Blue Moon Tonight

After a day of editing audio for podcasts, I had to sit outside around 7:45 p.m. to watch the Blue Moon come up over the mountains. It is always a treat and the weather has been warm and sunny. I love a full moon even if it means the werewolves will be out. Certainly the coyotes were out in force with a serenade across the valley shortly after 9 p.m.


At a distance….

Up close….

Ryan Express

I have long been an admirer of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan. While I believe there are several good people who could have been nominated for Vice President, he is my personal favorite. Some of the best lines from his speech last night in accepting the nomination are:

"College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life."

"That money wasn't just spent and wasted, it was borrowed, spent and wasted. Maybe the greatest waste of all was time."

"The president is just throwing away money . . . and he's pretty experienced at that."

"Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?"

"These past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What's missing is leadership in the White House"

"The man assumed office nearly four years ago. Isn't it about time he assumed responsibility?"

"President Obama is the kind of president who puts a promise on the record . . . and then calls that the record."

Music of Evangeline

I have been sorting and trying to put together an I DVD of our trip. That usually means a mix of photos, video, music and text/labels. In this situation, it takes a bit of organization, concentration, and time.
As I have mentioned, one of the trip highlights was watching a young Acadian girl rehearse her music for an upcoming festival near St. Bernard in Nova Scotia. She was lovely in her Evangeline costume and her play was spectacular to me. Please enjoy!

Blue Moon Month

I am going to continue the theme around Neal Armstrong tonight. This month is a Blue Moon month. There will be a full moon twice this month which is a circumstance that happens every 3 years or so. Right now, there is an almost full moon up in the sky to the east. There was a full moon on August 1 and another will occur August 31. Hopefully, I can get more photos.

There was today a letter shared that had three outstanding paragraphs Neal Armstrong had written. It is an inspiration for our future and also another way to look at those Horizons……………….

In my work I depended on many people. In space flight, whether it be a fellow crewman or a flight controller in mission control on Earth, I was often trusting that person with my life. When you depend on others, you want to be able to trust them. You’ll want to know that they say what they mean and they mean what they say. And they will want to feel the same about you. Your word should always be beyond question.

There is much uncertainty to life. Good health may be taken away from you without warning. Material possessions may be lost due to circumstances beyond your control. The one thing that cannot be taken from you without your consent is your character, which includes your beliefs, your ethics, and your principles. So guard them with care. They are your most valuable possessions.

The 21st century has much promise. Remarkable things may be created and achieved, and each of you will have the opportunity to play a role in achieving and creating a better world. I know you will true. Good luck. I wish I had your future.

Neil Armstrong

Man On The Moon

There are a number of postings showing up today about the speech written by William Safire in 1969 that Richard Nixon had in hand but did not have to give. This speech has been remembered due to the death of Neal Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

I was 17 and on a People to People tour of Europe when the first moon landing came about. My first memory was being at our hotel in Berlin Germany (in those days, divided into free and communist sides by the Berlin Wall). There was news coverage of the moon landing on an old television at the hotel showing the astronauts on the moon. Being so far from home and unable to understand German on the TV made it difficult to absorb the significance. It was only later in reading of the complexity of the landing does one understand the heroism and nature of our astronauts. I also remember this high point for our country in the news was also in counterpoint to a low of news of Teddy Kennedy’s behavior at Chappaquidick MA. The Lion of the Senate could not and should never overcome the disgrace of what happened that night in my opinion. From heroes to cowards in the news in such a short time period.

Back to the speech that never was spoken (and we can be thankful to God it never was)………….

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

Where are you tonight Neal Armstrong?

Homespun Missionary

Yesterday, while I was looking for some other books, I located a small volume I inherited title, “Joab Powell, Homespun Missionary”. It was copyrighted in 1935 and gives an overview of his life though the primary focus was really on his influence establishing a Baptist church network in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Uncle Joab as he was called (and he is my great-great-great grandfather) was born July 16, 1799 in the hill country of NE Tennessee. He married Ann Beeler and had 14 children, two who died young. They moved from Tennessee to Missouri, just outside Independence. When the Baptist church in the region went through a division in the early 1850’s, he moved with his family to western Oregon on the Oregon Trail in 1852. The family settled in different parts of the area and even one son near Prineville OR. I am descended from their son, Peter Powell, who had a donation land claim here in Berlin. Uncle Joab was fairly illiterate though had a great memory and with Ann reading scripture, he could memorize passages to share. He established Providence Church which is between here and Scio, Oregon. He and Ann are buried next to the church.

Joab Powell



Memorable First Sentences

There are those questions that make you think and engender others to share their thoughts too in answer. I read a blog post today on the blog, Richochet, that was written by Peter Robinson. He is a very interesting fellow who interviews many leading figures of our times. The interviews are fascinating discussions and certainly, he has to craft questions that enhance dialogue and therefore, learning. His question on this blog was about which books have individuals read, in this case, autobiographies, with memorable first sentences. One of his examples is the superb autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant. The comment section went on to include thoughts from members on their favorite first sentences. I jump into books so fast that I am past a first sentence in light year speed. So, I went back to see what LMM wrote for “Anne of Green Gables”. It is long, yet pulls you right in to the heart of the story about a girl and Avonlea.

“Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ ear drops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde’s Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof.”


Haunted Wood Hollow at Green Gables House

Moon Rising

Right now, as I sit and ponder what will I write about today on the computer, I can see a bright half moon in the sky at dusk. I always feel we have wonderful opportunities for sunrises here in Berlin and also the rise of the moon over the mountains. On many a clear night, I will sit outside and wait………wait for an increasing glow showing above some spot on the mountain ridge. Slowly, slowly, it will get brighter. Until one can see the start of a glowing full moon. It is a miracle in so many ways. A lodestone holding us to this piece of ground and the view we have here.


Art From Waste

I am not overall artistic though I can certainly appreciate art and those who live it. There was an article recently that some individuals have been able to salvage the solar tubes from Solyndra, the bankrupt solar energy company in N. California. They have been able to use them in a way that does make them strikingly beautiful art.



As it has probably come through, I love Scotland and its history. With my love of books, I tend to read about military history and also, historical fiction. Who could not love to read about a “brae Scottish laddie” in his kilt, with sporran, Skhien Dhu, and often times, a sword. Ah, and that accent!

I came across an interesting article today from someone who has studied medieval sword fighting and writes about how it is not like we think or it is often portrayed. It is good to get the real “skinny” on how this is done and good that there are craftsmen out there who do not want to let the art die and instead do what they can to bring it back. Maybe he is a character from a Lynn Kurland romance/time travel novel.

Warrior clansmen and their weapons

Land and Family History

Every now and then, one reads an article that tugs at one’s soul. It is bound up in your DNA and “institutional memories”. The current article in question is one from Victor Davis Hansen. VDH, as he is called, is a scholar, author, classicist, historian, and current affairs blogger. He is of a similar age to myself and probably holds many similar views on life, history, and politics. I love to read his work and respect his body of work (and him). He wrote an article about the history of the land where his family farm is located near Selma, California. Much of it covers the trials and tribulations of farming and what time and each generation faced due to change.

My great-great grandfather settled this area in 1852 when he came with his parents and siblings from Missouri over the Oregon Trail. This was a donation land claim. We now have 40 acres left of the original land claim and one always wonders if that can continue due to the challenges of family, work, and taxes. Is change so inevitable? Is there a way to ensure such history carries on? Or should one accept that change happens and may be for the best? All I know is that I am proud to state that my dad, grandmother, etc. were born and raised here. The family came to find new land and a place to practice their Baptist religion. Below is a picture of the house my Dad grew up in. It unfortunately burned down sometime around when he went into military service.


Brother's Keeper?

There are a lot of comments in this election season, especially from one side about fairness and social justice. How do we take care of the lesser of us. I am not of the persuasion that those who are well off are bad and do not offer support and charity to others. Possibly those who do speak so freely about this are less likely to help their own relatives when they are down. It is disturbing when the President is free to offer Other People’s Money or government dollars in such situations yet his own brother will not call on him for support because it is not available. Another instance of “Do as I say, not as I do”.

A Big Book Sale

The blog would not be complete without showing another child who seemed to enjoy the pizza party the other night. Nathan, David’s new nephew, is about 16 months old now and growing. He is usually a happy fellow whenever everyone gets together. He certainly had fun mashing the pizza pieces around. Happy

I can’t pass up the opportunity to mention a story that really hit my interest in books. The author, Larry McMurtry, has owned 4 used bookstores in the town of Archer City, Texas. Each building has thousands of books!
He recently held what he called the Last Book Sale to bring the numbers down as he closes up the bookstores. The books were sold in boxes of topic or interest type. Powell’s books seems to have left with scores of boxes of auctioned books. Mr. McMurtry hoped to turn this town into another Hay-on Wye, which I have visited three times in Wales (just over the border from England). It is the book lover’s paradise. His idea never panned out for Archer City. It would have been a wonderful dream and experience to attend this Last Book Sale. I just go to the modest ones here in Lebanon, though the sales at the library branch in Walnut Creek could be crazy with book buyers grabbing all the best books they could haul.

Kids Like Pizza Too

Just to show that Bob wasn’t the only one having birthday fun. Nicolas was enjoying pizza and marinara sauce (which he eats like soup) when he wasn’t playing with the big gaming machines and chasing zombies.


A Bobble Birthday

Today is Bob’s birthday. We usually don’t have any big birthday shindigs and they are often quiet.

Bob didn’t know until later in the day, though Mr. Suspicious KNEW that something was up. Renee’s grandmother’s birthday is tomorrow and the family planned a reunion get together at James Gang Pizza for family. We joined in since it is Bob’s birthday. It was fun and it was nice to have both David and Scott and extended families there to spend time with us. Renee got a raspberry creme cake and it was finished by all present. Very thoughtful of her to do this since I could not and try to keep hiding the surprise part (which never is with Mr. Suspicious).

All in all, we hope Bob had a good birthday and you can enjoy some cake too!



Today was another day of getting odds and ends done.

I must say I was proud of taking care of the odds and ends. I had to get the new-used Kodak photo printer I got at the yard sale up and software loaded and working on my HP laptop. Then, a 2 TB back up hard drive that I used for my Macbook laptop stopped reading. So that required a replacement and switching hard drives to accommodate all the computers. It pays to have a back up after the Macbook went “poof” a few weeks ago. Time Capsule worked great as a backup and way to look at what my original drive was like. Whew!

Really hot today, should be up to 100 degrees or better. Most likely the hottest day of the year. I like the sun though it makes it hard to sleep at night. Harder too for the dogs to be comfortable outdoors. When it is this hot, people are out splashing in water fountains like this scene from St. Louis last July.


Finally It Worked

Technology can be a challenge. Certainly it is this week. Verizon decides to change their data billing plan to a “share everything plan”. Right now I would vote for “share every headache plan” is a better term. My IPad needed to switch from a pre-paid credit card plan to one involving the share everything data. In the process, I lost my 3G data service to the IPad and it has taken 5 days to get it back to receiving 3G service. Wireless still worked, yet that would not allow me to use it in areas without wireless access. In the process, I had my apps, music, books, video, and photos wiped off the IPad. I spent more time than I could afford to give up on the phone and monitoring uploads and downloads to get somewhere with this.

I am getting it all back in some fashion though not exactly as before. I still have to get some photos on the IPad to share when I want to have the opportunity. Fortunately, the tablet does take some fair photos of its own. So, to just relax and have better thoughts after all this work, I will add in a photo of that David took of a hummingbird hovering over a watering hose in our parterre garden. I felt a bit of perilous hovering the past few days too.



This is a day I have been hoping to reach for the past month. The people contracted to cut our hay grass started cutting later in the afternoon. Due to the long dry spell, the grass in many areas was very dry, not green. We were worried about it being a fire hazard due to either an errant cigarette or a possible lightning strike if thunderstorms occurred. Plus, it always looks and feels cleaner to see the short grass. I like to be able to see the road and who may be coming up the driveway.

I do have fond memories of haying season when I was a youngster. My father would mow the fields with a side mower, rake it, and then bale it. Equipment was always tricky to keep running. It could be hot and dry work, usually dusty too. We would eat our lunch or take breaks out under the oak or fir trees. Dad would get his pickup or a tractor and trailer to pick up the bales with a hay crew. Bales would be cross-stacked 3 to 5 rows high, brought back to the barns and stacked in the lower floors or up the hay conveyor to the attic floors.

It is getting harder to find people to do this and especially the field around the house. We should think of other ways to use the land since this is less optimum year after year.


Conversation With Neighbors

One enjoyable part of spending some down time with your neighbors is getting to know them through conversation. What are their lives like lately……….work, home, garden, hobbies. As I talk with them, I realize further that we are blessed with good neighbors and friends. If we are in need or trouble, they will step forward to help us out. We would do the same in return. It is special to know that you have support and good people have your back.


Fire Station and Fire Corps

I sat down with Bob Thayer to discuss the importance of Fire Corps to our community, city, and county. Fire Corps is led by Kathy Fitzwater, a Berlin Community neighbor who lives on Upper Berlin Rd. To learn more about Fire Corp and its benefit to all of us, please click on the following podcast link and allow a little time for it to load (or right-click on the link to download it to your computer to play).


Fire Corp volunteer, Bob Thayer

Our local Fire Station is the center of our community. Captain Dan Hartman (one to the right) keeps this local fire station in tip top shape. He and his wife, Connie, make the station as accessible as possible to community gatherings. The fire station and volunteers help protect our homes, lower our insurance rates, and offer that gathering spot. Our volunteers, like Jared pictured with Dan, make this system work for the safety of all of us.

To demonstrate the importance of the Fire Station, the following is a photo of the local fire truck leaving the station to attend a fire call in Lebanon. There was an electrical fire under a house’s porch and the owners were fortunate to be home to see the smoke and call in a fire emergency. Here are our hard-working volunteers headed out.


Community Sale and Potluck

Furniture, tires, old farm tools, antiques, collectibles, jewelry, kid’s things……………….all came together for the third annual Berlin Community sale. We followed up with a potluck. Bring your grillin’ and a side dish. Lots of good food to go around, good company and conversation. Throw in a few fire trucks with a fire call…………think of lights, horn, and burning dust as the truck peels out. This is exciting for the kids and even the kidults present. If you want to see more pictures from that day.

Community Sale

Potluck Table

Calls, Calls, and More Calls

Most of today was spent on the phone playing catch up with Winn business and “where we are at” in certain tasks.

I am happy to report that we may have someone who would be an excellent selection that is interested in becoming President Elect of Winn and following behind my Presidency. Having some certainty to board development and the future is exciting. Who knows, maybe we can leave a legacy similar to Thomas Jefferson. Maybe………………..


Playing Catch Up

It is best to be honest and admit that most of the day was playing catch up on little tasks for Winn and home. A lot of it is spent on the computer or phone. We got our new microwave in so all these little tasks seem to help in the catching up process.

In the meantime, it might be fun to put a photo taken with my IPad of a little boy, Nicolas, at his 5th birthday party in May enjoying a tasty cupcake. Happy


Home Again, Home Again

First Class flight for two hours last night to get back to Portland. Paul Jones and his wife, from Woodburn, were on the flight. Surprise, was Margie Scherk on her way to Vancouver BC. So, at least there was a little conversation with people I knew before the flight took off.

Today is a catch up day. Lots of emails and details to work out. I could use some soothing food, drink, or music. Or maybe a secretary. Happy

PetCo Park in San Diego


It was special to be able to attend two hours of Conflict Competency with a group session lead by Jeff Thoren and Sally Stamp. I am pleased to call them friends and want to thank them for coaching me to learn more about myself and how to use conversation and coaching tools. It was interesting to see that the people I listened to in the group and in our small sessions had much the same issues as I do. What we can learn from each other!

Later, I enjoyed attending the AVMA Awards Luncheon. I had a chance to meet and interact with a number of people I know and like. Networking is rewarding and getting to know my colleagues is special. Here is a look at the “Winnie”, crystal cat award, that will go to Dr. Niels Pedersen for his awesome research work with cats.


Research Networking

Today was spent in a meeting and later, dinner, trying to move collaboration efforts forward on research. It is three steps back, sideways, and some options forward. I will have to work on a set of questions that can be used to see how we can find common ground to work for better research.

In the meantime, I loved the glow lamps that were out on the deck of the Midway. They seemed to light the way and hopefully I can think of them as a beacon lighting some answers our way.


The Midway

The AVMF had their annual function this evening on the de-commissioned aircraft carrier, USS Midway. There probably were several thousand people who attended through the evening at the AVMF event and later with the general AVMA event on the ship. It was a lovely evening on the deck. Two Navy helicopters flew over with AVMA and AVMF officers and their military canine escorts. Plus a military canine use demonstration was performed later. These animals are heroes to all of us on what they do and how they protect our military and country’s safety.

Here is Bob relaxing next to The Cat station where planes would be catapulted for their flights. Nothing like being able to “Listen to Bob”.


Seeing Old and New Friends

It was not easy getting up and around after some travel the day before. The convention center is about 4 blocks away and Petco Field is just 2 blocks. Baseball would be so much more fun than sitting in lectures. It was so nice to enjoy the ambience of San Diego. Lots of restaurants around our hotel, Hotel Solamar, in the Gaslamp quarter.

Bob took off on a rented bike to visit Balboa Park and have Vietnamese food for lunch. He said there are a lot of empty businesses and changes north of the trolley line. The vibrancy, activity, and tourist areas seem to have moved to the Gaslamp area and away from Horton Plaza and spots north of that.

I got to see some old friends who I have not spoken with in a few years and met knew ones that night while visiting Joan Miller at her condo near the Convention Center. What a view and a neat show of fireworks over the harbor and past the Marriott hotel.

Bob and Kim Thornton (author)


Catching Up

Today was a travel day. We got up EARLY to catch a 2.5 hour flight to San Diego. The flight went well, especially sitting in First Class. A real quiche breakfast instead of a breakfast cookie in the back rows. There was a marine cloud layer over San Diego when we landed which went away by late morning.

We hitched a cab ride down to Sea Port Village, a lovely spot, to wander around and eat lunch.We picked the Edgewater Pier restaurant along the harbor. They had a really tasty chicken taco salad that hit the spot. Sun, water, and a great view of the harbor. What could be better than watching the newest Destroyer, No. 110, the William P. Lawrence, come in with many hands on deck to its port of call. The ship was commissioned in July 2011 and is a 509 foot guided missile destroyer. This destroyer was one of the Portland Rose Festival ships visiting this last June. What a shame to have missed it.

William P. Lawrence DDG Destroyer

More in Lighthouses

Here is another version of a light house as we approached Prince Edward Island on the ferry.


Lighthouses are Cool

One thing we saw a lot of on our Maritimes vacation were Lighthouses. There are a number of lighthouses on the West Coast, especially along the Oregon coast. There are a number of books about the history of the lighthouses. I love their look and it was special to see so many different functioning Lighthouses around Nova Scotia and PEI.

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