Friday, December 30, 2005


Lisa’s comments about archiving have me revisiting some of my entries. I may just find myself reflecting on them and perhaps updating and posting as I think about the past year.


About a year ago The United Church of Christ ran an ad that all three networks refused to run. I watched on the net twice and either the local ABC affiliate showed it or it was on Northwest Cable news I forget now. It created a stir on the far religious right because some of the couples were perceived as gay. I guess I’m so far out of step with the mainstream that when I see two men or two women together I don’t automatically assume that they are a couple as in a “couple” And as I rework this entry I’ll say right up front that I don’t give the north end of a south bound rat whether two folks who share a life have matching chromosomes or not. It takes courage, patience, understanding and yes a lotta love to let another person past our defenses and anybody who can make it work is aces in my book.  


What I did see was a widely divergent group of people. Some were being allowed into this unidentified church based on some surface impression that apparently only the “gatekeepers could see. While I’m rethinking this entry I want to address one comment it picked up the first time around. I really don’t care what other people may perceive about me. Life’s too short and as long as they don’t get in my face I won’t get in theirs. And frankly most of those folks are more to be pitied and prayed for than anything else. And I’d hope that would be my reaction. Sorry you feel that way I’ll be praying for you.


But what really got me thinking was this. There is a wonderful scene in the mini series Jesus of Nazareth. (I highly recommend it and it’s available on DVD.) The apostles are ready to try their hands at teaching and are being sent out two by two. As they set out some of the pairs have their arms slung over each others shoulders. If something like that is going to cause the gatekeepers to bar the door imagine the reaction when the whole group shows up. Imagine thirteen dusty,sleeping in their clothes, bearded, longhaired, travel-stained, taking what they’re offered for dinner, homeless guys showing up at the door. The mind boggles.


It’s a year later. We’ve have had Paris Hilton’s infamous hamburger ad. We've had the intro to the football game where the actress “lost” her towel. I haven’t seen as many ads for Viagra and related drugs but we’re being inundated with ads for the Medicare prescription plans that are little more than give a ways to the drug companies. I’ve already seen commercials for the 2006 Christmas season. We’re still being urged to buy, buy, buy whether we can afford it or not. We’re still being urged to measure ouR personal worth by the cost and size of out possessions. The temporary wake up call of three dollar a gallon gas has all but disappeared. Heck prices are so low on SUV’s you can afford the gas with what you save on the rig. So say the ads anyway. Never mind that the mileage still stinks and the oil is still disappearing faster and faster. But, we’re still being spared the horror of being asked to be part of something larger than ourselves.  


The original post for the little ad that could can be accessed here.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


One of the plants we 'inherited' from one of my grandmother is a Christmas Cactus. A "Christmas" cactus that has bloomed anytime from Halloween to Easter depending on whatever internal clock the plant has.

This year it actually bloomed for Christmas. As cactuses go, this one doesn't look too bad, but for two or three weeks, it's magic.

Uh, I just found out where I can write the captions. Yippee! It's not like I asked anybody where they were. I just sort of fell over them. LOL

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Today I remembered the little mini tripod that came with my cam corder. Mated with the new digi and this is what I got. No matter how hard you try you can't hold a camera still enough to get decent macro shots.

The rose is from a bouquet my uncle brought for his big sister for Christmas. I'm not sure who has been getting a bigger kick out the flowers. Mom or me, because I've taken a ton of pictures. Ok. half a ton And these are the absolute best of the lot. I swear I can pick up the scent of the rose. I'm not sure I can see them that well for real. So, if you have time look at these in the larger view. I'm still pinching myself.

I guess I need to do a little shopping for something a bit taller. The one I have stands about six inches high without the camera attached. I will definately need something by early spring when the new blooms start to come up.


I think I should clarify something. Yippee, somebody in the family may have signed the Declaration of Independence. There are some folks who get really puffed up about the sigining part. I'm just thrilled I can get a name from somebody that far back.

The thing is, you have to do the math. If there are ten generations between my birth and Mr. Hopkins, there's about five hundred other people involved. My reaction is not "I have an ancestor who did something really great." It's "what have I done to support what this person believed in."

There are times when I wish I could have a tea party with my DNA and find out where it's been and who it's been. :-)


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I still wish there was a mood entry for PO'd.

AOL had a poll to suggest things that the president should consider doing next year. I dipped very briefly into the postings. Basically looking for the most outrageous title and read it. It was an extraordinarily badly written and misspelled entry that basically said “if you don’t love President Bush get the hell out of MY country. Go back where you came from.” That got me thinking. Where would I go?


Family folk lore places the first immigration of some of my ancestors to the mid 1600’s in Plymouth Colony. Through a cousin line we can claim Stephen Hopkins who signed the Declaration of Independence and was a grandfather when he entered the Continental Congress. He was also from Rhode Island. The only state that didn’t have a representative in Philadelphia when the Constitution was drawn up. They didn’t show up and nobody went looking them. I guess the contrary streak in the family got started really, really early.


My last name is Heaton. I’ve looked up the name on the net and traced it to Yorkshire in northern England. One of the last parts of England to accept the Reformation. So my money is on a Catholic who was tired of persecution, a fisherman who either wanted his own ship or was just plain tired of fishing, a crofter who was tired of looking at the north ends of south bound sheep, or maybe a younger son who wanted his own land and wasn’t cut out for either the law, the church, or the army. Heck, maybe even somebody who was really dirt poor and indentured himself for five or seven years in return for passage to the New World


Another ancestor was born in Vermont in 1814. We’ve got pictures of men who fought on both sides of the Civil War. Considering the strong strain of pure contrariness on both sides of the family, one probably went one way to spite the other. Since at least two of the lines in my family come from the border states, they may have put people on both sides hoping they’d come up with a winner one way or the other. That happens in Civil Wars sometimes.


One great great grandfather was at least half German and was born here. Near as we can tell everybody in the family was in place here in the United States by the mid 1800’s. So, my family has at least five perhaps over a dozen generation born in this country. Over the years they’ve poured their work, their hopes, their dreams, their children and yes their blood into this country. So yeah, I don’t like President Bush and I’m not going anywhere. This is where I’m from and I’m staying.


Sunday, December 25, 2005


Russ over at Inner and Outer Demons has a great entry on Christmas memories and the importance of hugging your kids this morning. I have a co-worker who calls hugs Vitamin H and insistes that it is impossible the replace with anything else and absolutely vital for survival. Merry Christmas morning. I hope some of you have sunshine in your little corner of the world that is actually shining. Western Oregonians call our rain liquid sunshine. We got a resupply last night and we're due for a refll later today.

Hey, the house is warm. The lights are bright. The stereo is playing one of Narada's Christmas albums. Some of the Sunday funnies are actually funny and the coffee is stll hot. We laughed over an early Christmas dinner yesterday and I got plenty of Vitamin H from my nephews and their folks. My brother in law John is a great believer in the power of hugs and he has an endless supply.

I can only pray that the rest of you are as blessed as we are.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


It's Christmas Eve and I have a thought to share. For those who worry about how stores do their advertising and what they tell the associates to say. Jesus said "people will know from how you treat each other that you are my followers." "Nuff said on that.

Friday, December 23, 2005


First things first.I was playing around with the space program last night. One setting allows you to see the earth as if you were standing on the moon. I set it up and just let it run. It can be almost hypnotic to watch the earth's image wax and wane like the moon. It had worked its way up to mid August or early September of next year when I noticed a shadow on the earth. It's the moons' shadow and a very nice picture. (I think)

We're being invaded by Portland first thing in the morning. Somehow my sister and her family have work in hers (us) his (back in Portland) and get the heck out of Dodge by about three am Christmas morning so they can boogie down south for the Holiday Bowl. My nephew is on the second team and got to travel with the Ducks. If he's really really lucky he might even make it on the field next week. In any case he'll be yelling his heart out come the 29th.

So in case I don't get to tickle the keys until sometime Christmas Eve, I'll wish anybody who stops by a Merry Christmas. May you be safe, warm and surrounded by those you love and love you, whether they stand on two feet and can hand out what a co-worker calls vitamin H (hugs) or stand on four feet and get their jollies by applying figure eights and cold noses where they're least expected. LOL

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


It's the first day of winter here in good old Springfield, Oregon. And it's over fifty degrees. Go figure. It's the Solstice anyway. Now the wheel turns towards the sun. The shot is from Starry Night Backyard. The earth and the Pleides star cluster as it might look from the moon.

Brightner of Darkness, Hail!
Keeper of Clearness,
Opener of the depths,
Gifts of plenty are arising,
Winter wonders, white snows' fall.
Joyful be the heart within us,
Open wide the guesting door,
Wisdom waken in abundance,
Warm our beings to the core.

Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews

Sunday, December 18, 2005


AOL’s newspage opened this morning with a picture of somebody in a Santa suit protesting WalMarts’ use of the word holidays in their seasonal advertising. Now, if you’ve followed some of my entries you’ll know I’m not exactly a fan of WalMart but this whole War on Christmas crap is just too much.


For one thing I guess I missed the entry in the Bible that included Santa Clause with the Three Wise Men on the way to Bethlehem. All holiday means in holy day. If you aren’t sure who is celebrating what it’s perfectly acceptable. And it looks like just everybody who is anybody has a festival at this time of year when the year turns and the sun starts climbing up the sky again. You’ve got Hanukkah (Jewish), Diwali (Hindu), Rohatsu (Bhuddist) and Kwanzaa (African-American) to name a few.


There was an excellent my opinion column in the Register Guard here in Eugene on the so-called war against Christmas. The author is a local Presbyterian deacon. He traces at least part of the beginning of this newest diversion of attention to Fox (we report, you decide(very audible snort here)) News anchor John Gibson, talk show host Bill O’Reilly and a group backed by Jerry Falwell. CNN and MSNBC have added fuel to the fire by parroting Fox News stories. Just another reason why we watch MASH in the evenings, read the local papers, read Newsweek, and watch Northwest Cable News.


Christians aren’t in any danger in this country. What is at question is what I call Civic Christianity. Public lip service that acknowledges this country as a so-called Christian Nation and basically tells anybody who doesn’t agree or follow a very narrow interpretation that doesn’t represent most people who call themselves Christian to sit down and shut up. For me this ranks right up with being required to show up at the temple once a year or so and make offerings to the gods and emperor of Rome.


For me this is just another attempt to divert attention from not only the very real war in  Iraq  but the war on all the people that Jesus had in His heart when He said “as you do to the least of these, you do to me.”


This last part from somebody who carries very little cash, finally got smart and asked bell ringer at Fred's if Salvation Army takes checks. THEY DO!

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Too bad there isn't an entry under mood for totally PO'd. Not only did the president ok wiretaps and the like without a court order in spite of the fact that there is a court available for this type of court order, but the New York Times had the story at least a year ago.

They held off releasing the story at the request of the White House for "national security" concerns. More likely it was "job security" concerns. I'm betting that if this story had broken before the 2004 election it would have swayed enough votes to deny Bush re-election. Any takers?


We had our office Christmas party Wednesday. Nice place downtown and all
that good stuff, but that's not really what this story is about. Looked
around the table and noticed one of our co-workers was missing. She'd been
in that morning so it was " gee what happened to....." She'd needed to leave
to deal with a family member who had a medical emergency.

Turns out the daughter is on medication similar to that unfortunate air
passenger who had a panic attack on that plane the other day. She also
had a panic attack and needed help to one,  get out of it and two, to get
her medication adjusted. It happens. Dealing with these things is not an
exact science. But, after the incident with the air marshals there have to
be families all over the country in a cold sweat wondering what will happen
to a member of their family with a similar problem if they get in any kind
of situation where "security" is supposedly involved.

There's always been a strong strain of shoot first and ask questions later
in this country but it seems to have gotten much worse since 9/11. What is
really scary for me is that so many people can't seem to imagine that one of
their loved ones could end up in the same situation. And the attitude that
"he got what he deserved" is baffling. For what? For being scared and confused? For mistakenly believing he could cut back or stop taking his medication. You can be on your medication and still have problems if something causes you brain chemicals to be out of balance.

Have we become so obsessed with our personal safety that anyone who is perceived as a threat no matter how remote doesn't deserve to live on the same planet or breath the same air we do? I'm not sure I'm willing to make that trade.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Four years ago this summer we pulled the grass and planted other things. Especially lavender, lots of lavender which I hope will survive the nearly two weeks of just above and below freezing weather. A lot of things came to together to bring this little piece  to life the next summer.  

Star stuff danced and new stars were born. One star began to shine and discovered it was not alone.  

Other star stuff combined and recombined and planets were born.   On one rocky little world, star light and star stuff joined the cosmic dance and life began.  

Life danced: jigs, reels ad waltzes Star stuff is dancing in the lavender. It just looks like bumble bees.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Diviner of the Mystery,

Catalyst of Creation,

I rise up with you,


I bathe my soul in the well of Wisdom:

Drop of protection,

Drop of strength,

Drop of healing,

Be upon my being, my mind, my heart.

May the triple blessing be upon my soul

From dawn's chill,

Till swift twilight. 


I don the breastplate of wisdom:

Protection of evergreens guard my heart.

Rightness of pine,

Sharpness of holly,

Protection of Juniper,

Courage of laurel,

Nobility of cypress,

Endurance of yew,

Health of Eucalyptus,

Splendor of cedar,

Beauty of arbutus.

Nine evergreens to guard my breast.

This Winters day,

This Winters night.


May the blessing of the True Taker

And the Glad Giver be upon me

As I brave the winds of winter.


The Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews

Monday, December 12, 2005


Anyone who knows me, knows that my perspective on the world is just a few degrees off of what most folks regard as centered. LOL

Had fun with the Starry Night software this weekend. You can run it forwards, or you can run it back. Back to say, midnight of December 25 of the year 1 BC. I know the date is totally arbitrary. Since the night the angels were singing their star songs was probably a few months later and a few years earlier. Still, the symbolism of the turning of the year and the beginning of the year’s journey to renewal is hard to ignore.

I can set the viewing position pretty much anywhere so I used Jerusalem and pointed my compass towards the southeast. There is only one real difference in the sky. (Besides the fact that the countryside was probably a lot darker so the stars would have been much brighter.) I ran the software to the same time and date this year. This year Leo will be rising from the horizon. About two thousand years ago it was Virgo. And really, that’s the only difference I can see. A couple of constellations might be at slightly different angles to the Milky Way but I suspect that it’s more a display error than anything else.

So, with a little imagination you can see the sky as a bunch of startled shepherds might have seen it about the time some very unexpected visitors popped in. I suspect the translators have cleaned up the language, made it a bit more formal. “Hey! Yes you! Come on! Look lively now. Get over to that stable down the hill. The Lord has really done it this time! We’ll watch the flocks. I promise that nothing two legged or four legged will touch a wisp of their woolly hides, now get moving!” Just doesn’t have quite the same presence as “Hosanna, Glory to God in the Highest” you know? Although if it happened, when it happened, that may just be close to the way it happened. Eyebrows go up, jaws hit the rocky fields, variations of “did we just see/hear what we thought we saw/heard” go rustling through the darkness. Followed by morning with variations of “you won’t believe what we saw last night! And that I think is what keeps it going after all these years. Very ordinary people saw something. They heard something. Maybe it was starlight and moonlight shining through the night mists. Or maybe there was someone there. Seen out of the corners of their eyes and slipping away before it could be fully seen. Maybe it was the just the wind whispering through the bushes and scrub trees or maybe, just maybe it was angels singing.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Silly me, I had to go into the chat rooms discussing the air marshal shooting last week. Again, a bit like taking a swim in the castle moat at high noon on the first day of summer, in Madrid There are a lot of things I could say, but I prefer to post this entry from Wishful Thinking- A Theological ABC.




 When Jesus said to love your neighbor, a lawyer who was present asked him to clarify what he meant by neighbor. He wanted a legal definition he could refer to in case the question of loving one ever happened to come up. He presumably wanted something on the order of: “A neighbor (hereinafter referred to as the part of the first part) is to be construed as meaning a person of Jewish descent whose legal residence is within a radius of no more than three statute miles from one’s own legal residence unless there is another person of Jewish descent (hereinafter to be referred to as the party of the second part) living closer to the party of the first part then on  is oneself, in which case the party of the second part is to be construed as neighbor to the party of the first part ad one is oneself relieved of responsibility of any sort or kind whatsoever.”


Instead Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), the point of which seems to be your neighbor is to be construed as meaning anybody who needs you. The lawyer’s response is left unrecorded. – Frederick Buechner.


I think what surprised me the most were discussions of things I’d never even tie to the incident. His wife’s appearance, that not agreeing with the marshal’s decision was somehow “liberal,” that being mentally ill affects intelligence, that the gene pool was somehow better off with this guy gone. Oh, and I’m going by the titles of the entry. The majority of them were dismally graphic if not almost obscene. Actually I guess they couldn’t get worse and still keep their AOL accounts.


On the plus side the Christmas lights are up, the tree is up, the cats are trying to lunch on said tree. and maybe it will get over forty tomorrow.  I can only wish.  

Friday, December 9, 2005


An angel told Your mother You were coming.
The angels singing to the stars
Told them where to look.
Wide-eyed shepherds came to speak
Of star songs.
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.


I like to make my own cards for Christmas. I used the star shot I found on the net for the cover and the text is the inside of the card. This isn't the friendliest set up for formatting. It appears I can format the text in Word, e-mail  it to myself and copy that. Is this a disguised IQ test? :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2005


The flash hit Lucky's eyes just right. Makes the gentlest pussy cat you'd ever want to meet look like a little demon. LOL For some reason she decided that the basket and autumn leaves were a good bed.

Monday, December 5, 2005


I probably couldn't post this any bigger if I could stick in the text of my journal instead of doing it above. This is a screen grab from a couple of nights ago. The view is of the southern sky. I love the beautiful shot of the new moon framed in Capricorn. Along the white line there are Uranus, Neptune, and Venus. Little Pluto is off to one side.

Of course the only planet you can actually see without a telescope is Venus. I've been lucky the last few nights. The rain would break off on my way home from work and you could see the evening star through the break in the clouds. Let's see what else I can dig up. Entry will probably load like a snail but what the heck.

Image take with the Magellan space craft. How Venus would look without her cloud cover. Photo from Astronomy photo of the day.

A kind of blurry infrared shot taken by Hubble and posted on the same site. Shows the thin ring system surrounding Uranus.The white dots are moons (I think) and I'm not sure which ones.

Shot from the Voyager space craft during the 1989 fly by. Remarkable shot of some fine clouds at the top of the atmosphere.Posted on the same site

Working with the computer is fun. I can see things that I wouldn't be able to see even if I had a telescope. Between the lights, the hill and the trees you aren't left with much sky to see. Anyway, I had fun putting this together. :-) So, for awhile I'll post above when I have to and in the journal when I can.

And I noticed when I finally read this over this morning that my typing wasn't worth diddly last night. LOL

Sunday, December 4, 2005


I ran across this in a fanfic work on net several years ago. I believe it's very appropropriate for this time of year.

"Bless us, O Lord, for these, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Food in a world where many walk in hunger; For faith in a world where many walk in fear; For friends in a world where many walk alone; We give you thanks, O Lord. Amen."

Saturday, December 3, 2005


If you use the view larger option, this picture isn't half bad. It's a saved scene from my Starry Night Program.

I can export the image and save it as a jpeg in Photoshop Elements. I started doing it so I'd remember what I wanted to look up without having to stop the program every thirty seconds to look something up and then have to reset everything.


Ok, I'm saying uncle until after the new year on the pictures in the journal. Thanks for your suggestions everybody. Lisa, there's nothing wrong with your instructions. They work just fine as long as I'm working with pictures with permanent ID code. If the code shifts for some reason the pictures dont' come through.

Anyway I've started my Christmas cards for the year. This one is from the advent display on the table of all things. The bell is from India. Something that my great aunt brought back from here stint as a missionary. The berries are some plastic doohickies that look a lot better after they're run through the camera and played with.

I've used the last verse from I Saw Three Ships



And all the bells on Earth shall ring

On Christmas Day on Christmas Day

And all the bells on Earth shall ring

On Christmas Day in the morning.