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Blue Spider's Coffee House

Truth, Love, Beauty and all things Virtuous

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All My Ships Are Out At Sea

I’ve learned over time that one of the worst things you can do as a manager is compare supervising your co-workers to raising kids. They go ape over the comparison, even though, truth be told, there are a lot of similarities.

 

When I made this observation during a recent meeting, Brenda in Accounting was one of those who took offence to the comparison. Not quite understanding where she was coming from, I tried to calm her down by telling her not to worry she’s in good hands because my kids turned out just fine. That seemed to only make the situation worse. After some mediation and a thousand pardons, we did in fact get past the incident and I now know that deep-down inside Brenda’s a good kid.

A Baker’s Dozen

In the year 1655 on December’s last day, a Dutch baker was working late selling New Year’s cookies. As he was about to shut up shop an uncommonly ugly old woman thrust her way in, demanding a dozen of the special cookies bearing an effigy of Saint Nick.

As the baker handed her the bag of cookies, she said crossly: “One more cookie: I said a dozen.” “You have a dozen,” said the baker. “One more cookie said the ugly old woman, “One more than 12 makes a dozen.”

The baker grabbed her by the shoulder and pushed her to the door. “You may go to the Devil for another cookie!” he shouted. “You won’t get it here.”

In the days and months that followed, mysterious bad luck came to the little bakery in Beverwyck. Bread rose to the ceiling or fell flat like a pancake. Cookies and money seem to be snatched up by invisible hands. Even the handsome brick oven collapsed. The stubborn Dutchman began to wonder whether supernatural powers were not at work.

“Holy Saint Nicholas, what shall I do?” As he spoke these words, Saint Nicholas appeared and told the baker that his troubles could be resolved if had the spirit that the holidays demand.  No sooner had the figure of the saint vanished than the uncommonly ugly old woman appeared demanding a dozen cookies. Posthaste, the baker counted 13 cookies, presenting the bag to her with a bow and a “Happy New Year!”

“The spell is broken”, the witch told the baker, “Now swear to me on the likeness of Saint Nicholas that hereafter in Beverwyck and all the patroonship of Van Rensselaer that 13 will make a baker’s dozen. The baker took the oath and from that day on even down to this day when you say a baker’s dozen you mean 13.

Music Picks

  1. Cousin Dupree–Steely Dan
  2. Pines of Rome (Pini Di Romo)—Respighi
  3. If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)—George Jones
  4. In the Blood—John Mayer
  5. Forearm Shiver—Sam Spence

Putting a Ha’ Penny in A Poor Man’s Hat

“…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace—Isaiah 9:6

12-11-16-main-street-stockbridge-by-norman-rockwell-660x350-1474435737

I had a dream the other night I was a salmon and I swam free towards the sea…then I reluctantly ceased to swim and slowly woke out of my dream. Awake. it didn’t take me long to realize that today was election day! With purpose, I vigorously put on my beige Dockers, my casual business shirt, took my One-A-Day man vitamin and headed off to vote with some pep in my step.

Surprisingly, there were no long lines, as predicted by the talking heads. It only took me about 10 minutes to get in and out of the community center—easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.

Feeling pretty darn good, I drove home for a quick pit stop at the house before going in to work. I parked the Mini in the driveway and ran into the house. After grabbing a mouth full of chocolate chips, I ran back outside only to find my car missing. However, it didn’t take too long to find my car. It was halfway down the cul-de-sac, having come to a rest atop my neighbor’s mailbox. Apparently, when you place a car in neutral its gets the itch to move.

My first instinct was to grab the car and drive off, but my conscience got the best of me and I chose not to flee the scene. Although this good decision-making was encouraged by a neighbor watching me like a hawk. So, I went back into the house, grabbed some more chocolate chips (to steady my nerves), and proceeded to write a note documenting my negligence. I dutifully placed the note on my neighbor’s door and took some pictures of the “crime scene” and then tore out of the neighborhood like a bat out of hell.

12-11-16-mercy

I figured at the most it would be a couple of hundred dollars to fix the mailbox, so I reconciled myself once more that I would just have to suck it up and take my medicine.

Regretfully, I didn’t know anything about this neighbor. Other than they had big red truck and there was a woman at the house who curiously stared at us sometimes when we were driving to and from the house. So, I did not know what to expect when I got home from work that night.

After mansplaining to my wife about the car, insurance, and the cost to repair the mailbox, I went over to the house to just get it over with. But nobody was there except a teenage girl who told me through the door that her parents weren’t home. About an hour later, I willed myself over to the house again and introduced myself as the guilty party, in my best Eeyore voice.

To my surprise my neighbor calmly told me that “sh** happens” and told me he appreciated my honesty. All he was going to ask is that I go and buy the post ($11) and from there he’d do the rest. We shook hands firmly and stoically parted ways. A win-win for both sides. A win for honesty and win for mercy.  To think the Mini being put in neutral would actually be a blessing in disguise.

Miniature houseBless the four corners of this house,
And be the lintel blest;
And bless the hearth, and bless the board,
And bless each place of rest;

And bless the door that opens wide
To stranger, as to kin;
And bless each crystal windowpane
That lets the starlight in;

And bless the roof overhead
And every sturdy wall
The peace of man, the peace of God,
The peace of love on all

-Arthur Guiterman

Blind Willie Johnson: The Soul of a Man

blind_willie_johnson

Won’t somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Want somebody tell me, what is the soul of a man
I’m going to ask the question, answer if you can

If anybody here can tell me, what is the soul of a man?
I’ve traveled in different countries, I’ve traveled foreign lands
I’ve found nobody to tell me, what is the soul of a man

I saw a crowd stand talking, I came up right on time
Were hearing the doctor and the lawyer, say a man ain’t nothing but his mind
I read the bible often, I tries to read it right

As far as I can understand, a man is more than his mind
When Christ stood in the temple, the people stood amazed
Was showing the doctors and the lawyers, how to raise a body from the grave

Our Unfinished World

Earth and Clouds

God gave us a world unfinished, so that we
might share in the joys and satisfactions of
creation.

He left oil in Trenton rock.
He left electricity in the clouds.
He left the rivers unbridged–and the mountains
untrailed.

He left the forests unfelled and the cities
unbuilt.
He left the laboratories unopened
He left the diamonds uncut.
He gave us the challenge of raw materials,
not the satisfaction of perfect, finished
things.

He left the music unsung and the dramas un-
played.
He left the poetry undreamed, in order that
men and women might not become bored,
but engage in stimulating, exciting, creative
activities that keep them thinking, working,
experimenting, and experiencing all the joys
and durable satisfactions of achievement.

-Allen A. Stockdale

 

 

Things that Never Die by Charles Dickens

The pure, the bright, the Dore pic 3beautiful
That stirred our hearts in youth,
The impulses to wordless prayer,
The streams of love and truth,
The longing after something lost,
The spirit’s yearning cry,
The striving after better hopes
These things can never die.

The timid hand stretched forth to aid
A brother in his need;
A kindly word in griefs dark hour
That proves a friend indeed;
The plea
for mercy softly breathed.
When justice threatens high,
The sorrow of a contrite heart
These things shall never die.

Let nothing pass, for every hand
Must find some work to do,
Lose not a chance to waken love
Be firm and just and true.
So shall a light that cannot fade
Beam on thee from on high,
And angel voices say to thee
“These things shall never die.”

The Friggin’ Candy Dance

I woke up Saturday morning and knew immediately what had to be done. Disappointing the love of my life was not an option today. Sure I was a disappointment to her on several levels, but today was going to be different. I knew what my mission was and I chose to accept it. Today I had to bring it because today we were going to annual Candy Dance Arts & Crafts Faire. A two-day arts and crafts fair with over 300 craft and food vendors where thousands of people are drawn to the little town of Genoa, Nevada. And today, come hell or high water, I was going to be numbered among those folks because that is how my baby wanted to spend our Saturday morning.

Candy Dance 2015

After quickly eating a breakfast bar and downing a bunch of milk, I ran upstairs and jumped into the shower, but not before visualizing my shower, so there was no wasted motion. A little scrub here and a little scrub there, some shampoo, just enough to create a tiny lather, a quick rinse and then I was out. I would skip shaving and blow drying my beautiful nut brown hair this morning. While wifey was getting ready, I did some quick stretching and some rhythmic calisthenics, grabbed some waters, and put out the dogs. And we were ready to go to the freakin’ Candy Dance!

Oh the drive there was pleasant enough. We were in pretty gay spirits and this made it easy for us to set some goals for the Candy Dance. We had agreed we’d lay off the Christmas crafts, the rustic dried flowers arrangements, homeopathic lavender soaps, whimsical birdhouses, celtic toe rings, and cute wood carved animals and strictly focus on Halloween crafts and fudge. About 2 or 3 miles out from the Candy Dance traffic slowed to crawl, but that was okay nothing was going to dampen the spirits I had worked so hard to create for this event. I could do this….Forty minutes later, we finally got to the gosh darn field that was being used as a parking lot. The volunteer staff was amazingly sharp and got us to a parking spot that was super far away from the event.

About half way through our hike to the event, I realized drinking so much milk in the morning was a real bad idea and so was wearing jeans. I was simultaneously hot and thirsty and recognized this as the early onset of dehydration. Dehydration normally puts me in a bad mood, but not today because-dad gum it-I kept telling myself this was the friggin’ Candy Dance, an arts and crafts fair like none other.

arts and craft pic1

As we neared the Candy Dance entrance, I noticed that I wasn’t going to be the only guy there. In fact, there were lots of men going to this craft fair and some actually looked like they were happy. And there were all types of men there. There we’re men in Birkenstocks, men in tie-dyes, there were body-builders and war veterans in attendance, but the most surprising were the biker dudes and the rocker dudes with obscene sayings on their black t-shirts. But hey, sometimes you got to do what your old lady wants you to because when your old lady is not happy nobody is happy.

My wife and I were very methodical. We went up and down the rows upon row of arts and crafts booths, noticing which ones were popular as well as taking stock of the newer art and crafts trends, making arts and crafts out of mee-ma’s old silver spoon and tea sets seemed very popular. We were very self-controlled and waited until we had seen all the booths before buying the crafts we had wanted. And for once, we also laid off the large lemonades and the deep-fried Twinkies and bacon-wrapped turkey this year.

Arts and Crafts Fair-4

Finally, after wandering under the Sun’s heat for two hours with thousands of other hot and sweaty arts and crafts connoisseurs, we made our purchases and got out of Dodge. Cranking up the air conditioning, I asked my wife if she was hungry. She told me since I had sacrificed to go the fair, it was my choice. Normally, this would not be a big deal and I would choose Jimmy John’s, but ever since the Cecil the Lion incident, my wife has researched all these other people who were big game hunters and wouldn’t you know it the owner of Jimmy John’s was a big game hunter. Since that time I’ve had to choose between being loyal to my wife or being loyal the #12 Beach Club. And I have been faithful. But, to be fair this time around, I did go to the Candy Dance. Lucky for me, my wife had pity on me again and I got the #12.

Even the Smallest Act…

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