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Welcome to the Pennywise Almanac. Here you will find a casual collection of interesting articles focused on living life to its fullest. We cover politics, life styles, motivation, current events, special interests, hobbies, crafts, gardening, and more. We also reprint entertaining essays and stories written by some of America's famous authors of the past such as, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, and others. At the end of each year, we compile our collection of online articles into a magazine that we publish and offer for sell on our web site. 


Lifestyles

On a wing and a prayer, there but by the grace of God

By Brian Eckard

After traveling across the United States from Texas to Washington in four days, I found myself stuck in a small motel room with three children. I had two weeks to find a job or I would be out on the streets for yet a third time in 2004. With my American dream in ruins at my feet, I had been delivered on a wing and a prayer to a new state where I wanted to make my home and start over again with my life. 

My first order of business was to find work. Once I established an income stream I could then locate housing and get my children into a more stable and secure situation. Once I had a residence I could then figure out what schools they would attend and get them back on track with their education. I was in a race against time and a dewindling supply of money that was rapidly running out. I was in Washington, by the grace of God.
 [Full Article]

Christian Thought

 


Where do I go from here?

By Melissa Nollan 

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves at a point where nothing seems to make sense. It's almost as if you are standing at a crossroad in the middle of nowhere. You look down each path to find the absence of life itself. 

I'm at that crossroad. I've chosen a path and walked it to find it doesn't lead anywhere. I head back and try another one, only to discover they are all the same. The strange part is that God keeps telling me that I am where He wants me to be, and I don't understand that. Why would He lead me to a place that is desolate and dry as far as the eye can see? Even as I write the words, God is answering me. I've seen this place before in my dreams, but something is different. The place I saw was covered, inch for inch, with flowers. Fields of flowers that never ended... a promise meant for me.
[Full Article]

©2006 Melissa Nollan, all rights reserved.


 Essay

Mental Telegraphy Again

By Samuel Clemens

I have three or four curious incidents to tell about. They seem to come under the head of what I named "Mental Telegraphy" in a paper written seventeen years ago, and published long afterwards.--[The paper entitled "Mental Telegraphy," which originally appeared in Harper's Magazine for December, 1893, is included in the volume entitled The American Claimant and Other Stories and Sketches.

Several years ago I made a campaign on the platform with Mr. George W.Cable. In Montreal we were honored with a reception. It began at two in the afternoon in a long drawing-room in the Windsor Hotel. Mr. Cable and I stood at one end of this room, and the ladies and gentlemen entered it at the other end, crossed it at that end, then came up the long left-hand side, shook hands with us, said a word or two, and passed on, in the usual way. My sight is of the telescopic sort, and I presently recognized a familiar face among the throng of strangers drifting in at the distant door, and I said to myself, with surprise and high gratification, "That is Mrs. R.; I had forgotten that she was a Canadian." She had been a great friend of mine in Carson City, Nevada, in the early days. I had not seen her or heard of her for twenty years; I had not been thinking about her; there was nothing to suggest her to me, nothing to bring her to my mind; in fact, to me she had long ago ceased to exist, and had disappeared from my consciousness. But I knew her instantly; and I saw her so clearly that I was able to note some of the particulars of her dress, and did note them, and they remained in my mind. I was impatient for her to come. In the midst of the hand-shakings I snatched glimpses of her and noted her progress with the slow-moving file across the end of the room; then I saw her start up the side, and this gave me a full front view of her face. I saw her last when she was within twenty-five feet of me. For an hour I kept thinking she must still be in the room somewhere and would come at last, but I was disappointed. When I arrived in the lecture-hall that evening some one said: "Come into the waiting-room; there's a friend of yours there who wants to see you. You'll not be introduced--you are to do the recognizing without help if you can." [Full Article]


Reflections

Letting Go
By Brian Eckard 

People just love carrying around emotional baggage. What I'm talking about is our past and all of the experiences that seem to shape who we are today. For most of us, our pasts are littered with good memories and bad. It seems that we never really remember the good times, but we love to dwell on the bad times. For some of us this leads us into depression, for others denial, and for a very select few it motivates them to learn how to let go and move on with their lives. [Full Article]

A Feeling of Loss

By Brian Eckard

Today started out like any other day. It was cool here in the Pacific Northwest, and I was able to get up and get ready to go to work without too much effort. I arrived at work around 6:30 AM and the day appeared to hold such promise. By 8:30 people were filing into the office and start their days. The office filled with the noises so familiar in offices all over this land. Then around 10 AM or so I heard a woman who sounded like she was in shock. She had found out that her daughter had died. The poor lady lost control and she became inconsolable. You could not blame her. If anything her pain ripped at my heart. I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose a child to death. I have no idea how I would even respond in a situation like that. My prayers went out for that poor soul.

Her friends hurried over to her to give her comfort. As soon as they got her off the phone they ushered her off the floor. I assume a coworker probably escorted her and helped her to get home. However, later in the day I heard that she had passed out from the shock and was taken to a nearby hospital. Her life now forever changed. I do not know the details of what happened, or how her daughter died. All I witnessed was the shock and horror of finding out that your child has died.

[Full Article

News & Analysis

A nation of immigrants

By Brian Eckard

The other night I watched President Bush's speech to the nation about Immigration and the unsecured border this country shares with Mexico. His speech got me to thinking about the United States and what it stands for to people around the world. We are certainly a nation of immigrants. That fact has been a steady reality right from the beginning when the first Europeon settlers arrived on these shores. Even before that time the native Americans who were already here also arrived form distant shores, many traveling on foot across the land bridge that is now the Beiring Strait separating Russia and the United States. [Full Article]


Career

Contracting

By Brian Eckard

Are you looking for more freedom in your career? Have you ever considered contracting? Need to find a job fast? If you have a marketable skill, such as technical writing, you can make a lot of money contracting. Writers are in high demand and based on your skills and experience, you can gain competitive wages and a steady income as a contractor. Consider my experience...

For most of my career I have been what is called now days a FTE, or a full-time employee. FTEs are also know as permanent employees. Ironically, over the years I have learned that there is really nothing permanent about being an employee. The down side of being permanent is that you never know when the ax is going to fall and end your employment. Yes, there are actions you can take to minimize that risk, but it is always there. In most places, your employer has the right to let you go without notice. However, you too have the very same right. You always have the right to let your employer go with out notice too. [Full Article]


Short Stories

The Angel of the Odd

From The Columbian Magazine, October, 1844.

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849)

It was a chilly November afternoon. I had just consummated an unusually hearty dinner, of which the dyspeptic _truffe_ formed not the least important item, and was sitting alone in the dining-room with my feet upon the fender and at my elbow a small table which I had rolled up to the fire, and upon which were some apologies for dessert, with some miscellaneous bottles of wine, spirit, and _liqueur_. In the morning I had been reading Glover's _Leonidas_, Wilkie's _Epigoniad_, Lamartine's _Pilgrimage_, Barlow's _Columbiad_, Tuckerman's _Sicily_, and Griswold's _Curiosities_, I am willing to confess, therefore, that I now felt a little stupid. I made effort to arouse myself by frequent aid of Lafitte, and all failing, I betook myself to a stray newspaper in despair. Having carefully perused the column of "Houses to let," and the column of "Dogs lost," and then the columns of "Wives and apprentices runaway," I attacked with great resolution the editorial matter, and reading it from beginning to end without understanding a syllable, conceived the possibility of its being Chinese, and so re-read it from the end to the beginning, but with no more satisfactory result. I was about throwing away in disgust 

This folio of four pages, happy work Which not even critics criticise,

when I felt my attention somewhat aroused by the paragraph which
follows:

"The avenues to death are numerous and strange. A London paper mentions the decease of a person from a singular cause. He was playing at 'puff the dart,' which is played with a long needle inserted in some worsted, and blown at a target through a tin tube. He placed the needle at the wrong end of the tube, and drawing his breath strongly to puff the dart forward with force, drew the needle into his throat. It entered the lungs, and in a few days killed him."

Upon seeing this I fell into a great rage, without exactly knowing why. "This thing," I exclaimed, "is a contemptible falsehood--a poor hoax--the lees of the invention of some pitiable penny-a-liner, of some wretched concocter of accidents in Cocaigne. These fellows knowing the extravagant gullibility of the age set their wits to work in the imagination of improbable possibilities, of odd accidents as they term them, but to a reflecting intellect (like mine, I added, in parenthesis, putting my forefinger unconsciously to the side of my nose), to a contemplative understanding such as I myself possess, it seems evident at once that the marvelous increase of late in these 'odd accidents' is by far the oddest accident of all. For my own part, I intend to believe nothing henceforward that has anything of the 'singular' about it." [Full Article]


Self Improvement

It's a choice

By Archibald McSweeny

This summer I have been working with my son and teaching him coping skills. He suffers from what may be depression that has been triggered by some major life changes that happened to him in 2003-2005. During these changes he was 5 years old when the situation started, and he is now 8 years old. Things are starting to settle down for him as the adults in his life start to move on with their lives and rebuild what they lost. Divorce is always a horrible experience even when the parents do their best to shield their children from the more negative aspects of the situation. My family has pretty much survived, though there are some rough areas and issues that still need to be addressed.

[Full Article]

Opinion

Conflict in the middle east

By Paul Barleycorn

Watching a conflict from the outside sometimes has its advantages. It allows you to formulate unbiased opinions and observations that are hard to see and understand if you are emotionally involved in a fight. 

As of this writing the conflict between Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinians, and the militant Islamic groups has been raging since July 12, 2006 when Israel went into Gaza in response to one of their soldiers being kidnapped. The conflict is still intensifying, and peace talks have failed to produce any worthwhile cease fire between the waring parties. It is a conflict that carries worldwide consequences, and a high possiblity of dragging the middle east region into the conflict. If left unchecked it could potentially become a worldwide conflict.
[Full Article]


Parenthood

Advice to an 18 year old

By Brian Eckard

This coming February my eldest daughter will be 18. This is quite a milestone, and she is the first of my children to reach adulthood pretty much in tact in spite of all the things life has thrown at her up to this point in time. I decided to write this article since she will most likely delete an email full of advice from her "old man" if I send it directly to her. Publishing it in the almanac makes it next to impossible for her to delete it, and it also opens the door for others to read my advice and possibly use what they can for their own situation.

To keep all of this in perspective, the dictionary defines advice as "An opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct, etc.: I shall act on your advice. A communication, esp. from a distance, containing information: Advice from abroad informs us that the government has fallen. Recent diplomatic advices have been ominous." (advice. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Retrieved September 01, 2006, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=advice&x=19&y=18) So, my advice is my opinion, my recommendation offered from a distance to be used simply as a guide. It is not a requirement, and it is certainly not expected that it be taken as a directive or order on how to conduct one's affairs. I want to share what I have learned during my journey in this life and maybe there is something useful for the younger generation. After all, why re-invent the wheel if you don't have to? [Full Article]


Games


Career 

Christian Thought

Essays 

Life Style  

News & Analysis

Politics 

Reflections  

Self Improvement

Short Stories

Travel 

Opinion

Parenthood
Home and Garden

TEA CUP BIRD FEEDERS
"Garden Art From Junk"

MATERIALS/DIRECTIONS:

1-˝" piece of copper tubing 40" long (a 10' length cut into 3 pieces) sand the edges 
1-˝"end cap either copper or PVC (at the home improvement center) it fits the end of the coper tubing 
1 saucer 
1 tea cup 
1 tea sthingy 
Loctite silicon glue 
bird seed tied in a small bag with raffia (will be placed inside the cup) 

To put it together: 

Turn the tea cup upside down on the table, run a bead of glue around the bottom, attach the saucer, then attach the closed end of the end cap to the middle of the bottom of the saucer. This should set for several hours or overnight is best. Once dry, turn over and attach the tea sthingy with a little glue. Now attach the end piece to the copper tube. Put a punch hole in the poem and tie it on, place the bag of seed in the cup and you are all done. 

I used nylon net to tulle and put birdseed in and gathered it with jute or a pretty ribbon.. 


UNIQUE MESSAGE BOARD

Materials: 

old window
latex paint 
paintbrushes
blackboard paint
hard board
plywood 
roll of cork
jigsaw or table saw
hot glue gun/glue
mending braces
scissors 

Steps: 

1. Paint the window frame and let dry. 

2. Pre-cut hard board and plywood to the size of the panes (half should be cut for plywood and half for hard board). 

3. To make the bulletin boards, use one of the pieces of hardboard as a pattern and cut the cork to that size with scissors. Apply a generous amount of hot glue to the board; set the cork on top, and press down firmly while it dries. Use the same technique for all the cork sections of the window. 

4. To make the chalkboards, cover each piece of plywood completely with blackboard paint and let dry. 

5. Set the chalk and cork boards into the frame as desired. Screw on mending braces to hold them in place.

Do you have a home improvement tip? How about a gardening tip? If so, post it on our message board. If we publish it in the almanac you will receive a free copy of the Pennywise almanac. Post  your idea here.

Recipes

Mexican Casserole

1 lb hamburger
Taco seasoning
1 can Fiesta Nacho cheese soup
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 can olives
Bag of frozen tator tots
approx 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Brown hamburger in skillet. Add taco seasoning as directed on package. In 10x13 casserole pan, place hamburger on bottom. Add remaining ingredients (making sure to add milk for the soup) and top with tator tots. Cook in the oven until bubbly. Add cheese and cook until cheese is melted. 

Recipe from Paula Kaydus

Share your recipes with us! If we publish your recipe in the almanac ebook, you will receive a FREE copy of Pennywise Almanac!

Submit recipes here on our message board.






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