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On 2/22/12, I and my trusty Acura rolled over 222,222 miles.

Next stop – 250K!

Today is Memorial Day, the day we honor veterans who have died.  And those who still live and serve.

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I’m not big on publishing other people’s photos as the focus of a blog entry, but this is amazing.  The Grand Prismatic Spring, in Yellowstone.

Photo copyright Larry Mayer, Billings Gazette.

It’s interesting that on Superbowl Sunday, a day that is celebrated as much for parties and eating as much as it is for football, that my church launches a push to help feed starving children.

Kids Against Hunger is a program that uses volunteer labor and purchased ingredients to package up dry meals.  The food will be reconstituted with water, and contains the necessary ingredients to ward off malnutrition.  No government grants for this one – the charity and their helpers buy the rice, soy, and all the other stuff themselves.

And they are ramping up to do a million meal marathon at the end of February.  In four days, they are trying to pack a million meals, using three thousand volunteers.  I will be there a lot of that time, and my church will be there Saturday night.

If there’s a million meals coming out, there has to be the components of a million meals going in.  Our church is raising $18,000 to buy a semi truck-load of rice for this effort, and paying the processing fee for every donation that comes through that page.  If you give a hundred bucks, Kids Against Hunger gets a hundred bucks.  If you give a thousand, Connections will pay the $22.30 processing fee and KAH will get the full thou.

I have helped out at Kids Against Hunger at least four times before, doing everything from making boxes to packing food to taking pictures to fixing printers.  I’ll be helping out again at the end of the month.  You can help out now.  Please consider giving to Kids Against Hunger.  The donation is tax-deductible.  The help is priceless.

Connections and Kids Against Hunger

Bettie and I went out to see True Grit with our friend Max.  Dewey’s pizza before-hand, nice movie, and good discussion afterwards.  Max is the guy I’d most like to be stranded on a deserted island with.  Our discussions ranged from movie-making to Jon Stewart to Edward R. Murrow to finance, from Spam (the food) to car crashes to tithing to an unnamed French movie projectionist.

Good flick, long day, good night.

We had our Thanksgiving dinner today.  Yes, it is Christmas Eve, but we had turkey and dressing.  And cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes (with skins!), and butternut squash right from our own Meijer store, and glazed carrots, and beans and onions, and gravy, and biscuits, and butter.  A very full spread.

It was actually lunch.  And because Bettie and I both have a precise sense of exactly what time everything needs to happen, we ended up rushing through the meal before heading out to church for the Christmas Eve service.  Not the way we had intended to eat it.

After we got back, we had our dinner.  We loaded up our plates, stuck them in the oven, and enjoyed our supper together (with added apple butter!).  Bettie’s brother dropped off some goodies, and we gave him some of the dressing made the way their mom used to make it.  He went away smiling.

Then we opened some presents.  They said they were from Santa, but I recognize my parent’s handwriting.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for helping turn this house into a home.  You helped us move into our Finneytown house, including setting up our Christmas tree, and now you’re doing it again.  If this were a football game, you’d be penalized for running up the score.  It’s not a game, and you’re not keeping track of the score.  You are showing God’s love, and parental love, and both are appreciated more than Bettie and I express.  Thank you again, and always.

This is the first group of pictures of old cars Bettie and I happened to run across last year.  We were travelling through northeast Ohio when we saw this unlikely collection.

This set will focus on the organic side of the cars. The stuff that is or was growing, planned or unplanned, in and around the cars.

From inside the roof of one, a wooden support piece

This is the car it came from. Bettie, while green and alive, is not a part of the focus on cars.

Moss growing on the floor of the same car

A close-up

Moss peeking through the frame (I’m not counting the grass growing – that’s just collateral damage)

From a different car, the wooden upright seems to be growing green stuff towards the bottom.

And proof that we were really there, instead of snagging pictures from elsewhere

More to come.

If you’re going to mix up some batter and eat it instead of bake it, two pieces of advice:

1)  Use the little applesauce cups instead of eggs.  Eating raw eggs probably won’t kill you, but you’re risking a lot on “probably”.  The 3.9 ounce containers equal two eggs.  And can squeak by for three (add a bit more water).

2)  Cake mixes give a lot more volume than brownie mixes.  The texture is different – lighter and finer – but you get a lot more spoonfuls.

I’m thinking of creating a new blog category called “The Good Life”, just for posts like this.

I like India.  I spent a month there five years ago, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.  The people I met were uniformly polite, even the policeman who politely tried to shake me down for some perfume for his wife.  He was so nice about it that I didn’t understand what was happening until afterwards.  I didn’t have any perfume on me, and he wasn’t so crass as to ask for money.  There are virtues in ignorance, sometimes.

I have friends in India.  I work with Rahul and Abhishek daily, know their personalities, and appreciate them.  Others I have worked with in the past – Kuldeep, who I went to part of a movie with – I remember fondly.  And I have been in the houses of Durgesh and Dharma.

Hanu is a special friend.  He was my guide during my trip, and was wonderfully helpful.  He’s friendly

We did a 10K run together

and went to a wedding together

I met his wife and son

(His wife is a lawyer. Their son had not yet had his first haircut.)

and I invited him to my hotel room, returning the hospitality

One of the things I enjoy about my time in India was learning the language.  Yes, English is one of the official languages of India.  Just like Britain, though, we are two countries divided by a common language.

In American, we say tomorrow night, and so does India.  But where we say tonight, they say today night.  It’s logical, but it’s not how we do it.

We say do what is necessary to get something done.  They say do the needful.

I was reminded of these things when I read a story about the number of people killed by elephants in India.  It’s about one every five days.  Surprisingly high.  Also surprising are the little glitches in the written word.  They are English, and very understandable, but they are just a bit off from the American voice.

He informed that from 2004-05 till date total 366 people have killed by wild elephants

versus my rewrite

He said that in the last five years, 366 people have been killed by wild elephants

Nothing wrong with the original.  It communicates facts.  If I were forced to read/hear it all the time, or to write that way, it might be disagreeable.

And there’s the thing.  To the Indian ear, American sounds just a little off.  We don’t say things just right.

Although reading this makes me smile:

Dr.Srivastava informed that several steps are being taken by his department to reduce the man-elephant interface.

A catch-up blog entry on some food fun I’ve had over the past couple months.

This was from a clean-up day.  Biscuits, chicken, and bacon from the freezer, finished off a package of dried mashed potatoes, and made the gravy.  Tasted better than it sounds.  And it lasted two days.

Do-it-yourself spiders.  We had gotten some peanut butter fudge from fudge-making friends of ours.  I thought of butterscotch spiders.  I had the bag of noodles left over from.  It worked.

BLTs. I think they are my favorite food of summer.  We’ve had it multiple times, though not with ‘maters from our garden.  Some are coming, but are still green and growing.

Chilled M&Ms from Pigeon Forge. Don’t.  The Ms are thin-shelled (probably to avoid lawsuits from people cutting their mouths on the sharp shell shards.  Shocking!), but what is left isn’t an M&M.  Reminiscent of a super-sized M&M Mini.  Doesn’t work.  Take it from a professional M&M eater.

Herb Society picnic the Monday after Bettie’s birthday.  The other guy and I are guests, but we happily ate the fried chicken, deviled eggs, chips and dip, and various other food items.  Including chocolate cake at the end.

And even though it’s fall, the eating adventures aren’t over.  Stay tuned!