Tag Archives: holiday

Starting Fresh


Here we go. It’s a brand new year. We have all kinds of things to think about. We’re always asked what resolutions we’ve made for the new year.

Well, how about if we don’t make resolutions, but instead, come up with a bunch of things we want to do this year? Why not some goals to work toward, instead of resolutions which will be ignored from Day One and never met? It’s much easier to have a list of goals to meet, tasks to complete, “things to do” this year, and scratch each one off as you go than it is to try to remember some ‘resolution’ you set for yourself and then cast aside.

So here are mine:

Shoot more pictures
Finish current novels – I have three I’m working on.
Write some more poetry – that’s one I let go but I still have that on my plate.
Get the confounded clutter out of my house
Cook a lot more new stuff, something like crepes with beef and mushrooms
Try one new dish each month. Just one should be enough. No, I don’t like squid. Tried it. Don’t like it. But I gave it a shot.
Read books by authors who are not in vogue any more. For instance, H.M. Tomlinson, a journalist who covered World War I, is a good reference for that period.

Keeping it simple makes it easier to get these things done, and when you’re done with one, you can scratch it off that list on the fridge door.

The bird in the photo is a white-throated sparrow. It’s not a rare bird, but it is rare in my area, because its habitat area is mostly the eastern side of the Appalachians. Glad I had the camera handy, charged and ready.

Happy New Year!!!


Happy Christmas, Merry New Year… and, well…

Merry Christmas from Gaia, Mother Nature, St. Nick, and the Frost Giants

Merry Christmas from Gaia, Mother Nature, St. Nick, and the Frost Giants

Ok, I’m stuck. I’m stuck in a place that requires making a short story work and another place that will finish a chapter in a novel. Is it the holiday season? Or is it something about winter? Could it be cabin fever?

Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just what happens when you focus on something so much that you realize you’ve forgotten to do simple tasks like make red beans and rice for supper, fix a pot of soup for lunch, clean the catbox and change the water in the bowl, and do laundry.

That might be it. Whatever the reason is for getting stuck, it just happens.

In one novel currently underway, I cranked out 2 full chapters in 1989 and then came to a screeching halt, because I had no idea where it was going.

In the short story where I’m stuck for words, the continuity has to work or the story does not hold up.

In the other novel, chapter 2 has two parts. One part is finished, and the other part now takes its place, just as you see a movie cut from one scene to another, and these two parts take place several thousand miles apart, with different weather systems in place.

Oh, you think you’re confused? Try this: right in the middle of a nice dinner, one of the characters gets up out of his chair and starts telling me what happened. So do I go turn on my computer and start writing down his narrative? Or do I wait until I’m done with dinner, put the dishes in the sink to wash later, and then go write up that narrative?

Well, this IS the Christmas season. It’s time to not be quite so intense. Capricorn rules the sky right now, and we just passed the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, when the Earth’s axis moves to 0 degrees Capricorn, while the Frost Giants stand ready to overpower humanity with their bitter winds and freezing gales.

We hang holly on the mantelpiece (if we have one) or the door, because holly is what was used to keep the Frost Giants at bay. We burn the yule log to indicate the passing of another 12 months and wait for the sun to put in longer hours in the sky. We read old stories and legends and myths about winter following fall, and spring following winter, and wonder if winter will ever end.

And then some scientist will try to explain that it’s all due to climate change, which takes the romance out of it and destroys the imaginative stories and songs that make the season a lot more fun.

So my wish for this Christmas and for the New Year 2014 is that Imagination is allowed to rear her silly, giggly, frizzy head without being stifled or scorned or analyzed, and that she’ll have a crown of holly branches on her head, and a red robe with white trim and fluffy slippers on her feet, while she sits by my imaginary fireside reading someting I wrote and sipping hot cocoa with chocolate shavings, or hot apple cider with a slice of lemon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and very Prosperous New Year 2014.

For those who went before me….

William H. Rogers

William H. Rogers

Jonathan Chapman, KIA - Civil War

Jonathan Chapman, KIA – Civil War

I’m just going to take a moment to bring up the people who went before me. When the Civil War broke, my great-grandfather, William H. Rogers, and his three brothers, all joined the Union Army, mustering out at Freeport, IL. They, along with my great-uncle Barton Rogers, a chaplain, all took part in this. My great-uncle George fought with Hurlburt’s Division at Shiloh. My great-uncle John was a courier, killed on a courier run. My great-uncle James served with the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry.

John Chapman was my grandmother’s uncle. He was in the Union Cavalry, killed in action.

After the War was over, William and George came home and started law offices, William in Wisconsin and George in Illinois. James went down to Kansas and started ranching. Barton returned to Wisconsin and the church where he’d been a pastor.

For them, and for others long gone, I offer this little poem that my mother wrote during World War II.

The winds of life blew over me,
And days held constant change,
And thundering war swept all the world,
And peace sometimes seemed strange.
But some things were unshaken
No matter what time brought:
The love of country, family, friends
And the wonders God has wrought.

And last of all, for a family friend who lost his life in the DMZ during Operation Prairie Fire in 1967:

Steve, we hardly knew you.

LCPL Stephen R. Bangert, USMC  KIA 3/2/1967, Vietnam

LCPL Stephen R. Bangert, USMC
KIA 3/2/1967, Vietnam