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Ordinary Adventures Blog

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About this blog

Living the simple life

Entries in this blog

Why I believe the Bible

I was asked in an on-line discussion: “Why do people believe the Bible?” I gave it a lot of thought, and this was my response: Did you ever see the movie, "5 Minutes of Heaven" with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt? James Nesbitt's role as the brother of a murder victim during "The Troubles" in Ireland was the most stunning performance I've ever seen. Anyway, in the opening scene, Liam Neeson says, "For me to talk about the man I've become, you need to know about the man I was." (I'm tellin

simplybill

simplybill

Worthless

I woke up this morning feeling worthless. That's the price you pay at times when you're a recluse such as I am and there's no one around to offer encouragement. One becomes acclimated to loneliness in the same way one becomes acclimated to the cold of winter or the heat of summer, but today was different. I felt as though my foundation had disappeared from under my feet and I was looking up from inside a deep pit. As I lay there in bed, I contemplated quitting. I searched my soul, and I couldn't

simplybill

simplybill

I’m too Softhearted.

I just found a snake in my basement. I’d gone downstairs to the basement to turn off the ceiling fan, when I heard a rattling sound coming from my water heater. The water heater is under the stairs, in a small area without much light, so I got up close to the heater and peered into the darkness to see if one of the pipes coming out of the top had sprung a leak. It was too dark to see much, so I got a flashlight from the kitchen upstairs, and went back down to the basement. I turned on the flashl

simplybill

simplybill

Animals in my yard. Part 1.

There was a coyote in my yard this morning. It was sniffing the air and searching for breakfast in the pre-dawn light. I’ve never before seen a coyote so close to my house, but I think I’ll be seeing more of them soon: I’ve changed my diet to include rotisserie chicken from Walmart. Lunch or dinner might be half a chicken, a handful of Triscuits, and a sliced apple. Easy and cheap, but healthy.  I always share my leftovers with the raccoons. I take the chicken bones outside to the cement si

simplybill

simplybill

Bear attack

I just wanted to share the link to this fascinating story. Mr. Orr's experience makes the bear attack scene in The Revenant look like child's play! Years ago, I was backpacking on Death's Head trail in the Tetons, in an area where a man had been severely mauled by a bear.  The man's hiking companion went down the mountain to summon help, but before the rescue team could make it back up the mountain to the campsite, the bear returned and killed the poor guy.  The night we were there, we

simplybill

simplybill

Walking

There’s an old saying attributed to the Navy Seals:   “When you think you’ve reached your limit, you’re really only at 40%.” Well, today I proved it to be true. I set a new personal record for walking: 18 miles!  I drove to the nearby state park, intending to walk 11 miles to reach my weekly goal of 25-miles-per-week, but a Forrest Gump-like feeling came over me and I just kept walking.  My previous record was 15 miles on the Withlacoochee State Trail near Floral City, Florida o

simplybill

simplybill

Two Lives

I once knew a man who slapped Adolph Hitler. I met him back in the 1960s, during my high school years, when I stayed a few weekends at the Catholic monastery in Colfax, Iowa, doing chores and spending time with Father Sean and the Brothers. Brother Stanislaus was old and small and thin, and he was very quiet, almost invisible. He raised pigeons in a large pigeon coop behind the monastery. The only conversation I remember having with him was on the summer afternoon when he gave me the grand tou

simplybill

simplybill

Mundanity?

Vacation is almost over, and I’ll soon be returning to work. I can always tell when I’ve been home for too long, because weird and mundane things take on greater importance than they should. Yesterday, for example, I was preparing a delicious meal of liver-and-onions for the crockpot (a favorite of mine, as I’m sure it is for everyone). I poured olive oil into the pot and chopped the onion, but when I took the package of liver from the fridge there was an unseen hole in the package. I turned ar

simplybill

simplybill

My Tornado Encounter

My first blog entry! I'm looking forward to sharing a few small adventures. I live in a 2-story 1940’s farmhouse on the Mississippi-Missouri Divide in the rolling hills of western Iowa. My acreage sits on a hilltop above a long, wide draw that occasionally funnels the southern wind into dangerous straight-line winds. The low farm fields to the west offer little resistance in slowing down the massive thunderstorms that move across the prairie. I remember, years ago, sitting at my dining room win

simplybill

simplybill

Epiphany

I had an epiphany while scanning the Internet on January 6. I saw our elected officials cowering in fear as protestors stormed the venerable halls of the Capital Building. I thought to myself, “Well, politicians, maybe now you understand the fear felt by the citizens of Minneapolis, Kenosha, Portland, and Seattle as violent arsonists burned down the neighborhoods where people work and buy their groceries and get their hair styled. We commoners watched it burn as you politicians said things like

simplybill

simplybill

An Unfortunate Incident

I've spent much of my life traveling. I drove trucks for about ten years when I lived in Utah. I was blessed to spend my days driving through the mountains and flatlands of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. One of my favorite memories is the time I parked in a turnoff at the top of Sardine Summit at one o'clock in the morning. I shut down the engine, rolled down the windows and ate my brown-bag lunch while listening to the wind in the trees and gazing at millions of stars in the sky. I went from truckdr

simplybill

simplybill

Memento Mori

Saturday morning musings: Somehow we've begun expecting our candidates to be Messiahs, when in reality they are merely ordinary men and women. Messianic adoration is toxic for anyone, but especially for politicians. To paraphrase Lord Acton's quote: "Adoration tends to corrupt, and absolute adoration corrupts absolutely." It is absolutely impossible for mere humans to live up to the Messianic expectations that campaign managers use in promoting their candidates. The ancient Romans view

simplybill

simplybill

More Than Routine

This morning I attended the funeral for the mother of two of my friends, Russ and Jim. In his eulogy, Lillian’s son Russ told us how his mother’s life was built on routine: A cup of black coffee to start her day, followed by breakfast and puzzles: Sudoku, Jumbles and the Challenger. Russ held up a well-worn, old devotional book with dog-eared pages, another part of her routine for many years. The church Pastor told of Lillian’s routine in the church: year after year, she sat in the same

simplybill

simplybill

On the road

I'm not sure how the conversation turned to hitchhiking, but today I started telling my coworker Laura about my youthful adventures thumbing rides across the country back in the early 70's.    Hmm...I shouldn't say "my" adventures. They were "shared" adventures, with my friends Groovy Hoovy and Jan G.   I was 18 years old, just out of high school, working weekends at the VA hospital and paying $65 a month for a tiny red house with an outhouse and no bathtub on the north side

simplybill

simplybill

Alone in the Desert

Shortly after moving to Salt Lake City in the mid-1970s I awoke one morning, threw some gear in my backpack, drove six hours south to Arches National Park and headed off into the desert. Arches is a world so different from our everyday lives that you can’t help but feel as though you’re standing on Mars: towering red pinnacles riddled with sandstone arches; a desert floor of fine, red sand that imprints permanent red stains on your white tee-shirts and socks; and skies so clear and so deep

simplybill

simplybill

Feeling Retired

Today I started to feel like a retired person, though I’m technically not retired until August 31st. No sense waitin’ til it’s official! I was up at 6:00 AM, ran downstairs (I’m not sure if it was my bones creaking or the stairs), started the coffeemaker, tossed some birdseed on the ground outside, then sat down in my bentwood rocking chair and waited by an open window for the critters to show up for breakfast. I shot a squirrel (with my camera) and that’s about it. The other critters didn’

simplybill

simplybill

Hope

I miss the old days, when the news arrived with the morning paper or the 6:00 o’clock News. You had time to think before forming an opinion. The instant news of today almost demands an instant opinion, one that can be hurriedly typed into a comment section or a Facebook page without putting much thought into it. Our discussions now are more often fueled by emotions rather than thoughtfulness.  Our news media and our politicians, on both sides, have adopted that attitude. Like the Coronaviru

simplybill

simplybill

Staying in the game

I had my annual physical today. This may sound crazy, but I think of my health statistics in the same way that athletes think of their sports statistics: I try to show improvement in each category. Today was my best yet:  My weight was down 5 lbs. from last year. Blood Pressure: 122/82 (lower than last year). Triglycerides: This year: 185.   Last year: Over 300!  Cholesterol levels: within the healthy range. In my opinion, I deserve at least a Bronze medal. And, I finally got t

simplybill

simplybill

Second Shot

I had my 2nd Covid vaccine shot today. It went well, and I made an interesting observation: when the pharm tech did the inoculation, I barely felt the needle. But four weeks ago, when I got my first inoculation, a different pharm tech practically shoved that needle into my right clavicle. Conclusion: when it comes to inoculations, some pharm techs are more aggressive than others. Just before leaving, I happened to glance at my paperwork and notice they’d misspelled the name of the street I

simplybill

simplybill

A Mountain Adventure

A Mountain Adventure As a kid growing up in Iowa, I read every book in the library that had anything to do with Mountain Men. Though many of the stories may be more folklore than fact, it was all fuel to the fire for my young imagination. I was fascinated by the lives of legendary scouts and fur trappers such as Jeremiah Johnson, Jim Bridger and Kit Carson. I still own an old paperback book about Jeremiah Johnson, the “Crow Killer.” The legends say he acquired his nickname after a hunting p

simplybill

simplybill

Nighttime battle

Last night I woke up around 2:00 AM to the sound of something scratching behind my bedroom wall. I thought it might be a mouse, but the noise was much louder than the scratching noises that the mice usually make.  I turned on the bedside lamp, and suddenly there was a large bat flying in circles right above my head. I mentally reviewed my Emergency Bat Protocols, then jumped out of bed, grabbed my pillow, and ran across the hall to the other bedroom to open the big window that doesn’t

simplybill

simplybill

Rated R for Violence

In the last five months, three of my coworkers have been robbed at gunpoint while walking to work in the early morning hours. Another coworker avoided being mugged by retrieving his concealed weapon when he saw two men wearing ski masks approaching him. They saw the gun in his hand and made a hasty retreat. Those were frightening moments for my coworkers; maybe 'traumatizing' is a better word. I had some similar experiences in my younger days, though I wouldn't say I felt traumatized; I was star

simplybill

simplybill

2 Degrees of Separation

During my college years, I became good friends with an older woman who was the assistant manager of a restaurant where I worked. She was one of those free spirits who make a point of hanging around with younger people; she used to say, "It keeps me young!"  After she moved into an assisted-living facility in Tucson, Arizona, I continued visiting her when my job took me there. We were friends for nearly 40 years. Irene never stopped being a social butterfly. She made a point of really gettin

simplybill

simplybill

Waking early

I woke up at 3:00 AM full of energy. I have no idea why. Maybe because I recently switched from fake honey to raw honey.   I discovered I had left the back door leading into the basement WIDE OPEN after walking outside yesterday afternoon. I didn't find any stray raccoons, but I did have a basement full of singing crickets.   -----A tip for those of you who also leave your doors WIDE OPEN overnight: If you have a cricket in

simplybill

simplybill

Parade

I came home from work a few days ago to find my beautiful ash tree broken in half by a windstorm. I'm going to miss that tree. I actually have a lot of good memories tied in with it. I cut up the broken half with my chainsaw, and now the power company will finish up so the power lines don't get damaged. The branches that I cut are strewn across the yard alongside my gravel driveway. I've been surprised by how this has changed the behavior of the birds and animals that I feed. Every morning

simplybill

simplybill