Thursday, May 23, 2019

Kindle Edition of True Course is Finally Availalable

The Kindle Copy of True Course - Lessons From a Life Aloft is live today and I've lowered the price to $2.99 to make it easier to get a copy. I've had several friends who are NOT aviators and they said the loved it. Thank you for our continued support of my writing.   It takes a day or two for the Kindle page to merge with the paperback page in Amazon so the Kindle page will not yet show any reviews or sales rank, but below are some of the reviews of it and my writing.  Thank you for your continued support.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S74KFZ1/

-----
This is a book to use as a reward for yourself - to read a little at a time on evenings when the day has gone well. It is an introspection into one person's world of flight yet it carries truths for all those who have given their soul to the wonders and mysteries of the sky - and sometimes wonder why. - Rick Durden, Features Editor and Columnist, The Pilot's Lounge, for AVweb, the Internet Aviation Magazine
-----
This is a book by an accomplished human being (aviator, law enforcement and other life-and-death skills) who gave herself permission to be an extraordinary writer. The result is soul-deep essays and reflections on aviation and life. Many of her descriptions--poised somewhere between awe and aching-- stopped me in my tracks as she describes: "caught in a point in your mind between immobility and motion, the taste of empty air, the color of wind."  Every bit as good as Annie Dillard, whom Brigid leaves behind in her contrail. 
- Latayne C. Scott, award-winning author
-----
"Johnson is a gifted writer, in the traditional sense of what works of literature are like. She is an artist with words, painting beautiful pictures, rich with vibrant description."
- Viga Boland - Memoirabilia Magazine
-----
"Brigid Johnson is a multi-talented lady who has been there and done that. She IS an excellent role model for young ladies everywhere! Determined to succeed as a pilot, she jumped through all the hoops and became a commercial airline pilot before changing careers to take care of family. Her writing is evocative, soul searching, and captures the essence of flying and life in snippets that leave you wanting more."
- J.L. Curtis, Best-Selling Author of Rimworld - Stranded and the Grey Man Series
-----
"Johnson is a wonderful writer, like good scotch on a winter night."
- Michael Bane - Producer, Writer, Actor

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hit and Mrs.

I had my annual checkup a couple of weeks ago which includes the usual "female" type checks and cancer screenings. Since I have limited family history available- since I'm adopted- we watch things close. The basic medical went just fine, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers still what they were in my 30's which is great, but we had to wait for the cancer screen results in the mail.  Good news - I got the report--excellent health and clean cancer screens and left it for my husband on the dining room table as I left for work, leaving him a message on his work phone --"female checkup report is in and on the dining room table", as he was going to get home from work before me.

Unfortunately, in the dark, what I left was not the note from my doctor-- but the note from the dog walker who takes Abby the Lab out at lunchtime each day.

 I can only imagine his face as he read this--

Wednesday -  Nice! Colder than normal though! She pooped and frolicked!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Reaching Out

I know most of you have heard of Christopher Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013)

Christopher Scott Kyle was a United States Navy SEAL and sniper. He served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. He was awarded one Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals with "V" devices, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and numerous other unit and personal awards.

Kyle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009 and published his bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, in 2012. An eponymous film adaptation of Kyle's book, directed by Clint Eastwood, was released two years later. In 2013, Kyle was killed by a former Marine with PTSD that he was trying to help.

A hospital that deals with vets with PTSD and addiction has been established in Anchorage and with his family's blessing bears his name.  A wife of one of the gun bloggers in our community works there.  At her request, I sent a couple copies of my books for their patients to read (if you've read The Book of Barkley, I've dealt with PTSD among my team members and even myself due to the nature of the work).

https://chriskylepatriotshospital.com/

I found out there was a waiting list for my books, so I sent them a big box of them last week.

Thank you Chris Kyle Patriot's Hospital for what you do for our Veterans.
-Brigid

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A Toy! A Toy!

Our new rescue (from a puppy mill) Laralei played with her first toy. It's one that Frankie Furter sent to Abby.

The reason Abby Lab looks so concerned as Dad was making his sandwich in the kitchen which is now gated as Laralei likes to plop down right behind you, making a tripping hazard.  Abby was afraid with the gate she wouldn't get her daily little slice of cheese from the sandwich making.  (she did).

Laralei is getting lots of exercise (new to a dog that had been in a small pen her whole life) so she should trim down soon, but she is very happy to be here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Element of Surprise

One of my longtime readers and friend on Facebook who runs a laser business in Indiana surprised me with a sign for my office that I had mentioned in a FB exchange after I sent him an autographed copy of True Course. It was truly a kind gesture and much appreciated.

The elements are "made up"  as there is no "D", "R", or "J" on the Periodic Table of Elements but if you are a fan of Star Trek or the book Atlas Shrugged, you will get it.

Thank you Bob!

Dr. Johnson (otherwise known as Brigid)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

$360 Dog Bed with Memory Foam
 Rescue Dog that Prefers the Floor by the Box.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Laralei Arrives Home!

Meet and Greet.

Laralei has arrived, exactly (to the day) five years after we adopted Abby Lab who was a puppy mill dog. She was owned by breeders who surrendered her to Lab Rescue when she didn't produce enough puppies.  She's only 5 years old and purebred yellow Lab.

She's definitely going to be a Daddy's girl. (look at the hypersonic tail).
Her foster Mom brought her rabies tag and microchip info as well as all Vet updates since she was rescued.  She also left a full bag of her food so we could slowly change her over to the grain-free brand Abby Lab is on.

Her foster mom said she did great in the house, so curious about EVERYTHING (she'd never lived in a house) and one day she was printing something off in the other room and suddenly Laralei came running through the room with the printed paper in her mouth with a cry of Sparta!!! She's curious, but she doesn't chew stuff.

She plays really gently with Abby, who is loving the companionship and she went right in her crate while we made dinner. (I try and keep the dogs out of the kitchen when I have boiling water on the stove for pasta).
She just had a litter of puppies a few months ago but is in excellent health and a healthy weight.  Not all breeder dogs get into rescue cared for as well, but the dogs are starved for affection and attention and make great rescue dogs.  Thank you Chicagoland Lab Rescue!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Welcome to the Newest Member of the Johnson Household.

Welcome to the newest member of the Johnson household.  Meet Laralei. The photos were taken at her foster Mom's house and she will join us tomorrow.  She's a 92 pound 5-year-old breeding dog who was surrendered as she wasn't producing enough puppies.  Fortunately, she'd had decent vet care even if she lived in close quarters with minimal people contact, so she is well fed and very healthy.

I fell in love with her when I saw her post up on the rescue groups Facebook.  Her foster Mom said she has a goofy, gentle personality, loves kids and dogs, and loves to play fetch.

Abby was also a breeding dog.  They tend to be very loving and gentle.
My husband took time off from work so we could get a home inspection and after they talked to our references and our Vet we were approved. The volunteer brought over her very large retriever to see how Abby reacted and they were instant best friends. Abby loves other dogs.

She will be here tomorrow and a big Orvis bed is being air shipped to be here tomorrow so she has her own bed. And we have a crate for her if she needs it for overnight comfort.

I think we nailed the home inspection when in the spot usually reserved for a giant TV was a big dog crate and a pile of toys (we gave our TV away to make room for dog stuff).

Laralei was her name at the breeder's.  The foster Mom says she doesn't react to it, (very little human interaction) but we will keep it for now.  Abby and Laralei have a nice ring to it. Thank you Chicagoland Lab Rescue.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Revolvers And Cheesecake - A Girl's Best Friends

1999 Colt Magnum Carry.

A 357 powerhouse

Adrenalin Junkie Cheesecake

A chocolate covered espresso bean/cookie crust, filled with  cheesecake made of two kinds of dark chocolate with a dollop of espresso and a bare hint of  Madagascar vanilla.  Topped with a deep chocolate ganache and served with whipped cream and espresso sugar.

WEEEEEEEE!!

If you can find it, the Sharferbergs chocolate for the filling and ganache is worth it.  It's very complex, Figs and red wine, honey, and spice with just a hint of coffee. I'm not sure as to the spice, there's a bite that lingers on the tongue that stems off the natural bitterness of dark cocoa.  Cheaper chocolates will load up a bar with sugar to dull that taste,  Not this one.  It makes for a glorious cheesecake.

Go on make a batch, everyone has room for one last bite.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Updates

As I go into the weekend starting with a head cold and sore throat topping a lousy work week, which included the news of the shooting in Highlands Ranch, where both of my granddaughters attend school (they are fine), I have some things to say, to just make a short post.

First, Happy Mother's Day to all tomorrow and warm thoughts for those like myself who lost their mother way too young.

Secondly, thank you, folks, who have shared my new book and especially sent me an email or a FB message as to how much you are enjoying it as it hit #1 at Amazon.  I'm getting a bunch of copies directly from the publisher sent out to VA hospitals. (I was told there was one in Anchorage that has a waiting list for The Book of Barkley, so they were sent many  more copies). Those don't count in my Amazon sales numbers, obviously, but I can buy them for 50% off to ship in bulk.

Finally, since at 60 I can be considered officially "old" and cranky, I plan on going into my Monday work week like Otto above.

Otto is my hero.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

First Book Review

The First Book Review is in. From Rick Durden - renowned aviation attorney, author, and
  • Senior Editor, Aviation Consumer Magazine
  • Features Editor and Columnist, The Pilot's Lounge, for AVweb, the Internet Aviation Magazine
  • Contributor: AOPA Pilot Magazine, IFR Magazine, IFR Refresher Magazine, Plane and Pilot Magazine and Pilot Magazine, (UK)
"Five Stars.  This is a book to use as a reward for yourself - to read a little at a time on evenings when the day has gone well. It is an introspection into one person's world of flight yet it carries truths for all those who have given their soul to the wonders and mysteries of the sky - and sometimes wonder why.
In one of Johnson's comments to her flight students regarding the process and challenges of learning to fly, she adroitly summarizes what it takes to reach what is meaningful in life: ". . . the journey will not be quick, as no journey that leads to our soul's longing ever is."
The titles and arrangements of the chapters gave me a bit of the feel of reading Gibran's "The Prophet" updated to the 21st century and the majesties of humans moving about the skies. I liked her chapter "On Patience," something of great importance to pilots, but rarely mentioned as pilots tend to portray themselves as hard chargers, pausing for nothing. Johnson sees through that, recognizing that becoming a pilot is a complex, challenging ordeal that requires everything a person has and determination to achieve goals while accepting that, on top of it all, the learning takes time, "True patience is making the decision to keep on going when the going is difficult and slow".

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Labs and Hockey Pucks

Angel Barkley

A friend, who is a member of this outdoor forum, sent me this link about Labrador Retrievers and all they will eat.  It's hilarious.   https://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/13791951/all/unplugging-a-labrador

The thread is like a pinball game. It goes all over the place. You will learn the merits of canned pumpkin and that a Lab can ingest a hockey puck. Everything else is a bonus.

But I guarantee you will laugh.

Monday, May 6, 2019

What Are You Waiting For?

This Week Only - the #1 Amazon New Release True Course is only $10.85 for the Paperback. Save $6.00.

https://www.amazon.com/True-Course-Lessons-Life-Aloft/dp/1977211151/

Thanks to all of you that support my writing efforts. All sales go to Animal Rescue, Lutheran Church Charities K9 Comfort Dogs, and Search Dog Foundation.

Click to Enlarge and Read Book Description

Saturday, May 4, 2019

RIP Peter Mayhew - Actor, Animal Lover, And Barkley Supporter

Actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars series died this last week.  I met him through a rescue dog group that The Book of Barkley contributed to that he and his wife volunteered at.  I donated because a gal friend volunteered there and I  had no idea he was part of the group.   He was kind enough to take a photo with his autographed copy of TBOB to promote the sales.

After the picture posted it went to #1 in four countries which meant a LOT of donations to animal rescue.  Bless you, Peter.  You will be missed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

You Were Supposed to be Home HOURS Ago!

I was an hour late getting home from a meeting due to traffic and some localized flooding that closed one of the roads I normally travel on.

Needless to say, based on the location of the contents of my magazine/video basket and contents of the small office wastebasket, Abby Lab was NOT happy I arrived home post food o'clock.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

It's Finally Published

My Fifth Book is out and available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  The Kindle copy should be available in a few more days.

Jennifer Nichols, one of the HOTR fans, was a beta reader and said: "it's fantastic!"

https://www.amazon.com/True-Course-Lessons-Life-Aloft/dp/1977211151/
11151/

Monday, April 22, 2019

Guarding What Remains

Archaeologists dig wherever there are bones being sought.  Rock, soil, mountains, desert, the earth is a quiet repository for that which once walked the earth. But in any action that requires interaction with both the local cultures and mother earth, such work presents its own unique dangers.

There are areas of volcanoes and earthquakes, subterranean growls that only seismologists and dogs can hear, rumbling under the earth like trains passing beneath with soundless and unimaginable speed. There's water that sometimes gives up on demure deception and coy concealment, rushing over the banks, onto beaches, its surge as unexpected and sharp as barbed wire. There are creatures, of tooth and claw, who would take us out in a swipe of a literal or proverbial paw, our form no more to them than a meat pinata.

Still, they look, despite the dangers, for in the looking are the answers to questions we seem to have been born with, things many are unwilling to ask.
In Vietnam and Laos, archaeologists have dug for bones, coming home with stories to share with others in that and associated fields of study. A couple of them spoke of the issue with mines, as U.S. aircraft had dropped a fair number of them, designed to drop without detonating but enough to blow off a limb should one tangle with them. One, the BLU-42, known as the "spider mine", loaded with Composition B explosive, threw out six tripwires upon impact. With anti-disturbance and self destruct features, those spiders lay quiet, waiting for the unwary.

In that, and other parts of the world, there are diseases we don't see here, thanks to the research and development under a medical system in the U.S. that was run as a capitalistic venture, not a socialist one. I've returned from more than one place that required more shots than a new puppy, some with needles I could have knitted socks with.
In exploring the world, the past, there is always risk. You learn to bring the tools you need to do the work, and the tools you need to protect AS you work.

But there is so much learn by looking back, some of it painful, some of it enlightening, for what is change, but a revealing.  As a nation, I see the effects of refusing to look at, not just a country's past, but its present, including those that lead in such times. I'm a firm believer that everyone is going to screw up one notable thing personally or professionally, once in their life (raises hand). But in looking at the big picture, there are definite trends in a person' behavior, their past words, who they've associated with, that are the true barometer of their future intentions.

I see it in individuals, taking the easy path from their errors, covering up, cleaning up, no matter if blood is shed in the process, or if blood is never atoned, simply so that their suffering is lessened, their own reputation unsullied.

No one ever said it's easy. The Bible said Suffer the children to come unto me, but that was so that they would not suffer, the word bearing more than one meaning, as so many words may. Let the suffering that is hardship be for those that have passed out of childhood, into choice and sin, to bear that suffering so that the innocent can be born, undefiled, to grow up in a nation that remains free, as well, by their sacrifice.
I see it in our country. To look closely, to question is to be aware. It's easier to take the safe and easy way, to be naive, assuming that decisions made by those we empower to make them, ARE in our best interests, that lawmakers in gated communities with private security detail knowing more about evil than the law-abiding that walk the streets in fear. It's easier to believe the colorful stories on the news which often resemble used car sales more than journalism, "you don't want their car, you want our car, no don't look at the paperwork on it, you can read that after you buy. Why, well, because . . . Look, a fluffy unicorn!".

There are layers and layers of truth interwoven with the dirt.
Wrapped around an item I'd packed at my Dad's to be shipped to my home when his home finally sold is an old newspaper,  the print looming up crisp and cold, even as the pages begin to warm.  It's a small newspaper, it's a small town, no news of war or North Korea or any sort of threat against our world, just hails to the previous chief for yet another social program that's funded, by the account of most that read this missive, from dollars that somehow grow out on the lawn with the Easter eggs.

I save it to light the evenings fireplace, refusing to live in that world. If I wanted to go through life with blinders and a feedbag I'd have signed on to be Festus's Mule, not Marshall Dillon.  But I am happy to at least have a paper to light the fire, as the night's cold may still surprise. 

Whether we dig for the truth or cover it up, things change, often suddenly, soundlessly, leaving us in joyful or fearful tears or terrified, seeking words we wish our mouths could speak. It is in those moments we know what we are made of and what will break us, when what we counted on flees us, leaving us raw and exposed, moments in which we have nothing, or everything, in the knowledge of what remains.
A man who lived his whole life  under the fierce yellow sun of hard work and little sleep, finds himself with too much of one, and not the other, his means to earn a living contracted out to someone younger, someone who will work for less on foreign soil or simply dissolved, he but a pawn in a chess game of which the rules consist of simply power.  He continues to search for work, doomed with motion, joining countless silent avatars, driven by the despair of bravery whose freedoms are not just abated but spurned.  He is just 46 years old. 

A man, who has lived his entire life in service to his country, happily planning on retirement in 10 years, time for fishing and grandchildren, gets a diagnosis that changes everything. Instead of dreaming dreams of steelhead and Harleys, he spent his last days awake at night, breathing in the clean scent of his linens changed by the hands of the woman he trusts, and breathing out the dark and inscrutable thinking of his own body's betrayal. He was just 56  years old.
Walking the street is a young man, heading towards the nearest club to fund his escape with money he hasn't earned yet. He's got a degree on the wall, like that of thousands of others, skills for which there is emotion, but no need, the nation awash in soft handed ideals unsupported by backbone or reason. He cries out in the streets, someone owes him a job, the lifestyle of his parents, the generation before raised by the generation before, who knew the taste of sweat and dust and failed promise. He showed up, didn't he, so where is his trophy?  He is just 26 years old.

As Spring comes to the Midwest, back in the mountains of my family's home out West, the snow can still fly in the dark. For on late night skies, come sly winds that compress the earlier snows into a breakable crust that will sustain the weight of a skier or a snowboarder, and then suddenly, will not.

I put down the newspaper and open the evening news, all around me history's fluent past blowing words around us like flurries of snow, voices talking about how we've met the challenge, that all is well, when outside lay descending currents of a night that still roars.

There are things we can't control, the wind, the evil of man, the heart of another, or our own body's decline.  I've felt that too many times, standing somewhere in the night, brooding as a landmark, where the scream of the siren fades into the distance, the sound unnecessary, for there is no one for whom a quick transport was necessary.
That is why there is such comfort in those things affirmed in blood, words sown into the fabric of our country.  My right to fair representation,  my right to speak freely, without retribution, my right to defend myself and my family with the tools that I have.  If I have proven that I can not uphold myself in a manner fitting with the law and with the soundness of mind,  then I would expect my rights be restricted so I do not harm others. But my simply possessing that right, is not a threat.

I turn the TV off, hearing enough and I look out onto the ancient Spruce trees in the yard. Underneath one, a small tuft of flesh and fur, mouse perhaps, and alongside it, the feathered calling card of the one that dropped in for lunch.  Was it the small bird of prey that dined on the mouse?  Next to that small feather is a larger one, the much stronger bird that swooped down to prey on he that preys.  Eagles aren't into Noblesse oblige and mother nature can lie like a bitch.

I close the door, press home the bolt, an eye towards a little place in which my defense lay, in case someone storms the door.  I look around this home, a place I never expected to be, but in which I am strong.
Each day is a gift, but one that is not taken without a promise of the lawful to guard it with everything we have. We guard it quietly, steadfast and unyielding, not threatening, in a manner that is both triumph and affirmation.  We guard it in numbers that remain strong, even as the fabric of our beloved nation is tested, as are we.

Far away, from the city, comes the scream of a siren, rising towards its illusive crescendo, passing out of the periphery of sound, but remaining always, in the air.
 - Brigid

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Black and White

It's not considered "drinking alone" if the dog is home.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Ranch Brunch

Not your typical Brunch Burrito.

Buttermilk brined fried chicken tenders, tater tots, mozzarella and cheddar with bacon sour cream ranch dip in a big fresh tortilla. There was an orange in the room so it counts as a complete breakfast.

Yes, tater tots. "Tater Tot" is actually a registered trademark of Ore-Ida, the company that invented them in 1953.  The founders had an excess of potato scraps after making fries so rather than sell them as animal feed they added flour and seasoning, then sent the whole thing through an extruder and into the deep fryer and food history was made (in my opinion as I adore tater tots.)  Since it's Saturday when I forego healthy eating and eat like I was raised on the grounds of the State Fair, this really hit the spot

I use Schwan's Crispy Taters  - definitely my favorite brand.

For dry seasoning for the dip.

2 Tablespoons of dried parsley
1 teaspoon of dried dill
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon  dried pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix and store in an airtight container.  When ready to serve, add 1 Tablespoon of the spices to 1/2 cup sour cream to which two pieces of bacon are finely chopped and added.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

April 18, 2014

Five years ago on this date, Good Friday that year, he left me without saying goodbye.

I had just been out to visit him.  My Big Brother had moved in with Dad some months ago.  The doctors told him he was in remission last fall, he said, for how long, we did not know. But he had no job to return to with Defense cuts and couldn't afford to keep his home.  It was a good move though, for Dad, relieving us of the expense of a full-time home health provider, as Dad couldn't live on his own, even as he still refuses to live with a family that would welcome him.  He's outlived two children and two wives and said he would only leave his home when he ceases to breathe.

I visited as often as I could, using both vacation and sick time, there to provide for their care. There was always lots to do, meals to prepare and freeze, cleaning, flowerbeds and gutters and the stocking of supplies. We made no trips but for short drives, his planning such overnight outings with the whole family for when I was away, but it was OK, those dinners with just he and my brother and I. Big Bro and I could do things he needed to be done, and he seemed to like just having the time with just the two of us, sharing the memories of that home when Mom was still there. Between us we got Dad's bills paid, the budget drawn up, taxes completed, even if we ended up finishing it over the phone.

But my brother had concealed a secret.  Not being able to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act as the State's Exchange was having issues, too young for Tri-Care, and not being able to get into the V.A. he stopped treatment when cancer returned. It was a death sentence he didn't wish to burden us with as there was no cure, just perhaps, a delay of the inevitable for a few weeks or months, at great cost.

I understand now, in retrospect, knowing him as I do, yet, I so wish he'd been able to share his burden with me.

But had I been able to talk to him one last time, I wouldn't have asked him about doctors or insurance care, where Dad's insurance info was or what Dad did with the phone and cable bills or even where the spare keys were. I would have simply told him I loved him, and how much he meant to me, one more time.  But we never knew our last words would be just that. Our last words are often not said, our lives always coming up short for those measured statements which through all of our brief utterances were our lone and enduring hope. There is never enough time for those last words, of love, of faith, of fear or regret.
The words not said hung in the air the days after he left. They were days that seemed like a lifetime, and yet seemed like only moments, perhaps because I don't know if I ever really slept in that time, or if, for a moment, time itself shifted, holding me down at the moment, as G-forces did long ago in a jet aircraft in a steeply banked turn.  Time held still for me, but for my brother, it had overtaken him and moved ahead. All of his things, placed into Dad's house, now to be moved again, to charity, to our homes, to our hearts, medals and coins, and books and I probably don't want to know why he had a loaded flare gun hidden alongside his concealed carry piece. There were laughter and tears, there in so many pictures, of early days, and the freckled face of fatigue, memories of a strong, reliable man, the simple kind of man that is the cornerstone of great reputation, even if the world at large would not observe his passing with tears or trumpets.

There was such much to do, to organize, to communicate. So many people stopping at the house or church, to pay their respects.  There were church friends, Bro's best friend, who came to the service even though he lost his own mother the day prior, high school friends, Submariner friends, and Don and several of the guys from Electric Boat. Then, before I knew it, a service, a eulogy I remember writing, but could not utter, the minister reading it instead of his own message, there as the Easter Lilies on the alter drooped towards him, as if listening.  There were words, of Easter, of remembrance, works that will give us a sense of what meaning can be gained from pain and suffering, death and eternal life. Things some of us ignored for years, then, in moments self-awareness, truly hit home.
It hit home for me when I looked out the window of the little memorial structure where he would receive his military honors before interment and saw the uniforms outside, just prior to raising their guns to the skies.  I heard the guns before they were ever fired, not as sound, but as a tremor that passed over my body the way you will see a flag unfurl, before even the wind that moves it is felt.

We often go through life with our eyes half shut, brain functioning well at idle, senses dormant, getting through our days on autopilot.  For many, this sort of life is comforting, welcoming.  Then for some, not the incalculable majority, but many of us, there is a moment, a flash, when in a moment we truly know all that we've had, held there in the moment of its loss.

All that week long it had rained, never really ceasing, only diminishing to a gentle mist now and again.  Yet as we arrived at that place, where guns would be raised, and taps would be played, the clouds moved aside as if paying their own respects.  The rain stopped as we pulled into the gates, and when we gathered, the sun came out.  As the officers stood at salute, all was silent, no rain, no wind, only stillness, the sunlight on the pooled water, now sleeping,

The guns fired their salute, taps were played, and the Lord's Prayer was uttered.  Then one by one, hands were placed on a stone urn, one final goodbye that we could not bear to end, a moment of immobility that accentuated the utter isolation of this hilltop in which valor is laid to rest.
The moment I drew away, warm hand from cold stone, walking outside, the skies opened up again with heavy rain.  It was as if the heavens themselves wept, the rain enfolding us all the way home, mingling with our own tears. My hands clutched the three empty rounds that had been placed there, holding them so tight my nails dug into my flesh, not wanting to ever let them go.

Since that day, I have returned many a time to that hill, to the comfort of his ground, where the final stone is placed, to remember, the memorial being but the echo to his sound.

All around, I see the dead; in the small memorial at the spot in my hometown where two trains once collided,  in a sign erected in the memory of a local killed in a long-ago war. There's the little cross by the side of the road on my way home from work where another young soul left us. How important these undistinguished little memorials. Every death is a memory that ends here, yet continues on, life flowing on, sustained by love and faith. Such is the lesson

How thankful we are for these memorials, for the spirits smoke that stays with us after the candle has been blown out.  As I heard the taps, I realized that they signified distance, heard there in that first echo. The dead were not sleeping, they were gone. When the final taps were played, I no longer heard the echo, but I will always remember it, for the memory helps us hold on. After a while, an echo is enough.

His was a death that arrived on Good Friday, and it was a life celebrated there and remembered here now, in the week of Easter. For that is what Easter was, and is, to our family.  It's remembrance. It's the remembrance of a death that brings us life. Of sacrifice, of knowing that we will not be forgotten. Of the hope that after darkness there is light, inky comfort in the unknown.
 - Brigid

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

World's Shortest Range Review


I'm naming this one Nancy. She's really small, not particularly pretty and has a mean bite if crossed.   I don't think I'd vote for one of these. On the other hand, for something with a lousy sight picture she can do deadly damage up close, but there are a lot of firearms that can do that.

One of the fellows at the conservation club let me try it out.  The Keltec P3AT .380 acp. Fully loaded with 6 +1 in the barrel, she weighed 11.2 oz fully loaded.

I'll be back soon with a foodie post as soon as my hand quits hurting.

- Brigid

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Spring Greetings from Chiberia!

Are you sure this is mid April?
Looking for the Easter Polar Bear on the way home from church!
This was at 10:20.   It's been snowing heavily since that time.
You could see by the footprints and the missing peanuts on the cleared spot the squirrels had their breakfast while we were gone.

Abby wasted no time in rolling in it.





By noon, we had a couple more inches on the ground.  And a guest for lunch.
Do I smell peanuts?
 A quick look each way to make sure all is clear. . . .

Score!!!
Can you see me?