Happy New Year – 2024

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year in 2024! We don’t have a lot of news to report for the past year and, at our ages, that’s a good thing, I expect. In the coming year, we are going to resume some travel in the big RV, probably starting soon. The main trip this year will be to travel to Waco, TX, for the total eclipse of the sun.

Have a happy and prosperous 2024!

Christmas 2023

Verna and I wish each and everyone a joyous Christmas. We are celebrating quietly here at home with a planned feast in the afternoon of Chateaubriand, Braised Brussels Sprouts and Loaded Mashed Fauxtatoes (low-carb cauliflower masquerading as ‘taters).

The roast is from a whole beef tenderloin I recently butchered into several steaks and other beef goodies to be consumed later. We will be feasting on them for weeks to come.

Image above: The Virgin with Angels” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, oil on canvas, completed around 1900. The original painting is in a museum in Paris, France. I overlaid the scripture on the image. you can see the original here.

Winter Solstice 2023

Image – an unusual snow day in Wickenburg (2014-12-31)

Solstice Notes

The first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is marked by the winter solstice, which occurs on Thursday, December 21, 2023, at 8:27 P.M. Arizona time or 0127Z if you’re into Greenwich mean time. Today is the shortest day of the year with only 9 hours and 53 minutes of sunshine at our latitude here in Wickenburg.

We’re not expecting any snow of the magnitude depicted above this season. The snowfall in Wickenburg on New Year’s Eve 2014 was the most snow we have ever seen in town since we moved here in early 2011 when our house was finally completed. As a matter of fact, we can count our snow days on one hand over our nearly 13 years of living here.

Music Notes

The 61-key digital keyboard shown below is the replacement for an older version of the same thing that I’ve had since March of 2010 (and there were many before that). This one has much more capability and I have been enjoying exploring the different voices, songs and styles included in the unit.

I have been playing keyboards (without much formal training) since age 5 or so. I have messed with MIDI quite a lot although that isn’t my peak interest now. I’d much rather play favorites and try to compose some things now and then.

The new keyboard is a Yamaha PSR E373 which is still considered an entry level unit, but it has a lot more features than I probably can figure out how to use. I have an app for the Smart Phone which allows me to record sound and video from the unit. Maybe I will post some of it on social media and link it here one of these days.

Here is the new unit in my studio (a.k.a. Master Bedroom):

This is Yamaha’s Blurb about this keyboard:

The PSR-E373 features a newly developed tone generator that delivers stunning improvements in sound quality as well as high-quality effects. You can enjoy a comprehensive library of 622 instrument Voices perfect for playing in any genre you choose, as well as unique Super Articulation Lite Voices that reproduce the subtle nuances of stringed instruments such as the cello and mandolin that are typically difficult to emulate on a keyboard instrument, delivering realistic and authentic performances.

The old keyboard will be retired to the Motorhome for practice when we’re on the road.

82nd Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Image: Aerial view of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor

Today, we remember the lives lost and the devastation that occurred at Pearl Harbor 82 years ago on this day. Despite America’s resolve to stay neutral during WWII raging in Europe, the Imperial Japanese sneak attack on Naval forces in the Pacific put an end to that notion.

From The Patriot Post:

On December 7, 1941, more than 350 Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing 2,390 American servicemen and civilians and wounding 1,282. The attack sank or damaged eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer, and destroyed 188 aircraft. It took four years and the full military-industrial capability of the United States to defeat Japan.

There was no more devastating surprise attack on the United States until 9/11.

After the attack, Roosevelt stated: “December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. … Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. … With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.”

Join us today, as we pray for world peace and victory over the evil forces among us.

Thanksgiving 2023

Happy Thanksgiving from our household to yours! We will be celebrating the day of thanks by feasting, as usual, serving traditional turkey and all the trimmings (tailored to our diets, of course). We wish for you a peaceful and enjoyable day of thanks.

In yesterday mornings reading, The Patriot Post included this Thanksgiving message given by President Ronald Reagan:

We Americans have so much for which to be thankful. … But prosperity is not an end in itself. It helps us pay attention to the more important things: raising our children as we want them to be raised, helping others in need, and bringing nations together in peace. … We will give thanks for these and one thing more: our freedom. Yes, in America, freedom seems like the air around us: It’s there; it’s sweet, though we rarely give it a thought. Yet as the air fills our lungs, freedom fills our souls. It gives breath to our laughter and joy. It gives voice to our songs. It gives us strength as we race for our dreams. Think of those around the world who cannot bow their heads in prayer without risking their lives. … And then think of how blessed we are to be Americans. Yes, as we gather together this Thanksgiving to ask the Lord’s blessings. … Let us thank Him for our peace, prosperity, and freedom.

We ask you to give prayerful thanks for our freedoms and pray for peace at home and elsewhere.