Archive for the ‘Cooper’ category

Personal Updates

August 5, 2018

When you’re old, old, old, old like me — well,  this is the oldest I’ve ever been anyway —  you kind of want everything settled and everyone in their place.   You don’t mind a little kerfluffle now and then,  but these last three months . . .  my goodness!

So,  just to make a record in The Spruce Tunnel,   here are some updates for my family and friends before I can go on to other topics.   Let me see if I can give an accounting of everyone:

In no special order,  I’ll start with Cooper.     Not too many hours ago today,  Cooper was on the Staten Island Ferry,* and on his way to the Statue of Liberty.

Cooper on Ferry 300

Don’t mind the squint.   He’s got light blue-gray-hazel eyes and the sun is very bright.  He’s also just returned from a several day spelunking tour and hopefully enjoyed the deep dark caves of eastern America.    Can’t wait to get a letter from him describing the caves!

Cooper apparently made it out to the Statue.     His daddy asks the question:  “Where’s Waldo?

Cooper tiny 330

That’s my “tiny little’ grandson in front of the Statue of Liberty.   Or is that a camera trick?

Daughter is vacationing in New York City too, along with Cooper and Daddy,  so that side of my little family is all happy and accounted for.       That’s fine with me!

Now, Son . . .

se us

Son is somewhere on that map,   having left Florida yesterday and on his way home  here in the Far North.     But I don’t know his route.  His texts are  not too specific.    All I know is that it took  not 3 1/2 hours,  but about 7 hours for him to go one-half inch up the eastern coast of Florida yesterday.   Apparently there are some pretty nice beaches along the way.

I am glad for him.  He’s had a lot on his mind, a lot to worry about, a lot of decisions to make, a lot of new people to meet, a lot of tasks . . .  and now he is alone for three days  in a pretty nice car,   beautiful scenery,  only his own thoughts to guide him.    He’ll be fine.

Nancy and Dusty 90  Dusty:     This has been a 3 or 4 month long concern,  but Nancy’s horse has finally found a new home.    I’m a bit confused because it doesn’t sound today like he’s going to the same place people talked about yesterday;  but although the destination is different,  both locations are described as “wonderful”  places for a horse with caring people . . . .   I hope everyone is as happy as Dusty will be.   He will be just fine now.

 

Our young friend M.       —

5/24/11 Aerials of UM Campus and Hospital and Ann Arbor area.

This week I took her to a big university hospital where they are supposed to know everything and be able to do everything.    They don’t.    And they didn’t.

M preop 330

She was patient #1595201 on the board.  All for nothing.  They went in – and they went  back out.

My young friend M.  is back to square one and rather beyond disappointed.   We have to wait.  Wait and see.    Wait and see what the medical industry will do to her.   And I’m very scared for her too.   Son and I and all her friends stand by her.  We hope and pray she’ll be fine.

 

The bat and the bird.     Well, I took care of their possible entry point:

Fireplace Screen

A little duct tape and some metal screen.    Okay, a guy would probably smack his forehead and say,  Why on earth . . .?         But it works for me.    There was about a 3/4 inch gap between the fireplace insert and the fireplace opening.  Now there isn’t.   I have peace of mind and I don’t have any birds and bats tonight.    That’s just fine with me.

 

Me.    Update on me?      Well,  I still covet your “butterflies.”    Or else I won’t be here to give you any more updates.     I read today ** that when Jesus walked this earth,  He lived His holy life for our benefit;    He lives today for our benefit.     He did miracles of healing back then;  and His miracles of healing  still exist for our benefit.    Because Jesus is also the Son of God,   True God and True Man,   His goodness and love and power are not confined to any one generation,  but are here, now, present for us all.

If prayers surround a person like graceful little butterflies,   then I too am just fine.

 

___________________________________

 

.*  If you’re from New York and  I got the name of that Ferry wrong, well,  sorry,  I’m just an Out Of Towner —   Pretty good movie!

Out of towners

 

.**      From  “Christ in His Mysteries  by Dom Columba Marmion   (A very valuable and highly recommended book.  I wish I could buy all of you a copy!)

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AN ICY BREAK

April 16, 2018

Just a little fun amidst my “Agenda”  posts —

Icy Back Yard 380

This was my backyard this weekend.     An icy paradise!     The Evil Winter Witch of Narnia reigns!

We didn’t get the 3 or 4 feet of snow that the news has been talking about, nor the 7 foot drifts reported from the Far Far North . . .  but here in the Far North we got a bit of ice!   This is not “crazy”  weather, nor “extreme” weather, and not even too “unusual.”   We’ve had blizzards here in April before,   snowfalls occasionally in May,  but this ice storm was fun to look at.

Our power went out – of course.      Branches were heavy with a covering of ice.:

Icy covering 380

 

The fir trees were all drooping under the weight:

Icy droopy firs 200

Normally, the branches of this tree in the parking lot stand out at about 90 degree angles.

And one big tree wore its halo of ice beautifully:

Icy Tree 370

The human impact?   Well, we lost our power for about a third of a day.

“Poor me” —  I had to find shelter  at my local  coffee shop where there were electrical outlets so I could keep on working.      (ahem):

Icy cocoa 360

 

But now, one day later,   all those ice sheaths on the branches are falling with every gust of wind,  making it sound like intermittent avalanches on my roof.      Or bowling pins rolling around up  there.    O ma herd of angry squirrels running around . . .  you get the idea,  but every once in a while I felt like ducking for cover when my roof got so noisy.

Here are the pieces of ice that litter my yard –

Icy pieces 380

Those are my fingers in the picture to show the size of all those pieces on the ground.   They are heavy, sharp, and loud!

But Grandson Cooper has me beat in weather extremes.   Here is a postcard I got from him while he was in Hawaii last week:

Kris and Volcano 235

He took a hike near a live volcano . . .  and  the next week he returned to his home in the High Sierras to weather like this:

Cooper''s Car 380

Yep, he lives right on Donner Lake, so that’s looking out his front window.   And one of those snowy lumps in the foreground  . . .   that’s his Mommy’s car.

He doesn’t mind.  He’s young enough to take it all in stride.  He cheerfully accepts whatever comes his way.  A good philosophy for us all.

There is another person who made the most of icy weather.  It is Frederic Church, artist.  Very popular a hundred years ago:

Iceberg mist FChurch 380

He painted a series of Iceberg pictures that are really wonderful to look at.    You can look up his name in the Image section of your Search Engine, and you will see all kinds of massive icebergs, some with shipwrecks in them,  and in many  beautiful winter colors.

Icebergs and Wreck Frederic church

Just something to do when the weather keeps you indoors.

Icebrgs

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(MINI)-TRAUMA ON A WINTER’S NIGHT

February 28, 2018

“Music, a Meeting,  More Snow,  and a Reverse Lesson in Kindness)

(This posting will feel like  a disorganized mess because . . .  well, I feel like a mess right now.)

RECOVERY MODE:

So,  this is me, recovering tonight:

Knitting

Words actually say it better than this photo:   I’m having a quiet, relaxing evening in front of a soothing fire with a bright almost- full moon shining through the window behind me, and I’m so surprised to be able to begin my new knitting project – a thick, luscious white cabled sweater.

(“Every journey begins with a few stitches.”)

It’s a surprise because I have fairly badly injured my right thumb, slightly traumatizing, and I thought I couldn’t start my new knitting project,  but as it turns out,  because there are so many cables in it,  I’m not using the European style of knitting which would have put more pressure on my thumb.   So,  two fingers, not the thumb. . . .

I need the knitting, the fireplace, and the quiet right now.

I injured my thumb yesterday during a meeting in an office of our, uh,  professional advisor,  just a periodic meeting,  with Son by my side.  I couldn’t hide the bleeding which didn’t stop during that whole time, but I had to hide the shock my body felt and the growing pain.

“BE YE KIND”

You don’t give up any of your strength when you are kind to someone:

kind animals

 

It matters, it matters very much if you are kind to the people around you.     Thankfully,  I’ve been surrounded by kindness.   Our “advisor”  who kindly got up several times to give me wads of paper towels to soak up the blood (which I didn’t know what to do with – not thinking clearly).

And Son,  glancing at me once in a while in the office,  and then his kind attention and (distracting) conversation as we went out for a nice lunch afterwards;  and his helping with needed yard work which I couldn’t do, and patient conversation afterwards.

The kindness of these two men was not unnoticed, and I’m a bit embarrassed to say, but  it was very much needed.

And kindness today:

RECORDER

It was Recorder Practice today.    I didn’t think I could use my thumb.   It hurt.   I was unaccountably tired.  And I felt a little tense and shaky all over.   But I like my friend and I like playing recorder together with her.    So I went.     (“Music hath charms to soothe the “traumatized”  breast.”)    My friend kindly listened to my tales of woe and said we could stop when my thumb said to stop.

And look what was waiting for us after we played our music!

Table Whole 380

A beautiful table like this just doesn’t assemble itself.   My friend is an artist, with color and composition.   Those little  flowers grow on her property, and they’re called Snow Drops,  arranged beautifully.    They were so charming in the little crystal containers  that they actually soothed and cheered my body.

Table

When you do something like this for a friend,  that is an act of kindness.     It’s actually a command from our “Master.”

(Ephesians 4:32)   Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

The Snow Drops bring me to another whole set of considerations:

Not too long ago I woke up to this outside my window – an Ice Cage!

Icicle Cage 250

Long icicles had formed across my house.   It was the aftermath of lots and lots of snow –

Snow Banks 380   –   I had shoveled the snow up into four-foot banks.

Snow BENCH 370

Everything was deeply covered .

But then the ice on the pond turned “green” signaling a change in the weather.

sea green pond 370

We had a couple days of very warm rains, causing the creek back there to rise into a raging river,  a couple days of flooded roads and detours,  and now,  though it’s “Indian Spring”  or whatever this warm weather is called,   we have some snow predicted.

A measly three inches.    Can I get back on my skis again?

Grandson Cooper has four to eight feet of snow predicted this week.    He lives right on the shore of Donner Lake,  here:

Donner Lake

And up in the pass?   Donner Pass:

Donner

It will be a white-out again.

Lucky Cooper!    He’ll be able to ski!

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“DOING” SOMETHING – LIKE THIS

January 7, 2018

 

Well, yesterday’s post was a little complex – and serious.    I still mean every word – even all the words I didn’t write  so it wouldn’t become extraordinarily long.

holy family the

Feast of the Holy Family

I meant just to say,  “Look around you, look at the world around you – and although there is much to learn and study and analyze,  yet still in a small way,  each of us is called  to actually act upon what we know.

Today’s remembrance within  Christendom centers on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, put before us as our model of family life.   Our sermon was about what makes up a family in general;  I would have wished to hear more about the qualities of the Holy Family, but that’s okay,  that was his choice,  and nothing stops me from finding out more writings about these qualities on my own.

 

st theres familyThe family of St. Therese of Lesieux –

 

But that’s my point from yesterday, I guess.   Find out something in society that is good, that makes life strong and stable, and since we can all acknowledge that we don’t have that commonly anymore,  find out what went wrong, and what  can be done about it.  That’s a doable task for each individual person.

Take “family,”  for instance,  the theme for this day.

 

her whole family

The entire family of St. Therese, mother on left, father on right.

 

I’ve had lots of decades of TV viewing under my belt.   (Lots!)    I can truly say with sorrow that I’ve witnessed the disintegration and degradation of TV families,  so until now we hardly know — or rather we hardly dare define what a family really is.  We must be “politically correct” and “inclusive”  — so “they” tell us.   *

But “they” are wrong.   I’ve witnessed the sorrow and regretful longing implicit in so many movies and television series of the past two decades . . .  almost as though the writers know they are missing something precious, and this society can never have it  back.

HOLY FAMILY and st therese

(I have this painting at home,  but this photo  is apparently from “Restored Tradition.”   It shows St. Therese visiting the Holy Family – to learn as well as to pay homage.   Of course, she is separated by many centuries from the Holy Family,  but there is truth here:  we can all “visit”  this model of family love,  and also learn.  But as she,  the visit must be on bended knee.)

It’s not just sadness among  young adults because their family was messed up.      There are serious and dangerous society implications too,  all reflected in our entertainment that seems rudderless, pointless,  and rather despairing.

How do we turn around the loss of Family?    Can we repair this mess we’ve made of family life?       We need a model.    What is the “real dollar bill”  and what is the counterfeit?   We need to know the difference, and we need to know what difference it makes.

Then in our small way, one person at a time,  make our family a good one, perhaps modeled after the Holy Family.

 

_______________________________

.*   This presentation of devolving family life is also seen in children’s books, especially their school “readers.”      My Grandson Cooper loves reading the Dick and Jane books of the 1950’s;  he finds them interesting and logical,  fun and safe.     By the time I was teaching school, “they” had taken away wholesome family life and substituted all the politically correct wrong ideas about what the word family could mean.

That generation of children grew up imitating the broken families that they had read about their schoolbooks.

Their children know “something” is wrong with the way their parents lived, lived apart,  broke up their families,  blended new groups together . . .

And their children’s children wish to do something about it.

SLED LEGS

December 30, 2017

We are having a non-stop busy week  – no time for the usual activities,  but I’ve stolen a few minutes to tell you about a great new “invention”  for snowy days!

Sled Legs 280

That’s my grandson Cooper going down our nearby sledding hill – on his new Sled Legs.

They’re a great idea!

sled legs on

You strap these things to your legs,  just above your knees and above your shoes, so you can still walk . . .

sled legs walking

. . .  because the idea is you walk up to the top of the hill and then fling yourself on your knees and slide down.

Cooper says you can steer, but the  adults with him say you can’t.

(I think you can believe a 7 year old who plays Scrabble like a pro, two days after he learned that the game exists.   He picked up the rules for Parcheesi in about ten seconds.  And he apparently mastered all the pinball games at Pinball Pete’s tonight.)  

 

st bar blue snowflake divider

Anyway,   Sled Legs –  highly recommended!

.

 

POSTCARD SENSE – (A useful post)

September 13, 2017

I’m from a time that when you went on vacation, you sent postcards back to the people at home.

fish image

It’s still a fun thing to do,  but we don’t actually do it anymore, even though they still make really nice postcards.    Nowadays I buy a few postcards, but mostly as souvenirs, or as interesting additional little bits of information for me to save.

donner post card

Vintage Donner Lake postcard

On my way out West, I heard about an app that allows you to take a photo on your own cell phone and send it in and “they” would make a postcard out of it,  write your message, stamp and  mail it!      How convenient –  how personalized!

I promised Cooper I’d send him a “thank-you”  post card made from a photo his Mommy had taken of us on Donner Lake,  when I got home.

I didn’t use an app.

Postcard front 370

Here’s the front of my new postcard,  from Mommy’s cell phone.  I printed it out on stiff poster board paper,  the 7 X 11 size,  printing the photo on the glossy side so I could use a pen on the matte side.

Postard back blurred 370

A ruler, a pen,  a stamp, and an address – looks official!      The size of the printed photo is 4 X 6 and I could fit two of my choices on one little poster paper.

_____________________________

 

The color on my  printed postcard  did not seem to easily smear or run,  but if I hear of any trouble,  I’ll just use the stuff you to save  jigsaw puzzles.  It dries into a  clear and tough coating.

Cooper says he likes to receive mail.  He’s got this unique, adult-type relationship with his mailman but in a conversation I overheard,  he told the mailman that he hardly ever gets anything in his own name.  I think I just found a fun way to send him things.

QUETZACOATL, ET AL.

July 30, 2017

Westward,  ho!!!   On the trail of Quetzacoatlus,  the winged . . .  serpenty thing.

quetzalcoatlus

 

I know I should say that  the greatest “draw”  for me as I prepare my westward journey is my grandson, Cooper.    And my daughter.  And my son-in-law.    But . . .   I know me.

There’s another:

nodosaur-fossils-close-up-ridges.adapt.1900.1

It is one of the most exciting and recent fossil discoveries!!!  This fossil shows us the skin, the ridges, the scales, and the feathers of a nodosaur, a reptilian-serpenty thing..

I’ll show you the head in a minute,  but, first, a few comments — and I’m gong to be very, very sketchy and abbreviated in my words.  You’ve either speculated on this stuff, or you haven’t.

Here’s another view of the Quetzacoatlus:

quetz atlus

They’re winged,  they’re  feathered (more feathers than this artist gave them) , and they  perhaps fly.

The Native peoples of Mexico await the return of the Winged Serpent, whom they call Quetzacoatl.    Snouted, not beaked.  (Taxonomers seem not to care.)

quetz in stone

Interaction with human beings.    Forbidden interaction.

quetx in curves

Who is that Nachosh spoken of in the Bible;  that Shining One;  that Reptilian-Serpent Thing that interacted with the first humans in their protective Garden?

qu shining

Forbidden.     Deadly.

Quetxacoatl again –  (also known as the head of a nodosaur)  —

nodosaur head

What are these things and when did they live –   and what is this . . .  interaction?   It was a time not made for human beings.      But forbidden spiritual interaction is not my point today.    And there’s plenty of evidence for the physical interaction of humans and “dinosaurs”  depicted in artwork:  pictures,  objects (like ancient little toy dinosaurs),  and in weaving and sculpture.   But that’s not my point today either.

It’s this —  Fossils and Footprints!

Man n Din

 

That’s a MAN  lying in a dinosaur FOOTPRINT!   The silhouette of the dinosaur is below the photo, and the silhouette of the man is that teeny thing under the tail!

More three-toes dinosaurs,  smaller ones:

hand in print

One time I was in Carson City NV with Cooper,  in the dinosaur display room in a children’s museum.     At two and a half years old,  I wasn’t sure if he understood why I was so excited about seeing the display of three large dinosaur footprints.    He didn’t say much,  but he walked away,  came back with three little plastic toy dinosaurs,  and he placed one toy dinosaur in each footprint.

He got it.

So, yes,  “westward”   —  into dinosaur country.   I’ve got my  route planned from museum to museum!

_____________________________________

 

Here’s a footnote to the Michael Crichton book I wrote about yesterday,  just to be honest:   The main character about whom the story is told —  didn’t exist, much to my surprise.   The   minor characters who were paleontologists did exist:  Professors Cope and Marsh —  and, of course,  Wyatt and Morgan Earp and assorted famous outlaws.

The places in the book Dragon Teeth  really exist too.  I’ve been to many of them, and reading this book was like having a movie played before my eyes.

Reading and living!

I’d like more of both,  God willing.

 

_________________________________________________

.*   To enjoy some quite plausible speculation,  you can’t do better than the series called “West of Eden.”   (Although I suspect modern “environmentalists”  would not be on the side of the humans.”    It’s a clear clash of technologies.)

 

COOPER’S “WEATHER UPDATE”

June 25, 2017

This posting is just for fun.

Some of you may remember  the kind of winter my grandson Cooper had this year —  buried under 20+  feet of snow.    It’s where they live.   Donner Pass.   As in . . .   the Donner Party.      I showed you some photos of Cooper and the snow . . . (here).

And this picture could look a lot like his back yard when the sun is just right:

Tahoe back 1

Well, their  giant snow cover is mostly gone,  but it’s still snowing!

bikinis in snow

This is a ski hill near Donner –  last week.   While we were having our heat wave,  they were . . .   well, it looks like a heat wave on the ski slope too.

Cooper’s Mommy is having a birthday on the Fourth of July.   A couple years ago, during a birthday phone call,  I asked her what she did on that day on her birthday.   She said,   “Oh,   we went to the beach and had a picnic, and then we went snowboarding.”    All in one day.    In July.

But it’s not all fun and games.     After Blizzard and Avalanche season, now we have the Snowmelt season.

Tahoe 12 billlion into

This is Lake Tahoe, nearby.   The slow-motion video showed the churning of the waters as  12 Billion gallons of water were flowing into the lake.

The video lasted until evening,  through sunset.

Tahoe sunset

 

Ahhhh,  the Sierras.    In a few short weeks I hope to be there.

To see my grandson, of course.

 

D-DAY – COOPER AND OUR YOUNG PEOPLE

June 6, 2017

D-Day:  The Sixth of June.   1944.     Lest we forget.

____________________________________________________

Some of you know Cooper is my grandson.   He’s a typical six-year-old;  he plays and swims and skis and kayaks and white-water rafts (down the beautiful and rather tame Truckee River)  and he golfs and he takes dance lessons and he plays violin, he’s just discovered reading —  and he appreciates some good red balloons!

Cooper aNd bigred balls cr

That’s his home, on Donner Lake,  California.

He can do all those activities  BECAUSE   American   young people did this:

DDay arricing

 

16, 17, 18 . . . 20 year olds  . . .   24,  30, 32,   38 year olds . . .  and every young man in between arrived on those Normandy beaches for an impossibly difficult mission.

 

Not everyone made it to the beach:

dday dragging

Up and over, right into German artillery – firing at them.

DDay hump

So many died.   I don’t think they’d want us to forget their story.

Because our young people in uniform do things like that,  Cooper can remain safe and play and learn . . . .

 

 

We MUST make sure our young people are taught this, once again.  

 

THE CHARM OF BOYS

April 20, 2017

(An update on Cooper)

(Boys and girls.   Nothing like having one of each to appreciate the differences!)

When Hubbie and I were expecting our very first child,  we didn’t know whether we’d have a girl or a boy.    I wanted a boy.    In my naivete I wanted a whole basketball team full of boys – and then maybe a girl later.

Well.     After knitting little blue sweaters,  I got a  girl.

Appreciated having a girl.   So when we were expecting another child,  I though how nice it would be if she had a little sister!    So I knit little pink sweaters.

And then we got a boy.

I will have to say that after each birth, my only thought was “How perfect!”

Now,  I was more used to girls because  as I was growing up,    I had become the big sister of two little girls.     I understood them,   I knew all the subtle little things to expect.

But boys!    That was a new experience!    Straightforward.  Direct.  Practical.   Honest.   Not afraid to show delight.   And their sense of humor is really funny.

So I offer you two “boy”  samples.   One is a joke.    But it’s a boys’ type joke.    Non-sentimental.   Non-fussy.    Just plain funny.   (It’s all over the Internet, associated with the name of  Corden,  that’s all the attribution I can make.)     Here it is:

A 16-year-old boy in Bosnia broke a world record this week by smashing 111 concrete blocks with his head in 34 seconds. When asked how it felt to break the world record, the boy said, “Lampshade tricycle is my favorite flavor of pizza truck.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha . .  .  really appreciated that!

And now there’s  another little boy in my life,  Cooper,  my grandson.     Just returned from a trip to Portugal.     Here he is,  straightforward,  direct, and matter-of-factly enjoying a visit with the pilot:

Cooper Pilot

He excused himself from his airplane seat and knocked on the “pilot’s door”  and had a nice long conversation about flying airplanes.    He knows quite a bit about airplanes — he’s on his SECOND passport book right now.  The first one got all filled up with stamps.    The pilot came out after a while and gave his email address to his Cooper’s Mommy, offering to help   in any way possible should Cooper ever want to become a pilot!   He called Cooper “remarkable.”

My word exactly.

This little boy takes on  the world exactly as it comes to him,  an attitude that is frankly quite charming.

Hawaii?    Just a place to express your joy.

Cooper Dancing Ocean 300

I think he’s ready for the whole world.

_________________________________________

(There’s a lot of “girl”  still in me,  but  I’m learning a lot from observing the boys!)

DADDY DUG HIM OUT!

March 7, 2017

Week after week after week this year,  my grandson Cooper has been receiving snowfalls by the feet!   I kind of wondered if they’re able to move around or something.

Cooper on his sidewalk 380 x 500

Daddy’s been working hard!     That’s the walkway to their house!     Kind of looks like Cooper has his backpack on.   Ready for school?

Behind him,  over his shoulder, you can just about see  Donner Lake.   This is where they live,  somewhere down there on the lake shore.    I’ve been on that lake in the summer, and those mountains stay snow-covered – and beautiful.

donner lake jewel

Between snowstorms  you can “get there from here”  —

road to

Meanwhile,    I heard about their weather this week:

snow total

48 hours.   They got more feet of snow than Cooper is tall.

_________________________

 

Cooper’s Mommy is in India this week where the temperature is in the 90s.

What a planet!

GLOBE

THE SCIENCE OF WHIMSY

February 21, 2017

“True Science is whimsy.”

speeding-thoughts

There was a young lady named bright
Whose speed was much faster than light.
She set out one day
In a relative way
And returned the previous night.

Science is whimsy,  for God made the world out of Love and Joy!    It is the serious pudding-faced “science practitioners”  of our day who put a heavy weight to science –  and dare you to disagree!

If you cannot find fun and admiration and joy and gratitude in the science you know,  then you have not done science at all!

studying-outside

I took my studying 0utdoors today –  it was 61 degrees, for goodness’ sakes!!!    That’s a pretty warm February day here in the Far North!   I did my work right in the middle of nature with the sounds of many seriously happy birds, the  water in the  creek  babbling over the rocks,   and the wind soothing itself through the trees.

So enjoyable,  this science of  meteorology.

Speaking of which,   WHERE IS MY GRANDSON AGAIN?

truckee-snow

White-out in the High Sierras

Cooper lives in the Sierra Nevadas where they’ve had  five feet of snow one week, six feet the next, five feet again the next week,  and one time it was eight to ten feet.   Today and yesterday they are having a three to five feet snowfall –   not so much –  but the wind gusts  nearby were measured at  199 m.p.h. (Alpine Meadows)  and 193 m.p.h.  (Squaw Summit.)   Fascinating.      Intimidating.       My son-in-law works up there at times!

Haven’t received any recent photos of Cooper.    Probably don’t have cell phone service again.  Or electricity.

I think they could use a little science and technology help out there.

snowflakes

Science is delightfully beautiful but it’s probably not a good time to teach Cooper that “each little snowflake has six points and each one is different from every other snowflake   . . .”  They’re not seeing  “flakes” out there.

Amazingly,   the world is so big and man and his dwelling places are so tiny,   that  Cooper can have his blizzard way over there and I can have my heatwave way over here.

Looks like the Pacific Ocean has been having an unexplained heatwave of its own.

ocean-heat-blob

They call it “the Blob”  sitting alongside our West Coast,   a large heat anomaly.  It’s been there for a couple years, but science hasn’t figured it out yet.

It’s still a mystery to wonder at.

And then there is  “gorgeous”   on an ordinary day:

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Do you know what that column of sunlight is called?   Do you know what causes it?

Just driving along one evening   —     all of a sudden,  the sun shoots out a pillar of brilliant golden light.

It was gone in 45 seconds.

Just a whimsical  reminder of the power and glory of the Creator of all science.

 

 

 

BURYING COOPER AGAIN

January 12, 2017

Cooper, the grandson.   Living in the High Sierras.    In the WINTER!

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I wrote a few posts ago about the five or six feet of snow Cooper and his family got last weekend.     And now they have another six feet.

And no electricity.  No cell phone.   I got one last short text from them – and a photo!

I presume school is closed again, because it’s hard getting around on those roads.

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I  know this place.  It’s where you try to find the exit leading into their little mountain village.

You can get around with chains on your tires.

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After the snowfall, you can get around in the village too:

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But when you leave the village and want to go home,  you’ll have to drive on those mountain roads again.

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Say a little prayer for Cooper’s Mommy.    She’s supposed to return home from a business trip today, and it’s quite likely she’s out there on these roads just as I am writing this.  She needs to drive   UP about 3,000 feet of elevation from the airport to her home.

Into the snowstorm.

 

 

GOOD CHEER

January 7, 2017

I thought I’d share   (my grandson)  Cooper’s Family Christmas card this year — although I think it could double as a New Year’s greeting.

(Yeah,  I cut off his family name for privacy . .  .)

greetings-2

 

Well, how’s that for pure and innocent good cheer!!!

Cooper is standing on the shore of Lake Tahoe, near his home.    I told his Mommy (my daughter)  that he really looks like he’s demonstrating pure pleasure.

Oh, no,   she said,   we told him to look into the camera and he was just being silly.   A serendipitous  moment of silliness, I would say!)

So I too wish you all a Happy New Year of just pure goodness,  innocent joy, and fun!

Good cheer to all of you in 2017!!

 

GRANDSON BURIED

January 5, 2017

  Taming that awful bug now; cutting him down to size.   

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I always say we were given Self-Healing Bodies;  that helps,  that  and keeping to a strict regimen of dozing-sleeping-dozing-sleeping-dozing . . .    (Heh heh — or is that just plain self-indulgence?)

Began to “return to the world” and  listen to the radio today and heard the national weather report.  Little Cooper, my grandson, is back at his home now in the Sierra Nevadas.    THAT Sierra Nevadas.   The one the weather service is giving three to five  FEET of snow to  this week!

I texted his Daddy and told him his weather has made our local news.    He looked out  his front door and sent a photo back.

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That was the first two feet.   More to come later that day.    And then the three-five feet on Friday/Saturday.     They’re talking ten to fifteen feet in some places.   Not surprising, I guess –  they live near Donner Pass . . .    THAT Donner Pass — the documentary they keep showing on the Weather Channel about the ill-fated wagon train party that never made it over Donner Pass one winter.      Twenty-two feet in that snowstorm.      Cooper lives within a couple miles of the Donner Party Memorial.

Their story is actually worth knowing.  It has some elements of general human importance.      I wrote about it a couple years ago, so you can read the story,  here.    

If you read the story,   you’ll see a beautiful lake in the midst of the forest.   Cooper’s house is on that lakeshore.      It’s all grayed out in the above photo, though;   too much snow in the air.

The Donner Party was caught off guard, but Cooper and his family just take all that snow in stride.   They wouldn’t feel  “buried.”     Cooper shovels snow too.    He has a six-year-old size shovel.   But I happen to know that that area has  mountain-blizzard sized  snow plows!     Loud, horrendously screeching metal behemoths that move mountains of snow off the roads.    The sound still gives me chills.

I had been taking care of him for several weeks one winter, and  I was thinking about ending my stay, making the long, long cross-country drive that would take me home — and then they got one of those snowstorms.   In one afternoon, we went from almost no snow cover to three feet of snow, drifting all over the place.

And forget about driving home!

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That was my little blue car,  parked under a car port!     We got more snow that evening and more snow the next day.    For a few panicked moments,  I could almost feel what the Donner Party had begun to experience.     Stuck!  Stranded!  Buried!

“GRANDSON BURIED.”      That’s not what they would say.      They live there and that’s their playground.        “Skiing!!”  is what they would say.

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Here’s Cooper on snowshoes a few years ago.    They  have no problem getting around.

We had a baby snowstorm today:  15 degrees;   40 m.p.h. wind gusts, and, oh,  maybe an inch or two of snow.   More weather like that coming this weekend.

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It was hard to get just the right photo of the clouds of snow swirling around, but the wind took the snow and made pretty patterns in the air.

Well, it’s winter, and we’re in for it for a while  –  all over the Northern Hemisphere.    How about a trip to the German Alps?   Like this  –

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Think how beautiful it all can be!!!

 

Ahhhh. . .   now I have something lovely to think about as I go back to my couch and doze off some more . . . .

 

FOR COOPER’S EYES

October 5, 2016

(Okay, a brief break from hurricane news . . .  ) 

Dear Cooper,  here are some pictures of the trucks and the men who came to work on my driveway.   Wish you could have been here!

Here is my bad driveway:

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I don’t know what this guy is called, but he’s  coming!

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Cutting into my driveway:

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The shovel thing on the big truck scooped up the pieces:

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And then it dumped it into the dump truck:

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Lots of things in Grandma’s driveway — and they were noisy!

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Lots of men working too!

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This man got to walk on the hot, soft driveway with special shoes to pack it down smooth.

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This man got to use fire to burn the new asphalt into the old asphalt on the street so  the old and the new would blend together and make a smooth seam,

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Little car, big truck.   Grandma’s car was trapped by big trucks all day:

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Where’s my nice new driveway?     What does it look like?

Well, it rained.    I have to take a picture of it tomorrow, and then I will put the picture on a CD-Rom and send it and more pictures to you.

So check your mail in a few days!!!!

 

Bye!

 

ALLIGATOR SEASON

August 23, 2016

It’s that time of the year!!!

Football

Football season!!   I know it’s pre-season,  but it’s not “just” pre-season;  it’s “you get to watch your favorite team many  times and see who all the second and third string players are and who can be a back-up for your favorite players”  season!

You really get a chance to see players on your team who you’ll probably seldom even hear of again – if you’re lucky,  because if you don’t hear much  about these “new” players,  it means your first string is all right.

Besides.   No pressure.   No season rankings.  Just plain, pure football playing.

So,  time for football to begin!!   And time to take out the knitting needles again!

ALLIGATOR 400 Football

Five-year-olds love alligators.

Last year Grandson Cooper got a bear in the woods with big pine trees,  just like where he lives in the High Sierras:

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But this time he knows he’s going to get that alligator — and he’s excited,  so I have to deliver.

I know,  the world seems to be in such serious trouble,  about to “break” – so how could we be thinking of football?

I could get all philosophical about the importance of recreation . . .   The saints caution us against too much frivolity.  But they also warn us against too much seriousness and tell us that a little fun and recreation spice up our lives and keep us from getting all tied up in knots.

The story goes that there was a young monk who was playing some sort of ball game, and a man looked on with surprise at the young man’s obvious involvement in the fun.  “You’re a monk!   What if you knew Jesus should come to take your soul right now and find you playing games?!”

The young monk replied, “If I knew that,  I would continue on playing because this is the hour designated for my recreation – and Jesus would find me doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.”

There are many variations on that story,  but it shows us an important point.   Do what you are supposed to be doing, right now,  in the manner in which it should be done,  for as long as it should be done, before you go on to the next thing that you should be doing, according to your station in life.

Just focus on your duty.  That ought to eliminate a lot of stress in life.

Meanwhile,  I’ll worry about not dropping stitches and getting the pattern just right – and I’ll worry about not dropping passes and working through those patterns . . .

Oh, well.

My team is, of course,  the

bears

 

 

 

 

 

BEING A BEIGNET

July 23, 2016

I’ll try not to be too philosophical here.   The food deserves to speak for itself.

B Beignet plate

THAT is a beignet.    Delicious, one of a kind taste.    A French deep fried pastry with an interesting, though quite mild, flavor.   I had never had one until I followed Hiawatha to his home country this past week.

There in the Far Far North was a genuine Cajun restaurant,  with a chef actually from New Orleans!       Unfortunately – and unfortunately for the beignet – his restaurant,  The Lagniappe,  didn’t open until 11:00 a.m.  on the day I was supposed to leave.  I hung around and delayed my journey home until I could get an order of beignets and of jambalaya to take home with me.

The beignets didn’t quite make it.  Oh, the one I had as I started off was wonderful!   Warm,  light,  fluffy,  airy,  and oh, so tasty!     But then I had to drive some more.   Hours later,  the first bite into the second beignet was cool and chewy,  not quite . . .   good.

Home again,  I had an idea:

B Beignets 2

Now it was warm again,  that unique flavor came through, but it just wasn’t the same.  The texture had been lost.     (Which is not to say I couldn’t overlook that!)

How perfect is the beignet at its right time and place:   immediate, in its “present moment,”  and close to its origins,  I’d say about ten feet away from the chef’s  deep fryer.

Its delicate existence has a perfect place and a perfect timing;  like the snowflake in winter that landed on your jacket and you run in the house to show your Mom – and it lasts about 7 seconds;    like the beignet,  about 7 minutes;  like a man,  whose common given lifespan is 70 years.

But I said I wouldn’t get philosophical . . . .

 

B jambalaya

The jambalaya was heartier.    I make good jamabalya so I wanted to taste the recipe of a master(new Orleans)  chef.    That’s his.    At home,  I took it off my red plate and doctored it up a bit.    I like more cooked tomato, more celery and green pepper.    And I added the rich flavor of filet gumbo!

I took what someone made –  and I made it better,  tailor-made to suit my tastes.      You take what is handed to you,  not passively,  not as a victim,   and you add some creativity and individuality.

But I said I wouldn’t get philosophical . . . .

 

B gitche gumme fish

I visited the Land of Gitche Gumme.    Gitche Manito had given the People an abundance of food:   animals big and small,   plants that grew easily in the forest soil;  and fish.

I took some home with me, prepared the way Hiawatha would have known:

B Fish

One is a Menominee;  the other is a Whitefish.    Smoked.    Deep rich flavor.    They will feed me through many meals.    (Maybe too many;  they didn’t have smaller pieces!)

Eating from right out of the earth and the waters.

Right away in the early chapters of Genesis,  mankind was given for food the fruit of all the trees of the earth and of the herbs of the field.     Later in chapter 9 of Genesis,  flesh was added,  meat and fish:   Gen 9:3 – And every thing that moveth and liveth shall be meat for you: even as the green herbs have I delivered them all to you:

Fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, and fish.   Of course, we have to work to produce, catch, and prepare our food;  and the further away from nature that we get,  the more labor is put into the food.  But the more we labor and tinker with the food,  the less like natural food  it is.

Being a beignet,  then,  is tricky.     Labor-intensive;  short-lived.    Appealing not to our (natural) health but to our sensations only.

But then I said I wouldn’t get philosophical.

bar simple green dividerA beignet lover in New Orleans:

Cooper and Kathy

The French missionaries came to Hiawatha’s people from Canada.   The French Canadian people were forced out of their homes by the English Protestants and fled to New  Orleans.  The French cuisine there gave birth to Cajun and Creole food.    Now,  Cajun and Creole food has returned to the Far Far North.

I wonder if Cooper can take that all in!

Fun facts.     Not a  philosophical lesson.

Just eat!

 

 

LESSONS IN SMALL WONDERS

May 10, 2016

(continuing adventures in Indiana)

Wonder is the happy astonishment at what comes before you, either an occurrence, a sight,  a word.
It is happy because it increases  intellectual pleasure of a new insight  and at the same time it’s  delightful to the senses.
It is an astonishment because it came to you through no effort of your own.   It’s a bit humbling.      It came from some place higher,  a Higher Power, a Higher Force, a Higher Person, and it was gifted to you because Goodness and Good Pleasures draw you to Him.
    Therefore, wonderment is an act of Love from your God to attract you to Him – and as such,  a created being responds with humility, awe, love, and gratitude.
I’m writing about “Small”  Wonders,  because Our Lord God said:  Unless you become as a little child,  you won’t see . . .  (see the Kingdom of Heaven,  now and forever.)    You must have in you a childlike openness to Wonder.
Wonderment is available to all ages, races, material circumstances, conditions,  and geographical locations!     All you have to be is a created human being.

Ch Museum outdside

Four-Storied Children’s Museum

I could tell you about all  our adventures at the Terre Haute, Indiana,  Children’s Museum,  but you, like me,  have probably seen children’s museums:    “been there, done that.”     I went because Cooper, my grandson,  wanted to go  (and so did his Daddy, actually).    I confess  I was prepared to be  slightly bored.

But I have some photos –   and after pondering them in The Spruce Tunnel for a while,  they became  lessons to myself.

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There were stars to learn about, of course.  The picture on the back wall of the display is easily recognizable as Ursa Major – you can see it every clear night – and only in the Northern Hemisphere!      But the bigger white dots are a representation of the stars as they actually exist in space, relative to each other.

So – from another perspective,  say if our space ship were coming in from a different angle,  it wouldn’t be a big bear (or a Big Dipper)  at all!

Nor would it have entered our minds to even think about grouping these stars together to make a picture of a familiar (earthly) object.

The Ancients knew,  the Greeks scientists knew,  the  Church philosophers knew,  they all knew that Mankind is only a small speck within a vast cosmos.   And they wondered at it!   Humans have dignity and infinite value only because God made us and cares for us.  And that’s a wonder too.

As a corollary:     It is another kind of wonder that Modern Man thinks he is the sum and summit of knowledge and importance;  and so much so that his reasoning must be separated from Faith and his attempts at science must be separated from the vast scientific learning of the Church.  

Ch Museum weather report
The museum had a Weather Station –  fun for me and Cooper,  except I love thunder and he doesn’t.     There was a television “studio” there where you could sit behind the desk and be televised as you give the weather report.

I refused.   I realized how “shy”  I still am.   Cooper refused.   He’s shy too.    What a happy little astonishment  to realize how alike we are — and how our traits and characteristics are passed down into our grandchildren — and how MUCH we love them for it, for being familiar to us.

Did you know that when God looks down on this planet,  He looks for and recognizes those humans who are like Him, and who are becoming more and more like Him?    He is Holy and Good, and only those who are like Him can survive  (can exist)  in Heaven where He is.

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Cooper and I share a fascination with music too;  or maybe it’s more a sensitivity to sounds.  Like his Mommy too.

They say the universe vibrates with energy and sounds.   The Music of the Spheres, the Ancient Greeks used to call it.   Everything reverberates with energy, within and without, making beautiful sounds which we can only hear a small range of.  Harmonious vibrations because they all have one Source.

If you’re “small”   —

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—  you can put yourself into a giant soap bubble and wonder how it happens.   Fun for little ones.   But interesting for “big ones”  when you think about all the forces that hold things together:  surface tension of the soap bubble;   gravity;   strong and weak atomic forces;  gluons;    . . .   and the ongoing will of God to keep it all together – for now.

I don’t.   We don’t.  No one knows how to “keep it all together.”   I live!   But I am not the One keeping my self alive!   Astonishing!

Okay.  Fewer words.

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Little boys love big . . .   things.  Vehicles and such.    Machines.

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If your heart stays  “small”  you need to try things out.  Get involved.     I had a turn in some of the farm machinery.  I sat in a huge … farm thing, and through the window was a display set up so you could see what a farmer would see if he were out working in that machine.

It was fun.    I was astonished at how much work there is to bringing our food to us.   The whole process of tiny little seeds growing into tall plants –  parts of which we can eat!   And we must eat food from plants!  

I’m reminded too about how much space it takes to grow our food —  and I remember observing how very much “space”  our country has.    It is astonishingly EMPTY of people and towns and cities!

It is we who turn our backs on all this wonderful open space and choose to live in costly, crowded city situations.   There is so much space available for us, but we think we don’t want it.       A small two-acre plot with a nice house costs a half or a third or even a quarter of a dwelling place in our cities!     Astonishing what is available for us – if we avail ourselves of it!

I’m going to eliminate, oh, about twenty other photos and get to this fun adventure in the museum.

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Little Blur

See that little blur?

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Big Blur

How about the big blur!

The blurs were Cooper and Daddy, and it’s called Run With An Animal.   And see if you can run faster than that animal!!!

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That’s the Display Screen.   You touch the planet earth . . .

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. . . .then you choose a continent.  Then you choose your animal.

The animal (and you) begin to run when you press a button — and the squares on the floor light up as the animal is “running.”

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There he goes!   He’s beating that one!    I think Cooper got smart and picked a turtle that time,  but I can assure you,  he and his Daddy could not beat most of the animals they picked.

Animals  are astonishingly – fast!

Animal life is not like our life.   There really is a “jungle out there”!!

Here is my standard advice to all my classes:   Go to the public library  (or buy books if you have to) — and see all the picture books,  the photographic books,  the science books about . . .   pick a topic:  Animals of the World.    All the Birds of the World.  All the Flowers of the World.    Alpine Flowers.   Desert Flowers.   Flowers Mankind Never Sees.   Ocean Life.  Microscopic life.    Stars.  Mountains.   Rivers and Seas.   Forests.  

Then don’t let anyone disturb you.   Be a child, with that book.    Be amazed.   Be astonished.   Be very, very small.   Be humble . . .  and grateful that you got a glimpse of this vast Creation!

I don’t think I want to stop.      So  I think I’ll go and grab a book now.

HUMAN LIFE: SUPERLATIVE IN EVERY WAY

April 28, 2016

I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now, back from my photo-scouting trip,    and wondering why on earth I still feel so tired.

Not really physically, I realized,  although we did our best to wear ourselves out each day.  I’m mentally and emotionally worn out.    Mostly because of this:

penske side truck

Inside a truck just like that was a very brave little boy,  trying almost successfully not to cry;   breaking  my heart because we had to say good-bye.     We had been together almost non-stop for two whole days, enjoying a “secret world” that only a grandma and a grandson can create.   We saw the world together;  were amazed at the same things together;  had the same shared feelings.   Bonded.

And then it was time to part and Daddy would be driving that truck  . . . away.    When you’re five years old, you know it has to happen,  but you feel sad about it.  When you’re many-decades + five years old,  you know it has to happen,  but you’re sad about it too.

map for snow

Daddy and Cooper had to continue westward along that red line.  Grandma had to re-trace the blue line.   (There will be  a southern swing to the otherwise straight shot across the country due to April snows along I-70 and I-80:    13-16 inches over mountain roads!   In a truck full of precious family cargo.

In that green spot in the middle there is where I got LOST in the woodlands of Indiana for an hour or so.   On foot.    Halfway through that little adventure,  every time I opened up my cell phone, it gave a pathetic little  “meeep”  and indicated it need a battery charger.    Which made me a little uneasy, being so far away from my car.

But the three of us had many interesting adventures in Terre Haute, Indiana, where we had met for a couple days.  Good stories and photos coming up here in the Spruce Tunnel, but I wanted to begin with that little “human” type experience of saying good-bye to your loved ones.

Because what I was doing out in the woodlands in the middle of Indiana, on foot,  is looking for Indian mounds,  from people who lived there about 2,100 years ago.   People just like us in almost every way.   Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Take a mental trip down the timeline of human history.    Make a mental stop every 2,000 years or so.      Technology changes.  What our clothes are made of changes.     What our buildings and homes are made of changes.   How information gets passed around changes.  How we obtain our food changes.   How we travel changes.

What doesn’t change is that we live in small family units within a larger tribe or clan,  or more artificially:  within a larger nation.    Again:     Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Put me in a shelter along a shore of a northern sea.   Put me in a cave in southern France.      Put me in a longhouse in the north American forest.  Put me in a fine stone castle.  Put me in a little suburban home.

But part me from my grandson  and I will have the same feelings in any Time.    Part us from our loved ones:  a grown child marries;   a parent dies;   a spouse dies;   a friend moves far away.   We will feel love and loss.

No matter what Time is your present Time –   it’s the people in  your family,  your close kin, and your close friends that matter to you; and  how you treat them and love them  that defines you as a person.

After I waved good-bye to Cooper and his Daddy,  I went backup to my hotel room and immediately began beating myself on the head –  “I forgot to show him this!”    “I forgot to tell him that!”      “I should have done this with Cooper.”      “I could have said more of this!”  

I could have – I should have –  I wish I did . . .

Silly,  I know.    But it’s because it matters.

 

(Fun stuff coming up in the next post.)