Archive for November 2018


November 28, 2018

Globe dark 80

(Where do we come from????)


R Blue Alone JTRD 400

I stopped off at my local library today and saw this poster on the door.  I must have looked so excited, the librarian got up from her chair and handed me my own little personal poster of the Event!

The Reindeer are COMING!!!    Each December, outside in the cold, cold front yard of our library,  they bring reindeer for us to look at (and to pet if we can sneak our hands through the fence).

I have a feeling I shall never travel to Lapland or to Saamiland, two areas of the world where  half my family came from, on each side of my family,  paternal and maternal.   I think that makes me one quarter “Indigenous” people!      (Does that make me qualified for special government protection and privileges?  ha ha   –  Never!    Lapps and Sami don’t have anything to do with government,  no matter what borders they live within.) 

The UK’s Daily Mail just published an article that said scientists have shown by DNA studies that the Samis migrated out of Siberia about 3,500 years ago, moved into Finland,  until the Rus (later the Rus Vikings — which is another half of my ancestry)  pushed them northward, where they live today,  above the Arctic circle.

With the Reindeer.

R Reindeer 380

This is an old family photo of my Grandma’s cousin with the reindeer.  (His reindeer?)

The explanation is on the back of the photo:

R Kemijarvi words 380

So if anyone can read Finnish,  you’d get the story.  I’d really like to know what it has to say.   My Grandma traveled to Kemijarvi, Finland,  to see her relatives.

R Grandma traveling at O'Hare 360

She traveled alone in the days when women “just didn’t”  travel alone,  (or so we are taught to believe nowadays)  but she saved money, and off she went.  First stop:  Us.  My Dad, Mom, and I.    We lived a short bike ride away from O’Hare Airfield  (today’s International Airport), so she was able to make a stop to visit us first.

I think she traveled next to New York where she boarded a small oceanliner, the Swedish-Chicago Line.

R Sw chic Line 380

I was way too young to care about the details, but I sure would like to know about them now.   She apparently had a wonderful time of reunion with her mother’s family and sightseeing around northern Finland.

(The say “Americans are a nation of  (legal)  immigrants.     My Grandma and Grandpa were the most patriotic Americans I’ve ever seen,  and yet Grandma’s visit to her “homeland”  made a big difference in her.    It would be a big deal to me too.   Is it that since we are all transported from some other nation, we all have some deep longing to return to the land of our ancestors?    It is not a fictional notion that Dracula can travel only in a bed of his native Transylvanian soil.      There is some deep, deep spiritual connection with the Earth that God put our ancestors down into.   Siberia?  Russia?  Lapland?  Saamiland?   Finland?  Sweden?   These places call to me . . .  but I can’t answer . . . .  )

Three short generations ago, my family moved to this country.   It’s been great.  I love to be an American.   They all settled down in the Far Far North which was similar to their homeland,  they  became American,   raised families . . .  but, you know,  no reindeer here!

If you can’t have a reindeer —

R Grandpa with Buck 360

.     —   Grandpa usually found a buck.

He was a big strong silent-type Swede.  I’m not sure that he and his brothers talked much.   Of the seven siblings, only two married.   They spent a lot of time in the woods, near a lake,  with our family name, and deep in the forest.   For him,   just like Sweden.

Where did we come from? 

Why are we here?  

Why were we made?   



No reindeer hurt in the making of these photos,   but, well . . .   the buck was.




November 26, 2018

Sometimes, anyway:  Fall is Winter —

S leaf 370

We got the visit from Bruce this morning – Bruce the second winter storm of the season.   But I noticed this brave little proclamation.      A wet snowfall and strong winds have torn off this leaf and flung it down on my deck railing, sticking like an upright oaken sentinel, proclaiming to all that it is still Fall!

Out my front window I could see that I wasn’t going anywhere today:

S Thin Line 370

See that thin dark gray line going across the middle of the picture?   That’s our street.  Someone was able to make a track.   But my little car is not going to slip and slide and add tracks to that track!

It gets a little bit lighter after noonday,   pretty outside and cozy inside.

S deck and pond

We had a holiday, of sorts, today.  A Snow Day!

I love this snow!


November 23, 2018

“Some people,”  like my cousin in the Far Far North don’t have to go very far for their turkey experience.   Right outside her windows, in all seasons —

TURKEYS 1st you do this 370

.     — in all seasons she makes them welcome.

My cousin has sent me photos of these majestic birds — well, majestic, maybe, in their own eyes:

Turkey Pride

Sometimes she sends me photos of flocks of turkeys in her yard,  ten,  twenty, thirty at a time, all looking for another meal.

Sometimes they get pretty insistent:

Turkeys peeking in 370

Here they are, peeking in her window,  looking for her.   “Is dinner late today?”


thankful banner

Well, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I hope your “dinner” wasn’t late.

Some of us made it through this year’s events —

Turkey familiy 370

We can go home now.

We’ve lived through another Thanksgiving,  to remember all that we are thankful for:  the good things which give us grateful hearts and draw us closer to God;   the very, very hard things which can only draw us closer to God.





November 19, 2018

One more Fall activity that has become a tradition:  getting ready for Christmas!

It’s a Christmas Craft show, held at a local church:

Craft 1

The parking lot was filled.  This is a small portion of it with my little blue car in a side “pocket.”    I just knew it would be crowded inside — and with all of us wearing thick winter coats . . .  well,  that’s something to mentally prepare for.

I didn’t plan to stay long this year.

They have a little statue of St. Francis of Assisi  closer to the church,  surrounded by flowers in the summertime:

Francis they do that 370

I wish they wouldn’t DO that!!!   Surround him with birds and bunnies, like a Hallmark friendship card.   This is the man who crossed battle lines in the Middle East after 5,000 Christian crusaders had just been killed.  Francis and his companion were captured, beaten,  dragged through the streets and brought before  Sultan Malik al-Kamil,  questioned (before their planned execution)   upon which Francis presented the Gospel of Christ to him, and challenged him and surrounding Muslim leaders to accept Christianity and put an end to the killing, opening up Jerusalem to all faiths.

The Sultan did not become a follower of Christ but he did not put Francis and his companion to death, declaring he sees something holy in them . . .   Francis eventually returned to Europe where he —  I suppose he confronted the birds and the bunnies.

No.  Really.  He was a manly man,  courageous, and certain that Christ saves our souls, and one by one could save the world, if we, one by one,  let Him.    I wish we’d all remember the message of St. Francis:    it is men who need to learn of God’s love,  not the bunnies.

We celebrate this Infinite Love during Christmas.

Craft 1.5 entrance welcome cr 370The church has welcoming signs.

Inside,    Christmas decorations show us the way to the craft show:

Craft 1. 7 down the stairs

Nothing extraordinary.  I just thought it made this steep stairway look nice.

Lots and lots of people, in every corner of the large room.   There was “breathing room”  by the board announcing the Drawings and Free Prizes:

Craft 2 drawings

It’s legit.  I’ve been coming here five or six years, and twice my ticket number was called, although not this year.    The prize is something that’s for sale at one of the craft tables and is usually pretty nice.

There is glassware,  jewelry made of just about everything you can think of.  Knitted, crocheted, and hand-sewn articles.   Handy little items for around the house.  Hand-made stationery.   Ornaments.   Beautiful cloth made in Africa and made into napkins or tablecloths;  the money goes back to the African village to buy little lights so children can do their homework during the evenings.


Usually I find a few gifts for the upcoming Christmas holidays,  but this time I didn’t.  I bought two pendants.   For me.

maple leaf   One is a maple leaf made of petrified wood.   The other is a little dinosaur made of jasper.      Grandson Cooper and I both are intrigued by petrified wood;  and we both love dinosaurs (although I suspect he’s the one who is outgrowing his interest in dinosaurs).

And then:

Craft 3 table

Nice little crafty things.    Nice little craft-y angel ornaments.

One with a purple  dress.

Meghan’s favorite color.     As some of you may remember,  this is the young lady who is not with us anymore.      This is hard for us to understand.     Too soon . . .  too soon . . .

Christmas will be very different this year.

It was good to be around such skillful, happy, hopeful people at this craft show.

Life goes on.



November 18, 2018

(Sorry for the absence;  “body” failure again.   I’m getting better, I think . . .)




For my “record,”   that is.    We  have about one more month of official Fall on the calendar, but around here in the Far North I was reminded how wintry and short Fall can be.   Just a little while ago  I was washing my windows at a gas station  and having a little trouble . . .  the window washing fluid was freezing on the windshield!

(I thought they made that washing fluid with anti-freeze or alcohol or something,  something that doesn’t freeze.)

So with time passing so quickly,  I wanted to make a record of Fall things here on the Spruce Tunnel so I can remember what this year was like.

Here was one hint of the presence of Fall:

Fall Geese in sky

The geese are overhead practicing their V formations,  above  our local Big Ten university crop fields.   (This university started out as an agricultural college.)    I was in my car when the sky filled with V’s .   By the time I got my camera going this was all I could capture,  but believe me,  it’s an impressive sight.  A force of nature, replayed twice a year, for ages and ages.

(I know;    I’m not supposed to take pictures when I’m driving but . . .  I think I was stopped at a stop sign on those country roads for this picture. )

My own wild “bird” in the back yard:

Fall Blue Heron in b yard 370


A few weeks ago it was Harvest Time on the old back deck:

Parsley Picking

I grow my herbs out there where they’re handy to add to my salad bowls (or sieves, sometimes.)

I looked down and was surprised to see a  beautiful  “modern art” type view of the parsley:

Parsley dots

You must take beauty where you can find it.    Fortunately,  beauty is all around us,.

I cannot forget this Fall  harvest activity:

Pumpkin The apple orchard apples.jpg 370

My Recorder-Friend (see next paragraph)  told me about an apple orchard just a couple miles from my house.    My little family drove over there and picked galas,  honey crisps, and a new honey crisp hybrid developed by the orchard owner, who just happens to be an agricultural professor at out “local Big Ten” university.    The most delicious apples!   guess a doctorate in “apple growing”  produces good results!!

SAMSUNG     Because of kitchen work  and my own not-feeling-too-well this Fall,  my friend and I had to miss a few of our recorder practice sessions.  We tried to have as many outdoors in her gazebo as possible,  knowing full well the weather was going to “turn” —  “permanently”  for the late Fall and winter.

But we managed a few practice sessions, and as usual, my friend set a beautiful table for our après music tea time.

Fall Recorder Table

Simple, elegant, and oh-so-apple-y delicious!

There is much to do outdoors to get ready for our Winter freeze.    I tried this summer to Do As The Romans Do:


That is,  spread salt over vegetation (crops and fields) of their enemies so that nothing will ever grow there again.     Like moss.

Salted  bricks.  We’ll see next Spring if that worked.

Then there was Fall weather for sure:

FALL Day.jpg 370

Snow on fallen leaves.   It’s not neat.  It looks messy.   And it reminds me that I cannot (must not)  rake leaves right now.

(I will remember this Fall as a frustrating time of not being able to do one of my favorite activities: raking leaves.   It was not “advisable.”   Not yet.  Not this year.)

With snowfall one day and “warmer” weather the next,  the little forest behind my yard was strewn with “white logs.”

White logs 350

Now the serious holidays are coming:    Fall to Winter –  Thanksgiving to Christmas .   Football to football playoffs!

Fall to Winter;  days of darkness —   but here’s where I  live,  this is what I see when I take my long walks and I’m just about to return home:

Home and Heart Trees.jpg 380

See the heart?     The almost heart that the trees make?    That’s where I live,  for all the seasons.

Deo gratias.











November 12, 2018

(A Veterans Day warning)

In my car, on Veterans Day:



banner flag wavy


Everyone knows that the immediate cause, the immediate spark, that set off WWI was the assassination of the archduke of Austria (and his wife).

wwi assass
Then things quickly spiraled out of control. What George Washington warned us about in his last address to the nation, “do not form entangling alliances with foreign powers,”  was not a part of European thinking, and so their entangling alliances drew them all into a terrible world war:

wwi entangling alliances

In the end, WWI was fought to oppose the control of various tyrannies from overtaking Europe. Leaders were in place who would have become part of that system. The “Huns” was the code word that symbolized the overwhelming force of totalitarianism that sought to expand into all of Europe.    Total world totalitarianism could happen.


wwwi halt the hun


“All Quiet on the Western Front” and other fine novels show us that not all ordinary Germans were “Huns” in that sense.   Patriotic, yes, but not barbarous totalitarians.

It was a most noble and crucial endeavor of Western Europe to oppose totalitarianism. The consequences of failure would be . . well,  they  would not be allowed to be discussed today.   We MUST know about this war.  We MUST read and learn . . . because totalitarianism happens.   It could have happened in Europe in 1914-1918.

One of the most informative sources of information is the World War One Memorial in Kansas City, MO.   All of you, if you live in the 48 contiguous states can go there – easily!! Practically everyone can just drive there in a couple of days!  It’s in Missouri, for goodness’ sake — right in the middle of our country.  Accessible from all around! *

wwi mem building

It is beautiful and well-done.

You can find the memorial at: https://  www (Take out the spaces)     Go to “explore” in the top menu, the page called “Explore, ” and there will be many fine exhibitions to see.   They all do great honor to those who fought in WWI.

There is also an informative and concise interactive timeline.  I kept going back to this wall just to understand the exhibits better :

wwi chornology

https:// www
But I don’t want to make this a posting about the memorial, worthy as it is. I posted much about it last year when I was actually there.   (See “World War One Revisited – use search engine on this page  or:    )

I want to make a statement, and it is this:  the people who were alive just before, during, and after WWI were just like us. Same emotions, same issues, same concerns about family, education, jobs, and saving money for the future, even the same pleasures as the modern world was developing. Post-modern, actually, because the sinking of the Titanic was a major psychological shock that reverberated around the world — that was the end of the “modern” age of human expectations that shattered our trust that mankind is good and is able to create a modern utopia on earth.

wwwi scientists

We had trusted scientists  who brought us electricity and electronics,  elevators,  indoor lighting,   motorcars,  airplanes, space travel . . .  bombs of unimaginable energy . . .   and medical and food industries that  do as much harm as good.

That modern world ended.   It ended with the sinking of the Titanic and then with World War I which was, of course, the war fought “to end all wars.”    It didn’t.   And our regard for mankind was to be ever after pessimistic.    Justifiably so.

wwi bleakm world after

A bleak world after the Titanic

But pessimism and healthy doubts about ourselves need not have led to the self-loathing that we see so much of today in this post-post-modern era. That self-loathing and distrust comes from the Progressives**  of Marxist-Socialism because that ideology needs to convince us that we need a BIG State to control us; we cannot, as Americans showed the world, govern ourselves.

And when our self-confidence and our morale is weakened, we are prey to those who’d like to Rule us.

wwi name changing.jpg

Thus the path to Big Statism, to Big Brother, to an all-governing State which is another word for totalitarianism.   Big, powerful central governments do happen. Big unelected bureaucracies do form.

Totalitarianism does happen.

If we don’t trust ourselves to govern ourselves, with equality of everyone before the Law, we get the mess that American voters have in several states today, the best examples being Florida, Georgia, and Arizona.

wwi stalin vote counting

Voting officials in those states have shown us that some people are above the law.  They violate the voting laws of their own state — and because it’s expedient, they are allowed to go on with their fraudulent work.
Totalitarianism happens.

” It’s not who votes that matters, it’s who counts the votes” . . . we’ve all heard that. That’s how totalitarianism can happen.     Again:

wwi again vote counting

an apocryphal if not actual statement from Joseph Stalin


Honor the World War I veterans today?   Honor all our veterans who’ve fought in all our wars to maintain the freedoms that our Founding Fathers gave us?

wwi thank you poster.jpg


Learn what WWI was all about.  Learn how the many faces of voting fraud is dishonoring those veterans.   Take up your “rifle” . . .   your voice . . .  join the “war”  against totalitarianism and fight back!


www vet day rememeer poster

Our soldiers risked their lives for the fight – and many, many gave their lives.   We need only risk our time and attention.

This just might be our Eleventh Hour.


.*   (  I drive.    I don’t fly.     WWI and II may be the reason!   I just cannot support the tyranny of a totalitarian system within our own transportation system. When they take the “gestapo-like” agents out of airports, I’ll reconsider flying.  Before then, I’d just be submitting to their Rule, as they expect us to do.)

.** You need to ask yourself what it is they want to “progress” towards.   It is Global Socialism by increments.   They are patient and persistent. We are slow to understand and gullible.



November 7, 2018

So,  whew!  It’s over.   No more annoying  floods of pseudo information about political campaigns from the mailbox, the radio, and the television.    It’s over and done with!   You win some, you lose some.


But that’s not the “Big Impact”  I’m talking about.

Have you ever walked out after seeing a movie and were nearly speechless because the movie had such a big impact on you?

That was me last night — and Son.     I’m writing only for myself,  but I think he shared my reactions.

Hunter in ice

The movie is “Hunter Killer,”    one of the most action-packed,  realistic,    truthful,   engaging adventure movies I’ve ever seen.

Takes place among the icebergs and frozen fjords of the northern Russian coastline.  Here is a picture of another submarine in the  Hunter Killer class —

Hunter sub

It is during the movie when the sub is in motion that you experience the power and majesty of ocean depths and the power and force of our modern submarines.    This is not “Hunt For Red October,”   though with a few necessary similarities.

Hunter explosions

Explosions,  not “sunshine” through the waters

The action takes place in the context of amazing technological capabilities in communications, detection,  facial recognition, and surveillance that is (sadly)  true to life.   It’s what we have now.   And the action is also in the context of   the very real and current Russian encroachments into Canadian, American, and northern European coastal waters.

(Was it the Canadian parliament which just recently approved of the construction of another listening complex off their Arctic coastline?)

I don’t need to tell you the story line,  you can look that up – but I can tell you that the story line does not prepare you for the impact this has on the viewer.

Here’s the “Why”  —

It’s a story of goodness, and of evil.      Of Power that transcends Authority.      It’s about the illegitimate transfer of Authority.

It’s about good men rising up to stop evil:

Hunter men

Rising up with all their might,   all their courage, all their training.

There is something good to fight for!    You or I don’t have to be submariners to make that fight.   There is plenty of evil, in us and in the world’s systems,  to fight against.

The Enemy would want us to forget the Two Great Commandments from our Creator:  To love God first of all,  the Giver of all Good and Perfect Gifts;  and our Enemy would like us to forget our own worth and dignity and our necessary return back to our Good and Holy Creator.   The Enemy would like us to ignore the fact there there is goodness and worth even in our enemies,  because no human needs to be an enemy of God.


Fight the good fight of faith.    (“Fight the good fight of faith.  Take hold of the Eternal Life to which you’ve been called.   I Timothy 6:12)



A Poppy Field

Veterans Day is coming up soon.     Armistice Day, as it used to be called.   The day the world made its best attempt to stop war and make peace.     “Hunter Killer”  is a good movie to see in honor of Veterans Day.

There are good strong men still fighting for us.





November 5, 2018

Well, as long as it’s Mid-Term Election time  and all we’re hearing about, 24/7,  is political campaigns,   I thought I’d do some fantasizing of my own.

(I intended to write about this election and the politics of it a few days ago, but my “body”  did not cooperate —  If any of you are praying types,  I’d ask for your prayers again, for healing.  I’d like to be here in The Spruce Tunnel a  little longer.)

Here’s my fantasy candidate for president-2024:

John James.jpg cr

John James,  current candidate for Senate in our state,  West Point graduate,  combat pilot (Rangers) . . .

John James combat

. . . .  MBA, started a successful multi-million dollar business thereby creating jobs in this state and in others, husband, father . . .

John James

.    . . .   and dedicated to upholding the values that made America a strong nation, as well as our traditions and our Constitution.

Okay.  You get the picture.  End of fantasy.     And a lot can happen in the next six years.   God willing, I’ll be here to find out;  I’ll find out more about this candidate and I’ll find out whether the socialists and radical Leftists from here and abroad are still trying to divide us into separate demographic voting units.


Today, however, it’s astonishing to see the tens of millions and in some cases over a hundred millions of dollars pouring into Democratic campaigns – from Hollywood,  the very rich, and the very foreign globalist billionaires who send people to the various state and local elections as candidates who will – if they win – fundamentally change what America is.

We even have a candidate from out of state who is “renting” a home here so she can be on the ballot to be our state representative.     She is being supported by many millions of dollars,  an overwhelming amount of TV and radio ads and mailings,  and a virtual snowstorm of yard signs.

Day after day my mailbox is getting political ads on glossy, brightly colored paper that present untruths in a most professionally produced way.

Wanted:  People who can put on happy faces and sad faces:

Happy Sad.jpg

I call that “juvenile.”

I remember working on a deposition from a lawsuit which exposed a skin care company which presented photos of people Before and After.   “Before,”  the models looked tired and sad,  with blemishes.   “After,”  the models looked bright and happy – with much younger, smoother faces!

They got caught.  They got in trouble.   Their skin care product was really not so good.

This political brochure talks about mud, shows mud,  and wants you to think her opponent is “dirty.”   Powerful, professionally produced insinuations.

MB and ES

All the TV ads and mailed ads can be shown to have false statements.   It’s the female opponent who has received millions of dollars in the PAC which supports her campaign.   But the brochures coming from that campaign don’t mention that,  they declare that it’s  her opponent who takes money from “special interests.”

MB Pawn

I’ve heard this man interviewed on the radio, more than once,  saying that he strongly supports and has voted for making sure insurance companies covered people with “pre-existing conditions.”   Yet many of his opponent’s brochures and TV ads say he is opposed to this.   Blatant lie;  easy to fact-check.

Lots of name-calling being thrown against the candidates I’d support.  No discussion of the issues.

That’s just one race, one state;    and how common is this in your state to have to put up with a flurry of ads and mailings that carry untruths and that have been paid funded by the millions from out-of-state sources!!

I have no idea how the election will turn out.   The only information we receive is via a very biased TV system,  and the entertainment-news media which is largely Leftist  (95%-98% are found to be Leftists when J-schools are examined).   What I see from them is not what I see in my neighborhood nor in my local towns and cities.

The entertainment-news media has created an environment which does not actually exist around me – and I suspect around many other places.

For my foreign readers,  what the media presents to you is not at all what it’s like to live in America.      We’re not divided from out own neighbors and — we’re much smarter and nicer!!!

Let’s vote on that!!!!