I Live in Phoenix

 

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May 30th: Just moved to Phoenix. Now this is a city that knows how to live!! Beautiful sunny days and warm balmy evenings.
What a place! Watched the sunset from a park lying on a blanket. (Uhhhh yeahhhh cuz I couldn’t stand up) It was beautiful. I’ve
finally found my home. I love it here.

June 14th: Really heating up. Got to 100 today. Not a problem. Live in an air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car.
What a pleasure to see the sun every day like this. I’m turning into a sun worshipper.

June 30th: Had the backyard landscaped with western plants today. Lots of cactus and rocks. What a breeze to maintain. No
more mowing for me. Another scorcher today, but I love it here. (Keep Commin’ Back – dummy)

July 4th: We drove up on South Mountain to take in the view overlooking the city to the north and the surrounding farmlands
on the Indian reservation to the south. I counted no less than 18 of those mini-tornados of the desert called dust-devils. This must be the southwest’s version of fire-works.

July 10th: The temperature hasn’t been below 100 all week. How do people get used to this heat? (LOLLLL) But getting used to
the heat is taking longer than I expected. At least it’s kind of windy around sundown everyday. Yesterday all the trees on our street were knocked down by the wind blast. They tell me that only occurs once in a while.

July 15th: Fell asleep by the pool. (Got 2nd degree burns over 60% of my body.) Missed 2 days of work, what a dumb thing
to do. I learned my lesson though. Got to respect the ol’ sun in a climate like this.

July 20th: I missed Jerry (our cat) sneaking into the car when I  left this morning. By the time I got back to the hot car for lunch,
Jerry had swollen up to the size of a shopping bag and exploded all over the $2,000 leather upholstery. I told the kids that he ran away. The car now smells like Kibbles and Kitty poop. No more pets in this heat.

July 25th: The wind stinks. It feels like a giant freaking blow dryer!! And it’s hot as hell. The home air-conditioner is on the fritz and the AC repairman charged $200 just to drive by and tell me he needed to order parts.

July 30th: Been sleeping outside by the pool for 3 nights now. $1,500 in darn house payments and we can’t even go inside. I
didn’t know that I was allergic to massive amounts of mosquito bites. How do they survive the heat? I feel like I am living in a
Pizza oven. Why did I ever come here?

Aug. 4th: It’s 113 degrees. Finally got the air- conditioner fixed  today. It cost $500 and is bringing the temperature down a little.
Stupid repairman peed in my pool. I hate this stupid city.

Aug. 8th: If another wise Dude cracks, “…but it’s a dry heat”, I’m going to tear his throat out. Darn heat. By the time I get to work
the radiator is boiling over, my clothes are soaking wet, and I smell like a dead cat!!

Aug. 9th: Tried to run some errands after work. Wore shorts, and sat on the black leather seats in the ol’ car. I thought my butt was on fire. I lost 2 layers of flesh and all the hair on the back of my legs. I tried to lift my butt off the seat by grabbing on to the steering wheel and got third degree burns on my hands!! Now my car smells like some kind of burnt offering and fried cat guts.

Aug. 10th: The weather report might as well be a darn recording. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. It’s been too hot to do crap for 2 darn months and the weatherman says it might really warm up next week. Doesn’t it ever rain in this barren darn desert?? Because of the water rationing $1700 worth of cactus just might dry up and blow into the darn pool. Even the cactus can’t live in this heat.

Aug. 11th: We saw our first sand storm today. They even showed it on TV as it blew across the valley. A wall of dust 12,000 feet
high advancing on the metropolis like something out of a Japanese science fiction movie. They never told us that it is frequently accompanied with light rain and hail. The car NOW looks like it was used in some kind of mudhog derby. The light aluminum awning I put up for shade looks like someone tested a couple of thousand ball-peen hammers on it. And it only cost $150 to have the pool filter replaced.

Aug. 12th: I got the water bill today. $536 and that’s because I tried to keep the cactus alive and the pool’s automatic filler never
shuts off. We have been trying to keep the area around our house a little cooler with this new misting system that everybody says works. All I see when I turn it on is a cloud from the roof line to about eye level that disappears into steam.

Aug. 13th: Today we got the electric bill. $642 for running the air conditioner day and night to cool the house down to about
90 degrees.

Aug. 14th: Welcome to HELL!!! Temperature got to 115 today. Forgot to crack the window and blew the darn windshield out
of the car. The installer came to fix it and said, “…but it’s a dry heat”, My husband had to spend the $1500 house payment to
bail me out of jail.’

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

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The U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

The United States Capitol building, this photo was taken from the window of the Library of Congress.

A picture of the U.S. Capitol building

The Capitol Building

The United States Capitol often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Though no longer at the geographic center of the Federal District, the Capitol forms the origin point for the District’s street-numbering system and the District’s four quadrants.

The original building was completed in 1800 and was subsequently expanded, particularly with the addition of the massive dome, and expanded chambers for the bicameral legislature, the House of Representatives in the south wing and the Senate in the north wing. Like the principal buildings of the executive and judicial branches, the Capitol is built in a distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior. Both its east and west elevations are formally referred to as fronts, though only the east front was intended for the reception of visitors and dignitaries.

Photography Prints

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Civil War Masonry

photo of shriner walking up masonic stairs

The Masonic Influence on World History

Another example of masonic brotherly love during times of conflict.

Perhaps one of the best examples of these ties of brotherhood occurred on the battlefield at Gettysburg.

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 “This battle, the turning point of the War, saw 93,000 Federal troops doing battle with 71,000 Confederates. Of those numbers, one in six were killed or wounded in the three days of fighting from 1 July to 3 July, 1863. Of the men who fought, 17,930 were Freemasons, including the roughly 5,600 who became casualties.

One of the most famous events  at Gettysburg was the huge Confederate infantry push known as Pickett’s Charge.

On 3 July, Pickett (a member of Dove Lodge #51, Richmond, Va) led nearly 12,000 men on a long rush across open fields towards the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.

It has been called the last and greatest infantry charge in military history.

One of the men leading that charge was Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead, CSA a member of Alexandria-Washington Masonic Lodge #22 in Alexandria. Originally from North Carolina  he had attended West Point and fought with the US Army for a number of years before resigning his commission to fight for the Confederacy.

During that time, he  served with now Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, USA (Charity Lodge #190, Norristown, Pa.) The two had become good friends.

With Armistead’s resignation, it had been nearly two and a half years since the two men had had any contact. Until Gettysburg.

It was Hancock who had taken command of the fragmented Union troops on Cemetery Ridge on 1 July and organized them into a strong front that withstood three days of pounding from the Confederate guns. And it was his position, in the center of the Union line, that was the focus of Pickett’s Charge. During the action, both men were wounded. Armistead was shot from his horse, mortally wounded. Hancock’s saddle took a hit, driving nails and pieces of wood into his thigh.

As the battle ended, it was clear that Armistead’s injuries were fatal. Knowing that his old friend was somewhere behind the Union lines, Armistead exhibited the Masonic sign of distress. This was seen by Captain Henry Harrison Bingham, the Judge-Advocate of Hancock’s Second Corps (Chartiers Lodge #297, Canonsburg, Pa.). He came to the fallen Armistead and declared that he was a fellow Mason.

The two men spoke for a time,  when Armistead realized that Bingham had direct access to Hancock, he entrusted some of his personal effects to him, his Masonic watch, the Bible upon which he had taken his obligations and a number of other items. Bingham said his farewells, and then returned to the Union camp to deliver the items.

Armistead died two days later.”

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Life Is All About Seventeen Inches

photo of a distinguished older gentleman

Wisdom lost through the ages, common sense is no longer common.

I found this somewhere, it’s a good read.

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. Well, in 1996 Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948.  No matter, I was just happy to be there.

He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.  Pointed side down.

Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.

“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls.

“And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over these seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Bobby. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of throwing the ball over it.  If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause.

“Coaches …”

Pause.

” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? What do we do if he violates curfew? What if he uses drugs? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

Then he turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful….to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.

Photography Prints

The Mystical Sedona Vortex

photo of Bell Rock in Sedona ARizona

The portals of magical Sedona

by Gary Wonning

The four major vortexes in the area are Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Boynton Canyon, and Cathedral or Castle Rock.

There are many vortexes on earth, but Indian legend states there are four major areas, two positive, Sedona and Kauai, Hawaii and two negative, The Bermuda Triangle, and Sussex County in England.

They are not positive and negative as in good or bad, but as in the poles of a battery. There are no good and bad energy or experiences, those characteristics are only perceived as good or bad by the human mind.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

Photography Prints

 

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

 

You Know You’re Getting Old When You Can Remember

photo fo two people, a child and an adult looking at a sunset over the ocean

Life was a lot slower and simpler in the fifties and sixties.

You Know You’re Getting Old When You Can Remember…

Being sent to the drugstore to test vacuum tubes for the TV.
*
When Kool-Aid was the only other drink for kids, other than milk and sodas.
*
When there were two types of sneakers for boys.
*
When boys couldn’t wear anything but leather shoes to school.

When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up.
*
When all your friends got their hair cut at the kitchen table.
*
When nearly everyone’s mom was at home when the kids got there.
*
When nobody owned a pure-bred dog.
*
When a dime was a decent allowance, and a quarter a huge bonus.
*
When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
*
When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then.
*
When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.
*
When all your teachers wore either neckties or had their hair done, everyday.
*
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped,
without asking, for free, every time. And you got trading stamps to boot!
*
When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the
box.
*
When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him, or use him to carry
groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
*
When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a
real restaurant with your parents.
*
When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed–and did!
*
When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate
that awaited a misbehaving student at home.
*
When women were called, “Mrs. John Smith,” instead of their own name.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Australia: Recipe For Damper Bread

photo of Ayres rock

The aborigines of Australia

A favorite of the aborigines.

Recipe for Australian Damper Bread:

This is traditional bread baked in the coals of an open fire or in a Dutch Oven (huge lidded cast iron pot) but nowadays we bake it in a normal oven. Of course there are as many variations as there are days in the years but the basic recipe is as follow:

Ingredients
4 cups self-raising flour
3/4 – 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
Method Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and mix in the sugar.
Rub in the butter with your (clean) hands until a fine breadcrumb texture is achieved.
For a well in the top of the flour, pour in the milk and water, and mix well with a knife until the dough come clean from the sides of the bowl.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and silky, like a baby’s bottom.
Shape into a mounded loaf, (some people cut a deep cross in the top) and bake in a preheated oven, 200 c / 400 F, for 25 minutes.
Then lower the temperature to 180 c / 375 f and cook a further 10 – 15 minutes until done.
The loaf should be a light golden brown colour and sound hollow when tapped.
If you are “game” try cooking it on a camp fire; nothing beats that extra smoky flavour, especially using Australian Eucalyptus wood to give it that special something.
If you are cooking in an oven at home, try putting a few Gum Leaves in the over to smoke as your are cooking the bread.

Life in the out back

Damper Bread is very similar to Irish Soda Bread, and probably developed from recipes brought over by Irish immigrants/convicts. Variations of the basic recipe are seemingly endless, but you could try substituting other liquids, such as beer for a darker colour/flavour, or varying the ratio of milk to water, and so on.

Try adding more sugar and butter and some dried fruits for a dessert damper. Basically use your imagination. If you are cooking on an open fire you could try wrapping the dough in aluminum foil before you place it in the coals, or even try wrapping the dough around a stick and cooking suspended over the flames.
Good Baking!

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome