Thursday, March 31, 2016


Sunshine two days in a row! Daffodils blooming in the front yard, gladiolas sprouting in the back. Oh joy, spring is here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

4 to 4 again - with more of the same to come.

The beat goes on, more 4 to 4 decisions coming right up. Ironically, some of the tied votes mean a defeat for McConnell's side. See more on the Supreme Court chaos at the Washington Post.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Who is Merrick Garland?

See his biography at the Washington Post.

Why did President Obama nominate him for the Supreme Court? See the biography linked above.

Why does Senator McConnell refuse to hold hearings on his nomination? Again, see biography linked above, and please let us know if you can figure out who McConnell thinks he can find that is more qualified than Judge Garland.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Chronic Pain and Dieting - a Raging Conflict

I found a name for the swelling at the back of my knee: it is a Baker's cyst. When the cyst is torn open, the fluid flows down into the calf, swelling the leg. Both conditions are painful as I can attest.

The problem with chronic pain is that food is a comfort normally applied to hurts and this becomes a challenge if one is also on a diet.

Add to this the aches and twinges of a strained muscle near last year's hernia repair, and resisting the comfort of tasty food is more than a challenge - it is a raging conflict that goes on all day, day after day.

I consider it a great victory to actually be losing weight, though more slowly than I'd like. It helps that the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (location of will power, see post dated March 7) can be strengthened by adding glucose (sugar in any form) to the brain. So eating a single cookie actually increases will power. (My cookies are from Dr Siegal. It is remarkable that they always taste delicious to me and after six months I'm not tired of them.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not Treason

Having asked the question:

If it is not treason (to deny due process and justice to appellants in Federal court and to work at hindering the work of a branch of government) then what do we call it?

I looked up the definition of treason at the Meriam-Webster dictionary:

the crime of trying to overthrow your country's government

and at The US Code (Legal Information Institute)
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort

I found out that even Jeffereson Davis, president of the Confederate States during the Civil War, was not convicted of treason.

So, with apologies, I retract my supposition. McConnell is not guilty of treason.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Breaking News: Senator McConnell Erases the Supreme Court

Consequences to the intransigence of Republican Senators started yesterday, with a decision tied 4 to 4 in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore. When the Supreme Court is tied on a decision, the ruling of the lower court stands. It is as if the Supreme Court has been erased, on every decision they have a tied vote. 

A tied vote was not possible when all nine judges were alive. By refusing to do their duty, and vote on Judge Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court, McConnell and his gang have in effect nullified the third branch of government.

Decisions in three other cases were not tied - see details in the SCOTUS Blog. Would it be accurate to say that McConnell has erased only 25% of the Supreme Court? That could equal thirty-one random cases in a normal court calendar. 

The Supreme Court decides about 130 cases a year. Every week they must evaluate 130 cases to decide if they will be heard by the court, a burden normally divided between nine judges.

I believe that the Senators who are nullifying the Supreme Court are committing  a form of treason, because they are deliberately denying justice and a fair hearing to numbers of appellants while at the same time crippling the work of the third branch of government. I do not believe in escalation of personal attacks on opposite political parties, and a review of my blog will show no demagoguery. 

I do not know what else to call it but treason. If it isn't treason, what is it? 

For details of upcoming cases that may be affected by having less than a full court, see this article at the Huff Post.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Thirty-one times Senator McConnell has sworn the oath of office every Senator takes every year they return to the Senate, which says in part:

"without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office"

His honor is in the mud, he is repudiating his oath.

He is violating his Constitutional duty to give his "advise and consent" on the President's nominees - and not just Merrick Garland, but many other judges of lesser courts.

Mitch McConnell is trampling on the rights of the people to have "justice for all" and a "fair and speedy trial".

Friday, March 18, 2016

Minus Five Pounds in a Month

Staying on the Cookie Diet (after some lapses), and celebrating losing five pounds in the past month. That makes 31 pounds lost in six months. Thank you Dr. Siegal.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

They Think It's All About Them

What about the people who are waiting for justice? What about the cases waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court? Do not dismiss the urgent need for a ninth justice with a simple observation that the court is still in session, that cases are being tried. No!

The importance of cases that go all the way to the Supreme Court deserve a hearing by a court of nine judges. The people who have spent years of their lives and untold amounts of money on lawyers deserve a complete court of the best legal minds judging their case.

They do not deserve the posturing of Senators who smirk at the camera and tell us they "want the people to have a voice" in choosing the next judge. The people have a voice - one they elected by a large majority twice, with no hanging chads! If the Senators cared about "the people" they would care enough to do their jobs and hold hearings to "advise and consent" on the current nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. They would do their Constitutional, sworn duty. IF they cared, about the people.

The newscasters, the opinion columns, all sound and look like it's all about the Senators blocking the hearings - like it's all about them.

I doubt if the appellants waiting for justice would agree. What happened to "justice for all"? This looks more like justice at the convenience and whim of the rich and powerful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Painted themselves into a Corner

Every Senator takes an oath of office every year they return to the Senate, which says in part:

"without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office"

Now that President Obama has done his job, and has nominated Merrick Garland, (currently the Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit), it's time for the Senate to just do their job, which is to advise and consent.

The following Republican Senators praised and voted to confirm Merrick Garland for the DC Circuit Court, considered the second most important court in the land: "Hatch, along with current Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), Dan Coats (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John McCain (R-AZ), and Pat Roberts (R-KS)".

Judge Garland has served with such distinction that (conservative and Bush nominee) Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts "praised Garland’s “reasonableness”, memorably stating: “Any time Judge Garland disagrees, you know you’re in a difficult area.”

One wonders how the Republican Senators are going to get out of the corner that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) painted them all into, right after the death of Justice Scalia. In hindsight, vowing to obstruct any attempt by President Obama to fill the Supreme Court vacancy may have been premature, not to say downright rash.

Newspaper editorial boards around the nation demand action from the Senate, while Senator McConnell ignores the cries of the nation for him to just do his job.

Monday, March 14, 2016


"Good things come to those who wait."

I don't know who said that, and I'm sure there are many who would disagree, but as another saying goes -

"Patience is its own reward."

Which I suppose is another way of saying the same thing.

I am not innately patient. Indeed, that must be a rare virtue to occur naturally, or we wouldn't have so many sayings to encourage patience.

Patience is not a passive state. It is not mere resignation, waiting for whatever happens.

Patience has a goal, and works actively towards it, and steadily, without getting discouraged or angry that it requires more work to reach the end result.

I'm learning to treasure patience, and even enjoy it. Having set difficult goals for myself this year, I must patiently pursue them, or be a liar to myself. They are personal goals - no one can keep me from attaining them except me. Patience is my friend and partner, helping me work through the hard spots.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pros and Cons - and outcomes

In the war on fat, which I declared last September, there is that which works for me, and that which makes it harder.

Dr Siegal's cookie Diet
membership at Timbertown Gym, coaching and encouragement
Fitbit that Goldibear gave me
inspiration from Dr. Siegal, Dr. Raty, Gretchen Rubin, other authors
my very strong desire to get fit and healthy, and not become a burden to my family

my age - 70 - slower metabolism, less muscle
amount of weight to lose - 25 more pounds
habits of being 'emotional' eater - food the answer to anxiety, anger, boredom, etc.
evidence of my history - yo-yo syndrome
3 prescriptions, that tend to cause weight gain and/or slow weight los

I'm winning the war on fat.  Although my weight hasn't changed from what it was two weeks ago, and a pulled muscle has kept me out of the gym for over a week, I'm burning (slightly) more calories than what I'm eating. My measurements are moving slowly in the right direction and my clothes fit better. I have more energy and a good mood. The cookies keep me satisfied and on the stressed-out days I burn the calories I eat, just not as many. Not gaining is winning, too.

The cookies still taste delicious. I never expected to see the day when I would be keeping my New Year's Resolutions in March! It feels very good indeed.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Work that is Worth the Effort

The following message was posted to my profile at WikiTree today.  Paula's words encouraged me so much, and I want to share them because they are also meant for the members of the Magna Carta project, and could apply to so many of the members of WikiTree who carefully document profiles of our mutual ancestors in quiet obscurity. It is work that is worth the effort - let's all keep on keeping on!

The following message from Paula J was posted on your WikiTree profile.

We are still working on the Henry Wyche profile and connections. We removed a bad connection (wife) as his wife proved to be unknown as you noted.  There is still much work to do going down the line towards present day but I wanted to thank you for the solid foundation that you and Magna Carta project put up that keeps us from having to clean up and source earlier ancestors whose profiles are in great shape!! 
It is like a huge gift! 

The descendants are quite a mess and we are putting up as many profiles as we can to prevent future confusion. Like most southern families, names are reused so often it is difficult to untangle who belongs where!

It just makes me appreciate your work all the more!! Thanks again!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Where do we keep our Will Power?

Making changes in my habits, especially exercise and eating, requires using my will power. Today I found out where my will power is located - in my ventral medial prefrontal cortex and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.  Oh, well of course. ummm, where is that?

This image at Wikipedia puts them both near the front of the brain. Being able to picture where my will power is kept does not help me to access it when I need more of it. For tips on how to do that, see these ideas published at Livestrong.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Watch the debates on March 9th and 10th

We have watched most of the debates between candidates - of both parties.  I wish everyone who plans to vote for president would do this. We have learned about all the candidates, and have talked over what we learned, what we agree with, and how we will vote.

There are still more debates to come.  If you haven't seen the debates for both party's candidates, you have the opportunity to do so, on March 9th and March 10th. See for yourself what it is all about.  I can only say I have been shocked, surprised and informed.

Friday, March 4, 2016



Jenny Maria Aspegren, my great-grandmother, was born 4 March 1869 at Karsikko farm, Simo, Lappi, Finland.  Today is the 147th anniversary of her birth. Karsikko is an isolated farm near the Gulf of Bothnia, where the Northern Lights can be seen about two hundred times in a year.

Jenny married Tapani Nayha 3 January 1892. While he was away working as a river boat captain, Jenny took care of the farm and their family. They had nine children, all of whom grew to maturity, at a time when the child mortality was 50%. Jenny farmed and preserved food, cooked and cleaned. She was very handy, and she made wooden skis for the children.She was an outstanding tailor, able to make men's suits and do all the fancy work on fine clothes, with French seams and other details. Jenny was an excellent cook and she passed her skills on to her children.  When WWII came, and staples such as salt, sugar, flour and coffee were scarce, Jenny's daughters in America sent regular bundles of food back home.

Jenny died 20 December 1944. She was 75 years old.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Samuel Bacon, baptized 5 March 1636, at Stretton, Rutland, England, is my 7th great-grandfather.  The village of Stretton lies on the east side of the Roman road which here forms the Great North Road. "As early as 1636 there was a suit brought against the lords of the manor, stating that 'out of covetousness and malignity,' since the beginning of Charles's reign, they had destroyed twelve ancient farms, with land that had been arable time out of mind, and depopulated them, thrusting out all the ancient tenantry and farmers, their wives, children and servants, enclosed the common ground and turned the farm lands from tillage to pasture."
Parishes: Stretton, in A History of the County of Rutland: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1935), pp. 145-151 British History Online, [accessed 29 October 2015]. 

Nathaniel Bacon is found in Barnstable, Massachusetts on a list of "First Settlers Barnstable 1640", and Samuel his younger brother is later found with his own land, between Nathaniel's farm and that of  Samuel's father-in-law, Richard Foxwell. The timing shows us at least one reason they had for leaving England to settle on Cape Cod.

Samuel married the girl next door, Martha Foxwell, in 1659, and they had their first two children in Barnstable. Samuel's farm was small - less than five acres, and his family was growing. The town of Woodbridge, New Jersey, wanted good farmers, and offered land grants of 170 acres. Samuel moved his family (most likely by boat) in 1669 to Woodbridge, where he had a dock called "Bacon's Landing". John, William, Nathaniel, Joseph, Jeremiah and Ann were born to Samuel and Martha at Woodbridge, New Jersey.

In 1682, the same year William Penn founded his great Quaker city of Philadelphia, Samuel Bacon claimed a plantation of 260 acres on the Cohansey River, which empties into the Delaware River south of Philadelphia. Samuel named his new estate "Bacon's Adventure". This move was also likely made by boat. Samuel served on the Provincial Assembly of West Jersey in 1685, and he was a Justice of the Court for Salem County in 1688. At some point he became a Quaker, and records of his family are found in their archives. Samuel Bacon died in November of 1695, age 59, at Salem, New Jersey. He is an immigrant ancestor and early settler of Massachusetts and New Jersey.

 Relationship Trail

1. April is the daughter of Kenneth Alvin Dellinger 
    2. Ken is the son of Clara May (Barchus) Dellinger 
       3. Clara is the daughter of Constant T. Barchus 
          4. Constant is the son of Sarah (Bacon) Barchus 
             5. Sarah is the daughter of David Bacon 
                6. David is the son of Enos Bacon 
                   7. Enos is the son of Joseph Bacon
                      8. Joseph is the son of Joseph Bacon 
                         9. Joseph is the son of Samuel Bacon 

This trail tells us that Samuel is the seventh great grandfather of April.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sunshine, Daffodils and Hail

Yesterday the cheerful yellow of the first daffodils adorned our yard. The sunshine blessed them, and with hail at the same time. Oh yes, this is definitely Oregon.

Never mind, if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change.