Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today & yesterday, clouds & voices ....

Two thoughts came to me upon seeing these clouds: Here is a single umbilical cord connecting four or more individual clouds, nourishing them, as they gather in size and strength; or, here are four or more clouds all clinging to a line so as not to be left behind as the wind drags them across the blue sky at a merciless pace. Actually, I had a third thought, as well, but I will forgo mentioning it at this time.

Fancy in Nubibus
Or, The Poet in the Clouds

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

O! It is pleasant, with a heart at ease,
Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies,
To make the shifting clouds be what you please,
Or let the easily persuaded eyes
Own each quaint likeness issuing from the mould
Of a friend's fancy; or with head bent low
And cheek aslant see rivers flow of gold
'Twixt crimson banks; and then, a traveller, go
From mount to mount through Cloudland, gorgeous land!
Or list'ning to the tide, with closed sight,
Be that blind bard, who on the Chian strand
By those deep sounds possessed with inward light,
Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssee
Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rifles, mommies, clothing & Sarah sings Procol

As is plain to anyone with eyes to see, White Bear has taken over all duties and responsibilities concerning firearms. A few years ago, I began buying some older rifles and outfitting them with period scopes (telescopic sights, for the uninitiated). I bought this rifle on my return from Poland in the Spring. It is sixty years old, and still beautiful. The action is a classic, a Mauser (German) design first introduced in the 19th Century, with this particular one manufactured by Fabrique Nationale, a Belgium gunmaker also renowned for well over a century. The caliber, .30-06, first saw extensive use among American troops during World War I. It continues to be one of the most favored of cartridges among big game hunters around the world. The scope is yet a juvenile, only thirty-five or, maybe, forty years old, and one I have had for a couple of years, waiting patiently for a rifle to claim as its own. Now, all this is White Bear's rig. You might notice that the little rascal has more-or-less taken over possession of my Colt Series 70 Gold Cup .45 ACP, too. (That is the pistol on the table in front of him, for the uninitiated.)

To wear or not to wear, that is the question

A few days ago, Peggy asked me if I enjoyed shopping for automobiles. I replied that I did not. That I did not like shopping. That, in particular, I did not like shopping for clothing.

The question was a jolt into the past for me. My mother loved to shop. In addition to shopping in our small hometown and a few regional shopping centers, she would figure out a way to make periodic trips to Minneapolis/St. Paul -- one hundred, fifty miles distant.

Naturally, being her bouncing baby boy and only child, I was "dragged" (yes, sometimes literally) along on every single excursion she made. Sometime around the age of four, I concluded that I did not like these trips. They robbed me of endless hours of playing games with my friends. By the time I was eight or nine, I was ready for open rebellion and to run away from home if I were to be required to go on another shopping expedition.

Now, I should clarify, that she did most of the shopping for herself. Consequently, I was forced to slouch (a boy's style of sitting) for hours in women's dress shops and department stores, watching fat women, skinny women, homely women, beautiful women, short women, tall women ooohhhing and aaahhhing over dresses and purses and jewelry and shoes and, and, and .... usually, I was the only "man" in the shop.

But, even worse was the fact that mommie dearest loved to shop for clothes for me, and would also force me to try on shirt after shirt, shoe after shoe, trousers after trousers, sometimes even hats (!! my god, the humiliation of wearing anything on my head other than a baseball cap) and, of course, long coats and short coats and heavy coats and light coats.

All right. Enough. To the point. Two things were the end result of my childhood under the complete control of my ruthless mother. By the time I was sixteen or seventeen, I discovered my wardrobe had a strange affect on girls. They loved it. Oh, yeh. Here come Pete and Dave and Paul in their jeans and sweatshirts and tennis shoes. Here comes Fram (I almost wrote my real name there) in his dress slacks and cashmere sweater and loafers. These mere pieces of clothing had a magical effect on girls. They loved it. (I guess I already said that. Whatever.) Well, I shall say no more in that regard.

Next, and judge this cause and effect for yourself, for I shall not. This childhood pattern has made me an absolute cripple in regard to clothing. Other than jeans and t-shirts, an occasional jacket, boots and a shirt here and trousers there, I need a woman to tell me what looks good on me and what to buy. Honestly. I must confess. I am a clothing cripple.

“Do I look ok in this?”

“Does this fit me all right?”

“Which of these should I buy?”

I suppose I do this to some degree because I know it pleases the woman I am with to have me demonstrate that I value her judgment, but I also do it because I have no clue what clothing works for me and what does not.

It has evolved into part of the "job description." The companion of Fram must enjoy shopping, and must pick out his clothes for him.

Ah, yes …. the music ....

"A Whiter Shade of Pale," written and originally performed by a 1960s British band called Procol Harum, would fall into my top twenty-five (or thereabouts) list of music no matter what the category. It easily is the band's finest and greatest piece of music. Life was all downhill after it for these boys. I am being factious, but that really is the truth of the matter. In historical terms, this song has "anthem status" in context of the rock era of music. This band never had another song even close to it. Few bands have.

For those who disapprove of rock music, the writers openly acknowledge the influence and inspiration of none other than J.S. Bach, in particular his "Sleepers, Wake!" and "Air on a G String." If you listen to the organ, you will clearly hear the voice of Bach transcending death to reappear two centuries after his earthly existence ended. Listen, and you will hear him. This is Bach alive again. No mistake.

One thing, I think, is certain. This song is emblematic of what Western music was in the last one-third of the 20th Century.

I have posted the Procol Harum version here, maybe twice, in the past. Tonight, I chose the rendition by Sarah Brightman, who easily would fall into my top twenty-five list of women singers. Some say she has the voice of an angel. Since I never have heard the voice of an angel, all I dare to say is that only one other woman's voice rips me into pieces as easily as does the voice of Sarah. And, when Sarah's voice is mingled with this song, I am utterly and completely helpless.

Wanna dance ??

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wished I could be in ....

Right off the top, allow me to say these two photographs of the Audi A4 are not larger than the photographs of the Corvettes because I am trying to send a message or attempting to influence anyone. It simply turned out that way because I actually took these photos, while the Vette photos were from the dealer, and I was not in the mood for reducing the size of mine. But, since we are here, nice car, hah? To set the record straight, I had said in a comment in a previous post that the interior color is gray. Much of it is, but the leather seats are a sort of off-white. Then, too, this vehicle has an automatic transmission, while the one I sold had a five-speed stick. No burning rubber from squealing tires from this baby -- which, probably, would be for the better. Well, you get the major point, I think. There are so many neat cars in this old world ....

Into My Own
by Robert Frost

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e'er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew--
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

Take a moment ....

Take a moment to listen to this song. I think it is sort of special, and it might prove to occupy the most pleasant eight minutes of your day.

Why not? I think I also will mention that, to me, this poem is more than special, and one day it will be me living it rather than merely reading it. Into the wilderness, as someone once wrote, and a few in every generation have lived ....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A car, a poem, a song or two .... and let it go

Decisions, decisions. Is one of these Corvettes "fated" to be mine? These are not my photographs, incidentally. They were taken by the dealership which is trying to peddle these Corvettes, but they are the two cars I drove a few days ago. The more I think about it, the more I feel that buying a Corvette (especially at this time of the year) is not a particularly good idea. But, it sure would be fun to take a southerly cruise in one. I like the white car best, and it does have a rack for luggage on the back. It might be the handiest element that is part of this cockpit-style vehicle. Tomorrow, I will try an Audi convertible. Bad timing, again ....

When I Was One-and-Twenty
by A. E. Housman

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
'Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free.'
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
'The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.'
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Such was the sunset of your way

Such was the setting of the sun as seen from behind my temporary abode at Washington Lake in south-central Minnesota on the evening of the twenty-first of September, 2010. Should a photograph be taken this evening (September 22 in Minnesota) from the identical location, it would reveal a solid gray, overcast sky with rain literally pouring from the clouds. Not to give a weather report, but fifteen waves of thunderstorms are expected to come through this area during the next thirty-six hours, leaving behind four or more inches of rain. Such was the sunset, and such is life when it is reduced to numbers.

The Sunset Stopped on Cottages
by Emily Dickinson

The Sunset stopped on Cottages
Where Sunset hence must be
For treason not of His, but Life's,
Gone Westerly, Today—

The Sunset stopped on Cottages
Where Morning just begun—
What difference, after all, Thou mak'st
Thou supercilious Sun?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Suburbans, Eleanor, profanity & Warren

The discussion that followed yesterday's post included many words about the differences between owning a Chevrolet Suburban and a Lincoln Navigator. Well, if anyone really is interested in the actual physical differences, it would take only a few minutes to do a bit of research on the internet. For my part, although I posted a photograph of it not long after I bought it, here, one more time, is my very own Suburban -- bought and paid for to the last cent. It is good enough for me, and not nearly as pretentious as I, personally, find the Navigator. I will leave them for the rock stars and the wanna-bes.

A profane phenomenon

Anyone familiar with American military folklore is aware that the typical sailor in the U.S. Navy is considered to be a master at the application of profanity, i.e., a virtual fountain of four-letter words when uttering an ordinary sentence.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in or around a military facility which has both Navy and Marine Corps personnel stationed there understands that the typical sailor is a mere amateur in the use of such language when compared to the typical Marine trooper.

As you might recall, yours truly is a former member of the aforementioned elitist, arrogant, profane group known as the Marine Corps. And, as a former First Lady, the evidently vivacious Eleanor Roosevelt, once proclaimed:

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps."

-- Eleanor Roosevelt, Quantico,Virginia, 1945

Now, then, who among you wishes to argue with a former First Lady? No one? All right. Back to the subject on hand.

Ordinarily, I use profanity very sparingly. I unloose it only when I wish to verbally beat someone into the ground, which seldom happens, or when I listen to Barack Obama lie on television, which sometimes happens daily. But, in recent months, I have found myself using it in virtually every sentence I speak or think to myself. A few times, I have caught the attention of others with my mumbled oaths.

I mentioned this fact to a friend a few days ago. The response was this: "You have been living alone too long. You need to have a woman around you."

To which, I replied: Amen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I want it all, and I want it now ....

I am not certain how many photographs of myself I have posted here in the past. Four or five or six? Maybe. I really do not recall. In any case, Anita requested that I post another, so here I am -- Fram Actual. Now, before you get upset and complain that it is not a particularly good photo, I have to point out that White Bear took it. Most certainly you do not wish to hurt a teddy bear's feelings and say the photo is anything less than perfect -- do you? Well, do you? I should hope not. Thank you.

Oh, yes -- your vehicle is you

In a comment to my post a few days ago, Kaya mention that a friend of hers had a "great expensive car, last model Acura, equipped with all 21st century technology's wonders."

Well, that got me thinking (yes-s-s-s, thinking) about me and my vehicles.

When I returned from Poland in April and decided to buy another Suburban-type vehicle, I shopped around, looking at models from several manufacturers. One day, while stopping at a gas station, I saw a Lincoln Navigator. I thought it was a very attractive vehicle, so I went over to a Lincoln dealership and took one out for a test drive. I took it out a second time, too, and was seriously considering buying it. The Navigator is pure, indisputable, unadulterated, decadent luxury. Really beautiful, and filled with the latest technology.

Now, then, compare a Navigator to a Chevrolet Suburban. It also has all the amenities available in this, the 21st Century -- if you wish to have them. But, essentially, it looks like a vehicle designed for work, not like something made for someone who wants a four-wheel drive vehicle to show off, but has absolutely no use for one. In other words, it is not like a luxury-designed Lincoln Navigator.

The next day, the salesman called and gave me a time-honored sales pitch: "What can we do to put you into your Navigator?" Interpreted, this means, what can we do to get you to buy it?

I told him this -- exactly this -- because I have a bad habit of telling people the truth (at least ninety-nine percent of the time):

"I've been thinking about it, and a Navigator just isn't me. Too fancy. Too slick. Too many frills. I'd feel like a fool driving it. Thanks, for letting me take it out to test drive it, but I think I'll keep looking until I find a Chevrolet Suburban that I want."

I am not certain, but I doubt the salesman ever had heard anyone say that before. After all, their entire pitch is to get you to believe you and their product were born for each other. It goes like this: "That vehicle is you! It's got you written all over it! You! You! You!"

I have been a pretty good pitch man myself. In the past, I have written here about what I considered my talent as a chameleon when I worked as a reporter. One day, I might interview a banker; the next day, a drug dealer; the next day, a doctor; the next day, a high school coach. In nearly every instance, I could work my way into their confidence in a matter of minutes and convince them I was their friend and my entire purpose in life was to give them the best story they could ever hope for in a hundred years. All they had to do was open up and talk -- tell me anything and everything.

Well, that is the way it was (and is), but, in truth, I feel most at home among working class men. I can fit in with carpenters or Great Lakes sailors or bikers or police officers or you name the outfit, and I do not have to put on my chameleon suit.

Sitting in a bar in a Great Lakes port one night, I ended up next to a man I learned was a deckhand on an iron ore carrier. After about fifteen minutes of back and forth talk, he asked me, "What ship you off of?" You have got to believe that I took his question as a compliment. Another time, I had a similar incident with a motorcycle gang. I think I might have had an angel with me that night. Maybe, I will write about it another day.

The long and the short of it is that you often can discover a great deal about an individual -- man or woman -- by noting what type of vehicle he or she prefers to drive, not to mention the type of bar he or she frequents and the sort of people he or she sits next to in it.

You probably have learned a bit more about me through this post, as well. That is fine, but now it is your turn to tell all.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Random moments in the space-time continuum

This is not one of the Corvettes that I looked at earlier today, but it is pretty much identical to the white version I spotted and about which I collected a bit of information. If you are at all curious, read on; if you are not, have a pleasant evening. By the way, if anyone simply comments on the car and nothing else, I will be very disappointed in you and never run another photograph of a car.

I think, therefore I am confused

Do you ever think that you think too much?

That at certain times you simply should react? Not think, just go with your feelings and your instincts?

I have been doing that quite a bit in recent weeks. Thinking that I think too much, I mean. It has led me nowhere, because I have a tendency to think, probably to over-think, about most situations in which I become involved.

I guess this is something to think about.

Volcanoes = cigars, after brandy late at night

I spent some time outside last night, between two and three in the morning local time. I worked on a tall drink, brandy and Coca Cola, of course. I looked for stars in the sky, but saw few because of heavy cloud cover. I sat on the porch. I paced on the porch and in the front yard and on the street.

It was chilly, about fifty-three degrees Fahrenheit. Not about. It was that, exactly. I enjoyed it, being there at that moment in time, I mean, but I wished I were somewhere else other than here, here in southern Minnesota. Maybe, in Iceland. It would be fascinating to see a live volcano from the ground. I did see one from the air flying from Poland to America. It reminded me of when I used to smoke cigars.

Love, sex, death -- Bond has arrived

For some unknown reason, a novel I read several years came into my mind while I was outside pacing on the porch. The name of it was, "The Spy Who Loved Me." If you have not heard of it, it was one of the James Bond stories by Ian Fleming.

Unlike other Bond stories (yes, I have read them all), he is not on assignment, but stumbles into a life and death situation due to fate -- his car has a flat tire near a motel. Inside the motel, two Mafia "employees" are about to burn the facility and do away with the young lady managing it so the "outfit" can collect insurance money.

Bond to the rescue. By fate. Through fate. Whatever ....

I think what brought this story to mind was a recent discussion about fate. Whatever the reason, in this particular Bond tale, the young lady's decisions brought her to the motel as its manager. The Mafia men were there due to their choice of "professions." Bond was there because of his decision to rent a car which had a bad tire and to drive it along a particular road.

Fate = life, sex, love, death, money, memory. Life truly is weird, is it not?

Incidentally, the name of the young lady in the story is Vivienne. I never have met a woman named Vivienne. It seems like a weird name (to me), so it fit the story.

Is now the "Corvette moment" ??

I went window shopping today, if it is accurate to call walking around in car lots window shopping. I was looking for/at Chevrolet Corvettes. If you are not familiar with the Corvette, I will only say that, like every American man who has lived in recent years, I have wanted one since I was a teenager. Beyond that, you can do the research yourself.

There were three around town -- I mean relatively close to me. A white one, a black one and a red one. Something to ponder.

Those who have read my posts for a while might recall that when I began my journey upon the sea of blogs, I had a Ford Mustang, a Chevrolet Suburban and an Audi A4. I sold the Mustang, then the Suburban. I went to Poland. I came back, and immediately bought another Suburban. Then, I sold the Audi.

I love the Suburban (well, sort of), but I miss having a "hot/fast" car around. Hence, the Corvette came drifting through my mind -- tires squealing, engine roaring. Is now the time, the "Corvette moment?" Maybe. We shall see.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

All in life is transitory, except ....

The "work station" changes, grows, expands, at times becomes smaller. The television and the printer now also are in place. More books are present. Actually, a third pistol as arrived on the scene, but it is hidden from view. It could be interesting to consider the various and varied work stations each of us has experienced in our lives. At times, my work station has included a typewriter rather than a computer, a rifle, a camera, a notepad and pen, a car, a blackboard, a lectern, and on and on and on. Think about your own work stations for a moment, both personal and professional, both past and present.

I looked out this morning ....

Here is a lesson for you. Or, a thought, if you resent the implication that I might possibility be telling you what to do. Or, an idea, if you like to examine the ideas of other people and compare them to your own.

Everything in life is transitory. And, it does not necessarily change by minutes or centuries or millennium. It changes in nanoseconds, or even in some smaller unit, if there is some such thing. Being "unscientific" in nature, such means of measurement are a mystery to me.

Look at the photograph. I have been in the Lake House for two weeks, and it took this long to build my “work station.” In about five weeks, most everything in the house that is me and mine will be gone except for these tables and the items on them. In about six weeks, all of this will be gone, too -- gone from this place forever. Other than a photograph, there will be no indication any of this existed. No one or nothing, other than the Lake House itself, will ever be able to factually demonstrate that I passed this way.

And, even as the work station exists in real time, it changes. The computer screens change. The television screen and the Blackberry screen change. There is no respite from change, from time, from ourselves. Dust gathers at some places. A sheet of paper vanishes. See how different the setting is in today's photograph from the photo taken only two days ago. I will wake up one morning, and this scene will have ceased to exist. Or, maybe, I will have ceased to exist.

All in life is transitory, I think, except, maybe, there is one thing that never does change for some very few people. Maybe, the look in the eyes of another is the same for as long as time exists. Maybe, but I doubt it.

.... and the sun was gone ....

It happened again to me yesterday. I jumped into the Suburban, turned on the radio, and Boston came blasting out at me.

It is fate, destiny. Someone or something is trying to send me a message. I am being followed by the music of Boston wherever I go, whenever I turn on a radio. This time the song was, "More Than a Feeling."

So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky

When I’m tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
And dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped away

I wonder if the words are prophetic. For me, that is to say. Somehow, I do not think so. I never have climbed Mount Everest (although my camera has), but it seems to me any of us can attain seemingly unattainable heights in our lives if we really want to do it and are willing to pay the price.

With that in mind, rock on, Boston, until all the lights have gone out and the concert hall is empty ....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A slow day around here

This is a case of the same old, sort of .... the "work station." This one really is the third to be located in the Lake House. The first was in the downstairs bedroom/den; the second was in the kitchen; this is located in Bedroom No. 1 upstairs. It has been upgraded to two computers, two pistols, a cash box (really, just like a cowboy movie) a few books and magazines, two plates, one drink (we share), etc., etc., etc. White Bear, you might correctly presume, is the supervisor of the operation. Now, then, why do I run this photograph? Because I am too lazy to find something more interesting and I feel like I should post something -- anything -- this thing. It has been a slow day around here. By the way, the printer and the television are missing. This tale might actually be the beginning of a mystery.

When there is nothing to say

Do you ever feel like writing, or talking, but have nothing to say?

I do not mean writer's block. It is more simple than that. It is a need or a desire to communicate, but there are no thoughts you wish to share or no cause you have to promote or no opinion you care to express. Well, that has been my mood for some time recently.

Actually, I have been in a better mood than I usually am for the past few days. Perhaps, that is it -- the reason for my silence. I am not dissatisfied with anything or anyone (well, other than slow, slow, unreliable internet connections, that is), so I am quiet and reserved. With my nature, more often than not I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

What, you say that you do not understand that comment?

All right, forget it.

So, with that in mind, let us adjourn to the festivities.

About the music ....

I heard this song while driving along the highway a week or so ago. As with virtually all the music I like, it is an old song. The only question about the age of the music I enjoy is "how old?" Ten years or two hundred years, or some point in between?

This is John Mellencamp's song, but since I am not especially a fan of his, I picked up Pat Benatar's version. I am a fan of her voice and style. Incidentally, the actual song only lasts four minutes; the final two here are Ms. Benatar chatting away.

I do not necessarily agree with all the lyrics in this song, "I Need a Lover," but some of the words seem very appropriate at times. This must be true for all of us, I suspect.

"I've seen what I could not recognize"

Then, there is this song: "Don't Look Back," from Boston.

It is common knowledge that I think Boston is the greatest band in the history of rock and roll music, and that Brad Delp arguably is the greatest singer. Delp's voice, coupled with the guitar talent and the song-writing skills of Tom Scholz, created musical magic for a couple of decades.

Today, I jumped into the Suburban, hit the radio and these lyrics came blasting out at me:

I can see, it took so long just to realize
I'm much too strong not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I'll turn it around

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'

Don't look back, a new day is breakin'

The sound, the words -- they seemed to fit well with my sense of personal existence in an impersonal society today. Now, a few hours later, the song still is playing in my head and I still am smiling and not much giving a damn about political systems, religious theocracies or absolutely anything or anyone that appears on cable television.

What, you say that you do not understand that comment?

All right, forget it .... see you around ....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blue sky & blue water go well together

As I "promised," my photographs of the lake are very routine and nothing to write home about. This view is looking in a west, northwesterly direction, and following the lake shore as it swings away from the "beach" area that is part of the property which belongs with (or to) this house.

Whether you measure by feet or by meters, it is about forty from the yard of the house to the lake itself. This region has been a popular spot for recreational boaters and anglers for decades. Fishermen come to it no matter what the season to pursue a variety game and pan fish. This is a view looking toward the east-northeast.

Here is a view looking northward and straight out into the lake from the shoreline near the house. It gives some perspective of the lake's width. Once a dock was part of the property, but it is gone now and only a small section of shoreline is there if one wishes to swim, fish or simply to lounge by the water.

Standing in the driveway of the house and looking through the porch, the lake is visible only a few yards/meters away, over the yard and across a narrow road. The road leads to a dead end, which means vehicle traffic is scant and passes by slowly.

This is the view of the lake as seen from the window of Bedroom No. 1 in the house. I designated it as such because it is the first one encountered after coming up the stairway, and it now is the site of my "work station." I am able to look up and out the window as I sit by the two computers now located here.

The view from here .... Part 3

With this entry concludes the photographic summary of my "hangout" for September and October. This is not to say I might not run another photo or two from in or around the house, but it is the final time I will post a few photos for the sole and simple purpose of providing illustration for the latest of my temporary residences.

In a comment somewhere, I mentioned that this is the lake in which I learned how to canoe. So, therefore, it seems fitting that I have made arrangements to have one delivered here in another week or two.

I overcame my natural fear of canoeing in heavy waves on big water by lying down in the bottom of the craft and letting it drift where it would. This I did on Lake Suuperior. The technique was once used by Native Americans, incidentally, to reach the shore and safety if they happened to be caught in a sudden storm while fishing on big water.

I intend to repeat that technique here this autumn, but it will not be to escape dangerous storms. Rather, it will be to watch the clouds and to feel the sun on my face as I doze off into a brief slumber while adrift atop gently rolling waves in a softly rocking canoe.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The grand tour of the lake house continues

Among the questions I have been asked is how White Bear spends his time at the lake house. To be honest, he was rather embarrassed about answering the question. Here he is, shown in one of his favorite locations, which is spending most of the day on his half of the bed.

And, here is what White Bear is watching so intently as he perches on the pillows on the bed -- a western film. This happened to be one with John Wayne entitled, "The Cowboys." Yes, that is right. White Bear, the Polish teddy, is crazy about American cowboy movies.

In case you are curious, Benny the Maltese is on vacation. All right .... here is the view looking down the hallway from bedroom No. 3. Bedroom No. 2 is unoccupied, while I am in the process of setting up Bedroom No. 1 as my base camp. That will be explained next. The upper bathroom is visible, as is the stairway going below. The other bedrooms are on either side of them.

This is my impromptu base camp -- a card table with "The Red" atop it. "The Red" is the name of the laptop computer. (Every computer should have a name, right ??) Anyway .... it is my temporary "work station" I established the day I arrived at the lake house. And, yes, that is a drink on the table -- brandy and Coca-Cola, to be specific.

This is a view of the living room as seen when standing in the kitchen area. Note the fire place to the right on the far wall. It is not real in the sense of wood burning, but it does have a natural gas system which, at least, produces actual flames.

The view from here .... Part 2

It has been cloudy, with periods of rain the past two days, and while that might be distressing to some, I have found it is just what I need at the moment. I have been reading and writing and carrying on a few extended telephone conversations.

It is difficult to believe that in about twelve hours, I will have been a resident here in the lake house for one week. We are captives of time, no doubt about it.

So, in closing, I hope you enjoy your continuing tour of this house by Lake Washington in sort of southern Minnesota. There will be some photographs of the lake itself posted at this location tomorrow. As they say, until then ....

Monday, September 6, 2010

It is not over the rainbow, but ....

My neighbors, the mourning doves. The largest of the pair looks so young that I am guessing she probably is the equivalent of a teenage mother, and the tiny one is her baby.

Who says I do not work? In Old Marine Corps' jargon, a blouse; in today's more technocratic language, a battle jacket, hangs from the lawn mower after I finished cutting the grass on Saturday.

The rear of the lake house, as seen from the end of the backyard property line.

The west side of the lake house, with the garage and its loft on the right.

The rear of the lake house on the east side, with the lower door leading into the garage and the upper door into the loft. This is a nice spot to catch the sun while relaxing in the afternoon.

The view from here …. Part 1

Due to popular request (actually, just one young lady), I am posting more photographs of what I have designated as the lake house -- my home (using the word loosely) for September and October. I will post some more photos tomorrow, and the next day, but that probably will be it. To me, putting together a page like this is more difficult than writing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Come sail away .... but, to where?

Sometimes dreams have familiar elements; at other times, dreams are inexplicable. Sometimes the two blend together -- the known and the unexplainable -- and so it seems to me were the contents of a dream I had my first night in the lake house. Interpretations, thoughts, opinions, comments welcome ....

A return to the realm of dreamland

I did have what I would define as an unusual or strange dream my first night in this house. Here it is, or, at least, that which I can remember of it.

I was sleeping in this house and gradually waking up. It was after sunrise. I eventually got up and out of bed and looked out the window. The house now, in my dream, was situated about sixty or seventy yards from a precipice, and beyond it was a wide open, endless expanse of water.

I had just finished dressing when a woman's voice called out asking me if I wanted eggs for breakfast and, if so, how I wanted them. I answered, and as I did so, Harry Reid walked into my bedroom. Yes, I mean Harry Reid, a Democrat, a U.S. Senator from Nevada and the Senate Majority Leader. He obviously knew me, started chatting with me and sat down on a chair.

Now, I view Sen. Reid as the devil personified. He looks like a kindly, gentle, elderly grandfather. I view him as hateful, ruthless, willing to sell his soul to Satan and genuinely an evil man. So, this man now is sitting in my room talking and we are getting along just fine and dandy. Somewhere along the line, I begin to like him and wonder if I have been wrong about him.

Before I have reached a decision, the Senator gets up, says, "Let's go down for breakfast," and walks out. I follow him.

Downstairs, the woman preparing breakfast is an old friend of mine who has been dead for more than a decade. It is a large, old-fashioned room, with a long table and benches, and two cook stoves which have all manner of food being prepared in pots and pans. The walls of the kitchen are made from logs. It is a room from another house about which I have had several dreams.

The woman tells us that breakfast will be ready in ten minutes. I respond that I want to go outside and walk around for a while, and the Senator sits down with a cup of coffee and picks up the morning newspaper.

Outside, it is clear and breezy. A man, a stranger, sees me, walks toward me and begins talking to me. He follows me as I walk toward the edge of the precipice. It is a long, long way down -- probably about one hundred fifty feet. Heavy waves are coming in on a narrow strip of sandy beach.

All I can see in the distance is endless water, with a lone, open ship in view. It seems to be sailing, although the sail is tattered and dangling in a light breeze. One man is standing midships in it, looking toward shore, looking at me, it seems. He waves to me and, after hesitating, I return the salute.

As I am peering over the edge of the precipice, the stranger standing near to me is telling me to be careful because portions of the cliff have a tendency to break free and to fall crashing to the sandy beach below. With that, I lie down on the grass-covered ledge and peer over and beyond the edge, my chin resting on my hands, watching the ship move further and further away from me.

I hear the woman call from the house that breakfast is ready. I get up, and follow the stranger into the house. I ask where I am to sit. The dead woman, now alive, replies, "Anywhere, it is your house." On the table are pancakes and syrup, eggs, bacon, fried and hash brown potatoes, toast, coffee and orange juice.

Other people begin coming into the room, but I do not see their faces. I only hear their voices. I am looking at my plate, seeing two eggs, then reaching out as the food is passed among us.

"If it is my house, who are all these people and why are they here?" I am wondering to myself as I push potatoes onto my plate.

Then, I awake, in real life in the real world, and the dream is over. This is the dream I had the night of August 31, 2010, my first night in this house -- the lake house.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Window peeking

Just after dark on September 1, 2010, this was the view through the front windows of the lake house as seen from just off of Sioux Lane. Although the house is strong and beautiful and, in many ways, special, the primary element revealed to me through the photographs is that the house is empty. What is a house without someone inside of it?

Music? Music? With a voice like this ....

He ain't Andrea Bocelli, that is an absolute certainty, but, just for fun, here is a nice song, from a neat film ("Paint Your Wagon") sung by a fine actor (Lee Marvin) who, once upon a time, was in the Marine Corps and got himself shot in the butt. Other than that and his lack of ability to find the right woman, he pretty much knew what he was doing . Teasing .... sort of .... but, listen to the lyrics.

Something special ....