January 26, 2013, Sabbath Walk

Publick House Historic Inn

The lovely Robin and I joined our longtime friend (that's how you get around saying "old friend"--see what I did there?) Lorry Garell for a memorable dinner this evening at Ebenezer's Tavern in the expansive Publick House on The Common in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

What a delight to discover this treasure of a place.

We were seated right away and given excellent, attentive (but not intrusive) service from beginning to end.

The basket of assorted breads was just wonderful, complete with sticky rolls, soft rolls, and more.

We shared a crab cake appetizer, and then each of us ordered a different entree: filet mignon (above, perfectly prepared to order)...

Turkey and dressing (above)...

And my choice, a house specialty, the lobster pie. Each entree came with butternut squash and mashed potatoes.

We perused the dessert menu, but settled on a reprise of the warm sticky rolls to eat with our decaf and tea.

A fine meal in fine company, a memory we will treasure for a long time to come!

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Sturbridge Host on Cedar Lake Hotel and Conference Center

After roughly (and I DO mean "roughly") seventeen hours of travel yesterday (and early this morning), the lovely Robin and I arrived at Sturbridge Host on Cedar Lake Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

We are already having an awesome time with a group of Salvation Army officers from Connecticut and Rhode Island, among whom are some dear, sweet friends (AND family--our nephew Philip!).

The hotel is an hour west of Boston and 45 minutes from Hartford, CT. The retreat meetings and meals and accommodations are all provided under the expansive roof of this large facility.

There is an indoor heated pool and jacuzzi, game room, fitness room, a couple ballrooms and more in this place!

We are astounded to be booked in the Presidential Suite (especially since neither of us have been presidents of anything).

Our suite has TWO bathrooms. TWO fireplaces. AND cool wood paneling. AND a dining table! But no butler or footman. A little disappointing, there.

But otherwise, we are just delighted by the accommodations, and the beautiful people we get to share these few days with. A real boon to our souls.

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Air Travel Builds Character

The lovely Robin and I left home early this morning for a journey to Sturbridge, Massachusetts via Detroit and Hartford. Our first leg, from Dayton to Detroit, was late but arrived in plenty of time to make our 2:01 flight to Hartford/Springfield. Except THAT departure is delayed until 5:35, making it a bit hard to keep my 6:30 speaking commitment tonight.

It's frustrating. But only someone who never or seldom flies would think it unusual. These days, when you pay for an airline ticket, you are not promised an on-time arrival--perhaps not even a same-day arrival. You can hope for these things, but if they do not happen, you can do practically nothing about it. You are virtually powerless to influence events. You can fume, pout, yell, and complain, but it won't do you any good.

There is only one good reason to fly somewhere: there is no realistic alternative. If the distance and/or timing does not allow you to go by car, bus, or train, then:
(1) surrender all illusions of control
(2) accept what cannot be changed (security, gate changes, flight delays, etc.)
(3) remember it's not the ticket agent's or gate agent's fault, no matter how frustrated you are
(4) use what resources you can to make delays and disappointments go down easier (such as iPad, Kindle, charging stations, apps like Gate Guru, etc.)
(5) entrust your schedule, safety , and agenda into God's hands. He may just use your delayed or cancelled flight for some good purpose--even if it's just to remind you that the world doesn't revolve around you.

In that respect (at least) air travel can be good for you...if not for your blood pressure.

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Sabbath Walk

Taken on my Sabbath Walk earlier today.

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IceFest 2013

Because I'm a guest of honor (one of 30 or so) at BookFest in Hamilton today, I made it to my first ever IceFest, Hamilton's annual, er, ice festival (thus the name).
It's a little warmer than the event's organizers would like, but the sculptures aren't melting too fast, and the crowd is enjoying the pleasant temperatures, for sure.
Sculptors are working away in a dozen or so tents, creating still more sculptures to add to the many that already line the sidewalks and walls around the Butler County Courthouse.
Various area businesses have sponsored ice sculptures, like the ice throne (above), compliments of Rose Automotive.

It looks to me like a raging success, though I have no idea if the crowds are as large as expected. But it's been a lot of fun.

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Location:High St,Hamilton,United States

BookFest at Ryan's Tavern

I'm spending the day at Ryan's Tavern in Hamilton, Ohio. It is the site of BookFest, a stimulating gathering of thirty authors rubbing shoulders, hawking their books, and generally getting over their introvertism in the cause of literature, language, and lucre.
We're upstairs in the large meeting room area over the restaurant, missing the sights and activities of IceFest, the annual event going on in Hamilton today. But I plan to sneak away and see some ice sculptures at some point, before everything melts.
My tablemate is novelist Martha Moody, from Dayton. We're having a great time talking books, Israel, scandals, and more.

Stop in if you're in the area. If you're not, come by anyway. Bring me a coffee. Buy my books. Give me money to buy other peoples' books. Or all the above.

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Location:High St,Hamilton,United States

Tale of Two Walks

In my first-of-the-year evaluation and goal-setting sessions, I lamented that I spend so little time out of doors these days. So I made it a goal to walk for an hour outside at least once a week in 2013. Thus, last week was my first such excursion, during which I took the photo below:

This afternoon was my second weekly "meditation walk," on which I snapped this scene:

Quite a difference. And one of the reasons I like living where I do, where weather, temperature, and scenery change so regularly and so interestingly.

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