Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Reality that Lives in Fire

Forged in Fire (2015)
A Skilled Blade Smith

Ask yourself. What do the following have in common:

The Bachelor, Project Runway, Cake Wars,  Cupcake Wars, Ice Truck Drivers,  Civil War Gold, Trading Spaces, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars...

Reality shows, of course. The past decades have shown an explosion of everyday people and celebrities baring their souls in one way or another.  

We have discovered a reality show where the participants are skilled and dedicated to their profession. Nothing fancy happens here.  It is earthy, sharing a lifetime of honing their skills and passion. To call Forged in Fire a reality show is an insult because these are skilled men and women handling a forge, anvil, and hammer to draw out creations from red-hot glowing steel.

Creating knives and weapons from history is enlightening and enthralling. War and blood, fire and steel, millennia and today--all are wrapped up in this reality show. It is not advocating violence in any way. It is providing an eye to view how history itself was forged.

One forger said, "Failure is not fatal and success is not final." This statement sums up the character of these blade-smiths.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Leaving Legacies

Image result for dilapidated cemeteries
How to restore
When I write at my blog, Susan Kane, Writer (right bar, bridge) photos left to me by my parents, grandparents, and back are part of my thinking.  Why do I need to remember them?

Mainly because the stories told to me reach all the way back to the 1820s when my combined parentage were just settling into what became my home.  Their struggles became imprinted on my brain.  Their lives and characters also resonated with today's lives and characters.

One great-great grandfather traveled from Ohio to Illinois in order to settle his parents in our town, then named Monument.  In doing so, he had to leave his pregnant wife and one child.  "I'll be back" but he did not return.  Eventually, his brother returned to inform her that he had married another woman.  She too remarried. It was a time period when not everyone who headed West came back. (There are more details around this, much juicier details.)

His descendants in Monument (now renamed Nebo) mostly led Godly lives and positively affected those around them.

Image result for dilapidated cemeteries
Battlefield grave

What a legacy to leave!  And what a long-term story that won't fade or be forgotten! Yet, when one walks through a long abandoned cemetery, the names and lives led are faded out of memories, with only toppled over headstones marking that they had ever walked the lands surrounding them.

And yet, whoever viewed that grave in 1863, went on to live and leave their own places.  And those people led to more and more descendants, and someone among them will be remembered.

Find Us Faithful as sung by Steven Green

I sure hope my life and life's work won't end up being a toppled over and niche-covered stone. I pray that my descendants can talk about that Susan Peck Kane, way back when, and smile at my own faithfulness.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Just Read the Directions

DSC 3283
I can do this...
The following is some advice that all should follow to make lives easier.

   Read the directions first.

   Follow the directions.

Now this is the hard part.  No matter how many times one has assembled an IKEA product, no one is an expert.  No one can or should open an IKEA box, look at the parts, screws, and that one lonely Allen wrench…and then say, heck, I can do thisThen toss the directions (unread) aside, to proceed.

   After screwing up the whole process, take the object apart and read the directions this time.  Hopefully, your failure gone unobserved and no one is giggling. Hopefully, no screws are missing. If they have, you are in big trouble, especially if the Allen wrench is gone. Oh, man, this is bad.

Here is another bit of advice:

 Set the timer.
It does not matter what is being done.  If the directions say: Set the timer for 15 minutes to allow the glue to set.

This is also a hard part, as most assume that surely it was meant to say 45 minutes.  After all you are the adult here. When maybe an hour has passed and the project is finally checked, no profanity should be allowed.  It is your own damn fault.  Call the 1-800 number to see what can be done to un-stick the glue.

      Set the timer.

    If the cake directions say 35 minutes at 350°, then do it.  Do it.  Taking a burnt dry cake, covered with thick icing, to a family function will not disguise this error. This also applies to any cooked project, be it jello or a roast.

    Set the timer or else.   

I   When adding water to the pool, set the timer.  When 45 minutes should do it, and then forgetfully, let it go for an hour and a half, water will flow out onto the concrete, etc.  This, too, cannot be disguised. This also applies to any water-related activity. Water is unforgiving.

     Set the blasted timer.  
I   If a soccer-playing child is supposed to be picked up at 4 pm, and 5 pm rolls around, that child will catch a ride with some other parent. Most likely this parent didn't like you in the first place. This parent and other parents will think that the aforementioned parent is inept. Embarrassment is inevitable.  The child will also tell his other parent. Nothing ever remains secret.

   Read the directions and then make a decision to pay someone to do something for you.  

     Write down important stuff with your hand, paper, and pen.

    Write important stuff on an honest-to-God paper calendar. Smart phones are not always that smart and tend to need re-charging at bad moments. Pin info on the bulletin board, tape on the refrigerator, or write on a whiteboard.

OH, this list could go on and on.  It is suggested that one add to this list on their own, and then

Follow the directions.

P.S. This is a re-post from 2015. It is still applicable, one of those timeless posts.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Back When We Were Invincible

X-ray image of the back and pelvis
Lumbar region
As I stretch out on my recliner with ice packs on my lower right back, I recall the day I damaged my right lumbar vertebra.  It was January 12, 1987, when a rare ice storm had blanketed our town, leaving everything damp and slippery. 

Walking down stone steps carrying items for breakfast, my right foot slipped up and my right buttock slammed down.  It hit the steps hard, along with other parts as I rolled on down.

The resulting bruise was the size of a legal-sized envelope and as black as black could be.  Can't describe the pain, which lasted for a long time.  And now, thirty-one years later, I recline with ice pack on L-3 and a bottle of Ibuprofen on the counter. Didn't go to the doctor because the roads were impassable for three days. And doctors in Ireland were one to a town. A nurse friend looked at it, frowned and said to head to hospital if I felt a moving pain up, a clot.

Not black as black like mine

But this post is not about me.  It about all who live in this retirement community who also manage to experience their own ice packs and pain.

Lewis Pearce, an eighty-eight year old gentleman and friend, has had three knee surgeries. Walking with a cane, Lewis lights up when he relays what he enjoyed so much when he was eighteen. "I went skating every night and man, could I skate!" He could circle the rink, leaning over at the curve and sliding his hand along the floor. "I was as slick as that polished floor! And it was worth these crippled knees!"

Other residents talk about swing dancing at the USO every night.  One woman had a huge garden every year and drove a tractor to plow up the soil.  Another man rode a Harley, even after he skid out. Others did... They loved those experiences which enriched their lives and gave them memories about which to smile.

The worst was my mother, who worked alongside my father on the farm.  She did the work of a man.  In the last years of her life, I swear every bone in her body throbbed from over use and arthritis.  But this put food on her table for her family. She was invincible back then.

We all were young, thinking we were almost invincible.  And maybe we were in our own perspective.  And, it was worth it. 

Except for the fall where my fall has taken me out after many years, letting me know that I was young once, but even right after that, I was invincible in my own way.

Anyone out there who once knew invincibility?