Thursday, February 26, 2009


An elderly woman I know sent her daughter an e-mail. When she talked to her later, she asked if her daughter had gotten the mail.
"Yes," replied her daughter, "but it was pretty hard to read. Maybe you should write your message in the message box instead of in the subject line."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just a Few Thoughts

Just a few thoughts:

As for the Black/White issue people seem to have with Obama as President, I'm tired of that. People are people. Besides, everyone focuses on the Black and forget that he is also White. He was raised in a White family.

Obama talks of creating jobs by improving highways, schools, parks, etc. When these jobs are created, the unemployed people have jobs, pay taxes, which brings in much more money for the government, and helps to keep our country in good condition. When this happens, it helps the government by providing tax money. Our country is in dire need of improvements in many of these areas but without the government help cannot afford them. What individual would invest in these things without getting something monetary in return? Our country can not remain as one of the top countries in the world if we don't take care of what we have worked so hard to get. Our education system is not great right now. It is extremely important that we pay teachers what they are worth and provide great learning centers for our children. Our children are our future.

Our "war machine" needs to be supported and kept up. We do need to spend the money more efficiently. It makes me sick to hear where much of the money went without any questions asked, ie Haliburton as an example. I don't believe in war but I do believe in protecting what is ours. The war in Iraq was and still is a ridiculous war. I'm happy to hear that our troops are beginning to withdraw. The Afghanistan issue will continue, but hopefully, it will be handled more diplomatically instead of exclusively with guns. I see in Obama a man who can work with other countries without compromising our safety which is something we desperately need.

Don't do away with SS. Privatizing it will only put the poor/middle class into needing more help when they retire. When a person has the choice of putting food on the table and a roof over their heads and saving for retirement, they will choose the first. By creating jobs, we are using a trickle up philosophy.

The one difference that shines with Obama is the optimistic attitude that he has and the effect it has on the people. Hope has come back into the picture.

Things won't get better overnight. I liked that Obama talked about students volunteering to help pay for their education. Once again, it will help to improve our country as well as the individual.

I hope that Obama does go through all the departments to see where things can be done away with or cut. Spending in these departments needs to be looked at seriously. It's ridiculous what the government pays for simple items when they can get them much cheaper.

Pork barreling is still happening, but not as badly as it has in the past. Hopefully, Obama can get rid of them, too, but it will take time.

I have much more hope for our country today than I did a year ago.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

I finished The Witch of Portobello last week. It was a good book. I thought that it was amazing how an author who is a Roman Catholic could focus in on some of the "feelings" of a pagan. I see no reason why Christian religion can't blend with some of the pagan beliefs and not harm either religion. As a matter of fact, Christianity did blend many pagan beliefs with their own in order to win over those of pagan religion. I think specifically of Christian holidays and their relationship to Pagan holidays. The Christian holidays were set up to coincide with pagan celebrations of the seasons. Even traditions, such as Easter eggs came from the pagan religion.

This book made me think of the condescending way that Christian religion portrays women. Of course, they would never admit this and say that man is to treat his wife with respect, love her as he loves himself. By the same token, the blame for sin is placed on the woman's shoulders. The woman was "made of man's rib" indicating that she is a part of man, not wholly of herself. Even the Christian cross shows the submission of woman to man. The horizontal line represents the female while the vertical line represents the male, and which line is the longest indicating more importance or power? I realize that Jesus was crucified on a Christian cross and that explains why that cross is used, but I can't help but see the symbolism that is there, too. Churches for years did not, and many still do not, accept women in a mininstering role. Some churches even place the women at the back of the church with the men taking the places of importance. I think it is very important for us to see the male and female side of God understanding that one is no more important than the other, and that both sexes can function in the roles of religion and spirituality.

The book.....I seem to be off track, and yet these are things that I thought of while reading. I thought some interesting questions developed in my mind from what I read:

Was Athena the way she was because she was born to a pagan mother, even though she was raised in a Catholic family? Were the "gifts" that she had inborn or learned? Seems that it is both as she had the tendency but then met her teacher. And yet the teacher chose her because she was different.

Did the rejection she felt in the Catholic Church push her more to the pagan religion? Is that happening now among dissatisfied Christians?

Does a teacher learn by teaching? I believe, yes. I think I learned more when teaching than I did going to school.

Why did Athena never return to see her birth mother? It seems she learned from this woman, too, probably more from her than from her adoptive mother.

Do we all have those "blank " spaces, and if so, are they ever completely filled? Was Athena's filled when she decided it was more important to leave the public eye to protect herself and her son?

Did her son have some of the same gifts that Athena had? It was when he sat down that she would go into a trance. He also loved to dance, yet he was afraid the first time Athena became Hagia Sophia. Aren't we all afraid when something unexplainable happens to us, not knowing what to expect?

Was Athena's journey a success? Did she accomplish anything, or were things just going back to what they were? It was interesting when she stated that Andrea would be a better teacher because she had more patience and was prudent. Athena thought that she had failed because she pushed harder than she should have, causing more conflict than was necessary, and yet did she not touch many lives by who and what she was?

Love is a strong theme in the story. It covers love between a man and woman, love between a child and mother, love of parents to their children, whether adopted or biological, love between friends, and interestingly love between those who hate each other, yet love because they learn from each other.

I really enjoyed reading this book.

About Pigtopia

I finished reading the book Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald early this morning. For me, it was a disturbing book, but good.

Jack Plum was born with a large, deformed head. People in the community considered him to be a freak and retarded. He was, in fact, more of a genius who lacked formal education because of his deformity and his mother not allowing him to go to school, but he gained pig knowledge from his dad before his dad was killed. He raised pigs in the basement of his mother's house. His mother treated him terrible and blamed him for her own medical problems. The book emphasizes the intelligence and cleanliness of pigs. In contrast, we see the filth of his mother's life and health. Jack is in his 30's when the story takes place. His mother dies during this time, and he fears that he will be "put away" and will no longer be able to work with his pigs.

Holly Lock is a young girl just at puberty. She and Jack, through Jack's encouragement, develop a secret friendship that leads to many downfalls. Holly tries to help Jack by helping him get rid of his mother's body and hiding her death from the community. By the end of the book, Jack ends the relationship with Holly, but I won't say how. Read the book to see.

One of the things that I brought away from this book is more realization beyond what I already had on how people treat those who are different from us through no fault of their own. Labels are put on these people as being dangerous. I know that this is basically untrue, but I must admit there have been times when I've felt uncomfortable around disabled people. There are other times that I have known these people personally and understand that there is something special about them, and I love them for who they are.

All things turn out okay in the book, but I wonder how it happened, and I'm unsure that it is really okay. The book seems to be a kind of a fairy tale. Some of what happens in the book is entirely grotesque. Even though things are okay, the end is quite sad. And I must say that even though pigs are quite intelligent animals, I still don't like them very much. Maybe it's because they're too smart.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When we were young, we had a donkey. He was already named when we got him, and we kept the name, Pedro Joe.

I can guarantee you one thing. Mules get their stuborness from the donkey. I can remember times that I wanted Pedro Joe to lead for me and he would plant his two front feet stiffly in front of him and refuse to go. I even tried pushing him from behind and he still wouldn't move. Then there were times when I was riding him that he would just decide he had gone far enough and just stop. Nothing could convince him to go forward until he was good and ready.

One day, Jackie and I had Pedro Joe out of his pen and decided to take a nice, leisurely walk down the road. We had no trouble at all because Pedro Joe was ready for a walk. We were probably 1/2 mile from home when much to our surprise, and Pedro Joe's, brother John and his friend John jumped out of the ditch in front of us, waving their arms hysterically. Pedro Joe reacted immediatly and began bucking and pitching about. Jackie was on the back and was the first one to hit the dirt. Pedro headed straight for the house. It wasn't long after that I found myself on the ground, too, but I was so angry at that donkey that I jumped up and chased him all the way home. Didn't even think about checking to see if Jackie was okay. And John? What can I say? Ornery brothers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Grandpa John

Grandpa John
Jackie, Vonita and Dinah

A friend of mine from way back in the country school days sent me a letter a while back telling me that Grandpa John was her hero. She then went on to tell me that one day when she was quite young, she was left at home alone. She went outside to feed her dog and there was a skunk in the yard that was acting quite aggressively. She knew what she had to do and went to the house, climbed up on a chair, (she was too small to reach the gun without the chair) and got her dad's shotgun down. She was afraid, but determined that the skunk had to be destroyed. She got the shells and toted the gun to the yard. Just as she was getting ready to load the gun, out of nowhere came Grandpa John. It wasn't a regular thing for him to stop in at the house, but here he was, just in time. He took care of the skunk for her and from that point on, he was her hero.

My brother John lost an expensive watch while moving cattle one day. It was quite a distance that the cows were moved, miles, so after searching for hours, he knew he was going to have to tell Renee that he had lost the gift she had given him. John mentioned it to Grandpa John, and Grandpa, at that time going blind, took to the road where the cattle had been driven. Do miracles happen? Grandpa John found the watch.

I remember Grandpa having the patience of Job with Dinah and I. How many Grandfather's/Father's would have the patience and the "bravery" to allow two little girls to put make-up on his face and polish his nails?

My daughter Jessica spent quite a bit of time with Grandpa John. One day, they were in the basement reloading shells when Grandpa suggested that they "pull a trick" on her dad. Grandpa loaded several shells as blanks and stuck them in his pocket. When Bob showed up to do some target shooting, Grandpa winked at Jessica and handed him a blank shell. Bob shot, then tried to figure out why he had missed. He didn't think he was behind the target, but he just couldn't be sure because he couldn't tell for sure where it had gone. Grandpa then handed him a few good shells, then he winked at Jessica again and they went back to the blanks. Over and over Bob missed the target and was getting quite frustrated. Jessica still laughs at the confusion on her dad's face when he missed so many targets. I don't know if they ever told him what they were doing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Analyzing Literature

When I was in college taking literature classes, the plan was to analyze a reading by going through it, looking for symbols, signs, theme, etc., and when you took everything as a whole and put it together, you could come up with the author's meaning for the reading material. If I thought about a certain interpretation, I was told that the interpretation needed to fit with the rest of the story. If it didn't, it didn't belong to the story. Sometimes I had a difficult time doing this because a portion of a story would sing out to me, and I would feel the need for my own personal interpretation for that passage only, even if that meaning wasn't followed through in the entire book.

I think all people tend to read a book and place themselves into the book, noting those things that have special meaning to them. They see in a book things they dream of, are afraid of, or have a need to understand. Is this so wrong? Well, maybe it is if you are a literary critic, but the enjoyment of reading for me is to discover, not only the story itself, but what is inside me. Some stories seem to be only for entertainment, to give you a thrill or allow you to practice your own mystery solving talents; other stories are filled with life lessons, and how a person reads these life lessons depends on their own personal lives. Does that make an individual interpretation wrong? I don't think so because through that personal interpretation, the reader has discovered something personal about himself. All the reader has to do is open his eyes and heart to see what it is inside him that makes the passage special. Maybe that's both good and bad, depending on what you discover, but it can't be all bad because we are all searching for our own purpose in life.

I enjoy receiving comments. They let me know who is reading my blog. Let me hear from you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mary mentioned a memory Mike had...and it was exactly correct. Grandma Faber used to let us kids smoke coffee grounds, or in my case tea leaves. I don't know if this was to discourage future smoking or just to satisfy our curiosity.

This did bring up something that my daughter Julie told me. Sajid and Julie decided to go to the show one day, and they decided it would be great fun to take their coffee/tea cigarettes with them. They sat in the show, lit up their cigarettes and it wasn't long before they were kicked out of the movie. Someone thought they were smoking marijuana! Funny she didn't tell me about it until just recently.

Another Thought

Just remembered another story about John. I don't think he has my blog addy. Too bad.

One time, our sister Jackie had a date with a guy, and John wanted to go with them. Well, of course, Jackie wouldn't hear of it. Who wants baby brother tagging along on a date?

Jackie and her date got in the car to leave, headed down the road and were quite surprised when John popped up from the floor in the back seat. He should have waited until they were further down the road. They brought him back home.

One time we were having a pretty heavy snow storm. Mom and Dad decided to go to the neighbors for a while and told Jackie and I to watch John, that they wouldn't be gone for very long. We watched him.......walk out the door and head across the pasture. We had to call the neighbor's and tell Mom and Dad that John wouldn't listen to us and had left the house. Talk about scared. They were out in the storm hunting for John. He did get home, safe and sound.

We had a gas stove in the basement. One winter, my dad drove a truck to make extra money to get us through the year. The crops hadn't been too good that year. The stove in the basement went out, so Mom had to go downstairs to start it as Jackie and I slept in the basement.

What a scary sound when we heard an explosion coming from the basement, then Mom came walking up the stairs with all of her eyebrows singed off.

The winter that Dad was gone was a rough one. There was a blizzard that totally covered our doors and windows. We couldn't get out. One of the outlets in the house let off some sparks, and Mom just knew the house was going to burn down. She was able to get hold of Grandpa John, and he made his way through the storm to dig us out of the house.

Now I'm thinking of all kinds of stories. I'll make a note so I don't forget them and write them up later. I hope I don't lose the note and forget.

Just Fun Memories

I was complaining on Facebook that I didn't have anything I wanted to blog about right now, and Mary suggested I make up a story about my brother John. I don't have to make up a story.....he provides me with lots of entertainment.

Then I get another note from Dinah and she says I should tell about Johnny getting chased around the school house on the last day of school.

Well, that story was quite funny. John and his friend Bobby were just young students. They had read a book about Mrs. Beasley, I think that was her name, and they decided it would be fun to call their teacher Mrs. Beasley. Well, the teacher was a man and not the brightest teacher we had ever had. This was in a one-room schoolhouse with 8 grades all having the same teacher.

John and Bobby started to tease Mr. White by calling him Mrs Beasley in a sarcastic way. He didn't take to that too lightly and told them to stop. Would they stop? Nooooooooo. They continued to call him Mrs. Beasley until he got so angry that he began to chase them around the school building. The boys just ran and hollered Mrs. Beasley, Mrs. Beasley. Such a sight to see a male teacher chasing these two boys around the school house. I don't remember if he ever did catch them.

Mr. White was a city man stuck in a country school out in the middle of nowhere. One dark, foggy day, the Moore twins decided it would be fun to scare him. While looking out the window, they saw a coyote run across a field. "Mr. White! Mr. White! There's a wolf running around outside!" Mr. White looked out the window and saw the coyote, but not really knowing the difference, he thought it was a wolf. The boys went on to tell them that the wolf was a Werewolf stalking the school and would kill them all. Well, we weren't allowed to go outside for fear the big bad wolf might get us. We stayed in the schoolhouse until our parents came to get us.

Another time, I had gotten a new chemistry set for Christmas and decided to take it to school. During recess, Charles and I stayed in the school house to play with the chemistry set, and what do you think we chose to do? Burn Sulfur! Oh, the school house began to smell like rotten eggs. When the kids came in from recess, Mr. White was sure that we were going to poison all the kids with the smell, so he opened all the windows and we all got an extended recess.

Yet another time, Bob and Dick, the twins, decided to change signs around in the school. They turned the signs on the girls a boys restrooms around and then proceeded to disconnect the wires in the school bell. Mr. White was not pleased with the change of signs, but even funnier, when he decided to ring the bell for recess to be over, the bell wouldn't work so the kids just kept on playing until he was finally able to round them up by hollering at them. That poor man! It's no wonder that he only taught at the school for one year. I'm surprised he made it that long.

We had a teacher at the school named Mrs. Rippe. Grandpa John made up a cool poem for us to use when speaking of her.

We have a leaky faucet,
Drip, drip, drippy.
It reminds me of my teacher,
Mrs. Rip, Rip, Rippe.

Not so much on the funny side, I remember one of the boys bringing some shotgun shells to school. They decided it might be fun to throw one against the brick school house. I don't think they ever dreamed that the shell might go off, but it did. Luckily, no one was hurt, but it sure did scare us.

This is enough for today. Hope you enjoy.