Monday, December 17, 2012

Please Make Our Legacy To End Gun Violence

Please Make Our Legacy to End Gun Violence was typed on a paper left at the Sandy Hook, CT elementary school.  How apt!  How appropriate!  How insightful!  But is this do-able?  I am left thinking of Columbine and Virginia Tech and Aurora and now Newtown and wonder if the shock and awe of these events will wither in the coming weeks-months-years?

I have posted this question on many blogs and responses to article written about this heinous act:

And I've gotten no replies, some sympathetic responses but no reasons why someone would/should own one of these rifles.  Hundreds of rounds of high impact, killing bullets exit this gun upon touching it's trigger.  You would never use it for hunting or target shooting or skeet shooting because it's a killing gun.  One designed for killing many people in a short amount of time.  Indiscriminate killing.  Used by the military types.  And perfectly legal to own in the United States.  Why?

Our Founding Fathers would shutter at the thought this type of gun would be in a citizen's house. 
Yet the NRA wants these guns for everyone. 
They foist paranoia on a scared group of citizens as the normal state of affairs, all based on the second amendment to our Constitution. 
To make money and gain power. 
Because they are impotent and scared and paranoid as well.

It's time we take back our country and out children's future.  It's time to get angry and let your elected officials know just how frustrated and pissed off you are.  And it's time to demand changing the law.  The same law President George W Bush let expire in 2004:  banning the sale of assault rifles.

Spread the word.  Share your outrage.  Yell and scream.  It's a starting point.

Yes, we need to talk about the mental well-being of our youth and violent movies and videos and the numbness that may occur to all the violence, but let's start by banning the sale of assault rifles.  We can deal with those in time but we need to do something NOW.

Email-email-email.  Write-write-write.  Let those elected official know where you stand and what you want done.  Take away their excuses.  NOW.  Ban the sale of assault rifles.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whoa! It's October and I've Not Posted Since January?

Wish I could say I have been super busy or started career phase II of my life but that's not really the case.  I have been doing things but in no real pattern or routine.  So what have I been doing?

1.  Taking 4 yoga classes a week and loving every minute of them.  Wonderful to experience one's mind and body.  Hard to explain in 100 words or less since changes happen incrementally.  I'm still full of habits I would like to amend or change but I am at least aware of noticing the triggers as they happen and try to simply acknowledge before deciding to act upon them or rather see them as passing thoughts and move on to something else.
No, I've not met this yogi...

2.  Traveling a bit far and wide from Baltimore for a spur of the moment baseball game to Washington DC to Vermont to a two week vacation in Florida to Copenhagen/London week of play and excellent food while Nancy works.  This pic is a hot dog vendor in Copenhagen.  Low operating expenses! By the way the 30Kr translates to about $5 for a hot dog!

 Natalie also graduated from the University of Vermont and in less than 2 weeks headed off to her Peace Corps position in the south Pacific.  Lots of parties and packing and good byes.  She is now posted in Palau for the next 24 months.

3.  Volunteer work with collection of food and clothing for the needy, running out to York to pick up car loads of clothing, sorting, and distribution.  Helping out at a local county historic site in the garden and other tasks.

4.  Reading and finding great/strange/wonderful/interesting videos and movies on line.  I can watch them as I please:  a few minutes and then a break or whole through.  My schedule, my whim.

5.  Cooking. I enjoy having dinner ready each night using local vegetables.  A summer of excellent tastes.

6.  Pool boy and gardener.  Again another disappointing garden and I'm not certain if it's me or the weather but the last 2 years have produced awful yields and variety.  The soil is pretty good but if it's not the groundhog or birds eating the plants then there is a drought.  I really need to fence in the garden and see if there are changes.  A fall job?  We'll see.

Early morning

7. Spending time with the chickens.  Fascinating creatures.  I will post a separate post on them in the near future since changes have occurred.

Honestly, I had thought something would have interested me enough for me to start a new direction in life.  I think the problem is related to seemingly unrelated ideas:  I am interested in so many things And I really don't want to have a 9-5, five day a week job (or a variation thereof).  So I'm basically just putzing around and taking each day as it comes.  Often I label myself as being lazy or unmotivated but that's how it is these days.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Your Thoughts?

Listening to a NPR news spot this morning I heard a politician say, in response to a comment made about what's important, "People don't think of politics when they first wake in the morning, their first thoughts are;  How am I going to feed my family?" 

He sounded passionate so I began to wonder, what do we think about when we first wake in the morning?  Do we think about feeding our loved ones or is it planning for the day or revisiting dreams or loves lost or thankfulness for ________________?

And where do we do these first thoughts?  In bed?  On the way to the bathroom?  Looking in the mirror?  In the shower?  During the first cup of coffee?

So, I'm looking for responses.  Your first thoughts this morning or maybe some sort of pattern of thoughts.  And include where you first encounter these thoughts.  No names are necessary and long explanations are optional.

Let's see what we're thinking about when we're roused from sleep.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Funny Times and Valentines Day

I have a subscription to Funny Times, which comes out on an almost monthly basis and is filled with comics and funny stories.  It's liberal leaning and there are some political comics and both sides of the aisle take hits but most of the comics and stories are about absurdities of life.

It is a rather long but very funny comic and is probably a 15 second read and an all day chuckle.  Sorry for the small size.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm on a committee!

So, how I be filling my time?  Working very few days with a school district trying to use inquiry science kits, yoga classes, odds and end type jobs around the house, cooking dinners and doing some of the grocery shopping, running the Outreach Committee at church and some other volunteer ops that includes collecting food and clothing.  Last to be added is being on the board of the local 4H club!  Had my first meeting last night and the room was jammed! Here are my reactions:

There is a crank element among the group, not unlike my boy scout experience but nicer since so many females are involved.  They are well meaning and kind but tend to talk too much about moving $50 from one budget line to another.

And I bet you never read through a budget with a line item for "manure removal".  I had to bite my tongue so as not to burst out laughing but everyone else nodded in approval that $400 seemed like a reasonable amount to rid the fair of the accumulated manure.  Who was I to disagree?

There are many groups that reported:  poultry group (chickens and ducks and geese), small furies (mostly rabbits and guinea pigs), bovine (speaks for itself and oh, the Farm show tonight will be showing the video from the bovine group. Watch when you get home from the meeting...), equine (another group that speaks for itself), goats (not for milk or meat, just the pygmy type), and they're hoping to get a kit-kat klub going again if they can get an adult leader.  I asked about that club and was told it was about raising cats and I apologized, not knowing the technical terms.  Got pained smiles and a giggle.

So it had all the stereotypes of what one might imagine, or what I imagined, at the meeting.  Those with worn flannel shirts and gnarled and beat up hands (my Woolrich flannel had recently returned from the dry cleaner...) with worn, scuffed John Deere type baseball caps;  odd whiffs of some animal odors; broasting about awards won at this year's farm show (chickens!) in the different age groups and grand champions and even one award for best scrap booking.  

There were many 4H member teen-agers who wanted to see how this committee meeting worked (really? Volunteering to attend a committee meeting, very impressive There were at least 10 of them.  Jeez...) and they looked as I imagined: mostly girls with too tight PINK sweat pants and those layered tops with a hoodie covering their girth.  They spoke about how they felt left out at the farm show since there wasn't an adequate and safe place to display their bunnies.  Too near the large horses who tend to be loud at night and stress the bunnies (damn those belligerent equine types!).  Bunnies need their quality sleep!  Plus they would need to leave their bunnies there for a few days and that just wasn't a good idea.  Lesson learned!

There was also talk of summer camp opportunities such as a leadership camp where the kids get to stay at Penn State's campus, sleep in the dorms and eat campus food.  Ooh and ahh at will with that idea.  No talk of staying off campus at a football coach's house...  And then, the announcements of where three 4H graduates will attend college.  Delaware Valley for animal husbandry, Penn State for pre vet, Penn State for farming and business with a minor in, get ready, poultry.  You can minor in poultry at PSU.  His sister muttered under her breath, "yeah, he's the next Frank Purdue..."  I came to love 4H humor in under 2 hours.

Oh, and 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the 4H in Montgomery County and there will be competition with the girl scouts turning 100 as well.  And, get ready again, Weis markets is also turning 100 so the hope is the area wouldn't be too distracted by the other groups' celebrations.  Girl Scouts I get.  But Weis Markets?  Really?  Who am I to disagree?  Listen and learn is my 4H motto.

All in all, a good night spent.  My favorite was as we were ending the meeting, a woman on my right 

( a newly voted in member like me) turned and asked what did I do?  When hearing I was a retired teacher, she then asked, so why are you part of this?  I shrugged and mentioned something about liking scrap booking.  I was trying to be humorous but alas, it fell on deaf ears.  I must be an "acquired taste".

I will fit in well with this group. Maybe. Probably not, but I'll try.

So I sent the email to my wife and daughters and sister and here are the replies (anonymous):

Anonymous 1.  That is funny, I giggled through the entire email. Bunnies girls and scrapbooking. I love that you said you liked scrapbooking. Lying can be funny.

Anonymous 2.  Scrapbooking - you are hiding behind scrapbooking?
This type of meeting would have scared me off!
What are you going to do with them?
Maybe take care of the accumulated manure???
Chicken sitting?

Anonymous 3.  Oh this is brilliant!  I've read this 3 times now, just to read about the Bunny girls.  I knew that Bunnies were soft and cute, but SO sensitive?  I had no idea.

You should keep your account of the meetings as a blog or journal.  Good, fun reading!

All kidding aside, I love what the 4H does and stands for.  I wish that I had been involved in it when I was younger,  much preferred over girls scouts (although I never did that either...).

Good for you for volunteering and starting off with a committee meeting!

And here is my reply to them:

X thinks I should keep a blog of my experiences.  I am poking fun but the 4Hers seem good and honest and to hear a discussion about $50 is really interesting.  I forgot to add that one of the adult leaders referred to something that didn't work out as:  " got debach-eld"  I thought, what an interesting phrase and kept running it through my head and tried to spell it out on paper.  De-bach-L-ed?  debacheld? Debach-eld?  That is what kept me from sighing aloud during the $50 line item change discussion.

And honestly, I have no idea why I'm there.  Not a farmer, new to the "chicken industry" with my 3 scraggly birds, I gave away our only guinea pig and flushed our tropical fish down the toilet.  Only experience I have with rabbits is Ester Bunny and she is stuffed!   Horses scare me, goats are stupid (Pygmy or not); but I do enjoy eating beef and pork products...

I have no cred, I haven't earned my chops, I just hope and pray I'm not exposed for what I am:  a fraud!  A 4H wanna-be.  Just don't want it to be a de-bach-eld period in my life.  And I lied about scrap-booking.  I am such a loser!

Tebow for me....

Peace (for the bunnies and all the other small furies),
Husband, father, brother

Friday, November 4, 2011

The latest "artistic" endeavor

Here are some pics of a endeavor I executed.  It's about 4 foot high, the base is oak and the vertical member is maple(from a tree in the backyard) with stones from the Canadian Maritimes.  The copper bracelets are to keep the wood from splitting.  Anyone out there want it?  Le me know.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

London in October

My first trip to this most cultured city, where people still say things like: sorry, and how can I help? and thank you, and pardon me (and actually wait whilst you move out of the way).  It was a refreshing experience and upon arriving back in the states I found myself feeling like the poor second cousin.  The American attitude is so tiring and tedious.  The in your face name calling is childish and reeks of abuse. 

In the UK, commentators on news shows actually ask politicians questions like this, "don't you think what you're saying is an excuse for the Prime Minister's actions?"  AND the politician is allowed to give a complete, unedited response. 

Enough commentary, some pics. 

The Thames, a 2 minute walk from our hotel

Big Ben, Parliment, Westminster in the background

London's Eye

Big Ben and Big head

A ship in the bottle in front of the National Gallery (and my head)

Arsenal beats Stoke City 3-1  ARSENAL!  ARSENAL! ARSENAL!

Weird face but getting ready to have afternoon tea at the St Martin's in the Field Church canteen

At the Tate modern with a risque Picasso (or is that redundant?)

Traditional English food: fried kidney, bacon(ham), boiled potatoes and cooked cabbage with some mustard.  Such great comfort food!