course America is now on, then those who are promoting such a course are in fact, guilty of the ruin and despair that will result. If your goal is to turn America into a smoking ruin, then you must reap the results of an America-less world.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Super glue equals super fix

I have tried all kinds of treatments for the cracked hands and fingers I get from working in the outdoors during the winter. I get splits averaging about 1/2 inch long in my fingers near the knuckles often, and splits beneath my fingernails as well. They are painful. Though I've tried everything from Norwegian Formula Hand Cream to Bag Balm and nearly else that anyone has recommended, my hands still split and hurt. Sometimes Super Glue is the only answer. That's right...Super Glue. Just a drop or two on the split will  help it heal up fast.

Now, I've got to figure out what to do about the awful itchiness I'm feeling on the backs of both hands. I've tried lotion, coconut oil, and several other things and my hands still itch like crazy. I can't see anything like hives or redness--I just feel the itch.

I think it's time I took a trip to the Uintas to see if I can leave this kind of stuff behind. It's not likely, but it would be fun to just get away from the busy-ness of work and into the woods. For this mailman, the day after Christmas cannot come fast enough. On the plus side, I've been able to stay cheerful for the most part even when stressed out of my mind, so that's good.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Lists and Wish Lists

I keep an Amazon wish list, mainly for reminding me of things I think I need or want. It's rather extensive and I'm adding stuff to it all the time. You may check it out here: Press "Now" to continue.
I don't really expect anyone to purchase anything on this list for me, although I make it available to those who really feel the need to buy me something for Christmas, my birthday, etc. So now, if anyone asks me what I would like for my birthday, I can direct them to this link instead of trying to think of something. It works well because I never really remember things for which I have a need until I'm actually, well, needing them. Wants are a bit different, but there too, I can't remember the titles of cds I've run across in music books and said that I would like to have those cds. The same with books. I'm thinking this is the best way I've come up with yet for remembering. And then again, if I can't remember, maybe it isn't all that important.  Unless you want to spring for the Taylor guitar. I am so much kidding it's not even funny...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Family Christmas party a great success

We had our Roe family Christmas party this afternoon and it was great seeing everyone. Our gift exchange this year was supposed to be homemade gifts and after one of my friends suggested it, I set about making a wreath. First I viewed a video on youtube on how to make one, then I gathered the materials and started in. I admit that I'm not crafty, and barely artistic and so much needed input from my wife, Ann (who is highly artistic), helped to put things in the right place on this thing. She also took some pictures of the initial stages of the creating, with me in them, but that camera has since been lost, before I could get those pics downloaded. Anyway, here's the finished project that my daughter-in-law, Marie, ended up with:

Yes, I hung it from my guitar rack to get a good pic. I think it turned out okay for mostly being done by a rank beginner. I will admit though that it was Ann's idea where to place the little seed heads beneath the bow and she tied the bow and wired it on.  I like the way it turned out and I'm glad someone will be using it. There were many great and imaginative gifts at our party. I won't be making a lot of wreaths or other crafts in the near future, but I learned something and wouldn't have thought of it on my own.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas cooking is just plain awesome

We have a family Christmas party tomorrow. Tonight, after going out for dinner, I made some chili verde and some artichoke/spinach dip. It's cooling now, not quite ready to put in the fridge. In fact, I just burned the roof of my mouth sampling the chili verde. I'll be staying up late tonight so that it can cool down a bit before cooling it down a lot. Of course, I could probably just put it outside. The high tomorrow is only supposed to be forty.
One thing I always have trouble with is when I'm trying to make two recipes at once. For a while there, I was thinking I was going to be making chili verde artichoke dip. Luckily, I managed to avoid cross-recipe tragedies that I've been unable to avoid in the past. Like the time I was trying to make a coffee cake and some cheddar broccoli soup at the same time...
Now that I've got the cooking out of the way for the party tomorrow, I only have two or three more events for which to cook something. There's the family party a week from Sunday for Ann and I and our children and grandchildren, but prior to that, I have a work party that I'll need to bring something to--I haven't decided what. Right now I'm thinking beans, but that could prove to be too much for my limited time this year. Maybe I'll sign up for the chips...
For the family party on the Sunday before Christmas, I'm on the line for shrimp cocktail sauce and guacamole. Nothing real difficult.
I need to start looking for some sales on steaks for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. I'm hoping for a snow storm that night. There's nothing like barbecuing on a snowy Christmas Eve to make one feel good and homey.
Somewhere in there I'm going to begin making treats for the neighbors. I'm not sure what I'll make this year. Maybe some fudge as that goes a long way, and maybe some things to go with it. I'll have help of course.
Now, I need to get to the store, maybe tomorrow, and pick up some eggnog. Southern Comfort is my favorite brand. What's yours? Christmas is a busy time for all of us who celebrate it. But let's do just that--celebrate with happy hearts and warm welcomes to our loved ones. I personally can't think of a better way to spread love.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Remember: the most important things in life aren't things

I had some visitors tonight. I like visitors, for the most part, and these guys are my friends. I appreciate it whenever friends stop by, even if I'm about to leave, though if I'm about to leave I feel bad that I can't visit long enough. See, the way I look at it is people are the most important things to spend time with on any given day.
And, though I spent a lot of time today getting various tasks done (it was my day off), I did some things I felt I personally needed to do. I went to the gym early in the morning for the first time this week. I was able to do my treadmill run for cardio, but I ran out of gas when I tried to do my strength training exercises. This month has taken its toll on my physically, but then I knew it would and that's part of the reason I keep working out to be prepared for times like this.
I also took my 4runner over to the shop for a tune-up and oil change, then walked home. That was exercise. Then later on, I walked back to get it--more exercise. The place is only .4 miles away, so no big deal.
Early in the morning I was looking up wind chomes, I mean chimes, for a possible Christmas present. I found some that might work, but they are supposed to remind one of a meadowlark and I'm not quite sure they do. Here's the link: you can judge for yourself.
I went to an antique store and browsed around searching for that one gift that would be well thought out, to no avail. I ordered flowers for Ann's birthday which is this Saturday, I shopped at a candy store. I cleaned out a slow drain, made dinner and filled the dishwasher. Yet the most important thing I did all day was when I spent time with people. Spend time with those you love. They can leave unexpectedly. The things we wish we would have said to them, sometimes have to go forever unsaid. Don't make the mistake of waiting too long to say them.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

How to Christmas shop for kids, from one who's bad at it

I'm not really a good gift giver, and it doesn't really matter to me if I receive any gifts. I like to be around my family and friends at Christmas time--that's my kind of gift. Gifts are one of my lowest things on my list of the Five Love Languages. I often find myself at a loss when it comes to choosing gifts for my grandkids. I'm ashamed to admit that I like to just find something and get it done. I've found though that the simple power of observation helps a lot. Here's an example. We have noticed that our grandkids when they're in a certain age range, always seem to love to find the flashlight in the house and play with it in a dark room. I was out at Harbor Freight last year and I saw on the shelf on sale some headlamps. This would be perfect for my grandkids, I thought, and I snapped up two of them, thinking of the two boys, Taggart and John, who are the same age and would love to play with them. I should've picked up more as the other kids would love them too. I probably will before I give any of them away. Noticing what they seem to have fun with, even if it's not necessarily a toy, can lead to ideas of what they might like.
Another thing that you can do is go to Amazon and type in the search box: toys for three year old girls, toys for five year old boys, toys for ten year olds, or any other combination you might need. This will give you a list of suggestions. I've found this to be quite useful.
You can type in the same kind of word combinations into Google and find websites like this: clicky-clicky
A time tested way of finding out possible gifts for kids is to ask their parents what they think their child might be interested in. We asked our son Ben and his wife Marie what kinds of things their kids might want and they gave us some direction--they said some kind of toys or activities that will help their kids to learn. This was very helpful.
All that being said, I've found that making sure you know the interests of the kids you are buying for goes a long way toward finding a gift those kids will love.

And now, here's a great song by the Oak Ridge Boys: Thank God for Kids

Staying fit when you're busy

This month is December, and being the typical mailman, I'm getting a lot of overtime. We have over the past months been doing 30 percent of Amazon's volume, but recently that has climbed to 70 percent. The overtime is great on the wallet, but with time, it gets to the point where it wears one out. Then add to that my personal circumstances of working out after work are now trashed, due to family responsibilities at home, and you can see that my regimen has been trashed.
I've given a lot of thought as to what I might do to counteract this annual trashing of the routine. My first thought is, to not worry about it. The body needs some time to recover from hard workouts and maybe I just need to decide that December is that time. I can begin again with renewed vigor in January.
Then again the gym rat in me says "no". There's got to be another way. I thought about basketball players in the NBA. In the off-season, the dedicated ones do a lot of strength training to build themselves up for the season. Then, during the season, they can't work out as much as they'd like, but they are doing other things to keep in shape. In their case it's playing basketball. So, I ask, how can I emulate that while delivering mail, mostly from a truck?
One way is to decide that the trips up to people's houses with packages is my workout for the day. I can run, to increase the intensity of my workout, or I can walk, to keep from tripping or for an easier workout. With hundreds of packages each day, this kind of working out can add up. I may not get the intense focus on various areas of the body to strengthen, but my general fitness can remain high. And I can tone it down in a limited way by walking instead of running.
So, think of your own personal circumstances and do the best with what you have.
Another to consider is diet. This time of year it's easy to grab treats that your loving friends and neighbors have dropped by. It's much easier to grab a cookie than to make a sandwich, for example. But this is the time to keep on top of your eating habits and limit yourself. I like to choose certain days to overindulge--my family's Christmas party is one of them--and then limit myself the rest of the time. Don't keep totally away from Aunt Mildred's fudge, but limit yourself to one small piece. That way, you keep a certain amount of control. Eating habits are even more important than exercise in the way we feel and in maintaining a healthy weight.
And then, when you set your goals for the New Year, you will have already created within yourself the discipline you need to advance those goals past the first month and throughout the rest of the year.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The stupendous importance of dreams and goals

I'm sitting here dreaming of winter and the inevitable snow, wondering if it will come, and if I'm going to make it through these next two and a half weeks until Christmas--and knowing that it will and I will. Part of making it through challenging times is having dreams and plans for the future. I like to have plans for the near future and distant future. Both of these provide beacons up ahead for us to strive to reach.
My near-future dream, and I'll call them goals from here on out, because they are definitely concrete and achievable and not pie in the sky wishes--include some fine Utah skiing after the first of the year, some snow shoeing, some travel and sight-seeing, even if only locally. I have a strong desire to go out into the wintry world of whiteness once we get some snow, and to see some horses standing out in the snow. Maybe near an old ranch house with a wood post fence. I like thinking of things like that, horses outside, a nice warm fire glowing in a nearby house, the smell of good, home-cooked food, kind and warm people within. I'm kind of homey and maybe a bit old-fashioned and that's what appeals to me.
Further on, my goals take me into the spring and summer months and once again enjoying the high country. I'm planning a backpacking trip in July and hoping a few of my good friends can accompany me. It's so much more enjoyable to go with a few good friends. My summer of mountain exploration will lead naturally back into the fall, and I hope to get out deer hunting again this year. It has been a few years now since I last went.
Looking at my future for years out, I also like to have plans and things to look forward to. One of those is my eventual retirement from the U.S. Postal Service. That's about ten years away. Not that I plan on sitting around once that time comes, but it will be nice to move on and follow my interests and that will be about the time I can do it. Someone once said that the key to happiness is to have many passions in life. The reason being is because if something happens and you can't pursue one of them, you have others that can keep you occupied. I am a man of many passions. If I go blind and cannot see the beautiful scenery of my mountains, I can devote more time to music listening and playing. There is always something more to do. That keeps me going.
I hope to enjoy a long life and much happiness throughout and goals with plans to get there are part of the process. Those goals, in the distant future, help us live through challenging present circumstances. So that's what I would encourage you, my readers to do--have a plan, make goals, and strive to reach them. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." I do.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

A fabulous sunset tonight.

It was another amazing sunset here in Salt Lake county. Here are some pics.

Looking southwest over our house.

Killing two birds with one stone, a fabulous sunset, and  my Dr. Seuss Christmas lights.

I hope the sunset was just as nice wherever you may be.

No Shave November...was shave time for me

November is No Shave month. It's a great cause, to help raise awareness of cancer patients who often lose their hair. However, I shaved off my goatee the second week of November. It was an either/or proposition. My wife, who has Sjogren's Disease and thus very dry skin, including her lips, didn't like poking from my facial hair on her cracked lips when we kissed. I was either going to only get a peck or two, or I was going to have to shave. For me, it was a no-brainer. I am now hairless on my face.
For you guys out there who don't have this issue with your wives, etc., grow some hair in support of those cancer victims. As for me, I will lose the hair in support of my wife who also has a couple of very debilitating conditions.
It may be a very long time before I have facial hair again, but that's okay. I can wait.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Music: one of my favorite things

I am a maker and keeper of lists. One thing I make lists of is music. I have several music lists on Spotify, for example. For the uninitiated--and I'm sure those are few and far between these days--Spotify lets you find songs and/or artists you like and create lists that you can play back. I've found Spotify to be really nice when I'm not having connection issues. I think sometimes that Comcast is throttling the band width in our household because we have so many people on devices at once. That can lead to dropping off in the middle of a song on Spotify.
That being said I have more than twenty-five lists of songs on Spotify. I have six different Christmas song lists alone.
I also like to use Pandora for music listening, and, although I cannot create my own lists with this website, what Pandora does is help me to find new artists  via the Music Genome. I click the thumbs up on songs I like and Pandora tries to find more songs for me with similar attributes. Conversely, when I clicke the thumbs down symbol, Pandora will drop that song from the list of songs it will play on any of my different Pandora "stations".
For an interesting comparison between Pandora and Spotify, go here: clickety-click
I also have a large collection of cds and MP3s of my own. I rarely use the cds any more. I have ripped nearly all my cds into MP3s, so for now, I just keep the cds handy and collect them. I will pull them out sometime in the future when I have some upgraded listening equipment and the time to just lay back with headphones and listen.
That's another thing. I think that with all the background noise, one cannot hear the flaws inherent in MP3 technology, or the FM radio kind of technology that web-based music listening sites use for their free versions. I understand some of them are upgraded if you use their premium level, which requires spending money. That isn't really worth it to me.
One thing anyone living with me can attest--I listen to music a lot. Maybe not every day. But on the days I listen, I usually listen for a long time. Most of the time I'm discouraged from listening by those who wish to watch tv. So, the bottom line is, if you want to hang out with me, be prepared to listen to some good music.

That being said, here's a great song by the amazing, Nat King Cole:

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Life's lessons as taught by Moonlight Graham

Do you ever wonder about people you used to talk to frequently, but no longer do for whatever reason? Sometimes it's not just as easy as picking up the phone. There could be many reasons why someone who's in your heart and thoughts may be unable to communicate. I think about that sometimes. Sometimes, I want to talk to people who have died. Other times, I have a painful yearning to talk to those who are living, but with whom I no longer talk like I once did. Often as I see something I think, I wish so and so was here to see this, or I wish she or he was here sharing this with me.

I don't know. Sometimes, even frequently lately, I get thoughtful and wistful. Does that ever happen to you?

What I really like to think is that in the future, all of those conversations that we wish we'd had will take place, some time, some way. And then, some part of me moves into my personal Field of Dreams and I think of the Moonlight Graham quote, "You know, we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day." I'm hoping that I get to "have a catch" with some of those people sometime. But just in case, I'm trying to make the most of each moment with the people I cherish, because those moments could end in an instant.

Huge mule deer near my grandkid's school

On Sunday, after church, I stopped by the local elementary where some of my grandkids attend school. There is a huge vacant lot nearby, owned by Salt Lake County, fenced. This is just adjacent to the parking lot for the school. Of course these guys know they're safe here. Here are the pics.
This monarch was the biggest of the bunch and seemed totally unthreatened/

This guy isn't far behind him. He was taking a great interest in the camera.

Another fine buck in the group.

Christmas in the mall, 1970s

Last night, on the way to visit my mom who lives in Murray, we drove past Fashion Place Mall. As I looked at it, I noticed the immense facelift it has had in recent years. I wondered, with all the outside facing stores, if there was actually an indoor mall there anymore with the long walking areas, lined with stores and food vendors. The last time I was in the mall, all the food establishments were located in one place. Not so in the 1970s.
I grew up right across the street from a field that would one day be replaced by Fashion Place mall. The field was a great place to play as a kid. Then, when I was about 13, construction began on the mall, and the construction site too was a great place to play. There wasn't a lot of security and I remember prowling through the place with my friends when it was still concrete and steel girders.
Soon, the construction stopped, the stores moved in, and it became another place to hangout. Gone was the field that I had enjoyed as a youngster, and now, here was the mall, a different, but still fun place to hang out.
I remember the year the roof collapsed and many of the stores had to steeply discount their wares because of water damage. I remember the smell of the nuts from the nut place, whose name I can't recall. I remember checking out any number of stores, and buying food and watching people.
It was also a great place to get my first "real" job. Okay, I had been a paper boy. That was real work and a real job, but it wasn't the kind of job you could only get after you turned sixteen. The mall opened up vast opportunities for employment. When I turned 16, I applied and got hired at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant, and said good-bye to delivering papers.
Farrell's was a great coming of age place to work. Some of fondest memories have to do with Farrell's.
There were races we had around the mall. One time I ran around the mall with a couple of friends and thought I was doing well because I was keeping up with my older friends all the way around the mall. Then, I stopped and they went for another circuit. Sure put me in my place.
Once I started working a the mall, the friends of my youth, though they were still my friends, receded into the background and the ones I spent the most time with were the people I worked with. Farrell's employees spent a lot of time doing things together even when we weren't at work.
I worked there for a couple of years, then moved on. I ended up working at Lafayette Electronics, and later the Cottage Restaurant, both in the mall.
One thing I'll always remember was the hustle and bustle around Christmas time. The mall would fill up with people and the restaurants, including Farrell's, would be packed, even when it wasn't a Friday or Saturday night. Even after I got married in 1980, I used to love to go to the mall during the Christmas season and people watch. I disliked shopping, and would try to be done well before December, but I always liked hanging with the people who were out there trying to find the perfect gift among all those other people trying to do the same thing.
I remember when Farrell's went out of business and Lenscrafter's moved into that slot. I went there to buy some glasses and it was so weird because in my mind I was saying things to myself like, "that's where the kitchen used to be," and "over there was the large room with all the signs," and "there was the player piano," and "right there is where the pay phone used to be that I used to use." Now, even Lenscrafter's is gone from that spot, or so it appeared when I drove past the outside of the mall a few months ago.
I haven't been there in several years. Ann's health pretty much keeps us from doing the mall walking thing, and I haven't gone by myself. I'd like to though. I'd like to take a walk through those immense halls and picture in my mind's eye the things of yesteryear. I'd like to picture what it looked like back then and remember. I recently found this quote from the television series The Wonder Years: "Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
And indeed, I want to forever keep some of the memories I have.
Perhaps one day, I will walk those hallowed halls of the mall again and those memories will envelope me like a soft, warm blanket. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ushering in the Christmas season: My light hanging debacle

I got my Christmas lights put up on Thanksgiving morning. Actually, I had been invited to a Turkey Bowl football game, and had briefly considered running a 5k that morning. As it turned out, it was very cold, and for both playing football and running, a little colder than I would like. As for the football game, I wishfully considered it and then decided that it was a great opportunity for injury to occur--injury that would seriously hamper my ability to bring in income at my highest opportunity for overtime.
So, in order to reduce the risk of getting injured, I opted for putting up Christmas lights. I used to watch Bishop Stevenson (not really a bishop, but that's another long story) out there in the frigid air in his insulated coveralls putting up lights. He did it at night too, probably so he could see how they looked as he got them connected. Anyway that job looked very cold in the dark. I was doing it in the light.
And it was still very cold. I came in several times to get warm. Of course, it would've been a bit warmer if I'd had gloves on. As I began putting them up, I realized that for another year, I had forgotten to buy some new clips to attach to the rain gutter or shingles and I was going to be stuck with using the metal screwed in hooks that previous owners of the house had used. It was either that or wait until the next day off to get them up, and since it takes me a while to motivate myself to do it in the first place, that wasn't going to happen. It was now or never.
As I actually began hanging the first string of lights, I realized that last year, I had lost several of the metal hooks--never a good option because they fall out so easily--and that there were huge gaps between the places I'd need to secure the light strings. In some places the gaps were about eight feet long. This is not conducive to good, straight, uniform light hanging, but perfect for Dr. Seuss-type decorating. Did I mention that I'm a natural for the Dr. Seuss lighting?
Within an hour or two, I had the lights up and working, despite having started at the wrong end of the plug and having to figure out a new way to connect power. Now, all that's left is the star on top of the roof. I hope to get that done next week sometime and then maybe I'll take a pic and post it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who take the time to read my posts. Sometimes the things I write may seem strange, incoherent, or just not your cup of tea, so to speak. Fair enough. As an individual, I have my own idiosyncrasies, my own way of looking at life. I'm thankful for all of you and your own differences and ways of looking a things. I wouldn't be posting anything if I wasn't getting readers, so a big THANK YOU to my loyal readers. I hope all of you have an amazing time today wherever you may be.

And if you can reach through my computer, give Scout a pat on the head.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gratitude: I'm grateful for picnics

In thinking about things I'm grateful for, often overlooked are picnics. Of course, spending time with loved ones is always a thing to be thankful for, but picnics are a special case. Picnics are special because by their very nature, they are outdoorsy kinds of things. I spend time on hikes now looking for good picnicking areas. I spend time on four-wheeling drives looking for likely spots as well. One never knows when one will stop and eat and it pays to know the landscape. In the long run, the food tastes better when you can relax and enjoy yourself, rather than have to just plop down anywhere because your hunger is insatiable. That being said, I think picnics, with few ants, are priceless.

Toenails: Reminding me of an excellent adventure

This past Labor Day, early in September, my brother Mike and I went on a hike up Lone Peak. The trail is very steep and as we came down, my toes were jammed into the front of my hiking shoes. Three of my toenails, on my left foot only, turned black underneath. Now, almost three months later, two of them still are black.

I wonder how long this lasts. I'm thinking I may need to do some research as to how I can keep this phenomenon from happening. On the other hand, it makes my foot a little more interesting. I won't let anyone paint my toenails later on so that I can keep up this image, but like scars, it reminds me of battles fought and won. It reminds me that I did something very challenging this past summer and that I have something to talk about. My toenails may not always be this color, but I'll remember that they once were and how they got that way for a good long time.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Super amazingness from the night sky: another thing for which I'm grateful

A month or two ago, early in the morning in the eastern sky, Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon were all grouped close together. As I would get up in the morning and leave for work, I saw them daily, just as the first twinge of light was beginning to appear above the Wasatch peaks. In my rush to accomplish many things prior to heading off to work, I would forget until I was leaving late, and the only camera available would be my phone--a poor substitute at best for my Canon SLR, especially at that time of day.
Gradually, the three heavenly bodies drifted further apart. Now, the Moon is nowhere to be seen near the two planets, and the two planets themselves have spaced themselves quite a distance apart. It's part of a recurring cycle. One day, in the not too distant future, they'll all be close together again in the sky. Maybe then, I'll get out the better camera and get a better shot.
I watched a documentary called John Denver: Country Boy on Netflix last night. I really liked it. One of the things it mentioned was that in the song "Rocky Mountain High" the line "I've seen it raining fire in the sky" refers to a time when he and his buds were out in the mountains during the time of the Perseids meteor shower. That would be awesome! I need to do that sometime.
I'm always grateful for the beautiful stars at night, and for sharing the view with those who are equally appreciative. One of these days, I'm just going to lay back on a hillside somewhere and stare up at the sky--maybe even during the Perseids meteor shower, but any time would be great.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gratitude: I'm grateful for fabulous health product recommendations

So over the past year, I've discovered three items that have improved my life, thanks to the recommendation of others. These three items are coconut oil, psyllium husks, and melatonin.

Coconut oil can be used in a variety of ways. I have mostly used it for my dry skin. Since I work in an industry that requires me to be outdoors in harsh weather conditions, my hands can get extremely dry. When I remember to put in on my hands, it helps out a lot with this condition. I understand it makes a great massage oil too, though I have yet to try this usage.

The psyllium husks that I use come as a powder that I mix with water and drink. I have had diverticulitis twice this year and needed to find a way to get more fiber into my diet. In addition to providing that, psyllium husks provide other health benefits as well.

Melatonin was recommended to me as a way to reduce long hours of wakefulness in the middle of the night. It has worked amazingly well. For years, I've dreamed only rarely. Since I've begun taking the stuff, I have had dreams nearly every night. I think that might mean that I'm falling into deeper and thus more restful sleep. Certainly that's beneficial.

When people recommend great products to me, I think it's highly appropriate to thank them. So my gratitude goes out to those who have suggested the above products to me. They have made me life better, by helping me with some of my minor health issues. Thanks!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Today I'm grateful for butt-kicking good recipes

There's nothing like getting a treat from a neighbor or friend. It's especially nice when that treat is out of this world. Even better is when that friend shares the recipe with you.
The thing about the internet is that there are millions of people sharing a lot of great recipes...far too many to try in any one lifetime.
So, I narrow it down by things I must eat. And one of those things is great oatmeal cookies. I got a great oatmeal raisin cookie recipe a few months ago, and it was so good, that even though I made mistakes making it and when I put them in bags they turned into crumbs, I snarfed down the crumbs. And then I tried making it again after contacting the person who had posted the recipe and using the tips she gave me. They worked better, were still delicious, and still turned to crumbs. I guess I'm going to need to get a real baker to make them for me.
I've received other good recipes in the past year...a great cinnamon coffee cake recipe that I made for Christmas morning last year...that was fabulous! And many other great concoctions.
I'm grateful for people who share their recipes. Now, if I could only get them to cook for me, I'd be really grateful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Christmas Postal tide is rising

Just a quick pic to show you what today looked like in my mail truck. We are steadily increasing in our parcels and it will be peaking in just three or four weeks from now, but already, I'm having a tough time finding room for all the mail.

The thing most people don't know is that these trucks are ill-equipped for  the increase of online ordering and the corresponding increase in package delivery. There aren't any shelves in our trucks, so no matter how well we stack them, a few bumps, corners, or stops and the entire pile is soon jumbled. Within the next year or so, we'll be getting trucks with shelves, so that should help a lot.

Gratitude: Today, I'm thankful for Flo

So yesterday I was delivering my mail and there were a lot of Progressive ads going to homes along my route. I was looking at Flo all day.

I'm kind of thankful for Flo. Those commercials early on were appealing and something fresh. I know it sounds weird, but Flo is a bright spot in a world of stupid commercials and television programs. I don't typically like commercials, but there are a few entertaining ones and the ones with Flo in them are among the best. Besides that, I think the woman who portrays Flo is probably nice in real life, and the world needs more nice people, especially in the kind of world in which we live.

So two thumbs up for Flo. I hope she has a happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Song for a Winter's Night

Eleven inches of snow in Tooele today. We didn't get anything here in West Valley. Still it was mighty cold. I felt it to both body and soul. Here's a great Gordon Lightfoot song for the day...Song for a Winter's Night.

Today I'm thankful I never got soaked, and other assorted topics

Winter has finally come to Utah. It's just as well. I was getting burned out of keeping up with the yard, and now, I can look forward to not having to do that kind of stuff until spring. I got the Accord finished with the safety and emissions inspection--it had failed because the bracket that holds the battery in had broken. Anyway, I replaced that today. I got a tool in the mail that's supposed to help with clearing obstructions from toilets. In our basement, where our daughter, Rebecca and her family live, the toilet is having issues. I had plunged it last week and got a toothbrush out, but then found out that there might be more toothbrushes and whatever else in there and that it was still sluggish. Rather than pull the toilet to clear it, I got online and looked for easier solutions. Anyway, I found out about the toilet auger that a bunch of people swear works well, then I checked the video that's mentioned in the comment section. In case you ever need to know this, here it is.

I put Rebecca's husband, Justin on the task this morning. I'm anxious to see how it went.

Ann and I are going to try and finish up our Christmas shopping for the kids and grandkids sometime today. We like to get it done early, so we don't have to worry about it. I still have a bunch to do for Ann, but what do you expect? Her birthday is December 12, then there's Christmas, and on December 30th, our anniversary. If I could figure out how to get Mother's Day and Valentine's Day into December, I would and then I could have the whole shebang over for the year.

On the writing front, I think I'm going to find some agents to whom I can submit my Christmas poem entitled The Cowboy's Mile: A Christmas Story. I feel that it would be easier to try and explain my idea for the poem with illustrations to an agent rather than to a publishing company. It's a lengthy poem--about two to three type written pages of verse--and it would lend itself well to a format with a stanza or two on a page with an illustration to go with it. I'm fairly certain both children and adults would like this story--I just need to find a way to get it published. I'm also confident that it would be well-received among the Christian book market, so maybe that's the kind of agent I need to approach.

As for gratitude today, I'm grateful I didn't ever stay out in the rain long enough to get soaking wet. It might have caused trouble with clothes clinging and all of that. Okay, I know, that sounds like a weird thing to be grateful for, but I have my reasons. And I am trying to think of things I don't normally think of for which to be grateful. Normally I don't mind getting soaking wet, especially when it's very hot. But this year, it seemed kind of like, well, it didn't ever really get hot enough to need that cool down effect, another thing for which I'm grateful. And, it's just plain hard to get out of the wet clothing. I'm thankful I never got that wet and that all my excursions this year were relatively tame. Well most of them. That's a story for another time.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Today I'm grateful for sunrises and sunsets

Earlier this year, during the summer, I went hiking specifically to take pictures of the sunset from the Salt Lake Overlook. It was a great experience that I enjoyed immensely. I have been treated to many great sunsets this year. I have been treated to spectacular sunrises. When I see them, I try to share them because, well, spreading the joy is always a good thing.
Sometimes when I see a beautiful sunrise, I cannot help but think of others sharing it too. That's one of the great things about both sunrises and sunsets--that many people can see them, if they take the time. Sunsets and sunrises lift the spirits and impress upon the mind the beauty of God's creations. And I kind of like that.
Sunset along the Kings Peak trail, 2014

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gratitude: for advice that's worth more than I paid for it

In looking back over the past year, I've received a lot of good free advice. Some say, advice is worth what you pay for it. I say, that in the past year, the free advice I've gotten has been as valuable to me as if I'd paid a lot of money for it. I don't think that we often count free counsel by others when it come to gratitude, but this time, I'm going to. So thanks for the advice. It has been worth far more than I ever paid.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gratitude, green lights and geese

November is typically the month when we tend to think of gratitude a bit more frequently. Of course, that's associated with Thanksgiving Day. Really, we should be full of gratitude all the time for our great blessings. I've participated in the past in events that included listing some of the things I am thankful for on social media sites. Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be posting in this blog some of the things for which I'm grateful.
This first one is going to seem odd to some, not so odd to others. I'm thankful for green lights. That's right. Green lights. Far better than red lights, green lights suggest that it's okay. Okay to proceed, okay to go, okay to do a lot of everything. If I see two green lights in a row, I sometimes think that maybe this day, God is on my side a bit more than usual--and I can always use that kind of feeling.
I was a bit sad earlier today. Feeling blue. Blue's normally my color, but not when I'm sad. But then, something amazing happened. I hit two green lights in a row and somehow I knew that everything would be all right. So, I want to thank God for making sure I saw that today.

There was something else I saw today that had God's mark all over it. I was at the gym, having just completed my workout and I was walking around just thinking for a minute. I walked down to the west doors and looked up at the magnificent sky. The perfect mixture of blue, gray, and pink warmed my heart, but just then a flock of geese flew past, heading north. Within seconds another flock flew by, this time heading south, and then a third group, heading south as well. Big, beautiful birds bringing to me, a message of peace. God knew my heart needed it this morning and he delivered, as he always does when I decide to trust in and honor him.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Have you seen her? Betcha by golly wow!

I like sad songs from time to time. That doesn't mean I'm sad every time I listen to them. Far from it. There are times though. I remember times in the past when I've been sad. And songs of lost love are usually the saddest. Now, this singing group, the Chi-lites....they are great. They also have some nice Afros. I had an Afro once, believe it or not. It kind of reminds me of the old NBA announcer who once asked, "How tall is that guy?" and his side-kick said, "Six foot two if you count his hair."

Another great song is the Stylistic's "Betcha By Golly Wow" This is just a great song that isn't a sad song. Some of these old Mo-town groups are fabulous! Sit back and enjoy a couple of classics!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Life's trials stink

Two days ago I got a call from my daughter (who with her family, lives in our basement) while I was at work.
"There's water everywhere and it's coming from the floor drain in the basement. Sewage has backed up into the bathtub. What should I do?
I have used up all my leave time for the year. I couldn't go home to assess the situation myself. "Call a plumber," I said. "Go with whichever one can get there first".
Hoping that she could handle the situation from there, I worked the last three hours until quitting time, and then went straight home, abandoning my plans for a workout at my local gym.
When I finally got to take a look at things, they seemed rather dire. The plumber would not be there for a couple of hours, so I set about using the shop vac to suck up water. I knew I wouldn't be able to dump it until the plumber arrived and fixed things.
When the plumber got there, he got the drains clear, but emphasized a problem I already knew we had...that somewhere in the main line going out to the street there's a "belly" in the line. This can lead and has already led to multiple backing up problems. He left and I got back to work, mopping, cleaning tubs. Trying to deal with another problem that the plumber had found, which was that the basement toilet was not working properly and that there was likely something lodged within. I was trying to dump shop vac water into it and flush it down, but it didn't want to go down. Only by adding additional water after pushing the handle would the thing go all the way down, but eventually even that stopped. I thought I'd be calling the plumber back the next day to pull the toilet.
However, in the process of trying to plunge the water down, the object that was blocking things actually became dislodged and floated partway into the bowl, I could see the brush end of a toothbrush. I plunged my ungloved hand into the tank and grabbed it. It didn't want to come, but I insisted. Once I got that out and washed my hands, I tried flushing the toilet again. It worked! Rebecca had been carrying water up the 12 steps all day to dump it somewhere, and was all done in, so I washed all the sopping towels, semi-cleaned the toilet, sprayed out the tub (it would still need a good scrubbing), sucked up the remaining water off the floor, and after a long, hot shower, called it a night.
So, this year we've had the freezer go out, the roof replaced, and a flood in the basement. Things come in threes, as a friend reminded me, and we've had our three. No more necessary this year! I think I will schedule a plumber from now on every six months to run a cable through the lines, and if that doesn't work, well, I guess we'll have to take more drastic measures. One of the neighbors said that the same thing happened to them and the guy who fixed theirs said that the houses in the neighborhood had settled since they'd been built and the lines going out to the street have virtually no downhill gradient. Good to know...
Yeah, I'm fairly certain that we'll be moving again. I was fairly certain before, so now I'm even more so. I'm just glad that life's adventures don't all involve cleaning up sewage.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Life: meaning, goals and the drive to survive

I have a lot of plans for my life, even when I'm much older. One of the most important aspects for survival in any given situation is a reason for doing so. Consider the case of Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who lived in Vienna. During WWII, Frankl was captured by the Nazis, forced into and ended up surviving several concentration camps, including two of the most notorious, Auschwitz and Dachau. According to psychiatrist, Claire Newton:

"Prisoners in concentration camps were deprived of everything which, in normal circumstances, contributes to a loss of psychological well-being, dignity, and worth. Yet it was in precisely these most adverse conditions that Frankl became convinced of the significant role of values in people's lives. Having something to live for was what enabled prisoners to hold on to the will to live in circumstances that made death seem like a solution.
Frankl believs in the (indestructible) significance of life. Death for Frankl is the boundary which makes life a unique, unrepeatable opportunity. he believes that life is given to us so that we can find meaning - even in suffering.
According to Frankl, suffering does not deprive us of the freedom to decide how we will deal with that suffering. If a situation cannot be changed, if suffering cannot be avoided, what is retained is the freedom to change ourselves. Suffering has meaning.
It offers us the opportunity to transcend adversity. By the way suffering is borne, a tragedy can be turned into a triumph. The freedom to live a life of worth and dignity remains, even in suffering."

Frankl himself said, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
He also said, "Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time."
Frankl found that if a person had a particular reason for living, they were much more likely to survive. The reasons could include reuniting with a loved one, completing a college degree, or even revenge against their Nazi captors. If didn't seem to matter as long as they had motivation. If there was a reason and they internalized it, they were much more likely to make it out at the end.
So too with life in general. If there is motivation to survive, despite the hardships, we are much more likely to do so--and to a very old age, I might add. Though we cannot thwart God's plans, we can maximize the life he has granted us. The bottom line is, have a plan, and have goals and you will be a victor. I'll end with one more Viktor Frankl quote: "Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drive."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

GOP Debate: CNBC Media Farce

I just finished watching the Republican debate in Boulder, Colorado, hosted by CNBC. The liberal moderators quickly jumped out to make the ten candidates look bad, the first question being, "What is your biggest weakness?"
Within just moments, the candidates themselves took control from the moderators, banded together, and refused it jump into the fray. It was refreshing to see.
The debate itself showed a lot of highly qualified candidates, most of the adept at deflecting questions designed to have as negative impact as possible.
I was impressed with several of them including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina. Ben Carson held his own, and Donald Trump held his tongue for the most part.
One more thing of note. I'm wondering if Carl Quintanilla was formerly Eddie Munster.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Starting to get too cold to be shirtless. Final fitness update.

I began my fitness journey months ago. If you've been following, you know I've had some major setbacks including Ann's hospital stay, my own bouts with diverticulitis, etc. My original goal had been to make it down to 185. I had promised a shirtless photo if I made it. Frankly, I've been hovering between 186 and 189 for the past month. I'm in great shape for a 56 year old. I'm not bragging, but I'm telling you what's possible. I exercise between 3-5 times per week and usually for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes max. I'd say I average four hours of exercise per week. It's generally 30-45 minutes of cardio, followed by 15-20 minutes of strength training. My own goal with this isn't to actually lose weight, but to keep fit enough to do the things I love to do, like hiking, fishing, and going on picnics (ha ha!). My eating regimen is a balanced diet, never eating too much junk, but not avoiding it entirely--just trying to be sensible. I post this picture to show those who think exercise requires large amounts of time to produce results, that it really doesn't. All it really takes is consistency, frequency, and trying to use common sense with the foods you eat. I will post this pic and then you'll never have to look at me shirtless again.
Even an old guy like me can stay in reasonable shape.

Hiking Bell's Canyon

The sky above the peaks at dawn was subdued but awesome!

Fall colors are fading fast
I went on another amazing hike today. I was having a hard time deciding where to go, then found out that Ann needed some help with some errands in the afternoon, so it narrowed my choices down a bit. I ended up doing Bell's Canyon. It's a place that I've hiked a couple of times in the past once alone, and once with my son, Ben. My goal this time wouldn't be to make it to Upper Bell's Reservoir as it had been in the past, but to get some good pics, to explore some side trails, and to try and find the supposed bridge that crosses the stream prior to the trail making its way along the north side of the stream the rest of the way to the Upper Reservoir. Both previous trips had left me unsuccessful at this goal of finding the bridge. This one was no different. I figured out where I thought it was, but ended up with no time to verify due to needing to get home to do the errands. Anyway, I got some good pics. One of these days, I'll figure out how to post multiple pics on this blog and keep them in the order taken...
The stream is beautiful any time of year

Lower Bell Canyon Falls
Lower Bell's Reservoir. Note the fish hitting the surface. I'll go back with my fishing stuff sometime

The trail looks like this for much of  the way.

The trail to the lower falls is an unmarked trail heading north. Look for
a big bare spot to the left, with a bit of muddy area right after
you leave the main trail. You'll be rewarded with a view of these spectacular falls.

More lower falls

A small rivulet from the upper falls

Yours truly, near the upper falls

The lower trail was easy going. Not too hard here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cluttered freezers would be fun to dump...

In our household, we have our daughter, Rebecca, and her husband and four kids living with us. A household of eight. Sometimes it seems like an army of twenty. I'm frequently reminded of this when I open the freezer and try to find anything. Jam-packed with everything I don't need, I cannot find the stuff I do need. Our ice maker knows that an army lives here. It keeps making ice, dropping it behind the bin when the bin gets full, so that we have ice cubes layered throughout the freezer half of the side by side. I pulled out a basket today to try and find corn tortillas, and there were enough ice cubes to fill a plate holder, and then some, just behind the basket I pulled out.
The search for the tortillas continued. I emptied an entire shelf before I found any, cursing along the way. "Why do we need all this stuff in here?" I said, rather loudly. "I will be glad when it's just you and me," I said to my wife, Ann.
Mind you this was only minutes prior to searching in vain for measuring spoons. Lost somewhere in a vast concoction of toys, papers, food, and clutter, the spoons may some day turn up. Someone may have to move in order for that to happen, but some day, I'll find all the spoons, can openers, wooden spoons, and various other implements I need on a regular basis in order to make anything to eat.
It makes me want to bring home something for dinner every night, rather than try and cook, getting frustrated because every time I need to thaw some chicken, I have to wade through layers of burritos, hummus, hot dogs, and pecans that got put in upside down in an open bag.
I think instead of bringing something home for dinner, I'm going to run away...

I'm not lying.

Just try finding  what you need without emptying this bin!

This is where most of the random ice cubes are found.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Turning into a werewolf

When it's a full moon, I generally turn into a werewolf. I've never done a selfie of me as a werewolf, nor have I gone to a professional photo shoot. I took the liberty of creating an image that shows a photo of me morphing into a werewolf. I don't know how accurate it is as when I change into a werewolf...I

More signs of fall

You wouldn't know it around here with the unseasonable temperatures. For the past few weeks, we've been hard-pressed to find any temps below 80. I'm waiting for a little cooler weather to facilitate the most productive time for killing bindweed (better known as wild morning glory), and other noxious weeds.
Despite the warm weather though, there are some signs that fall is coming on. My tomatoes, which were coming out of my ears, have slowed their ripening process--just not enough hours of warmth in the shorter days. Pumpkins are quickly being bought up from the nearby vendors. We just bought a couple to make jack-o-lanterns with from Ream's, on sale for 13 cents a pound...and since it was the last day of the sale, we were picking from the last five or six they had, literally. With the recently announced pumpkin shortage, I'm not thinking we'll see another sale like that between now and Halloween. Just a couple of weeks ago though, we were up in Perry, Utah watching some guys unload pumpkins at one of the fruit stands up there.
Unloading pumpkins--a sure sign of fall.

With the shorter days, it also means that I'm leaving for work before the sun rises. This has created an opportunity to take some shots of the dawn sky. I wish I could remember to set up the good camera on a tripod and get a wonderful shot, but instead, I just think about it when I'm already nearly late for work, so I pull out the cell and snap a shot. Like this.
The Moon, Venus and Jupiter have been close together in the morning.

Before long, it's actually going to cool down enough to turn on the furnace, and to spray the weeds. Summer, with its hikes, fishing, and barbecues will be done. But fall and then winter have their own unique activities that make them special as well. And who's to say that you can't hike, fish or barbecue in the fall and winter? I do all of these activities year round. We've cooked our Christmas Eve steaks on the grill outside when it was snowing. It was a wonderful experience.

There will be more wonderful experiences in the days and years ahead. We need to look at each day as a God-given opportunity to grow, learn, and love. Of course, there are often challenges to endure and to survive, Those are part of life. Some times may be hard, but if we keep our eyes focused on what's truly important, and our trust in God, we will eventually become not spectators, or unwilling participants, but victors. And I kind of like that.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

A rare fall treat

Yesterday after eating an excellent lunch at Pazzo Vita Deli in Taylorsville, Ann and I drove up to Alta. It was definitely a spur of the moment thing. I kind of wanted to see the snow on the peaks and the fall colors. Just below Albion Basin, we saw these two bad boys fighting over a female.
An unexpected encounter with the best nature has to offer
We also saw the snow. And  the fall colors were excellent as well.
I always like to see the quakies that turn orange. Yellow is nice too.

Okay, so this was my first day trying to take pictures with my phone

Monday, October 05, 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015

What a wonderful president we have...? You can't be serious!

Some president. Take a look at Iran. Take a look at Iraq. Take a look at what's happening in Syria right now. Our president, drew a red line in the sand a few years ago. It was crossed, then redrawn, then crossed again.

"No, I didn't mean that red line, I meant this one." Frankly, his total ineptitude has caused violence to erupt in the middle-east. His lack of response has enboldened evil-doers worldwide. Now, Russia is creating havoc in Syria, and it looks like they are planning on joining forces with Iran. Israel is getting mighty nervous, and for good reason. The big red machine is on the move again and who is it that will try and stop them? Apparently not us. John Kerry stated 'We agreed on the imperative of as soon as possible, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow, but as soon as possible, having a military to military deconfliction meeting." Yeah right. Today, the bombing of non-ISIS (ISIL for those who give a darn about who or what these slime balls call themselves), America friendly targets continued. This is after the big red line in the sand in regards to Russia's invasion of our NATO ally, Ukraine. War is imminent and his policies of shaking a big stick and doing nothing haven't worked. If we are drawn into a war with Russia, it can be blamed solely on the non-functional policies of this man, a man who considers global warming to be more of a world threat than Islamic terrorism.

Meanwhile on the home front, he stands in front of the camera and blatantly lies about states with more strict gun laws having less murders. Evidently, he failed to include his home state of Illinois on his chart of states with strict gun laws and fewer gun deaths. Sadly, he chose a moment  when people are mourning over their murdered  loved ones at a small community college in Oregon, to put the blame on the weapon, rather than on the killer. But we've come to expect as much. He's basically done the same thing with every mass shooting--except of course those caused by the rampant gangs in Chicago. Mum's the word on those.

The 2016 elections cannot come soon enough. It is hoped that the American public will choose someone worthy of this great nation, someone who will take the lead in throwing down those who wish to harm us. Elections have consequences and if we haven't learned that through this debacle, we never will. We are tired of those who choose to bad mouth a nation that has done more good in the world than any other nation in history. We are sick of those who would deprive us of our 2nd Amendment rights to defend ourselves. We are sick and tired of a president who thinks climate change is the cause de la journée, the cause of the day, and ignores real evil. Conservative radio host and columnist, Dennis Prager has said, "Those who don't fight real evils fight imaginary ones." It's a disease of the left.

My only hope is that by the time this man is removed from office, irreparable harm hasn't occurred. One of the few things he hasn't lied about is fundamentally changing America. That he has done. And not for the better.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Another fabulous sunrise in Utah

I just woke up about an hour and a half ago. I was trying to get my new phone to work. It's a smarter phone than I used to have and I can't figure out how to get it to detect the wifi in our house. Right now, I'm waiting for my son-in-law, Justin, who lives in our basement, to wake up so that he can get it running for me--I've spent enough frustrating time on it already.
When I finally decided to let someone with more experience help me, I put down the phone and looked out the window and saw this:
Sometimes, we just need to put down the gadgets and see what there is to see around us. I'm glad I did.

Thoughts on autumn and life

Have you ever found yourself on the road and you've traveled many miles from home before you suddenly realize what you should have brought with you, that you forgot to bring? For me, it's one of those "doggone it" moments.
Yesterday, I had another in a long litany of "doggone it"s when Ann and I headed up to the Uintas for some views of the fall colors. We were about forty miles from our home when we passed the first body of water and I realized that I was heading up into some great fishing lakes and had not thought to at least throw in the fishing gear. "Doggone it!" I said. "I should've brought my fishing stuff."
Life is like that too. We sometimes find ourselves many miles down the road of life before we realize we should've brought something along that we didn't. Too late to go back and pick up whatever it was we left behind, we soldier on, learning to live with whatever we brought with us.
As we drove up further into the Mirror Lake highway forests, I soon found myself looking at all the beautiful autumn colors. It's mostly quakies up there, so mostly yellow, but some of them had turned an orange/red that was spectacular. I snapped several pictures as we drove the dirt roads, we picked up several rocks for decorating our yard, and generally had a great time out there in the great outdoors.
Quakies near Whitney Reservoir in the Uintas

Shane and Ann enjoying the day

Some of the leaves were already down. Imagine this a week ago.
But, as we drove down, back past the lakes, I couldn't help thinking that I wish I had my fishing stuff.