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Friday, March 31, 2017

So Who's Going to Pay for the Proposed Bridge Over the Little Missouri River

If you haven't figured it out by now, my husband and I really care about the Little Missouri River valley, the Bad Lands of North Dakota.  Some people want to fuck it up with another bridge.

So Who's Going to Pay for the Proposed Bridge over the Little Missouri River

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History: Thoughts on the last day of Women's History Month 2017

On this the last day of Women's History Month, I am drawn to the well circulated saying "Well behaved women seldom make history". Not long ago my husband bought my sister & I t-shirts with the saying emblazoned on the front.

Lillian Crook and her "baby" sister Beckie Crook Walby, Medora 2008

It is a little hard to tell because of the blazer I'm wearing, but above is a photo of me wearing the t-shirt at a luncheon at which Terry Tempest Williams was the featured speaker, also taken in 2008.

Looking at these photos and thinking about this phrase and Women's History Month also leads me to think about some of my most cherished ND women friends, Jan Swenson, Valerie Naylor, Christine Hogan, Laura Anhalt, Debi Rogers, Linda Weispfenning, Linda Suchy, Eve Suchy, and Sue Bicknell, to name just a handful.  All strong, wise, smart, and witty women whom I greatly cherish in my life.  I've hiked some wonderful trails with them, birded with them, worked with them, cooked with them, sat around some campfires with them, traveled with them, sat in meetings with them, laughed with them, and cried with them.  For the record, we never have burned any bras together.

Here are more photos.
 Valerie's 50th birthday.  Lillian, Valerie Naylor, Jan Swenson, and Christine Hogan, Seven Seas Hotel, Mandan, ND
 Christine Hogan "climbing" Lone Butte in the Bad Lands of ND
Jan Swenson, Christine Hogan, and Lillian Crook (photo by Valerie Naylor) Lone Butte, Little Missouri National Grasslands
Some of us have wonderfully tolerant husbands who play along.  The photo above is of a water-logged birthday celebration held for me in 2007 when we had to abort plans to hike Black Butte and settle for a butte closer to the Dunn County homestead on which we were living at the time.  Jim refused to be so stupid as to take the hike.  Shown here from left is me, Valerie Naylor, David Swenson, Jan Swenson, Larry Dopson, and Christine Hogan (I guess Christine didn't like the raindrops that kept falling on her head).

When I was in my twenties, I belonged to an informal group of women friends called "The Ladies Who Lunch" which included such inspirational women as Bea Peterson, Naomi Thorson, JoAn Tangen, Jean Waldera, Arlene Wilhelm, and Arlene Haunson.  We networked with Bismarck women including now-Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Janis Cheney, and Dina Butcher.  This was in the days when we were working on the Equal Rights Amendment.  That didn't turn out like we had hoped. The arrival of my children and the demands of my career limited the time I had to spend on these activities in my thirties and forties, but it is great to connect with them again via social media and the North Dakota Women's Network.  This winter I attended the Women's March on the ND state capital grounds with some pals.   It was a very bitter North Dakota day, but we persevered in solidarity and good spirits.
Linda Weispfenning, Lillian Crook, Sue Bicknell, Debi Rogers, and Sakakawea, January 2017

I also am richly blessed with some strong aunts and sisters and sisters-in-law, but that is a story for another day.   Adios 2017 Women's History Month.  See ya next year.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An homage to my friend Pamela Jean Estes

An homage to my friend Pamela Jean Estes.

We've been friends since 1983 when we met at Vanderbilt University where we were students in the graduate library science program.  She worked in the Science Library and, I, in the Education Library.  While her family roots are from Kansas, she grew up in Arkadelphia, AR, where her father was a French professor at Ouachita Baptist University and her mother was a social studies teacher in the public schools.  Jack and Bonnie Estes count as some of the loveliest people I've encountered in my life, sophisticated, kind, caring, and very multicultural, the parents of three very smart children.  I think we bonded, in part, because we were both daughters of the prairie.  They taught me how to drink wine, how to really drink wine.

Pamela is, like me, the middle child.  By the time I met her, she had already earned a Master's in Music and had, before arriving at Vanderbilt University, taught Music in the Arkansas schools.  Upon completing her MLS, she was hired at the Education Library.  A few years later, she was accepted to Boston University where she earned a Masters of Divinity.  I was able to visit her in Boston and, of course, we had a great time together, going to the Boston Opera, and a Boston Pops concert, and on a whaleboat tour on the Atlantic, where I struggled against sea-sickness.  Her apartment overlooked Fenway Park. Since her ordination, she has served many Methodist parishes in Arkansas. She is currently the Senior Pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Magnolia, Arkansas.

You can see from the picture below that she has a huge smile and is so intelligent and generous and fun-loving.  She and I spent many hours in the Vanderbilt University Libraries, studying, completing assignments, and assisting other library patrons, yet we found the time to have fun, to dine around Nashville, to explore the area, to attend the symphony concerts on the lawn, and to haunt the used bookstore just across from the Centennial Park.  Once we went to see Mikhail Barysnikov dance with the ballet and, of course, when Garrison Keillor was in town, we went to see The Prairie Home Companion show.  We would spend Saturday evenings sitting on her porch listening to the radio show, our link to our prairie roots. When my family members would visit, we would take them to Opryland, and, silly us, we would ride the roller coaster over and over and over, right in the front car.  Once we dined at the Maxwell House restaurant, the location where Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase "Good to the last drop."  There it was she showed me how to peel a banana with cutlery, never once touching the banana.  As starving graduate students, we would drive on weekends to Uncle Bud's Catfish House in Franklin, TN, and take full advantage of "all you can eat".  We loved to hang out in the graduate-students-only cafe on the main campus.  One time Pamela's supervisor at the Science Library (and one of our professors) invited us to dine at the exclusive Faculty Club.  Needless to say, we were thrilled!

Pamela has exquisitely beautiful hand-writing and always wrote with a Waterman Pen, a fountain pen.   She also wrote poetry, and for many years she sent me a handwritten letter each day, filled with news of her days in Nashville or Boston and some of her poetry.

She loves to travel and has visited all of the state capitals.  She spent one year long ago living in Strasbourg, France and, at the time I met her, spoke fluent French.  Bless her heart, she attempted to teach me French, but we were busy, and I was something of a dunce at that time at learning languages (still am, as it happens), to not mention distracted by the demands of the graduate program.   I won't tell you some of the crazy adventures we had, lest you think we were too wild and not serious enough in our studies.

Later, she was serving a parish in Arkansas when my Mama Crook was in her last days, and whenever she would visit her parishioners who were hospitalized in Memphis, TN, she would make time to visit my beloved grandmother.  When I flew to Mississippi to attend my Mama Crook's funeral sixteen years ago, Pamela met me at the country church.  How blessed am I to have a friend such as she?  A few years ago, we had to make the sad journey to Washington to help my husband's brother bury his daughter, and, through the miracles of Facebook, I learned that Pamela was traveling in Montana.  Thus it was that we were able to meet in Butte, MT, for breakfast together, where my husband took this photo of the two of us.  I hope not so many days pass before we are again together.   She is a wonderful gift to the world!  I love you, Pamela Jean Estes.  Thank you so much for so generously sharing your gifts.  You make the world a better place.   Do you still use a Waterman pen?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bad Lands or Badlands

Well, just for the heck of it I'm going to share the links to a couple of blogs on the topic of the proper usage of the word Bad Lands.  (I guess I show my bias here, eh?)

Badlands or Bad Lands From the First Scout blog

Of cougars, Dipshits, and Teddy Roosevelt

Monday, March 27, 2017

Healing water Little Missouri River

Healing waters from the lifeblood of the Bad Lands, the Little Missouri River

Little Missouri River morning

Morning walk along the Little Missouri River fills me with bliss. Meadowlark song all around. Red-wing blackbirds and Canada geese and flickers. Medora is filled with house finch song.  Reveling in spring.  A flock of 150 sandhill cranes over Theodore Roosevelt National Park migrating north.  Their call fills me with joy. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017

Blog on writing and blogging

It was perhaps inevitable that I would join the ranks of bloggers.  As it happens, I started the first blog on campus at Dickinson State University, and it survives to this day: Stoxen Library's Common Grounds.    Librarians were very early adopters of social media, and I recognized this as a way to disseminate information on the library to the campus community.

And then there is the fact that I'm married to a blogger who writes The Prairie Blog which is widely followed, informative, and amusing.  That, and the married English majors thing.  When I write, I often hear the voice of Dr. L. Ray Wheeler in my head.  When studying for my bachelor's degree, I took comp classes.  Comp 1 from Bill Fleming, and Comp 2 and Advanced Comp from Dr. Wheeler.  Ray, gawd love him, was a writer, and he made me a better writer than I would otherwise be.  That, and just writing (practicing), and MS Word, and reading thousands of books by very good writers, and spending a career writing lots of stuff, and, now, the nifty tool called Grammarly.

My blog is I think a little bit more of a micro-blog on most days.  Short bursts of odds and ends as inspiration strikes me.  Life here on the banks of the Missouri River in Red Oak House with wanderings here and there on life's journey.  I'm a typical North Dakotan in that, although I think I am friendly, I am also a little bit shy and value my privacy, certainly as much an introvert as anything.  For quite some time I struggled with being married to a very public figure and he a blogger.  When my friends bring up his blog, I laugh and say "I read it when you read it" as he almost never runs his blogs by me first (and I don't intend to run mine by him for that matter). I do act as his copy editor after the fact as I have a rather keen eye when it comes to that.  I have had a lifelong love of the printed word, hence, the English major.  This came in rather handy in my professional life, and I guess I may as well continue to use it.

It was also natural that he and I as freelance writers would eventually (at least I think it made sense) form a company we are calling Red Oak House Books and Publishing.  We are just getting that organized.  At some point in time, I guess, we'll get around to building a website, something both my housemate and I have experience in doing.   I just asked Google how many bloggers there are and this was what I found: How many blogs exist in the world.   It is difficult to know for certain, but the number given in 2013 was 152 million!   Who could possibly read all of this stuff?  In truth, it is a question authors have been grappling with since time immemorial.

In addition to writing, reading, gardening, birding, family time, cooking, yoga, hiking, and camping fill my days.  We are both blessed with many siblings, children, step-children and -grandchildren, and in-laws.  My parents are 93 and 84 and live in my town, and I continue to draw upon their wisdom.  My father was a lifetime Army man and he was at one time the company clerk (yes, much like the character Radar in M*A*S*H). I have vivid memories of him sitting at the kitchen table with our typewriter in front of him pounding away at the keyboard.  My mother has the most beautiful cursive handwriting and she would spend hours writing to family and far-flung Army friends from wherever it was we were living.  I learned to type at Rhame High School and got quite good at it at a young age as my mother and her sister my Aunt Junette were fairly insistent that whatever one did, one should try to be good at it.

One of my heroines is the writer Terry Tempest Williams.  She has helped me to be braver than I would otherwise be.  Here is something she writes about being a writer  Why I Write.  "I write as though I am whispering into the ear of the one I love."  I cannot possibly say it better than that.

On our office wall hangs a framed copy of the Terry Tempest Williams poster from an essay she published in Northern Lights Magazine Summer 1998.

Terry signed it for us when she visited our home in Medora in March of 2008.  The picture in the poster above is of her hands holding an egg.  It was her first visit to North Dakota and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and my privilege to be her host, to show her my beloved home landscape.  She and I joined my dear friends Jan Swenson and Valerie Naylor for a drive through the Park, and then later Jim joined us for supper.
 Jan Swenson, Valerie Naylor, Terry Tempest Williams and Lillian Crook
 TTW at the prairie dog town in TRNP
 Terry and Clay Jenkinson
 Terry birding with Valerie, and Jan, and I at TRNP.

The next day we all attended her reading and book signing at DSU the next evening for the Heart River Writers' Circle (of which I was a co-founder).  She was enchanting.  I got to vote on her options for the cover for her forthcoming book at the time Mosiac: Finding Beauty in a Broken World.

You can read more and keep up with Heart River Writers' Circle here
Now I find myself blogging from my kitchen. I don't particularly care whether anyone is reading it or not.  This is the beauty, or the curse, of the life of a writer, and of the Internet.  Isn't life grand?  I, too, "write as though I'm whispering into the ear of the one of I love."

Today's Tao

Today's Tao touched me particularly.  Likely because I am a lover of rivers.  I live in a city through which the Missouri River flows.  I have a deep love and lifelong love affair with the Little Missouri River and in the past twenty or so years that has been extended to the big one.

From 365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao

The river, surging course,
Uninterrupted current.
Headwater, channel, mouth.
Can they be divided?

     Each day, we all face a particular problem. We must validate our past, face our present, plan for the future.
     Those who believe that life was better in the "old days" sometimes are blind to the reality of the present; those who live only for the present frequently have little regard for either precedent or consequence; and those who live only for some deferred reward often strain themselves with too much denial. Thinking of the past, present, and future is a useful conceptual technique, but ultimately they must be appropriately balanced and joined.
     We must understand how the past affects us, we should keep the present full of rich and satisfying experiences, and we should devote some energy each day to building for the future. Just as a river can be said to have parts that cannot be clearly divided, so too should we consider the whole of our time when deciding how to spend our lives.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Terry Tempest Williams' interview in Experience Life! Magazine

Terry says something that is so very true for me: 

“When I was younger, I asked myself, ‘Am I an activist or an artist? Citizen or writer?’” she recalls. “But I don’t ask myself that anymore. I’m engaged in the world. I’m engaged on the page. And I think there’s great joy in being awake, alert, and alive to where we are.”

Keeper of the Land Terry Tempest Williams interview in Experience Life Magazine

News Junkies and Contest to Guess When Trump will Go

So I admit to having been a journalist in college.  I'm also married to a former journalist.  A couple of blogging news junkies live here at Red Oak House, married English majors, freelance writers.  In addition to the morning hometown daily, we subscribe to The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone (along with other miscellaneous periodicals).

My husband is running a contest on his blog asking interested parties to guess the date when the current POTUS will go.  How Long Will Trump Last, Make a Guess

We may be serious about politics but we also have a sense of humor.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today's Tao

From 365 Tao

People always ask how to follow Tao. It is as easy and natural as the heron standing in the water. The bird moves when it must; it does not move when stillness is appropriate.

The secret of its serenity is a type of vigilance, a contemplative state. The heron is not in mere dumbness or sleep. It knows a lucid stillness. It stands unmoving in the flow of the water. It gazes unperturbed and is aware. When Tao brings it something that it needs, it seizes the opportunity without hesitation or deliberation. Then it goes back to its quiescence without disturbing itself or its surroundings. Unless it found the right position in the water's flow and remained patient, it would not have succeeded.

Actions in life can be reduced to two factors: positioning and timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us. Almost anything is appropriate if an action is in accord with the time and the place. But we must be vigilant and prepared. Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts. When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sesame Street and Autistic Character

The very best news in my morning paper!  I am thrilled beyond measure.  Julia a muppet with autism joins the cast of Sesame Street

Later addition: then there is this parody of the proposed cuts to PBS  Elmo fired

Who wants to be the one to say he fired Elmo?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wedding anniversary and Vernal Equinox

"My whole teaching consists of two words, 'meditation' and 'love'. Meditate so that you can feel immense silence, and love so that your life can become a song, a dance, a celebration. You will have to move between the two, and if you can move easily, if you can move without any effort, you have learned the greatest thing in life." Osho
Happy wedding anniversary to my husband, @jimfuglie1. We chose the vernal equinox for our wedding day and we chose well. Knife River Indian Village earthlodge.  An anniversary story

Sunday, March 19, 2017

C.G. Jung, dreams, revelations, and wilderness in Open Midnight

In the last passages I'm going to blog about from the book, Brooke Williams writes about C.G. Jung in his book Open Midnight.  pages 117-119.

In The Earth Has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology, and Modern Life, Meredith Sabini, a Jungian psychologist from Berkeley, has compiled pieces from Jung's work and written a brilliant essay to go with them....

[Sabini] believes that our inner world aligns perfectly with the earth's core--the wild places civilization has yet to cover or seal off.  And while psychologists, yogis, and poets are getting better at finding access to that unconscious, evolutionary material, the wilderness--the quiet, wild places where natural systems are still intact and obvious--can be a portal between world.

Dr. Sabini told me that I was an example of what she and her colleagues had been noticing recently.  "That people as naive as you are beginning to think about these ideas," she said, "suggests that the collective unconscious is rising to the surface in unexpected places. This always happens whenever our species has been in trouble." I took that as a compliment.

The surfacing of the collective unconscious when we're in trouble suggests that if we were more comfortable with the collective unconscious and better at accessing it, we would more likely be engaged in efforts to save our species rather than in those that threaten us.  ...

I doubt that I'd be thinking about ground-truth as a noun had I not been out on that slickrock on that spring day.  And I wonder if I'd have recalled that dream about books and midnight if, instead of driving out into the desert, I had gone into my office to work. And if the dead are really out there somewhere, eager to help us, perhaps they get through to us more easily in thin places--in the wilderness. Ground-truth--the ground telling us the only real truth there is.  

These were not isolated events. That day was unique in place and content, but the simple, profound, and unmistakable feeling that a ground-truth--a new clue to life, another bread crumb along the path, a small piece of the large truth puzzle--had been revealed was familiar.

When books have gone, open midnight.

Midnight. Yes, 12:00 exactly, but also halfway between sunset and sunrise. It's the exact point when one day changes to the next. And that vast unconscious world where important secrets are hidden. Midnight is the ending of one thing and the beginning of something else.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Other Kinds of Violence: Wendell Berry, Industrialism, and Agrarian Pacifism

Thinking this evening about my deeply held views of pacificism that have in great part have been informed by Wendell Berry.

If Berry's enduring subject in nearly five decades of poetry, novels, and nonfiction is the diminished and diminishing health of the land and its dependent rural communities, his agrarian vision also manifests as an oft-neglected political commitment to sustainable local food sources and their relationship to the febrile debates over national security. Indeed, we really cannot understand Berry's agrarian ethic without digging through the basement of his political philosophy. When we do, we find not only a farmer whose obligations to land and community arrive out of daily contact with both, but also a theorist whose deepest fealty is to a pacifist ideology well outside of current mainstream political thinking. Like the hedgerows on a well-executed farm, Berry's pacifism encompasses and nourishes his deeply felt agrarian commitments, and vice versa. As was the case with Carson, the political ecology that undergirds Berry's agrarianism arrives as a reaction to post-World War II military-industrial practices—which are also and tragically agricultural practices as well.

Other Kinds of Violence: Wendell Berry, Industrialism, and Agrarian Pacifism

Open Midnight part 3

From the book Open Midnight, pages 93-99 these powerful passages about deep silence, time, connection, Celtic views, including anima loci and thin places.

Sitting there, the bright sun causing me pain, being arrogant about my openness was actually closing me down...."Conscious evolution"--how can this happen? First make the decision to sub-speciate, and then choose divergensis over convergi.

I shut the engine off and heard a voice echoing in the back of my head. "You're making this up as you go along."

I got out of the Ford, shut the door behind me so Rio [his dog, a central character in the book] couldn't escape, and took one full step forward.  Thick silence flooded in around my feet.  I turned to see if the San Rafael Reef was actually a massive wave from an ancient sea breaking across the valley where I stood.  The flood rose around me and I felt myself beginning to float before it retreated as waves do, stripping me of my old dead skin, killed by the morning's meeting, the politics and animosity, killed by Guy [an county official with whom Brooke has been meeting].

Free from the dead skin and the deep silence, I moved toward the gate, hearing in my head that the gate was a portal between worlds......

Time loses its form in unchanged places.  It's no longer linear.  It no longer progresses.  It may be circular, but sitting there that day, I thought about time spiraling.  As time moves, it revisits wild places. A thousand years passed between the time the people who made the rock art were camped there and my visit. ....

I've long envied Navajo and Hopi people I know for their ceremonies and rituals and the sacred dimension they see in all life.  Mainly I envy their ancestral relationship to places I've come to love and want to protect. Connecting with people from another time has always been a key element of my wilderness experience.

For a long time I wondered how much more connected I might feel standing in an ancient Celtic stone circle in western England or eastern Wales, where my ancestors were born....To traditional Celtic people, places have a soul, a spirit or personality.  They have a phrase for this place-soul: anima loci.  Celtic beliefs and traditions are expressed spiritually through the landscape, which is filled with places where spirits are present. They believe that each time we experience a sacred, spirit-filled place, we're encouraged to make an imaginative act that personifies that particular place to us.  That personality is its anima loci. Anima loci, a powerful forces, makes places sacred. ...

All wild places may be thin places.

To my Celtic cousins, thin places are those where the distance between the sacred and the secular, heaven and earth, the spiritual and the physical, is small.  Wilderness may be as close as many ever get to places where this great blending is still possible: heaven with earth, the spiritual with the physical, the past with the present. Civilization thickens the divider, increases the distance. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Voice for Wild Places

At ND Legislature for ND Outdoors Day providing a "Voice for Wild Places" with Jan Swenson and my husband Jim Fuglie representing Badlands Conservation Alliance #keepitwild  (pictured here is Jan Swenson conversing with Senator Bill Bowman)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Open Midnight part 2

More passages from the new book Open Midnight by Brooke Williams (pages 91-92)

We seem to be entering phase three of Wilderness designations, involving factors often ignored in the definition of wilderness: "land retaining primeval character and influence" that has "substantially unnoticeable" evidence of human impact, and offers "opportunities for solitude."  ..... Homo sapiens convergi are found on both sides of this issue.  On the right, some see only one aspect of wilderness: big, scenic, untouched areas for which no modern economic use can be found.  On the left, after years and thousands of hours and miles and photographs, there acres those hardcore Wilderness advocates who have converged on the nearly 10 million acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management found to have Wilderness-worthy qualities and are vocally critical of SUWA [Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance] or any organization that might think about settling for anything less.

Did Howard Zahniser and Olaus Murie, the chief architect of the Wilderness Act, consciously create this three-pronged definition for Wilderness in order to give us what we needed at different times in the future, the way a backpacker might leave a food cache on a long expedition?  These phases, for me, define three dimensions of wildness as it applies to life now.  The awe we experience in the presence of massive, iconic wilderness taps into the wild yet hidden parts of us.  Ecologically and geologically diverse wilderness is made up of an infinite series of intact and complex interconnected systems, which, in my view, is one important definition of wildness. And now, the idea of solitude in wilderness areas becomes the focus at a time when we're all facing planetary problems, when we're on the verge of letting the noise of our own technologies drown out the sound of life itself, including possibly undreamed solutions. Solitude, I believe is the connective tissue between the outer wilderness and our inner wildness, where clues to our long-term survival have always been found. [emphasis added]

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ides of March

This is what the Ides of March looks like at Red Oak House.  We're talking heirloom tomatoes citizens.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Open Midnight

I just finished a marvelous book by my friend Brooke Williams, Open Midnight: Where Ancestors & Wilderness Meet.  His personal exploration of the topic opened up new ways of seeing for me.   Here is one of my favorite passages from the book (pages 85-88).  I'll share more in future entries.

Hearing Rush [Limbaugh] talking to one of his "dittoheads" always makes me think that we may be sub-speciating. 

We are members of the species homo sapiens (human who knows) and the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens (human who know that he knows). 

That being true, what would we call the two new subspecies? How about Homo sapiens selfishi and Homo sapiens integradis -- human who is selfish and human who is integrated? Or better yet, Homo sapiens convergi / Homo sapiens divergensis--convergent and divergent humans? 

Much better.

I'd read once that children are divergent thinkers in that they're more creative and less constrained and see many different possibilities.  Adults are more likely to focus on one thing and look only for ideas that support that focus.  They converge on one specific idea.

Convergi believes that we're the chosen generation of the chosen species in the chosen country, and that all previous people have existed only for our benefit.

Divergensis lives as part of an infinite system moving toward an unknown future.

Divergensis and convergi now speak different languages and have little use for one another.  While interbreeding may still be biologically possible, it is unlikely to happen, the two subspecies having lost any attraction to each other.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My DIY project today at Red Oak House

Today's DIY project at Red Oak House makes me very happy.  This has been on my list for years.  The sweet satisfaction of doing it myself is a bigger bonus.  The hardware was sent to me by my brother Thomas of Virginia Beach, from his Home Depot.  

I spend lots of time in this my home office and I've had a vision of what I'd do with it from the time we bought the house.

Next up is the stove hood replacement and the countertops.  In time, a different dishwasher and fridge.  Probably a long ways off for that.

Taking Back America. Get Real!!!

Read this before you Taking Back America

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bakken news from my husband

Sometimes the bad guys go to jail.


Have I mentioned yet that I'm the mom of twin girls? Now I have. This picture was taken by me in 1990.  Friends gave us lots of Minnesota Twins gear as you might expect.   I was a real sucker for Oskosh kids clothing too.  Perhaps baseball spring training season is bringing this on as well.  Cheers!

Study in white at Red Oak House

Today's Study in White at Red Oak House 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

John Oliver makes me laugh

So here at this house we think John Oliver is funny and brave.  Here's a good laugh or two or three.  Stupid Watergate and more

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Wild Geese Return to the northern reaches of the Missouri River valley brings to mind Mary Oliver

Thousands and thousands of wild geese all around us now.   Spring is nigh here on the northern Great Plains, on the Missouri River.   Their honking is the accompaniment to our lives.  Fifty degrees and sunny today.  Brings to mine the lovely Mary Oliver poem "Wild Geese"

Here is Mary, one of my favorite contemporary poets, reading "Wild Geese".
Mary Oliver reads Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Pope news

Is the Pope the anti-Trump?

A Therapy Dog I Love Named Lizzie

All the therapy I ever need is time with this sweetheart, my Spring Spaniel, Lizzie, or time on my yoga mat, or curl up with a good book, or time on a hiking trail.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Public Lands

"Public Lands in Private Hands?" Please a firm NO! This is a very good piece in the New York Times about the legacy of OUR public lands and how vigilant we must be to ensure the legacy lasts for many generations to come. Public Lands in Private Hands?


We love music at our house. This new CD got pre-orderded from Amazon.

Thursday, March 2, 2017