Tuesday

Lee bought a dual-sport motorcycle.
Dual-sport so that it is street legal
and can still be taken off-road.

He just finished power-washing it . . .
So, I walked into the library last night to turn off
the power strip by the desk
and 
got hooked in (again) by the clock reflection
on the windows.
This is what the clock looks like . . .

Playing with the reflections . . .

Monday

When you photograph people in color you photograph their clothes.
But when you photograph people in black and white,
you photograph their souls.
- Ted Grant (Canadian photographer)



[Deb] Hmmm . . . gotta think on this one.
Food for thought from “A New Song” by Jan Karon:

He looked above the stand to the framed sign, patiently hand-lettered and illumined with fading watercolors.
Let the peace of this place surround you as you sit or kneel quietly.  Let the hurry and worry of your life fall away. You are God’s child.  He loves you and cares for you, and is here with you now and always.  Speak to Him thoughtfully, give yourself time for Him to bring things to mind.

Ever read Louis L’Amour?
Never have.
That’s my main man.  Listen to this.  Ernie grabbed a book off the shelf, thumbed through the pages, and adjusted his glasses.
“We are, finally, all wanderers in search of knowledge.  Most of us hold the dream of becoming something better than we are, something larger, richer, in some way more important to the world and ourselves.  Too often the way taken is the wrong way, with too much emphasis on what we want to have, rather than what we wish to become.”

The average view of the Christian life Oswald Chambers had said is that it means deliverance from trouble.  Father Tim agreed with Chambers that, in fact, it means deliverance in trouble.  That alone and nothing more, and nothing more required.  But the child of God had to face the strain before the strength could be provided.

When I heard you had a need, I asked Him about it at once, and He said, ‘Ella Jean’ – the Lord always uses my middle name – ‘march over there and ask for that job, they need you.’
Aha.
He doesn’t speak to me in an audible voice.
I understand.
He puts it in my mind, you might say.  As you well know, Father, you have to be quiet before the Lord and keep your trap shut for Him to get a word in edgewise, that’s my experience.

Sunday

Anne came home briefly to pick up a few things,
including the all-important coffee maker.

Vince, Anne, and Kevin Miller . . .

Love you, kiddo.
Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin,
Chapter 11:

XI.14  The schoolboy learns quickly to divide his day into periods which he does or does not enjoy.  He lives a mixed day, but an ordered one; and even with his youthfully expansive sense of time he need not look to far ahead without perceiving some future pleasure.  But adults are often deprived of this solace.  [We] might do better by trying to regularize a few pleasant experiences during the day.  Individual activities aside, the mere act of planning one’s day with this goal in mind will be an important personal victory.

XI.15  The happy individual is able to renew daily and with full consciousness all the basic expressions of human identity:  work, love, communication, play and rest.

XI.18  Those who labor for bread or money alone are condemned to their reward.

XI.22  We struggle with, agonize over and bluster heroically about the great questions of life when the answers to most of these lie hidden in our attitude toward the thousand minor details of each day.

XI.23  Regretting wasted time is itself a waste of time, an unconscious strategy of evasion.
Typical Indiana sunset,
coming home Saturday evening
from Markita's surprise birthday party . . .

Saturday

Yesterday evening, Vince and I had dinner out,
literally outside . . .

Did a quick walk around a car show . . .

And then sat for quite a while and watched
the sun going down over water,
always enthralling . . .

Friday

Hello from a flashdrive . . .

Three textures . . .

Thursday

It looks like a wild animal has inhabited . . .

a saucepan . . .

But, once heated and washed . . .all gone.
Food for thought from “Out to Canaan” by Jan Karon:

It came to him that Patrick Henry Reardon had indirectly spoken of something like this.  He had copied it into his sermon notebook only days ago.
     “Suppose for a moment,” Reardon had said, “that God began taking from us the many things for which we have failed to give thanks.  Which o our limbs and faculties would be left?  Would I still have my hands and my mind?  And what about loved ones?  If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I have not given thanks, who or what would be left of me?”

“I’ll have the usual,” said Father Tim.
Mule looked approving.  “That’s what I need to do – figure out one thing and stick with it.  Same thing every morning, and you don’t have to mess with it again.”

Ah, well.  He could muddle on about the fire, or he could look at what had risen from the ashes.  Wasn’t that the gist of life, after all, making the everyday choice between fire and phoenix?

Wednesday

That day is here.
Anne "packed her stuff into her Cherokee" . . .

and is back at school . . .

Many thanks to Chris Clark for schlepping
many loads, including the refrigerator, to the third floor.
Much appreciated.

Tuesday

Moses Mouse
Rest in Peace
Thanksgiving 2003 - August 24, 2010
[January 2006]

Moses was always just Mouse
until sometime after his 6th birthday
when Anne decided that anything living that long
needs a name.  Hence, Moses.

Just before Thanksgiving 2003,
Anne saved a small, hairless, pink mouse
from the mouth of Mama Kitty,
one of our barn cats.

Since that time, Moses has escaped his
inside cage several times.
We always re-captured him. (Whew!)

He was once mauled by one of the indoor cats.
Moses looked and acted dead.
Vince wrapped him in a cloth and
took him outside in preparation for burial.
Next thing Vince sees is the cloth move and
Moses jumping off the porch railing
to the ground 10 feet below.
Running, Vince finds Moses in the grass
and brings him back inside,
washes him gently,
and we all watch as a couple of days later
Moses is acting fine and running the wheel again.

Moses provided entertainment to our
indoor cats as they would lay,
sometimes on top of the cage,
and watch "Mouse TV".

He would come out of his burrow
if you tapped on the glass
because that meant food had been dropped in the cage.

He ate 3 Honey Nut Cheerios every morning
and 1 whole plain almond every evening.
Occasional fruits and veggies would be given to him.
He was always grateful and washed before eating.

We'll miss you, Moses.
Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin,
Chapters 9 and 10:

IX.5  Skilled generals never drive their enemies to desperate action; they advance vigorously but always give their antagonists an opportunity for retreat, surrender or negotiation.

IX.30  Anyone who applies himself regularly, lengthily and energetically to a single project is certain, no matter what else happens, to encounter days of profound delight or unprecedented inspiration.

X.1  Patience is no more than generosity with time.

X.3  [Trollope and Flaubert] understood that no artistic necessity – not technique, elegance, genius itself – is more basic or inalienable that regular and expansive time.

X.18  . . . at its best, a work of art is like a perpetual motion machine, or a beam of light caught forever in a palace of mirrors.

X.19  The simplest form of creative expression available to most of us is the letter.  Copies of our own letters are useful for our records and memories.  In friendship, the letter is not only a message but a gift, a physical symbol of esteem and affection.

Monday

Random.

Slick enjoying the bird feeder - only in the summer . . .

Ian working hard . . .

Sunday dinner . . .

Sunday

See previous post . . .

Feels like cheating . . .


Yesterday afternoon,
I started playing with a PhotoShop Elements free Action
called "Perfect Portrait" from CoffeeShop.
Here:  CoffeeShop

An Action is a set of memorized moves.
Unfortunately, these can't be created and memorized
in Elements, only in full PhotoShop.
Fortunately, CoffeeShop and other sites have
created Actions and offer them for use in Elements.

After running this Action, lots of adjustments
can made to the many layers which were created by the Action
(10 layers in Perfect Portraits, I think)
so that you have abundant control over the final photo.

Here are three photos - as taken -
and the results after using CoffeeShop's Perfect Portrait.




















Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin,
Chapter 8

VIII.2  The act of concentrating on a given subject is, conversely, the act of temporarily forgetting everything else.

VIII.4  Obedience is the necessary context for education and indeed for survival; moreover, it is the primal matter or substructure of what will later be self-control.

VIII.6  We generally feel that we must choose between coddling and suppressing teenagers, when instead our proper function is to challenge them.

VIII.10  Every teacher, whether he knows it or not, teaches three things at once:  the subject under investigation, the art of investigation and the art of teaching.

VIII.14  The mockery of established value and the rebellion against it are essential experiences of youth.  In this high form of play, we learn our weaknesses through initiatives of omnipotence, our communality through assertions of uniqueness, our loneliness through charades of independence.  Good societies make demands on their young, yet allow them freedom for frivolity . . .

VIII.15  The accusation that contemporary society is afflicted with a “cult of youth” is only partly true.  What we see today is more a middle-aged usurpation of youth, an attempt by the middle-agers to commandeer, through nostalgia fads, freakish styles, hairblowers, skin-oils and inarticulate slang, the supposedly happy condition of youth.

VIII.16  I and others like me live in a kind of eternal middle age, and no wonder; for no matter where we are in age, we are always in the middle of time, and must weigh our future equally with our past.

VIII.18  It was not until later that I realized that this refusal, this anger, was the real crux of aging:  that the pain of growing old lies specifically in the fact that part of us does not grow old.

Saturday

Blessings card #71 . . .

An explanation:
why my blog is called “arrange whatever pieces come your way”.

A few years ago, I read a book from the library called
        “Not Quite What I Was Planning”
              Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
from the editors of Smith Magazine.

Here are a couple of my favorite memoirs from this book,
both of which I have used on a scrapbook page about me:
  Working with what God gave me – David Schmoyer
  Became more like myself every year – Eddie Sulimirski

And, a quote by author Virginia Woolf
which I have adopted for my blog
    “Arrange whatever pieces come your way”,
which isn’t my six-word memoir, but could be:
   “arranged whatever pieces came her way”.

What specific pieces do I arrange (other than my days, my life)?
     Scrapbooks and quilt-like comforters.

So, that’s my explanation.

What’s your six-word memoir?

Friday

Yesterday evening, I finally got to spend some
time with Anne doing a couple of our
favorite things, Goodwill and Starbucks.

This is why I love Goodwill:
Me:  1 shirt, 1 pair of socks, 2 books.
Anne:  1 summer top, 1 sweater, 3 shorts,
4 dresses, 1 pair of shoes.
Total cost?  Just under $57.

This is why I love going to Goodwill with Anne:

Thursday

Food for thought from "Time and the Art of Living" by Robert Grudin,
chapter 7:

VII.9  Chess, which exists predominantly in two dimensions, is one of the world’s most difficult games.  Three-dimensional chess is an invitation to insanity.  But human relationships, even of the simplest order, are like a kind of four-dimensional chess, a game whose pieces and positions change subtly and inexorably between moves, whose players stare dumbly while their powerful positions deteriorate into hopeless predicaments and while improbable combinations suddenly become inevitable.  To make matters worse, some games are open to any number of players, and all sides are expected to win.

VII.13  Individuals who have, from one cause of another, flirted with genuine self-knowledge, are aware of the curious impulse to become their own opposites.  And those who one way or another achieve these reversals, expecting strange new experiences, are often surprised by the native and intimate familiarity of the forms they have assumed.

VII.14  Learn your own faults and vices; but do not assume that all of them should be eradicated.  Sometimes, like beasts serving a greater master, they provide necessary balance and thus deserve indulgence; sometimes they are the indivisible shadows of virtues themselves.

VII.15  Because time is continuous and homogeneous, every action or emotion has meaning and value of its own, irrespective of cause, purpose or result.  Love, admiration and reverence have positive meaning, even when it turns out that their object does not deserve them.  Care, patience and courage have positive meaning, even when the project fails.  Conversely anger, scorn and disgust, no matter how justifiable, lower us, make us less; and boredom is not only a judgment about experience but a sin against ourselves.

VII.16  The mind projects its joys and woes so powerfully onto the face of time that changes in mood can all but create new temporal worlds.  The negative or painful emotions – guilt, anger, envy, greed, etc. – usually involve a fragmentation of time, a sense of isolation in the present or fixation on some aspect of the past or future.  The sunny emotions – admiration, generosity, love, courage, etc. – foster a sense of continuity, of time extended and shared.

VII.17  The best we can do, I think, is to consult broader purposes, taking time off every few days to review our position in life, evaluating the present in terms of past and future, memories and plans, and determining the ways in which recent and present choices may suggest larger patterns.  In so doing, we rise temporarily above the ordinary flow of time and reacquaint ourselves with the larger pattern of forces which is our enduring identity.

VII.20  Every time we postpone some necessary event, we do so with the implication that present time is more important than future time.  Seen more extensively, habitual delays can clutter our lives, leave us in the annoying position of always having to do yesterday’s chores.  disrespect for the future is a subtly poisonous disrespect for self, and forces us, paradoxically enough, to live in the past.

VII.24  You may cure yourself of a depression by forcing yourself to perform, in rapid order and with excruciating concentration, half a dozen or so unpleasant chores, especially if they have long been postponed.  This is a kind of homeopathic purgative, a treatment of like with like.

VII.26  [re:  a digital watch]  Looking at them we see a particular time, divorced from its context in the broader picture of the day.  The round faces of the older watches and clocks speak to us not only of the present but also of the past and the future – when we woke, when we will work or play or rest, where we have been, where we wish to be or must be.  Intricately and persistently they remind us of our existence in a continuum, which includes not only the social and natural world but also our own extending identity in time.

Wednesday

Tuesday

From the government center this evening . . .


Meals for this week . . .
Veggie Fish Chowder 
Chicken Salad and Tomato Soup
Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry over Rice
Brown Sugar-Glazed Pork Tenderloin, TBD Sides
Sloppy Joes, Mac and Cheese, Spinach

Monday

A couple of faces I've been sent:

From jan . . .

From Theresa, it's the cord
which connects her camera to her computer . . .

--------------------------------------------
I'm calling today a Monday-Not.
You know the usual Monday, things seem to go
wrong or just not-quite-right.

But today . . .

I had 9 Blessings postcards to mail.
(See my cards here:  2009 Postcards)
I had exactly 9 postcard stamps.

I couldn't find my $2 off coupon at Petco and
the clerk said "No problem" and gave me the discount.

I needed to buy printer cartridges for my boss today
and a $10 off coupon came today in his mail.

This evening, I did my weekly shopping for supplies
and groceries at Wal-Mart.  I also needed printer cartridges.
The combo packs had a special:
buy a combo and get a $10 Wal-Mart gift card.
I bought two and got two gift cards.

But the best of all,
this morning Lee called just to tell me he loved me.
No other reason.  :)

Today was Monday-Not.

Sunday

Anne's home . . . yippee . . .
She was on the same flight as another another
Camp Robindel counselor, AllieOz.

One of the things she missed the most?
Driving . . .

I went to Mallow Run yesterday evening,
first time by myself.
Pretty nice spot to sit and read
while eating pizza and a brownie
and listening to jazz by Davis and Devitt . . .

This is the end of the Sales and Tasting Barn
lit by the last bit of full sunshine . . .

And, what do I notice from my picnic table?
A face . . .

Saturday

Shadow hands grabbing a ball . . .

"Late" summer in the garden is starting already . . .

--------------------------------------------
Anne update:
She is due home TODAY after 9 weeks
in New Hampshire as a ropes instructor and counselor
at Camp Robindel.
--------------------------------------------
Update on The Help . . .
I stayed up reading until a little after midnight last night.
I loved it.