Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fourth of July at Sylvan Lake in South Dakota

Talk about great timing! My friend Michel and I drove to Sylvan Lake fairly early yesterday morning so we could have time to explore the area and devour a picnic lunch before I had to go to work. We'd wanted to have a potluck here at the campground, but everyone works very different hours and we would have been the only ones here.

The weather was perfect - very blue sky, warm and sunny - and not very many people. We'd planned our picnic menu of potato salad, barbecued chicken, crackers and cheese, Moscato wine, chocolate candy, etc. with things we had on hand since the nearest actual grocery store is about 20 miles away. It was so much fun hiking the trail around the lake, watching some mountains climbers practicing on the high rocks, talking to people fishing for trout, and just enjoying the scenery. We ate lunch in the shade under some tall pine trees and did some people-watching.

When we left, the parking lots were full with more people showing up all the time. I went to work at 3:00, and Beth and I were so busy selling beer, soda, candy, chips, and other picnic stuff, restocking the cooler and shelves, and providing directions to the nearest fireworks displays and availability of diesel fuel that I didn't notice the sky clouding up. I DID notice the thunder, lightning, and heavy rain a few minutes later, though. It cleared up a little about an hour or so later, but I'm wondering how the fireworks went at Crazy Horse Monument and in Rapid City. I understand they used to have fireworks at Mt. Rushmore but stopped a few years ago because of the fire danger.

So, except for the crowds of people coming into the store, it was quiet here, which was fine with me and fine for Michel's six dogs. When I got back around 10:30 last night, really tired from the hiking earlier and standing on my feet for almost 7 hours, I found a small bag of homemade Snickerdoodles on the counter. Delicious! Thank you, Michel Rouse.

P.S. I forgot to take either my camera or phone, so the pictures are from Michel.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Goodbye Word Press, Hello Again, Blogger

It's been such a long time since I've done any blogging, and I think part of the problem was my attempt to learn to use Word Press. As much as I read the instruction books and tried to make some sense of those instructions, the less I wrote. So, I let my domain name, etc. lapse when they expired and am now going back to Blogger. The place I'm working this summer is too beautiful to miss any of it. Facebook is fine for many things  However, it's just too difficult to go back and find posts.

So, here I am again, hopefully with some well-written and interesting reading for you as well as lots of pictures. It looks like Blogger has also become "better," so I'll most likely discover what that newness actually is while writing.

In the meantime, here is my first post in Blogger since August 2011. I've posted since then, but it was using  Word Press and all of those posts disappeared when my account lapsed. No problem. New is good.

In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of my home for the next three months. Hint: It's in Montana and Idaho, with a little also in Wyoming.

P.S. It looks like all of the pictures from earlier blogs disappeared. I could probably do a lot of searching to find them again. However, for some reason, let's make this a fresh start.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Misunderstandings between friends hurt

I'm a little down right now and can't seem to spring out of it. Friday night a friend and I had a misunderstanding caused by the way we wrote some email. We seem to have made it worse by both trying to prove how right we each were. And now we've been trying to not think about it by staying busy with work, perhaps too busy. I know I hurt him and he hurt me as well. Sometimes it might be nice to just be able to jump in some kind of time machine and return to an earlier time. It's possible to use Restore to take a computer back to a better time. Why not people?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Exciting news!

A very short but exciting blog tonight. My youngest daughter just had her second daughter late last night. The baby was born at home into her father's arms, all 8 lbs 9 oz of her. This little one joins her 5-year-old sister. Everyone is doing just fine!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just say, "How are you today?"

 I had an interesting experience this morning while shopping at Sprouts, our local produce and healthy-food store. The checker, a young man, greeted me and asked, "How are you today?" I told him I was fine and then asked how he was doing. He stopped what he was doing for just a few quick seconds, smiled broadly, and replied that he was doing great. He thanked me for asking and said that he'd gotten so used to people not saying anything that my question was a welcome surprise. We talked a little more while he rang up my few purchases, and he thanked me for our conversation.

I thought about my own son who worked as a grocery-cart pusher, a checker, and a produce clerk for quite a few years, and wondered how many people are actually aware of how hard supermarket employees work. I wondered how many people realize how difficult it can be to stand in one spot for an entire shift and handle all kinds of food and other supplies and be pleasant all the time. I wondered how many people think to return the polite questions with real care and concern for the checkers at those grocery check stands. 

I wonder. Do you?

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Real Reasons We Explore Space

At coffee this morning, someone asked why we were spending so much money on a mission to Jupiter that will take five years to get there and another five to return. She wondered why we couldn't spend all that money here on earth for our needs and requirements here. As you might imagine, that question launched a very spirited conversation with excellent points made on all sides of the topic. Most of my answers revolved around the joy of discovery rather than economic possibilities. Although I agree that the economic possibilities are extremely important, I deeply feel that we humans are capable and desirous of knowing and experiencing so much more than that. So, this excellent article in  the July 01, 2007 Air & Space Magazine by Michael Griffin satisfied my need for more reasons for space exploration.

I loved the author's comparison of space exploration today with building cathedrals hundreds of years ago, of the wonder, awe, and curiosity about things unknown. Because building massive cathedrals took such a long time, most of those builders did not live to see their projects completed. In the same way, most of us now living will not be around to see the results of our space exploration. However, it gives me a wonderful feeling just knowing we might be accomplishing important work for the long haul of life here on earth for future generations.

"It is my contention that the products of our space program are today’s cathedrals. The space program satisfies the desire to compete, but in a safe and productive manner, rather than in a harmful one. It speaks abundantly to our sense of human curiosity, of wonder and awe at the unknown. Who can watch people assembling the greatest engineering project in the history of mankind—the International Space Station—and not wonder at the ability of people to conceive and to execute the project? And it also addresses our need for leaving something for future generations." (Michael Griffin)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wisconsin professor wins 2011 bad writing contest

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

First of all, can someone tell me if this rule applies to posting it in a blog?  I would much rather cut and paste the entire article instead of just copying the URL. However, that’s what I’ll do for now since I don’t want to make the powers-that-be somewhere mad. 

The winners have been announced for the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, named after British author Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" begins with the oft-quoted opening line "It was a dark and stormy night."

Here’s Sue Fondrie’s Grand Prize winner: 

“Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories."

Next is John Doble’s winner in the historical fiction category:

"Napoleon's ship tossed and turned as the emperor, listening while his generals squabbled as they always did, splashed the tepid waters in his bathtub."

Finally, this is my favorite, Mike Pedersen’s Purple Prose winner:

"As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue."

I think I’d feel blue, too. 

Just in case the copyright police find this blog, I’d better include the actual URL so you can read the entire article:

Hmm. Somehow I don’t think I should use these as examples to help improve my own writing. But, in case you'd like some laughs, here is more than anyone would probably like about the contest and its winners over the years: