Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Friday Funnies

February 23rd, 2018

There was once a Rapid City boy who hated using the outhouse because it was hot in the summer and freezing in the winter…plus it stank all the time. The outhouse was situated on the bank of a Rapid Creek and the boy determined that one day he would push that outhouse into the creek.

So one day after a spring rain the creek was swollen so the little boy decided today was the day to push the outhouse into the creek. He got a large stick and started pushing. Finally, the outhouse toppled into the creek and floated away. 

That night his dad told him they were going to the woodshed after supper. Knowing this meant a spanking, the little boy asked why. The dad replied, “Someone pushed the outhouse into the creek today. It was you, wasn’t it, son?”  

The boy answered yes. Then he thought a moment and said, “Dad, I read in school today that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and didn’t get into trouble because he told the truth.” The dad replied, “Well, son, George Washington’s father wasn’t in that cherry tree.”

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Sue was in the kitchen fiddling around when she hollers out.” Joe!  You need to go out and fix the outhouse!” Joe replied, “There ain’t nothing wrong with the outhouse.”  Sue yelled back, “Yes there is, now please go out there and fix it.”  

So, Joe mosied out to the outhouse, looked around and yelled back, “There ain’t nothing wrong with the outhouse!” Sue yelled, “Stick your head in the hole!”  “I am NOT sticking my head in that hole!”

Sue shouted, “You need to stick your head in the hole to see what to fix.” Wanting to make her happy, Joe stuck his head in the hole, looked around and yelled back, “Sue!  There’s nothing wrong with this outhouse!”  

Sue hollered back, “Now take your head out of the hole!” Joe proceeded to pull his head out of the hole, then started screaming, “Help!  My beard is stuck in the cracks in the toilet seat!” To which Sue replied, “Hurt’s, don’t it?!”

Terrible jokes with a common thread as a hint to this weekend’s adventure. Hope it’s as amusing as the jokes!

Devotions From the Black Hills: Snowstorms

February 21st, 2018

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? Job 38:22-23

If you’ve ever driven in the Black Hills in a snowstorm, you may feel like you’ve seen God’s storehouses of snow! I know, because I drove home during a snowstorm Monday night. When a storm rolls in, clouds envelop the Hills. Snow was flying thick toward my windshield and the tall evergreens lining the road were cloaked in white. My co-workers had the day off because their children didn’t have school. Tuesday I heard how enchanting the kids thought the snow was, meanwhile I was behind the wheel about to swallow my tongue as it was nearly impossible to tell where the pavement ended and the soft shoulder off the side of the hill began. I’m very glad I invested in good snow tires earlier in the season because there wasn’t a single snowplow in sight. By this morning the plows and sanders had been out and driving conditions were mildly improved.

This photo taken Monday by the local newspaper on the road I drive every day.

In town President’s Day

Storms of all kinds are painful reminders of just how powerless we can be. How do we respond? How do we approach the Lord in those tumultuous seasons? Poor Job was hit with so much: the deaths of his children, the loss of material wealth and comfort, and the ruining of his physical health. When he questioned God, the Lord’s response was to remind him at length exactly who He was, and who Job was NOT. Snow was one in a long list of things that God created, understands, and has power over. Though He never explained any purpose for Job’s suffering, Job was chastened and replied, “Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” How often do we respond to God with that kind of trust and humility in our storms?

Snow is beautiful in it’s infinite variety of those tiny flakes. We can trust that God is in control even during our very personal storms of life – blizzards and every other kind! He will bring you through in ways that are far beyond our understanding.

Sunday in Wyoming: Sundance Winter Festival & Devils Tower

February 18th, 2018

This weekend I joined the Ski-Joring fun as a cowboy on a galloping horse pulled a skier down Sundance’s Main Street through an obstacle course complete with snow jumps. No joke! Later on I witnessed creative locals compete with a barstool and an old pair of skis in the wild and wooly Downhill Barstool Races. What people won’t do to beat the winter blues.

Sundance! Let the name spark your imagination of days long ago when rowdy cowboys whooped it up on Saturday nights or perhaps you envision serene Native American villages camped at the base of the Sundance Mountain where they performed their sacred Sun Dance ceremonies. This historic town welcomes visitors to come and explore the rich history and soak in the vibrant vistas where the beauty of the rugged west comes alive. This weekend it’s the 4th Annual Sundance Winter Festival and had sledding for the kids, food vendors raising money for mission trips and live entertainment at the pubs. I’m looking forward to other year-round events.

Nearby is Devil’s Tower National Monument standing 867 feet and not to be missed. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Dodge, when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower”. The first time I saw Devils Tower I was a child, traveling with my parents. I don’t remember if they told me about it; I just saw it as we came around a curve in the road. I was dumbstruck and pretty much still feel the same way today.

According to the Native American tribes of the Lakota, a group of girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower. When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the stars of the Pleiades.  There are similar versions from the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes.

In recent years, climbing Devils Tower has increased in popularity. The first known ascent of Devils Tower by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. Today, hundreds of climbers scale the sheer rock walls of Devils Tower each summer. I will NOT be attempting this activity.

Let the adventures begin! 

Friday Funnies

February 16th, 2018

It’s a little-known fact that the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang were specifically organized so they would coincide with the UK’s National Pun Day – an under-publicized event which took place on February 12. And a day which the International Olympic Committee are surprisingly keen to raise the profile of. Really.

After all, we all enjoy the Winter Olympics. From the jaw-dropping skills of the half-pipe to the excitement of the skiers and skeleton bobbers. This year seems to be the year of go-big-or-go-home snowboard big air as well! Another thing I enjoy nearly as much as the Winter Olympics is making bad puns about the Winter Olympics. Here it goes:

The Olympic skiing started really well but it was all downhill from there.

It turns out when the Russians said “dope” they weren’t just pretending to be cool in front of the snowboarders.

Fourth place in the Olympic luge? You win some, you luge some.

I’m a huge fan of Skeleton Bob. I liked Living Bob too, but he’s really mellowed out since he died and lost his flesh.

I went to the Winter Olympics with 3,000 cans of hair spray. Turns out Big Hair isn’t one of the events.

My favorite Winter Olympic event is the one where two opposing teams go on the ice, pass the puck to each other, pay each other compliments, and make everyone involved feel good about themselves. Nice hockey.

My friend has bought three snowboards and now he can’t stop. He’s on a very slippery slope.

The Speed Skaters refused to spend much money on equipment. Cheapskates.

Wishing you a pun filled weekend!

Valentines Day Love

February 14th, 2018

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about her sons upcoming Valentines Day party. She told me the night before she’s helped her sons get valentines ready for their preschool party. They had the typical cards, which featured a variety of bright characters, that must be pulled apart at perforated seams. Small heart stickers were included in the box to hold the folded cards together.

Chelsea said they were pushing the bedtime limit, sitting at the kitchen table in a circle of overhead light. Drake, five, laboriously printed his name over and over. His brother, three, attached heart stickers, while his daddy wrote BROCK on all his cards. Her job was licking all 68 envelopes.

Brock finished his stack first, and as he was leaving to go up to bed, he went over to Drake and stuck a red heart sticker on his brother’s shirt. Drake stopped his printing and looked at the small bright spot of color on his sleeve. “Look, Mom,” he said, “Brock gave me this. He must love me.” Aww! What a touching family moment.

Sometimes we grown-ups make love way more complicated than it needs to be. A simple gesture, a kind touch, an unexpected card can all say, “I care about you.” And, of course, so can a bright red heart sticker.

God loves us unconditionally every day. Pass that love along today to someone who needs it.

Sunday in South Dakota: Journey of Friendship

February 11th, 2018

The dictionary’s definition of a good friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. A real friend is there when you are struggling and need someone you can count on when times are tough. A true friend is someone difficult to find. I am incredibly fortunate to have such people in my life and I can only hope I’m as honorable of a friend as they are to me.

My friends are in various places, both geographically and economically. What makes these friendships so rare and precious is that they are trustworthy people, we’ve listened to each other through the years, we’ve offered good advice and support to each other when needed. Most of all we eat until stuffed and laugh until we cry together.

With technology today, I can keep in close contact with my friends. I deeply appreciate that while saying “goodbye for now” they demonstrated our friendship in special ways, each giving me their hearts, without resentment of my excitement over moving to Rapid City, SD and all the fresh opportunities that come along with the move. I know that they miss me as much as I miss them, but they want me to do well and will always be looking out for me. I am honestly humbled in this moment. (PS: I’m sorry I didn’t get photos of my neighbor John the best neighbor I ever wanted, Pam who has been a longtime friend and took sure good care of my things, Bob my mailman who has also been my personal favorite baker, Lenny who I always enjoy visiting, Andrea who I unexpectedly ran into at the Morikami, Valli & Paul, Bridget & her family, and Jack all of whom I wasn’t able to visit with for different reasons, Howard my movie buddy and Maria whose photo I took and lost. I also failed to photograph my Sisters & Brothers at St. John Missionary Baptist Church and the folks at the YMCA that opened their arms and welcomed me as if I’d never been absent. I thank you all.)

Take care of your friendships and commit to love them and hold them close as a most precious jewel.  

Bill Ross

Irina Veselovskaya

Jodi Pascuzzi: recruiter extraordinaire

New friend Mark Laliberte

B. Michael Paschkeyes

Patricia

Richie D’Angelo

William Murry

Last look at Atlantic Ocean

New beginning – thank you for all your well wishes

Dear friends Alexandre & Elaine

Friday Funnies

February 9th, 2018

Give me the beach please. One of the wonderful things about being at my favorite beaches include watching the sun rise, swimming in the salt water, warm breezes on my skin, and visiting with friends. The scent and sound of the ocean makes me happy to be alive. Happy enough to make up silly jokes for you!

Why don’t oysters give to charity?… Because they’re shellfish

What does a mermaid wear to math lessons?… An algae-bra

What did the Pacific Ocean say to the Atlantic Ocean?… Nothing, it just waved

What is a blue whale’s favorite James Bond Film?… License to Krill

What did one tidepool say to the other tidepool?… Show me your mussels

Where does seaweed look for a job?… In the ‘Kelp-wanted’ ads

A salmon walks into a vegetarian restaurant and the waiter says, “Sorry, we don’t serve fish.”

What did the beach say to the wave?… “Long tide, no sea.”

To all my Florida friends living near the ocean, I will always have you in my heart with a smile on my lips.

Sunday in South Florida: A Moving Experience

February 3rd, 2018

After living in South Florida for nearly two decades, I felt I would always return here to my friends and the ocean and the wetlands and the food and the …. You get the point. This whimsical coastal area is home, isn’t it?

That’s what I thought until a few months ago when everything changed. That’s when I realized I would be leaving my friends and moving to South Dakota. NOT temporarily traveling, but actually putting down roots in a new community.

It came time for visits and saying my goodbyes to all the people that I have known and loved in this community for 15+ years and its bittersweet. We’ll keep in touch, however that’s not the same as looking in each other’s eyes and laughing together at a movie or over a plate of chicken livers.

My friends and I have shared many grand adventures exploring unique nature and great restaurants across Palm Beach county. This week I have indulged in a few including visits to Johnny Mangoes, Gumbo Limbo, Fran’s Chicken Haven, Green Cay and Wakodahatchee.

Fran’s Chicken Haven – no frills, just good food

 

 

Bromeliad

Green Cay Nature Center overlooks 100 acres of manmade wetlands with 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk allowing visitors to enjoy the migratory birds and alligators safely. This is the 2nd constructed wetlands after Wakodahatchee opened in 1996 with ¾ mile boardwalk that crosses pond areas and is prime breeding area for wood storks. Each day, the Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps approximately two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wetlands, which in turn acts as a percolation pond, returning billions of gallons of fresh water back into the water table. I’ve put many miles in at both locations of the years with family & friends. http://discover.pbcgov.org/waterutilities/Pages/Wakodahatchee.aspx

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is another natural gem in Palm Beach County. This coastal preserve and training center covers 20 acres and is surrounded by a rare remnant of tropical hardwood hammock, located on a barrier island in Boca Raton. The preserve has changed much over the years and once included a tower that you could climb and view both the ocean and intracoastal waterway. Today the focus is mainly on sea turtle protection and includes a turtle hospital and release program. It’s a fun and informative place for families to enjoy. http://www.gumbolimbo.org/

I’ll be visiting Morikami with a dear friend next week, but I want to include it in today’s post. Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is a very special treasure in Delray Beach, Florida. I consistently maintained a membership and watched it expand into a premier destination founded on century old farmland owned by a Japanese colony that intended to revolutionize Florida agriculture. When it didn’t come to fruition many returned to Japan while Morikami stayed behind to fulfill his vision. Today the 1-acre park has strolling paths, a world-class bonsai collection, and lakes teaming with koi. I enjoy how each area flows into the next seamlessly while walking. It’s a very special place. https://morikami.org/

Moving is change. Change is difficult for most people. But I believe this move is going to be the experience of my lifetime. And I’m going to continue to encourage each of you to love one another and explore your outdoors.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: Black Hills Stock Show

January 28th, 2018

Sunday in South Dakota: Black Hills Stock Show

Rapid City became home to cowboys, horses, and wild western action during this weekend’s 60th Annual Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo. Some people might have hopped  a plane for Florida uesterday, but I’m sorry, I was NOT going to miss the Stock Show. The stock show is the 2nd largest event in the state of South Dakota behind the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Did I mention there are cowboys & horses involved?!

During the Stock Show weekend the Old West comes to town when area ranchers and cowboys came to town to compete in ten different breeds of cattle shows, rodeos and 14 different horse events. Honestly, I swear there was something for everyone and all ages including concerts. In a town who’s motto is “Do Big Things” this stock show is a BIG thing! And I am already looking forward to next year when I have more time to browse the booths and see more shows. A person could buy everything from chaps to saddles to full length ranch coats. So interesting.

In 1958, members of the Rapid City Chamber Ag Committee had a meeting at Rapid City Laundry to discuss a plan for a stock show that would incorporate rural lifestyles into the urban community of Rapid City. At that time only 12% of the population lived on farms or ranches and locals feared that someday ranchers would be an endangered species. With the hopes of protecting agriculture communities and lifestyles, planners made a commitment to preserve the western heritage in the state of South Dakota.

There was plenty of excitement, after all people needed something to do during the winter. Ranch wives shopped the vendors, along with demonstrations on cooking and sewing. The men were able to look at quality livestock and socialize with other people in the industry. Over 140 head of cattle were shown in the unheated buildings.

Today, the traditions of the Black Hills Stock Show continue with 10 breeds of cattle sales, a Truck Defender 2-day horse sale, the Hutchison Western Stallion Row along with over 300 vendors, and seminars to encourage both livestock producers, horse enthusiasts and the city folk to enjoy the western extravaganza.

I think ranchers are here to stay!

Look at the boots

2009 Rapid City Stock Show

Friday Funnies

January 26th, 2018

Do you have the temperament for spicy food? For some people, it just comes naturally to eat food that’s hotter than hot. For people like me, it’s like being asked to ingest poison. Here’s a words of wisdom: if you don’t particularly have a tolerance for spicy stuff, you shouldn’t sign up to judge spicy food contests. I shouldn’t have at work on Thursday. I left feeling HOT! HOT! HOT! I think you’ll agree this man was in over his head too when he agreed to sign up for this chili cook-off:

If you can read this whole story without laughing, then there’s no hope for you. I was crying by the end. This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in New Mexico.

“Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in… I was assured by the other two judges (Native New Mexicans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3.”

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

CHILI # 1 – MIKE’S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI

Judge # 1 — A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 — Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) — Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These New Mexicans are crazy.

CHILI # 2 – EL RANCHO’S AFTERBURNER CHILI

Judge # 1 — Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 — Exciting BBQflavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 — Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

CHILI # 3 – ALFREDO’S FAMOUS BURN DOWN THE BARN CHILI

Judge # 1 — Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge # 2 — A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 — Call the EPA. I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting red-faced from all of the beer.

CHILI # 4=2 0- BUBBA’S BLACK MAGIC

Judge # 1 — Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 — Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 — I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb. Woman is starting to look HOT … Just like this nuclear waste I’m eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

CHILI # 5 – LISA’S LEGAL LIP REMOVER

Judge # 1 — Meaty, strong chili. Jalapeno peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 — Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the jalapeno peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 — My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.  (This poor guy!)

CHILI # 6 – VARGA’S VERY VEGETARIAN VARIETY

Judge # 1 — Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 — The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 — My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.

CHILI # 7 – SUSAN’S SCREAMING SENSATION CHILI

Judge # 1 — A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 — Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment **I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 — You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing. It’s too painful. I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

CHILI # 8 – BIG TOM’S TOENAIL CURLING CHILI

Judge # 1 — The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 — This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor fella, wonder how he’d have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge # 3 — No report.

Thank goodness West Hills Chili #16 wasn’t quite that extreme! Have a great weekend. I’ll be off for two weeks during my move. Keep smiling though and be aware of anyone asking you to be a chili cook-off judge.

 

Devotions from the Black Hills: Uprooted

January 24th, 2018

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

The tall, strong trees growing along Rapid Creek look sturdy I can imagine the roots spreading out to form a firm foundation. But I’ve been told stories of the great Black Hills flood of 1972 when a flood wipes out not only trees, but everything in it’s path. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Black_Hills_flood Trees and debris washed downstream creating dams. The water turning logs into driftwood.

If the tree is carried all the way to the mouth of a creek where it empties into a river, it may float for a long time before washing up on the shore and becoming driftwood. Many artists prize driftwood. The bark and most of the limbs have usually been beaten off during the journey, and the log may have been naturally sanded into strange shapes. The wood can be used in a fire pit on the beach where family & friends might enjoy cooking, warmth and fellowship. Other driftwood protects a portion of the beach, gives shore birds a place to perch, or simply adds beauty to the scene.

We might find that our life, which seems stable and strong, may be suddenly uprooted. We may have to leave our familiar, comfortable surroundings and be thrust into the uncertainty of traveling. Perhaps we end up far away from (Florida) where we thought we were putting down roots. Life has some BIG changes.

While we sometimes have no control over events in our life, we can usually choose how to respond to them. We have the option of looking for ways to obey His will, grow and improve. Although the trials and turmoil are real and may be sorrowful, the restoration can be joyful. (Like moving to Rapid City) Eventually, like Job, we may find ourselves doing even better than before. When we look back, we may be amazed and very grateful to see how God used the upheaval on our journey for His glory and for our good.

The past four years have been an amazing journey born out of upheaval, and I am eternally grateful. I’m ready to see what’s in store for my on the new journey in Rapid City. Where is God taking you?

Phantom Thread

January 21st, 2018

Daniel Day Lewis adds a new extraordinary character to his gallery of extraordinary characters. All men and each one of them totally different and original men. From the gay punk rocker of “My Beautiful Launderette’ to Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln” Now Reynolds Woodcock, a true artist in the world of fashion Lewis portrays a man who lives his work as his only form of expression.

Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, Phantom Thread is the most unique romance film to come out in years. The screenplay is engaging and reminiscent of the classic suspense movies with beautiful cinematography and sound track. I didn’t want to blink, because the timeless beauty and sheer elegance that this film has is unparalleled. What kept me so engaged is the breathtaking cinematography shot on a 35mm camera, the outstanding performances from Daniel Day Lewis, and Vicky Kriceps and the amazing dialogue which keeps you immersed in the film playing on your instincts.

The complexity of Ryan Woodcock becomes totally accessible in Daniel Day Lewis’s eyes, with every move and every silence. Phantom Thread is a monumental, beautiful creation. His Alma – the Alma that he chooses – is played with matching intensity by Vicky Krieps and she’s a perfect framer/embracer/provocateur in a remarkable performance. Lesley Manville is equally chillingly perfect as his sister/gate keeper with an eye on everything.

Many people might think ”Oh, Phantom Thread is going to be another typical romance movie, this time about a dressmaker” so they might not watch it. If you feel that way, it’s your loss to miss this gratifying masterpiece film. It is a suspenseful romance film which has rarely been done before. You won’t want to look away from the screen on chance you’ll miss a single nuance.

I am already looking forward to renting it, so I can pour over it and see more of the delicate atmosphere and psychological details. It’s not for the general public that want a more visceral experience, but this film is one of the best movies to come out in the past 5 years and I highly recommend it for true film aficionados. Phantom Thread is elegant and unpredictable from beginning to deliciously Hitchcockian end. Thank you Daniel Day Lewis, what a way to end a career!

 

Friday Funnies

January 19th, 2018

Today fell apart from the get go! 1) First change at 7am when I swapped patient F for patient N. with another therapist 2) Second change my 10am patient D was taken to ER so I had an unexpected opening. 3) My 9am patient J didn’t show so I called her and she was still in bed and didn’t want to come at 10am. Another unexpected cancellation. 4) My original patient F was given back to me to fill in my 10am time slot, but at 10am he was headed to Rosary and I had to fit him in later. 5) The afternoon changed too with my 12:30 patient canceling for some reason, so I called my 2:30 patient D to come at 12:30. He could not but could come at 1:30. 6) Sixth change I contacted my 1:30pm patient I and asked if she would come at 12:30. Great. 7) 12:30 arrived and NO patient. I called patient I and she’d forgotten our conversation 2 hours prior! But she came down. 8) Final straw of the day was when my boss asked me on the way out if I could maybe change my airline ticket to leave 3 weeks later because they have too many people on vacation when I was going to Florida (to prepare for my move) and need me for coverage. WOW

All I can do is laugh! In fact this chaotic day inspired a few jokes, here is my list of ones I came up with : DISCLAIMER:  Some of these are far better than others. Don’t judge me.

I had a patient who was a dairy farmer… so I gave him a calf stretch.

I had a patient who was an engineer…. so I gave him bridges.

I had a patient who likes seafood… so I gave him clamshells.

I had a patient who said he likes spiders, so I gave him the powerweb.

I had a patient who said he likes horror films… so I gave him monster walks.

I had a patient who was a K9 officer…. so I gave him the downward dog stretch.

I had a patient who told me he was a pirate… so I gave him planks.

I had a patient who said one of the other therapists took her breath away… so I gave her diaphragmatic breathing exercises.

I had a patient who said he worked at the morgue…. so I gave him deadlifts.

I had a patient who said he was a window washer… so I gave him power cleans.

I had a patient who said he worked at a restaurant… so I gave him waiter’s tips.

I had a patient who was a clock maker… so I gave him pendulums.

I had a patient who said the front desk put him on hold… so I gave him isometrics.

I had a patient who said he was an orthodontist, so I gave him abdominal bracing.

Be kind to your therapist this week and keep laughing.

Devotions from the Black Hills: Moonlight on Snow

January 17th, 2018

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8: 3-4

Have you even seen snow-covered hills on a clear early morning under a full moon? The snow covered Black Hills reflect the moonlight so well that they practically glow. Although it’s normal to see the pine covered hills during daylight, to see them so visibly at night is startling and strange but in a nice way, like running into an old friend when you haven’t seen her in a while and weren’t expecting to see them.

If you can get away from the lights of town, moonlight and snow are a dazzling combination. The shadows are sharp,, and it’s amazing how well you can see! During the recent super moon I could have read a book by the light created from moonlight on the snow.

Genesis describes the creation of the moon on the fourth day. “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the  vault of the sky to give light on the earth”. When God reflected on what He had made that day, He said that it was good. And it is good! It’s AMAZING! How ingenious of God to design and create the solar system! He planned the complex pattern of seasons and weather that come together in moonlight and snow. It’s a phenomenal gift worthy of our praise.

The moon and snow are a brilliant combination, but add the Black Hills and you have a stunning trio.

Sunday in South Dakota: Custer State Game Lodge Hike

January 14th, 2018

This weekend guided hike started at the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center at Custer State Park. It was meant to be a snowshoe hike, but there wasn’t enough snow. No worries, I still looked forward to experiencing the solitude of winter in Custer State Park However there were approximately 100 others as we hiked on a trail overlooking Game Lodge Campground. The hike was a two miles long trail that parallels Grace Coolidge Creek and is geared toward the basics of identifying bobcat and mountain lion tracks in the snow.

The trail took us to the eastern limit of the Custer fire where we were given a lesson about the recent fires which were still smoldering and smelled horrible. Sadly 10 Bison had to be put down due to burns to their eyes and mouths. The remaining herd is being fed hay since the grasses they normally forge was burned by the 12 foot high flames. They require 20 large circular bales a day! Did I mention the area still smells? It’s an awful stench that is expected to be around until Spring revival. While the fire was devastating to the landscape, renewal and regeneration is at work under a blanket of healing snow.

Custer State Game Lodge: https://custerresorts.com/lodges-and-cabins/state-game-lodge/

Bobcat Tracks

Fire scorched trees. Trees will be left if only 70% burnt.

Our guide for the day

 

Friday Funnies

January 12th, 2018

Patience is a virtue, especially when you’re waiting for the punchline of a good joke. Every now and then in life, you’ll come across someone who feels the need to make you wait a few minutes until they get to the punchline. Sometimes it’s me …

So there was this man in Bulgaria who drove trains for a living. He loved his job. Driving a train had been his dream ever since he was a child. He loved to make the train go as fast as possible. Unfortunately, one day he was a little too reckless and caused a crash. He made it out, but a single person died. Well, needless to say, he went to court over this incident. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to death by electrocution. When the day of the execution came, he requested a single banana as his last meal. After eating the banana, he was strapped into the electric chair. The switch was flown, sparks flew, and smoke filled the air – but nothing happened. The man was perfectly fine.

Well, at the time, there was an old Bulgarian law that said a failed execution was a sign of divine intervention, so the man was allowed to go free. Somehow, he managed to get his old job back driving the train. Having not learned his lesson at all, he went right back to driving the train with reckless abandon. Once again, he caused a train to crash, this time killing two people. The trial went much the same as the first, resulting in a sentence of execution. For his final meal, the man requested two bananas. After eating the bananas, he was strapped into the electric chair. The switch was thrown, sparks flew, smoke filled the room – and the man was once again unharmed.

Well, this of course meant that he was free to go. And once again, he somehow managed to get his old job back. To what should have been the surprise of no one, he crashed yet another train and killed three people. And so he once again found himself being sentenced to death. On the day of his execution, he requested his final meal: three bananas.

“You know what? No,” said the executioner. “I’ve had it with you and your stupid bananas and walking out of here unharmed. I’m not giving you a thing to eat; we’re strapping you in and doing this now.” Well, it was against protocol, but the man was strapped in to the electric chair without a last meal. The switch was pulled, sparks flew, smoke filled the room – and the man was still unharmed. The executioner was speechless. The man looked at the executioner and said, “Oh, the bananas had nothing to do with it. I’m just a bad conductor.”

 

One day Einstein has to speak at an important science conference. On the way there, he tells his driver that looks a bit like him: “I’m sick of all these conferences. I always say the same things over and over!”

The driver agrees: “You’re right. As your driver, I attended all of them, and even though I don’t know anything about science, I could give the conference in your place.” “That’s a great idea!” says Einstein. “Let’s switch places then!”

So they switch clothes and as soon as they arrive, the driver dressed as Einstein goes on stage and starts giving the usual speech, while the real Einstein, dressed as the car driver, attends it. But in the crowd, there is one scientist who wants to impress everyone and thinks of a very difficult question to ask Einstein, hoping he won’t be able to respond. So this guy stands up and interrupts the conference by posing his very difficult question. The whole room goes silent, holding their breath, waiting for the response.

The driver looks at him, dead in the eye, and says :  “Sir, your question is so easy to answer that I’m going to let my driver reply to it for me.”

 

When NASA was preparing for the Apollo project, some of the training of the astronauts took place on a Navajo reservation. One day, a Navajo elder and his son were herding sheep and came across the space crew. The old man, who spoke only Navajo, asked a question that his son translated. “What are these guys in the big suits doing?”

A member of the crew said they were practicing for their trip to the moon. The old man got all excited and asked if he could send a message to the moon with the astronauts. Recognizing a promotional opportunity, the NASA folks found a tape recorder.

After the old man recorded his message, they asked his son to translate it. He refused. The NASA PR people brought the tape to the reservation, where the rest of the tribe listened and laughed, but refused to translate the elder’s message.

Finally, the NASA crew called in an official government translator. His translation of the old man’s message was: “Watch out for these guys; they have come to steal your land.”

 

Devotions from the Black Hills: Surviving Winter

January 10th, 2018

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it’s the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

This has been a record breaking winter along the eastern seaboard, and devastating in California. Meanwhile, in the Black Hills, snow-capped hills rise majestically over the wintry landscape, but the foxes, deer, and many other creatures face a challenge in surviving until Spring. Wolves and mountain lions scavenge all winter. The Bison and elk must forage for food. In the caves, bats have stored up reserves and are roosting together. The squirrels stay awake throughout the winter, eating food they stockpiled in a nest. Each creature’s coping mechanisms for the harsh weather are suited to its strengths and weaknesses.

God is so creative, isn’t He?! What care He put into making each animal a unique creation. That creativity is extended to us as well. The apostle Paul wrote about this at length in 1 Corinthians 12, comparing the church to a physical body. A whole and healthy body, functioning as God envisions requires variety. “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?…”

Our differences are not always a cause for concern or conflict. It takes all of us, using our gifts in various ways, to make His church whole and healthy. We need to embrace and celebrate that to survive this season.

I’m so grateful for all my friends and their unique gifts. I pray we’re guided to use our individual gifts in conjunction with others. Have a good winter!

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

January 7th, 2018

Decisions can be unusual in Rapid City. For example, I had to choose between going with a girlfriend to see Jumanji -OR- invite her to the local Outdoor Campus to attend a Women’s Goose Hunting course. The write up stated: “Bring a friend or meet new friends and learn how to hunt geese. Tips on hunting from pits, setting up decoys, firearm safety, proper clothing and gear, rules and regulations and licenses needed.”

Thankfully we decided to attend a lively, wholesome movie. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has broad performances, bloodless scares and self-empowering life lessons that don’t involve teaching me what I needed to kill an unsuspecting goose.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel, not a remake of the 1995 Jumanji movie with Robin Williams based on the book where players find their home invaded by predators. In this sequel four very different teens get whisked away into a cyberworld where they find themselves inhabiting their avatar bodies.

What’s amusing about this is seeing adult actors such as Dwayne Johnson gazing upon his huge biceps with the eyes of a meek teen, much like most of us do. And Jack Black crying out in horror at his squat reflection – the avatar of a blonde high school girl. While the diminutive Kevin Hart – the avatar of a kid built like a line backer – screams “Where’s the rest of me?” These characters have to learn and develop how to use their avatars while also learning to work together as a team to survive, which isn’t something they did as high schoolers.

I didn’t care when the CGI looked artificial because Jumanji is an artificial world. It’s fun to watch Johnson use the sight of his avatar body to teach himself not to run away from peril and give him courage. And Gillan who comes to terms with her inner fighter. Each hero has to mature and learn the lesson that they only get one life to live. How are they going to live it?  (even though the avatars get three)

Like everyone else, I was very skeptical of this film thinking the directors would attempt to recreate the original. However, I was either smiling or laughing the entire movie, as was the rest of the theater. Is it Citizen Kane? No. Was I going to the theater wanting to watch a drama that delved deep into the characters’ lives or leave the theater questioning? No. We left the theater entertained by both a good stand alone and a fitting fantastical sequel to what had come before.

I recommend for ages 13+.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.