Carelessness Strikes Again–Or How I Failed to Show Up for Jury Duty

To do listWell, I guess it’s a life lesson when you finally get around to cleaning off your desk only to find the jury duty notice telling you that you were supposed to be at the courthouse at 9:00 AM and it’s . . . around 12:30 PM. The thing of it is, I did remember that notice. I remembered it last week, and I found it, and I was vastly relieved to see that I didn’t have to worry about it until last night after 5:00 when I was supposed to call and see if I had to come in. It was the old “oh, I’ll remember it” thing. I have plenty of resources at my disposal to keep track of my obligations, including Google calendar and Todoist, but they don’t do me any good unless I use them. For some reason, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, I figured that I’d remember. So I had to do my best to fix the situation, e-mailing

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Planning to Fail

peanut butter cups

As I’ve mentioned about a million times, we’re selling our house. (See it on Zillow here, but don’t be put off by the gazillion pictures. Our realtor just added pictures instead of replacing them.) One little thing you can do to make your visitors feel welcome is to put out a dish of candy. (A dish of poison, in other words.) So there I was last Friday at Office Depot buying some more signs to put up for our open houses, plural, over the weekend, and decided to buy a bag of individually-wrapped candies to put out. Now, let’s see—there were those beautiful Hershey’s mini chocolate bars, really good stuff in classy gold and silver wrappers. 

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Did You Miss the Winter Solstice?

Stylized picture of the sun setting over mountains above snowy pine forestI did. A mention on the radio towards the end of the day brought it to mind. It used to be that I would really look forward to Dec. 21 as the day when we’d start gaining instead of losing daylight. This attitude was especially true back when I was working full time. It was so depressing to drive home in the dark! You don’t have to participate in some kind of pagan ritual to take note of this day and to celebrate it in some small way, even if it’s only to remind yourself of its significance and to start noticing the earlier and earlier time of sunrise and the later and later time of sunset.

I wrote about Garry Kasparov’s book on Vladimir Putin yesterday, and what he said about winners and losers also applies, in a sense, to the idea of the solstice. The minute you win, you start losing. The minute you lose, you start working to win. So it is with the two solstices: the summer solstice, June 21, is the longest day of the year, so where do you go from there? Only towards the darkness of winter. In the midst of winter, though, you hit that longest, darkest day–and there’s no place to go but up, nowhere to go but spring.

And isn’t the illustration for today’s post seriously cool? I get my images for the most part from a site called Pixabay. Their images are totally free. (You do have to be sure you don’t click on the images marked “sponsored images,” which are from a company named Shutterstock, I’m guessing a parent company. You do have to pay for those. I got the image for this website’s header from Shutterstock.) If you need images for a website or other application, give them a try.

​And pay attention to the seasons!


Required Reading for All Lovers of Democracy

Winter is Coming, Why Vladimir Putin and the enemies of the free world must be stopped, by Garry Kasparov book cover Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped by Garry Kasparov, available in several formats and multiple outlets. Visit the author’s website at

Not exactly a happy book! I’m cross-posting this from my “Personal and Political” blog as my book of the week. But no one can be truly happy in a fool’s paradise. If I could, I would require that every single US citizen sit down and read at least the introduction to this definitive book, written by former world champion chess player and now political activist Garry Kasparov. I would also require listening to this episode of Slate’s ”Trumpcast” in which Kasparov is interviewed about his opinions regarding Donald Trump. As he says, “I hate to say ‘I told you so.’” And his perspective on the nomination of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State is indeed frightening. (I know I keep using that word in my political posts, but I don’t know what other word to use. “Disturbing” is too mild.)

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Knowledge Is Not Enough.

woman's silhouette filled with colored gearsA short post today as I wrap up the week.  I was thinking this morning about the phrase “knowledge puffs up while love builds up” in the New Testament book of I Corinthians. This particular verse comes from chapter 8, but the 13th, so-called “love chapter” continues on with the theme: “If I . . . can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge but do not have love, I am nothing.” (Both quotations are from the NIV translation.)

I haven’t really said anything about the election in this blog, although I have another page (Intentional Conservative) that has been devoted to that subject and will continue now that the election is behind us. I find myself asking, “What is the truly loving response to those with whom you disagree?” This will be a question of supreme importance as we move forward into the uncharted waters of the new administration.

I’ve been very conscious of the desire to be proven right and how prideful that attitude is. On the other hand, I have to ask myself what true love is, what it desires. And the answer is that it must be focused on the ultimate good of the its object.

So . . . no funny stories for today, or extended ramblings. Just a question: How will you work for the ultimate good of the people around you?


Life Lessons from a 21-Year-Old


Debt-Free U:  How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents by Zac Bissonnette, Portfolio/Penguin 2010.

Even if you have no kids going to college, or you’re not a kid planning to go to college, you should read this book.  (But you should also read it if you do fit into one of those categories.)

A couple of posts ago I wrote about Dinner:  the Playbook, and I said that book wasn’t valuable so much for the recipes or the specific information about planning meals as it was in promoting a general outlook that says:  “What can I do right now?”  A proactive approach.  Well, this is the same type of book, in that it contains principles that go far beyond making sound economic choices when it comes to college.

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