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My Days Are Numbered

Given the bleak title, people may automatically expect to read a wretched tale announcing I’ve contracted a dreadful (probably incurable) illness. Not so for this post, though there’s no avoiding the truth:  my days are numbered.

Frankly, so are yours. Though we try to forget it, we are all mortal. As 2016 wound down and the obits began to stack up, we became ever more cranky reading the list of friends, family, celebs and high-profile individuals whose days had ended, some whose days were seemingly “cut short.” Mortality sucks, doesn’t it?

Bad-temper seems incompatible with ushering in a New Year. Usually, it’s celebrations, parties, champagne and fireworks, plus people flocking to New York City for the Times Square Ball Drop. But this year, people expressed open animosity toward the waning year. A headline from WIRED proclaimed:  Goodbye, 2016. We Couldn’t Take It Anymore. Continue Reading →

Random Vicissitudes

Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended! Red-Pencil

But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue Reading →

Home.Edu

Chances are good that sometime in the last week you’ve interacted with at least one adult (perhaps more than one) who was educated at home. People in the workplace, teachers and professors, business owners … don’t be surprised to find some of them are products of home education.home-schooling-header-copyWhile schooling within the home and family has been a common practice for centuries, states began adopting compulsory attendance laws about 1852, ceding broader oversight of education to towns and local governments. Though precise figures are hard to nail down, as many as 2.2 million children are currently being taught in the home.

From about the 1970s (give or take), the home school movement has grown. That being the case, the earliest home schoolers are now in their early to mid-40s. Yes, there were home educated students before 1970. In fact, HuffPo provides a 2013 short article and pictorial of eighteen successful people who received their education at home. Long-time observers of home schooling could probably add to that list. Continue Reading →

Rookie Adventure

The continent of Africa has been much in the news lately … stating the obvious, in case no one has noticed. It’s been kind of a surprise that Africa is a topic on everyone’s minds and frequently in our conversations, because (in my view) it’s rare – in general – for the vast majority of us living in the US to even contemplate what might be going on half a world away. Our lives are busy, we’re focused on our activities in the here and now … that’s the way life is most of the time.africa

If we even spend the time thinking about pressing events around the world … and specifically, on the continent of Africa … it might involve sending a tweet – #BringBackOurGirls – or a series of tweets if we’re deeply concerned. The troubling situation with Boko Haram in Nigeria or the fight against Islamist militants in Mali that has resulted in 31 UN peacekeepers being killed since 2013 … these are the news stories that generate attention. And, as if anyone could forget, the Ebola outbreak that has caused deep concern around the globe also carries danger for us, not just people in Africa. In a sense, all eyes (and prayers) are focused on the African continent right now. Continue Reading →

Father’s Joy

Throughout the years I’ve written poetry, I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with different forms. I came across a little book my younger daughter had given me for Christmas one year. The blank book isn’t really a good size for a journal but is just the perfect size for short, one-page poems!2014-09-15 21.03.15

Sure enough! I opened the small book and therein were several short poems I’d written (and forgotten about). They were all written using the same form. When the poems were originally written, this form was unfamiliar to me, but I made a notation in my Rhyming Dictionary/Poet’s Craft Book where I keep a record of forms not mentioned within the text. The information in my note is sadly incomplete. It says simply:  Jaleen (6,4,4,6 … 6,4,4,6) two stanzas, rhyme scheme abbc, addc, iambic.

No information about who originated the form, nor even a hint about the unusual name. So I decided to do a Google search today to see if additional information was available. There wasn’t much … Continue Reading →

Tin Can Alley

One of the amusing things about blogging is the Spam that seems to be an integral part of the territory. Spam … that delectable Hormel product introduced in 1937 and popularized during World War II … isn’t just for the food pantry anymore. It’s an indispensable element of the World Wide Web experience!spam_can_open

Given his experience in World War II, my dear daddy enjoyed Spam. He’d slice it up, arrange it in a skillet and fry one side and then the other to a golden brown. Usually, he’d serve the slices on bread. I don’t recall him using any condiments, just fried Spam and bread. (And he wasn’t much for vegetables, so this would be a complete meal for him.)

Looking through my blog folders today, I got to thinking about Spam. I have a plug-in set up to move what appear to be Spam comments into a trash folder. So far, I’ve set up the folder so that I decide when and if these comments are permanently deleted. This could be done automatically if I changed the setting, but I’m the curious type and these comments can be perplexing … hence my curiosity. There are certain common themes and the language usage leads me to believe these messages are machine generated, or else originate from a non-English-speaking country. I’ve never researched them, but have my suspicions. Continue Reading →

Penitent Sister

Hill-coverAfter yesterday’s post, I laughed and laughed because that was a fun post to write! I told my Beloved, I don’t care if anybody else enjoys the post, I had fun writing it!

But suddenly, in the midst of my laughter, it occurred to me the joke actually might end up being on me! There’s sort of an unwritten rule about lampooning … if the object one uses hasn’t earned iconic status, the joke almost always falls flat.

In my case, I got to thinking about the news reports I’ve been reading that indicate Hillary Clinton’s recent book release isn’t getting the numbers (in sales) that everyone hoped. Uh-oh!

One headline reads:  No one is reading “Hard Choices,” either. The article beneath the headline notes people may purchase but fail to complete the tome. Using a metric that gauges how far into a book readers progress before setting the book aside, Amazon rates Hard Choices as averaging a dismal 2.04%. That’s about 33 pages through this volume of 657 pages!

Another headline says:  Execs on notice after Hillary’s book sales tank. Let me quickly point out that “tank” is a relative term. It would probably be kinder to say the book has not performed as publishers and booksellers had hoped, but its fourth-place standing on the Nielsen book-scan list is hardly the tank.

However, as I began to think about whether or not the book (cover art shown above) has yet to earn “iconic status” – as in immediately recognizable by almost everyone who sees it – I’m not comfortable believing the book has yet reached that pinnacle. Hence, my need to admit the joke’s probably on me, because few may have understood my silly effort was meant to lampoon! Silly me!

Egg on my face, yep. But did that stop me? What do you think? Continue Reading →

Homing Doodlery

My friend Debbie, at the Desperately Doodling Debbie blog, is in the midst of one of life’s most perplexing challenges (in my view) − the home renovation / home addition torture, er, uh, adventure. I speak from experience.renovation

We were in our mid-thirties when we tackled an 85% home reno. We had less cash but an abundance of time (even with four children underfoot), so as a way to save money, we hired workmen who were willing to guide us through demolition and certain installs.

Walls were removed (a broad steel beam put in place for extra stability) to make the home seem more open, windows and doors were moved and/or replaced, and concrete was poured in one section to even out the floors. Continue Reading →

You Asked For It!

Yes, there used to be a television series in the 1950s by that name. No, this post has no connection to the tv show.YouAskedFort

Over at the MindfulDigressions blog today, Doobster posted his reaction (entitled I Just Don’t Get It) discussing the Supreme Court decision in re: Hobby Lobby.

Later in the day, he added a follow-up post (entitled Let Me Have It) that expresses surprise (or possibly disappointment?) that his earlier post didn’t generate the level of pushback he apparently anticipated (only two dissenters).

ASIDE: I could be wrong but the later post seemed especially condescending to the two dissenters. I suspect I won’t fare any better than they did, but since Doobster solicited, I humbly offer my response.

It’s simple, really. With all due respect, you don’t have to “get it.” You obviously have a difference of opinion. The Greens (owners of Hobby Lobby) hold one view, you hold another. You’re not going to change their minds on the issue and I imagine your stance is just as firm as theirs. Continue Reading →

The Sometimes Savage God

Bad things happen to people. Notice I didn’t say bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to all people, good and bad. In the colloquial, it’s often expressed as: Spit Happens. And indeed, it does.SpitHappens1

In recent days, there’s been a flood of discussion about rape culture. Though I didn’t actually employ that specific term, my recent post For The Children touched on the concept. In the aftermath of the Leadership Journal fiasco (to which that post referred), I’ve read numerous other articles and posts addressing the issue.

Naomi Hanvey’s post discussed the subject at length within the context of the Christian community. She developed four excellent points:

  1. Rape culture exists
  2. The Evangelical Church does not understand rape
  3. The Evangelical Church does not really care about rape
  4. The Church does not know what to do about rape

I encourage you to read her post for an honest and insightful discussion of this sticky issue, especially as it relates to people who care about living out authentic Christian faith in a culture that makes authenticity a challenging task. Continue Reading →

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