Random (but not really)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. 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.

Written by Michelle at 7:45 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls State Park

Almost all of our hikes at Blackwater Falls involved kids, so they were short and non-strenuous. And a lot of fun.

We also took a night hike (with two kids) which, not unexpectedly, had zero pictures taken.

Location: Blackwater Falls State Park
Trails: Shay Trace to Elakala Trails
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation: 3093-3287 feet

Trail: Cherry Lane Trail
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation: 3221-3400 feet

There are some random pictures from Blackwater Falls not related to our hikes.

Main falls on Thursday evening

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Main falls Saturday evening

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Elakaka Falls (below the bridge behind the lodge)

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Written by Michelle at 8:27 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, July 2, 2018

Blackwater Falls: Fun with Small People

I had the BEST long weekend!

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Written by Michelle at 8:36 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Flower Pr0n: I <3 Day Lilies

I love day lilies. I think it’s because they so exuberant. I have multiple cultivars (they don’t all bloom at the same time, so even without the Stella D’Oros I have about a month of day lilies).

I have lots of hostas not because I love them, but because they grow in shade, which I have a lot of, and they’ll thrive.

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Visitor at the hostas.

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Because I have so much shade, I also have several varieties of fern.

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Here are the ubiquitous Stella D’Oros. These get put anywhere I want to ignore.

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And two of the other day lily varieties blooming now.

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Written by Michelle at 12:32 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,House & Garden,Photos  

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Traveling: Washington DC

Friends were in DC for work on an overlapping weekend, so I went down so I could see them while they were closer than several days drive away.

Saturday, it was supposed to storm all afternoon, so we went to the Air & Space Museum Annex, to which I had never been.

One of the things I especially wanted to see was the shuttle.

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The heat tiles were more amazing that I had ever thought!

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Seeing the amount of wear on the tiles was both amazing and also made me a little sad, thinking that the loss of a tile caused the death of astronauts.

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One of the things I especially wanted to see was the restoration area. Since it was a Saturday, no one was working, but you could see what they were working on.

The restoration of a wood frame plane next to a WWII plane being restored.

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To give you an idea of how complex these various restorations can be:

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I was tickled (green, rather than pink) by this control panel.

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Michael figured out what the black rectangles below the phones were. That amused me even more.

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An odd looking piece of technology….

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With a name that amused me highly.

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I also looked at the WWI and WWII planes, because it astounds me that men were willing to go up into the air in those flimsy things and fight each other. I mean, the WWI planes had synchronizes for their machine guns so they could shoot *through* their spinning propeller without shooting themselves out of the sky.

One thing that surprised me was that the space section actually depressed me quite a bit–so many of the items in that are were for warfare. It seems so wrong that the achievement of leaving the planet was a small thing compared to the amount of time and money spent planning ways to destroy other humans.

But after further thought, it was more than that. The WWI and WWII planes didn’t bother me, because I could see the skill and bravery required to go up in one of those machines and engage in a duel with the enemy. (I have tremendous respect for all soldiers who place their own lives on the line to protect people they’ve never even met.)

Guided missiles, however, are ways to kill people from a great distance, requiring nothing more of the the person firing the weapon than to push a button.

Remember: I’m a pacifist. I believe that I personally cannot lash out at someone–even in self-defense. (It’s far more complicated than that, but that’s a decent summary.)

From that perspective, the idea of being able to kill without putting yourself in danger is mortifying. I understand the need for self-defense, even if I feel it is not an option I can take. But to kill without being in personal danger or to protect someone in your presence–that gives me cold chills.

So to see how much effort has gone into killing with missiles left me feeling shaken.

But besides that, I really enjoyed the museum–and even more enjoyed spending time with my friends: neurondoc, Jeri, and especially MWT, who I’d never met in person before.

I’m so glad I was able to spend all day Saturday with them.

Written by Michelle at 6:47 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: DC,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Books of May

I read several new and new-to-me books this month–all the historical romances and supernatural fantasies were new-to-me and I even read the Jane Yellowrock new release almost immediately! Lots of hiking on the weekends, and being outside in the evenings, which cuts back on the reading, but I shan’t complain at all.

All of the historical romances had M/M elements, and all were boinking, but most of them were very good. I’d especially recommend the trio Hamilton’s Battalion which has three separate romances: a woman pretending to be a man to fight in the continental army, a M/M romance between an English Lord who deserted the British Army and an ex-slave fighting for the freedom of his brother-in-law, and a maid who works for Mrs Hamilton and the granddaughter of a revolutionary soldier.

If you’ve been reading the Jane Yellowrock books, you don’t need me to tell you to read the newest, but if you haven’t, this is a series that has managed to be very good over the course of a dozen books, and I could be content if the series ended here (it won’t). And the short story pair by Lish McBride made me want to re-read Hold Me Closer Necromancer, which is a YA I very much enjoyed at the time.

Historical Romance

Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances (2017) Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole (8/10)
Flight of Magpies (2014) K.J. Charles (8/10) (A Charm of Magpies)
Rag and Bone (2016) K.J. Charles (8/10)
It Takes Two to Tumble (2017) Cat Sebastian (7/10)

Fantasy, Supernatural

Dark Queen (2018) Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock)
Freaks & Other Family (2016) Lish McBride (8/10) (Necromancer)

Fantasy

Discworld
Mort (1987) Terry Pratchett (8/10)
Guards! Guards! (1989) Terry Pratchett (9.5/10)

Mystery

The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories (2015) Ian Rankin (8.5/10) (Rebus)

Audio Books

Mercy Thompson
Moon Called, Audible Version (2006) Patricia Briggs narrated by Lorelei King (7.5/10)
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson, Audio Version (2014) Patricia Briggs narrated by Alexander Cendese and Lorelei King (9/10)
Stiletto, Audible Edition (2016) Daniel O’Malley narrated by Moira Quirk (9/10) (The Rook)
Voice of the Violin, Audible Version (1997/2003/2008) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli narrated by Grover Gardner (8/10) (Inspector Montalbano)

Now: The stats!

Thirteen books this one and a DNF. The DNF was one I quit with prejudice–it wasn’t even good enough to hate read, I had so many issues with it.

All my reading was ebooks, and I also managed four audio books this month (one was the travel book I listened to with Michael). Five of the books I own in multiple formats (ie paper and eBook or eBook and audio book) and seven were re-reads (I can only listen to audio books I’ve read before, so all audio books are re-reads.)

eBook : 9
Audio : 4
Multiple Formats : 5
Re-read : 7

Primarily fantasy and historical romance this month, with overlap between the two.

Fantasy : 9
Mystery : 2
Romance : 5
YA : 1

And male authors are falling behind this month, despite the effort of Terry Pratchett. I actually started a 3rd Terry Pratchett, but I might go onto the next, because the witches aren’t my favorite story arc.

Male : 5
Female : 8

And that’s the past month in books!

Written by Michelle at 1:10 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Traveling WV: The GPS Really Is Trying To Kill You

It’s a running joke between Michael and I about how often we ignore the GPS, because it’s trying to kill us.

Here’s a road that is at least marked as inaccessible to cars, but that didn’t stop three vehicles trying to go down the road during our brief walk. Often, the roads are NOT marked as such, so take caution when turning down any gravel road in WV.

Because your GPS really is trying to kill you.

It doesn’t look too bad here. We stopped one SUV of foreigners from attempting the road. (“No! Your vehicle will NOT make it!”)

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Dappled light makes it difficult to see this is a puddle stretching completely across the road. You cannot tell how deep it is. (It’s there year round. It’s deep.)

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This is the first section of road that causes people to turn around. Most cars do not have the clearance to go over those rocks. Lots of trucks don’t have the clearance to go over those rocks.

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It’d been raining recently, so the creek across the road was unusually high. But even in dry weather there is always a small creek there.

There was a truck in the creek when we walked back. I think he was just playing around, but he was slipping while trying to turn.

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Now we’re past the creek, and the road really turns into a muddy mess.

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This is why I always advise people to NOT take a gravel or dirt road, unless that is their destination. A short cut really isn’t. Especially if you don’t have cell signal and are trying to find someone to tow you out.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,Travel,West Virginia  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley State Park

This is a ridiculously easy hike, but it’s also one of my favorites, because it is always beautiful.

Location: Canaan Valley State Park
Trail: Blackwater River Trail
Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation: 3243-3331 feet

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Written by Michelle at 2:00 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Seneca Rocks

It’d been awhile since we hiked up Seneca Rocks on a weekend day.

It was ridiculously busy. Which is good, because it means people were spending the weekend doing outdoors things here in WV. But less good for someone who likes solitude.

On the plus side, the homestead was open, and they had extra items on display, including many old quilts.

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Click through for other pictures of the quilt.

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Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

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Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
‘Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

Taps, by Gen. Daniel Butterfield

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Ben Klishis WWII

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: History,Holidays  
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