'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgving

From all of us at the Six and DO households, we wish you and yours the very best this Thanksgiving.  We hope you had the chance to spend the day with friends and family, and to reflect on the blessing of your life.  Oh, and I hope the turkey was tasty!

~The DO

17 November 2014

Black... Tursday? Yea or Nay?

I think I'm fighting a losing battle.  I've long refused to shop on Thanksgiving day and it seems that I'm becoming one of the very few who does.  Opening the store at 5pm does not mean employes had the day with their families, anyone who has worked retail knows that entire day is dedicated to being prepared for those doors to open.  To shop on Thanksgiving is to doom those that could have spend their day thankful with their families to a day of work supporting the base desire to have more stuff.  Hey, I'm all for Christmas, presents, and capitalism, I'm just sad that it is at the expense of family and of being THANKFUL for what we already have.  Last year I broke my vow, and though we got good deals, I didn't feel... wholesome, I suppose.  I truly felt like I was supporting the wrong cause.  So, whether I'm the last to support the idea of a day of thanks and not of commerce, I have to stand my ground.  I take the pledge that no matter how good those deals, I will not shop on Thanksgiving day.

What about you all?  Am I crazy?  The lone voice of a fading age?  Will you be shopping this Thanksgiving day?

~The DO

15 October 2014

Boy Scouts and sexual orientation

(I have a link here for popcorn sales, details are at the end of the post)

So I had an interesting conversation the other day.  My son is in the Cub Scouts and we have been selling popcorn in the neighborhood (*you can order, too, if you want!  You can even order popcorn to be sent to the troops!!) and for the most part people have been excited to share their experiences and to help out.  Cute 8 year old face with an adorable speech, and in complete Class A uniform, he's hard to resist.  We even had an Eagle Scouts dad pass on his sons old aluminum frame backpack he'd used during camping. 

But not everyone is okay with the Scouts.  We had an older gentleman tell us that, though he supports the idea of scouting, he could not support the Boy Scouts themselves as they allow homosexuals to be members.  It was obvious nothing I was going to say would change his mind, but it's been something that has been bothering me since.  I figured if I put it out here I could get it out of my mind.  See, the problem I have with that argument is that there seems to be an assumption that gay members would have a dramatic impact on Scouting, but also assumes the reverse isn't true.  What I mean is, the assumption seems to be that allowing homosexuals in scouting would bring gay culture into the program and negatively influence the boys.  Boys will learn to be men, somehow and from someone.  Excluding them from the Boy Scouts only limits where they can go to learn how to be men, and leaves a much more disturbing community for them to go to, the gay community.

I'll be honest, the hard-core gay community bothers me.  Not because of their bedroom activities but because of their aggressiveness in pushing their lifestyle.  Certain areas and certain "parades" in San Francisco are notorious for their brazen and disturbing behavior.  What is better, then?  To have boys and men feel that they are not accepted in Scouting and to look for a place they are accepted and to end up in some version of the gay community?  Scouting teaches boys to be patriotic, the leftist world of the gay community teaches socialism.  The Scouts promotes self-reliance and team work, the gay community promotes victim-hood.  Which do we want to foster in the next generation, gay or straight? 

While I appreciate that this man has his beliefs on religion and abnormal behavior, the fact is Scouting is there to build capable, responsible men.  As for the adults, these boys need men in their lives who can demonstrate moral behavior and self-reliance regardless of who their significant other is.  The Scouts has a very thorough program in place to minimize any inappropriate behavior, including making sure no child sleeps in a tent with an adult not his parent and a clear no one-on-one contact rule.  So, again, the abuse of years past came not from gay members but from men who were willing to destroy children.  I will not make the case that the two are the same.  These men were looking for victims, and openly gay leaders simply want to help children grow.

Can they be one in the same?  Sure.  I'm sure many abusers were gay, but that is not causality.  Nor was it this man's point.  His point was they were gay.  Period.  Being gay is unacceptable, and so because the Scouts allow a sinning member in their ranks he was unsupportive.   I hate to tell you all, but I'm a sinner.  I would hope that wouldn't stop you from supporting an organization that helps boys become helpful members of society. 

So what do you all think?  Am I completely off base?  Do some of you have the same issue as he, and can you help me understand why?  I just want these men and boys to be a part of an organization trying to make America better, and not part of a community trying to destroy it one bakery at a time.

~The DO

*(As stated above, we have popcorn if you would like to support the Scouts.  For full disclosure, 70%  percent goes to local Scouting and part does go to my son to help pay for activities like camping and supplies.  The BSA also has an option to buy popcorn they will send to the troops, if that is more your style. If you are interested here is the link. 

 POPCORN

Thank you so much for you support!!)

24 September 2014

DO here

The Six is still contemplating his directions, but I came across a video I felt I just had to share.  As a woman I've been at odds and uncomfortable with the shrill feminists ideologies and arguments.  This video sums up exactly my arguments.  As a veteran of the military, and a college graduate, I did not allow myself to be forced into a stereotypical role when I chose to stay home with my kids.  On the contrary, I fought for it.  My feminism brainwashed husband felt, not that my place was in my home, but my place was in the workplace earning equal money to support the family.  Yet that story is poo pooed by the typical feminist, and I'm called any number of harsh names.  As I don't support their paradigm, I'm the enemy.



~The DO

22 June 2014

Summer Vacation

When Murphy's Law was here we discussed blogging in general and this one in particular. I indicated that I was strongly leaning toward stopping. He encouraged me to continue and listed his reasons. I respect him, both as a friend and fellow blogger, but...

I'm burnt out. I'm having trouble just tending to this blog much less writing anything useful or interesting. It's nothing I can point my finger at, just the sense that I'm done.

But in the interest of making sure and as a nod to ML I'll hold off making a final decision for a bit. Instead I'm taking the Summer off. My daughter and grandkids are here and the grandkids are staying through August.

When they return home I'll dust off the blog and we'll see where I am. That will give me a chance to decide whether or not I want to continue. I hope you all understand and will forgive me. Call it a funk, writer's block, what have you but I need to tend to my soul for a bit.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has read my scribblings and graced me with your love and input. I appreciate all of you more than I can say or ever repay.

Stay safe all of you and remember what is most important in each of your lives. You have meant the world to me. If I'm lucky I'll find my muse again. If not then I won't. Life is what it is my friends.
Six

15 June 2014

Sunday Kipling - Father's Day Edition

ML came and shot a class with me last weekend (as many of you know). It was great and I'll write something up on it this week. It was great hosting and getting to know him.

More repairs on the Ford. At 10 years old and 120,000 miles it may at last be time to consider getting something new. It's starting to cost me a bit to keep it up to speed.

Lu is good. The DO and grandkids will be here on Tuesday. Cannot wait!

We bought the materials for the new sunshade frame yesterday. Better than 500 bucks worth. Ouch! Look for a couple of posts on our next (and hopefully last for the Summer) project.

Angus is really doing well. Energetic, happy and full of life. He loved ML btw. Go figure. Of course the very first thing ML did when they met was to hand Angus a toy. Almost like he knows a little about dogs or something.

A Happy Father's Day to my son in law, AFSon, and to all the dads out there. This country would not exist without you. Here's to ya!
 Six
(And the poem is The Knife and the Naked Chalk, not Naked Chick. Guys. Amiright?)

Song of the Men's Side

Neolithic

"The Knife and the Naked Chalk"
-- Rewards and Fairies
    Once we feared The Beast--when he followed us we ran,
      Ran very fast though we knew
    It was not right that The Beast should master Man;
      But what could we Flint-workers do?
    The Beast only grinned at our spears round his ears--
      Grinned at the hammers that we made;
    But now we will hunt him for the life with the Knife--
       And this is the Buyer of the Blade!

         Room for  his shadow on the grass--let it pass!
            To left and right-stand clear!
         This is the Buyer of the Blade--be afraid!
           This is the great god Tyr!

    Tyr thought hard till he hammered our a plan,
      For he knew it was not right
    (And it is not right) that The Beast should master Man;
      So he went to the Children of the Night.
    He begged a Magic Knife of their make for our sake.
      When he begged for the Knife they said:
    "The price of the Knife you would buy is an eye!"
      And that was the price he paid.

         Tell it to the Barrows of the Dead--run ahead!
            Shout it so the Women's Side can hear!
          This is the Buyer of the Blade--be afraid!
            This is the great god Tyr!

    Our women and our little ones may walk on the Chalk,
      As  far as we can see them and beyond, 
    We shall not be anxious for our sheep when we keep
      Tally at the shearing-pond.
    We can eat with both our elbows on our knees, if we please,
      We can sleep after meals in the sun,
    For Shepherd-of-the-Twilight is dismayed at the Blade,
      Feet-in-the-Night  have  run!
    Dog-without-a-Master goes away (Hai, Tyr, aie!),
      Devil-in-the-Dusk has run!

    Then:
         Room for his shadow on the grass-let it pass!
            To left and to right--stand clear!
         This is the Buyer of the Blade--be afraid!
            This is the great god Tyr!

06 June 2014

A Visitor Is Coming

A few weeks ago I signed up for a rifle class taught by on Avery and Keith Garcia (who is a very good shooter on the Pro 3GN series). Murphy's :aw of Lagniappe's Lair fame decided he'd come out and join me. Woo Hoo!

In addition he's going to hang out forma few days and see the sights. Zion's, Bryce and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are all on the to see list. Throw in some hiking and trail riding and it should be a fun time. The house is ready and we're anxiously awaiting his arrival today.

The guns are ready for this weekend and plenty of ammo and adult beverages are prepared. Not that we'll mix the two!

Angus promises to be on his best behavior. He swears. Me, not so much. I'm only half civilized after all.

Pics and write ups as time and energy allow. Lu and I are looking forward to showing ML a little Southern Utah hospitality.
Six

03 June 2014

Despair

The news of the repatriation of Mister Bergdahl for the price of however many innocents those 5 released terrorists will kill hit the airwaves and intertubes pretty hard yesterday. It caused me some reflection that bordered on, but did not cross into, despair. But first, the anger.

On the basis of what I've read, heard and generally learned I'm convinced that Mister Bergdahl is at best a deserter and possibly a traitor. The final evidence is still to come out but for the nonce I am disinclined to give him any benefit of the doubt. Go visit This Ain't Hell for more. They're doing bang up work. BTW, I refuse to give him a rank nor refer to him in any way as a member of the American Armed forces until he explains his actions 5 years ago and what he's been doing in that time. The President freed 5 pretty hard core jihadis to bring that person home and initial indications are that he did it in violation of current law that requires him to notify Congress 30 days prior to the exchange taking place. None of that is a surprise. The President is working pretty hard to destroy the military and has done a fair job to this point. But that's nothing new either, is it?

I entered the military service of my country in March 1977. That was a bare few months after Jimmy Carter took office. I remember those years very well. The Army was in the process of a little self destruction in the wake of Vietnam and our disastrous decision to end it on an ignominious note. Basically the politicians spit on the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of our men and women who gave so much when asked and then were denied the honor and fidelity their courage had earned. No wonder that the Army started to come apart at the seams. Morale was low, leadership virtually non-existent. Virtually, not completely. There was still a core of dedicated officers and NCOs who managed to hold things together and were the seed upon which Reagen grew our modern military. The very ones who have steadily kicked ass and taken names everywhere so tasked.

But under the current political leadership we're seeing more of the same. We left Iraq to it's own devices only to see it backslide into massive sectarian violence and an unsettling relationship with Iran. We're about to do in Afghanistan just about what we did in Vietnam in 1975; leave with our tails firmly tucked between our legs. There (probably) won't be any dramatic, last minute helicopter flights full of refugees for the nightly news but anyone who thinks the Taliban won't be firmly back in control about 5 minutes after we leave isn't paying attention. I know we're leaving about 10,000 in country but all that does is open the door for an actual repeat of those infamous helicopter rides, a few more flag draped coffins and more veterans for the VA to fail.

Now, lest I be called hypocritical, I want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan but only because we've already screwed both of those pooches. Staying at this point is throwing away more precious American lives to no good result. The chance for a total victory is long past. The problem is those very lost opportunities and the men and women we've sacrificed, once again, on the altar of political expediency and failed foreign policy. And this Bergdahl mess is the cherry on top. Pay any price to get this person back but screw our veterans and the people we sacrificed in Libya.

We have refused to fight to win. We have demoted and run out of the military combat commanders who at the very least had their fingers on the answers. We have pushed our combat veterans and wounded warriors aside and relegated them to second class status. The bureaucracy sustains itself at the cost of the very lives of our best and brightest. Veterans and their supporters are incensed at their treatment by the VA and this administration answers that outrage by trading enemy combatants for a questionable soldier? What message is being sent here? That's easy. It's the same one Jimmy Carter sent. A view that every fascistic leftist in this country has always held.

Contempt. For the military, for the Constitution, for America. For anyone not of their political and cultural persuasion. I remember this country under Carter. I remember what the Army was like. I can sum it up with one word.

Despair. A feeling that everything we loved and honored was dead and gone. Kinda like right now. Our Vietnam veterans were treated deplorably once they came home. Fortunately that's not the case with our current returning vets, at least so far as public support is concerned. Led by those very same Vietnam Vets we have publicly hailed our returning heroes even if this administration has used them as political pawns to be given no more than lip service. Even that is starting to come apart as the true feelings of the far left in power come to the fore. Take a gander at Mister Bergdahl's father with the sitting President in the Rose Garden. If you can stomach it. I won't link to it.

But I also remember the feeling when Reagan was elected. I remember those officers and NCOs who kept the faith and were ready, willing and able when the call came. They formed the core of what became once again the finest military in the history of the world. I remember an administration that actually did the work of the American people and took the fight to the Soviets and won. I remember the rekindling of hope and the death of despair.

I remember the "Shining City On The Hill" speech and the stir it gave my soul. I remember the return of Americanism and the idea that we are a special breed, not to be found anywhere else in the world. I remember the return of pride and discipline to my beloved Army. I remember Poland and Walesa and freedom in the Eastern Bloc. I remember when the wall came down. I remember the abject defeat of our bitter enemy the Soviet Union.

I remember a robust economy and the end of gas lines. I remember Reagan's 'joke' about the bombing starting in 5 minutes and how our enemies were never really certain whether or not he was serious (I think he was). I remember a foreign policy that contained a lot more 'Thou Shalt Not' than 'Please Forgive Us'.

I remember God's sacrifice on the cross and his promise to always be with us. To never forsake all who believed. I know how all this ends (We win).

And the despair passes like a gentle breeze.

Surrender, however inevitable defeat may seem, is never the answer. Courage and tenacity are. Reagan beat Carter in the general election and then beat him again when he took America to new heights. He erased everything Carter had ever done and stamped 'Failed' all over his presidency. We can do the same. This President will not be in office forever. His term expires in little more than 2 years and we have mid term elections in a few months. There are signs that the GOP has heard us though whether or not that lasts beyond next November remains to be seen. At least there are a few among their numbers who can be counted as solidly in the corner of American exceptionalism. I have stated loudly that I am no longer  Republican but that doesn't mean I'm not working actively to return them to our core values and thereby return myself to their fold. Maybe we can win at the ballot box and maybe we can't. I don't know. I do know that we cannot win a battle we refuse to fight.

I will take the mortal example of Reagan and the immortal one of Jesus to heart. I will keep my faith, I will never surrender to hopelessness or ennui, I will support and defend and I will smack the ever loving crap out of anyone who thinks that harsh language, fascism and political power trumps freedom, individualism and morality.

Courage, faith and hope. We owe them to those who proceed us.
Six

01 June 2014

Sunday Kipling

We're tired today but not as bad as feared.

Took Angus swimming. He's doing so well. He barely shows any sign of the break and two surgeries. I think taking out the plate has been a game changer though we're still keeping our fingers crossed.

Getting ready for a rifle class next weekend. A certain much beloved and famous blogger is coming out to shoot it with me. I can't wait to show him some Southern Utah hospitality and get in some trigger time with him. It's going to be immensely fun though I'm still gonna kick his tail at the range :)

All is well here at Casa Six. The sun is shining and we're feeling good. Angus is looking a lot like that puppy we brought home 3 years ago and that makes my heart sing. We'll fire up the grill, cook something hot and tasty and revel in the joys of life.

Tell your best friend you love them, give your best pal a tasty treat and give a prayer of thanks for all your blessings. See you all next week.
Six

Something light today.

The Story of Ung

Once, on a glittering ice-field, ages and ages ago,
Ung, a maker of pictures, fashioned an image of snow.
Fashioned the form of a tribesman -- gaily he whistled and sung,
Working the snow with his fingers.  Read ye the Story of Ung!
 
Pleased was his tribe with that image -- came in their hundreds to scan 
Handled it, smelt it, and grunted:  "Verily, this is a man!
Thus do we carry our lances -- thus is a war-belt slung.
Lo! it is even as we are.  Glory and honour to Ung!"
 
Later he pictured an aurochs -- later he pictured a bear 
Pictured the sabre-tooth tiger dragging a man to his lair 
Pictured the mountainous mammoth, hairy, abhorrent, alone 
Out of the love that he bore them, scribing them clearly on bone.
 
Swift came the tribe to behold them, peering and pushing and still 
Men of the berg-battered beaches, men of the boulder-hatched hill 
Hunters and fishers and trappers, presently whispering low:
"Yea, they are like -- and it may be --  But how does the Picture-man know?"
 
"Ung -- hath he slept with the Aurochs -- watched where the Mastodon roam?
Spoke on the ice with the Bow-head -- followed the Sabre-tooth home?
Nay!  These are toys of his fancy!  If he have cheated us so,
How is there truth in his image -- the man that he fashioned of snow?"
 
Wroth was that maker of pictures -- hotly he answered the call:
"Hunters and fishers and trappers, children and fools are ye all!
Look at the beasts when ye hunt them!"  Swift from the tumult he broke,
Ran to the cave of his father and told him the shame that they spoke.
 
And the father of Ung gave answer, that was old and wise in the craft,
Maker of pictures aforetime, he leaned on his lance and laughed:
"If they could see as thou seest they would do what thou hast done,
And each man would make him a picture, and -- what would become of my son?
 
"There would be no pelts of the reindeer, flung down at thy cave for a gift,
Nor dole of the oily timber that comes on the Baltic drift;
No store of well-drilled needles, nor ouches of amber pale;
No new-cut tongues of the bison, nor meat of the stranded whale.
 
"Thou hast not toiled at the fishing when the sodden trammels freeze,
Nor worked the war-boats outward through the rush of the rock-staked seas,
Yet they bring thee fish and plunder -- full meal and an easy bed 
And all for the sake of thy pictures."  And Ung held down his head.
 
"Thou hast not stood to the Aurochs when the red snow reeks of the fight;
Men have no time at the houghing to count his curls aright.
And the heart of the hairy Mammoth, thou sayest, they do not see,
Yet they save it whole from the beaches and broil the best for thee.
 
"And now do they press to thy pictures, with opened mouth and eye,
And a little gift in the doorway, and the praise no gift can buy:
But -- sure they have doubted thy pictures, and that is a grievous stain 
Son that can see so clearly, return them their gifts again!"
 
And Ung looked down at his deerskins -- their broad shell-tasselled bands 
And Ung drew downward his mitten and looked at his naked hands;
And he gloved himself and departed, and he heard his father, behind:
"Son that can see so clearly, rejoice that thy tribe is blind!"
 
Straight on the glittering ice-field, by the caves of the lost Dordogne,
Ung, a maker of pictures, fell to his scribing on bone
Even to mammoth editions.  Gaily he whistled and sung,
Blessing his tribe for their blindness.  Heed ye the Story of Ung!

30 May 2014

Patio Concrete

We have fought the back yard area, adjacent to the covered porch, ever since we bought this house. It was a mess frankly.

We tried most everything. From fake grass


To sod

And everything in between. It was finally time to stop messing around and fix this problem once and for all and incorporate this area into the backyard/patio properly. That means concrete. There's one problem. It's behind the house and in an area that cannot be reached by the concrete truck. I could have arranged for a pump but I'm cheap. Wheelbarrow it is.

We spent the week prepping the ground. That meant digging out a couple of tons of soil, leveling, installing the edge forms along the fence and putting in the steel mat. Note that I took out the wall at the edge of the covered patio. We've gone from a sunroom to a true patio. I did put in another post to brace that long run.

Time for some concrete. I ordered 3.5 yards. I ended up being long again but that's better than short. $414.44 delivered including a $50 fee for the load being what's called 'short'. Anything below what the concrete company considers a full load is subject to that fee. For the moment ours is anything less than the max load of the truck which I think is something north of 7 yards. We had to clear out a path to get the truck as close as possible. I still ended up toting every cubic yard in a wheelbarrow.

Lu and her brother, The Principal. And thank you very much for the help. We literally wouldn't have gotten it all put in without him. Here's a thing about concrete that I plumb forgot. The weather is very hot and dry right now. Very. When concrete cures you want the water to rise to the top where it can be floated to a pleasing finish. On dry soil the water tends to get sucked down, away from the top. It starts setting up quickly and is very hard to work. My soil wasn't near wet enough and we had to really bust butt to get it worked and floated. It was a very near thing. Word to the wise.

After moving a couple of tons of concrete by hand in that little Ace wheelbarrow. Do I look a bit tired? I was beat and we were far from done.

Getting close. By this time is was almost impossible to screed the rapidly curing concrete. The time I spent actually moving the concrete worked against us. By the time I got most of it moved and on the ground it was already getting hard. Next time I go with a concrete pumper. Lu and I hammered away at it and eventually got it done but it was a huge and unnecessary waste of effort. Live and learn.

But in the end we persevered and it was done. I think it came out well. Lu is pleased.

We've now added about 400 square feet of usable space to the patio. No more dirt, mud, weeds and ants. It's now a permanent, low maintenance covering suitable for BBQ grills, patio furniture and generally hanging out enjoying life.

Next up is to epoxy paint the entire concrete surface, including the covered patio. Then I'll put the sun shade back up. The last attempt came crashing down in a heavy snow storm so this time I'll be beefing the whole thing up. The sun shade will include all the concrete we just poured. The kid's pool will go on that new pad in the last picture. The best part is this is all just off the master bedroom and immediately accessible through that new french door we installed. Ah, a master plan is a wonderful thing and it's gratifying to see it all come together as envisioned.

See you all for the next phase. But not today. Today it's rest, cold beverages and massive doses of Ibuprofen.
Six