Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Writing about Bella's latest trip around the sun reminded me of Big Al Anderson's song Trip Around the Sun.  I first heard the song at the Colorado Roots Music Camp, with both Roots founder Charlie Hall and now-co-director Raul Reynoso singing the song and the praises of Big Al.  Here is Big Al performing solo in Denver:

Here I'm singin' happy birthday
Better think about the about the wish I make
This year gone by ain't been a piece of cake
Everyday's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun
I'm just hangin' on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this livin'
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go
No you never see it comin'
Always wind up wonderin' where it went
Only time will tell if it was time well spent
It's another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun
I'm just hangin' on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this livin'
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go
Yes I'll make a resolution
That I'll never make another one
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun
Just enjoy this ride


Sunday marked one more trip around the sun for Bella, our 12-year-old pooch, which puts her at 64 human years.  Bella Simone is half Bichon Frise [Fiona Belle] and half Miniature Poodle [Simon], and weighs in at a ginormous 8 pounds.  She is often confused for a puppy, with her size and cuteness, but also with her energy.  She still does the Bichon Blitz now and then, and has a deeply-held animosity for other dogs and small children!

Bella Loves The Sunshine

 Bella In Need Of A Trim! 


Mennonite Bella

Construction Bella

 Gardener Bella

Friday, May 18, 2018


A friend in California forwarded to me the dire warning below, so I thought I'd better post it for all of you California folks who are doomed - doomed I say!  A quick online search for the author only reveals arrest records for obscene behavior, and date warnings to stay away from this guy.  Sure am glad we will be back in Colorado when the left coast bites the dust.

 Image result for 2012

May 14, 2018
Considering the Massive California Earthquake

Author: Donald Richard Lobb

Copyright: TXu2 - 061 - 464

My pseudonym is Donald Strong Feathers. In this paper I foretell of the upcoming violent disaster on the West Coast. Holy Spirit born and bred, I am a seer and a visionary since childhood, giving Him all of the credit. He made the following tale evident to me such that many may survive, that precautionary and recuperative preparations be instituted, and that I might receive a measure of recognition: “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the oxen that treadeth out the corn.”

Originally dubbed “A Warning Shot over the Bow,” this preliminary warning event is fast approaching! My thesis statement involving a study of electromagnetism is this: "The phenomenon of dark matter and dark energy coming to light across America." In 2016 I discovered that the magnetic fields in and around the West Coast are fracturing, thus allowing the formation of elusive magnetic monopoles, perhaps as the result of mixing with dark matter as it “comes to light.”

However, this brief reveals a tangent topic of extreme importance: The Great California Earthquake and the Amazing "Warning Event."

Magnetic fracturing allows tectonic forces that have been building for decades to release. It is also possible that the immense pressure is causing the fracturing. These underlying pressures have been noted by scientists for many years.

Mid-to-late summer of 2018, only months away as of this writing, a tearing and an opening on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, not too many miles beyond the California coastline, will result in the underwater eruption of superheated gases and magma from deep within the earth – similar to an underwater volcano. As these gases boil, expand and push the seawater,creating hurricane force winds, a tsunami wave will arrive on the West Coast. This 40 or 50 foot wave will cause widespread damage – and this is just the warning shot!

Then, early next year the continental plates will suddenly and violently shift, destroying and drowning the “City of Angels.” An immediate and accurate death toll of seven million is expected, ten million “when all is said and done.” These are the words of the Holy Spirit!

Use your imagination: Millions of desperate, fleeing people inundate nearby cities like Phoenix, Sacramento and Las Vegas – hungry, homeless, injured, traumatized, and destitute. He has said that the population of Phoenix alone will triple. As resources are consumed, bread lines will result. Roadways will be congested, and crime may very well become rampant as police and fire departments are overwhelmed, banking and finance systems overtaxed. Perhaps the collapsing of government will result in the recent, somewhat paranoid predictions of “martial law.” I am giving a forewarning.

Although this paper was first written and distributed in the summer of 2016, just after I discovered what I believe are "magnetic monopoles," earthquakes are notoriously difficult to accurately predict. However, the Holy Spirit suddenly chooses to revisit this catastrophic situation, firmly and dramatically.

These are His exact words, and this is the summer of the warning event:

“hurricane force winds” Such an event would require a huge, volcanic type of eruption through the floor of the Pacific Ocean, a huge tear in the crust in water shallow enough to create an incredible disturbance.

“one tsunami big enough to cover a house” Underwater earthquakes cause tsunamis. The impression is of a sizable tsunami, but a very manageable one. These two events create a highly unusual scenario.

“bringing the carefree days of summer to an early end” In Southern California, that could be July or August.

“but that will not be the violent one” The warning event is an example of the Grace of God. Only a few short months later will come the violent shift and the resultant disaster, beyond human comprehension.

“ten million, when all is said and done” As I pondered, I received a dire warning specifying an unbelievable final death toll after all of the injuries and exposure, the crime and madness.

Donald Strong Feathers

Thursday, May 03, 2018


If You Were Born Today, May 3:


I always find it interesting to see what the astrologers have to say about the coming year for us folks born on this day - I'll take notes 😋

Thoughtful and involved, you express yourself well, possess quiet charm, and easily endear yourself to others. You have an artistic bent that is undeniable, and your creative mind can help bring financial success. You are multi-talented and many of you spread yourself over multiple career paths and hobbies as a result. You expect a lot from yourself, and sometimes too much, which can lead to indecisiveness. Famous people born today: Bing Crosby, Sugar Ray Robinson, James Brown, Mary Astor, Christopher Cross.

Your Birthday Year Forecast:

Your birthday falls shortly not long after a Full Moon this year, suggesting a period ahead of communication and teaching. You may be turned to for advice more frequently, and you are very willing to offer your help. This is a strong year for publicity and any other endeavors that involve spreading the word. As well, your ability to be objective–or to see the “big picture”–can be especially pronounced and rewarding this year.

Your ambition is stimulated now, and you are determined to meet or exceed your goals. You can bring great discipline and meaning to your life this year. You might totally revise an important project or area of your life, or you could be bent on getting rid of something in your life so that you can move forward. The tendency to be too willful this year should probably be avoided. You should also watch for overdoing to the point of exhaustion. This can be a compulsive time when power struggles are more likely. On the other hand, it can be a time when you enjoy a strong sense of purposefulness, focus, and determination.

In your relationships, be wary of competitiveness or tension, as your passions are ignited easily this year, whether they’re feelings of love or anger! Finances and/or love matters can be a little more complicated than usual. It’s quite possible that you will be re-evaluating certain relationships in terms of whether or not they are contributing to your personal growth. Changes in your spending habits are likely necessary, but you are motivated to make improvements, and this takes you past obstacles.

For the most part, the year ahead is good for public relations, advertising, marketing, studies, short trips, and contacts with the general public. Your judgment is sound. Exchanging ideas, intellectual pursuits, and learning are all exciting and favorable at this time. Researching cooking, health, and nutrition can be fruitful now. Meeting people who share common interests or through your studies can be rewarding.

In January and February, you have a strong, protective, and stabilizing influence with you as Saturn forms a harmonious aspect to your Sun. This transit helps you stay on track and meet your responsibilities. Your popularity tends to be strong, and your leadership skills are valued. Work you have done in the past begins to pay off this year–not necessarily in dramatic ways, but in small, measurable ways. You may be recognized or rewarded in some manner for the efforts you put forth. Because you project a more responsible and credible “you”, people in authority are more inclined to appreciate you and recognize your work. During these months, you can put your life in order in some significant manner. Improved concentration, a more realistic outlook, and a practical awareness of the limits of time all help you to make steady progress, particularly in your career. Your concern for your future at this time is stronger than usual, and you may find that projects you start, or investments you make, will benefit you for years to come.

Relationships are in strong focus and you can be in high demand this year. This is an excellent period for getting your life into better order and for improving your health and daily routines. You are determined and focused in the year ahead, and you can move mountains in important areas of your life. It’s a powerful year for making lifestyle changes.

2018 is a Number One year for you. Ruled by the Sun. This is a year of action. The seeds you plant now, you will reap later. Others might find you less sociable, as you are busier than ever and you focus on your activities and your needs. Still, you are outgoing and your initiative is stronger than ever. Advice - Stand alone, take action, start fresh, express independence.

2019 will be a Number Two year for you. Ruled by the Moon. This is a year of potential companionship. It is a quiet, gentle, and mostly harmonious year that is less active than other years. Instead, you are more responsive to the needs of others. If you are patient and open yourself up in a gentle manner, you will attract both things and people. This is an excellent year in which to build and develop for the future. Advice - be patient, be receptive, enjoy the peace, collect.

And a few more tidbits:

Lucky Day: 3, 12, 21, 30
Lucky Number: 1, 3, 6, 7, 9
Lucky Year: 2019, 2028, 2030, 2031, 2034, 2043, 2049, 2052
Ishtdev: Goddess Saraswati, Jupiter, Lord Vishnu
Lucky color : Yellow, Golden, Pink

Sunday, April 22, 2018


A whole lot has changed at the CU-Colorado Springs campus since I arrived in 1982, but perhaps the most dramatic addition is the new Ent Center for the Arts.  There was a nice write-up about the Center in today's Denver Post, and it is pasted below.  I am looking forward to having a tour of the place and perhaps attending an event.

The Ent Center was a collaborative project between New York’s H3 Hardy Collaborative Architecture and Denve’s Semple Brown Design. (Ray Mark Rinaldi, Special to The Denver Post)
The new Ent Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs arrives with all the optimism that forward-thinking architecture can deliver.

The building — monumental at 92,000 square feet and pricey at $70 million — is an investment in things real and symbolic. It will give the University of Colorado practical, state-of-the art classrooms for students endeavoring to be tomorrow’s creative class, and it will boost the Springs location to the top of the facilities hill in the state university system. No other outpost has a venue quite like it, not even the prestigious Boulder campus.

The building will also serve as a cultural hub for the region at large. The four theaters and art gallery will act as a connector between the college and the community, a place for the public to see plays, concerts and exhibits, and a resource for local cultural groups who will rent out its spaces to present their own events.
The UCCS Presents series hosts international-class performers, like violinist Sarah Chang, jazz star Branford Marsalis and the Alvin Ailey II dance company. (Provided by Semple Brown Design)
TheatreWorks — the respected, resident professional stage company — is already doing shows there, and the university has kicked off its UCCS Presents series, hosting international-class performers like violinist Sarah Chang, jazz star Branford Marsalis and the Alvin Ailey II dance company.

But, thanks to its design, the Ent Center is also a beacon signaling the importance of culture. Metallic and curvy, it sits on top of rising terrain northwest of the campus close to Highway 25. The building shimmers and waves, bringing attention to itself and the programming inside, as if to say “Art is important” and, perhaps more crucially, “Art is fun, too.”

The design is a collaboration between firms near and far. H3 Hardy Collaborative Architecture took the lead. The New York-based firm has done work on cultural projects across the country and also advised the city of Denver on the possible redo of the Denver Performing Arts Complex downtown.
The local partner, and a crucial player in the way the building turned out, is Semple Brown Design, whose efforts were led by Bryan Schmidt and Dru Schwyhart. The firm is one of Denver’s best, responsible for such landmarks as the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, RedLine arts center and the Colorado Ballet studios.

The Ent’s defining feature comes from a series of undulating bands of steel that layer together to form its facade. They pulse unpredictably and keep the static building in motion, giving it, in a sense, a perpetual, in-and-out breath.

The steel bands are showy but they’re not all show. The irregular curves are employed functionally, serving as floors for small, open-air balconies above them and overhangs for protected sitting areas beneath. One cantilevers far out over the building’s main entrance to create a canopy welcoming visitors.

They also work as sun shade protection and are part of a long lineup of gestures that earned the structure LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The building’s lobby doubles as a study lounge for students. (Provided by Semple Brown Design)
The Ent’s other notable highlight is its lobby, which serves multiple purposes. Tall, glassy and art-friendly, it is a sunny student lounge by day, and an elegant gathering place for audiences attending events in the evening.

Cleverly, the lobby narrows and morphs into a corridor leading to all of the center’s major venues. It links visitors to the main theaters and, eventually, to the art gallery — but the transition is subtle, it never feels like a boring passageway.

Part of that effect comes from the fact that the art gallery itself spills into the main area. The corridor is rigged to hold art that is hung on walls and suspended from the ceiling. Plenty of performing arts centers use their lobbies as galleries, but they are most often an after-thought. Here, it is difficult to tell where the theaters stop and the gallery begins.

This works to pull together a diverse lineup of rooms: a 750-seat, general purpose theater with an orchestra pit and generous fly space; an intimate 225-seat recital hall; a 250-seat, flexible space for plays; and, finally, the art gallery.

All of the facilities provide a lift for the university’s students and its public offerings. The gallery in particular — at 2,500 square feet and with precision climate control and a “suspension strong point grid,” which allows curators to take advantage of the floors, walls and ceilings — will permit the sort of ambitious exhibition program the area has not seen.

Colorado Springs has a long tradition of support for both the visual and performing arts, but it’s never quite built the reputation of other cities and towns along the Front Range. No doubt, that has more to do with a shortage of suitable facilities than with a lack of artists or the people who back them.

The Ent Center — named for the Ent Credit Union, the local institution that provided financial support — creates the kind of infrastructure that allows for big things to happen. It’s a bold move, with seismic implications for the region’s cultural geography. Colorado Springs may not currently be a major cultural destination in the state, but the center gives it a bright future.

That is the kind of change determined universities can spark for their home cities, and that art can make inevitable if artists seize the opportunities and challenge themselves and the community.
But it is also the revolution that architects can start when they understand their job is to create opportunities, and lead clients to create audacious buildings that act out, sing loud and show off.
The new $70 million Ent Center shifts the region’s cultural scene toward Colorado Springs. (Provided by Semple Brown Design)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Front:  Dorothy, John, Mary
Back: Dale, Betty, Carolyn, Anna Belle, Walter [Archie]



Carolyn Aschliman Stephens

March 2018

Where do I start? Mary was a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a woman of many talents. She cooked, baked, gardened, sang in the Women’s Choir, attended Sewing Circle at the church, attended a Women’s Club, besides sewing and crocheting at home. She was a true role model to follow. Right up until the time she became ill, she was crocheting baby hats and prayer shawls. Besides all her activities and work, she loved to watch sports, as well as the Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Before she moved into Assisted Living she was noted for making dozens of pies for our family reunion. Often the relatives would get their favorite piece of pie before going through the line for the main course. They didn’t want to miss out on their favorite pie being all gone before they got theirs.

Mary was grown when I was still a baby. She and Dorothy stake claims on raising Betty and me. We can’t vouch for which one should get credit but from the baby pictures, whichever one it was they dressed us cute! We lived closer to Mary and Ed when we were growing up and Betty and I would spend time with them on the farm, I guess she was giving our mother a respite because Mom and Dad still had four, and sometimes five, of the eleven kids still living at home.

In adulthood she was my mentor, as well as my older sister. She and Ed would visit us in Texas for Thanksgiving. The first time they came, she walked me through stuffing the turkey and making the fixings, then after that I was on my own. She would teach, then expect you to assume the responsibility. We have fond memories of those visits and our Scrabble games after dinner on Thanksgiving Day and other times during their visit. Brett often joined us when he was around. They were surrogate grandparents to our children. Brett has fond memories of the dollar bill that would float out of the birthday card he received from her. She was always so good about remembering the birthdays of both family and friends.

After our parents died, Mary became the matriarch of our family and was instrumental in keeping our family connected. Over the years their home became what we called “Command Central.” It was the place to check in to see what was going on and where everyone was. The infamous note was always by the stove when she went anywhere.

Hospitality was her gift. One year when the family had gathered for our annual reunion, Mary had gone to the store. When she came home, her table was surrounded by people who had arrived for the weekend event. They were eating the chicken salad she had in the refrigerator and were making themselves at home. She just laughed about it. She always made everyone feel welcome. They hosted many chicken barbeques over the years. When we started having our family reunions at a clubhouse, afterwards we would gather at their house with all the leftovers and continue the festivities. A hymn-sing would be going on in their living room, while others were gathered around the table snacking and telling stories.

Whenever anyone wanted to know something about family or the date of an occurrence, it was always, “We’ll have to call Mary!” She kept a diary all her life and could often dig up the information a person was seeking. Mary also had an uncanny talent for remembering faces and names.

She was noted for having dozens of filled candy dishes and we all succumbed to the temptation to start noshing the minute we walked in the door. Even after she moved to her assisted living apartment her table was filled with stocked candy dishes and the aides were always welcome to help themselves. They had a plethora of sweets to choose from.

When they moved to Greencroft Assisted Living, their apartment was still the gathering spot. And the Sideboard Restaurant became the coffee time spot.

Like St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7 “ She fought the good fight, she finished the race, and kept the faith.”

I know she is reunited with her beloved Ed in the Church Triumphant and I know one day I will see her again. But even so, I will miss her and our frequent phone chats and our occasional visits to Indiana.

Sweet Mary, may you rest in peace.