Archive for the ‘Cooper’ category

RHUBARB PIE, etc.

June 10, 2019

Yep.  Going domestic on all of you, my readers.    Although I tend to be very interested in history, politics, patriotism, current  earthquakes and volcanoes,  cultural developments,   strange aerial phenomena,  sociological trends, pedagogy,  the power of the Fourth Estate =-  (i.e.  “the entertainment-news media), space science,  physics,  nature, botany, music  (no “modern music,”  nothing past 1825, please), my friends and family,  and  all resting on a bedrock of firm traditional Christian faith —

—  Oh, yes,  that’s why I say The Spruce Tunnel is a place for ‘random thoughts;”  sorry I don’t have any certain predictable  theme to employ here . . .

“Although” all that . . .  like any human creature who is free to live to his fullest, I do all that,  but I especially enjoy being a woman and feeling “all domestic.”   Hah!

Say  Anything

When Daughter and Grandson Cooper were here for a few days during the Memorial Day weekend,  we found time to play a board game called “Say Anything.”   You draw a card with four or five questions to choose from, read it out loud, and then the rest of the players write down what they think will be your most likely answer. . . .  wagering for points, etc., etc.

Hmmmm.    Can be very revealing.

Well, one time my question is “What do I think is the best thing about being a woman?”   An explosion like colorful confetti burst inside my brain“Everything!”    And my family knew me well, with their answers.   To play the game  I had to choose one, but all of them were correct:  wearing skirts (and other pretty clothes, I guess),   being a wife,  homemaker,  being a wife and mother and grandmother (that last set of three from Cooper).

It was a fun game to play, a good question to think about,  but it still reverberates in my memory, for some reason.    Made me think about all the possibilities.

I hope, if you’re a woman (in the Western world),  you have many happy answers.   The answers could actually make you happy.   (“Count your blessings.”)

And I know,  just know,  that the same could be said if you’re a man.    To be a man,  so strong and capable physically (or at least you could train yourself to be more and more “capable”),  to be protective of others around you,  to be a father (or brother or uncle or older cousin), to be a prime example of manliness and courage and constancy,  to lead the way in the exercise of your faith in God,  to provide for your household,  to know how to fix so many things,  to  . . .  I don’t ‘know, all the other advantages . .  .

_____________________________

 

Okay,  so I like baking pies.

 

rhubarb pie

My Rhubarb Pie

  The recipe and the nutritional benefits:

 

This is called Peoria Rhubarb Cream Pie:

Preheat:  400 degree oven.
Ingredients for a single-crust pie (crust):

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
3 – 4 tablespoons cold water

Directions

(The usual way:  stir the first three ingredients all together in a bowl until it resembles “coarse crumbs,”   then sprinkle in the cold water.   Ice cold water is best, and I certainly use 4 or more tablespoons of water.)   Form into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a circle that’s going to fit your pie plate.  Flute the edges.

 

Ingredients for filling:

4 cups sliced fresh rhubarb*   (or thawed and drained frozen sliced rhubarb)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg  (you’ll scarcely taste the nutmeg)
Then mix in 3 slightly beaten eggs.

Ingredients for streusel topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter   (cold is best, but room temperature butter is quicker.)

Mix all together until coarse crumbs are formed.   I use a fork, but a pastry cutter or your fingers work pretty well too.

I assume you know how to assemble these three components of the pie.

Cover the edges with aluminum foil.   I don’t usually, but I’m glad I did this time.

Bake for twenty minutes.

Remove the foil, and bake for another twenty or so minutes.

And that’s what you get!   A   delicious rhubarb pie!  Mild tasting,  no overwhelming tartness or bitterness.    Very thick.   (I probably used five cups of cut up rhubarb.)

 

Hope you enjoy!     (Of course,  just “full disclosure” for this modern world:   men bake too.)

 

RECORDER

. *    (Thank you, my recorder partner,  for fresh rhubarb from your garden!)

_________________________________

 

For those of you interested in health,  I discovered that rhubarb has far more healthy benefits than I could have imagined:

From    (removing the spaces, of course):

https://   http://www.   organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/rhubarb.html

Nutritional Value:

One of the main reasons why people cultivate and eat rhubarb is for its astounding nutritional value. It is packed with minerals, vitamins, organic compounds, and other nutrients that make it ideal for keeping our bodies healthy. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, these precious components are dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. In terms of organic compounds, the plant is a rich source of polyphenolic flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Prevents Alzheimer’s:

A 2006 study published in the Brain Research Bulletin said that a rhubarb glucoside compound, rhaponticin, can protect the body against Alzheimer’s. In vitro results show the rhaponticin is positively linked to preventing the harmful effects of amyloid beta, which are peptides of 36-43 amino acids that are crucially involved in the formation of amyloid plaques found in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
This compound also aids with blood sugar levels

Improves Bone Health:

Along with its role in protecting the brain from neural degeneration, vitamin K also promotes osteotropic activity, meaning that it stimulates bone growth and repair. Combined with the rich amount of calcium and other minerals found in rhubarb, the vegetable as a whole is a major player in bone protection.

Obviously high in fiber and allt he health enefits that produces…

Anti-cancer Properties:

According to the researchers from the National University of Singapore, anthraquinones from rhubarb possesses anti-cancer properties and could have therapeutic potential. It is a good source of beta-carotene and other polyphenolic compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin which act in a similar way to vitamin A, protecting the skin and eyes from the effects of free radicals. A decent amount of antioxidants in your diet can help avoid premature aging, cataracts, macular degeneration, and wrinkles.
. . .  Copper and iron, stimulate new red blood cells, increasing the oxygenation in the body

 

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WINTER’S SLOW GOOD-BYE

March 16, 2019

 

It will be Spring in less than a week.

This week we’ve seen a couple of major blizzards in the Rockies and in the Northern Plains.  Whiteouts.  Thousands of cars stranded in the snow on the Interstates.

Yesterday while driving I was caught in an interesting storm:

hail

We had strong winds,  stronger gusts,  four tornadoes,  heavy rain, occasional snowflakes  and an extremely heavy hailstorm.    My car rumbled across the hail stones on the street and I had no traction on the slippery marble-size balls.   I do not understand why the thousands of  hard sharp “cracks”  on the windshield didn’t result in actual cracks and chips in the glass.  My car seems to be all right.

We saw a few snowflakes today;  more promised for tomorrow.

Out West in the High Sierras,  my grandson is still dealing with snow.  I mean  SNOW.  I saw a photo of a mountain road near him,  familiar to me because it’s the route I take on my way to church when I’m out there:

Tahoe bank

 

Here’s an aerial view of the road, further on, that leads to Squaw Valley.

Tahoe rd to skiing

 

What it probably looks like from in your car:

Tahoe road 1

 

Just in time, I guess,  I finished  Cooper’s winter sweater:

Sweater Sent

The cardinal sits on the pocket.   Cooper can put his hands into either side, and I lined it with red fuzzy yarn to keep his fingers warm,  just in case he steps outside.   The little cardinal is chirping out the word  “Joie!”     After Cooper’s stay in France last Fall, he loves to say French words.

Sweater Label

He is a special little boy, full of inner “Joy.”

And he doesn’t seem to mind  the snow all around him.   I’ll be losing my back yard snow cover pretty soon, by Spring, I’m sure.      But he’ll have his snow cover long,  long after Spring arrives.

Spring.  Is.  Coming.   .  .  .  Probably.

MYSTERY AND LIGHT

February 15, 2019

 

Light will in one future instant say a final and eternal Good-bye to all who choose Darkness.

____________________________________________

The End of the Mystery is a mystery in itself.   

A well-crafted mystery is a pleasure to read.

ag christie vic

A really good whodunit engages the reader and draws him into the story — temporarily,  because then when the mystery is resolved, the story is over;    and then the reader sits back with satisfaction knowing, now, how it all worked together.

ag jek

The best authors have given the reader little facts along the way that only as the story progresses does the reader begin to perceive the smallest facts as clues.

ag writer

The author must have great skill to weave those important facts into the narrative, being fair to his readers but respecting the reader enough to require him to use his intellect.

Wherever we are confronted with a mystery,  the closer we look at it,  the more we see there are facts and clues that lead us to greater and greater understanding.

Light is like that.  It’s actually the greatest Mystery we have.   We know  it when we see it.   (Or do we?)   We can give it a definition.  (Or can we?)   We know what it does.  (Or we know some of its effects.)

We even know its origin:  “Let there be Light.”    It isn’t that at the first moment of Creation some kind of “light bulb” was turned on so we can see what the Creator is doing.

Instead . . .

ag big bang

. . .  energies,  forces,  vibrations,  frequencies began where there were no “disturbances”  before.    It began in an instant.

Such,   let’s call them energy frequencies —  such energy  frequencies  moved “outwards,”  became organized  into irregular areas and forms,  some slowed down and coalesced into what we call high energy particles, which built atoms,  some of which became matter,  plain old material that we can touch and feel and use.

af particles

We’ve read the clues, we’ve learned some facts,  but much of this is still unknown to us,  still undiscovered.  The whole truth about Light remains a mystery.

It’s exciting and very interesting to some people.   They want to keep on learning more about this thing we call Light, observing nature, examining science books,  research, studies,  results of experiments at CERN — the nuts and bolts of hard science.

Grandson Cooper will be receiving this book soon –

a book moon

–   from “Science Grandma.”   Ha!     I gave him a seven-inch diameter moon for Christmas,  a night light,  which he likes very much.    Little by little during his lifetime he will pick up “clues”  about the mystery of Light.

But apart from hard science,   we can approach this mystery of Light by examining the Equivalent of Light –  an equivalence that exists in Reality.     The Person who said “Let there be Light”  actually called Himself  the Light, our Light.  “I am the Light of the world.”

eden 2

That Light was all over the first home of the first humans, whatever that was;   it was still there after the Fall which darkened both the world and the intellect of man;  it was there choosing and enlightening one portion of the human race, one race, one tribe;   and then later,  the Light came to enlighten all the rest of mankind.

Now the Light was identified as “the Light to Lighten the Gentiles.”

That Light had been long-promised, and It was  the long-promised  Messiah sent by the Creator,  the long-promised Christ.      He came to “enlighten” us about the nature and reality of God, giving us more facts and clues about our Creator.   Infinite.    Infinite Power.    Infinite Love.     Infinite Fatherly Caring.

The Christ chose a small group of men to teach His mysteries to, as many as they could endure.

a transf

 

And then Christ returned to that Father, leaving us enough information, enough clues,  so that we can now call the Creator “the Father of Lights.”     (James 1:17)     He used that small group of men to set up a living system,  a Church,  to preserve and  transmit that information, and it has endured for almost 2,000 years.

The more we seek and search,  the more facts and clues we learn about how this all works.    We were not abandoned,  the Light can live in us – if we so indicate our desire – and then Christ, the Light of the World, will return to us.

a return

What will that look like?

Now  the End of all this  Cosmic Mystery is a mystery in itself.       Some humans will recognize and choose to live in that Light.   Some,  many more,  will choose to continue on in darkness.

If there is One Light,  One Christ,  One Church,   why would some choose to live apart from it?

Do they truly think that when they die,  the Light will go out?

.

 

 

 

SNOW “BURIAL”

February 10, 2019

 

Well, what do you do when a blizzard buries your front yard?

Snow angel toppers 280

You jump down on top of the snow and make snow angels!

(That’s Cooper and his Daddy – I think – several feet above their front yard, and beautiful  Donner Lake in the background,  with the High Sierras of California.)

When you have a blizzard burial,  you try not to let you and your friend get  buried —

Snow burial 230

But it makes it really hard to play on your  swing set —

Snow jungle gym 390

The swings are down there somewhere.

They’ll have to wait till Spring.

Snow porch 280

Cooper and Daddy  (I’m sure Cooper helped!)   dug out their front door and shoveled across their raised deck . . .  and I’m sure Daddy said, ‘Now, stand in front of the snow so I can take a picture to show Grandma.”

Oh, yes.  Grandma loves winter.    I’ve told you that before!   Even when I visited them one winter and shoveled three feet of snow off their deck so it wouldn’t collapse.  But it kept snowing and I had another four feet to shovel the next morning.

What that gives you is . . .  an experience to remember!

 

ON A COLD DAY

January 18, 2019

This is to update some of you who have been asking to see Cooper . . . .

__________________________________________________

I wrote in the last post that I was eating some “nice hot red lentil soup.”

soup

And the reason is:  it’s COLD around here tonight!

(Not my bowl,  not my soup,  but pretty close.)

Our weatherman tells us it’s going to get a whole lot colder in the next few days, and that we’ll be getting a little snow tonight, probably less than five inches,  but in a few days we’ll be getting  another snowstorm and that one promises to be bigger.

Finally!   Maybe some cross-country skiing this year.

However, I’m keeping an eye on my grandson and his home in the High Sierras:

 

warning blizzard

 

I knew he’d be all right in just a few feet of new snow,  but it was interesting.     I didn’t even think he’d have a snow day,  but he called me yesterday and said he was having a snow day then and there was one the day before.

I told him that I used to think Snow Days were fun because my Mom and I would use that extra time to bake some treats:  penuche was my favorite;  or fudge;  or brownies;  or cinnamon rolls.

cooper cooking 270

Guess he took it seriously.

And, yes, he’s really using the mix-master.  He bakes and he cooks his own meals sometimes.   He’s 8 years old now.    (His Daddy took the picture and wrote:  Chocolate-y  Chocolate Chip cookies!)

That’s the way you pass down traditions –  baking treats on a Snow Day!

I tried taking a peek at their area during their blizzard,  but the Donner Lake web cam and the Truckee downtown web cam were both covered by snow.     They were last night and they still are today.

They got three or four feet of snow.   We’re supposed to get three or four inches of snow this weekend.    But I’ll probably be baking anyway.

 

 

 

 

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!)

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

.

(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!

.

“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:

sunset-drive-cr

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!

6-snowed-in-400

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.

8-route-89

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.

10-good-tracks-cr

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

5-downtown-truckee

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

7-driving

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.   

angry blue germ 25.jpg

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.

snowbound-cr-400

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!

SAMSUNG

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.

snoeshow-footprinting-380

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.

n-snow-right-now-380

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  –

alpine-germany-380

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 . . . .