Thursday, June 07, 2018

Fortune Tells

Sometimes the fortune that appears in a cookie is the right one--a message from the random beyond that rings true to a thing occurring in the center of your self or your choices.  Such it was a while back as the wife and I were at a Chinese restaurant and I found the message above.  Sure, the message might fit a wide number of people, but don't we see ourselves in the things that happen around us?  So there I am, being messaged by fortune that the course of my life is true. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Some Kind of Journey

Somehow the wife and I got it in our heads that we needed a big van/little RV to head across the country, although we have traveled well in our little BMW convertible.  The above unit has, as I have told friends, everything that can go wrong with a house and everything that can go wrong with a car all wrapped up in the same package.  But I think we may have an adventure trying it out. 

We have cleaned it up and repaired some of the things that weren't quite right, and the wife is working hard to make sure we are comfy in it.  She has discovered many sources online that tell about improvements made to such vans--Roadtrek vans made in Canada.  Ours is a 1999 Dodge 3500 Ram (one ton) van with a 318 motor.  It's got a lot of miles on it, but Roger's Service here in Madison gives it a thumbs up for traveling.  It seems ready to go. 
Among the things we've done to improve it:

  • installed a new cd/radio with bluetooth so we can plug in a phone to listen to all kinds of stuff. 
  • removed the old monitor hanging over the back bed
  • installed new carpeting up front
  • installed new vinyl in the back end
  • washed and repaired all the curtains so they function properly
  • mounted new tires in the front
  • mounted the rear-view mirror (found in a drawer)
  • cleaned all the seats and fabric and surfaces inside
  • changed the oil and air and oil filters
So far we've taken one short trip to Yankton's Lewis and Clarke Recreation Area, and the two nights there in the van were perfectly fine.  We were the smallest RV in the park!  (Ours is a 19 foot machine; Roadtrek made 17 and 21 foot versions.)  We also have plans for some other work before we hit the road.  But once we do, it will be without need for any more work around the house!  All our concerns will be contained within the walls of the van. 

As we go, we'll see what it's like to live the RV life, with the option of heading into the boondocks and setting up camp with our own power and water supplies.  It might drive us crazy, but it might be a whole lot of fun. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dolphins in the Mirror

I love this story about dolphins demonstrating self-cognition, the ability to recognize themselves as themselves in a mirror.  Not many animals (besides humans) can do this, and watching them makes it clear that these young dolphins seem to enjoy seeing their own reflections in the mirror! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Riding the Rollercoaster

There's the story of the cave, Plato's version of reality in which we're chained to the cave wall, watching the shadows of chairs, or, in some cases, the digital recreation of football players vying to gain points over opposing football players.  In the digital recreation of other people's lives, it's possible to view the digital recreation of the elevated heartbeat of a real human being.

Our hearts beat wildly for the players.  We breathe deep and should loudly in response to those remote views.  I like that our Vikings have won another game and get to play again next weekend, but we cheer for the men who wear the purple uniforms.  We get to know them, put our hopes in them and wish for the best.  But we know very little about them or what they stand for, what they represent.  They carry the flag of Minnesota, but most are not Minnesotans.  And I'm not a Minnesotan.  Most of the Minnesotans I know don't care all that much whether their football team wins or loses.

Still, it was a momentary joy to see the improbable come-from-behind win from a team that has taught us to watch in disappointment.  But not this weekend!   Skol!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Whitman and Dickinson Again

Today I get to talk again with a group of young people about a remarkable thing, a revolution in language that began to take place with the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson in the second half of the 19th century. 

Not many people get to do the same.  This is my job today, or at least part of it.  I spend fifty minutes with some young people and some poetry. 

A world is changing around us, with technology and culture and the environment, but the poems that these two figures managed to put together in their lifetimes will remain.  Whitman tells us that he sees us from his far vantage point.  Dickinson seems to see herself, and us, in a bog. 

In a time that seems to offer an option for every way of looking at the world, I appreciate the comfort of these two poets who recognized the changes in their own times and how an imagination can help us see a bigger picture.