Thursday, August 31, 2017

Total solar eclipse or bust

"Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight. After this, men can believe anything, expect anything." — Archilochus, Greek poet (c680-640 BC), believed to refer to a total solar eclipse of April 6, 648 BC 

WE DID IT. We got to witness the total solar eclipse! 


You might remember from a post I wrote before the eclipse that Paul's brother made B and B reservations in Cape Girardeau, Missouri to watch the eclipse 
something like a year in advance — and invited us to do likewise. 


Paul said, "No way! I'm not paying for a place that might be completely clouded over when the time comes." He figured that he'd watch the weather judiciously and at the last moment possible, we'd head for the closest place with the clearest sky. 


Well, he was right. Guess who got see the total solar eclipse and who didn't. 


Paul liked our chances in Nebraska, and he thought it would be quirkily cool to watch it at Carhenge in Alliance, NE. You probably haven't heard of Carhenge. Here's what it has to say about itself.


"Rising like monoliths from ancient times on the western edge of the Sandhills of Nebraska stands a formation of vehicles from days gone by. Is it a temple for sun worship, a healing center, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? Did ancient people in hooded robes move the mighty structures from distant lands and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure?                       


NOPE


Carhenge, which replicates Stonehenge, consists of a circle of cars, three standing trilithons within the circle, the heel stone, slaughter stone, and two station stones and includes a “Car Art Preserve” with sculptures made from cars and parts of cars.


Located just north of Alliance, Nebraska, Carhenge is formed from vintage American automobiles, painted gray to replicate Stonehenge. Built by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father, it was dedicated at the June 1987 summer solstice."


Ideally, we would have left by noon the day before the eclipse, but Paul's sister had an extended family gathering that didn't start until 3:00 PM which meant we didn't hit the road until about 7:00 PM, and Alliance is 526 miles from our house. Yikes!! All in all, it was a nine-hour drive; we drove all night.


Alliance, population 8402 as of 2016, is the county seat of Box Butte County. Besides Carhenge, Alliance's other claim to fame is a ginormous Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railway terminal just outside of town. (I'll have more to say about it in a subsequent post.)


A number of farmers had given over big patches of field for eclipse chasers like us, so there was no problem finding a suitable spot. Paul chose one adjoining Carhenge. For $50 you could camp all night and stay all day with in and out privileges. We brought along pillows and blankets and plenty of food and water, but I have to say that getting any sleep in the backseat of a Buick Regal is pretty much impossible, even for a small person such as myself.


We had both begun to feel anxious about the weather when we drove into Alliance about 3:30 in the morning. A dense ground fog had started rolling in, and when we 'woke' (I use the term loosely since I'm not sure we slept at all) three hours later, we were surrounded by pea soup. 


Internet connection was slow to non-existent in the field, so we drove into town to see if we could get any weather news. Word was that the fog would lift about 8:30 AM. We were still nervous, though, and about ready to drive northwest to Casper, Wyoming, another 218 miles. We hadn't come this far to miss the darn thing. 


I told Paul that I trusted his weather reconnaissance much more than the local gas station clerk's, and 
I suggested we drive back to the railroad yard; I'd noticed that we'd gotten super fast wifi connection near it when we were coming in. There Paul did all his usual NASA, Weather Underground and radar map perusal and concluded that we were safe in Alliance.


And so we were! We had a supremely awesome experience!! 
Below are (too many) pictures, but the pièce de résistance is the very bottom jaw-dropping composite of actual photos of the eclipse taken at the Alliance gathering by our new pal, Gandhi Kumar. It's what we got to see in person!



We made Total Solar Eclipse or Bust signs and put them on each side of the car. Trucks honked, people waved and gave us lots of thumbs up, and whenever we stopped for gas or to use a restroom, at least one person or another asked permission to take a picture of the car. Fun!


Paul's favorite car is the one in front that looks like it drove into the sand.


















This photo and below: Colorado State University brought a busload of tabletop science experiments with them and gave away free certified solar eclipse glasses.



Steve and Theresa Bour came from Little Rock, Arkansas. Paul was impressed that Steve made 
his own solar viewing lens filters. Theresa makes fused-glass pendants and gave me one! 


This is the pendent Theresa gave me.




I was at it again, blowing bubbles. We didn't bring the bubble wand on purpose. It was still in the trunk from Aunt Sally's birthday party, but why let it go to waste?
There were kids around (beside me) to chase bubbles.


Lee Morin came from from Toronto to Alliance to see the eclipse, but he didn't come the farthest — he's at least from North America. Lee is a serious eclipse aficionado. I told him I'd seen one in Missoula, MT, and he immediately told me what year that was off the top of his head! 

Aside from having such a great view of the eclipse in a grand setting, being there was unexpectedly affirming and analgesic. It was like Woodstock for star-gazing geeks, such a peaceful, happy gathering of Earth-loving, open-hearted folks.


Aliens!!!


Jackie and Peter Browning win the prize for coming the farthest, at least of the
those we met. They came all the way from Cornwall in the UK!


Gandhi Kumar drove over from Boulder, Colorado. He had an impressive array of viewing and
photography equipment and captured the AMAZING photos that make up the bottom composite.









Shot by Gandhi Kumar. It's what we got to see!


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Lady Vanishes

"Women have always been an equal part of the past. We just haven't been a part of history." — Gloria Steinem, American feminist, journalist, social and political activist and a leader of the American feminist movement

THE DEEPER and more personally I feel something, the harder it is to write about it. That's how it is when I try to say what I feel about the sea of misogyny, sexual discrimination and sexual violence that women have been struggling to survive for as long as we've been a species. 


It's just so omnipresent, so relentless that I can't get a foothold. It's too big to even begin. And it's all bound up together like an angry, anxious knot in my stomach or a colossal weight piled on top of me, both utterly paralyzing. I start to feel panicky — literally, as on the edge of a full blown panic attack — and frustrated and furious and powerless and like crying. And then I have to abandon whatever paltry start I'd made.

I can't count the number of times I've begun writing, hyperventilated, and had to give up. And far more numerous are the times that there have been things I've wanted to write about, and I couldn't even begin. 


But I want to try. Because I have to. This is a start; not much of one, but a start. The best I can do is say what I've just said and then share the below podcast with you. 


Here's the backstory about the podcast: 


Paul is pretty much all ears, as one might expect (and I'm pretty much all eyes, again as one might expect), so he's been the conduit for connecting me to exceptional podcasts. 


My intention is to tell you about my favorites at some point, but for now I want to tell you about one: Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell, and specifically the first episode. Paul had been recommending it for a long time, and I just finally listened to it. I don't know if the rest will be as good — Paul says they are — but this initial one knocked me out, and I really, really, really want you to listen to it.


It took me three tries to get through the whole thing, not because it's grisly or gory, but because it's so sadly timeless.


Here is what Revisionist History says about itself: "Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell's journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past — an event, a person, an idea, even a song — and asks whether we got it right the first time."


BTW from me: Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers — The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath, and has been named one of the Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.


Here's what Revisionist History has to say about this first episode, the one I'm sharing with you today.  


"In the late 19th century, a painting by a virtually unknown artist took England by storm: The Roll Call — but after that brilliant first effort, the artist all but disappeared. Why?


"The Lady Vanishes explores the world of art and politics to examine the strange phenomenon of the 'token' — the outsider whose success serves not to alleviate discrimination but perpetuate it. If a country elects a female president, does that mean the door is now open for all women to follow? Or does that simply give the status quo the justification to close the door again?"


Me again: It's absorbing, it's heart-breaking, it's infuriating, and it's what it's like to be a woman every day of our lives to a lesser or greater extent. 



Calling the Roll After An Engagement, Crimea — better known as The Roll Call
by Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler

Update from Malcolm: After this episode was originally posted, the United Kingdom installed its second female prime minister. 


HERE'S THE LINK. PLEASE LISTEN

Sunday, August 27, 2017

More on Arpaio

“I am worried that even those who detest Trump and are appalled by this pardon do not entirely appreciate the depth of Arpaio’s evil, or understand quite how indefensible what Donald Trump just has done is.” — Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs editor

I MEANT to give you a bit of a break before I dumped more Joe Arpaio awfulness on you, but we might as well get it over with. It's important to know exactly what kind of person SCROTUS* thinks deserves amnesty. The irony and hypocrisy are deep.
       *So-Called-Ruler-Of-The-United-States

Jill Popham hipped me to an article in Current Affairs that offers more details about the medieval cruelty of Joe Arpaio. There's a link to the entire piece at the bottom of the post, but first are a few selected paragraphs.




WAIT, DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY KNOW JUST HOW EVIL THIS MAN IS?

By Nathan J. Robinson
August 26, 2017

. . . In 1996, Scott Norberg died after being suffocated in one of Arpaio’s “restraint chairs,” after being descended on by “fourteen guards beating, shocking, and suffocating [him].” They were, said an eyewitness inmate, “like a pack of dogs.” After the Sheriff’s Office was accused of discarding evidence in the case, including the deceased’s crushed larynx, his family received an $8 million settlement.

In 2015, Felix Torres was pulled over on his bicycle for riding the wrong way up the street, and found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. While in jail awaiting trial, he was taken to the County Medical Center for severe stomach pain. Though Torres said he had a history of ulcers, doctors decided he had a hernia, and gave him a drug not recommended for people with ulcers. After being returned to jail, Torres, “spent the next few days crying, writhing in pain, and begging guards to help him or take him to the hospital.” Torres began “banging on his cell door and asking for help,” but an officer told him “You’re bullshitting… go to sleep.” On the night he died, Torres asked multiple officers for help, telling them he was dying. “You’re fucking faking it,” one replied.

. . . But it was not just those who died in Arpaio’s jails that suffered. Everyone did, because Arpaio made clear he wanted them to. Even though most of the inmates were legally innocent, Arpaio called them “criminals” and thought up ever-more sadistic treatments for them. First, of course, were the infamous tents: inmates would be forced to live without air conditioning in the Arizona heat, which reached well above 110 degrees. (At one point it reached 145 within the tents, causing the inmates’ shoes to melt.) Even the showers provided no relief; they were kept near boiling temperature. 

Winter was somehow even worse: the tents were unheated, but Arpaio would not permit warm clothing, not even a jacket. A former inmate wrote in the Washington Post that it was “freezing, achingly cold,” and that detainees wrapped their extremities with plastic bags. “I was in so much pain,” he said, that even now he cannot be cold without being reminded of it. 

. . . Medical care for those who suffered from mental illness was “dangerously inadequate.” Arpaio “tortured inmates who were on psychotropic medication by locking them in unbearably hot solitary confinement cells.” Those with physical vulnerabilities were mistreated, too; a paraplegic had his neck broken by guards and a pregnant woman lost her baby after officers left her in her cell instead of taking her to the hospital. 

Click here to read the entire article


Saturday, August 26, 2017

I can't believe it

"If President Trump uses his power to pardon a discredited law enforcement official who persistently engaged in racial profiling of the Latino community, it will not be a dog whistle to the so-called 'alt right' and white supremacists, but a bullhorn." — Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

THERE IS no bottom, apparently. The leader of the most powerful nation on earth, and this is what SCROTUS* uses his authority to do: pardon former sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ, Joe Arpaio.

      *So-Called-Ruler-Of-The-United-States 

I'm gobsmacked. When I first heard someone mention that this might actually happen, I honestly thought they were joking. 


One of the paradoxes of Arpaio's anti-immigration fervor is that he's the son of two immigrants who came to the United States from Lacedonia, Italy, and of course SCROTUS' mother was an immigrant and so were two of his three wives. 

Think it's about legal vs. illegal immigration? C'mon! SCROTUS is taking steps to sharply decrease legal immigration, and Arpaio and his gang obviously targeted Hispanics in general for years.

Phoenix Magazine columnist Jana Bommersbach wrote, "Every time I watch Sheriff Joe unleash his 'posse' on another neighborhood with a high Hispanic population, arresting people with brown skin for the most stupid of offenses — honking their horn, having a taillight out, not signaling when they change lanes — I have to wonder how anyone could not see this as an assault on an entire race of people."

What's it about then? Racism, bigotry, hypocrisy, cruelty by a bully and a sadist.

In case some of the details about Arpaio have faded from memory a bit, I've attached the a thorough Washington Post article to bring it all back. 


AP Photo

What you need to know about former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s record on illegal immigration


By Michelle Ye Hee Lee 

August 23, 2017

At his Aug. 22 rally in Phoenix, President Trump heaped praise on longtime ally and campaign surrogate Joe Arpaio, the embattled former sheriff from Arizona. While he didn’t announce a presidential pardon at the rally, he indicated he was ready to offer it. “So, was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” he asked the crowd to applause.


For many years, Trump and Arpaio shared a pet issue: the “birther” theory. Trump was a vocal proponent of it, until he abandoned it during the 2016 presidential campaign and then falsely blamed Hillary Clinton for starting the conspiracy. Arpaio and his volunteer “cold-case posse” perpetuated the conspiracy for six years until Arpaio was voted out of office in 2016.


As Trump made illegal immigration a key campaign issue, he once again found a willing ally in Arpaio, whose anti-immigrant practices catapulted him to national prominence. And now, Trump is considering a presidential pardon for the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” who faces six months of jail following a criminal conviction relating to his policing practices targeting Latinos.


Whether Arpaio has done more than any other local law enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration is Trump’s opinion, and not fact-checkable. But it’s important to look at the full context of Arpaio’s history of legal woes stemming from his illegal-immigration policies.


The Facts


This is a complex saga. We’ll focus on the initial key moments in 2008, and then jump to the potential presidential pardon in 2017.


Arpaio and his supporters often dismiss the years-long federal investigations as a partisan witch hunt under Barack Obama, but the FBI’s probe began as early as 2008, at the end of the George W. Bush administration.


Arpaio, who became sheriff in 1993, quickly became known for his unorthodox practices, such as requiring inmates to wear pink underwear, work on chain gangs and live in an outdoors “Tent City” jail even during the scorching Phoenix summers. In the early 2000s, Arpaio shifted to take on illegal immigration, which raised his national profile.


But the new effort came at a cost. Arpaio’s deputies started arresting hundreds of illegal immigrants, after entering into a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. The sheriff’s office blew through its budget on immigration efforts while violent crimes, including sex crimes, went uninvestigated. The office eventually reopened more than 400 sex crimes investigations from 2005 to 2008 — during which the agency built up its human-smuggling unit while its special-victims unit went disproportionately understaffed.


Click here to read the entire article.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Resisting on our behalf

“Particularly troubling to me is how your response to Charlottesville is consistent with a broader pattern of behavior that enables sexism and racism, and disregards the welfare of all Americans, the global community and the planet." — Daniel M. Kammen, former US State Department science envoy

YOU'VE probably heard by now that the US State Department's science envoy, Daniel Kammen, resigned today — and that the first letter of each word beginning the seven paragraphs of the written resignation he sent to SCROTUS (so-called-ruler-of-the-United-States) taken together spell I-M-P-E-A-C-H.



Daniel M. Kammen

This is on the heals of the members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigning en masse — also by means of a letter containing a coded message, in this case: R-E-S-I-G-N — spelled from the first letters of the first words of its six paragraphs. 


The letter said in part, “Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”


Other advisory councils have also disintegrated including the American Manufacturing Council and the President’s Strategy and Policy Forum.


I would like each member of these groups and others, especially Daniel Kammen, to know how admirable and galvanizing their resolution is. I had been taking comfort since the (non)election by imagining that there were untold numbers of dedicated, honorable, governmental servants who have worked diligently over the course of their careers to serve us and their country — who were now trying in every way possible to do their jobs ethically, and resist the lies and lawlessness of our current national nightmare. It's spectacularly heartening to know I wasn't just imagining. 


Below is the intro to the August 23 article from The Washington Post about Daniel Kammen's resignation and a screen cap of his letter via Twitter. Daniel, you're a hero to, no doubt, millions.


Trump’s science envoy quits in scathing letter with an embedded message: I-M-P-E-A-C-H


By Amy B.Wang

August 23, 2017

Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert appointed last year as a science envoy to the State Department, resigned Wednesday, citing President Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville as the final straw that led to his departure.


In a resignation letter posted to Twitter, Kammen wrote that Trump's remarks about the racial violence in Virginia had attacked “core values of the United States” and that it would have “domestic and international ramifications.”






Click here to read the entire Washington Post article.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Unconscionable

"You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch. But there is another side. There was a group on this side — you can call them the left, you just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that's the way it is." — Donald John Trump, August 15, 2017

THIS POST is a follow-up to yesterday's written about white supremacist terrorism in Charlottesville, VA that left one woman dead any many injured. Our country is run by a mean-spirited, bratty toddler.

Below is Stephen Colbert's August 15, 2017 monologue from The Late Show




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mayors stepping in where SCROTUS fails

"Following the acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white supremacist terrorist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, cities must act decisively and immediately by removing these monuments.” — Brandon Scott, Baltimore, Maryland city councilman

LIKE YOU, I'm inexpressively angry about the white supremacist terrorist attack that began August 11 in Charlottesville, VA.

But surprised? Not even a little. 

SCROTUS* has given racists, anti-Semites, homophobes, misogynists, bigots, isolationists, reactionaries, fascists, thugs and bullies permission to crawl out from the woodwork and brandish their hatred — as well as their baseball bats and torches — with pride.
     *So-Called-Ruler-Of-The-United-States

In the midst of the worst in our country, hope is emerging from another source. Across the country mayors of American cities are taking forthright, corrective action.

When SCROTUS, in his bottomless ignorance and hubris, the depths of which appear limitless, betrayed Americans — not to mention the planet — by removing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, mayors from Seattle to Des Moines to Boston and around the world joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. (More about this in an upcoming post.)

And now mayors and city councils nationwide are removing statues and monuments that confer honor upon traitors and glorify a way of life built on human slavery. 

August 16 Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh directed the overnight dismantling of four Confederate monuments. I love it that Baltimore has black woman as mayor, and I applaud Baltimore City Councilman, Brandon Scott, for calling what took place in Charlottesville what it was — domestic terrorism.


Photo from The Baltimore Sun

The Houston Independent School District has renamed seven schools — four high schools and three middle schools — that had been named after Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, Stonewall Jackson, John Reagan, Richard Dowling, Sidney Lanier and Jefferson Davis.

Hollywood, California has joined the movement to purge street names of Confederate generals. Hollywood commissioners voted to rename streets bearing the names of Lee, John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was also first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan

Meanwhile Hollywood, Florida city commissioners also voted in favor of renaming streets previously named after Lee, Hood and Forrest.

Why has it taken this long? Why wasn't I agitating for it to happen sooner? It's not like I didn't have a role model close at hand; Paul has been vehemently opposed to Confederacy-worship since I've known him, so I have no excuse for my lack of engagement.

Below is a map from The New York Times detailing where monuments are in the country and where they've been taken down.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Total eclipse of the heart . . . I mean, sun

“There is no science in this world like physics. Nothing comes close to the precision with which physics enables you to understand the world around you. It's the laws of physics that allow us to say exactly what time the sun is going to rise. What time the eclipse is going to begin. What time the eclipse is going to end.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, author, actor, science communicator and Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City

I'M SURE by now you've heard that a total solar eclipse will be visible Monday, August 21 in an approximately 70-mile-wide strip from Washington State to Florida. I was fortunate enough to witness this natural phenomenon when I lived in Montana. Paul, however, has never seen one, and he does not want to miss it.


Paul's brother made B and reservations nearly a year ago for somewhere in Missouri and invited us to join him, but Paul said that he didn't want to pay for a place in advance that might end up being clouded over when the big day comes. He's already watching the weather, and as soon as he knows what location will be both clearest and closest, we're headed out. We can sleep in the car or the van; I'm not fussy. 



Path of the solar eclipse

If you're planning to view it, here's a helpful article from The Planetary Society about how to view the eclipse safely.



Bill Nye's top eclipse tip: Protect your eyes


By Bill Nye

August 15, 2017

Greetings Earth's citizens,


If you're like me (and I know I am), you know next week's solar eclipse is going to be extraordinary. A total eclipse will sweep through North America, and millions of people in South America, Central America, even Europe and Russia can enjoy a partial eclipse. This is exciting, and it's time to prepare. 


There's a lot of information out there. So, keep one thing in mind: 


"Be wise; protect your eyes."


It is never safe to look directly at the Sun overhead without protective eyewear. The danger is simply that an eclipse is so fascinating, that we are tempted to stare right at the Sun for minutes at a time, much longer than we would even consider on any other day. Don't try to sneak even a glimpse. A direct look at the Sun can cause a lifetime of permanent eye damage. Let's avoid that.


Here are three things I recommend for safe solar eclipse viewing:


Prepare


Before the eclipse, secure safety eyewear for your family, students or friends (including yourself, while you're at it). Everyone should have their own pair, even if you're watching with a small child. Check your glasses for scratches and scuffs, even if your glasses are brand new. Many places are selling and distributing free eclipse glasses. Check out the American Astronomical Society's approved list of safe eyewear distributors.


Click here to read the whole article.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Aunt Sally's 90th birthday party

“I wish every person had an Aunt Sally in their lives, especially as a youngster.” — Micki Farichild Bradburn

SALLY RILEY FAIRCHILD, Paul's aunt and Micki's, turned 90 this year, and August 3 her six living children, Riley, Tim, Dana, Ralph, Anne and Forde and their spouses, hosted a spectacular party to celebrate her birthday. Included in the festivities held in a family-owned meadow west of Spirit Lake were a large tent complete with stage and sound system, a sod house, 
talent show, bagpiper, an Irish flag and an American flag brought back from service in Afghanistan hoisted 70 feet in the air, rubber duck races, food, flowers, balloons and adult beverages.


Paul and I drove up the day before to allow time for Paul, Anne and Ralph to rehearse and work on the sound system, and so we could have dinner with Micki, Anne and their nice husbands. Morning came a little early, but we were up and at 'em and in place ahead of schedule, ready for the party to start at 9:30. 


Here are some photos from the day and day before.



This American flag was brought back from Afghanistan by the youngest of Sally and Dan's children, Forde, who is serving as a civilian lawyer for the troops there. He flew 23 hours straight to get home for his mother's party.


Rehearsal the day before. Tim's wife Julie — who did so much to make this party happen — applauds, family friend Keith is behind her, and Sally's niece on the Riley side, Sara, and her husband Paul are standing.


The bagpiper was a surprise for Sally. That's Forde standing with his mom.


Sally's only daughter, Anne, on the left, Ralph in the middle with Dana's son Jon and family. 


Eldest son Riley and his daughter on the right and his step-daughter in the center.


Forde and Katie's oldest daughter Mary Grace with Katie's mom.


Dana's son Jon and his wife just had a new little baby girl. They named her Sally Danielle Fairchild after Grandma Sally and her husband Daniel who passed away years ago. She was baptized the following day with Sally Sr. present. How completely perfect.


This is the sod house that Tim and his sons built . . . four times! The first time a bull knocked it down, the second time a freak, severe wind storm (can anyone say climate change) blew it down, and the third time it rained and rained and washed it away. Tim said, "What could I do? I had to built it again; 
the invitations were already mailed."


I love this photo of Aunt Sally, Forde and his middle child, Francie.


Sally's husband Dan was Paul's mother's brother. Standing in back on the right is another brother, Estel. His wife Audry is in the wheelchair, their daughter Kathy stands behind her mother. On the left is Paul's double cousin Debbie . . . Paul's father's brother married Paul's mother's sister . . . with her husband. 


Dana on the right and Ralph on the left. It utterly captures the essence of these two mischief-makers.


Tim is a welder and a metalsmith. He made this troll gate across the bridge.


This meadow, which has been in the Riley family for generations, is special. It's never been tilled — ever.


The talent show! Ralph and Anne sang, and Paul played bass. 


Katie and Forde's children, Mary Grace, Patrick and Francie, performing Irish step dancing. Katie is an O'Donnell, so as near I can figure, these three are three-quarters Irish.


Micki Fairchild Bradburn, Paul's cousin by way of her dad Bob who was Paul's mom's brother, Teri who is married to Riley, Paul, Micki's husband Steve who's an operatic tenor and Ralph.


Left to right: Patrick, Mary Grace, Sophia (Dana's son Jon's daughter), Callyn (Tim's son Patrick's daughter) and Francie perform "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round".


Paul and Anne, who is a genuine, real-deal, jazz singer.


I brought bubble wands for the kids, and apparently for me too. Rubber duck races in progress.


Patrick in the background 
watches Callyn chase the bubbles I blew. 

There was no shortage of beautiful children.


Paul shooting the breeze with his cousins and their pals.


Katie and Forde and their three. I find this photo irresistible because of the look 
and bearing of Mary Grace.


Paul, armed and dangerous. He and the other boys took turns shooting at a container of fireworks. There had to be firearms and explosives involved because . . . it's the Fairhcihild boys!! Something life-threatening or at least risky must be included.