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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Books Read In 2019


Bear Town - Fredrik Backman
The Aloe - Katherine Mansfield
A Glass of Blessings - Barbara Pym
Death and the Dancing Footman - Ngaio Marsh
An Unavoidable Delay and other short stories - Diana Athill
Siddhartha - Herman Hesse
The Lilac Bus - Maeve Binchy
God Bless You Dr. Kervorkian - Kurt Vonnegut
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy
Thornyhold - Mary Stewart
On Beauty - Zadie Smith
Possessing The Secret Of Joy -Alice Walker
Jane and Prudence - Barbara Pym
I Saw A Man - Owen Sheer
No Harm Done - Ruth Rendell
Farewell To Fairacre - Miss Read
The Punishment She Deserves - Elizabeth George
Well Schooled in Murder - Elizabeth George
Educated - Tara Westover
Incredibull Stella - Marika Hamilton
Miss Marple The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair At Styles - Agatha Christie
A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie
N or M - Agatha Christie
Less Than Angels - Barbara Pym


The World Peace Diet - Dr. Will Tuttle

Short Stories

Cambric Tea - Marjorie Bowen
Death on the Air - Ngaio Marsh


Feminine Gospels - Carol Ann Duffy


Innocence - Roald Dahl (auto-biography) (plus 4 short stories)

Religious/Spiritual Growth

Word On Fire - Proclaiming the Power of Christ - Bishop Robert Barron
The Seven Storey Mountain - Thomas Merton

How To

Yoga Body and Mind Handbook - Jasmine Tarkeshi
The Sivananda Companion to Yoga -  The Sivananda Yoga Center

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Currently Reading - Greta Thunberg

I recently discovered that Greta Thunberg has a book out. I decided to order it, and already have had some flack from a few people about my choice of reading material. My response to the "flack" is how can you agree or disagree with a persons point of view unless you first are willing to listen and understand the other persons point of view. This is why I decided to read Greta's book.

"No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference" is a collection of Greta's speeches made at climate rallies around the world. Greta is very serious about her subject and does not mince words. Almost everyone has an opinion about her, yet very few have actually listened to her speeches or made an effort to understand what she is saying. Climate change as a topic is a mine-field, it is like politics and religion, everyone has their own opinion and everyone believes their opinion is the only one that is correct. 

It stresses me out to see how polarized western society is with this "us vs them" attitude, it is not productive. The Extinction Rebellion protests, I am not really sure at all what they achieved as some of the tactics used were destructive to the point of vandalism and turned people off. I think Greta is much more effective in getting her message across, she calmly and succinctly makes her points and that is why she has had such an impact. Fifteen months ago no one knew who she was, now everyone knows who she is and what she stands for, and she lives what she preaches. I am glad that she is the Time Magazine person of the year, she deserves it.

I am not a climate change denier, but I am also not sure that mankind is going to stop climate change, as the climate is now, ever has, and always will be changing. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Being Green - NOT

Last week I listened to a radio program as the host and guests discussed "being green at Christmas". It sounded interesting so I listened. What a joke it became. Here are two of the most hypocritical suggestions from two of the guest "green experts".

Decorate a house plant with Christmas lights so a tree does not have to be cut down or an artificial one be purchased.  The guest was questioned further about this, it turns out she will not actually be home for Christmas, she will be visiting her parents who will have a real Christmas tree for all to enjoy.  To me this does not seem "green" so much as sensible, if you are going away for Christmas why bother putting up a tree? 

The next expert also suggested decorating a house plant with Christmas lights and mentioned she and her family had already had their Christmas celebration with extended family. The host asked what their plans were over the actual date of Christmas, oh, she and her family were going on a skiing vacation, the host asked how they were getting there! FLYING!!! What absolute hypocrisy. She did seem embarrassed to admit she was flying and spent a fair amount of time trying to avoid answering the question directly. The host laughed along with her about feeling "plane shame"!  What the heck!

A caller said they decided against Christmas cards this year as it seemed a waste of paper. So instead had written a brief poem, and made some hand-crafted ornaments and mailed those out to her friends and family.  I think her idea is nice, but I am really not seeing how it saved anything at all, surely the poem was printed or written paper, and the ornament and poem needed to be packaged for mailing etc. 

Others called in with what I thought were more practical suggestions, using newspaper and recycled ribbon for wrapping. Although I wondered why they still took a paper newspaper when most news is freely available on the internet requiring no paper be used. 

A few callers preferred to shop at second hand shops looking for gifts, but agreed this was probably not something most people would be comfortable doing. But of all the "green" suggestions it seemed the most practical. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Incredibull Stella - Book Review

An inspirational story about the powerful healing of love. This book is my sisters story about her battle with cancer, her doggy soul-mate Stella, and her amazing husband Brian.

I had the book for a couple of weeks and was a little afraid to read it, it is about my sister, and I know her story and I was worried I might get upset, about what specifically I cannot say, but I kept looking at the book and feeling a little scared about opening it. So, I had a little talk with myself and decided I was being very silly and should get on and read the book. Once I picked it up and started reading I could NOT put it down. When I finished the book I had a huge smile on my face and felt so very uplifted by the heartwarming positive story.

 I know my sisters journey, she is my sister after all. I knew her story before I read the book but it was interesting to read her story in her words, it was reassuring, my sister in the book is exactly my sister in real life.

Marika has gone through a lot, and done a lot in life. She is a survivor in more than one sense, in addition to being a much loved daughter, sister, mother, wife, and doggy mama, she has impacted many lives in a very positive way and her book simply spreads her message of love.

The book is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Incredibull Stella - My Sister's Book

My sister recently published a book, Incredibull STELLA, she is currently on a book tour with her husband Brian and Stella. On Friday evening a book signing event was scheduled in Fort Wayne at Trubble Brewing. Five dollars of each book sold went to the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition, a group dedicated to pit bull rescue.

This past Friday we we had a mini-visit and catch up with my sister Marika and her husband Brian in the afternoon. In the evening my daughter Amber, her two older sons, Henry and Patrick and myself went to the book signing, it was a fun evening out. I am so proud of my sister.

If you are interested in the book you can find it here.

Below are some pictures from our FUN FRIDAY:
Marika signing copies of her book, she sold fifty-one copies at the signing, I think that is pretty awesome.

License plate on the Incredibull STELLA touring bus.

Marika giving a short presentation at the book signing.

The Incredibull STELLA tour bus

Me and my little sister.

My copy of Incredibull STELLA

Monday, September 9, 2019

Welcome To The World Grandbaby #10

Our newest grandchild was born this past Friday, Harrison David Meeks, he has two older sisters who are so very, very excited to have a new baby brother. It is always so exciting to welcome a new member to our ever growing family. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Free Fun Activities and All Close To Home

We live in an unincorporated part of our county, but I would not exactly classify us as rural, or suburban, but something in between. Leo, IN is just a couple of miles south of our home, it is a small suburban community, it has many nice sub-divisions, a number of businesses, is well run by it's council, and with a good tax base it is a great community with a couple of really nice play parks for children. Each summer over a weekend close to July 4th, Leo puts on the Freedom Festival, there is a 5K run, food trucks, vendor booths, bouncy castles and other child friendly activities, live music and the finale is an awesome fire work display around 10 pm. As a family the fireworks have become a tradition, we all go, it is a fun and enjoyable time. And throughout the year the park hosts a number of festivals that are all well attended.

A couple of miles east of Leo is Grabill, another small town, again well run, with many amenities including a small grocery store, bulk food store, hardware store and our doctor's office. There are two nice play parks and a branch of the Allen County library, and a large antique mall. Each September the town hosts Grabill Days, a community festival with lots of good food, lots of craft booths, and live music, the festival is very well attended, it began in the about forty years ago and is still going strong. 

The road that connect Leo to Grabill, a distance of 2 - 3 miles, has an awesome bike/walk path running beside the road, it is in constant use with walkers, joggers, and cyclist and a very nice amenity for the local residents.

Just south of Leo there is Metea Park. The 250 acre park run by Allen County has trails, a swimming beach, a nature center, and a nice woodland with the Cedar Creek running through it. The park does have an admission fee, but instead of paying each time I visit I decided to purchase an annual pass for Dave and myself and the grandchildren. At 55 I am considered a senior, so it only cost $25, that seems quite a good deal and is good at all Allen County run parks.

A few weeks ago I took Ralph and Masen to one of the Grabill parks. As a community project some years ago a long wooden train was built at the park, it has an engine, and six or more carriages, it is a wonderful attraction for small children,  perfect for their size and all children love playing train. There are picnic tables, mature trees, softball diamonds, slides and swings and climbing frames. Off to the side of the park is a paved trail that meanders a mile loop around a recreated wet land, and prairie land. A recent walk along the trail, on a beautiful summer day was so enjoyable, butterflies were enjoying the wild flowers, crickets chirped and other than insect sounds it was peaceful and so beautiful.  Ralph and Masen enjoyed the walk, it was a prefect distant for them.

Picnic at Grabill Park

Standing by wild flowers on the Grabill Park trail

Last week I took six grandsons to Metea park, we spent about an hour "hiking" on the trails in the woods. Again it was a beautiful summer day, low humidity with a pleasant breeze. We went up hill and down hill, and looked a the creek, and the boys collected acorns, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable time. When we finished our hike we stopped at the play ground for a few minutes and then headed home for a cold drink, and the boys all enjoyed an ice-cream sandwich treat.

The fun begins with a nice downhill trek

Enjoying the woods, they all wanted to find a stick to carry

Enjoying the view

Last Friday we took a trip to Leo to visit the Splash Pad and Rock Creek. What a glorious place for kids to play. The boys love the Splash Pad, and once they had their fill they moved on to the Rock Creek, a fun place to climb over and feel like you are having quite an adventure. Once finished with rock climbing we moved over to the play area, they went down the slides, played on the swings and dried out as they played. Then over to the music garden, a lovely area, with over sized instruments to play with. There are chimes, bells,a xylophone, and bongos, a fun area for kids and adults.  After our fill of music making we walked along the trail, it winds around the park and along the side of the St. Joseph river, towards the end of our walk the boys took a rest on a bench by the river. Afterwards we headed home for a cold drink, and again they enjoyed an ice-cream sandwich.

And, sometimes, after a fun afternoon out we need to take a little nap to recuperate. Little George made it almost five minutes into the movie we chose to watch, The Sandlot.

It is so nice to have a variety of fun activities to do that are all withing a few miles of home, and it breaks up the day for the kids, they can have lunch, a nice afternoon activity, and then home for a snack and a movie, or nap, and then it is time to go home. But most importantly are the memories made, and the fun I get to have with all of these wonderful kids.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

End Of Summer Vacation Fun

A week ago was my last day to watch our granddaughters for a while, their new baby brother is due next month so our daughter-in-law stopped working so she can spend some time with the girls before school starts and get ready for the new baby. The new baby still doesn't have a name so I call him Boris, I hope they come up with a name soon.

Anyway, on the last day I watched Alivia and Aubrey our daughter Emily called to say that there was a kid friendly event in the parking lot of the YMCA in Auburn, IN, called Touch A Truck, she would help transport grandchildren if we wanted to go. Of course we wanted to go. So Emily and I surrounded by nine happy kids enjoyed a pleasant Indiana summer afternoon watching them all explore many, many big vehicles. There was an ambulances, fire truck, snow plow, tow truck, cement mixer, mobile command office, back hoe, lift truck, and of course police cars. There was a DJ playing fun oldies, free bottled water and hot dogs for the kids, and a bouncy castle and inflatable slide. Each child got a slap bracelet, they really like them, and grandma got a free insulated reusable grocery tote bag. 

What a wonderful event, all free, so that is a plus, but a great way for children to explore and learn about different jobs grown ups do, and to really see what the vehicles are like. I must say they really had the most fun in the police car, they were allowed to play with the loud speaker, and all we could hear booming out of the police car were little children shouting things like, Let's go to McDonalds', or, Your under arrest and going to Dairy Queen. It was rather amusing.

Here are some pictures from the day, and you can see by the big smiles that everyone had a great time.