Sunday, January 27, 2013

Panasonic Sunday Morning

My birthday isn’t too far away. I’ll be turning 64 in May. I was 15 in 1964 and had my drivers license the day after my 16th birthday in ’65. The only reason I didn’t get it on my birthday is because it was a Sunday, Mother’s Day in fact, May 10th, 1965.

Some time in that era, I remember my dad bringing home this miniature piece of furniture. It looked just like the large wide stereo console we had in our gaudy Italian living room that we called the parlor. That thing had to be seven across and sat along the wall opposite the dimpled plastic covered gold brocade sofa. It played records, all speeds, and had an AM and FM stereo radio and a space to store record albums.

This is a stock photo of the Panasonic table top transistor radio that Dad brought home.

The miniature piece looked like that, but sat neatly on the chrome legged formica topped kitchen table. It was only about four inches wide and less than a couple of inches high. The lid lifted up, like the lid on the life-size one we had in the living room. Across the edge of the lid was one word, Panasonic. Under the lid was an AM and FM radio. The knobs for station selection and volume were on the front  and the small replica didn’t need to be plugged in to play. It was battery powered and its small size was attributed to some new fangled things called transistors.

There are a few things that I can recall that may have changed my life. One was the Beatles Abbey Road album. That was probably because I was in the Army stationed in Vietnam in 1969 when it was distributed.  Someone had one of these boxy cassette players and we listened to that album non stop for days until the tape broke from over use.

There was a line in one of the songs, “Golden Slumbers”, the first line. It was “Once there was a way, to get back homeward”. Being deployed as a nineteen year old drafted soldier in Vietnam, we constantly wondered if we would ever get back home again. All of us thought the song was about our lives being so far from home.

As I look back, I honestly think The Beatles changed the course of history or at least changed the musical world from their debut on the Ed Sullivan show forward.

Another thing that had a lot to do with growing up, and that meant change, was the aforementioned transistor radio. Not long after my dad brought that Panasonic into the house, I had one of my very own. It was the size of a deck of cards and played AM radio. A wire was attached and had a single ear piece to listen privately. All the hits of the day. The top 40. The ones they played on American Bandstand. 

No, this isn’t a post about Dick Clark, but how can we not bring his name up in an article about 1960’s music without mentioning him, especially in the advent of his passing?

Chicago, where I grew up, had AM radio stations that catered to the masses. My Mother-In-Law listened to Wally Phillips before Jack Brickhouse took over and was the radio voice of the Cubs on WGN radio. This was one of the stations the “old” people listened to that played swing and old standards by Benny Goodman when the ball game wasn’t on. 

But the wave that changed the music scene forever were the stations that played the pop, Motown and rock and roll music of the day. WLS, WCFL and sometimes a program on WIND gave these hits airtime.

Barny Pipp, Art Roberts, Larry Lujack, Clark Weber, Gene Taylor, and who could forget the comical short they played featuring The Chicken Man? These disc jockeys hosted the radio programs and played the WLS Silver Dollar Survey. They actually played the 45 RPM “Discs”. Vinyl. Records.

The Solver Dollar Survey that reported how our favorite songs were doing.

The transistor radio was held in a shirt pocket by day and under my pillow at night. I rarely went to sleep without the radio playing deep into the night. I waited to hear my favorite songs, or songs that were the top hits, like the Motown sound or anything broadcast by The Four Seasons and the magic voice of Frankie Valli.

One like this went everywhere with me.

Hence, the impetus for this piece. The Broadway production of The Jersey Boys. It’s been out for a few years, but I’ve missed getting to the theater to see it until now. I went while in Chicago on a weekend sojourn and finally got to hear and witness the music I grew up with on that transistor radio up close and personal.

Poster from the Broadway play

If someone were to mention the Four Seasons, I’d know who they were talking about. Unless you lived under a rock in the 1960’s 70’s and beyond, you’ve probably heard of them or one of their many number one pop hits. But I never realized how many hits they produced.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in 1963

The story about how they started and where they went both musically and in each member’s life journey is portrayed in this musical. I enjoyed it so much. Each rendition of the hit songs sounded like the original versions that came out of those radios. They hit every note, mimicked every sound and guitar lick and brought tears to my eyes from the evoked memories of my own life, growing up in the 1960’s.

I won’t totally review the stage production here, but I will add This Link about it. I recall the idea that this music, along with all the top pop and rock and roll music from that era, has a lot to do with shaping the lives of my generation just as the iPod does for the current generation.

The British joined in and actually had what was called an invasion when so many British song groups recorded and were on the disc jockey’s playlists here in America. The Beatles and Rolling Stones, The Who, Herman’s Hermits, The Monkees, The Hollies and on and on.

Then Motown, the sound out of Detroit, featuring the top Black artists of the day, added to this profile as well. Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Aretha Franklin. All this, mixed and blended on the radio with Neil Sedaka, Sonny and Cher, The Righteous Brothers and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, there were many sounds and lyrics that shaped our lives.

I listened to this music performed in that classic downtown Chicago theater and cried several times as I remembered where I was or what I was doing, who I loved and how I wished I was singing the song to the one I had a crush on. Of course, that crush thing changed often, as the hormones of a 16 year old will tend to do.

My first kiss. Driving the white 1963 Ford convertible with my arm around the gal I was dating that particular Saturday night. Cruising the loop. The 8-track or WLS blaring out the sounds of the day. Driving through the parking lot of Skip’s Drive In and making the circle over and over and over again.

Skips Drive In, photo courtesy of Nick Solovey, in later years, just before it was torn down. From the era of car hops, hot rods,  cheap gas and fuzzy dice

Making our cars sound like what we thought to be cool by removing air cleaners and taking off the mufflers. Washing and waxing, polishing and getting things to be ‘just right’ in our eyes to impress the girls. Success measured by a kiss goodnight after sharing our Saturday night cruising with a basket of French fries smothered with ketchup and a couple of Cokes.

I just bought another car, a pickup truck actually. It’s yellow, the color of a school bus. It’s an older truck, but not  that old, 1999. I’ve already started to make it mine. It has an AM/FM radio, but an outdated cassette tape player and no place to plug in an iPod. Listen to me. Plug in. What a dummy. Everything is wireless nowadays. 

I still listen to the music turned up loud though. Nothing like the sound of a screamin’ guitar solo blaring full blast with the wind rushing through the open windows. This one still has a bench seat, so my gal can snuggle up close. I bought a spinner on Ebay and will install it when it warms up a bit.

What great memories. I want to sit and share them with old friends, and be reminded of more. Thanks for letting me share here today.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Menogyn Memories

In May of 1991, I took a job as the head cook of a Minneapolis YMCA Summer camp named Camp Menogyn. Located along the Canadian border in Minnesota's rugged Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the camp was set amidst beautiful surroundings. This is just one story of many memories from this magical place. I worked there until March of 1993.

Meals at the camp were simple and straight forward. Pancakes and scrambled eggs along with cereal, milk and toast for breakfast. Lunch was sandwich fixins, or grilled cheese n’ soup. Dinner was full course with salad. meat, potato, veggie with bread butter and dessert.

Since the YMCA is a non-profit organization, we had access to Federal commodities like vegetable oil, flour, butter, peanut butter and cheese. At Menogyn, we made all our own bread from scratch everyday. The recipe used was for a sturdy wheat bread which most kids found hard and crusty and a lot of it was wasted. I altered the recipe and with a little tweaking came up with a softer sweeter bread which became the mainstay of every meal. Fresh made sliced bread along with peanut butter and jelly were always on the table. Finicky eaters always had that to eat if they didn’t want the chosen fare.

We ate a lot of spaghetti and pasta products, too. But I varied the presentations and actually cooked the sauces from scratch instead of opening cans and heating up their contents as had been the provisions for many years past. Desserts were made from scratch as well. Cakes and pies. Brownies smothered with ice cream. 

When I made pancakes, I made hundreds, and served them all at once, family style, to the whole dining hall congregation at once. 

Pan upon pan of scrambled eggs or french toast. Two or three boxes of cereal at each table, all different kinds. the fun was watching the campers switch boxes from table to table. Captain Crunch was the favorite!

Lunches were easy and not required to be memorable, but dinner in the dining hall was an experience. The place full of tables, all set and prepared to accept the hoards suddenly were filled to capacity and the noise in the large log studded room was deafening. Singing and pounding on the tables, screaming, yelling and a lot of laughing. Children, in an artificial environment, some rules suspended as they weren’t at home, laughing and enjoying themselves.

It was a site to see and I was overwhelmed at first. I realized quickly that the food wasn’t the most important item on the campers itinerary. I could have served them bowls of hot water. They loved being there together, each group gave a skit or sang a song. Camaraderie to the nth degree. The whole place alive and vibrant. 

My job was to get a meal served and get the place cleaned up so I could serve the next meal in the morning. I had some help, but it was unseasoned, unpaid help and they wanted to be singing and playing with their counterparts. It was a huge task and I found myself quickly taxed and working so hard I wondered, at times, why I had wanted to do this.

As I look back and recall those days, I realize that the camp, the camp staff and the campers themselves saved my life. Where else could I immerse myself into a task that totally consumed me? Where else could I have been to find solace for myself other than a place where I was surrounded by beautiful children as I mourned the loss of one of my own?

One of the first groups to come to camp every year was group of foreign exchange students sponsored by the Rotary club. These kids were to be my test dummies. The first dinner meal I made was a spaghetti feed. I thought I had done a magnificent job preparing a home style sauce and the home made bread was fresh and warm. 

All this commotion and not a lot of the food eaten. What was I suppose to do with all these left overs? The campers filed out of the dining hall and left me a mess of gigantic proportions. Most of the help disappeared and my wife and I cleaned up, and being new on the old equipment found ourselves washing a lot of the dishes by hand. Dishes for 130!

The campers left the next day after breakfast for their canoe trips. They would be back in 5 days and a banquet style meal was to be prepared and served to welcome them back. It was tradition. I had to outdo myself and I had thought I served the best meal of my life for that sort of group to begin with. I was stressed out to the max and wondered what I’d do.

I had many experiences at Menogyn over that two year period. Some in Winter, some in Summer. But none like the one I had when that first Rotary group returned from their trips and I served my first banquet. 
I was up to the challenge and decided to build a BBQ of epic proportions. This was to be colossal. I needed enough room to roast six turkeys, side by side by side, and serve them as my feast for the weary canoeists when they returned.

I scrounged up the tubular steel drum like remnants of an old pontoon boat. Hauled them to town, had a welder cut and attach them in such a way that they had a hinged lid. I used recycled refrigerator racks as the deck inside the grill. I filled them with charcoal.

While the welding was being done, I had these birds soaking in a brine I concocted using soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and honey. When I lit the charcoal and it glowed bright red and white from heat, I placed the foil wrapped turkeys on the racks. They bowed from the weight and the meat on the ones that sat in the center of the racks touched the coals.

I served this poultry with baked potatoes and cole slaw I made from scratch. Of course there was the now softened version of the Menogyn bread, and scratch made pineapple upside down cake, smothered with real whipped cream for dessert. 

I was still new at camp and had accepted the fact that my efforts might go unrewarded. After all, these were kids at camp. It wasn’t an epicurean experience at some castle in Denmark or a sampling of the daily works at the Culinary Institute of America. This was a YMCA camp.

I sat in the kitchen, as I did during all meals. I sat and waited for the cleaning to begin. I heard a rumble, then it got louder and louder. There was screaming and chanting. These kids were clamoring for something. I wanted to know what, but hadn’t earned a place outside of the kitchen yet in my mind.

The doors of the kitchen entrance which passes into the great hall burst open and the noise was deafening. They were calling my name. They wanted me to come and take a bow. They wanted to see me and smile at me and thank me for caring for them. As I write this and whenever I think of this moment in my life, tears come to my eyes. 

This was my World Series home run. My touchdown catch in the Superbowl. I cry from the warmth and respect they showed me. It was simple appreciation given out to one by many. Foreign exchange kids from all over the world making me king for the day. They didn’t know it was to be for the rest of my life. They didn’t know the pain I was in, still reeling from the accidental death of my first born daughter not two weeks before this event. They don't know how they picked me up and placed my soul on their shoulders.

I went through the hall amid the yelling and screaming and the pounding of fists on the tables and stamping of feet on the wooden floor. I bowed before them in all directions. I had been so dubbed “The Cook” at Camp Menogyn. I had become legend. 

The years rolled by and when I left Menogyn to go on to the next adventure, I had many memories. Needless to say, this one I cherished the most and still carry the sweet memory.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Canyon de Chelly

Shadow Shot Sunday II
January 13, 2013

Every Sunday, we post Shadow Shots and share them. To see more and find out how to participate, please visit HERE. Be careful, hunting shadows can become an addiction!

Tall walls of red stone
Carved by the hands of nature
Canyon de Chelly

Cliff dwelling partially hidden by natures eyelid

Odd shaped shadow, concave and convex in one
Natural butt crack
Hard lines of light and shadows

Canyon de Chelly is located within the Navajo Indian Reservation in Northeastern Arizona. It is well worth the visit if you're down that way. I've traveled a lot, over the years, and many times in the Southwestern USA states of Arizona and New Mexico. I've never made it to Canyon de Chelly until this past year. The question keeps haunting me, "Why haven't I come here sooner?"


Friday, January 11, 2013

Go Ahead, Make My Day

Haiku  My Heart
January 11, 2013

Haiku My Heart is a weekly meeting of friends, both old and new, that share their haiku along with their thoughts. You can read more and find out how to participate at Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon

Catatonic state

Manufactured happiness

Yes, that describes it

I served in the US Army in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969. That was a long time ago, 44 years, and since then, many people occasionally ask me about having been to war. I remember when I first returned home, someone asked me if I killed anyone. I don’t remember what I answered, but I remember being asked that question and who asked it. I remember being asked that question over and over during the past 44 years. It surfaces once in a while. 
Just a few weeks ago, my Brother-In-Law asked me a general question about the war. I skirted a direct answer to his question, but did tell him that I have written about the experience and that those writings are there for my Grandchildren and their children to have long after I’m gone from putting down footsteps on this earth.

It’s funny, in a way, because I don’t ever remember being asked about being a Dad, watching my children being born or living through the hell of having one of them die. No one has asked me what it felt like to have a heart attack. Nobody crosses the line and asks me how it feels to be a compulsive gambler.

Maybe these subjects are considered personal and people won’t intrude on my space. I guess I see that as a sign of respect and I appreciate that. But I was also a truck driver. I drove all kinds of trucks and drove short and long distances and hauled many different things inside those trucks. I love the line in the song sung by Lowell George of the band Little Feat. The name of that song is “Willin” and the line reads:

“I’ve driven’ ever kinda rig that’s ever been made, Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed”

No one has ever asked me about being a truck driver. Maybe in general terms, but I’ve never heard someone ask, “Hey Spado, did you ever jack knife a big rig?” or “Hey man, you ever see one of those lot lizards?”

How about the CB radio? Late night gotta-make-the-delivery-by-eight-AM marathon drives, truck stop food, sleeping in a truck, cold weather, snowy weather, windy weather, hot weather with air conditioning or with no air conditioning? Being alone, being away from home, what’s the farthest, the shortest, the heaviest, the lightest. Ever pick up a hitch hiker? What did you do before cell phones and the GPS?

I certainly have met my share of unusual, and some very usual, people during the million plus miles I have logged as a truck driver since I worked my first job on a truck at 18 years old moving furniture in the wooden mountains, (4th floor walk-up stairways), of Chicago.

Then again, if you reference This Post I did in September of 2009 about how many jobs I have held over the years, I guess I’ve never been asked about any of these jobs and what it entailed to be a teacher, a cook, a chef, a counselor, a manager, tomato sorter or paper-boy.
I’ve not been asked to describe the joy of hitting a game winning home run at the softball tournament or the thrill of riding my motorcycle at 137 miles per hour. Seems that folks don’t want to learn about something someone else has done or listen to how it feels, like a news reporter would ask after the final seconds of the championship game have ticked off the clock and the star of the team narrates his game winning comeback drive for a touchdown.

I dug out the writing I did about the war and I’m going to put it on a flash drive and bring it down to the print shop. I’m going to make hard copies of the 29 page manuscript and send it to my Brother-In-law and answer his question about the war. He seems to genuinely want to know something about what I’ve been through as a nineteen year old being drafted and called to war. Maybe by reading it he’ll understand a bit more about my quirkiness. He’ll for sure get a better sense than he would if he just read today’s Haiku


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Behind Closed Doors

Shadow Shot Sunday 2
January 6, 2013

It has been some time since I did a Shadow Shot Sunday Post. I am thrilled to be back here sharing shadows with old friends and hopefully, some new ones. I am grateful to the Molokai Girl for her motivation. To see more and to share your Shadow Shots, visit  Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

Mrs. Spadoman and I took a wander down to the American Southwest. We traveled from our home in Wisconsin to chase some warmer temperatures in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We hadn't had a break from home together in quite some time and took the trip. We spent time on the road, but we also rented a small casita in Tucson, AZ and spent an entire week there.

We set up "home" and had our morning coffee, prepared meals, listened to music on our iPods, read books and magazines, visited the mountains and valleys around and attended a street fair. I smoked a few cigars at the patio table out front. It was a comfortable relaxing place and I think we will return and rent this place again next year, but plan to stay there a bit longer than one week.

The Shadow Shot was the view of the living room window every morning. The near Winter Solstice sun, low in the sky from rise to set, cast hard shadows all day long, and this image I saw each morning of the tree that had been planted near this window made it easy to sit there in silence and just be in that moment. The shadow lasted many moments, so this time sitting and being became part of the experience.

I have a place such as this at my own home at my kitchen window, which is now a sliding glass door. It was a window last year, but home improvements have changed the environment. I watch the sun far to the right, almost out of sight, when it rises in these deep cold Winter mornings. But I know as time moves forward, Ole Sol will move towards the North and be directly across the hay field by June. Luckily, it will be bright and strong very early in the morning, but by the time it starts to get hot, the shade of a locust tree will make a shadow of its own and save us from the heat streaming into the house.

Not much, and only one photo, but it is very good to be back and share shadows with you all.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Crop

Haiku My Heart
January 4, 2013

We meet on Fridays and give ourselves to each other as friends. Stop by recuerda mi corazon to see more and join this community.

Note: I posted this yesterday without the Haiku. I added the Haiku today.

What makes it artwork

Why not call it craftsmanship

Work with hands and heart

Just because you haven't seen me around on the blog lately doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything. I have sat myself down and completed many of the Dream Catchers that I had promised to people, some that I promised as long as a year or more ago!

Each is its own design as nature intended the wood to circle. Each has a representative of the wood, stone, metal and mineral. Each holds a spirit of some animal and each is one-of-a-kind. These are not your Chinese made sold-in-the-gift-shop-at-Grand-Canyon Dream Catchers. They are my interpretation of Native American influenced Folk Art.

Many of these pictured here today have already been sent out to new homes. Once they leave here, I don't know what happens to them. Some people believe in the idea and spirit of the Dream Catcher as a web to catch and keep away bad dreams and karma from getting to you while you sleep. Some like the decorative aspect. Once delivered, it is completely out of my control and up to the individual that receives it as to where it will reside. For all I know, they are sold for a quarter at the next neighborhood garage sale.

I was visiting a few weeks ago and stayed overnight. I went to turn off the lamp to go to bed and there was a Dream Catcher I had made adorning the lamp, right at the switch. I felt good that I had a Dream Catcher to sleep with, especially since I was sleeping in a strange place. It also made me feel good that I had made the Dream Catcher and I knew what kind of energy I put into it. By the same token, I made this particular Dream Catcher for them to have one of their own to sleep with and it ends up as a decoration in the spare room. Like I said, you just never know what will happen to them when they are sent on their journey.

As I participate with many really fine artists on sites and they show their artwork, I felt a responsibility to show mine. I am not always pleased with everything I make. I also think that in some cases, the photography does not do justice to the piece. But these are of my hands and heart.

I also have works in progress that are still Dream Catchers, but take much more time and patience to complete because of the unique nature of the specific project. I am also working on a new procedure for gourd rattles and might have a couple finished in a few weeks. There will definitely be some hand drums in my future. I have been making the above mentioned items for many years, but I am just starting to gather some momentum and trying new ideas as well. I totally have bought into the idea of creating things as another road to the health and healing of the Spirit.

So, here you have the Dream Catchers that I have made since the end of the Summer. If you want more information or would like a Dream Catcher, feel free to E-mail me and we'll discuss it.

Click 'em to big 'em

This project was made for someone that has a child that sometimes sleeps with them. I superimposed the yellow webbing over the red webbing. The red represents the child, being covered and protected by the main body.
This is a Buffalo head nickel made into a "bead"
This is Buffalo hide used as hanging decoration. The Buffalo represents many aspects of power and healing along with wisdom and strength. The individual had given me tobacco and asked for this Dream Catcher has waited a long time, but sometimes it takes a while to get an idea in my head about what should be represented.
Horse hair and a single feather on driftwood. This was sent over the ocean. I thought driftwood would be appropriate for such a journey.
The colors of the four directions, Black, Red, Yellow and White, are represented here along on the braid holders with the hair from the receiver's favorite horse that passed recently. Much of the horse hair that I use to decorate comes from other horses that these friends own. We traded horse hair for a Dream Catcher. Tobacco was giving in thanks for receiving the horse hair from their manes and tails.
The Dream Catcher in this photo and the ones above was made from a piece of dogwood, or what some people call red willow. I liked the "stalk" that protruded through the circle and kept it there. I used really long black horse tail hair and leather lacing for decoration.
I'm likely to leave the stems and pieces of wood on the twigs and branches that I bend to make the circular hoops. After all, It is not my job to change what Mother Nature has created.
Blurry, and too lazy to go take another photo, sorry.
This hoop is very delicate. Made from a very thin branch.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let's Start the New Year Off In a Good Way

I feel the same way about the modern day calendar as I do about modern day political boundaries. The Eagles, Bears and other animals don’t pay attention to whether they take a crap or eat a fish from a lake in Canada or the USA, so I don’t see any difference from December 31st to January 1st, 2012 to 2013.

That, for me, means, no resolutions that I’m going to start doing today that I didn’t do yesterday. I probably wouldn't stick to 'em anyways. Besides, if I do make any kind of major changes, I usually start on a Monday. It’s Tuesday already and besides, there is no mail delivery today and the banks are closed.

I know many people do make resolutions and decide, “This is the year I finally do………” I will admit, I’ve done this in the past and failed miserably.

I remember back in 2004, I think it was, that I was going to stop driving in town and only use the car when I had to go somewhere farther than the bus line goes. I was driving a 1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon and wanted to change my environmental footprint.

I remember the first trip to get groceries. It was January since that’s when the new year starts every year, and I was living in St. Paul, MN where it is Winter and cold and snowy most every January. I bundled up and went on my journey to make numerous stops to get what was needed in the house.

I wanted to go to the stores that specialized in specific goods and support the small businesses that although dwindling, were still in business.

That meant the butcher shop for meat, the bakery for bread and the smaller local grocery and not the large nationwide chain grocery store for dry goods. That also meant the worker owned co-op for bulk items for everything on my list that they had available before going to the aforementioned places. I had to include a stop at my friend Steve’s coffee shop for a body and soul warming cup of Joe, (I always capitalize Joe whether it’s my name, a cup of coffee or an average Joe), and back in those days, a custard filled bismarck.

I left the house on St. Claire Avenue, which was a street that carried a bus line, but walked the two blocks to Snelling Avenue to get started on my shopping trip at a little after eight AM, Mrs. Spadoman was working right around the block at Macalester College and was already walking to and from work every day.

I made most of my stops and didn’t make it home from that shopping trip until late in the afternoon. It took me all day and I didn’t even get to all the planned stops for the supplies I wanted to get into the house. I paid the bus fair and used a transfer to change busses, but the time limit ran out, as it is only good for two and a half hours after you put the first fare into the box, and I didn’t have the exact change. That meant I had to go into a store and get change. Getting change along an inner city bus route near a stop is like pulling teeth on a grizzly bear that had gotten up from hibernation ten minutes before the operation and was so hungry from being asleep all those months she would’ve eaten anything!

Took me an hour to muster the exact number of coins in the correct denominations just to get on the bus so I could go downtown and transfer to the bus that would take me to another part of town.

Needless to say, I returned home frozen to the bone. Some of the fresh fruit and vegetables that I purchased were frozen and were turning black. Mrs. Spadoman was due home from work in a few minutes and I didn’t have the dishes done, the bed made, the carpet vacuumed, the mail brought in or the plants watered, not to mention the kettle that was to be on the boil, so she could have her afternoon before dinner cup. I was in deep doo doo, as they say.

I resumed driving the next day and my New Years resolution lasted an entire three days with two of them not using the car at all because I didn’t go anywhere.

There were other resolution experiments over the years as well. The diets, the exercise routines, the not spending money attempts, the “I’m gonna do…” and the “I’m not gonna do…” rants, the nonsense that had the entire family arguing with each other when we unplugged the TV. Thank goodness we didn’t sell it!

So, I don’t make any resolutions anymore. I get up at the same time I always do and come and sit down at the computer, check my e-mail, say hello to my Facebook friends, look at the weather prediction for the day and see if anyone has looked at and commented on my blog.

Today, for example, I looked at my blog and see that no one has been there in quite some time. It wasn’t a New Year resolution that made me write today and start off 2013 with a story. No, it was the fact that I haven’t posted much lately and didn’t see any of the friendly familiar names of people since I haven’t written an original thought in a month, either on their blogs or my own!

Anyway, I’m gonna start writing more often again on my blog this year, but that isn’t a resolution. Just so you know. I don’t make New Years resolutions any more. And I’ll get to visit your blogs more often too, but not because it’s the New Year and I feel like I should start doing this again. Just so you know, it’s not a resolution. It’s because I truly know I am blessed to have folks stop by and visit and I hope that when I do the same, I am considered to be a blessing to someone else's life along the way.

May peace, harmony, kindness, love and the beauty of the natural world amongst mankind touch all of our lives, not just today, and not just for this new year, but throughout the rest of our lives. May it become habit and not just a flash-in-the-pan resolution like my no driving folly. May we make the difference in our hearts for eternity.