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Showing posts from May, 2019

Meditation 5.30.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

I am sure you have heard about Joan of Arc - the young French girl who, inspired by voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret led a group of French soldiers during the Hundred Year War's Battle of Orleans and helping Charles VII secure the throne.

Well, today is the 588th anniversary of her death.

While aiding the besieged city of Compiegne, the Burgundians captured Joan and sold her to the British.

Everyone knows she was burned at the stake for heresy, but, I was surprised to learn which type of heresy she was burned for.

I always thought it was because she had heard the voices of the saints.  Nope.  It was because she was wearing men's clothing.

As it is the feast day for St. Joan, women, I hope you are all wearing pants.

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 5.29.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

I *love* conspiracy theories.  I don't particularly like talking to conspiracy theorists, but I love reading about their theories.

One of my favorites is the moon landing hoax.

Most of you know that on July 20, 1969, astronauts for the US landed on the moon - the first of six crewed landings on the moon, ending with Apollo 17's landing on December 11, 1972.

There is a sizable segment that believes however that the entire thing was staged.  I have always wondered how exactly that believe came about.

It turns out that there was a book by Bill Kaysing called "We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle", published in 1976, that kicked this particular theory off.

I haven't read the book and so I can't vouch for the thoroughness of its research or the accuracy of the sources, I do know something about the author though.

Mr. Kaysing was a senior technical writer for Rocketdyne, the company that created the engines for the Sat…

Meditation 5.24.19 - A Pen and Ink Doodle

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever wondered where the history of the U.S. comes from? 

Particularly the history we teach in schools?

I had believed that the Statue of Liberty had been a gift from France to commemorate our independence.  It wasn't.

The statue was created to celebrate the end of slavery. 

In today's Washington Post, an article talked about the planning between French abolitionist Eduourard Rene de Laboulaye and sculpture Frederic Bartholdi, whose original idea was to celebrate the holding together of the Union and the ending of slavery, which they believed, fully allowed the realization of our War of Independence.

Of course, by the time the statue was placed in 1886 the freedoms that had originally been won during the Civil War were reversed by the Jim Crow Laws and even at the time of its placement it was being protested because of these inequalities.

So there you have it, the true meaning of the Statue of Liberty and what she represents.  Of course, the broken chains …

Meditation 5.20.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

A man I know is teaching a class in talent development, with some strong philosophical overtones.

The class is in Spanish, which is no problem, my friend is quite fluent.  However, the materials are in English.

While reading, writing and communicating in English is also not a problem for my friend, he is asked to do something more than just a rote translation. He is attempting to convey the beauty, meaning, and purpose behind something for an audience for which the original is not written.

I think of all of the great works of literature and while us English speakers were blessed with Shakespeare, other great authors such as Tolstoy, Hugo, and Coelho, relied largely on their translators to get their stories read in English.

I can't imagine how hard that job would be.

xoxo a.d.


Meditation 5.10.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever thought, while sitting in an unending business meeting that you were getting dumber?

Turns out you really were getting dumber and meetings are bad for the brain cells.

Most meetings are centered in conference rooms and are generally held with the doors closed.

Several studies have shown that, in addition to the "sick building" pollutants that exist in all buildings with an HVAC system (and from co-workers who need mints), carbon dioxide levels (from regular breathing) can increase to unhealthy levels as we spend hours upon hours closeted together (plus the additional carbon dioxide emanating from the co-workers who need mints).

I believe we need to start moving all meetings outside, or at the very least, ensure we only have them in rooms that have an abundance of plants (and mints)

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 5.9.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

I didn't think that what I am about to say actually needed to be said but clearly, it does.

Don't eat rodents raw.

You see, a couple in Mongolia were convinced that it would be beneficial to their health, ate a raw marmot, including the organ meat.

This turned out to be a fatal meal.

Rodents, including marmots, often have fleas which carry the germ Yersinia Pestis.  Rodents themselves can also carry the germ, with the organ meat having the largest concentration of the bacteria.

Yersinia Pestis is the bacteria that has caused a great deal of havoc in the world.  It causes the plague.

Fortunately for the rest of their village, eating the bacteria gave the couple the septicemia form, which cannot be passed through human to human contact, unlike the bubonic form (which managed to kill half of Europe during the Middle Ages).

Because this is a serious disease, it bears repeating - consuming raw rodents is bad, although you can eat them cooked, I would, however, not cons…

A Book to Read and Love: El Narco - Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency - Ioan Grillo

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A short summary of El Narco: The rise of the Mexican Cartels.

Questions to ponder while reading El Narco: How do we curb demand?
How do we bring justice?
My thoughts about El Narco: An in-depth look at OUR crises.
The carnage is horrific.
We are not handling the problem appropriately.


Meditation 5.8.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

I have a retirement goal, and that is to see all of the State and National Parks in the United States. 

Fish and I plan on getting one of the cute little camper vans and drive around the country - cashing in on every single silver discount we can take advantage of.

The National Park sites alone will be a huge undertaking, because
There is a bunch of them (the current count is 419).

It seems almost too daunting to contemplate sometimes but...Mikah Meyers has done it and in three years, finishing this epic road trip on April 29, 2019.

While I don't plan on powering through the trip in three years, it is a lot of fun to think about a road trip of that magnitude.

What type of road trip do you want to take?

xoxo a.d.

Meditation 5.7.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

I am very drawn to survivor stories.

I always wonder what "thing" a person has that causes them to survive harrowing situations.

For example, today I learned about Florence Finch who survived as a POW during WWII and then lived until she was over 100 and while she is far from the only one who did survive the POW camps, it does make you wonder, what was it that enabled her to survive and others to perish.

We talk about determination and grit, but, I seriously think that there must be a fair amount of luck as well because I can't imagine that those who didn't make it was any less determined.

What do you think?

xoxo a.d.


A Book to Read and Love: Survivors in Mexico - Rebecca West

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A short summary of Survivors in Mexico: Rebecca's observations in Mexico.


Questions to ponder while reading Survivors in Mexico: Is any country easily explained?
Did you find the culture as fascinating as I did?
My thoughts on Survivors in Mexico: Entertaining observations.
Rich in character exploration.
I wish she had gotten to finish the book.

Meditation 5.6.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

It isn't a secret, but I read a lot.

There are so many books over the years that have shaped me but this weekend I was challenged to list my most influential five.

These books are ones that I have referred back to time and again and always carry in my heart.

This list is as follows:


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith - The book that encouraged my college education.Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand - The book that explained what capitalism is to me.The Robe - Lloyd C. Douglas - The book that defined Christianity to me.Slouching Toward Bethlehem - Joan Didion - The book that taught me to act like a big girl.The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway - The book that propelled me away from philosophy and into activity. While my experiences dictated which books spoke to me the loudest, I like to think this list would be useful to anyone.
I hope Henry, that you enjoy them.
xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: The Lost World - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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A short summary of The Lost World: A jilted adventure.

Questions to ponder while reading The Lost World:
How do you cope with a breakup?
What makes a people civilized?
My thoughts on The Lost World: A pre-Jurassic Park dinosaur tale.
A fun book by a fun author.
Biases abound within the book.


Meditation 5.3.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

Today, I am doing something new and I am very excited.

I will be attending my very first charity dinner as a patron.

I feel like such an adult.

This evening, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks will be hosting their yearly "Greening of the Garden" dinner and auction.

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is a place of inspiration (both for my work and my own garden) as well as a place of sanctuary for me and while I have always supported the gardens, this will be my first "major" charity event.

I am both excited and nervous.

and I still don't know what I am going to wear.

xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: The Gift of the Magi - O. Henry

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A short summary of The Gift of the Magi: The cost of buying the perfect gift.

Questions to ponder while reading The Gift of the Magi: What would you give up for someone you love?
What is your greatest treasure?
My thoughts on The Gift of the Magi: One of my favorite Christmas stories ever.
Something to read over and over.
I sniffle every time I read it.

Meditation 5.2.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

Today, I took a nap.

Or rather, I got a good night's sleep in the middle of the day and woke up feeling like Rip Van Winkle.

While experts say you shouldn't nap for longer than 20 minutes, I always seem to nap for hours (when I actually take a nap).

Because I always feel so much better and have yet to have a problem sleeping at night, I have decided to live dangerously and nap, however, whenever, and for as long as I choose.

Sleep experts, take that.

xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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A short summary of Americanah: A Nigerian's American experience.

Questions to ponder while reading Americanah: Do you allow race to affect your interactions?
How long does it take you to do your hair?
My thoughts on Americanah: I *devoured* the book.
The blog posts are fabulous.
That women of color are slighted for wearing their hair natural  or braided is absurd and needs to stop immediately!

Meditation 5.1.19 - A Pen and Ink Tangle

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Dear Henry,

Today I read about the most amazing couple whose story made my heart swell and then broke it.

When Paul and Kris Scharoun-DeForge wanted to get married, the state of New York originally turned them away and said no.

Why?  Because they both had Down Syndrome. 

It took a lengthy court battle, in which both of them had to prove that they understood what it means to be married before the State of New York finally relented and they were allowed to get married in 1993 (I vaguely remember something about this).

They had a beautiful and marriage that lasted 25 years.

Unfortunately, Paul died last month, from early onset Alzheimers Disease, which effects Down Syndrome patients more than 50% of the time, although the reports say, he maintained familiarity with Kris until the end.

I am so happy they found one another and had such a lovely and happy marriage and I am heartbroken to think that it is over.

xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

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A short summary of The Girl on the Train: An alcoholic missing person mystery.

Questions to ponder while reading The Girl on the Train: How is your memory?
Do you drink?
My thoughts about The Girl on the Train: It was a fun little mystery to read.
Self-control is hard but necessary.
I can't believe I loved a book but hated EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER.