Friday, December 31, 2004


Of the five I worked on the other night, this is my favorite. It's a day lily called Siloam Little Fairy. We got a starter batch of lilies from a company called Oakes Day Lilies. They're located in Tennessee and have a website.

These were the flowers that had me skidding into work just in time last summer. Day lilies do last a day. Although some fade out faster than others. (this one fades) And by the time I get home from work the yard is in the shade. I began to feel like I should just take the camera with me when I went out te door. Anyway I was able to find just the perfect shade of pink to complement the bloom.

Of the six we got, two were past their blooming season for this year. I can hardly wait to find out what Strawberry Candy and Scarlet Lady look like.


This one turned out so well. It's a dahlia-name unkown. It's one of the smaller varieties. Maybe three feet tall at best. Big dahlias, the ones that are a foot across are spectacular-in other peoples yards. Unfortunately, dinner plate size blooms mean huge stems, they sag and have to be staked. Also, you might as well hang out free lunch signs for the snails and slugs.

We've realized we have to take a kind of zen approach to gardening. Fortunately we couldn't afford to go all out when we did the switch from grass and it's a good thing, because some of these plants have gotten a lot bigger than we anticipated.

Anyway, this little beauty hangs out by the camellia by the driveway.


This is a Shasta Daisy. The original plants came from my grandmothers yard.

This is another tough puppy. Give 'em a little water and a lot of sun and they are very happy. In fact they get so happy they want to take over the flower bed. They do very nicely next to a fence where they can just do their thing.

Ok picture, I think I'll try a little yellow background next time. I mean what can you put with a white flower?


This is a black eyed susan. We got three plants summer before last and put them in at the end of the season.

This summer they came up as expected and just grew and grew and grew. I swear the end result was about three or four feet long, three feet or so high and at the top about three feet wide. They are tough, love the sun, and last FOREVER. In fact if you want to finally put 'em down, turn down the heat and bring on the rain.

Again, a candidate for note cards.


Sorry, I was so pumped the other night I popped the pictures into my journal, said whoopee, pretty cool, and went to bed.

Anyway, this is a purple cone flower. It's been knocking about the yard for several years. This is a plant that you can ignore and it still looks wonderful. We relocated it to the front yard last year and it's sitting smack in the middle of the lavender. I really like this side view for use on a note card or something like that.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


I've been playing in the Photoshop sandbox again. I'm finally getting closer to what I've been "seeing" in my mind's eye.


One of the kingdoms in Return of the King is called Rohan. Early in the film the king, Theoden, describes one of the characters as “an honorable man.” I get the impression that this is the highest complement for a person that Theoden can bestow. This has been bubbling around in my head since I first saw the film. I’ve composed a lot of journal entries in my head and haven’t been happy with any of them.

When was the last time did you hear anyone described as honorable and it wasn’t part of a title? As in the honorable judge Hector Smith. There have been many business and political leaders in the news over the past few years. Certain members of the past and current administrations, certain business leaders, people in the news and entertainment industries that have had many adjectives joined with their names. I’m not sure that honorable would apply to any of them.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The day after Christmas

Hey, I'm not giving up the Christmas music until I absulutely have to.

Went to a wonderful Christmas Eve service Friday. Actually, any Christmas when I haven’t lost my voice is a plus. I think it’s been over ten years since I could carry a tune during any part of December. There were a lot of kids at the service including one little one that just about made it through the hour before the chortling started to turn into either (I’m very tired, may we go home now? Or “I’m starving---------) Lots of carols. Took the long way home and looked at some of the lights around town. As best as you can when it’s very foggy.

Spent a quiet day Christmas listening to carols and working on some new collages using the pictures I took last summer. I still haven’t gotten next to 90% of what Elements can do, but I’m sure having fun with the other ten percent. If you’re curious go to the Webshots link on my journal page and open cards and collages.

Taking this week as vacation so I should have time to play some more. Mom went to my sisters in Portland. Unfortunately, when I get good and tired, I have a hard enough time getting a decent nights sleep in my own bed, let alone someone elses. Actually a day or two on my own every six months or so is a treat. So, Merry Christmas sis, my extra gift to you is mom.

This time of year, it’s dark when I go to work and dark when I get home so I don’t see much of the yard during the week. It was fun to check things out yesterday while the sun was out. Ah yes, Christmas gift from the Weather Fairy-approximately half a day of sunshine for Christmas-then it rained. Anyway, a few daffodils and bluebells are already peeking through on the south side of the yard. It’s been relatively mild and the rhodie and camellia buds are getting nice and plump. There is a stubborn little yellow primrose that is till blooming and the Marguerite daisies haven’t quite given up yet. At this rate, the crocuses should be peeking through in a couple of weeks. So, even in the darkest part of the year we have the promise of Spring. Reminds me of shy little boy or girl peeking from behind mom or dad.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Well, it’s a foggy Saturday night and I’m semi cross-eyed. I guess that’s better than totally cross-eyed. A couple of special cards to be made. Elements and I becoming more comfortable with each other. I may actually have learned enough to make reading the book useful.

Anyway, my sister’s birthday is the day after Christmas (talk about your slightly overdue Christmas present-my very own baby doll) and for the first time since they moved to Eastern Oregon for Rick’s first teaching job, they aren’t coming home for the holidays. Several reasons-he’s facing minor but painful surgery and to be honest they are both dead tired. They’re both teachers-good ones-but it takes a lot out of you.

So…………birthday and Christmas have to be organized this weekend so we can get stuff to UPS by Monday. Still long distance phone calls and chatting are cheaper than motel bills. I don’t trust the weather in the Columbia Gorge this time of year. If the weather holds it’s not a problem. If it decides to snow, freeze and blow  (the Columbia Gorge-AKA the Great Northwest Wind tunnel. There are actually five seasons in that part of Oregon-the usual four and windy) you can find yourself staying in Umatilla longer than you planned. Or, stuck on this side wanting to go east. My dad used to pass along a story from a guy he worked with. The co-worker had a VW Superbeetle. He had to go to eastern Oregon during really bad weather. Apparently between the ice and the wind he almost ended up in the river. To hear him tell it the car got replaced with something a lot heavier at a dealership at the next ext.  

Something to look forward to for the New Year. We are replacing our dealer computer program at work. Oh, joy I can spend part of my vacation reviewing my debits and credits. The new program takes everything from the opposite tack of the ADP program. January should be very interesting.

Well, now it’s a foggy Sunday morning. When it looks like I’m going to ramble a bit-I make the entry in Word and transfer it. Any of you out there with Macs know that the entry in your journal is one loooooooooooooong straight line for every paragraph. Makes correcting your mistakes cumbersome.

The extended cut of the Return of the King is now out and I’m about 95% happy with the results. The other 5, I can understand. It would have taken too long to explain why they were doing what was left out to make it worthwhile. Elijah Wood, the young actor who plays Frodo-the poor sod saddled with that nasty ring- basically finished growing up during the main filming of the picture. He celebrated his 18th birthday right after filming started and I am constantly amazed at the sheer power of his performance.

Ok, I gotta get going. Need to go pick up a couple of last minute items to stick in sis’s package. Hmmm. I may have to pick up two little beef sticks. If I send one the kids’ll finish it before their dad’s up to getting any. I guess I could claim that eating it will lead to premature hair loss or something like that. Rick’s safe-he’s already lost his. LOL

Sunday, December 12, 2004


This is what I came up with for inside the cards.


A piece of midnight blue for the sky that night,
And scrap of silver for the stars.
White, gray, and brown for the creatures looking on,
With a swatch of gold for a mother’s love.
Stitch together with the angel’s song,
And surround it all with a cord of Hope.


An angel told Your mother You were coming.
Shepherds came to repeat a message,
The angels singing to the stars
told them where to look.
Three strangers brought their gifts and wisdom.
The brightest star of all blazed over Bethlehem,
It brought them to Your door.

Welcome to your Father’s world


Pines and firs, spices and wreathes,
Baking cookies and carols drifting through the air,
Hugs and guessing what’s under the tree.
Colored lights and steaming breath on a frosty night.
A baby sleeping in His mothers arms,
Wondering shepherds and angels singing to the stars.



Saturday, December 11, 2004


I've finally realized a long held ambition. To create some cards that are my work. Well, mine and Apple, Canon, Kodak, Photoshop, whoever made the silk rose, the christmas picks, the tree, and the madonna I painted............

The rose and the collage are from our Christmas tree and I painted the madonna years ago. Three cheers for close up filters.

Friday, December 10, 2004


Just hangin' out listening to Bing Crosby sing Christmas carols. Enjoying the lights, the first tree we've put up in about five years. A really original bunch of decorations and the tag end (I hope) of a cold. Believe me it's hard to do anything on a computer (or anything else) when all you want to do is stay horizontal and bury your head UNDER about ten pillows. Leave my wake up call for next year please. It appears something has been going around at work and I finally got it. One of these years I will be able to sing the carols in tune instead of doing my famous froggie impersonation.

Found out where I stand in the great scheme of things. I thought Misty wanted my loving attentions. Turns out I was just a ladder substitute so sharp eyes could check out the little sparkly spun glass ornaments on the tree. Silly me.

More later, If I fall asleep on the keyboard, the rest of this entry will be very interesting, if unreadable. :-)

Sunday, December 5, 2004


Shot this little guy through the front window. Very talented, manages to eat hanging up side down. Drives the inside cats crazy. Can you say "neener, neener, neener?'

I got home one day awhile back and squirrel was munching happily. The little male house finch that hangs around kept buzzing him. If you had a heat sensor, I swear that bird would have been radiating indignation.

Friday, December 3, 2004


There has been a small tempest in a large teapot over an ad produced by the United Church of Christ. For those who have not seen the ad go here.     I have watched the ad three times. Once on the news and twice on the net. Quite frankly at first I wasn’t seeing what some others were insisting they were seeing and now that I do, it scares the bejeezus out of me. Where someone might see a lesbian couple, I’m seeing mother and daughter or perhaps two sisters with several years between them. This would be true in my case. I have nine years on Roberta and fourteen on Colleen. I keep my hair short and wear a lot of slacks and sweaters. The girls go for a look a little more feminine. It makes me wonder. If two of us go shopping or out to eat and show some affection are we going to attract the wrong sort of attention?

Where some are seeing a gay male couple, I see friends or brothers or cousins. I have five nephews from two families. The boys range from twelve to twenty. If you know them and know what to look for, you realize that they are relatives. But, the two oldest do look and are built a lot differently from each other. If they hug in public, or go down the street with their arms over each other’s shoulders, are they going to attract attention they’d rather not have? Granted, in their case, someone might notice but decide not to do anything about it. Jon redshirted for U of O football this year. He’s about 6’2” and about 3’wide. I exaggerate, slightly, He’s a gentle giant just like his dad. Oh, and number five, the youngest takes totally after his dad. He does not look like the other four at all except for his brown eyes. Neither of my blue eyed brothers in law managed to get even one blue eyed kid.


There is a wonderful scene in the mini series Jesus of Nazareth. (If you can find it, I highly recommend it. It is available on DVD and the cost is reasonable. Personally we watch it a couple of times a year) The disciples have had their first round of teaching and are setting out two by two. At least one pair has their arms over each other’s shoulders. Would that scene even be filmed that way now? Let’s not even get into thirteen dusty, sleeping in their clothes, bearded, longhaired, travel-stained, taking what they’re offered for dinner, homeless guys traveling together.


The ad will be shown on many cable channels, but the three broadcast networks refuse to show it for a variety of reasons. I assume they will continue to show ads using sex, especially women, as a come on. I assume we’ll continue to have the opportunity to contemplate drugs for erectile dysfunction. I assume we will continue to be inundated with ads to buy, buy, buy, buy whether you have the money or not. I'm sure we will continue to be urged to measure our personal worth by the cost and size of our possessions. But we will be spared the horror of being asked to be part of something larger than ourselves.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I found this lovely little prayer in a book called American Indian Healing Arts.

O our Mother the Earth,
O our Father the Sky,
Your children are we, and with tired backs
We bring you the gifts you love.

Then weave for us a garment of brightness.
May the warp be the white light of morning.
May the weft be the red light of evening.
May the fringes be the falling rain,
May the border be the standing rainbow.
Then weave for us a garment of brightness
That we may walk fittingly where grass is green,

O our Mother the Earth,
O our Father the Sky!

Which led to this variation from me.

Only Child of the One who created us all,

We have brought to You the best we have.
Weave these threads together into a new world.
Use our hands to weave the white light of morning and the red light of evening.
Use our hearts to weave the blue of moonlight and the silver of rain.
Use our minds to weave the green of grass and the gray of mist.
Use our joy to weave the thunder of the sea and the whispers of the wind.
Weave throughout the threads of peace, justice, compassion and generosity.
Over all place the glowing rainbow of the promise and the sparkling stars.

Only Child of the Creator weave us a new world.

Inspired by a Tewa Pueblo prayer

Sunday, November 21, 2004


We have a feeder outside our front window. We usually keep sunflower seeds in it and somebody besides the birds likes it. :-)


Well the kitchen was controlled (barely) chaos yesterday. One batch of rolls, two rounds of cookies and some scones later the first round of holiday baking is over. I think we washed the same dishes at least three times. We have more dishes, it’s just easier to wash it and reuse it. It’s a small kitchen; you do, you wash, you do, …….. yes, we have two dishwashers-their names are Kathryn (mom) and Jackie (me). Honestly if we wanted one that uses electricity instead of elbow grease I’m not sure where we’d put it. Two people can work in this area if they are really cooperative.

Heck we didn’t even get started until after 2. We spent the morning trying to get a handle on Christmas ideas, sympathizing long distance with one sister-she’s moving this weekend. Her, husband, three kids, one ten-week-old boxer pup. Now, there’s chaos. Finally took our walk. This time of year if it isn’t raining it’s foggy, especially near the river. It didn’t look like it was going to get any warmer. Somehow forty degrees is easier to take when the sun is shining. Even the neighborhood cats were staying close to home.

So we’re about half done, there’s still a batch of bread, three pies, and a salad. The great thing is-all these goodies are going north for Thanksgiving and most of it isn’t coming back. I love food that travels. As in I like to make it. I don’t necessarily want to eat it anymore.

The cookies actually made it into storage with only a token taste from me. ‘Bout darn time. Finally too sweet for me. Geez it’s only taken over two years. We had our monthly birthday cake at work Friday. I do indulge in these. For the first time that piece of cake lasted almost two hours and it didn’t taste like “more.”

Good think because it is definitely plateau city. I really shouldn’t complain. I dropped about 55 pounds the first go round and it’s about 50 this time. That’s about a quarter of my original body weight. I’m getting the impression from some of the reading I’m doing that 10 to 15 percent of your starting weight is about what you can expect. It’s weird though to go from about 2 pounds a week like clockwork to zip. I’m up to about 45 minutes of walking spread through the day though. So I guess I’d better go fire up the treadmill. I think I’m going more for the “stroll mode” this morning though. Something a little less enthusiastic than Riverdance.

Things are looking up. The sun is trying to break through. If we all ignore it maybe it will decide to stick around for awhile.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Had to go to the store early this morning for a not so magical reason. The kitchen sink is stopped up.

Got home to a little flock of tiny chickadeed flitting between the thistle feeder in the dogwood and the feeder with the other seeds. It took them a couple of minutes to realize I was there. For that couple of minutes I had chickadees flying back and forth right under miy nose. :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2004


Just some ideas that came to mind during the past few days. Any improvements or suggestions would be welcome. Can you imagine what the journal community and their friends can do if they work together? Imagine a flood of letters and e-mails reminding the folks claiming a mandate that 48,000,000 million people did not vote for George W. Bash and will not be ignored.

This idea started with Amy of Hippies in Yuppiedom. She was planning to quit smoking anyway and tried to go cold turkey earlier this week. She mentioned that one new factor was not giving Philip Morris any more money to pass along to the Republicans. That got me thinking why not take it further?

First suggestion. We can take stock of our major appliances and vehicles. Can they last for another six months or so? Good. We can let the headquarters of both parties, our representatives in the legislatures and Congress, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s offices know that we won’t be buying any big ticket items for a while and why. They both have official web sites with mailing addresses fax or e-mail information. Just call in another way of voting. At first I was just aiming at the Republicans. Frankly the Dems have plenty of room for improvement. Much of what is wrong started long before Bush became president. But, it’s reached the point where the boil has to be lanced. Both sides come looking for support when they need our votes. Too often, many of them they can’t be found the rest of the time.

Personally, I’ve been looking forward to replacing my Frankenputer, but I think it can wait. Get my printer cleaned and replace the fire wire ports-keep my faithful blueberry IMac going for a little longer.

We can take a walk through the yellow pages (paper and virtual) for local suppliers for as many of our need as we can. Buy in bulk where we can. If nothing else, it cuts down on the garbage. We do most of our shopping at Winco. It’s a northwest, employee owned company. Luckily a local company also supplies their bulk products. My theory is that the local guys don’t have as much money to throw around on political contributions, they have ties to the local community and their jobs aren’t as easy to outsource.

If we can't find it locally, look for good family owned businesses on the net. The Earthmother's Cupboard springs to mind.

Let’s talk this over with our families. Perhaps start some new traditions for the holidays. Shop thelocal gift fairs and craft sales. Mom has already announced that we are “buying Oregon” (your state name here) for gifts this year.

Many of us are already doing some or all of these things. For some of us it’s the only way to get by. The important thing is to let the politicians on both sides; especially those claiming a “mandate” know that you are doing it. Let them know that you refuse to give the corporations supporting them any more of your money than you absolutely have to.

Maybe it’s time to push for vote by mail nationwide. Why do we keep making it more difficult and expensive to cast our votes? Despite attacks by pundits like George Will, vote by mail appears to be working here in Oregon. The objection I hear most often is that the stamp is a form of poll tax. The state does provide drop boxes where ballots can be dropped off.

We don’t have to stand in lines, the poll workers aren’t late, there are no poll watchers from either party in our living rooms, and no questionable electronic voting machines that don’t leave a paper trail. Since we get our ballots two or three weeks before election day, voters with registration problems would know about it much sooner and be able to contract the election boards to check on their registration.  

To anyone who likes these ideas, feel free to copy any or all of this posting. I'm sure I've barely scratched the surface. Even if each of us gets one other person on board and they get two, and they get two........Let’s let the hired help know that we are not satisfied with their job performance.

Monday, November 8, 2004


Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
35: for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36: I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37: Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
38: And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
39: And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
40: And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'    Matthew 25: 34-40


One of the huge divides in politics is how to deal with the problems in these verses. I don’t want to criticize either side of the political divide-but that said-the earth moved this weekend. Are you kidding it dropped out from under my feet and stopped about ten feet down.


We were watching the mini series Jesus of Nazareth (excellent program by the way and far superior to The Passion) and they got to this set if verses, I suddenly felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. All the money spent on both sides of the campaigns, all the energy expended, all the anger, all the ads that ripped both candidates up one side and down the other, and for what? It didn’t feed one hungry child, cloth one homeless person, or visit anyone in prison. In fact I’m not even sure the subject came up.


If I’d been raised a Calvinist I guess I could say I got body slammed by a conversion experience. All I know is it hurt. I suddenly felt stripped. If our society can’t fulfill that commission then the rest of it doesn’t matter a damn.


Sunday, November 7, 2004


The chilin' is literal. It's about 40 outside and VERY foggy. Looked at the neighbors house as I came down stairs and saw what looked like a squiirel statue on the roof. The little gay was in the classic paws up pose with his tail held as close to his back as possible.

This part of Oregon gets a lot of fog in the fall. All that nice trapped heat in the ground from the long summer we had. Hit an area like I do on the wa to work where it's open land instead of houses and streets and it can be even thicker. As in I've memorized the mileage between the aution yard on 99 to next light so I know when to look for it thicker.

I didn't get any pictures of the fall foliage around the house. :-( By the time I woke up and noticed it started raining. One good windstorm and poof, those pretty red dogwood leaves were decorating the lavender instead of the tree.

We made our last produce stand run yesterday, Deterings still has onions, peppers and potatoes, things like that, but we were after apples. What a choice. Braeburn and melrose, jonathans and jonagolds, fugis and mutsus. Big red rome beauties and green grannie smiths. Oh, and hot cider for sale and huge bags of walnuts. The gals at the register were all bundled up and listening to Oregon/California game between customers. Decided on the way back that Johnson's may have had a great sale on bulbs but it was too darn cold even if we had driven out of the fog and back to the sun.

Came home to spiced tea and my sister knocking on the door. Umatilla made the state cross country meet and she and my brother in law were down as coaches. The bus was on the way back already and she was looking for a warm place to light. Mom asked her why on earth she was knocking, twenty five years married but this is still home for crying out loud. And mom being mom, she left showered, fed, and dry. It didn't rain during the day but the field was all over mud and so was she.

We had a real short visit. Number one son (my number one nephew, in order, not popularity) was playing his first basketball game up in Portland and she was going to the game after the meet

I have five nephews and all are number one in my book.

Later entry: We live on the east side of a hill. It's not even two yet and we are in the shade. You can really tell when the sun goes away this time of year.

Thursday, November 4, 2004


I have a theory about the die-hard Bush supporters. I am a pretty lonely Kerrycrat in my office. But, there are some things I've noticed.

One. Mentioning a story in the local paper and asking if someone has read it usually brings the response. "I don't take the paper."

Two. Mentioning a story on the local or national news  often brings the response. "I don't watch that channel."

Three. Hearing Rush Limbaugh or someone similar on the desk radio or hearing them mention one of the Fox News talking heads.

Prelimanary conclusion: Many Bush supporters were able to vote for him in spite of Iraq and all the other baggage that came out because they've insulated themselved from the negative news. Many of them appear to inhabit a parallel reality and they don't overlap worth a tinker's you know what.

Are we scared yet?

Wednesday, November 3, 2004


I guess what I want to work for is a society where we do look out for each other, and those being looked out for give back something in return. Heaven knows there is plenty to be done. And we can’t do it from the top down; it has to come from the grass roots up. So how do we do this? I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. I may go Independent. Some commentators see Independents as being wishy-washy or undecided. I believe they are people who refuse to be stuck with a label that doesn’t fit.


One item first off. There were a lot of comments on the Jefferson Exchange this morning about the apparent under vote from younger voters. I’m actually more ticked off by the excuses I heard for not voting than I am about the election results. Repeat after me: “my vote is my voice. It’s my way of having a say in the way the country is going to look ten, twenty, thirty years down the road. Think of these choices as a flow chart. It starts at the beginning. Certain choices are made. Each choice leads to new forks in the road. By the time you notice that the locomotive is going full speed and the bridge is out......................


The comment I heard most often was, “neither party speaks to the concerns of my age group. Well, here’s a concern for you. The policies made by the people in office now are going to shape the world you’re going to be living in when you get old enough to worry about it. If you want a voice in how that world is going to look. YOU HAVE TO VOTE NOW!


I suspect that voters are made, not hatched fully formed and politically aware. My parents voted. They talked about voting. My dad grew up in the Scholls-Newburg area of northwestern Oregon. It was a farming area and everybody would be there when the polls opened. The head of the precinct board would make a short speed officially opening the polls for voting. At the end of the day, there was another little speech officially closing the polls. He told that story a lot.


We’ve taken two newspapers for as long as can remember. There might have even been three early on. The Eugene area had two papers at one time and I think we took both of them as well as the paper from Portland. We’ve taken the National Geographic for years and sort of vibrate between Time and Newsweek. This was on a logger’s pay by the way. Dad used to talk about guys he worked with who said they couldn't afford the papers or magazines but could afford the latest gadgets. He'd just say that he guessed his piorities were different.


We may not have had a lot of “stuff” but our brains were kept busy. Dad used to quote my grand dad. “There are two things I won’t argue about: politics and religion.” He didn’t argue about them, but he talked about them and the discussions were pretty lively.


I guess, what I’m trying to say is that waiting for something to come up that concerns you directly is too late. The future starts now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004


I read both papers this morning. When I was done, all sorts of journal entries ran through my mind. Unfortunately, I feel that all of them would only throw gasoline on the fire. All I’m going to say is that I am desperately sad and depressed this morning. I’m looking at both sides with disgust. We have soldiers dying overseas to bring democracy to people who’ve never had it. How are we going to bring it home?


I’ve been listening to JPR’s discussion on voting procedures and methods. I like Oregon’s vote by mail. There is no way for anyone to tell from the envelope that the person filling out the ballot is white, black, brown, polka-dot, or a one eyed, one horned, flying, purple people eater. We don’t have to worry about standing in line before or after work. We don’t have to worry about showing up at the right precinct. We don’t have to worry about tardy election workers. Ballots are delivered about 2 ½ weeks before the election date. They are counted but results will not be announced until after 8 PM tonight.


I love it. Not because I minded going to the polls. I was proud to do it. I certainly trust our mail in ballots more than I do the descriptions of the Diebold electronic voting machines. A company that makes ATM’S that give paper receipts apparently can’t make voting machines that can do the same thing.


At least we don’t have to run a gauntlet of partisan observers. In spite of allegations from people as highly placed as George Will, vote by mail doesn’t seem to be more prone to fraud or coercion than any other method. We did use up punch cards up until the last election. I have fond memories of quadruple checking the number on that little dot before I poked it out with my ball point pen.


I just find it painfully ironic that we are spending so much time, so many lives, so much goodwill to “give” the benefits of Democracy overseas and appear so reluctant to grant the same privilege here at home.

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Lisa’s entry on Fighting Terrorism is excellent. (Coming to Terms with Middle Age). There were may commentators after 9/11 who tried to make people aware that this didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s been coming on for a long time. I just hope we have time to turn around.

First things. I think that after the election I’m going to research alternates to my voter registration. I believe the Republicans and Democrats are hopelessly compromised. After all, NAFTA was passed on Bill Clinton’s watch. When we look at “free trade” we have to ask, “who benefits.” Yes, we get an endless supply of cheap  products and produce. Some of it is even worth buying. In an era where a four bedroom house is called a starter house do we really need more stuff.? To pay for it, we’re bleeding jobs oversees and our small farmers are being driven out by corporate agribusiness.. Problem is many third world small farmers are losing out to the corporations too. In many areas third world farmers don’t own their land, they rent and pay in cash or kind. If the landlord(s) sell out to agribusiness, they lose their access to land. May I recommend “Stolen Harvest-the Hijacking of the Global Food Supply” by Vandana Shiva, an Indian author (East Indian) with several books to her credit. She is one of the authors featured by South End Press. Used copies are available on Alibris, too.

We can’t rely on electing a third party alternative to the presidency. After all, the president can only accomplish so much if Congress doesn’t cooperate. The scary thing is that the current Congress is so damn cooperative. I believe we need to start at the bottom. Elect alternative candidates from the Progressive or Green wings of the spectrum. If we can get enough of them elected to the House or even the Senate to deny both sides a majority, maybe we can slow the juggernaut down a little. Lord knows they’d have to have wills of iron. You can imagine what both sides would offer for their support.

I have to admit that the representative from my district in Oregon, Peter Defazio Democrat and Progressive will continue to get my support. Looks like he's going to win again in spite the R's best (worst) efforts. Peter voted against the Patriot Act. He didn't have time to read it (nobody did) and he wasn't gong to vote for a pig in a poke (my words not his),

Under the listing Progressive News from Common Dreams there is a long list of website links. Some are better than others, but are worth research. There is also a very long list of columnists. For example, Norman Solomon, a progressive leaning media commentator is no longer carried in the Eugene paper and the Oregonian has never carried him. They both find room for Charles Krauthamer though. I swear the man has never met a war he didn’t like.

Just throwing out some ideas. Maybe a few fish will bite.. Got a new website to look for. Shiva won the alternative Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Something about the Right Livlihood. I’m in trouble, I work for an auto dealership. At least it’s family owned and the family in question supports a lot of good local initiatives. Be happy and do good work.

After all enough waves will topple a cliff, enough sand grains on the wind will carve it away, and a stream will cut through it. Make waves

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Is it my imagination or has the entire country developed a bad case of carrying on cranky?

Friday, October 29, 2004


The Electoral College came up on the Jefferson Exchange this morning. Specifically how many votes each state has and where those numbers originated. The electoral votes represent the sum of the number of representatives and senators each state has.


The Electoral College was a compromise. The thirteen original colonies regarded themselves as independent states. They handled their own legal systems, customs dues, everything that an independent country would do. Getting these prickly cactuses to compromise and give up some of these powers was very difficult.


In fact the whole system of elections was a compromise: direct election for the House of Representatives, election of senators by the state legislatures, and very indirect election of the president by the Electoral College. In fact, we aren’t really voting for the candidates when we cast our votes. We are choosing a slate of electors who promise to vote for the candidate. I don’t think there is any statute that requires that they keep their promises. Theoretically, when the electors meet, they could decide the hell with the whole slate and choose Mother Theresa (if she was still alive) for president.


The Electoral College favors the smaller states. It was a definite compromise to encourage the small states like New Hampshire and Connecticut to ratify the constitution. They were afraid that the larger states like New York and Pennsylvania would swamp them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Barring something really weird turning up, the heck with politics. Let's turn out attention to really important things. Cats and dogs.

Amy's prodigal is back. I predict he won't even think about leaving for at least an hour, maybe two. Or until he's had a full tummy or two.

It did remind me of little furry heart stealers we've known and loved over the years. There was Missy-small, white with a few black markings and a black bottle brush tail. There was some Siamese in her family tree and her tail was kinked. She was sure that stringing the bean vines was an excercise designed for her entertainment. She was the only critter two legged or four legged I ever met who could look down her nose while she was looking UP at you.

There was Candy, a little pekapoo with black markings. If she weighed much more than ten pounds soaking wet I'd be surprised. She loved warm laps and warm laundry. We have serveral pictures of her peeking out from under fresh sheets wating to be folded. She also loved green beans and would snitch them out of the bucket while you were picking them. I had an old stuffed dog that she loved to carry around. She adored my grand dad. I hope that he's fishing somewhere and she's with him.

Then there was Sam. Sam was a mix of standard poodle and full size cocker spanial. The only cat or dog I've ever seen throw a temper tantrum. We were going to go for a walk and it started pouring again. I put away the leash and Sam turned into a whirling dervish. He hated getting his feet wet. If he could get across a wet yard or deck by bouncing on one toe, he's do it. He had the pouty "why aren't you petting me anymore?" look down pat. Of course he was laying on his side angled away from you at the time and  you couldn't reach him. He really had the "pitiful" look down pat.

I've written about the current terrible twosome, Misty and Lucky. Of course we aren't wrapped around their paws. No way, unh unh, never happen. If you believe that, do I have a deal for you.

Amy, I'm very glad your prodigal has returned.


Just had a very interesting experience at work. We're doing a potluck Friday and one of my co-workers joked that she should just wear her Kerry/Edwards sticker, I piped up and asked her to find me one too. The third co-worker went cold, and still, and her attitude was definately chilly.

ENOUGH ALL READY! When the election is over we are still going to have to get along together. I don't curse in public, I don't call people names, I don't flaunt my suport or ask anyone else to vote my way, ect. I'm damned if I'm going to censor every innocent comment. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2004


There are ballot measures in Washington and California (and perhaps other states) that would create open primaries. There would be a slate of candidates in the primary and the top two or perhaps three would be in the general election-no matter what their party affiliation. The current parties, especially the top two are screaming bloody murder. “This will be the end of life as we know it.” Maybe it will be. Something tells me that the world will keep spinning. You could find yourself voting between two Republicans or two Democrats. Sooooooooooooo…….I’m not seeing a really big difference in a lot of cases.

The mainline parties are like the big kids who’ve taken over the play area in the park. The rest of us stand around on the sidelines hoping that we’ll be invited in to play. Trouble is we have to play by their rules and keep hoping that if we play their games by their rules, we’ll eventually be allowed to play ours. Boys and girls, it ain’t gonna happen.

Several of the sites I have linked to my journal could be considered or definitely are liberal or progressive. Somehow we have to pull the rest of us together. The open primaries could allow coalitions of feminists, educators, basically everybody who isn’t a white, middle-aged, male, lawyer or business major to have more influence in how the country is run.

We have to pull together on a local level. Gee, I guess I’m basically calling for a second revolution. A lot of good has come out the government on the federal level. Trouble is, getting the hearts and minds as the local level to follow is the problem and divisive attitudes encouraged in the last forty years or so aren’t helping.

There was a story in the local Eugene paper this morning about two groups (Republican and Democrat) doing public demonstrations-side by side. The story is a little confused. Somehow punches got thrown, the cops got called, each side accuses the other of starting it. Near as I can tell, everyone involved is over the age of 50. Now, if they were10, we could send them to bed without any supper and hope they’d learn to behave. I sat there over my breakfast, just shaking my head. Please let me know there’s hope.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


I thought I'd discribe some of my choices in the favorite websites from time to time. Jefferson Public Radio is a small public network headquartered at the university at Ashland. Stations affiliated range from Eugene Oregon to the Mendocino area in California. The name comes from the "State of Jefferson," an area of Oregon and northern California that has more in common with the northern California-southern Oreong area that the rest either state. They carrya good mix of national NPR talk radio and from 8 to10 in the mornings, the Jefferson Exchange. This is a talk show where the people actually "talk" to each other instead of shouting at each other or taling past each other. They've been doing a good job of covering candidates and ballot measures that are important to the area. The Exchange can be accessed on the net as well as over the radio. I enjoy it and listen to it at work.

I had a solar plexus style revelation yesterday. Came home and double checked the voters pamphlet. I don't know about other states, but the state of Oregon puts out a pamphlet with info on ballot measures and candidates. Ralph Nader isn't in it, but I'm going to include him for the sake of argument. There are six candidates for president. All are white, middle-aged males. Between them there are four lawyers including Nader and Kerry, an MBA (Bush), and the Libertarian has degrees in chemistry and marine biology.

Let's face it folks, these guys aren't exactly representative. Kerry may be a Catholic but he and Bush are both Yalies. There may be degrees of difference, but in the end there's not much difference between the lot. I've got some theories, but as Mulder says in one of the earlier episodes "I'm just trying to stitch them together right now." I've got some serious reading and thinking to do.

Apparently Ann Coulter got smacked with a couple of pies at a speaking engagement. While I enjoy the mental image, I have another suggestion-one that might carry a lighter load of Karma. Find the websites of Coulter, or Limbaugh, or say Michael Savage and leave a message that you've just donated to PETA, The Green Party, Green Peace, The Society for the Protection of Starving Rabid Ferrets, whatever, in their name. I would recommned setting up one of your alternate screen names for this, just in case. Just, think, for the price of a couple of pies, hopefully they get miffed, a good cause gets a few bucks, and you get to smile. ;-)

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Very disappointed to receive an e-mail from Amy of Hippies in Yuppiedom. She has been forced to take her journal private. Someone with far more time than sense or humor is doing a parody of her journal.

Another journaler has e-mailed the link and the suggestion to turn this individual in. I read enough to convince me I didn't want to read anymore. My advice, go do something positive and let us know about it.

I have enjoyed reading her journal and will miss it. On the good side the Earthmother's Cupboard is still up so those of us who enjoy her work can still cheer her on that way. With luck with enough show of support she will feel like coming back.

I feel kind of glum sometimes that I don't get very many comments, but after reading about Amy and an entry in Lisa's journal about someone she had to block, I gues I don't feel so bad after all. Interest like that I can do without thank you very much.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Whoopie. The close up filters work very well on the cats. Misty always has a very open and trusting expression and is hard to catch asleep and sprawling. Lucky on the other hand could really care less. As long as she has a "pillow" and some sunshine, she could care less. If there is a shortage of sunshine, there's always the chair in front of the wall heater. That's my chair at the table in front of the heater. Watching the "staring contest" when they both want the chair is a hoot. The easiet solution is to put TWO chairs out.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


This is a verbatem copy of an article in the Portland Oregonian about the Bush rally in Southern Oregon.


A Bush rally volunteer reacts to three women’s attire and tosses them out


Janet Voohies said she was curious to see how Republicans would react when she and two other women showed up at President Bush’s Central Point rally wearing T-shirts stating “Protect Our Civil Liberties.”

She got her answer  before the president even spoke. The three women were ejected from the rally and escorted from the Jackson Country Fairgrounds by state police officers who warned them they would be arrested if they tried to return.

Republican officials said they weren’t exactly sure why a volunteer at the event demanded that the three women leave the rally, But a Bush campaign spokesman, Tracey Schmitt, said: “It is not the position of the campaign that wearing a T-shirt that says protect civil liberties is enough to conclude someone is disruptive.”

Thursday night’s action was the latest in a series of incidents in which people have been removed from Bush campaign events for expressing opposition to the president. Officials say the events are open to supporters and people who are considering voting for Bush, but they are quick to act when they think there is a possibility of disruption.

Voorhees, 48, a student teacher who lives in Ashland, said she and two other teachers obtained tickets to the event after saying they were undecided voters. She said she does not expect to vote for Bush however.

She said the three decided to wear T-shirts that weren’t critical of the president but expressed an issue “important to us…We were testing the limits of the Republican Party, of who is allowed to be at a rally for the president.”

Voorhees said the three made it through all three checkpoints and assured volunteers who questioned them that they would not disrupt the event. But when Voorhies was on her way to the bathroom, she was stopped by a volunteer who told her she wasn’t welcome.

She said this volunteer pointed to her shirt and said it was “Obscene.”

Jackson County Republican Chairman Bryan Platt said he didn’t see the incident, but stood behind the volunteer who was trying to make a judgment about whether someone would be disruptive.

“I wish (the women) would have just dresses in a way that was without that kindof intent to incite any kind of incident,” Platt said.

Lisa Sohn, a spokeswoman for Democrat John Kerry, said their rallies have been open to anyone and charged that the Bush administration has the attitude “that if you don’t agree with them, it is not okay.”

Jeff Mapes 503-221-8209

It's time to remember some basic facts.

WE are the government. The foks in beauracracy, the House, the Seante, the judges, the President are the hired help. If MY boss wants to see me I see him.

This situation has been years in the making, it didn't start with Bush. It'll take a few years to fix it.

If someone wats to copy the news story into their journal, feel free. I only ask it be a complete copy including the reporter's name and the paper it came from.

My personal reaction to the county chairman and his statement on "incidents:" Just how do you think we acheived our independece? The American Revolution went far beyond harsh language

Friday, October 15, 2004


The movie not the soundtrack.

Came home, turned on local news. Lead story was on a college students' drug overdose. In Idaho. Please, some body tell me what this has to do with Eugene-Springfield. Almost no coverage of what happened in Jacksonville last night. No coverage of the press conference held by the demonstrators this afternoon. No mention that there were at least 200 people involved. At this point I threw up my hands in disgust, scared both cats and decided to visit Middle Earth for awhile.

Given the situation it struck home when Theoden's highest praise of Aragorn was that he was an honorable man. Not a potential king, not a very good looking man, not a formidable warrior, but an honorable man. When was the last time you heard someone described as honorable and it wasn't part of a job title, as in the honorable Congressman from East Podunk?

When Aragorn gives his buck 'em up speech he is ON the battlefield not 4,000 miles away prating about how "we're" going to stay the course. When the army marches out of Minas Tirith they know they can't win on the battlefield. All they can hope to do is keep the enemy looking the other way while the ring is destroyed. And in the end the most despised character in the whole story is responsible for the ring being destroyed and it's by accident. The whole thing is so opposite of the situation we're in right now.

When I look at the treaties we've ignored, the mess with Enron and other companies, the companies that are trying to get out of their pension obligations, the drug companies that have ignored studies that show their product is dangerous and  the whole general mess, I can't help reflecting that one of the main themes of the films is keeping your word. Even if keeping it may cost you dearly. Even AFTER death you may be offered the chance to fulfill your oath. I find hope in that.


The president visited my state last night. He went to a nice, fairly safe venue, Medford, which is down in southern Oregon. I don’t have all the details, hopefully there will be some coverage on the news tonight. From what I’ve heard on Jefferson Public Radio a couple of very disturbing things happened.


Three local teachers got tickets to the rally and showed up wearing shirts with Support Our Civil Liberties on them. They were escorted from the rally. Supporting Civil Liberties is considered subversive? I currently listening to a caller who is calling them “spoilers.” Excuse me.


There were a couple a hundred folks outside the motel where the president was to stay. The secret service tried to get the folks off the sidewalk, the cops tried to get them back on, shoving followed, then followed by pepper balls. These are paint balls with cayenne pepper in them. As far as I can tell no one was being violent or intended to be violent. It was an unwelcoming rally for the president. A caller has stated that the organizers were assured that if they were peaceful they would not be harassed. 


This is the president of the whole country (supposedly). As I stated in my last entry, the old absolute monarchs would be absolutely drooling over the isolation our supposed leaders are able to achieve.


I am making a formal declaration here. I am 54 years old and I have been voting since I was 21. Usually for the loser. I have always supported whoever won. I have never felt like this before. George W Bush is not MY president. He does not have my allegiance. I believe he has no honor and no loyalty to the principles that are this country’s foundation.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


I think the earth moved here in Oregon this weekend and I'm not referring to Mt. St Helens. The Portland Oregonian has endorsed John Kerry for President. I honestly can't remember the last time they endorsed a Democrat. The public editor's column on Sunday actually walked us through the decsion making process. It was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes. Of course the letters have started already. Where did people get the idea that newspapers were unbiased. Is it this "fair and balanced" moonshine they push at Fox News. Of course the media is biased in some way. Live with it, learn to see through it and make up your own mind.

Realizing as I watch the carefully managed appearances of the incumbents that these guys are isolated and protected in ways that would make the old absolute monarchs drool with envy. At least when Charles I went somewhere he had to ride a horse or use a coach. He couldn't help but see the country side and the people once in awhile. Dubya and his entourage basically go from air port to air port. Anyone who might cause trouble or even ask an embarrasing question is kept very far away.

But, hey, the sun is shining, the fog burns off in the mornings, it's just pleasantly crisp not totally frigid yet. There's still a few flowers left in the garden. The susans are gone. You can bake and broil 'em but bring on the cool, damper weather and they just go. We have a climbing rose in the front. Officially it's white. But get water droplets on it and add sunshine and it gets red polka dots. Very different.

Cold season has started at the office. Any suggestions for immune enhancers besides eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender. The mix I'm using right now also includes pine and citrus. Doesn't smell half bad and works well in my diffuser and steam inhaler. 

Sunday, October 10, 2004


I think Misty must have been a fire siren in a previous incarnation. Mom's upstairs getting up close and personal with the sewing machine. Misty does not like it when she can't keep track of everybody. So, she's sitting at the foot of the stairs (the stairs have door by the way), making her displeasure known, very loudly. And bless, me if she doesn't sound like she's saying mama. Lord, that girl has a great set of vocal cords.

As for the other one, I think she's back in the closet. They're indoor cats, so fleas aren't a problem. It's been foggy here all day and at this time of year, by the itime the fog leaves the sun is behind the hill. It may hit 70 out at the airport, but it ain't gonna happen here.

There's a restaurant commercial I get a real (negative) kick out of. This is for a sit-down place by the way. Mom and three kids. Mom doesn't have time to cook a meal. Let me see, the nearest sit down place is about ten minutes away. I've found with my newphews that getting kids ready to go anywhere takes at minimum five minutes per child. So, to and from and getting ready we're at over half an hour already. That doen't account for waiting to order and waiting for your food. Even if you're only opening soup and making cheese don't have time to cook, but you have time to go out?

Also, the two older kids are old enough to help toast sandwiches and set the table. It appears that the good mother is no longer the one who cooks a meal and teaches her children how to help in the kitchen, but one who takes the kids out to eat. Weird.

Sunday, October 3, 2004


Very interesting column in the Oregonian's commentarty section this morning. It's by Lenore Skenazy who writes for the New York Daily News.

She writes about William Thomas' book What are Old Poeple For? He proposes an alternative to nursing homes. He calls them Green Houses. Small groups (eight to ten) with a couple of staff. As much as possible the residents do the cooking and cleaning and everyone sits down to meals together. Sort of a do it yourself family. Thomas is running a pilot program in Tupelo Mississipi. The first 13 are up and running. Apparently the costs are comparable to the institution they replaced and the results sound inpressive.

Four of the seven residents who were using wheelchairs when they moved in are up and walking on their own. Eight out of the ten have some level of Alzheimers but are doing better. One lady even makes her cornbread recipe once a week. Each resident has their own room and all the room open on a yard. I suspect that the buildings are built on a courtyard design with the rooms facing inwards.

Thomas is quoted as saying "the first thing we had to do was run out to the store for sunhats." Some of these folks hadn't been out for years.

We do have a lot of Adult foster care in our area but the results sound pretty hit and miss. A close friend of my mom's is on her second try. Apparently the first home was not very clean and it smelled. Also her medications weren't tracked the way they should have been and she is a diabetic. A one size fits all diet plan is not good in this case. What can you expect when the people who are supposedly running the place never come around to check on the help?

I like the idea of what Thomas calls a "convivium." Of course the people running such a network might actually have to pay attention to the people they're collecting money from instead of just looking at the balance sheet.

Now if we could just move this idea to the schools. I was lucky and went to a small high school. I can't imagine going to a school with more students than many small towns. Yes, I know it's more efficient for equipment and staff, but Lord, there must be some alternative to what we've got.

Saturday, October 2, 2004


I'm almost reluctant to give this writer more publicity, but here goes.

Someone forwarded a notice to me of a new journal. It is titled A Christian Perspective. The entries are unique to say the least. Although the bit about the drugs does ring sort of true. Not because Bush might be involved, but because the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan did sell drugs to buy arms during the Soviet occupation and I'm sure the CIA looked the other way.

But, the term "Christian" begs the question. What camp are we talking about here? Mainline Methodists, Pentacostals, Catholics, Unitarian Universalists, the Society of Friends (Quakers)? All lay claim to being followers of Christ. Personally, I was raised in the Methodist tradition and an inquisitive Methodist I ramain. And probably will remain. If that should change I'll probably find myself a Quaker. They at least have the good sense to keep quiet and wait for God to do the talking. I wonder sometimes how we can hear the Creator over all the shouting we direct at each other.

But, on to things more homey. Tea. I love a good cup of tea. Especially on a gray, foggy, southern Willamette Valley October morning. The sun is probably shining in my old hometown of Oakridge. It's up in the mountains you see. Lovely little valley. The sun is probably shining in Coming to Terms with Middle Age Ville (aka Scappoose, Oregon) It's on the Columbia, not the toe of a valley sock.

Anyway, tea. Discovered (after I sent a fairly large order to Twinings) that Wild Oats carries a nice selection of bulk tea. Put a drop or two of peppermint on the leaves in your tea ball and enjoy. Sweet orange and cinnamon works too. Do the oil first and put the cinnamon on top. It keeps the cinnamon from wandering too badly.

Well, this has to end for awhile. Mom's been at my sister's all week and the cats have basically been on their own for the last week. If I was a balloon Lucky would have popped me by now. :-)

Sunday, September 26, 2004


The original record version of the above cd was a hoot. You could play it at all three speeds and get different effects. At 78rpm it sounds like the little sand and gravel wavelets. At 33 1/3, it's deep rolling boomer waves. The original series was called "Environments" and apparently started off the whole natural background sounds movement. (is this a movement-I'm having trouble thinking of the right word.)

The gray season. It's the time from late September on. If it isn't raining in the Eugene area it's foggy. We are between two rivers, that may have something to do with it because many mornings I can drive the twenty miles north to work and come out of the fog. Lisa of Coming to terms with middle age used to live down here and hated it. I imagine the sun is shining in Scappose this morning.

The thing is, it contributes to the image of this area as wet. We don't get "that" much rain and there is a definate rainy season. This morning is just damp and gray. Most of the spectacular flowers are gone. There's still a few cone flowers and susans. I did get some pictures of spider webs yesterday. I wonder how they'll turn out.

The worst thing about the closed in conditions is that it traps the air pollution. Right now I'm trying to figure out if it's allergies of if it's a cold. I think it 's allergies, most colds don't move this slowly.

Oh, and things that bug me number 4. (this is as I think of them-not necessarily in irritant order) Cable TV and dish TV commercials. Yoo, hoo. I have other things to do. TV is nice but I do have other interests like working.....sleeping.......and my current reading list is looking longer that number 2 nephew is tall and he's 6'2". Unfortunately, the extra channels don't increase the available talent just spread it thinner.

Read a good description of someone with a temper. The writer was referring to Dr. John McGloughlin, rightly called the Father of Oregon. Apparently the good doctor had a bit of a temper. The friend described him  "as  6'4" with a seven foot temper." Ouch!

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Story on the news the other night regarding how some schools are discarding recess in favor of class room time. This is primary grades mind you. One interviewee basically gave the impression that he thought recess was a big waste of time. I wonder how he'd like to give up his coffee breaks. I'm sure he could use those two 15 minute sessions more productively. I have five nephews and I remember how antsy they could get at that age. Actually, the 12 year old still gets pretty antsy when the program on the tube is a football game instead of a movie.

A couple of our local legislators are pushing for full day kindergarten. Yo, we're grown up for a very long time. Give the kids time to be kids for a little while at least.

We're not a farming economy anymore. We don't need the kids to help in the fields anymore. It's almost as if children are seen as a waste of money until they're finally old enough to work and contribute to the economy. The sooner the better. Oh, and for those who feel that educating other people's children is a waste of your money: unless you plan on self-surgury when you need it, you'd better hope that somebody's kid is getting a good medical education.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Now that summer is closing I'm being reminded of a real irritant. Fruits and vegetables that are engineered so they can be shipped very long distances and still look good even though they taste like cardboard. 'Nuff said. What's sad are all the folks who think that's what they're supposed to taste like.

That said there is nothing to match a ripe Oregon Strawberry. The season only lasts a month or so, but the anticipation in the other eleven months. :-) And fresh tomatoes. I didn't used to be a tomato fan. Still warm from the garden, I think I just got a glimpse of heaven. If you don't have your own find a good produce stand. Even the canned ones taste better than the pathetic wannabes in the stores. :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2004


Bug of the day.

Doctors or other medical spokesmen in the media pushing the latest cholesterol lowering or whatever medication. "It only costs two or three dollars a day for most patients." Let me see, take an average of 2.5 x 365. That's just over $900.00 a year on top of whatever else they've got you on. If you don't have insurance you probably can't afford it. If you have insurance, somebody (you and your employer are paying for it.) That's if your insurance covers perscriptons.

Since I don't see our government telling the drug companies "Look you have the equivalent of a regulated monopoly here. You get cost of developing the drug plus 5%." I don't see the cost of drugs coming down anytime soon. Unless we want to just sign our paychecks over to Merck, Bristol Meyers, ect. I guess we're just going to have to figure out how to not need their products.

Like du jour:

Hugs. Need I say more :-) They're one of the things that increase as you give them away.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


I got a kick out of Lisa's "things that bug her."

I think I'll spread mine out a little and do it in pairs.

High on the list of things that bug me. Reality commercials. I'm not a big fan of reality tv anyway and these commercials bug me no end. American Family Insurance has some real non-favorites. Ok, the little guy with the crewcut seems nice enough but is that a good enough argument for changing my insurance?  I really don't care how he grooms his crewcut or what kind of cars he buys. I'm more likely to listen to the co-worker who contacted this company for a quote when she bought her house. Apparently they had all the business they need becuase they couldn't be bothered to call her back until she'd called them several times.

Things that I really, really like.

Pussycats. 'Nuff said.

My brother in law had this posted in his classroom.

The Rules of Combat

1. If the enemy is in range, so are you.
2. Incoming fire has the right of way.
3. Don’t look conspicuous: it draws fire.
4. The easy way is always mined.
5. Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.
6. Professionals are predictable; it’s the amateurs that are dangerous.
7. The enemy invariably attacks on one of two occasions.
        When you’re ready for them.
        When you’re not ready for them.
8. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy someone else to shoot at.
9. If you can’t remember, the claymore is pointed at you.
10. If your attack is going well, you have walked into an ambush.
11. Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
12. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
13. When the pin is pulled. Mr. Grenade is not our friend.
14. If it’s stupid but works, it isn’t stupid,
15. When in doubt empty the magazine.
16. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you.
17. Anything you do can get you shot. Including doing nothing.
18. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in and you can’t get out.
19. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
20. A Purple Heart just proves that that you were;
        Smart enough to think of a plan
        Stupid enough to try it
        And, lucky enough to survive.
21. Don’t be the first, don’t be the last, and don’t ever volunteer to do anything.
22. The quartermaster has only two sizes: too large and too small.
23. Five second fuses only last three seconds.

From Heller’s  Funnies Index.

And not on this list but a favorite of mine. When you find yourself in a hole. STOP DIGGING

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Still repeating my I Love Oregon mantra and praying that wherever this monster hits
land it's at the point with the least population. I'm not sure about the elevations in that
part of the country but it's not like Oregon. We don't have to go very far to get some
elevation. And to get hit with three in a row, unbelievable.

We played host to a fairly disgruntled nephew yesterday. Jon is a redshirt
freshman being groomed for offensive lineman. The U of O lost Saturday. :(
They gained about four yards to the Hoosiers one but couldn't hang on to the
thrice-blasted ball. This is a problem the Ducks go through every few
seasons. It is a fairly young team. When we asked Jon if he thought they'd be
working on ball handling extra hard this week he replied that ball control was what
they worked on first thing every day. Although that's not going to be a focus for him
unless one happens to get dropped and bounce his way. His job will be to take the
player in front of him down and keep him there. Should make for interesting memories
to look back on. Landing on someone or being landed on over and over and over and over.......

On a lighter note, we watched part of the OSU game Friday night. Boise
States' infield turf is the same color as the uniforms. Yes, boys and girls,
the MOVING blue dots are the players. Especially the moving blue dots that
made life miserable for the Beavers. This was not a good weekend for Oregon football.
The blue that doesn't move is the field. It takes a little getting used to. I'm not sure how
I'd react to say, Stanford doing this. Can you imagine a cardinal red football field?

We also were a pit stop and park and ride for another nephew and his buddies. When Chris
bought his tickets that game wasn't going to be televised. The first question through the door
was "when did they change the time?" I guess they didn't really publicize the change. We only
knew because 1) Jon's on the team and 2) our favorite news channel also carries the games.
What the heck it was good to see him however briefly. The cats didn't know what to make of
ten extra feet suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

I'll tell you what's really taking some getting used to. Two of the five nephews can still be hugged
around the neck and number four is shooting up fast.This keeps up and we're going to need to
hire a hall for the holidays.

Thursday, September 9, 2004


I've been following the Weather Channel coverage of the weather in the Carribean. My mantra is "I love Oregon." Yes, we have bad weather. Yes, someday we may get hit with "The Big One." (earthquake or reawakened volcano). But, this threat is measured in decades or centuries. Three hurricanes in almost as many weeks? Sorry, warm winters are not worth it in this child's book.

Talked about canning last time. Gravensteins may make good sauce but, I found out one fall that they are not a good choice for say, apple butter. Gravensteins are very juicy and you add apple cider to the butter while it's cooking. Then you have to cook it down. I spent the better part of a day cooking that batch of juice down. It was awfully good though.

Our house in Oakridge had an old fasioned laundry sink. Double sink, I think is was cement and it had a built in washboard. Our washer was an open tub with a wringer. You filled the sinks with water and processed the laundry from sink to sink. My grandmother could pop buttons with the best of them and dad joked that she could shrink a house if she put her mind to it. You can imagine what happened to his "woolies" if we weren't careful. Anyway these sinks were great for canning. I poked a lot of cucumbers for pickles and shucked a lot of corn into those sinks.

Anyway, all those goodies came in handy during the winter. Loggers missed a lot of time in the winter because of the weather. I didn't know until much later but some years my folks had about $50.00 left in December after the bills were paid at the first of the month. We still had a lot of fun at Christmas. We made a lot of stuff. If we could just get everybody together for the Holiday was worth a lot. Maybe worth the most. :-)

Sunday, September 5, 2004


Things to do on a sunny Sunday on a three-day weekend.

The weather is cool enough now that the cats enjoy hanging out wherever they can find a nice patch of sun. Lucky especially enjoys baking her bones as long as possible. See above.  She’s just a big wuss who likes to hold “hands” and pat your face. She also likes short, just washed hair. That is she likes to play with it. You know, pat it, poke it, and generally make you wince.

Took our “not working this morning “walk down to the local park. Far more ducks and geese on hand than people,  We have the mallards and Canadas. There are also some domestic type geese who’ve probably never seen a farm yard. A couple of them really started squawking, A couple of minutes later a new flock flew in and joined the locals. There were a few minutes of excited conversation while every body caught up with the “gossip.”

Good new entry in Hippies in Yuppiedom regarding the upcoming campaign. I did not watch the Republican Convention. I briefly considered catching the president’s speech. Right up until I listened to ABC’s analysis of Zell Miller’s speech. That did not help my blood pressure. I think we said the heck with it and hauled out Living Planet. This is an excellent set of documentaries from the eighties. It's an eco-system by eco-system survey of the life on Earth. That really didn’t help either. Except to remind us what’s at stake here. Humans are still outnumbered by the other critters on the planet. Unfortunately, we're the only ones with access to a ballot box

I can’t say this often enough. I don’t care how hopeless you think in is VOTE. Repeat after me. “I will vote. I will vote every chance I get.” It may help and it can’t hurt. For those who support Ralph Nader, write in his name, no one is stopping you. If you like McCain write in his name. Heck, if you miss Bill Clinton write in his name.

We still do some canning every summer. We concentrate on things that taste better home canned than the commercial products. Green beans, Blue Lakes if we can get them. Improved  Elbertas for peaches and Bartlett’s for pears. Gravenstein  apples make great sauce. We generally get late fall apples for the winter and store them in the garage. It stays nice and cool out there.  One thing we don’t do anymore is corn. It’s a lot of work when there are only two people working on the pantry.

We have jars out there that we’ve had for years. Mom noticed one theother day with patent date of 1915 on it. If that jar really is that old, I wonder how may times its been filled over the years. Many of them came out of my grandmother’s pantries.  In fact, my dad’s mother taught my mom how to can. Needless to say she taught the three of us. It can be messy  (as in peach juice running down your arm and finding petrified corn kernels under the cabinets) but it’s nice to find those jars in the winter.

Saturday, September 4, 2004


Morning Aire-Celtic harp music with traditional accompaniment. A very cheerful piece of work.

Well, let’s see.

Saturday morning with sunshine on a three-day weekend. Yup, Promise of sun and mild temperatures all weekend. Yup.

Things still blooming. Canna lilies, Marguerite daisies, bellflowers, little yellow Potentilla ground cover, everbearing strawberries, (those don’t give up until it frosts and then they look like they’re thinking about it), ground cover strawberries. If you’ve seen the ground cover plants they have a deep pink bloom and very small but very sweet berries.

The new huckleberries are getting ripe. Even when those bushes get five feet tall, I’d hate to try and pick enough for a pie. Those berries are tiny! Think the tip of your little finger. Then think smaller.

The two ground cover Oregon Grapes are really going to town this year. One is even putting up a little brother.  The andromedas and nandinas are putting out shoots for winterberries and the dogwood is also setting berries.

We have a local thrush that loves the dogwood berries. They are about the size of a robin and very shy. Usually all you see is the little white patch above their tail as they fly away. You never see more than one or two at a time until winter. When the dogwood berries get ripe you get a whole flock of them. They work over the tree until the berries are gone and then move to the neighbor’s holly tree.

The lavender is pretty much gone; don’t see very many bumbles now. Soon the blueberry and dogwood leaves will turn red. Two more weeks until I get my camera back. Waaaaaah. (No choice, really. Every time I changed a lens little pieces of foam fell out.) Mornings get pretty cool now. It can get very foggy in the mornings. Warm afternoons with occasional rain. Most years the wet season doesn’t start until sometime in October. I know we have a rainy reputation but it’s more fog and overcast. We’re in the southern part of the valley and just over the mountains it almost qualifies as desert. Not the sandy kind, the scrubby kind. Trees in Eastern Oregon are shrubs with delusions of grandeur.

Ok, before I end this entry, drum roll please. The scales said 298 this morning. Now the fun really starts. The second hundred. I’d like to do it a year. Reality check here. It’ll probably take two. But, hey, how old will I be in two years if I don’t work on it?

Happy Saturday all!

Friday, September 3, 2004


Actually I'm beyond angry. I ready to spit rivets and throw a sledge hammer.

I listened to the analysis of the Keynote speakers' speech on ABC News last night. How it was accurate up to a very careful point. Some of the claims he was making go back over thirty years. Statements made by a disillusioned young officer who had seen more than he ever expected to see.

There have been ads for a new reality series called the Benefactor. The contestants supposedly have a chance to win a million dollars and they freely admit they'd cheat or stab a "friend" in the back to do it.

If winning is so important that lying, cheating and essentially stealing is what it takes, and if none of the party faithful are calling them on this, then this country is in a hell of a lot more trouble than I thought.

 I suppose if we called these guys on breaking the commandment on bearing false witness, they'd claim they weren't in a court of law and hadn't sworn to tell the truth. Let's not even get into the one about coveting.

The only answer I can see is to vote so at least I have the right to bitch, no matter what the outcome and try to keep myself and my little cornor of the world as straight as possible.

Thursday, September 2, 2004


Rather than writing a book in Lisa's comments section I'll toss in my two cents worth here. The Electoral College was seen as a way to protect the small states from the larger states. The founders couldn't have forseen the public education system, population shifts, growth of giant corporations, influence of lobbyists, and the almost instantaneous communication system we have now.

There is a scene early in the movie 1776: John Adams is having a "conversation" with his wife Abigail. He's in Philadelphia, she's in Massachusetts. She asks why he can't come home for a visit. It's only 300 miles to Boston. If "you left tonight, you could be home in only eight days." My sister lives about 300 miles from Eugene. I can be there in about six hours. It might take seven or so if it's winter and the winds are really bad in the Columbia Gorge.

At least if the electoral votes are allocated in some proportional way the candidates will have to pay attention to all of us. As Lisa suggests allocating by a proportion of the total vote mean that they can't count on a majority coming from any one area.

As it stands, at least voting assures me of the right to holler very, very loudly if I don't like the result. At least we get to vote. At least we don't have to worry about somebody knocking on the door in the middle of the night if we don't vote the right way.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Well it's official. Mom and I are now the shortest memebers of the family.

Within the family, It's reverse order. I'm taller than mom. My middle sister Robbie is taller than me and youngest, (my little sister who's taller than me) Colleen is the tallest at about 5'9". She married a guy who is 6'3".

Her youngest turned 12 this Spring and he's got about half an inch on me. It's a cliche, but it does seem just yesterday when we discovering the hard way just how far he could reach. He'd just found out what those things at the end of his legs were for. Next thing we knew he was helping himself to the milk jug. Fortunately it was almost empty because his reach definately exceeded his grasp. Heck he was only about a year old.

Time does fly. I can still hug him around the neck. I can just reach the next one, he's about 5'10". I have settle for a hug around the waist for the rest. Oh, five nephews. Age range is 12 to 19. All smart and all healthy. The rest is icing on the chocolate cake.

The weird thing is that both guys are the only boys in their families. And we end up with all boys. I've often wondered what it would have been like to have a neice. Oh well, may a grand niece.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


While we were waiting in line with a stack of spring plants, mom decided to add a little bag labeled Oriental Lilies. The spectacular blossoms above are from that bag. We got two stargazers and a white one that I haven't found the name of. There are three others that put out foliage but didn't bloom. I can hardly wait until spring.

The wonderful about Mother Nature is that she puts colors together that we wouldn't dream of pairing. I mean hot pink and burnt orange? But, it works.

The susans are still going strong, but looking a little frazzled. They've been going for more than a month now. The lavender is pretty well shot but still provides good hidey-holes for the local cats. Our porch is enclosed and I have a big window right by the computer desk. When it was raining last weekend, I looked up to see a curious kiitly looking back at me. Sleek little black one that lives next door.

Enjoyed Lisa's trip through the boomer years. I can relate. We also had a large freezer-and we filled it every year. Our yard was big enough for kids and a large garden. What we grew, we canned. The pantry in the garage held at least 400 jars and we filled it. My folks bought two things right after they got married. One was a sewing machine. The other was a pressure cooker. Sewing machine is a cabinet type and the actual machine has been replaced once. The pressure cooker has had a few gaskets replaced. If I really sat down and thought about it I could probably estimate how many jars have gone through it.

Dad worked in the timber industry. You could figure on losing at least a month every year because it was either too hot and dry to work or too wet. And believe me it had to be really wet and snowy to shut 'em down. He'd come home and mom would hang his wet weather gear on the line and turn the hose on it to wash the mud off. During the summer it was "Hoot Owlin'." The crews would head out about 2 in the morning. (This was before Daylight Savings Time-so it would start getting light about 4 am) They'd work until the humidity dropped below a certain point and come in. When the guys got home-they went to bed and the moms and kids headed for the local park by the river.

We had a four party phone line (imagine that) I can remember mom wrapping the phone in towels to muffle the rings.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


I’m having fun following the release of study that followed a group of women for several years and evaluated the results of drinking non-diet sodas and juice drinks. I believe the study lasted for four or five years. The group that drank the equivalent of one soda or more a day gained an average of seventeen pounds more than the group that didn’t. I believe there was also a slightly higher incidence of diabetes.

Of course the beverage and sugar industries are up in arms. Since there are other studies that show that large-scale consumption of sugar substitutes also seems to lead to weight gain and other bad results. It would appear that consuming these products just isn’t a good idea.

Face it guys, you’ve had the food equivalent of a gold rush for about twenty years or so and the vein is tapped out. Attacking the science that gives you results you don’t like isn’t going to change the results.

Also, I’ve learned to be cautious when spokesmen described as nutritionists offer their opinions. If they work for the FDA or the USDA they have to be careful what they say or they have members of congress breathing down their necks after they receive outraged calls from their constituents. If you can find a copy, Food Politics is a great read. It takes a little extra time to work through the science but it’s worth it.

One of ou finance people treated us to lunch yesterday. Darn it, I’m just not in training for that Olive Garden heavy lifting anymore. I’ll stick to the soup and bread from now on and skip the pasta.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


We’ve had a long stretch of hot weather this summer. The hot spell broke this weekend and it went the other way. It’s been 15 to 20 degrees cooler and raining. Personally, I don’t mind. The rain hit late Saturday evening and I spent awhile sitting on the porch just listening to the rain start. Lavender smells wonderful as it cools and the rain starts to hit. It just sprinkled for a while and the hopeful cricket next to the porch kept up his chirping. Then, somebody turned the faucet on full and even the cricket gave up. He probably figured no one was going to come calling during the deluge.

It’s funny, you can water and water and water and not get half the results that you get from the rain. Everything stands a little straighter and the lawns start to green up a bit. The neighborhood cats get that puzzled look-“I thought this stuff was gone for good, sheesh.”

On the way to work this morning I saw a piece of a rainbow up in the clouds. There was barely a curve to it, just a section of color. No camera, darn it. For a day or two after the rain stops, we’ll be able to see the trees on the hills and sneezing will be kept to a minimum. Ah, the southern Willamette Valley in spring and summer. When we aren’t sneezing at the grass pollen, we’re sneezing at the grass smoke. In a few days it’ll be pushing 90 again for a while, but it’s fun while it lasts.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Mascots and Hometowns

Lisa and I were messaging back and forth last night. Told her one of my nephews is a walk on for the Oregon football team. She shot back with the oh yeah, the “Fighting Ducks.” I came back with the “well what can you say, the other team is the Beavers.” That was followed with “well at least a beaver has teeth.”

If you have a problem with the idea of a “fighting duck,” (personally I keep seeing Donald Duck losing it) consider the mascot of the high school my mom attended. The U of O School of Education ran its own high school into the early 50’s. Three guesses what that mascot was, and no it wasn’t the Wolverines. It was (drum roll, please) the Ducklings. Can you imagine rooting for a rootin’, tootin’, fightin’ football team called the DUCKLINGS!

They closed the school in the mid fifties. Probably because there was no room to expand as Eugene grew after the war. Eugene, what kind of name is that for a town? It is original, I’ll give it that. Personally I live on the other side of the river, in Springfield, Not very original but at least people don’t give you a funny look when you tell them where you’re from.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


Make that extremely frustrated. Enough all ready with the swift boats. We take the Portland Oregonian. There are three fascinating entries on page 2 of section A. One compares earlier statements from the cadre in Swift Boat Veterens for Truth ads. Their previous statements are 180 degrees from what they are saying now. The second entry is a lovely little flow chart showing connections to either the Bush family or Karl Rove. The third is a reprint of an article from the New York Times News service. An article that has information critical of both sides. That said, this is not Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Hopefully, this is still not a country where knowing somebody who knows somebody who is related to somebody else can get you arrested or worse, dead.

OK folks, one candidate served in the Air Guard here in the states, the other was at best a first lieutenent. That's the equivalent of a platoon or if the officer is lucky, company commander. As far as experience goes, neither one is a General Eisenhower.

Two of our most sucessful wartime presidents were Lincoln and FDR. Lincoln's military service was limited to a stint during the Black Hawk war. But, he was a quick study. When it was suggested that Grant be replaced because of his drinking and cussing, Lincoln replied, "I can't afford to lose him, he fights." An exasperated Lincoln was also reported to have asked during McClellan's era if he could borrow the Army of the Potomac for awhile. It didn't look like the general was planning to use it in the near future.

FDR put in a stint as Secratary of the Navy-no other military service that I know of. But, he could choose good men. He listened to them and he supported them. And as near as I can tell, if he received contrary information he didn't shop around until he found someone with an opinion that supported his own. He trusted the people and he did his best to make sure that the citizens of this country had as much information as could be provided without compromising the war effort. Near as I can tell the current crew is doing exactly the opposite. Way to go guys. Let's let them know just exactly what you can find on a computer hard drive and where we found it.

I guess  the point of this little entry is this. We're being distracted again. Energy is being directed at something that doesn't matter and away from what does. Voting machines that can't be trusted, accusaitons that voters in Florida are being intimidated orthrown off the voter rolls, a carpet-bagging candidate for senator in Illinois, the list goes on  and  the fact that neither candidate appears to have a plan for getting us out of this mess. The ground pounders in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve more-a lot more.

If anyone is curious about Senator Kerry's accusations of war crimes during the Viet Nam war I have this suggestion. Fire up your computer and do searches under "Tiger Force" and "Operation Phoenix". I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

I really wish that Irish Cream in my coffee this morning was the real thing instead of Torani.