November 30,2015

A fifth birthday ranks near the top. Here is Annie’s party.


It made the children laugh and play to see a lamb at the party.


The main feature of the party was a parade.


The selected motif for the cake was MERMAIDS.


Annie has many friends who made the party complete.


November 29, 2015

Practicing for “Meet the Press”

Was that not a bit showy to use the word oniomania in a blog? Anyway, what does it mean?

  • I’m pleased that you saw oniomania. It’s an uncontrollable desire to buy things.

You forgot to send an album to Kansas. Why?

  • In the weeks before Thanksgiving I unfortunately didn’t let my right brain know what my left brain was doing.

Could you name something you’d like to give away during the holiday season?

  • Indeed. I have four (4) half cups of shelled black walnuts that I’d gladly give to someone, along with a recipe for baking a black walnut cake.

If I read you correctly, you are growing somewhat indifferent to NFL football. Is this remove in response to Manning’s going to Denver and Luck out for much of the season?

  • You are incorrect. I am not growing somewhat indifferent to the NFL. I am in protest mode. We have no reason to scoff at the barbarity of gladiator gore when the newspaper each week prints one or two long columns of injuries to NFL players.

What do you think of Donald Trump?

  • Every time a leftist such as I makes a categorical denunciation of Mr. Trump, the folks on the far right say, “See what I mean?”

Why does so small a percentage of people believe that global warming is an critical problem?

  • The problem has been degraded into a political issue by bigwig entrepreneurs who continue to benefit from the kinds of mining and the methods of manufacturing that pollute.

Would you be capable of making a nuanced comment about gun ownership?

  • I shall try. I wish that the National Rifle Association would abandon its uncompromising mind-set and then take leadership in discussing with gun hobbyists, police departments, community organizations and government offices how to change our culture’s disposition toward gun violence. Just north, across the border, there are just as many guns per person as here in the U.S., but Canada has a small fraction of gun-related homicides. Recently when I visited Quebec City I learned they hadn’t had one gun-related homicide in the previous year. Indianapolis has well over 100 for this year.

What would you do — if you were in charge of UN geopolitical oversight — with ISIS?

  • I am flattered that you would entertain the notion that I might be in charge. Permit me to bask in the glow of that imaginative leap. OK, I basked. Next, I’d invite five Sunni leaders, five Shia leaders, and five ISIS leaders — all of them women– to come together to discuss humane alternatives for living in a world of unequal wealth, unequal power, unequal privilege and unequal opportunity. I would give them the authority to call on anyone for testimony and/or questioning. This convention would be paid by those countries that now have bombing capability.

You seem to be opinionated. Is there anything you don’t have an opinion about?

  • Hmmm. I don’t have an opinion about Schubert’s Ave Maria. I just feel it, deep down. Its tenderness makes childhood innocence and trust possible for me again.

November 28, 2015

What I don’t need

I don’t like to shop. If that sentence could be stated a clearer way, I’d write it. Be assured I do not suffer oniomania.

Thus on Black Friday and Saturday the following things would rate higher for me than shopping:

  • washing dishes
  • re-packaging left-over turkey for the freezer
  • putting the den back in order
  • collecting another half dozen bags full of leaves for the compost pile
  • taking a grand dog for a walk
  • feeding the birds
  • walking in Ellenberger
  • going with granddaughters to see the trains at Eideljorg
  • watching a college football game
  • listening to Schubert

If I were obligated to shop, what are ten things I’d shop for?

  • hooks for the pegboard in the garage
  • foot-high fencing to hold leaves inside the succulent bed
  • strings for work shoes
  • a jar of q-tips
  • foam core for photograph backing
  • a piece of insulation to lay atop the stair to the attic
  • suet for the birds
  • a door knob for the bathroom
  • silicone spray for the snowblower shoot
  • an umbrella

None of these items will improve my well-being nor will they contribute to the common weal. So I shall complete November in the true spirit of November grateful for what I don’t have and what I don’t need.

November 27, 2015

On Fall Creek Trail

On Fall Creek trail I keep my eyes open —
I’m “it” in hide and seek.

Surely there’s an egret close by
its head craned to the side
warily watching me.

It’s too late in the morning
to hope to see a beaver
slap happy.

The pecking of a pileated,
clear as an old typewriter,
writes on the sycamore’s other side.

I won’t see a buck or doe
not in this season
of gun violence.

Foxes are in here somewhere
perhaps caved in an embankment
or curled under a thicket.

Woods are difficult for the guy who’s “it”–
the trees, and the trail goes up and down.
There’s not much seeing straight ahead.

My first catch are squirrels of course,
ducks in a cove
and geese on Fall Creek.

After two hours the water winks,
knowing what I haven’t found.

November 26, 2015 Happy Thanksgiving

I am grateful for

  • the white dusting on Deutsche Kuche
  • gravity, or we’d all fall up
  • the women’s project in Ghana
  • wheelbarrows, the older the better
  • a friend in France who presses “like”
  • the words ferhoodle, slugabed, flummox, tommyrot and burble
  • repair techs who get it right the first time
  • musical language moving across cultures without the need of translation
  • slanted light on the window sill
  • two/three-way plug adaptors
  • snow flurries on November 21
  • algorithms although I don’t know how to step to them
  • Wallace Stevens the novelist
  • a glass of cold water
  • Del, who stopped behind a special-student school bus, watched a mother carry her teen-age son to the bus. The bus pulled away but Del didn’t. He went to the house and asked the mother how he might make that morning and afternoon carry easier. Oh, she wished she had a ramp, but it is too expensive. Del is making her a ramp. “The supplies cost only $500 that I got from a church fund.”
  • a nuanced discussion of gun ownership
  • white-breasted nuthatches that let me get close
  • Ted talks
  • a ten-year correspondence
  • Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
  • people who welcome sojourners, refugees, displaced persons and immigrants
  • clerks who enjoy their jobs enough to say a genuine hello
  • mid-afternoon coffee with a fig Newton
  • memories Farmall B and Bn tractors
  • light bothering to visit canyons and crevices and crannies
  • the Christmas cactus that gets its holidays mixed up
  • a house whose mortgage is paid
  • honest compliments
  • a full moon stuck in the walnut tree
  • long underwear
  • a little bit of paint left over for touch-up
  • my grandparents, parents, siblings, wife, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends