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How I Met God in the Middle of the Night

Recently I went through some serious medical issues. While I was teaching at a software conference in San Francisco, I became very sick. For over 15 years I have had a problem with fluid build up in my legs. While I was at the conference my left leg became infected. I had a fever of 103 and bouts of hallucinations. I was so sick that I didn't even know I was seriously sick. My wife nursed me and kept me going. My company said I should go home. But between my not realizing how sick I was and my "Get it done" philosophy, I taught all of my classes. My company did rent one of those powered scooter chairs. When we left San Francisco to come back to Michigan, the airline went above and beyond to help me get home. But I was so tired when we got home, I told my wife I needed a couple of hours of sleep before we went to the emergency room. Being of advancing years I went to the hospital that is supposed to be the local specialists in seniors. They immediately started me on an ant

Simple Pixel Watch (Update to version 6)

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Simple Pixel Watch (Update to version 6) This is a simple watch using two pixel rings, a Flora and a real time clock (RTC). I wanted a less expensive and lower power consumption alternative to the NeoGeo watch. So I dropped the GPS and positioning boards in favor of a RTC. Construction is easy and fairly quick. You should have some soldering and leather working skills but this is definitely a beginner's level project. Parts List Flora (Adafruit PRODUCT ID: 659) NeoPixel Ring - 12 x 5050 RGBW LEDs (Adafruit any variant) NeoPixel Jewel - 7 x 5050 RGB LED (Adafruit any variant but it is best to match the pixel ring. IE. they should both be cool white or both be natural white.) Real time clock (Adafruit PCF8523 Real Time Clock Assembled Breakout Board) Battery and charger (Adafruit Micro Lipo w/MicroUSB Jack - USB LiIon/LiPoly charger - v1) Assorted leather strips 2 ¼  to 2 ½ inches wide. (One will need to be long enough to go around your wrist and overlap 2-3

Our Easter Celebration

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So the whole family gets together for a late breakfast or brunch. All of my kids and grand kids were there and Pam's fiancee' Zack and Monica's brother and his two kids. Quite a few of us and a small table for the grand kids and their chaperon which doesn't show in the pictures.  Here we have Ralph and Angela, Monica's Brother Steve and James Here we have James again and his wife Adrienne, Pam and Zack. In the background you can see Jonathon, Steve's son and the chaperon for the grandkids table around the corner.  I peeled a blue colored egg and it must have had a small hole in the shell. Look at the interesting pattern it left.  Jonathon took turns giving his second cousins piggyback and horsey rides. Here is Sera's turn as soon as she puts down here Easter loot.  Here is Angela and Monica sitting and chilling, talking to James in the picture below. In the background you can see Jonathon giving AJ a ride. I think AJ enjoyed it more th

Easter Vigil Mass

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Easter is the holiest day of the year for Catholics. We believe that what took place on that first Easter two millenniums ago changed all of creation for all of time. So we try and make it special. Catholics also mark days like our Jewish brethren as sundown to sundown, not midnight to midnight. So starting a bit before sundown on Holy Saturday, we start the vigil for the celebration of Easter. We start outside of our darkened church. There we light a fire against the darkness. From that fire we light the new Easter candle that we will use for the next year. From the Easter candle we light our individual candles and enter the church following the Easter candle and the priest. In this picture are some of the altar servers waiting to start the procession.  Okay, one little flash picture just so you can see the Easter candle being carried by the deacon and father in the background in white and gold vestments. The church is lit only by the candles as we read from the O

The blessing of the food for Easter

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OK, so I'm a lousy writer. I never seem to have anything to say when I sit down to blog. Wow! Two years since my last blog. Well I've decided to make a change! I will begin with this post to make this a photo blog. I take tons of pictures and I'm going to start post pictures with captions and occasional longer text. So here goes the first one: Every Easter we have a traditional Slovak breakfast. My wife Monica is pure Slovak and pure Catholic. So we have this tradition, we make all of this special food and take it to the church Saturday and get it blessed by the priest. Here are pictures from the blessing.   The basket with the square handle is ours. Father Gary comes out singing lines from "Tradition" from "Fiddler on the Roof"  He reads some of the traditional prayers from the book. Talks about the tradition and then blesses the food with more prayers and the sprinkling of holy water. Most people give him samples of their bakery in grati

Santa Claus 365 days a year

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So I'm sitting in church this morning, in the back row with my fellow Knights. You see 11:00 AM Mass today was a Corporate Communion and I, being a Fourth Degree Knight and in the Honor Guard, helped escort Father in before taking our seats in the back. So anyway, I'm sitting on the first seat next to the center aisle, in the back row, and I look across the aisle and I see a little strawberry blond girl maybe 4 or 5 years old. She smiles at me. I smile at her. I wave at her and she waves at me. This kind of thing goes on for a little over half of the Mass until one of the times we stand, she slips out of the pew and comes over to me. The Congregation sits down. She says, "You put a present for me under our Christmas tree." I say "Yes, I know." Then she says "Thank you." and scampers back to her pew, ju st as her parents realize she is gone and start looking around. At the rite of peace I go and give her mom one of my "I saw you being nice&qu

My Journey to Catholic Mysticism Part 2

OK, it has been awhile but it seems there is more to this mystic thing then assembling a new toy for the grand kids. I have read and meditated long on this and I have some observations. My first thoughts were how to achieve my "Dark Night of the Senses". Should I deny all sensual aspects of my life? But then I realized that it is less about denial then changing my perceptions of sensual things. Ignore good food for bland food? No, eat the same but gain an appreciation of where it came from. Think about the person who prepared it. What are their thoughts and feelings as a human being, not just their skill as a cook. Then I thought about how will I know when I have passed through my "Dark Night of the Senses"? Then I realized it is not the destination that was important, but the journey. In an earlier post I talked about my vision of people as spirit guides. I had a vision of me climbing a mountain. God is at the top of the mountain. And as I climbed along the path I