For The Promptless – Gezellegheid: Cozy Visions of a Messy Life

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The home of “For the Promptless” has moved from Rarasaur’s original site to one of her new sites. You can find new entries at Queen Creative. It’s a brave thing, moving sites, something I really should do and lack the fortitude to undertake. I suppose I will eventually be forced to so something about the overload on this site, like it or not. Meanwhile, I admire and applaud her efforts!

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Daily Prompt: You’ve Got the Power – And I plan to keep it!

The never-ending election of 2012 gave me a lot to think about. Laws, God, faith, and freedom were suddenly no longer personal issues, but matters of public policy. I have always felt threatened by zealots. I am not zealous about matters of religion. What I believe is a moving target. I think about faith and religion a lot and I’m open to ideas, circumstance and experience. The result is that I don’t have any set of rigid beliefs or principles about faith or God. I was — am — of the opinion that I am not obliged to make a choice on this issue. It’s personal. It’s private. If I feel like sharing it with you, that’s up to me and if you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. I do not require the world to be made in my image or the image of my beliefs.

After a lifetime of pondering and reading, thinking and debating I reached a simple conclusion: I don’t know what The Truth is — and neither do you.

BillOfRights

We already have the very best law we could write. It’s the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In this amendment, the Constitution explicitly prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

This law was adopted on December 15, 1791 as the first of ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights. We don’t need a new law. We merely need to honor the ones we already have. In the spirit of that law, I will let my conscience be my guide and everyone else should do the same.

Americans balk at being told what to do, much less what to think or believe. It’s our national bottom line: to believe, think and feel as we choose. And talk about it, argue about it, write about it, preach about it. And it’s okay because the right to believe is accompanied by the right to proclaim your beliefs to the world. What is not protected — and is explicitly prohibited — is your right to impose those beliefs or force anyone else follow them.

We are a nation of laws and there are so many. We are obligated to obey them or deal with the consequences.

Traffic rules, tax laws, zoning laws. Laws pertaining to education and ownership of property. Registration of vehicles, licenses to practice our professions. We have laws within laws: national laws, state law, local law. Laws of our county, town and village. Laws against crossing the street against a red light or dropping trash on the sidewalk. Rules about where you can go, where you can ride, drive or walk, bring your dog or your children. There are laws about where you can consume food and beverages as well as what food and beverages you can consume and at what age you have the right to consume them. Laws about when we can play music, hold a parade, or smoke a cigarette. There are rules governing every aspect of our lives … except in matters of faith, conscience and personal belief.

We have the right think and believe whatever we choose, and to talk about it without fear of prosecution or persecution.

This is not a Christian country. We have no national religion. We have more Christians — alleged Christians — than any other defined religious group, but that does not give them any special rights under the law. Personally, I came close to accepting Christianity until the bullies of the Christian right decided to try and take all my freedoms away. That was a deal-breaker for me. I might have come to it on my own, but I will not be bullied. I can be convinced, but I will not be coerced.

Flag on our Library

The Constitution of the United States is a brilliant document. It is — as all good legal documents are — subject to change and interpretation based on the realities of the world. The courts and the people have added amendments and altered how its provisions are enforced and applied.

Against all odds, that first amendment has stood the test of time. There’s a reason why it’s up there at the top. It’s the foundation of what we believe as a people, a beautiful thing. We should honor it. In doing so, we also honor ourselves, our country, our Founding Fathers and show that we have faith in our nation’s ability to recognize what is right. Instead of looking for new laws and rules, let’s try following what we’ve got and see how that works out.

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BY TRAIN THROUGH THE VALLEY – PHOTOS BY OWEN KRAUS

Once upon a time, trains were the way to go. Last week, my son — a longtime railroad enthusiast — was offered a rare opportunity, to travel through the Blackstone Valley by train. There are no longer any passenger trains here and even the freight trains come through perhaps once a week.

You can hear the long whistle as they approach the town. The train station is no longer a stop of the rail line. It has been saved from destruction, originally turned into a bank and now a real estate office and it is beautiful, but the train doesn’t stop there or anywhere in this part of the Valley.

The pictures were taken by my son, Owen Kraus and processed by me.

It was pouring rain the day he got to take his journey, but he has an open invitation to come back any sunny day that the train is making its weekly journey. Here is a look at the Blackstone Valley by train, places that you can’t approach by car because there are no roads.

Good book, bad title – Skinny Bitch in Love, by Kim Barnouin

Cooking, Food & WineLiterature/Fiction (Adult) 
Publication Date –  June 4 2013

I knew absolutely nothing about this book or the series to which it belongs and so came to it with no expectations other than a mild distaste based entirely on the title. I realize that the world is ever-changing and ways of speaking are among the most changeable aspects of life. Still, I don’t like the word “bitch” applied to women. Especially not me. I’m not sure when it became a sign of approval or approbation, but I don’t care for it.

But I liked the book. Bad title, good book. I liked Clementine, our heroine. She’s stubborn, opinionated, overly quick to jump to conclusions. She independent to the point of almost self-destructive. She’s also smart, determined, talented, and willing to work day and night to achieve her goals.

Clementine Cooper, raised by vegan parents on an organic farm is a vegan chef at one of the city’s top restaurants. Fired due to a colleague’s jealousy and sabotage, she’s left with only a few choices. The debacle that got her dismissed makes it nearly impossible for her to get a job at a good vegan restaurant … which is where she deserves and wants to be. Really, what she wants — as do most chefs — is her own restaurant. She’s got her eye on a great space right across the street from the modest flat she shares with Sharon, her good friend and housemate.

Clementine is having one of those really bad patches. Not merely does she get fired — unfairly — but the place she has been dreaming of is unexpectedly occupied and about to become — gads — a steak house! The new owner is sexy, handsome, smart, funny and very rich. She’s instantly attracted to him, despite his being a more than an occasional jerk. Worse, he’s a billionaire carnivore. The money is difficult for her to deal with. This is a young woman who is not for sale, not on any level or any way. But all that meat? Ew.

As she finds her way from discredited, dismissed, and despairing to a successful entrepreneur on her own terms, she is also navigating the rocky shoals of a treacherous relationship with a guy who is both her equal and opposite. The author is surprisingly perceptive in her handling of relationships. Perceptive, sensitive, witty, and realistic, Kim Barnouin doesn’t use simplistic answers to solve difficult problems.

The book is a fast read. It moves along at a nice, brisk pace.

Since the book is seriously food-centric, I spent all 320 pages drooling. I wanted recipes. It’s not fair to talk about food, cooking, eating, restaurants, cakes and everything else delicious and healthful and not even throw me one single recipe!

I had fun with this. You will too.

The book is available in hardcover, Kindle, and as a download from Audible.com. A good summer read and a surprisingly well-written novel that presents a heroine with good family values, a sensible head on her shoulders, a fantastic work ethic and a backbone. She’s no fool for love or anything else and I wish her the very best of luck. But I still would like a different title and recipes.

The Hollow Men – T S Eliot

75-AutumnalFigs-HP

Mistah Kurtz-he dead

A penny for the Old Guy

I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

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II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

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III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

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IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

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V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

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