The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Notes on Physical Presence (and not) from Earthen Vessels/Matthew Anderson and Hiding Behind the Screen/Scruton

Notes on what I marked in my copy of Earthen Vessels - Matthew Anderson -

Physical Presence with people/friends as opposed to online presentations with people/strangers.  
I hesitate to put it so bluntly (because I value the few "friendships" enjoyed because of this blog), but I think it's true that an "online" relationship with a person one does not, can not, share "time and space" with is not the same, can not be the same, as sitting down to coffee or taking a walk while becoming acquainted with a person.  I know part of "it" for me is my love language - time, and by that I mean attention - where I invest my time is where I share myself, my love.  It makes the most sense to "do that" with one's whole self. When it's done entirely in the mediated world I think there must be a lot left to the imagination ... I fill in the blanks left by your physical absence ... I'm probably getting an inaccurate picture of who you are.  I, equally unintentionally, am constrained by bodily absence to under-represent myself as well.  (This is "my font" - the other is copy and paste from the cited sources.) 

We are not present online - we present ourselves.
But in the mediated world, presentation will constantly threaten to overwhelm our bodily presence, invariably pushing the body to the margins. 
When humans gather face-to-face we take emotional (and sometimes physical) risks. Yet in a mediated world, those risks either go away or are significantly curtailed. Philosopher Roger Scruton made this point in an important essay in The New Atlantis. As he puts it:

           To a larger extent, life on the screen is risk-free: when we 
       click to enter some new domain, we risk nothing immediate
       in the way of physical danger, and our accountability to 
         others and risk of emotional embarrassment is attenuated. 

By way of contrast, when we walk in to a Starbucks and see the barista, we risk disclosure - by way of our bodily presence, the look on our face, the habitual nonverbal cue - that he or she will see something of our inner life without our realizing it. ~
pgs. 92 & 93

Physical presence makes possible a true communion of persons, a communion that requires a sharing of space and time.
Yet for us to be present does require something more than space and time. To be present is to be there in our whole person, both our internal and external dimensions. We are, in a sense, present with and towards others.

Scruton again:
What we are witnessing is a change in the attention that mediates and gives rise to friendship. In the once normal conditions of human contact, people became friends by being in each other's presence, understanding all the many subtle signals, verbal and bodily, whereby another testifies to his character, emotions, and intentions, and building affection and trust in tandem. Attention was fixed on the other - on his face, words, and gestures. And his nature as an embodied person was the focus of the friendly feelings he inspired. ~pg. 94

Hiding Behind the Screen  ~ Scruton/The New Atlantis

When I began searching for essays to help me understand "the disconnect" experienced, that I experience, in relationships which are "pen-pal-like", and/or long term-long distance friendships I thought Earthen Vessels may be just what I was looking for.  Instead, I find it to be more of a statement on various topics within transitioning Evangelical Christianity (in the USA).  It reads for me as a set of essays as someone tries to figure this out.  I did find Matthew Anderson's perspective helpful because he is about the age of my older adult children and I think he does a great job of clarifying trends within the culture of "their" faith.

I think I've noticed that some of what/how we believe (to be scriptural) is socially/culturally motivated or supported. Here's a simple example - in Colonial times I imagine tobacco consumption was not frowned on in christian circles as it is today ... or this ... as the author points out, how "the emerging church" (yet to be defined) views tattoos and (lol) loud music is entirely different  than the churches of yesteryear.

Anyway - moving on to a few of the ideas that Scruton puts forth in Hiding Behind the Screen.  And ... it's not that my people are hiding, they are as present as they can be, but the idea of  not entirely "present" is what I'm trying to think about ... because it does inject a unique dynamic into the friendship.

Quotes from his essay:

Human relations, and the self-image of the human being, have been profoundly affected by the Internet and by the ease with which images of other people can be summoned to the computer screen to become the objects of emotional attention. How should we conceptualize this change, and what is its effect on the psychic condition of those most given to constructing their world of interests and relationships through the screen? Is this change as damaging as many would have us believe, undermining our capacity for real relationships and placing a mere fantasy of relatedness in their stead? Or is it relatively harmless, as unproblematic as speaking to a friend on the telephone?
Real friendship shows itself in action and affection. The real friend is the one who comes to the rescue in your hour of need; who is there with comfort in adversity and who shares with you his own success. This is hard to do on the screen — the screen, after all, is primarily a locus of information, and is only a place of action insofar as communication is a form of action. Only words, and not hands or the things they carry, can reach from it to comfort the sufferer, to ward off an enemy’s blows, or to provide any of the tangible assets of friendship in a time of need.
What we are witnessing is a change in the attention that mediates and gives rise to friendship. In the once normal conditions of human contact, people became friends by being in each other’s presence, understanding all the many subtle signals, verbal and bodily, whereby another testifies to his character, emotions, and intentions, and building affection and trust in tandem. Attention was fixed on the other — on his face, words, and gestures. And his nature as an embodied person was the focus of the friendly feelings that he inspired. People building friendship in this way are strongly aware that they appear to the other as the other appears to them. The other’s face is a mirror in which they see their own. Precisely because attention is fixed on the other there is an opportunity for self-knowledge and self-discovery, for that expanding freedom in the presence of the other which is one of the joys of human life. 
When attention is fixed on the other as mediated by the screen, however, there is a marked shift in emphasis. For a start, I have my finger on the button; at any moment I can turn the image off, or click to arrive at some new encounter. The other is free in his own space, but he is not really free in myspace, over which I am the ultimate arbiter. I am not risking myself in the friendship to nearly the same extent as I risk myself when I meet the other face to face. Of course, the other may so grip my attention with his messages, images, and requests that I stay glued to the screen. Nevertheless, it is ultimately a screen that I am glued to, and not the face that I see in it. All interaction with the other is at a distance, and whether I am affected by it becomes to some extent a matter of my own choosing.
There grows between us a reduced-risk encounter, in which each is aware that the other is fundamentally withheld, sovereign within his impregnable cyber-castle.
All those ideas are contained in the term first introduced by the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte to denote the inner goal of a free personal life: Selbstbestimmung, self-determination or self-certainty. Hegel’s crucial claim is that the life of freedom and self-certainty can only be obtained through others. I become fully myself only in contexts which compel me to recognize that I am another in others’ eyes. I do not acquire my freedom and individuality and then, as it were, try them out in the world of human relations. It is only by entering that world, with its risks, conflicts, and responsibilities, that I come to know myself as free, to enjoy my own perspective and individuality, and to become a fulfilled person among persons.
We must come to an understanding, then, of what is at stake in the current worries concerning the Internet, avatars, and life on the screen. The first issue at stake is risk. We are rational beings, endowed with practical as well as theoretical reasoning. And our practical reasoning develops through our confrontation with risk and uncertainty. To a large extent, life on the screen is risk-free: when we click to enter some new domain, we risk nothing immediate in the way of physical danger, and our accountability to others and risk of emotional embarrassment is attenuated. This is vividly apparent in the case of pornography — and the addictive nature of pornography is familiar to all who have to work in counseling those whom it has brought to a state of distraught dependency. The porn addict gains some of the benefits of sexual excitement, without any of the normal costs; but the costs are part of what sex means, and by avoiding them, one is destroying in oneself the capacity for sexual attachment.
This is vividly apparent in the case of pornography...
Just a tiny note here...I'm really not thinking about's a good metaphor for the fantasy aspect, the "fill in the blanks with your preferences" created by physical absence, the potential pitfalls generateded by "not truly present in time and space" relationships.  Benefit without cost, "diminishing" one's need or capacity for more genuine, thus more meaningful, attachment.  As I refine my thinking here I recall "cheap grace"*.
Back to it:
In human relations, risk avoidance means the avoidance of accountability, the refusal to stand judged in another’s eyes, the refusal to come face to face with another person, to give oneself in whatever measure to him or her, and so to run the risk of rejection. Accountability is not something we should avoid; it is something we need to learn. Without it we can never acquire either the capacity to love or the virtue of justice. Other people will remain for us merely complex devices, to be negotiated in the way that animals are negotiated, for our own advantage and without opening the possibility of mutual judgment. Justice is the ability to see the other as having a claim on you, as being a free subject just as you are, and as demanding your accountability. To acquire this virtue you must learn the habit of face-to-face encounters, in which you solicit the other’s consent and cooperation rather than imposing your will. The retreat behind the screen is a way of retaining control over the encounter, while minimizing the need to acknowledge the other’s point of view.
*Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, February 20, 2017

My MacBook Pro seems to be kaput!  I've tried restarting it but ... Nada.  Later this week I'll try to get an appointment at the local Apple Store. (Update on that - after being on the charger overnight the laptop restarted without a glitch.  The battery must have been so depleted that it just couldn't start.  Noted that the green dot on the power connection was very faint initially and became stronger as it charged.  Basically I am just monitoring the power and not allowing it to dip below 30% ... and I think I may be on notice that the need for a replacement device is on the horizon.)

It feels "funny" to tap out notes on my iPad!

Somehow... And I don't know how ... This device has stored the pictures I've used over the years as my profile pic.
It will be fun to look at those in order. I guess from 2009 to current.
IFR (in a C172) with an old school timer on the yoke

Summer Camp "sweetie" pickup

A "right turn" was indicated but I was thinking about "off-roading"

In foyer with "beach" chest
I loved that sweater

Don't remember this pic, but my grey was really starting to shine

Climbing rose bush where the birds built their nest-
this pic was taken bc of that brown dress
delivered that day from bff

don't remember this pic at all

This pic I don't remember either, but I know it was
taken before some la-de-da event in support of husband's career
(University colors for lipstick and necklace)
That is definitely a game face.

just joy (in a lightsport)

Newport Beach
another event related to husband's career
(first cup of coffee smile there ...)

My brother had texted asking for a
"what's up right now pic" - this is that.
This was a before dinner party shot
for husband's career.
I can see the pain in my eyes
(because it was apparent that
my brother was running out of time)

this pic in front of a painting by one of my daughters
I don't actually "like" this pic of me - I think my
upper lip to nose spacing looks really weird,
but I committed to a face shot a month posting on this blog
this was what I had that month - 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Grace - Notes from Earthen Vessels - Grace

Notes on what I marked in my copy of Earthen Vessels - Matthew Anderson -

Grace is not a technique.
It is not a magical quality that God dispenses like a candy machine, or the power for self-actualization or personal peace and affluence.  It is not a lubricant to get the parts inside working properly.  And it is not a three-step program for self-improvement. When we treat grace that way, we surrender to the spirit of our age by fashioning ourselves and our bodies through our own efforts.  We don't use grace to shape ourselves - it shapes us into the image of the one who gives it. ~pg.27

I recently pooled a chat group of my oldest friends asking what do y'all think would be an important attribute/characteristic/quality/etc. to begin your 60s with ... what makes the 60s great? One friend answered I would propose grace. She went on to say grace encompasses several things including physical grace,the grace of forgiveness,the grace of knowing when to keep your mouth shut and the grace of knowing the best thing to say or do. The "in and out" on going conversation took a different turn after that one (and only) response.  Grace probably is the ultimate answer to that question.

Through grace - the presence of God himself is in our hearts and lives - it is not a technique, it does have a shape. And it looks like Jesus. ~pg.27

Christ is not only the pattern for our lives - he is also the power. ...
The reduction of our lives and morality to a "technique" is at the root of the malaise within the evangelical world. Sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Denton introduced the term moralist therapeutic deism to describe the dominant religion among young people in America. It is deistic because its God is not present or active in the world.  It is therapeutic because its benefits involve feeling "good, happy, secure, and at peace." And it is moralistic because it teaches that doing the right thing is central to having a "good and happy life." It is technique - the assertion of our wills on the world - applied to morality. pg.28

Unfortunately, evangelicals sometimes suffer from an anemic understanding of how grace shapes our lives. We alternate between playing the legalistic card when people attempt to draw lines about how Christians should or should not act, and playing the libertine card when others sanction their immoral actions with the gospel. We either have cheap grace or it doesn't exist at all. ~pg.28 A gospel ethic, though, is a normative account of how our lives conform to the pattern of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that is discerned and freely enacted by the power of the Spirit's indwelling presence.(*15 - Donovan's Resurrection and Moral Order is the key text here.)~pg. 29

So what does that mean Matthew Anderson asks ... and suggest that we reconsider and clarify three popular ways in which we talk about ethics:

First we need to guard against conflatulating our understanding of Christian freedom with our culture's premise that freedom is our absolute right to do whatever we want without harming others.
Second - and I put this forward tentatively - I suspect we need to rethink whether conscience is an adequate guide for how we live in the body. ... Specifically, if my conscience did not trouble me and the action in consideration was not explicitly commanded or prohibited in the Scripture, then I was "free" to move ahead. But if the conscience is a faculty like the mind or the heart, then it too is fallen - which means it needs to be brought into conformity with Scripture, the authoritative witness to the reality of Christ's death and resurrection, and is insufficient as a guide to how we should love our neighbors as ourselves.~pg.29

(In the margin I wrote - numbed conscience shaped by repetitive sin and societal norms. I believe that "repentance" is not just saying "I'm sorry",  it includes stopping doing whatever it is one is "sorry" for doing.)

Third, ... our experiences are an inadequate guide for determining how we should live ... . ...We must always evaluate our own circumstances and experiences in light of the authoritative Word of God. ~pg.30

Saturday, February 18, 2017

so - lets do the death thing ... #3 on the list

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

I believe that, it is what was given to me to believe - Christianity.  Had I been born in a different time or place I may not have had the opportunity to think about these words and the truths lived out behind them.  I am fortunate.

I believe in the resurrection of the body ... I don't know how that works, I don't even have a firm opinion of the when of that.  I do like to imagine my brothers reunited in "heaven" now ... laughing together ... but I don't know if they are actually still "asleep" while they await a resurrection of the body.  I've read a bit of the apocrypha ... so much to read so little time and quite frankly I could spend more time reading the Bible as  modern protestants know it so spending much time on the apocrypha doesn't feel right for me.  
Okay, just as an aside, in literature it seemed to me that a lot of pieces alluded to ideas which were widely know but of which I was ignorant ... several of those "themes" are represented in the apocrypha ... is it the inspired word of God?  Idk.  
So back to resurrection which is already a sidetrack to the general plan of this note ... I don't know when the resurrection of one's body takes place ... I do believe it's a cooler body then the incredibly cool ones we have now, not just the uncorruptable aspect, the fact of that, but the why of that as well - the why of that is going to be super cool. (I think Adam and Eve had that super cool type of body before the fall - I think sin unwrapped them from that body and I think that is why they "felt naked" ... no reason that I can remember to justify why I think that, I just do.) 

And changed the glory of the incorruptible God 
 into an image made like to corruptible man, 
and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 
Romans 1:23 KJ

and exchanged the glory of the immortal God 
for images made to look like a mortal human being 
and birds and animals and reptiles.
 Romans 1:23 NIV

so - whatever and when ever "that" is idk, but I would like to believe that the soul part of an individual is not resting (dead? asleep?  does my soul in its current form sleep?does it wake up when my body wakes up to go to the restroom in the middle of the night?  Is it "awake" when I am dreaming? ... ).  I would like to think/believe that my family is awake and experiencing cool stuff.  

Some people believe that our dead loved ones are still nearby our lives, like ... helping us.  I don't believe that myself.  It would be nice, but I'm hoping my guys have cooler stuff to occupy their time in eternity. I think they are done with this time and are "in" an entirely different time.  I don't think that they are aware of what's happening on this side of life as we know it.  

My mother was "seeing over there" during her last few hours. Was that real or just crazy cool brain chemistry - again, idk - but what she described was a group of people in a very pleasant environment.  As I listened to her I imagined that she was describing a very nice party. She recognized several of the people, one person she "saw" really surprised her ... she had imagined (hoped perhaps) that he would have to go to hell.  She "saw" a photographer at the party who was taking a picture of her as she sat in her hospital bed.  I "like" thinking that she was seeing into the next place her soul would be enjoying, maybe it was a welcome party for her.  Knowing my mother as I do, it is impossible for me to believe that she created or  "chose" that "vision" .  It wasn't what she would have imagined, what she would have most preferred.

I imagine my deceased loved ones "enjoying" themselves.  It's not as sad for me if they are enjoying themselves.

I think of Tommy more often than I do of the others.  I really thought he would be around to get old with.  I miss him.  I accept that I miss him.  

Yesterday reading Psalm 139:16: Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be 
I thought God definitely knows what is best. I leave it at that. Because all that stuff is unknowable. If I believe any of it I must believe that God is good and has good intentions.

For me, the hardest part was walking towards death with them.  

I'm going to try to get back to making notes here - I'm behind and I'd like to catch up.  Writing the words helps clarify my thoughts and reading back over what I've written helps me refine and focus on how I most want to "organize" myself.  That's funny - I collect myself here and sort myself out.

I don't know how I want to spend my time today.

1. notes on the book I just finished reading - EARTHEN VESSELS / Matthew Anderson who blogs at Mere Orthodoxy .  I've read a couple of essays there - undecided on what I think of the site. "Mere" always recalls Lewis as "Orthodoxy" will Chesterton.  Shoulders of giants ... . Anyway - linked for further consideration and possible enlightenment.

There were points in the book that I'd like to note.

2. This - Human Needs Test 
As humans we all have basic needs that we try to meet in our everyday lives.  Whether consciously or unconsciously we will try to fulfill the needs which are most important to us.  However, our quality of life can be affected by how we choose to do that.  We can try to fulfill our needs either in a negative and harmful way, or in a positive and empowering way.  If the way we try to meet those needs is not in line with our values then we will experience conflict and discontentment.  When we are able to align our needs with our highest values then we will feel more complete and fulfilled.

  1. (importance to me)
  2.   6         Certainty.  The need for security, stability, and reliability.
  3.   6.5      Uncertainty/Variety.  The need for change, stimulation, and challenge.
  4.   6         Significance.  The need to feel acknowledged, recogized, and valued.
  5. 10         Love and Connection.  The need to love and to feel loved, and to feel connected with others.
  6. 11.5      Growth.  The need to grow, improve, and develop, both in character and in spirit.
  7.   9               Contribution.  The need to give, to help others, and to make a difference.
3 Noticing that people are asking me how I think about, or "deal" with the deaths in my childhood family.  That question is coming up a lot lately and I'd like to share that forward in time for the sake of my own children.

This is not related to anything I've listed today - just happened - An old man (92) just showed up at the front door asking if it might be okay for him to walk along the river in our back yard and perhaps fly fish there as he used to do.  I invited him in and we spent a few minutes becoming acquainted.  He is a very cool old guy.  His wife passed recently (he barely choked that out), He entered WWII as an already degreed Chemical Engineer and flew for our country.  He said, with barely controlled anguish,  at one time practically every plane (bombers) that went up on mission from his squadron were shot down.  He remembers those days more clearly (and with tangible emotional pain) then he does more recent events.  He lite up remembering what a huge help the RedTails were at keeping the bombers safe.  My husband has walked him down to the river and I hope to have him in for lunch next week.  

My youngest needs some time with me so  I set this aside for now.  More on those three topics later -

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Thankful for "courage to try again"

I haven't been feeling good lately ... sickish in early January, no big deal, just enough to warrant a trip to the doctor for a Zpak, then just a weird "funk" for most of the days in January up until nowish.  Christmas was great - got to spend time with the kids and enjoyed seeing them share time with each other - I really like them, all of them.  Maybe the problem was starting a new year in this rental house.  I don't know.  It doesn't make sense to me how much I seem to want to live in my own home.  I do, but I don't know what that represents to me.  Part of it is  - the way I like (have liked) to spend my time is working around the house - fixing things or making them "better" - here is not a place for that.  I have a chair which needs reupholstered (it's in the on site storage building) - I could "do" that, but there's really (truly) no room for it in the house ... and that doesn't matter, we are not lacking in places to sit.

Actually, I viewed The Minimalist on NETFIX - very interesting.  Remember that scene from THE JERK where Steve Martin's character is leaving the Mansion and he says (something like) "I don't need this stuff!  I don't need any of this stuff! ...Except maybe this (picking up a lamp was it?) and walking, dragging his feet a bit farther he picks up something else, and this ... ? I don't think it's "the stuff" so much for me - I tend to prefer "less stuff" ... but I do seem to be longing for a place of my own again.  And ... I am angry about the way this landlord weasels out of repairing things in this house ... and I know there are legal ways to remedy that but ... I don't want to go there.  The shower pan in that tiny little shower which is the masterbath leaks ... leaks through the wall into a bedroom and a closet.  He says the repair quote is 2K and he basically doesn't want to have it fixed.  He wants the tile guys to come out and recaulk the floor of the shower (which the guys he sent to look at the problem said recalling it won't fix the leak - not my house, it's just my leak to deal with for now a n d they were supposed to be here to do that  three Saturday's ago.  The toilet in the 1/2 bath has the water value turned off because it leaks ... and the handle is broken ... it's been that way since we started renting here in June 2015 ... there are ten or more "little problems" like that with this house.  I have given up on getting him to have them repaired.  It's just not worth it to me.  I watch my step on the wooden deck ... soft rotten boards are everywhere in his "piece milled" former repairs.  I don't liked being "worked up" and honestly - it's not my house and doesn't matter that much ... it's annoying but maybe misplaced anger or maybe not worth being angry about at all. 

I have been grumpy about our situation here ... . 
My husband enjoys the view from his study (very much).  
He is working as hard (and long) as ever during retirement.  
Being an "expert" is rewarding.  
I "pictured" this time of life differently.

So.  I've been readjusting my perspective.  I don't know what to expect the next several months to look like, but I do know that I believe happiness is largely a choice ... and I tend to be a happy person.

I'm looking for what I can do to feel useful and challenged and happy.  
I'm looking for what's next for me.  
And I'm doing my best to shake off the cranky pants 
- lol - 
because that wet floor doesn't get to decide how my day's going to go!

I know there's something really cool that I'll love doing. 

I'm "used to" doing what I used to do.  I'm used to doing life the way I have done it.  I had envisioned what I thought this time would look like but I had the wrong picture in mind.  I was wrong. (lol) I realize that now.  Things are still in flux - like, we won't rent this house forever.  I think I can accept "how things are" and open my mind up to doing what I can do to make my days feel how I want them to feel. Maybe it's gonna be amazing.

Friday, February 3, 2017

This morning there were 20 or more deer down there by the river.  I'm starting to notice what goes on weather wise around when I see so many of them together.  It's more common to see them in groups of four or five.  Rain is in the forecast and I'm curious to see if that occurs when they are "ganged up".

Of particular fun of late - owls are hooting back and forth in the surrounding trees.  They hoot/coo beginning at dusk and I can hear them anytime I wake up during the night all the way to sunrise which is around 7:00 here.  I was visiting with a "bird spotter" (she counts birds for Cornell University) and she said it is mating season for owls.  She said that they call to each other.  I enjoy the sweetness of that.  I'm thinking about building an owl house for them ... all the examples I see on line look pretty simple to construct.
Last week I saw a hawk flying below and with a bunch of vultures.  That same day I chatted with a man who had like an 18" lens attached to his camera - he said he had heard there was a rare bird for this area being spotted and he hoped to capture a picture of him.  What kind of bird I asked - that hawk was his reply.  I told him that I had just noticed him flying with the buzzards a few minutes before.  He was very excited.  I like seeing birds but I don't get excited about them.

I'm actually wondering if not getting excited about anything is how I'm going to be now.  I haven't felt enthusiastic about anything lately.  Nothing seems very interesting.  I'm a little concerned about that because it's "not like me".  I really wish I could think of some hobby or activity to get interested in.  We had some neighbors over this week.


I cooked pork loin, Spanish rice and stuffed poblano peppers.
(fresh corn salsa, black beans, tomato, sweet potato, cheddar cheese  - rubbed peppers inside and out with olive oil before stuffing - 400 F for 20 minutes.  The parchment paper helped hold everything in place while the cheese melted.)

The lady neighbor brought up a thing called  - I'd never heard of that but it turns out to be an at least National type thing.  People set up "meet ups" to do stuff ... like birdwatching it turns out.  In my local area there are quite a few things to choose from.  I really don't like to admit it but none of them sound interesting to me.  There's a meeting on essential oils ... another is an organized motorcycle ride group ... ladies who walk together etc.  I'll keep  on looking at it, something will probably pop up.  My neighbor friend wants to go for a psychic reading "meet up".  JoLi Farms has posted a aquaponic/organic farming meet up.  The possibilities are varied!

we have taken the new pup out on the kayaks only once so far - hoped to go tomorrow, but it's going to be in the low 50's ... a bit to cold to take a chance on a spill!