No doubt most of you have read, or at least heard of this poem. It was  written by Max Ehrmann’s in 1927. I don’t read it often but every time I do a sense of peace settles over my soul, making everything right with my world. There are many experts out there who have analyzed Max’s poem in an attempt explain what Max is ‘saying’, but the true analysis, in my opinion, is what it means to each reader.

I share with you simple words of peace …


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann – 1927

News in the News

Amid all the shootings, and stories about people blowing each other up, is a scattering of nonsensical news items that make me pause and go, “Hmmm.”

First, I must tell you that I typically don’t watch the news and I rarely read the newspapers that are delivered to our door, so my news view is decidedly limited. Still, I have opinions about what I see when reading “Bing” news on my computer.

Using that handy doorway to the world I’m able to choose from many sources for any of the news items they deem noteworthy. I have my favorites, of course, but tend to look at the most recent entries available. I suspect the trivial items are included to dilute ones perception of news in general to keep their interest. You know, like scattering candy in a pile of crap to make it look more festive.

Take today, for instance. I’ve investigated the world and discovered that a “Popular Tucson TV Reporter Couple” have been charged with child abuse after their baby tested positive for cocaine. This was accomplished through the use of the former Miss Arizona contestant’s shapely left breast, while feeding her infant, after she ingested cocaine the previous evening. How fun. Now she’s newsworthy, but no longer reporting the news. Dumb.

Then there’s news about a Milwaukee woman who has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. She’s the suspect in the murder of her pregnant neighbor and her unborn infant because of loud music. One source indicated that Shanika, the suspect, is Milwaukee’s first fugitive on the ‘Ten Most Wanted List’, like it’s some kind of honor, like when the Bucks win a ball game. Kinda makes you want to move to Milwaukee, doesn’t it?

How about Mark Z, Mr. Facebook? He’s making all his new Kauai neighbors angry because he’s building a six-foot high wall around his 700 acre estate. That’s certainly noteworthy, don’t you think? His spokespeople said the wall is meant to be a sound barrier but I think it’s there to keep the wild pigs out. Or maybe keep them in. One resident of the island reported that she’s 5’8″ tall and when walking along the property all she can see is the rock wall instead of the Hawaiian scenery to which she’s accustom. They want Mark to tear down the wall because it’s an eye sore. I mean, really? It was built to code, using local rocks and, most likely, local artisans. I think it’s a nice looking wall. I also think a more simple solution to tearing it down would be for Mark to build platforms outside the wall, every 100 feet or so, where those who are less than 6′ tall can ascend above the wall and take in all of Mark’s natural beauty. Each ramp would have to have wheelchair access, of course.

 For the sports minded folks, there’s news about LeBron James who declined his player option and is now a free agent. The reason, I surmise, is due to his inherently greedy nature that propels him to seek more and more money for his “talents”. Yes, he’s pretty good but, like all pro sports icons, waaaaaay overpaid for what they do. Declining the option, it is reported, James salary will increase from $24 million to $27.5 million a year, a modest 14.58% increase. Not bad for someone who already has far more money than he needs.

I know, I sound a bit bitter talking about stuff like that, and probably smacks a lot like socialism. That’s not really it for me. It’s just that I find it amazing that professional athletes, and most CEO’s make such obscene amounts of money each year when we severely under educated kids, many of whom don’t know what having a full belly is like. It’s just sad.

There are many more topics, of course, most of them about people getting shot and places being blown to smithereens. You know, fun things to read about. The topper for all of today’s news, for me, was finding out that there might be a Tetris Trilogy in our future.

Stunning news.

Wind, Rain, & Candlelight

Yesterday it rained cats and dogs almost all day, and the temp ran around 50. The humidity also increased ensuring that pretty much everything exposed to outside air was wet. I hate that part. The humidity. It’s terrible stuff and not something we tried and true Oregonians are intimately familiar with. Unless, of course, we’ve lived in parts of the world where humidity is just part of the daily routine.

This morning I awoke at 0730, an unusually late hour for me considering the dogs’ proclivity for normally exiting our domain at a much easier hour. Guess they’re getting attuned to sleeping in which is a good thing.

At 0900 I joined Jeff, Larry, Everett, and Ron for coffee at the Kozy Korner like most of us do every Thursday morning. That’s our MELCA group which is the opposite of WELCA in many ways. We solved a number of world problems while I ate the breakfast Diane insisted that I must order. Apparently I’m not going to be allowed to have just coffee in the morning any longer. It’s worked OK for a lot of years so I don’t see why I have to change now, but I will do as she asks like the good husband that I am.

Speaking of opposites … did you know that irony is the exact opposite of wrinkly?

After departing the austere presence of the MELCA group, I returned home to discover that it was so nice outside that Diane decided it was spring, at least for a while. Long enough for me to check the gutters, and to wash a bunch of windows and patio doors that exhibited stark evidence of animal feet and noses, and little kids hand prints. It was a simple task and one I wouldn’t have had to do if the sun hadn’t been out and shining through the windows at just right angle for Diane to see the mess. I must admit that they look much better, now. It was truly the calm before the storm during this time

When Diane got busy steam cleaning the kitchen and hallway, shaking rugs, and vacuuming bits of debris, I opened the box our UPS Man delivered this morning. It was a Nest thermostat. I got an email, or note in the mail, offering to sell me one. I investigated and discovered that our system qualified, because the old thermostat has all the correct wires. I know this is true because I took a photo and sent it to and they told me.

Once they told me I was good to go, I ordered the new thermostat. It cost $219, which seems like a lot for a thermostat, but once I get it connected they will send me $200. So, for a wireless, control it from anywhere thermostat, it’s costing me 19 bucks. Seemed like a deal to me. It’s pretty nifty. You should check them out.

It’ now 5 PM now and the wind has been blowing most of the afternoon. Just like the weather people said it would. The power went away a couple of hours ago, and we probably won’t get it back for a while. Trees are blowing down all over the place. A huge oak tree at the end of our street blew over into the owner’s back yard, taking out a bedroom window and a lot of roof overhang with it. Not pretty.

While surveying damage from the downed oak tree, another neighbor came home and stopped to visit a bit. He’s a longshoreman and said they evacuated the docks in Portland because containers were getting blown over and off the stacks, and ships were breaking loose from their moorings. Portland always get it worse because at times like this the wind coming out of the Columbia River Gorge is pretty intense. We’re a bit further out so don’t get it as bad, thankfully.

I put this away for a while and enjoyed the candle lit ambiance of our home with the power outage. It was really quiet, too, except for the howling wind which lasted most of the last 6 hours. Now it’s gone, and out power has been restored.

Just in time for bed, but here’s some photos to commemorate the day …

Here’s the downed oak tree


Diane and her headlight so she could work in the basement. She’s having an Avon sale at the church tomorrow in case you’re interested.

Lydia and Jennifer showed up, too, but I couldn’t find Jennifer in the dark. At one point she was carrying a candle around the house looking for stuff.IMG_1167

Yogurt, Bananas, My Barber, and 9/11

Here it is, 0636 in the morning, and I’m not napping. This doesn’t bode well for a normal day. I think at least part of this problem is that we have no more bananas, and no more yogurt, the only two things in my life that I can count on to be the same for me everyday. I must sit here, bananaless and yogurtless, staring out the window at a crystal clear sunrise. It’s actually not really crystal clear, but more like one of those paintings you see that have layers of hills superimposed on each other that simply fade to sky in the distance. It’s quite pretty, but not nearly as attractive as a firm banana. Or a raspberry Tillamook yogurt.

The street lights are still on in the lower neighborhoods, and there are cell towers scattered amongst the trees, poking their heads up, searching for cell phones to assault with their electronic spurts of energy that mimic familiar voices, and relay the illusion of communication in the form of a non-stop stream of text messages. Actually, texting is communication because information is being shared, questions asked and answered, and senders have the option of using cute little smiley faces that serve nicely as the emotional aspect of this form of silent ‘talking’. It’s really the same as sending an email, just more fun.

My eye isn’t throbbing this morning so I suspect the memory of the missing tooth is fading from my upper jaw. Soon, the toothless pit will level out and fill in with nice pink gum material, removing all traces that a tooth was ever there.

I impulsively went to my barber today and we talked about all kinds of things. I’ve reported in the past that Curt is a wealth of information on pretty much anything. Mostly, what interests me, talking with him about quantum theory. Since it’s theory, we can make it into anything we want. We agree that everything in the universe is connected at the lowest level, and all of those tiny, tiny little ‘things’ have all the information about all things. I wish I could remember everything he talked about today, but there was just so much that my brain got full. What I do know is that my haircut took about 1.5 hours and only cost me $10. Going there is like a mini vacation.

Diane was pleased that I got my haircut. I have to admit that she’s been very tolerant about not reminding me every day that I should get it whacked off. Instead, she has just been ignoring it. He tactic worked, of course, so I got it cut. It was getting to be a real mess and had to go. Now I’m bald.

Today it was 95 in Portland, but more like 115 where we live. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it seemed like it because I spent most of it outside cutting wainscoting for The Bathroom. Daniel and I got it all cut so it’s ready to install. We cut the baseboard, too. Tomorrow we’ll remove the sinks and the toilet and get it all installed, lickity split. Then I’m going to caulk every crack I can find and call it done. Oh, and we’ll put the sinks back, too. Maybe even the toilet, if all goes well. Actually, it has to be done tomorrow because that’s the dead line Jennifer set. Neither Daniel nor I are willing to take a chance and exceed that deadline, so we will get it done. I’m sure.

Today is September 11th, a sad day for the USA. Where were you when the towers fell? I was getting ready for work, watching the news, when the first one went down. Then I drove to work and watched the 2nd one fall on a conference room TV in the Portland World Trade Center. Kind of odd that I worked at the Portland WTC at the time. It made it a little more personal. At the time, I had a ground floor office with a window – a real treat for me. It was just tons of fun watching some of our future leaders walk by, catch my eye, then got through their just absolutely hilarious pantomime of something blowing up. I’m not a violent person, but I would have had no problem providing a life lesson to those little chumps. Problem was, of course, had I done something in retaliation for something as benign as that, I would have wound up in jail. Probably sued, too. So, I just spewed evil thoughts in their direction as they pranced by. Such cute, totally unaware young people. I wonder what they’re doing now. Probably part of the crowd that’s causing such a problem for Portland City Hall. Thankfully, that’s not something that hits too close to home for us, but we watch it, just the same. Mainly because that’s what’s on the news.

Nothing interesting ever happens in St. Helens. Well, maybe a homicide once in a while, or really amazing accidents caused by amazingly stupid people. That’s not unique to us, of course. That’s pretty universal. Just thinking about the homicides brings Chicago to mind. Guess they have more than a few of those in short periods of time.

Sorry about all the doom and gloom. I try to stay upbeat, but it’s difficult sometimes.

Gotta quit, now. Diane just returned with supper. We were going to have corn on the cob and spaghetti, but time got away from me while I brushed the dickens out of Panzee, so it was easier to go get a hamburger. A Tillamook Cheese Burger, to be precise.

Now I must eat and watch TV.

100 Word Story


Hi – I’m taking a lead from a new acquaintance, Damyanti, who lives, I believe, in Singapore. She writes serious, “stuff” and it’s very eloquent. She shared an excellent story, “The Shadow of Your Smile”, on her blog as an entry for a group she joined where members must share a 100 word story. After reading her entry story, I decided to write my own.

Read hers first, here: Damyantiwrites

Here’s mine – 100 words, not counting the title:

The Bug Zapper

There, in the dark, lurked the bug zapper, waiting patiently for the next bug to be lured into it’s beckoning bright blue light, but only one bug fell for the ruse, ending it’s livelihood in a frankly frightful flurry of bug bits which were scattered, mingling below with the fuzzy remnants of those who preceded it the previous day when it was raining, and the bug zapper platform provided a brief respite from the bountiful downpour before drawing them into the light, blasting them, and dropping them to the floor of the cage like the filthy dirty flies they were.

That’s exactly 100 words.

Damyanti’s is much better.

Valentine’s Day

I know. This is little late, but I’m afraid this just has to be addressed. I’ve learned some terrible things about Valentine’s Day and why we celebrate that day. Apparently it all began with one of the most ancient Roman pagan festivals called Luprecalia, devoted to fertility, that involved two goats and a dog. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

This information was made available to me as I did some research for the program I had to present at out Lions International club meeting last Monday. It was our annual Valentine Day supper, with wives. Instead of trying to find someone interesting to come in and do a nice presentation, on something of value, I decided that I was going to let everyone know how Valentine’s Day came to be a celebrated day.

This is what Diane and I looked like last Monday ..


I have on my dress up T-shirt. Diane looked much nicer than I did.

Now, back to the two goats and the dog. Actually, there is conflicting information avaliable indicating that it may have only been one goat. Regardless, the animals were sacrificed on February 14th because of their sexual prowess. There is really no explanation as to that aspect, so I guess you’re just going to have to make something up in your head that’s suitable for your current frame of mind. Personally, I find it interesting. Why, specifically, goats and dogs? Why not hamsters and rabbits? Or ducks and chickens? Or just a nice, tasty cow?

No, it was goats and dogs. Once sacrificed, the goat was the source of fleshy, leathery, strips of flesh which were used by naked young men, who ran through the streets, of whatever town they happened to be in, slapping women and crops in an attempt to make them more fertile. The story goes on to explain how the young women, maidens, intentionally got in the way of the naked young men with the hope one of them would bless them with a slap from the meaty whip they wielded. Apparently the intent of the festival was successful because the Romans survived meaning both the crops and maidens were at least fertile enough to ensure continuation of the human race and the crops necessary to feed them.

There are other versions, many of which are less sexually oriented, and one of which I was forced to share with the older crowd at our Valentine Dinner. It was probably for the best as it kept me out of trouble for the evening.

Since Monday I finished chopping down an ugly tree that has graced the view from our kitchen, like forever. It was a constant source of joy for about a zillion birds so it was with mixed emotions that I severed it’s ties with Mother Earth. It had to go because it’s diseased in a way that makes it ugly and a source of infection for other rooted life. So, I made it so. Jeff and his friend started it by taking down the largest high vertical elements. I have four more to go before it’s completely down, then it’s all about cleaning up and seeing about ripping out the stump, making it’s destruction utterly complete.

Today I replaced one of the tires on the trailer I pull behind my awesome mower because it was flat and I needed the trailer to start moving tree debris to the burn pile. I managed to move three loads before I didn’t something very painful to my back causing me to believe it was a good time to quit. And, the Walters family showed up for a visit. It was a good time to stop and enjoy our taller grand children.

Perhaps I stopped in time so that my back will magically heal during the night allowing me to finish moving the remaining 1.5 trailer loads of limbs parts to the burn pile. I’ll let you know how that goes.