Thursday, July 27, 2006


Some further thoughts inspired by my last two posts. As usual I headed one way and the writing headed another. Sometimes I think I’m just tagging along for the ride.


More than a few posters seemed a little “something” about this young man’s first name. Seemed to believe it implied that the parents were hippies or something. Actually, I like it. Because, hold onto your hats folks. Any one of us could be named Starchild, because that is what we are. Every element that makes up this little ball of dirt and everything and everyone on it was either “cooked” in the heart of a star or created when the star reached the end of its life and blew up in a nova or supernova. Boggles the mind doesn’t it? Now that I think about it, their irritation with a name like Starchild says a lot more about them than it does about the kid’s folk’s. A little envious perhaps? Had some dreams that had to be put aside a long time ago maybe?


Think of how we might view each other if we all put Starchild in front of someone’s name. Or started out own names with Starchild. How would we treat others? How would we treat ourselves? Try it. Oh, and tell yourself you deserve it. Now, say it like you mean it.


And if your teeth start to clench when you put Starchild in front of the names of certain carefully selected individuals, think about why it’s so hard. I suspect there are few we’d all agree on. It’s damned hard isn’t it? Is it because there is so much hope and magic in the idea and these folks are about as far from hope and magic as you can get and still be on the same planet? And there are the others. The ones who fit the name so well. Why? What are the differences between the two groups? Could it be the hope and the magic?


And I’m not going all wishy washy here. Because there’s a whole lot of folks I wish I could thump upside the head and tell them “you’re a child of the stars, start acting like it.” Now how the heck do we change thewhole damn world?


I know it sounds impractical, and pie in the sky and all the other put downs such dreams seem to provoke. And there are some past masters of the put down out there. The ones who pride themselves in being practical, and down to earth, and no nonsense. It’s funny how practical and down to earth seems to involve clear cuts, dams, superhighways, subdivisions and arms contracts.


Is it because there’s something wrong with the dream? I don’t think so. I think it’s because so much would have to change. We’d have to treat everyone and everything as if it mattered just because it “is.” We’d have to stop dividing the world into profitable and unprofitable, valued only because we can get something out of it. I’m sure the dream would suddenly look very down to earth as soon as they figured how to make a buck from it.


We’d have to quit dividing people into productive and unproductive. We might even have to face how they turned out that way. Try looking at the person panhandling down the street. Give him or her an imaginary name and put Starchild or God’s child in front of it. And be prepared to start feeling really uncomfortable. We’d have to start “seeing” everyone around us, not sort of gliding over what we don’t want to see. And I’m putting myself as the front of the line to plead guilty on this.


This doesn’t mean we accept actions that harm others. It does mean that if we believe that others are special we don’t hurt them. And if we can believe we are special we don’t hurt ourselves either. And does that open a great big can of worms or what?


Remember those candles I said I was seeing when I closed my eyes. Somebody just added stars to the mix. Thanks kid.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


A judge in Virginia has has ruled that the 16 year old cancer patient in my last entry doesn't have to report to a hospital to begin another round of conventional treatment. From what I understand from the story in the paper, both sides will take the disagreement to trial.

I'm still shocked that anyone would order a patient to undergo a treatment that could be fatal, cause other cancers over time, and have other severe side effects. Apparently the 80% plus survival rate is for one year. After three years the survival rate goes down to the low to mid 60's. I haven't found any firm numbers for survival rates after the cancer recurs but the ones I have found are below 50%.

 This emphasis on keeping the body alive longer, even if that life isn't one you'd want to live really troubles me. Yippee skippee, we kept you alive a year or two longer, sorry you spent half that time throwing up and were too miserable to enjoy it, but hey you're still breathing and that's all that counts.

I've heard the religious right blamed for this attitude, and that is partly true. But I believe there's big strand of overcoming the odds, win at all costs, don't give up, stick it out, stay the course, suck it up, that is part of our mainstream culture. A gigantic part, just look at the Middle East. Or all the ads for over the counter cold and flu medications for that matter. God forbid you should take a day or two off from work to get over a cold or the flu. Getting sick is almost sinful, not to mention unproductive.

I saw a few posts that equated the kid's decision with suicide but far more that basically called him a wimp. Ah gee, you didn't feel good the last time, too darn bad you little wuss. I've never undergone chemo, but I understand it can go far beyond "not feeling good." As in throwing up your last toenail, you're too weak to move and just about the time you start even thinking about feeling human they give you another dose and it starts all over again.

And this "letting the side down" attitude. As if it somehow made them look bad in some way. And we won't even go into equating being home schooled with being stupid. Arrrrrrrgh!

So here's a point or two for those of us who may march to a slightly different drummer and believe that what you do with your days is what's important, not how many you have.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I found this story more than a little interesting. The boards were even more interesting. This is an expanded version of something I posted there.

Several thoughts I'd like to share


In many states this young man would be able to marry. Perhaps not a good idea, but it would be legal. He's considered mature enough to choose a life partner, but not a medical treatment plan? If he was a little older and could prove he was a high school graduate he could volunteer for the armed services and risk his life in Iraq or Afghanistan. Interesting he could risk his life in defense of his country but not with non traditional medical treatments. Other posters pointed out that in many jurisdictions a DA will bust a gut to get a 16 year old tried as an adult if the crime is serious enough. So a person this age is competent to form intent to commit a crime but not to choose a medical treatment plan that doesn’t fit the mainstream.


At least one poster equated using an herbal treatment with witchcraft. Others basically stated that if it doesn’t come out of a lab it’s not medicine.  It's less than two hundred years since we discovered the link between bacteria and viruses and disease. And less than one hundred years since we discovered antibiotics. A word which means anti life by the way. When you take them you hope you knock out the disease before they knock you out. Lord knows I'd hate to do without them and they've been a real Godsend on the battlefield. At least a severe wound to an arm or leg isn’t automatically treated by amputation anymore. But they do have side effects that can be dangerous for the patient. At the very least you may end up with heartburn and a screwed up digestive tract. At worst you can end up with resistant strain of something potentially fatal due to over use.


The same with chemo and radiation. You hope you clear out the cancer before the treatment kills the patient. And as my mom noted, once someone gets cancer, you may clear the original form of the disease but it often comes back over time. My dad survived one round of colon cancer. It reoccurred ten years later and I still think the surgery killed him, not the cancer. He just never got over it. He spent a thoroughly miserable last year. My main memory from that last Christmas season is that he just looked so tired.


But many herbs including garlic have natural anti bacterial and anti viral properties, help boost the immune system, help strengthen the heart, fight cholesterol, and generally support the body. Foxglove is the original source of digitalis. Lavender has natural calming properties. Valerian or passion flower will make you drowsy and you won’t end up in your car wondering how you got so far from home. Hawthorn and mugwort also help the cardio system. Cholesterol fighting statins can also be found in red rice yeast. And it carries the same warnings about side effects as the prescription drugs do. So, it's not too big a stretch to believe that the alternative treatment might work. And the patients' hope and belief in what he's doing is a big part of achieving a good outcome. Stress over what he may be forced to do isn't going to do his immune system any favors.


And frankly, I can’t imagine any medical team trying to force treatment on an unwilling patient. What are they going to do? Put him in restraints? Pump him full of tranquilizers so he can’t resist? I guess I have a feeble imagination, because I know forced treatment of minor patients happens several times a year.


But, what has really caught my attention is the anger directed towards this young man and his family. I'll just say that perhaps some soul searching wouldn't be out of order. Ask yourselves why the decision this family is making is triggering so much anger.


I’m not sure where anyone got the idea the parents were hippies. Yeah, they named the kid Starchild, but the second name is Abraham which is about as traditional as you can get. And yes, they home school their kids. So do thousands of other families. In Oregon you can’t keep home schooling your kids if they don’t pass the state progress tests.


Some of the posters called the kid some interesting names. Including one special one. Since there's been nothing in the stories about the parent's marital status, I'm going to assume they are married. In that case he's definitely not a bastard. A word I happen to loathe when it's directed at anyone.


Anyway, it sounds like this young man has thought it through and made a decision he’s willing to stand behind. Forcing treatment on an unwilling patient is in a very gray area. Personally, I hope it’s a road that neither I or a member of my family ever has to walk.






Ok people, how about doing something about the heat. This fur coat doesn't come with zippers.


If you can't beat it, sleep through it.


For some reason I don't fit this chair so good anymore.

Bandit was basically a big kitten when she adopted us. She's a lot bigger now. In fact she's turned out to be the largest of the three.


This was still a bud when I got home last night. It was half open first thing this morning and fully opened when we got back from our walk down at the park. It's the first bloom on three plants to open up. I think the casablancas (white) are next. They will be spectacular. Those stalks are over four feet tall. I thought they'd already done their thing but I think the package of light pink lilies that Chris and Tim got for mom had a couple of antique white ones in it too. We're getting quite a lily corner out front.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


One comment on my entry “priceless” sort of took me to task for capitalizing Republican. I guess I was too well taught by my junior high English teacher, and it is a proper noun. (technically) But, when you modify the word……the sky is the limit. Oh, boy is it the limit.


You could use alleged. These guys have nothing in common with Teddy or Ike. Maybe self-described. After all nobody can stop you from calling yourself what ever you want. I don’t want to use living things, it’s an insult to the life forms, no matter how small. After all it's no insult to call a rat a rat. A rat is doing what rats do. It doesn't have a choice, people do have choices.


I don’t really want to call any of them a son of a bitch. After all it might not be their mom’s fault how they turned out. At least for some of them.  You can borrow a line from an old X-Files episode and use “invertebrate scum suckers whose moral dipsticks are about two drops short of bone dry.” I kind of like that one. There’s self absorbed, lying, cheating deceitful, drunken, clueless, war mongering, pimping, lawless, torturing…..I think you get the idea. And I’m open to suggestions. After all I've barely scratched the surface.


How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb?

I couldn't find out. They all told me that they knew we needed the light, but they had more important things to do right now.

Any other suggestions?


I "might" be more supportive of the “shrub’s” reasons for vetoing the stem cell research bill if I thought his respect for life went past the embryo stage. If you support life, you take care for life, all life, from beginning to end.


Just for the record, I'd like to say this. I believe being a human being is a becoming. A baby is a potential. I've known dogs and cats that were more fully human than some people I've read about. If we're we working at it, if we're caring, compassionate, loving, nurturing, all the good things we associate with the best of the human beings we've known then we become more and more "human" as we move through life. On the other hand, there's some walking around on two legs that are about as far from what I'd consider human as you can get. But, since I can't see into their hearts and I don't claim to be God/dess, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. I just hope they give me the same consideration when and if the time comes.


I sent my sister a copy of my “We kindle this flame” entry after I posted it. She asked what I’d been reading and I named a few books and authors. She told me it sounded interesting but some of it seemed awfully close to “nature worship.” That pretty much ended the conversation. I don’t know of anyone who worships nature. Many faiths do see the creator in everything around us. If you truly see the hand of creation in everything and everyone around you, you don’t do the following.


You don’t tell parents “you had ‘em, you take care of ‘em.” You don’t starve the schools. You make sure every child starts the day with enough food to learn. You don’t put seniors or anyone else in the position of choosing between medicine or food and rent. You do as much as you can to ensure that parents don’t have to work three or four jobs to barely support their families.


You don’t lie to start a war, fumble around for reasons, claim we’re handing out democracy like it’s after school candy, and then take the position that “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs” when the civilian casualties go through the roof.


You don’t treat the environment like a commodity. You don’t shop around until you find scientists that will dress up what you’re going to do anyway with a micro thin veneer of credibility. You don’t gut the planet and leave the mess for your great, great, great grandchildren to clean up.


I could go on and on, but I think I've painted enough of the picture to put it in a frame.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I watched part of the Newshour on PBS and had the questionable pleasure of watching a Republican senator try to get a straight answer out of the Attorney General. He wasn't having any more luck than the Dems had at the SOB's confirmation hearings. It's nice to know some of the Republican members of congress are finally beginning to see the light. Even if it is six years too late.

I'd be all for impeaching the "shrub," but then we'd be officially stuck with Cheney.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


I shot off the rest of this roll of film this summer but I took these last summer. Actually these lilies were prettier last summer that this year. Not sure why. Roll of the dice, I guess.

the fun this is that you never know from season to season how it's all going to turn out. that's part of the fun. :-)

This one's "sister" is the pink stargazer and that one hasn't bloomed yet this summer. they both smell so wonderful


These pictures were taken last summer, but we had four of these little charmers in the yard last weekend. I have no idea what they're called, but it's fun to find them in the yard.

Actually, I think we had two pairs, so we'll se what we end up with next summer.

I think I was pretty lucky to get these shots. I think I need to charge up my video camera. The bees really move too fast to get good still shots. By the time I hae the 35mm focussed the speedy little critters have moved someplace else.


Friday, July 14, 2006


And sometimes you can start with a photo and end up with something that doesn't look like a photograph at all. The daylily is called Strawberry candy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


If anybody heard a thunk about 8:30 or so Pacific Time last night, it was my jaw hitting the floor. We were watching the PBS special on sharks that Jean-Michel Cousteau produced and part of the program was on the great white shark. They were working with a South African who runs a tour boat and has been interacting with the sharks since the late ‘70’s. Here was a group of divers swimming (very, very carefully) with the shark with the big, sharp teeth and the horrid reputation. It seems that if you do it right, you can deflect them with a tap on the nose with a metal rod. The divers were very careful to stay below the shark and move very carefully. That is, don’t act like dinner and with luck you won’t become dinner. But they got along very nicely, thank you. If you’re really, really careful you can even hold onto the dorsal fin and take a short ride. And I’m happy to watch the professionals, thanks all the same. It’s good to know that someone has learned enough about these magnificent creatures to do this, doesn’t mean I want to try it myself.


But, the really big thunk came just a little later. The sharks hunt the local penguins. The shark is very big and the penguins are very small. You’d think the little feather balls wouldn’t stand an ice bergs chance in the tropics. The penguins have also learned that a bonk on the nose with something hard and pointy, a beak for example, may also deflect the shark. And they got it on film. Shark is swimming. Penguins are swimming, One bird swims over the shark, bonks it on the nose with its beak and the shark quietly swam away. It’s a good thing there were no flies in the room, ‘cause I was sitting there with my mouth hanging open, going “did I just see what I think I did?’ It would be worth it to buy the DVD just to see that one shot again. 

Monday, July 10, 2006


We have a day lily that's about the shade of a halloween pumpkin. So, here near the middle of July it's Halloween of sorts in our front yard. :-) It's name for the colors of the University of Tennessee.


This has been a very strange spring/summer so far. And it’s hard to believe that for the Celts fall starts on the first of August. It almost feels like it’s fall already. It’s staying cool at night and it feels more like August than July. I’m usually down to a cotton sheet blanket (upstairs bedroom) or just a sheet by mid-June and I’m still putting a blanket on the bed before morning most nights. Truth to tell though, since I wised up and started sleeping with earphones and a rainstorm CD I can leave the windows open and the fans in all night and that makes a difference. Still that breeze can be downright chilly and it just feels “weird.” I’m not a big fan of hot weather, but you have to have something to hope for in January. J


I’m following the political news but I haven’t been writing much lately. Frankly, my blood pressure doesn’t need the workout. The total “ho hum” attitude over privacy violations, the mounting civilian death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan, and rampant political corruption is beyond depressing. Add in the pundits who keep repeating the tired argument that respecting basic human rights and treaties that we signed will weaken the war terror is enough to make a woman weep. And she does once in awhile. I also wouldn't mind taking the business end of my grandmothers' heavy duty wooden spoon to a few backsides given half a chance. That sucker was a good two feet long and about twice the size of the average spoon. I can think of a few pols who might benefit from a trip to woodshed. Nothing else seems to get theire attention.


And I’ve noticed nobody is posting quite as often right now. It’s too nice outside. Yards to groom, vacations to take, new businesses get a handle on.  I’ll admit that I did spend a fair amount of time this weekend playing with Photoshop. I’ve learned some good things and I like to do my own cards. I guess I need to buckle down and apply what I’ve learned and create some building blocks that I can mix and match when the “argggggggh” events roll around. Guess who’s sister had a wedding anniversary (#29) this weekend and guess who would still be totally oblivious if mom hadn’t reminded me?


And I have to admit that finally figuring out how to put pictures “in” the journal has been a lot of fun and just this side of addictive. Heck, I don’t want to put any pics of any of the politicians in, it would probably break my computer.

Sunday, July 9, 2006


Turns out bumbles like lupins as much as they like lavender. The yard is alive this time of year. There were at least four little white butterflies flitting around the front yesterday. Mom said she saw a hummngbird in the butterfly bush this afternoon. We've put out a feeder, but with all the flowers I'd be surprised if it gets much use during the summer. But maybe any visitors will remember that it's there and come see us this fall and winter when pickings are a little skimpier.

We hear a lot of birds this time of year, but don't see that many at the feeders during the summer. Mother Nature provides a lot of goodies this time of year. And relies on us to pick up the slack when the natural things taper off.


The peace rose I got mom for her birthday is doing just fine. Hasn't put out a lot of blooms yet, but it's getting there. I couldn't resist playing with it. And they smell so wonderful. We had one years ago. By next year the blooms should be closer to eye level.

Friday, July 7, 2006


Just playing around with one of my daylily shots and Photoshop.

Monday, July 3, 2006


We spent the morning at Washburn State Park, just north of Heceta Head. As per usual it was windy and chilly. The fog went out with the tide and came in with the tide. Sometimes the ocean was shades of blue, sometimes it was kind of gray, depending on where the fog was.

Tides coming in. Some wonderful shades of blue and green.

There's a little inlet into the beach with some nice wave action as the tide came in.

View to the south towards Heceta Head. Waves, mist, great colors and a few beachcombers. I think there were never more than twenty five or thirty people (and a couple of dogs) at any one time. You have to be a died in the wool Oregonian to enjoy this kind of weather. There are a few days during the year when the wind doesn't blow and it's warm but they are few and far between.


About ten miles north of Florence, just past Sea Lion Caves is Heceta Head. Named in middle 1800's for a 1700's Spanish explorer the lighthouse was built in the 1890's. The light is still in service, but operations are automated. The light is the strongest on the Oregon coast and can be seen over twenty miles off shore.

View of from a lookout just south of the lighthouse.

At one time there was a keeper and two assistants. The only real access until highway 101 was built in the thirties was by sea. There was a wagon road but it was unuseable when the weather was bad- which is at least half the year. There was a keepers house and a duplex for the assistants.

Vew of the restored keepers house. It's now an interpretative center by day and a bed and breakfast at night. The house and light are about two hundred feet above the Pacific. There's a small state park, Devils Elbow (and I'm not sure where the name comes from) and a trail up to the house and lighthouse. The last time we went up there was when Chris was about four. He was totally delighted to have so much room to run in. We were undelighted trying to keep up, but it was worth it.

Longer shot of the lighthouse with the western end of the house enclosure on the right. Between the keeper and assistants families they had enough kids for their own school Especially before the highway was built and they couldn't get out for days or weeks at a time.

It was windy as heck, but a lot of fun. I've got to take the 35mm next time. There were some sea lions below but I didn't like what I got with the digital.

Saturday, July 1, 2006


Another beauty from Astronomy Picture of the Day. When I saw the title of this picture I couldn't resist. This nebula is visible in the constellation Scorpius and is known as the "Cat's Paw Nebula." That's one big kitty.

It's located about 5,500 light years from earth and the shot was taken in Australia.


The lupins are about a foot taller than they were last week. A few hot days last week and they shot up like they'd been shot out of a cannon.

Three different day lilies and some lavender.

Three kinds of lavender and some poppies. Actually there are four. But you can't really see the white lavender in the fore ground. Actually, I guess you can. But, if you didn't know it was white it would be hard to tell. Unless you can get an extreme close up lavender isn't that great to photograph unless there is a lot of it. This is the first year we've had enough for some half way decent pictures.

Shot from the other side with a bit of the butterfly bush on the south side of the yard. There are so many shades of purple and blue in the yard it's almost unbelieveable. The shorter purple lavender is about knee high. The others are just below waist high. This year is the best show we've had so far.