Archive for July, 2005

This afternoon I dug through tears to bury my beloved black lab dog. Wednesday while in the house, a visiting child stepped on him and he reacted by biting the child in the face. It wasn’t the dog’s fault. It wasn’t the child’s fault. It just was. It completely sucks. So many emotions going through me right now. It was all I could do to dig up the courage to do the right thing and put the dog down. I cannot risk a large dog like that around mine or anyone else’s children. While I love him very much and have run out of tears crying for him, I would ache a million times more if anything happened to mine or another child. In an ideal world I would have been able to find him a home on a farm with an older couple that knows exactly where he is coming from. He is getting older now and has less patience with children than he used to. A farm setting with some older folks to just sit on the porch and pet him while they all grow old together would be ideal. However, we do not live in an ideal world. And I cannot rewind time to prevent this whole accidental situation. There are no winners in this case. There is no silver lining. No brighter side, no better offs, no it’s gonna be ok. It just completely sucks to the bottom of my aching heart. I didn’t make it easier on myself by insisting to dig his grave. And to be there holding his paw when the vet came. However, that is what I would have wanted him to do if I had to be put down and he was the one making the tortuous decision.

That being said, shame on me. I know someone who just lost their mother and now found out they are fighting a deadly disease. There are soldiers dieing for our country. There are many who have ached and pained and cried and lost more than I have. But that doesn’t make me or anyone else feel better.

I love you my friend. I miss you. I’ll visit you often under the willow.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Well, we’re coming up on our 7th month here in Kentucky. A lot has happened and most of it has developed right in front of your eyes right here. My wife and I said we would give ourselves a year for the transition and we feel we made it in less than half that time. We are fully transitioned to the country way of life and have been enjoying the slower pace as we thought we would. Some things we anticipated. Others we wouldn’t have believed you if you had told us.

So that gets to my point — I think the story has been told. I have a few different directions I am contemplating and some of it involves the feedback I am soliciting right now. This is not a publicity stunt or some way of seeking greater readership (although that wouldn’t hurt). Like the parable I heard during the sermon at church yesterday, I am throwing my blog seeds out there in the hope that some of them sprout and yield a harvest. I hope people — however small that number is — are getting something from this effort.

Has the story been told? If so, should it close the chapter on our successful transition. Or does the story continue on? (Hopefully not like those Police Academy movies.)

No matter the outcome, now that I am in the habit of regularly writing, I will be exercising it. It just might not be on this blog or via the internet. I have a book for my kids developing in my brain as well as some deeper spiritual journaling not intended for publishing.

Drop me a note and give me some feedback.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that my son and I had a mission to WalMart. The reason for that mission was to get a new litter box and kitten food. See, my wife made a promise as we were moving out here that my middle daughter never forgot — to get her a kitten. A few weeks ago when we were up at that farm in Indiana the topic seriously came up. well, our neighbors just got two free ones from some friends and there was still one left over so this was a good opportunity.

The kitten — we can’t tell if it is a girl or boy — is a beautiful striped grey color. It is settling in nicely and knows where the litter box is. The other cat, which ruled as queen, is still hissing at it so that will take a while for them to warm up to each other. But not as long as it will take the dogs to get used to another cat. All in all, my middle daughter has been beaming and excited to have her new kitten.

I have church tomorrow, so it’s off to bed for me. My son has invaded our bed and is still wearing his swim trunks. While it was hot today — 92F — it really cooled off nicely this afternoon and made for a perfect evening. It’s my favorite time of day during the summer when the sun dips below the trees but there is still lots of light. And it is the perfect temperature where you can’t tell whether it is hot or cold. That means it’s perfect. Although we are looking forward to hurricane Dennis bringing us some rain. The ground is parched and cracking and we need it badly.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Tonight my son and I took a late trip to WalMart to pick up a few things. It was dusk with a pretty sliver of a moon greeting us with Venus hanging right below it. We got what we needed at WalMart and headed towards the bank for a late night deposit in the drop box. Because the moon was only a sliver, there wasn’t much light on the road. I drove my wife’s truck a bit slower than I normally would as I headed down the two lane country road. Ahead, at the edges of the headlights, I saw something on the road. Before I could react I had not one, not two, but THREE skunks directly in my lane with me bearing down on them. Luckily the road was clear and I had a bit of a shoulder as well as the oncoming lane to play with. I swerved my wife’s truck right, straddling the shoulder keeping control as I eased back onto the road after the threat had passed. I guess when the headlights blinded them, they didn’t even have a chance to get in position to spray me. I got away scott free! I don’t know who is luckier — the skunks for me not running them over or my wife for me saving her truck.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Yesterday’s sign was not only a country throwback reminder to the days of the smalltown shop that would close during part of the day and go fishing — it was an accurate description of my whereabouts.

We hit the nearby Kentucky Game Park with another family for some fishing, a picnic and whatever else the kids wanted to do there. We only planned a few hours, leaving at 10:30a and expecting to leave around 1p or 2p. We didn’t leave there until 5p. Needless to say, we all were having fun.

I spent some serious time teaching all three of my kids to fish. My son has a NASCAR Dale Earnhardt Jr. pole (mommy’s car) that got him going but his attention span waned as someone discovered a cache of crawdads at the other lake. My middle daughter expanded on her fishing skills. She has become quite the caster with her little Barbie fishing pole (reviewed here by Field and Stream —,13199,1060455,00.html –) and completely outfished her old man with a more serious rod and reel. Maybe I should have gotten that NASCAR #24 Jeff Gordon rod my son passed over.

We all bounced back and forth between fishing, relaxing, eating our picnic lunch, more fishing, exploring, more relaxing and again more fishing. The day was a perfect 81F degrees with little humidity and there was lots of shade around. It was a nice change from the hot and humid of late and we took full advantage of it.

Tired and spent from a hard day of fishing and relaxing, we headed home and 2 out of 3 of mine knocked out for the ride home. Upon arriving home we had to get ready for our neighbor’s annual 4th of July Saturday bash. These were neighbors that joined us last week for my son’s party. There were well over 100 people there. They are both from large families (he is one of 5 and she is one of 10), he owns a landscaping business and she is a local teacher. This allowed us to expand our social network and meet some more really nice folk.

At the end of the evening after it had fallen dark (around 9:45p here in Kentucky), they lit off a great 15 minute firework show. While quite a few fireworks are legal here in Kentucky — they even sell them at WalMart — anything that is air launched or explodes is illegal. However both our north and south neighbors of Indiana and Tennessee sell whatever you want. That is where my neighbor got his collection a week or so ago and proceeded to entertain us all with some great mortar launched shells. Multi-coloreds, patterns, explosions and reports. It made for a wonderful time and the kids loved it. We had a front row seat with no traffic to fight on the way home. This will be something to look forward to each year.

After we got home just before 11p, we put the kids to bed and I turned on the TV in hopes of catching the last few laps of the NASCAR race. Somebody was smiling upon me because there was a rain delay and they were on lap 11 with 2 laps left before the restart. Woohoo! I didn’t miss much. I grabbed some chips n’ salsa along with some iced tea and lemonade and made myself comfortable. My son wandered down and because he had napped on the way home from fishing, he would be up for a while. So I sat him in my lap and we did some father/son bonding.

What a great, eventful, satisfying, relaxing day!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

This creative piece was awaiting me from my Dad in my inbox this morning. It isn’t A Slower Pace but it is appropriate for today and our situation…..and my recent rantings.

May your 4th be filled with all stuff American — picnics with the family on a hot day; some nice, cold refreshments (beer, lemonade, Dr Pepper, sweet tea); hot dogs on the grill (or other tasty animal); something sweet at the end (apple pie or red, white and blue Bomb Pops); and illegal fireworks. Be safe, enjoy the liberties we still have and throw back a memory to the tough, dedicated people that made this country what it is today.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

George W’s Quagmire
Different war, same old complaints.

By Michael Graham

Philadelphia, the American Colonies, July 4, 1776 Leaders of the self-described American patriots movement gathered in this Pennsylvania city today to sign an official declaration of their political intentions, despite widespread criticism of a failing war policy and complaints that their military action was launched under false pretenses.

Here it is, July of 1776, and George W. and his lackeys are just now getting around to declaring what this war is supposedly all about? complained Loyalist playwright Michael LeMoore. Washington and his neo-congressionalists rushed us into war at Lexington and Concord, before anyone had declared a single word about independence. Face it: George lied, and people died.

LeMoore was referring to what patriots call The shot heard ’round the world,’ when colonial forces fired on British soldiers in violation of accepted international rules of military engagement.

Supporters of George Washington and the so-called “war for independence” dispute claims from the antiwar movement that their actions are unlawful, and they point to their formal “Declaration of Independence” as proof.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,î reads the Declaration in part, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The document was reportedly written by Thomas Jefferson, a white, southern slave-owner, and one of the architects of the patriot movement.

Critics quickly noted the hypocrisy of Jefferson’s reference to unalienable rights of liberty and the author’s own record of slave-ownership.

If they really believed in spreading freedom, they would free their own slaves instead of killing the British and shelling innocent civilian Loyalist women and children in Boston and New York, said Howard Deanne, head of the Loyalist National Committee. And what of the recently uncovered Commonwealth Avenue memos, which would seem to indicate that those closest to Washington were planning for war after the Boston Tea Party back in ’73? I’m telling you, the colonists of America have been misled into war!

Though most colonists agree that King George III is a tyrant, polls consistently show that a minority of colonists support open military action against the British. Many pundits also question whether removing the monarchy will make any fundamental difference in the lives of Americans.

General Washington came to Philadelphia to report to members of the Continental Congress, and anonymous sources report he came under heavy fire over the actions of his army and the costs of the war.

We lost 140 Americans at Bunker Hill, more than 600 killed or captured in our disastrous attacks on Canada, and there’s no end in sight, said one congressional staffer who asked not to be identified. People are asking, When is this war going to end? What is our exit strategy? This is George W’s war, no doubt about it.

Indeed, as support for the war among the American colonists wanes, some Quaker antiwar activists are using the other Q word in colonial politics: quagmire. Some even suggest that the entire war was manufactured by Gen. Washington to settle a personal score with the British over perceived insults he endured during the French and Indian War.

Washington was just looking for an excuse to go to war, said prominent lady activist Rosalind O’Donnell. Everyone knows little Georgie would be broke if not for his connections to major land speculators pushing out beyond Kentucky. This is just a land grab! No war for Ohio! No war for Ohio!

Patriot leaders gathered in Philadelphia, however, were determined to ignore the mounting criticism and celebrate their unanimous adoption of the Declaration of Independence

I firmly believe that in the future, this day July 4, 1776 will be viewed as a great moment for America and for freedom around the world, John Adams of Massachusetts told a handpicked audience of patriot supporters. But neither he nor any of the other speakers said anything new about the costs or justifications of this divisive war policy, returning instead as they often do to the broad themes of freedom and democracy.

The Declaration concludes by stating: We, therefore declare that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

That’s the kind of simplistic jingoism one expects to read in Fox’s Daily Broadsheet, not in serious political discourse,î said Noah Chommsey, head of the political-science department at King’s College. But the idea that the American colonists have come up with some superior form of self-government that is inherently more just than, say, monarchy or theocracy, is the height of arrogance.î

Meanwhile, the war effort continues. Loyalist supporters among the American colonists continue to support the British military, particularly in the South, and hopes are fading that a major European power will come to the aid of the Americans. Military analysts suggest that the American War for Independence could last another seven years and result in the death of up to one percent of the entire American population.

Is a free, democratic America really worth such a price? demanded playwright LeMoore. I certainly don’t think so. The world shouldn’t look to America for leadership. They should look instead to courageous nations truly endowed with greatness. Like France.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

My wife saw my last few rantings and told me I needed to calm down and get some perspective. So I took her advice yesterday afternoon, grabbed a sweet tea and went out to water the garden. It was a perfect way to recenter on things and get a good perspective. Watching the stream of water shoot out and land on my work-in-progress plot of earth, I let the cool sweet tea refresh me from the hot and humid day hoping that the water I was spraying was bringing the same relieve to the beautiful garden that was springing forth. I delighted in the bounty that was growing — quite a few varieties of small, green tomatoes; a baby watermelon; many different peppers and a single, thumb-sized cucumber. I focused on getting the water to just the rows that needed it; not wasting any moisture on the dirt in between. Finally, with my sweet tea finished and the plants all wet and happy, I coiled up the hose content and relaxed.

Now, back to the Supreme Court property rights decision. In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal Opinion section, there was a good summary of what has been going on. It seems that the Supreme Court allowed for some “wiggle room” in their decision saying that the states can take remedial action — “Nothing in our opinion precludes any state from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power”. That means that a state can limit this eminent domain power…..or encourage it. Luckily I live in a state that has restricted it. Quoted from the article:

“At least 10 states — Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Washington — already forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development (while permitting it for legitimate “public use” such as building a highway). Six states — Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and North Dakota — expressly allow private property to be taken for private economic purposes. The rest haven’t spoken on the issue.”

The article even stated of the intention of “an outraged citizen”, Logan Darrow Clements (my hero), to start an application process to build a hotel on juctice Souter’s land. It’s a long shot but it would be poetic justice. Here’s his media announcement — — if you didn’t catch it on yesterday’s post —……html

Oh, and by the way, welcome to July!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net