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Big bills looming large

December 8th, 2012 at 10:21 am

A couple of hefty expenses coming due in December/January:

1. Property taxes (twice annually): $3300
2. Quarterly estimated federal taxes: $600
3. Oil for heat: Estimated $600+

I got my amazon delivery two days early, so I dug in last night and started reading Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Adventure.

It's pretty interesting, and an awful lot of time is spent describing the nature of the ice and how it heaves and pounds against the stranded ship. I was a little dismayed early on my reading to learn they had about 60 sled dogs on the ship. I say dismayed because I really try to avoid exposing myself to any descriptions of animal cruelty or hardship. I'm just a huge animal lover. And I suppose the men on the ship will end up eating the dogs to survive, or else the dogs will die. Oh well.

I also watched a Netflix movie last night, Of Gods and Men. It was about 7 French Trappist monks who care for the poor in Algeria. These are extremely pious men who spend their days praying, chopping firewood and selling their honey to the villagers. They are not young men.

The highlight of the movie for me was when one of them, as a special Christmas eve treat, plays a tape of The Nutcracker during their simple dinner. They are rapturously uplifted by the music. The camera lingers on each face lifted in joy and wonder at such beauty. It was really well done.

Then Islamic extremists kill some Croatians in the village. The monks are urged...begged... to leave by the French embassy and others. A young girl has her throat slashed becus she didn't wear a veil. The extremists even break into the monastery one night demanding medicine for wounded comrades.

Still, the monks decide not to go. They discuss it over and over again. Some say they didn't come there to become martyrs. In the end, they all agree to stay, and shortly after, they're kidnapped and held captive by Islamic extremists. Two of the 7 hid and were not found. Later, the kidnapped monks are killed. The 2 that remained lived on, one for another 10 years and the other died maybe 5 years ago. It was a true story.

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