Musings by Grace (guest post)


December night,

warm and bright inside.

Fresh arroz on the table,

Peas, so delicious, make it


Baked pollo, spicy shrimp,

outside the snowflakes


A large white cake, sprinkled

with snowy sugar and


A happy family birthday.




Silence Has a Sound

Though you don’t notice for all the

noise around,

Silence has a sound.

The whisper-roaring you hear,

Every time you put a shell to your ear.

The Hush-shush of skis on snow,

The shifting of an ice flow.

Marching ant feet,

making something, to them, so sweet.

The pop, pop, pop of an octopus underwater.

The clip-clop , clip-clop of a relentless

horse trotter.

The crash-clang-bang of a fight with


The power of a few words.

The scritch-scratch of a pen,

Telling not where but when.

Silence is made up of all the

sounds in the world,


In on its self.

Silence has a sound.

Silence has a sound,

the world ’round.

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Exclusive: Sources: General Flynn ‘Wept’ As He Asked FBI to Spare Mike Flynn Jr

The noose tightens ever so much more.
The long, national nightmare of this last year may indeed be on its way to being over.
I fear we have a long journey ahead of us, but there is light ahead.

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The wheels of time

I am sure if I had a few extra seconds in my day I could go back through the archives of “Excerpts from the Diary of a MadRanchWife” and find words written at about this time each year, describing the melancholia that seems to descend upon my countenance.

We had a long discussion this morning about the conundrum we encounter each year at this time.  My daughter is living up to her mini-me status in yet another way.  She senses the passage of time as acutely as I do.  She is as melancholy as I when she steps outside and feels the need to add a sweater due to the autumnal chill.  She must also intuit the changing sunlight, the different arc the orb traces through the sky each day, the loss of the brightness as it travels overhead.

I told her how truly conflicted I am at this time each year…saddened at the waning days of summer (we have such a truly, short summer here), the loss of our beloved flower garden, the exit of our zinging hummingbird friends as they head south for warmer climes.  The regret at lists not completed, projects not even started, hikes not taken, books not read.

We talked about feeling despondent and powerless over time marching on, despite our very best efforts at attempting to lasso it and hold it still, long enough to eke out just one more day of summer, one more night of backyard camping, one more s’more, one more day sitting on the front porch smelling the flowers and watching the hummers dip and dive and fly crazily about.

And then we began the slow turn to musing about the myriad of wonders that fall brings, in all of its splendor.  We spy the beginnings of the leaf changes, first the ground cover, followed by the willows beginning their dance of rust and red, then the wild rose bushes, with their bright red rose hip berries and yellow-gold leaves.  Finally the aspens start, at the very tippy-top, with a few leaves sporting new colors, usually varying shades of gold.  I anticipate a lovely fall, bursting at the seams with varying hues, a result of the many rainy days in August.

We talk about the smell of fall–fallen leaves, musty earth.  We talk about the tastes of fall–the biggest, crispest, sweetest apples of the year.

And we both come to the inevitable conclusion that though we are loathe to leave summer, we welcome the autumn with open arms, with all of the awe it has to offer.

We make a pact to enjoy what each day has to offer, to try not to live with regrets for things not done.  We decide to be grateful for what we have before us, to not be saddened that the wheels of time continue turning, despite our best efforts to hold them still.

This is the blessing of my life–to be able to share with my daughter the bittersweet lessons of letting go and learning how to live in the moment.  I don’t always get it right, but knowing I have a kindred spirit to share my path helps to soothe my soul.  Knowing that her life has been entrusted to me, by the Universe, to guide and teach and shelter along the way helps me to look forward to trying to be a better person, a better mother.

Blessings be.


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These are the times that try men’s souls.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. ….

The above are the beginning lines from an essay titled “The Crisis” by Thomas Paine, written on December 23, 1776 and read to the troops at Valley Forge.  Paine writes in the essay about various battles, commanders, revolutionaries and their common struggles, in an attempt, I think, to “rally the troops.”  Now, some 240 years later, it would seem the words ring just as true.

I have excerpted several passages, the ones that seem to speak so directly to events of today.  It had been my thought to comment on each paragraph, drawing similarities to what we currently face as a nation.


I think, instead of inserting my own thoughts after some of Paine’s words, I’ll simply put the entirety of my excerpted passages so that you can read uninterrupted.  Paine’s words flow eloquently and one can imagine the troops massed at Valley Forge that cold December day, hearing these words meant to spur them on in the battle for the soul of the new nation.

Without further ado:

‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. …

Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. …

…that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire…..

…I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands;…

…It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death…

Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.…

…I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. …

By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils – a ravaged country – a depopulated city – habitations without safety, and slavery without hope – our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

Powerful, gut-wrenching words that unbelievably seem so appropriate for today, some 240 years later.  How can that be?  How can Thomas Paine’s words be applicable to today?   The American Revolution was fought and won and birthed our great nation.  The centuries turned, the country expanded, the times- they changed.  So much has happened since December 23, 1776 yet so much remains the same.

We are now massing in numbers to fight the tyranny of a leader, a government that seems hell-bent on putting their heel down on our backs.  We are forming groups who are banding together under the slogan of #TheResistance, empowering each and every one of us to dig deep, to find our voice, to rebel against those that seek to oppress us.

A most trite and hackneyed phrase–history repeats itself–has never seemed more evident than now.  As Paine writes above, it is frightening to see how rapidly a panic will move through the countryside.  Panic are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy.  Whew, that’s a loaded sentence that pains one to cogitate, ruminate a moment as to what exactly Paine is attempting to say.  Hypocrisy is exposed to the light of those who are sincerely panicking? Hmmm. An interesting way to suppose I have an inkling of an idea as to what he meant.

I would have to say I believe we are currently in a state of panic.  We are exposing much to the daylight and grappling with what the light has revealed.

How will we do?  Will we choose the perseverance and fortitude put forth by Paine above?  Or the cowardice and submission, giving in and giving up, throwing up our hands and saying “it’s too hard to fight all the time, I’m tired, we’ll never win anyway, my voice doesn’t matter.”

“Tis the business of little minds to shrink…”

He’s not mincing words there.  And we must not shrink from this fight either, 241 years later.  We must soldier on, we must find the courage to persevere.  We must not give in to the hate, to the divisiveness, to the tyranny that threatens to tear asunder the very fabric this country was stitched together with.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot must learn how to be all-weather!  This is not the time to stand idly by and think the work will be completed by others, to languish on the sidelines, not sure if there is anything to contribute.  This country was forged inch by inch by the blood, sweat and tears of those who have gone before us.  Those who felt a stirring deep inside their bones of the absolute belief in the power of the people.  The power of principles.  A rag-tag bunch of colonists banded together to fight for what they believed in.  If ever there was a story of the little guy against the giant, the American Revolution was certainly it.  Our Revolution birthed a nation, birthed heroes for that nation, and birthed the people to populate that nation.

I’m conflicted as to whether or not it’s a good thing that it is becoming increasingly obvious we need to muster ourselves for another round.  It seems to me our nation is under attack, and not just from a foreign enemy.  If we want the blood of our forefathers, the founding fathers, and every patriot who battled for every inch of this country to mean something, then it becomes imperative that we take a stand today.  If we believe that great harm is being done to this country and the ideals for which so many gave their lives so many years ago, then it is upon our shoulders the mantle lies.  We must take this responsibility and, as Paine writes, “lay our shoulders to the wheel…come forth and meet and repulse it.”

I am reminded of another’s famous words, told to his children frequently as they were growing up:

“To those who have been given much, much is expected in return.”   ~Joseph Kennedy

We, the people of this hallowed country, the United States of America, have been given much.  It was handed to us by those who fought with everything they had to create it.  We have many struggles here; the battles against us are many.  But, truth be told, many of these are  “first world problems,” a meme mocked around the world.  None of us gets a free ride and none of us should be allowed to take without giving in return.  We are blessed to be alive in this country, albeit with its many imperfections.  But again, #firstworldproblems.  To those of us who are able, those of us who have been given much, it is time to give in return.  My ancestors fought alongside General Washington.  I have a great(x many)-uncle who fought in the Civil War and died, wounded, as a POW in a Georgia prison.  At the age of 22.  My ancestors bled for this country.  I have been given much–the freedom they fought for.  Much is now expected from me in return.

The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.

This is not a time for shrinking.  This is a time for us to gather together and grow stronger so that our children and our children’s children and their children will be able to look back upon this time period in the history of this nation, and state, unequivocally, that we answered the call.  We summer soldiers and sunshine patriots smiled through the troubles and became braver and bolder and more courageous for it.  That we did justice to the sacrifices made by those who walked before us, that we honored the government they so carefully crafted, the documents they so diligently debated.   That is the story our children’s children’s children should tell.  That we stood up and did our duty as American patriots.

For these are the times that try men’s souls and we must succeed, as history has its eyes on us.

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Comey Day Cometh – Here’s What to Expect

Again, must read this and keep an open mind.

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Rabbit holes and conundrums ***UPDATE***

Usually about this time of the year I’m waxing philosophical about the creatures who come to dig holes in my yard. I pen great works about the ravages they have manifest, my struggles with attempts to convince them the grass is truly greener over yonder, and finally my complete and utter resignation to their complete and utter dominance of my landscape and, some days it seems, my serenity.

To date, these pesky, little varmints are here.  And they’re doing their darnedest to pepper my lawn with subterranean passages joined by large holes on the surface.

And once again, I am faced with a conundrum.  I do not want these creatures in my yard.  I have tried everything possible to discourage them from coming in, yet also offer ample reasons for them to return.  Thus, the conundrum.  There are a plethora of birds that visit here, either staying for the season or dropping in while they journey north and south.  I personally think we must get good reviews on Yelp as to the accommodations and amenities provided.  Said amenities include copious amounts of various and sundry birdie treats.  Black sunflower seed, peanut butter suet, thistle seed, orange marmalade for the orioles and oodles and oodles of yummy sugar water.  The pesky varmints aren’t after the orange marmalade or the sugar water, but the birdseed that has fallen out of the feeders above and been scattered on the ground below must surely seem like the Holy Grail.  At any given time of day, one can see a bat-guano crazy woman run out into the yard, yelling at the insouciant critters to “get out of MY YARD!!!!!!!!!!”  Said creatures scurry a couple of feet away, stand up on their hind legs and peer intently at the wild-haired, towel-waving lunatic.  Said lunatic stomps her foot a couple of times, utters a few profanities and then retreats back into her lair.  The creatures return to the previous business of scavenging.

The conundrum: the most obvious solution would be to stop providing reasons for the creatures to enter the yard.  Meaning, stop feeding the birds.  But we love the birds.  The birds love us.  Ok, that’s a bit of anthropomorphizing to be sure.  I have no earthly idea if the birds love us or not.  Or like us for that matter.  Or even acknowledge that we exist.  For all I know, the birds think the birdseed is like manna from heaven.  It just appears magically in the feeders whenever they are hungry.  Who knows.  I’m not a bird psychologist, nor a bird behaviorist.  Though I’m sure these type of professions do exist.

And now I’ve digressed.  The point was that I don’t know how to solve this problem.  We like having birds in the yard.  To do that, we must offer a smorgasbord of a menu to attract them.  In so doing, there will be the inevitable hangers-on, just like the groupies who follow bands around the country.  I must learn to take the bad (creatures who dig massive holes in my yard and create tunnels underneath that threaten to undermine every green tree left) with the good (many, many different species of birds alighting in the trees each day).

So I’d gotten to that point actually and only half-heartedly yelled at the damn gophers to “get out of my yard” the last few days.  Granted, it’s been snowing for a week now. !!!!!!!!!!!  And it’s very cold and very wet and who wants to be outside when it’s snowing in May?  Right. And don’t remind me of every other post I’ve written in which I’ve waxed poetic about snow and rain and precipitation and how necessary it is because we don’t want to experience a forest fire……………HA.  So that happened.  And per several of the firefighters, I’ll not need to worry about a fire for another 25 years.  So it can stop snowing now!!!!!!!!!!

I digress.  Yet again.

Basically, I’d let the damn gophers alone, because we were getting some beautiful birds showing up and I’m a sucker for pretty things.  I’m sort of preening myself when I think of the beauties that have been here this past week.  (As if I had something to do with their flight patterns or their desire to settle here or stop here on their way through.)

A Bullock’s oriole (male) who insists on attempting to drink out of the hummingbird feeders despite me hanging a custom-made oriole feeder right there, smack-dab in the middle of the yard.  If it was a snake, it would have bitten him.  Two hours I spent the other morning, in the snow, chasing that damn bird around, from the front to the back and  back to the front.  Just trying to entice him to the oriole feeder so he could take a drink.  Aaghhhh.  That was a cold, wet morning.  He’s eating the orange marmalade now, but still won’t touch the orange, or drink the sugar water.  What can you do? Horse, water, not so much.

The evening grosbeaks are really quite amazing with their black and bright yellow and white colorings.  They like the little bird feeder designed by Grace.  Maybe the colors of it? Maybe the black sunflower seeds inside?  Since I lack a degree in bird psychology, I’ll never know.

And then something unexpected happened.  Though, to be sure, nothing around here should be unexpected anymore.  A solid week of snow in late May, 65 degree days in March, hummingbirds arriving 10 days early…a lot of weird juju basically.

Two days ago, Buck started barking in the back yard.  It sounded like his “I’m lonely out here and I want a treat” bark, so I pitched Aengus out to keep him company.  A few seconds later I happened to look out the front window and to what should my wondering eyes appear, but…

Silly old bear.  Birdseed is for birds.

Followed by one of our resident foxes this afternoon.

What next, eh?

Conundrums.  To feed or not to feed the birds.  After much soul searching (something that goes on quite a lot here), I’ve come down on the side of “to feed.”  We’re studying infinitives and infinitive phrases in grammar right now, so this seemed apropos.

The fire on our mountain last summer consumed A LOT of habitat.  There are some areas in which green grass can be seen to be sprouting, but that’s from my vantage point of down here, looking far up there.  I cannot be certain what exactly is growing and whether or not it’s what the resident bird population used to feast on.  The mountain itself in other places is, for lack of a better word that doesn’t necessarily seem accurate, denuded.  Dark, burned, charred sticks are all that is left of the beautiful pine forest.  Granted, many of those trees were dead or dying from beetle kill, but it still provided necessary habitat.  The chickadees never returned.  I waited patiently all winter for my little mountain chickadees, but sadly, nary a one.  The pine siskins and rosy-headed finches have not arrived either.  A flock of red-winged blackbirds has taken up residence and their sweet songs each morning and evening are a harbinger of spring and summer.  The steady family of Stellar jays were around all winter, numbering roughly a dozen, but have moved on and only a few are alighting here these days.  We have a new addition to our community and these are a delight to watch: Audubon’s warblers.  Gorgeous, bright yellow chin and wing patches with streaks of white on tail feathers.  They weave and bob amongst the aspen leaves just budding out, searching for little things that fly.  (I had a picture, but it was too blurry & I deleted it.  Sorry.)

Well that was a wee bit of rambling.  I was headed into an explanation of my decision “to feed.”  The fire destroyed not only homes for the birds, but also food for the birds.  Birds are essential to our ecosystem.  We all fit in at certain points and places around the web of life.  No, my birdseed is not their natural diet.  But it is close and if it provides a little sustenance until the mountain can grow back enough to support them, then I’m going to err on the side of feeding.  (Note: see previous post about “Inappropriate Relationships.”)

The hummingbirds are back!!  In greater numbers than I thought I’d see.  The first couple showed up about a week and a half early, so I scrambled to get the feeders up.  Their zinging and chirping is music to my ears.  I lose great gobs of time each day watching in awe at their antics.  I’ve not taken any current pictures as it’s been snowing or raining every day for the last ten days and feeding time is usually cold and dreary.  I’m worried the cold will be too much for them, but as of last night, I’d have to estimate at least a hundred or more on the feeders at the same time, so maybe they’ll be just fine.

Now, for the rabbit holes.  I’ve spent the better part of the last couple of weeks down a few of them.  This post is long and math lessons are waiting, so now I cannot wax poetic about where I’ve been or what I’ve learned.  Suffice it to say I am faced with a conundrum as to what to believe.  Do I listen to the naysayers and those disparaging the work of others?  Do I jump down the rabbit hole and listen to my instincts as to who and what I think are competent, credible sources?  I’m not one to blindly give credence to conspiracy theories.  I have enough education behind me, most of it scientific, to understand the importance of not taking something only at face value, but instead reading, researching and learning as much as I can

(Sorry, lost my train of thought because I needed to yell at the radio because Trey Gowdy is being a smug a** about damn leaks.  aaaghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

Ok.  I’ll try to pick up my thought.

As I was writing, I think I have enough education behind me to be able to suss out what I believe to be facts versus just garbage.

I’ve been down some rabbit holes lately that I think might lead to something.  I reblogged a post here from Louise Mensch. *****Go to her site on your own as I’ve been warned the link I had previously leads to some rather disgusting garbage. (Thank you Mr. Seahorn.)

She has been pilloried in the mainstream media (and elsewhere) as a wing nut, wacko, crazy person peddling some ridiculous theories.

I, for one, don’t think she’s wacky and I don’t think the theories are ridiculous.  I think we would be wise to pay attention.  I reblogged one of her posts here because I think its important.  There is more afoot than what is reported on the nightly news by “trusted” news sources.  I stand by my beliefs.  Read her as you please.

And now I must delve into verbal phrases, fractions, decimals and Spanish.

Vaya con dios mis amigos y amigas.

Blessings be.




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“Trump’s Presidency Ended May 9th” – Hatch Getting Security Briefings

I have been silent on my blog about these issues, but find I can no longer be quiet.
I am reblogging this latest post from @LouiseMensch of so that you can start to read what I’ve been reading.
Louise Mensch has received enough blowback labeling her as an “unhinged British witch” for one thing and others mocking her for lauding conspiracy theories.
I believe she has the information necessary to write what she does, so I am reposting this here.
I would highly encourage anyone who reads this post to go to her site and read the other posts.
The information will 1)make you sick to your stomach, 2)blow your mind and finally, hopefully, 3)give you hope.
I know I’ve found a glimmer of that hope.
May the Universe bless this great country and help us to right the egregious wrongs that have been committed.

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