What's New - May 23

Dear Henry,

Last weekend many of the recreation areas reopened and they have been inundated by an entire population that is sick of staying indoors.

It is crazy and chaotic and I am glad I am waiting a bit longer to venture out onto the trails.

I have to once again throw out the hope that this virus nonsense gets contained.

Instead of traveling this week, I reminisced about a past road trip down California's Twisty Thirty Six and I spent some time changing the direction of my (religious) pilgrimage plans (again).

Over at, I reviewed Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero, a book about living and surviving under the Nazi regime.

I also reviewed The Betty Davis Club by Janis Lotter, a rather fun book about a cross country road trip. 

I rounded the week up by writing a biography about the amazing woman and Catholic saint, Saint Margaret of Cortona.

This week at, I wrote the biographies of two US service members who died during their deployments to…

The Twisty Thirty Six

Dear Henry,

A few years ago, to celebrate the end of his US Army service (which included two deployments to Afghanistan) my oldest son decided he wanted to "drive across the country."

Fish rode his motorcycle to Fort Bragg North Carolina and the pair rode their bikes from Fort Bragg to Savannah to see our middle son, who was, at the time, stationed at Fort Stewart and then the two rode to Denver Colorado.

A few months later, my oldest son and I would complete the cross country trip by car, from Denver Colorado to Redwoods National Park in California.

The trip was an odd one for me.  My health had just caused me to retire and I wasn't feeling my best and for the first time, I wasn't "the adult" in the situation. 

The trip involved a couple of really grueling drives, the first one was across the Extra-Terrestrial Highway and the second was California Highway 36.  They were also back to back drives.

It was on highway 36 that I ceased to be the adult and had t…

Pilgrim's Progress: Our Lady of Bella Vista

Dear Henry,

Years ago I heard about the Camino de Santiago and was immediately drawn to the idea of a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain.

I can pinpoint many of the reasons that I want to do this, I was born in Spain, I love to journey, and I love to learn.  But, honestly, I just "for no particular reason" really want to do it.

Initially, I didn't think it was possible.  After the accident, it became difficult for me to wear a backpack for any length of time, and for many years I had placed the Camino de Santiago into the "Things I Have Lost" closet.

Then I learned there was a porter system available, complete with bed and breakfast accommodations, and realized that the Camino was something I could feasibly do.

Of course, after pricing the porter system, I realized that the goal would take a few years to achieve.

No matter, I need to work on my Spanish anyway.

While I was thinking about doing the Camino de Santiago, I began thinking about all of the shrines avai…

What's New - May 16

Dear Henry,

What's new?

This week I have redesigned the shop

I love the new look and the new product lines and I will be adding the rest of my inventory this week.

While I didn't get in a lot of reading for the book reviews for (I only finished Olivia Hawker's One For the Blackbird, One For the Crow) I did put together a reading list.

The Lessons I Wish I Learned in High School contains five books that I wish I had picked up years earlier than I had.

Over at, I put together compilation - Stories of the Spanish American War - and really, some of the old-timey service members were quite the characters (cough, Major General Butler).

I also researched the story of US Marines Corps Captain Alfred Hiram Agan,  a pilot who flew during WWII and would die in service during the Korean war.

Next week, the weather looks promising and now that many of the stay-at-home orders are lifting, I am going to try and get out and adventure.

It has…

What's New - May 9

Dear Henry,

When I was a teenager and had first read F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Beautiful and The Damned, I wanted to be just like Miss Gloria. 

At least Miss Gloria of the first of the book.

Specifically, I wanted to be in a position to lie around and read and dream and think and have an imaginary servant bring tomato sandwiches.

One should be careful with what one wishes for.

There were a lot of thunderstorms and a very weird cold front this week and I turned a bit creaky.  I told Fish that I wanted a weather kit so that I could record actual numbers to symptoms.

I did manage one field trip, out to the cemetery where PFC Wieczorek rests.  He had died an orphan and it was the people of his hometown, Gentry Arkansas, who buried him.  I was very touched/surprised/moved to discover that his grave was still being maintained, with flowers and flags, almost 20 years later.

While I didn't manage to get any books or other essays up to (Oh! Does the backlog gr…

What's New: May 2

Dear Henry,

There were several nice days during this week and I loaded up my camera stuff left the house.

Then I drove around and around the Northwestern corner of Arkansas and looked at the cows.

It sounds quite unproductive, but it was nice. Northwest Arkansas is heavily treed, with the hills of Ozarks, and lots of dirt roads.

I didn't get any new images though, at least not any photography.  There were several places that were carpeted with wildflowers and I brought some home to make cyanotypes.  Stay tuned for those images.

Over at,
I put together a book list.

A Beloved Bunch of Books: Stories from the South, the Southern Belle, is a collection of my favorite stories about the privileged side of the South.

While I love the pageantry and hospitality of the South, it does have a past and these books explore that past.

They are full of examples of "how not to behave" and full of characters we all love to hate.

I also reviewed a few books.  The first …

What's New: April 25

Dear Henry,

I feel like the Spring is floating away without getting the opportunity to get out and create. The weather has been rather odd this year, hasn't it?

Of course, the "shelter in place" orders haven't helped much either and once again, I am grateful that I live in a rural area and haven't been trapped inside an apartment.

Fortunately, I have plenty to do in the garden and I have discovered a new foe.   Squirrels.

There are a lot of squirrels in the area.  Too many and despite the tips I wrote about in the post "The Squirrels are in the Garden. What the Nuts?", I suspect they will be keeping me busy the entire gardening season.

I hope I get a tomato this year.

One of the advantages of stormy weather is that I get to spend more time reading and this week, for, I got quite a bit reading in.

The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth - Scott Hahn discusses the symbolism and language of the book of Revelations as it appli…