Archive for December 2011

I-80 Off Ramp

December 29, 2011

We knew there’d be an “off-ramp” some day soon.     This final off-ramp led to our homes tonight.  I dropped off my friend “M” at her house, I stopped off at my own home-town  grocery store to get some juice, and — after 4,550 miles — finally drove up into my own driveway.

And to this:

With a deeply grateful heart,   I’ll spend the next few hours there.     I am still astonished and full of wonder that our roads were dry and our skies were sunny,  Hubbie’s old car had no problems, I saw no accidents, and there were no “near misses.”

All that may be coincidence, happy circumstances, luck.

But I know that all that  was an answer to specific prayers.

Deo gratias.

Good-night.

I-80 THE OLD WEST

December 29, 2011

The people along I-80 have preserved our history in a series of museums, exhibits, historical markers, and with the preservation of actual sites.   Today we visited a very solemn place, heavy with the presence of those who lived, fought, struggled, feared, hoped, and died on the way out West.

This is a map displayed at Fort Kearney Nebraska, the fort that protected our American forefathers  as they attempted to travel westward to find new lives for themselves.    One of the major trailways was called the Oregon Trail.  From about the 1840’s  it carried thousands of hopeful emigrants in conestoga wagons to free and open lands in the Pacific northwest.

However, not long after the Trail was established,  the plains Indians, long at war with each other, now fought the travelers who attempted to pass through the Great Plains.    There was no “trespassing”;  the Indians did not know the concept of land ownership.   There was no “environmental impact.”  There was no decimation of the buffalo.  These were simple and innocent people, hoping to pass through the territory.

Above is the inside of the fort, the parade grounds and an information wall.   On that wall are maps, regiment standards, and heartbreaking actual telegrams sent by desperate soldiers, officers, doctors, and travelers, begging for help.

“Wagon train under siege at bent Fork….For God’s sake send help immediately!”

“Found Garrett’s body, murdered, horrible mutilated by the Indians….”

“Caution:  Cheyenne masquerading as Sioux, acting as spies….”

“Please detain Train at fort.  Sioux  on the warpath ahead…..”

Here I am, standing by one of the lookout “towers” at the corner of the fort.     Wagon Train travel was suspended for several years in the 1860’s so that the soldiers could restore a small amount of order and safety.

One of the out-buildings of the fort area.

Another outbuilding,  also made of sod and frame, with a wagon waiting out front:

Here is a close-up of the sod.  The sod was made skillfully into bricks.  Although they lasted for a long time, they eventually crumble.

And we need a close-up of an actual conestoga wagon.   The seat is up surprisingly high.   I could scarcely reach it with my hands.  This one doesn’t have its hemp covering over the frame.   I like to think it wasn’t burned off by a fire arrow.

My friend  “M” and I were actually excited to be here at first.   The park was officially “closed” but we were able to walk around at will.   Left to our own thoughts, then, our imaginations led us into what life was possibly like back then.

We decided this is a man’s world.   Warriors and soldiers, aggression and protection, weapons and tools.  What would it be like to be a young wife, a daughter, a woman in this world?    We could almost share their vulnerability.

We felt the air heavy with tragedy, uncertainty, loss, pain, and death.     And courage.    And confidence.  And determination.

This is our country when it was still young.   It didn’t know our history because it was busy making our history.     If we want to enjoy the country they built, it seems it would be important to know how that country was built and who the people were that built it.     And how could we be like them…..

I-80 GOOD-BYE TO THE WEST

December 28, 2011

For the next few days the sunset will be at my back.

Darn.  The most beautiful sunsets are happening behind me.  It takes supreme self-discipline not to look out the back window while I’m driving.    Not too often.

Clouds ahead are pretty too.

They become part of the landscape as the sun goes down.

But you’ve got to watch where you’re going.   (That red is the front of my car!)

We saw a sign that said The Continental Divide.    Felt like we were on the top of the world today.

Pardon the fuzzy quality of the photos.   My camera and cell phone camera have both been covered in  baby-grandson  drool as well as an unfortunate dousing with grapefruit juice in my purse.

Blurry kitty under the Christmas tree:

I’ll have some cleaning up and sorting out to do when I get home.     I have four “clocks” with me:   an alarm clark, a wristwatch,  a cell  phone, and the laptop clock.   They each represent a different time zone right now.    I know where I am, I just don’t know when I am.     Looking forward to getting cleaned up and sorted out.

I-80 END OF THE LINE

December 26, 2011

I seem to be a bit tongue-tied during this road trip.    No big funny dramatic adventures to write about.

That might be a good sign.

Each morning I wake up at Daughter’s house and look at this out of my bedroom window:

It’s just very beautiful out here in the mountains, wherever you look.    I see this out the window where I eat my breakfast:

We took a walk to visit friends and to let the little babies play in a park:

 That’s been my last few days.    Fresh air, mountains, trees, a little snow, outdoor activities,  the joy of being with family, friends, peaceful days. . . doesn’t make for dramatic blog-writing, but it’s something I hope you’ve experienced too during these holidays.

The suitcases are packed now, ready to go into the car.   It’s the end of my visit.    It’s the end of the line;  it’s as far west as I go on I-80.    After a day driving eastward, I’ll pick up my friend “M”  in Salt Lake City, and then we ‘ll continue on towards the east.

I hope there won’t be too many “dramatic adventures”  to write about for the next few days!

I-80 MIDNIGHT, DARK AND STILL

December 25, 2011

Midnight in the Sierra Nevadas. . . .

We are blessed by our memorial of one dark and silent night about 2,000 years ago, when our Creator came to us, Emmanuel,  God-With-Us, the God Who dwells with mankind and brings peace to those of good will.

From Scriptures:  “For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Thy Almighty Word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction.    (Wisdom 18:14, 15)   

Fiercely conquering the enemy of mankind so that there can be peace between God and the humans He made.

It is midnight here in the deep forest of the Sierra Nevadas, elevation over 7100 feet, 2 degrees temperature, the sky crisp and clear with many bright stars like a ceiling, close overhead.     A night when miracles may happen.

Merry Christmas to all.

I-80 $59 FUN

December 21, 2011

Well, after that harrowing amusement park roller coaster drive winding down into Salt Lake City last night,  I’ve “made friends” with the mountains.   That was the only place we saw the sunshine today, and it was breath-takingly beautiful way up there.    (Photos in next post.)

My friend “M”  stayed behind with her Utah family, and I went on to the airport to pick up Son.   I was totally lost crossing the big city diagonally to get to the airport, but my TomTom wasn’t, so the drive was quite easy.    Son’s flight was easy, early, and without incident too.   It was so good to see him.   We left the airport and headed west….in the dark, across the Salt Flats, the Dugway Proving Grounds, and the Bonneville Flats.    No photos, though.    There are NO lights out there!

At the border, it was time to find a place to rest for the night.

We found a great place, and Son and I asked each other, “Why not?”     It was worth inquiring about.   We popped the question, and the answer was ” $59.”     That bought us a lot of lights!

Our family has a little “history” here.   Hubbie found this place many years ago when he was driving out here to deliver our daughter to the city of San Francisco.     He discovered that under theselights and mirrored ceilings was an unbelievably wonderful buffet.   He had arrived on a Friday when they were serving their Seafood Extravaganza.     Ever since then he raved about the huge piles of giant crab legs and mounds of lobster and every  edible ocean  critter there is,  shelled and unshelled, finned and filleted, sauced and savory in multiple ways.    He went on and on about it  for years after, until at last Hubbie and I went out there together one year.

Well, tonight the price was right,  but we are also here for Hubbie. . . . . it’s our wedding anniversary again.   I want to remember his happy experiences,  here at West Wendover, Nevada.

After eating our share of the buffet tonight,  Son and I found our way to our room.     Down beautiful hallways:

And if you have to stop for a “confort break,”   that was elegant too:

And now our resting place,  for one inexpensive night:

 

Marble, mirrors, burgundy and gold, roomy and spacious.    The camera toned it down a little, but  I’m going to hate to close my eyes tonight.     This is not ‘us.”    This is not how we normally live…..    but it will be a nice dream for just one night.

 

 

I-80 Descent

December 20, 2011

It’s been another long traveling day.    We’re in one piece, but if I told you what we came through, I probably wouldn’t be encouraging any tourism along I-80.

For one thing, we drove through Wyoming.   This was Wyoming, somewhere under the fog:

The sun came out when we were at the far end of Wyoming — just in time for sunset.   We drove into the bright light of the sun and  couldn’t see much else.

As it got dark, we navigated through forty miles of steep, sharp, curvy mountain roads, with traffic roaring past, on narrow lanes.     In the dark.   Once we got into the city – at rush hour – we whizzed past pieces of cars that had collided with each other, commanded by the unflappable voice of a TomTom.

Here’s where we are.

 It’s Salt Lake City.   Those mountains look like where today’s roads were, where we descended into the city.

It’s probably very beautiful.    I’ll write more friendlly-like when I recover.

I-80 THE U-TURN STATE

December 19, 2011

I’m not as far along as the current occupant of our nation’s white house yet, designating “57 states” for our country,   but I’m about to name  my present location as the 51st state.

This must be a new state in the state commonly known as “Nebraska.”     We’ve seen Nebraska scenery all day.

And lots of this:

 And the last several hours have been as black as…well, night.    Real night, with no streets lights, billboard lights,  building lights, and not very many other headlights.    It’s a black too thick to see through.

Even the little town I’m in right now….not too well lit.    Impossible to see where the intersections are.    I navigated by a combination of guesswork and U-Turns.    I’ve made seven so far.     Seven U-Turns in one little town on one dark night.      That’s more U-Turns than I’ve made in all my life!

S’okay.    There’s probably no traffic around here.

Will find out in the morning.

I-80 GRITTY TEDIUM

December 17, 2011

Don’t know if that title makes any sense, and maybe I’m weary,  but those two words came to mind tonight when I thought about our first day of travel.  This road trip isn’t a vacation,  it’s just a “getting there.”

So I’ve once again entered the world of necessary sights and a couple of familiar things:

Necessary –  pay attention to signs.  All the signs:

Signs will be a major component of our world for the next two weeks.

And places to stop.   Good, safe places.   Fortunately there are many along the road:

 Landmarks:

The windmills in the distance mark the exit ramp location of Hubbie’s cousins in Illinois.    They are good friends as well as family, but the timing was not quite right to stop.   Maybe on the way back.

And then this landmark . . .

That’s a quick shot of the Mississippi River.   Tonight I am “west of the Mississippi,”  where all the radio stations start with the letter K.

And one more “necessary.”    One of these.

 Some will look “glamorous” in the evening lights, some will not.    All will be a little different each night;  all will have a sameness.   And each night we’ll be resting very travel-weary bodies.

There is a tedium in road travel.   And you need “grit”  to keep going and not pay much attention to the tedium.

Rule #1 for travelers:   Do the right thing wherever you are.   No matter what.

Traveling will test your mettle.

 

 

STRAIGHT LINE TO CHRISTMAS

December 16, 2011

The tiny black A is not exactly where I live in my state, but the red B is pretty much where I’m going.   Early tomorrow morning my friend “M” and I will head south a bit, make a right turn, and then keep on going westward for a few days.     I’ll be dropping M  off at Salt Lake City and picking up Son from the airport there!

If we were flying in an airplane and if we looked down out of the window,  this is what we would see before we land:

 I guess when I get to all that snow in the Sierra Nevadas I’ll know I’ve arrived.    I’m looking forward to seeing these:

It is surprising how much leaving for this trip is bringing back all the events of last year.  It was exactly one year ago that Son and I were leaving for our Christmas trip to see Daughter and her husband, and the newborn Cooper.    It was just two weeks after the funeral, and we didn’t know what life would be like without Hubbie, but we needed to “close ranks”  and have the remaining three of us together.

We’re getting okay this year.    But we need to be together again.      And I have a sledding date with Cooper.

I’ll take you with me on this year’s road trip!

 

 

ST. LUCY AT THE 11th HOUR

December 14, 2011

Ahhh!   December 13th today.    My Grandma’s birthday.   Wish she were still here.    We always celebrated her birthday by making St. Lucia buns….fragrant saffron bread shaped like an X…full of currants or raisins.

I guess it’s a Scandinavian custom.

   Even though I’m half Swedish,  my mother never let me wear the candles on my head.   But they didn’t mind me baking saffron buns for them –  lussakatter – and serving them with nice strong coffee!    As I grew older I rather enjoyed entering the world of the older women and making up the saffron buns myself.

 

And old habits die hard.    I literally began the task not long before midnight, wondering why, but starting the bright, yellowy process of adding the saffron to the dough — before I decided on an answer.

Once the process starts, it has to be seen to the end.    The dough is waiting for me to knead it, a process I love more than any other cooking activity. . .

 Too tired to knead for long, too tired to think,  I just moved on, forming the Lucia….things.

It’s going to be little Lucia bun balls this year,  and a couple of loaves.

Next step is to cover them up, nice and cozy,  so they can grow a little bigger.    One of the towels has a charming square hole, nibbled there by the mice who found my pantry once, years ago.

I’m going to be under my own covers soon, but for a while I had time to clean up and to think.   Why St. Lucy?     Lucia, as she is also known?    She was a sweet young girl, innocent, firm in her faith in her Savior,  Jesus Christ, dedicating her virginity, her position, her life, everything in service to her Lord.

The Light of Christ burned brightly in her, and, as always happens, this makes people very angry.   She was martyred – terribly – and the Light of Christ that we associate with St. Lucy still burns brightly — and that is the answer to my first question above.    I work with the bright yellowy saffron on a dark winter night to pay homage to the Sun of Righteousness, burning brightly in Christians.   St. John tells us that Christ entered this world and His life was the Light of man….

Now I’m done.

And so are they, ready for buttering and glazing….eating, perhaps tomorrow.

Thanks to God for our annual remembrance of Your Light which enlightens our minds and warms our hearts and gives us promise of Eternal Light which You will bring us to.

 

GIVE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS PARTY!

December 13, 2011

“Let the Party continue !!”     At least that’s what it feels like today.   I’m rather weary from Christmas shopping today,  contented, and not a little surprised that I accomplished so much on my To-Do list at the Mall.

 Now comes the “hard work”  and the messes.     But just when I was feeling the fatigue of it all,  that’s when that thought came to me:   Let the party…continue!    I liked giving that Christmas party this weekend.  I especially wanted to “give” each person a happy time, a happy opportunity to meet with friends and enjoy each other’s company.

I had a list of people who that party was for, and now I have a list of who my gifts are for.   I can’t give a party for everyone I know and I can’t give gifts to everyone I know, but it’s the same action — the giving of something that would just make people happy.

And there are more ways to “give” too!     Christmas cards, letters, phone calls, smiles and encouraging words, conversation, little courtesies.  It’s all like continuing one big long Christmas party for the whole season.

The most valuable gift of all that we can “give”  to the people in our lives is the gift of a prayer.     Think of praying for someone as giving them a little gift!    You don’t even have to know their names, but I think in the real spiritual world,  that prayer will be “delivered.”

What fun again!     You can hold your own secret party, even if you don’t have it at your house.   You can give gifts to people without buying them presents.    And I promise you,  it will feel like you’re at a party for the whole Christmas season.

I know…all the busyness, the To-Do lists, the schedules, the fatigue,  the worries…. It’s hard to whip up the energy for a wild party sometimes.

Well, have a quiet one, all by yourself.   A quiet occasion for all the friends you can think of.   Think fondly of the people you know, think what would make them happy.    Pray for each person you know about.

Look deeply into the eyes of the Infant Jesus:

It’s something He would want you to do.

Gaudete!   Rejoice.   It makes you happy to be kind to others.   Like having a party for all of Christmas.

GAUDETE WEEKEND

December 12, 2011

Rejoice, Christendom!!!    During these weeks of serious preparation to ready ourselves for the birth of the Infant King of all kings, we are instructed to remember that we are preparing, studying, fasting  because our Savior comes to us, to be with us forever.    Rejoice (Gaudete) !!

The Christ Candle in the wreath above is marked by one happy, joyous rose-colored candle amongst the somber purple ones.    And the vestments are also rose:

Even as we take part in the One Holy Sacrifice that the Infant King came for — sacrificing Himself on our behalf —  the rose color again directs our hearts to joy, for we cannot save ourselves,  but it is  the work of Christ who comes to us.

I didn’t realize it, but what a perfect weekend to have held our Christmas party.   What a fun party it was!   How wonderful to rejoice with rooms full of people who are  rejoicing together in this season.  

I can tell you that it was a busy, noisy, funny, friendly, loving, and charmingly quirky party!    We had a plentiful variety of great food, and for a potluck, it was a pretty well-balanced menu.

Here is the start of our food, but five minutes after this photo, there was hardly room to put any more.

Spotlighted is the Trophy-Winning prize chili – in two versions –  mildly hot and not too hot.

 

After much merry eating, I directed everyone to prepare some more drinks and take their punch, soda, iced tea, glögg, or hot cocoa into the television room.   A special movie awaited.

The movie was I Am David, an intensely dramatic film about a young boy’s escape from a Communist concentration camp and his attempt to find goodness in this world, a goodness that he had never experienced before.     I hoped that we all saw ourselves somewhere in this movie.

I peeked in and saw them all watching very closely:

Then I joined them.  We didn’t seem to mind the close quarters.   It was the kind of a movie that made you feel you wanted to be close to friends and to take solace in whatever goodness David was finding.

The ending was intense too.     Intensely satisfying.      I’m hoping this movie strengthens our resolve  to be God’s instruments to bring faith and goodness into this world,  and to rejoice in the love God gives us to bring to each other.

Well, our leave-taking was a joyous one too.    We wished each other a hearty Merry Christmas — and a good-bye until next year!

Gaudete Sunday!    Gaudete weekend!   Deo gratias!!

 

PARTY INSPIRATION

December 9, 2011

What a beauty!!

Yes, he did indeed inspire me.   I didn’t expect to meet him that evening, but I was delighted!

A party inspiration?    It’s a Christmas party!        He’s a reindeer!!   My grandma’s people came from the same country his “people”  come from!!

And that inspired me to do this:

Right now my kitchen smells of cloves and cardamom and oranges and almonds and raisins and cinnamon and all the other good things you put in a good Swedish Glögg. . .    It will be ready tomorrow, just in time for the annual Christmas-Movie-Potluck Party.

Glögg is a perfect drink for us in the Far North, warm and smooth and relaxing.   Hmmmm.    Glögg does funny things to people sometimes.   We’ve got a good movie waiting for us.   Sure hope all my friends are  not too warm and relaxed when the movie starts. . . .

The reindeer above came with a friend —

—   and with a big friend who looks strangely familiar for this time of the year!

 

DON’T LOSE ST. NICHOLAS

December 7, 2011

December 6,  is the feast day of St. Nicholas.     That just means  we remember him in special ways in the churches across Christendom because he lived a life that was not only worth remembering but a life that exemplified some of the highest Christian virtues to a very great,  “heroic,”  degree.

We don’t want to lose his memory!    The stories of the real St.  Nicholas that have come down to us help us to know why he was so beloved in both the East and the West.    These stories don’t tell us the exact biography of his life, but they do tell us the meaning of his life.

We are told that Nicholas, born of a noble family in Asia Minor, and was a holy and devout child, full of faith and love for Jesus Christ.   He grew to be a man full of love and generosity towards those around him.

Stories of his extraordinary life abound, but the most frequently told one is of his kindness towards a man who had lost his job and all his income.   He had three daughters, ready to be married,  but he had no dowry for them.   In those days, no decent man would marry a young lady without a dowry, something we can scarcely understand today.

There was no help for him or for his daughters.    After the man died,  his daughters could stay alive only by selling the only thing they would have left, their own bodies.

Nicholas gathered gold enough for a dowry and placed it in a bag.  Then in secret, in the night,  he tossed that bag of gold into the house of the man with three daughters.   He did that three times.   All three daughters were able to marry and have normal moral and decent lives.

Dimly, oh, so dimly, is this act of generosity and kindness remembered even today:

The three gold balls traditionally seen outside of a pawn shop is a faint echo of the second chance given to the three daughters by the anonymous generosity of St. Nicholas.

Pawn shops are known to us,   but we don’t want to lose the original example  of almsgiving and aid to people around us.    God is liberal in His goodness,  and generous and kind towards us.  If we are His children, then we should be like Him too, as St. Nicholas showed us.

During St. Nicholas’s lifetime times grew difficult and perilous for anyone naming the name of Christ.   He was arrested,  beaten, tortured, and imprisoned – indefinitely – for a time, until a later emperor, Constantine, made Christianity legal, along with all the other religions of the day.   Christians were released from prison, and St. Nicholas, who had endured adversity with faith and courage, went on with his life, as bishop, now of Myra, a city in Asia Minor.

It is said St. Nicholas was present at the great Council of Nicaea and was one of the  318 Church Fathers who formulated – in clear words – what Christians had always known, that Jesus, the Son of God, is fully divine, being consubstantial with the Father, the First Person of the Trinity.

We don’t want to lose the teaching of this great saint about his Lord and Savior, and ours.    Many people came to him for his great wisdom and learning and for his advice.

He continued to have a special love for the poor and for those in need and for the very young children.   It’s easy to understand why he was so beloved down through the centuries.

Until, that is,  our own benighted century, when we seem to have lost the knowledge and respect for all those who lived before us.     From St. Nicholas to Sinterklaas to Santa Claus, his memory became merely a tradition of happy gift-giving in early December and eventually devolved into a frantic time of buying, overspending, and a bestowing of presents under a Christmas tree.

St. Nicholas is given to us now as Santa, a jolly symbol of happy material consumerism, a symbol owned and regulated by a large corporation who assoicates its own product with the image of Santa.

 

We  have now a celebration of consumerism, remembering that  this is all somehow connected to…the birth of  the Holy Child in rough stable to two poor and humble people.

So much time has passed since St. Nicholas was alive.   So much has been lost.   So much has been deformed:  his life,  his example,  his teaching,  and the Truth about the Son of God, his Savior,  Who was there at his death.   “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped,”  was this saint’s last words to Jesus in this life,  and “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

December 6, a red-letter day on our calendar,  when each year we can think of the real St. Nicholas.    We don’t want to lose all that he stands for.

RESTRICTED TO RED

December 6, 2011

 Some “chains” around me broke recently.  

Color is an integral part of all Creation.   From the time God spoke out His Word and our universe was created, full of matter and energy, everything radiates waves of electromagnetic energy somewhere along the great spectrum of energy.   Short waves, long waves, and some waves we can see easily with our eyes which are the waves we commonly call “colors,”   and waves of “colors”  beyond our natural vision.

We can think of colors as wavelengths of radiating electromagnetic energy, the same energy which makes up the world we live in and which makes up our bodies….   We are very much at home in a comfortable range of electromagnetic energy.    Colors have an effect on us;   colors can be used for specific purposes.

“What is your favorite color”  is not a trivial question.    It’s exploring our own very individual response to our electro-physical world.

When I was a child, my answer would be blue!   It was a delight to experience all the different shades of “blue.”    But somewhere along the passing decades I told myself I like red.   I wore red, I chose red things,  and for the past many years, I drove a red car….

I conscioulsly identified with red and without realizing it, began to restrict my choices to red.    Not so you’d notice!    I wasn’t  some monochromatic monstronsity!     It was just a strong…preference.

But my consciousness of red choices became an issue recently, when my Little Red Car could go no longer.   It was a beautiful red shell on the outside, shining, gleaming, undamaged like a new car, but on the inside….well, to doctor it up would cost more than any sane person would pay.

The car I wanted to buy looked best in blue;  and, in fact, it didn’t look very nice in red. But  all the years of driving a red car bore down hard on me.   For many uncomfortable days the decision about the color superseded the more sensible decisions about how the car was made…and other practical things.   I was restricing myself to an idea – an idea that there was no reason to remain loyal to,  the idea of “red.”

And that blue car out there through the showroom window simply looked better in blue.

So I got the blue one.

What a lesson!    How many other ideas do I cling to out of unthinking loyalty?  How many other needless restrictions?   How many other unexamined prejudices?   How many things do I not know because I’ve created my own comfortable niche?

But God created a very big universe!

Deo gratias.

AND . . .SPARTY ON

December 4, 2011

So…I’ve written these past few posts, commenting on losses…And time, now, to keep moving on.    I can do that.

Ironically,  I moved right on into the Big Game today. . . .

 . . .and smack into another kind of loss.

How bad is it, though, when your team is good enough to be playing for a slot at the Rose Bowl?

 

(Congratulations to …  you know,   the other team.)

UNRAVELING

December 2, 2011

I’m unraveling a bit….today.     December 2nd;  bad things happen.

I’m unraveling with good reason, I think.    It’s temporary.     Just a temporary unraveling.

TWO YEAR AGO I was mourning the loss of Suzy,  the extraordinary little cat who took me under her, uh, “wings,”  and taught me that life is worth living, here is what is important and here is what isn’t important.   And then she told me I didn’t need her anymore.

ONE YEAR AGO I was mourning, at the funeral of Hubbie; mourning the loss of the extraordinary man that was my own husband.

TODAY I am (slightly) mourning the loss of my beloved Little Red Car, the happy cheerful little thing that I relied on for transportation.

Well, it’s a good day for sadness.  It’s Friday.   We remember another Friday when Someone shared our sadness and sorrows…..and understands.

“Offer it up.”

I’m not so alone. . . .

We are not so alone. . . .

*******************************************************************************

P.S.  – A little addendum is in order:     The Spruce Tunnel is receiving many visitors at this time.    Many of you are remembering “Hubbie”  today.  I take that as a tribute to him, and we, his family,  thank you very much.    I embrace all my readers today.   

WHERE WERE YOU ON DECEMBER 1, 2011

December 1, 2011

Let’s be seriously adult right now:    Where were you on December 1, 2011?

Unfortunately, this is a question people on this continent may be asking themselves sometime in the future.

Where were you –  today?     It’s a question that Alexander Solzhenitsyn might ask of you…if you and he met sometime in the future.  Where were you?   Why didn’t you do something?     These are  questions he asked himself and his companions as they sat, prisoners, starving,  freezing cold, huddled around a small fire.    They all asked themselves this question….Where were we….?  What were we doing….?   Why didn’t we speak out…..?    We saw what was slowly developing, but why didn’t we try to stop it?      When the soldiers came for us, why didn’t we fight them in the streets, in the stairwells of our apartment buildings,  at our own front doors?   Why didn’t we do something?   Why didn’t we see this coming?

How did it come to this?

The answer is slowly, very slowly.    Both Fascism and Communism built up slowly across Europe and Russia in the first half of the 20th century.    Little laws, new regulations,  adjustments to existing laws.    All in the name of greater safety and security.

Fifty or more years later, those who escaped such tyranny look at Americans and ask    “What are you doing!?”     Don’t you know where you are heading?     Warning after warning,  interview after interview,book after book,   many who experienced such tyranny try to  help us recognize the rise of  totalitarianism  in America.       These survivors,   these experienced survivors, are watching the sunset of America.

So,  where were you today, Dec. 1, 2011,  as “our”  Senate voted  on S 1867?       I could have written this same post hundreds of times regarding hundreds of Senate bills,  Congressional amendments and  riders,   executive orders,  and rules and restrictions put into place by hundreds of unelected committees. . . .

The rights given to us by our Constitution have been laid aside, freedom is curtailed, we are watched, we are suspected, we need to be controlled and confined to State approved activities.      “For our safety.”   “For our security.”

One day it will be us, huddled around small fires, bewildered,  asking ourselves When did this happen?   How did this happen?   How did we let this happen?

As always,  the information, bit by bit, was available to us.   You can find out how your own senators voted today, December 1,  2011.    It is here:   Your Senator Voted today…. 

We have a chance today, I think,  that Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his companions no longer had.    They were smart, they were literate,  they were intelligent and aware, but they couldn’t believe it would get that bad in their own civilized country.    There was a time that they were comfortable, satisfied,  well-fed,  entertained,  trusting….and quiet.