Wednesday, November 24, 2004
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
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
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
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
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
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.