Thursday, June 29, 2006


Kirstie lost 69 pounds... She cheated on her diet. She'll wear a bikini on Oprah (does that mean she has no cellulite?). Nicole got married. There was a prenuptial. There was not. Denise is surprised Charlie turned out to be what he always was, and Heather is surprised Denise wasn't really her friend. Divorces. No divorces. Bad face lifts, Botox, and what is it with those lips?

If you don't know what any of that meant, you probably do not glance at the headlines of the tabloids alongside the grocery store check-outs and definitely do not buy the magazines. Now days you don't have to buy them. You can get most of the gossip and pictures from blogs as well as find interviews on major news programs. The mix between what is gossip and news has long been blurred.

I would not walk across the street to see a movie star in person and probably would pretend I didn't recognize them if I saw them in a restaurant. That was what I did the time I saw Clint Eastwood. I don't watch their interviews on television regarding how to fix the refugee or environmental problems, but I like to read stories about them. I think it's because their joys and problems are like anybody's except the opportunities, wealth, and glamour are bigger than average.

Back when I was young, the headlines were Liz and Eddie find true love. Liz and Dick find true love. Nothing much has changed for the stories. There were quite a few glossy movie star magazines back then, and I got to read them thanks to an aunt who passed them down. I didn't think nearly as highly of my mother's favorites-- Redbook and Good Housekeeping. Nope, for me it was seeing the stars on vacation, at a shimmering event, or catching a glimpse of some beauty kissing someone she wasn't supposed to through the grainy image of a telephoto lens where you had to take the photographer's word for who it was.

Now days the interest I have had in celebrity magazines is leaving me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I still enjoy the stories, the clothes, luxurious vacations, and seeing who is dating who and is she really having a baby-- even as I know the likelihood is if she is, the tabloid will be the last to know. But, I admit they are for me the same as junk food-- probably not good but something I have done anyway. There is the same mix of guilt for contributing to something that isn't healthy with the pleasure of doing it knowing I wasn't supposed to.

With the increasing aggressiveness of the paparazzi, I feel it's becoming more damaging, and I would be in favor of laws limiting access. Because someone is a celebrity or a political leader, does that make them suddenly fair game? I read there is a site on the internet where people can send in where they saw a celebrity for others to rush there. That becomes like hunting prey, doesn't it? If the laws are changed, readers would still have celebrity events; and the interviews when the celeb had a new product out. They know they need to advertise, but that advertisement should be limited to common decency.

And yes, I know, this is not exactly a weighty topic (think of it as summertime lite), but I am going to 'weigh' in on a couple of the stories. I hope Keith and Nicole have found lasting joy. Paul and Joanna did years ago. It could happen. Everybody likes a happy ending, but then I hoped Kenny and Renee would find that also. I think when Angelina says that she is putting her children first and that's why she's not marrying their father, whose leg is she pulling? And as for Britney, who did not expect a girl growing up as a child star would have problems figuring out how to live a balanced adult life? I have never watched The View, but was it good or bad to bounce Star from it? Hmmmm that about covers it... except will Kirstie really keep the weight off? Tune in next week.

(I did not ask permission from the Evening Grosbeaks for the above picture. From the looks and sounds of conflict at the feeder today, stars have nothing on them.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We're having a heat wave

... a tropical heat wave.

No, it's not tropical but feels like it. Not only have we had two 100 degree days in a row, but it's humid to boot. None of that is the norm for the Northwest. A lot of older homes here don't have air conditioning--ours among them, which generally is not a problem as the evenings cool off nicely with the creek so close. But the days this week have been just plain sticky and it seems to take forever to cool off enough to sleep.

This week-end I had the idea of getting a small round table for eating outside. The deck didn't have space for it, but I realized the little gravel garden would hold a small one.

Predictions are for it to cool off to low 90s tomorrow and I have my fingers crossed as it'd be nice if it cooled off enough to actually eat dinner out there. I love summer, love heat; but now days, I like it best when I have air conditioning to escape to.

I thought I'd share a few pictures of the flowers on the deck before they dry up with the heat.

A honeysuckle has always been one of the first things I wanted for any home of mine. I remember fondly the fragrance of the huge one by the backporch when I was a child growing up and I plant one near any back porch of mine as soon as I can.

The fence beyond the deck is not exactly a decor item. It's to keep the deer and sheep out of the petunias. It's amazing how much animals love whatever plant isn't generally found in their pastures-- not so different from humans at that.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

When hay fever isn't about sneezing

For farmers and ranchers across the country, this is the season for gathering and stacking hay (also reaching for antihistamine and muscle rub). When we first bought this farm, with good grass pastures, one of our first needs was haying equipment. Those were the years of going to farm auctions. We needed cutter, rake and baler. We could have had swather and automatic loader for the bales, but we were in this as economically as possible and our equipment showed it. Since we bought it mostly nearly 30 years ago and it was old then, it would probably qualify for being antiques now-- like us.

My husband had worked on hay fields when he was in high school; so he knew how to do the work; but even with that, it's different when you are responsible for it all and have to look to the sky for guessing if you have enough time to cut a field, get the hay cured and baled before the next rainstorm.

If hay is baled wet, it will be ruined by either mold which can cause cows to abort if they eat it at the wrong time or more damaging yet, heat building up to the extent of a fire that can cost a barn.

One rainstorm, if it isn't too heavy and doesn't last too long will not kill you, longer wet spells will. One year, to our great upset, we lost a whole field of bales. If you think it's hard work stacking them when it's to go into a barn, it's a whole lot more when you have to get them off the field and they are garbage.

We now have too many animals to get hay from these fields; so purchase it elsewhere. That's where the hay fever comes in. A lot of hay is contracted for before it's cut. Other countries buy hay as well as bigger growers. So for the little guy, it's calling who you got it from last year,watching for handmade signs alongside the road, and checking out the quality of their bales to see if the cows will like it. Most hay we purchase today comes in thousand pound bales which are either round or rectangular. It's a big business and the equipment a lot more complex than back when it was all about twine, 80 lb bales, having a good trailer, and stacking in a barn.

Having hay crews here was fun back when we were cutting a lot of hay. It was usually our own teen-agers as well as local boys. Sometimes some of our daughter's town guy pals would come out to earn some extra money. That could be funny as they found themselves unable to handle the big bales she was lifting.

Secret: hay handling is about leverage, not just muscle. It's using legs as well as arms-- with one exception-- a 17 year old boy in the full glory of his youth, who can throw the bales 4 rows high.

One hot summer, while making lunch for a hay crew with quite a few kids working here, I was doing a lot of food prep and in particular jugs of lemonade and ended up not rinsing one out thoroughly from the soap. You can only imagine the shock and yelps of dismay from those boys as they spit out the drink. It wasn't quite foaming but almost. When I run across one of those guys now in their late 30s or early 40s, if the conversation turns to haying, they still remind me of that.

These photos are from 2000. The crew that year was just me, our Astro at the time (which thought it was a farm vehicle because it was used as one), and the guy the neighbors call the boss. I don't call him, that, but I do admit he orders me around as soon as we are out doing a farm job.

Friday, June 23, 2006


From the time I began online, I have heard some say not only didn't they care if they saw what online friends looked like, some preferred not to, feeling it would ruin the potential for deeper connection-- what is inside matters and not outside.

If you see it that way, forming a friendship or even falling in love before seeing the person's photograph, is more about the inner person. One friend of mine told me that to care about a picture is to be on a more superficial level. In other words-- spiritual connection is real and seeing photos lessens that-- at the very least in the beginning.

Okay, I admit. I am very visual. When I started online, I wanted to learn about people through their words but also what they and their world looked like. I shared photos of myself as well as enjoyed seeing people, their families, friends, and them through prior years. If a friend asked if I'd like to see their Aunt Sue, I'd say sure. If Aunt Sue had sounded interesting enough, I might have already requested seeing her picture. In conversations online at msn or yahoo, my friends and I sometimes use a webcam which makes it seem closer to in-person discussions.

Blogging is the same way for me. I like seeing people's pictures, their families, pets, what they see out their backdoor. I do, however, understand why some opt not to share personal photos online and particularly in a blog when it can be politically unpopular to the extent of losing jobs or relationships over words written. I was warned from the first personal photos I ever put online that it'd cause me grief. It never has-- at least not that I knew and if I didn't know, guess it didn't.

Where it has come to people meeting romantically, I have heard a surprising number of stories where someone deliberately faked the photos to get the other to fall in love with an illusion. I guess they were hoping by the time they met, it would not matter that they were now twenty years older. One woman used a photo of a slender white woman-- she was a an obese black woman. Now how do you figure that's going to work when you really meet? (It didn't.) Perhaps some get so caught up in the creating of an image with words that they forget reality.

On the other side of that coin, a photo should not be the main thing in assessing who someone is. A few friends of mine (male and female), who are looking for a partner online, have shown current photos of themselves to someone who summarily rejected them on that alone. That seems short-sighted given some people are very photogenic, and some look far better in person. A photograph is, at the most, a glimpse of what someone looks like. In person you see a person's animation as they talk, the teasing smile or gleam in their eyes, how their body moves, none of which can be shown in photos.

I am interested in how others see it. How important are images to you? Do you like to see them or not care? Are you willing to share your photo after you meet someone; and if you are not, why not? Have you ever shared your pictures online (website or blog) and regretted it later because of a problem? Do you believe it is more 'pure' to form a relationship before either of you see a photo?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

a dental history

From the time I was a little girl, teeth have been an issue for me. Not because I had crooked ones-- well actually the bottom row are kind of crooked as you can maybe tell from the picture I took to illustrate this piece. The problem was growing up where the water was soft, before Crest came along with the wonder of fluoride toothpaste, and add to that drinking soda pop as a tot.

My first visits to the dentist were in grade school with the need for a number of sizeable fillings. Then in high school, the next dentist said the first dentist had done a lousy job and pretty near every filling had to be replaced-- not to mention more to be done. This was not good news at best given how painful dental work used to be, but he told my parents it'd be cheaper to pull them all and go to false teeth (his estimate for the work was around $400 in the days you could rent a house for $50 a month). My parents, who didn't have a lot of money at any time, opted for the fillings to my eternal gratitude. I still can't believe a dentist would have said what he did. Back then, I think, false teeth were considered more acceptable options. As the dentist filled those teeth-- before water cooled and improved drills, tears would come to my eyes from the pain; and he'd say don't be a baby.

Through the years I had an assortment of dentists and more drilling, some tooth pulling, and gradually saw dentistry improving techniques. When we moved out to our farm, about 30 years ago, we checked out a new dentist, who I stayed faithful to-- in my way-- as in I never went in as often as recommended; but I more or less kept the dental work up to date.

Our dentist worked out of my favorite type of clinic-- small town and owner built. He was quite a character, as painless as was possible, introduced me to the wonders of nitrous gas, and kept a constant banter going about the failures of modern medicine, his gold mine, and a process of alchemy to change platinum to gold-- except the assayist said it wasn't really gold. He knew it was a plot. He was totally a kick, but his greatest virtue for me was he was a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants type of dentist who could seem to do miracles with drill and filling as he creatively rebuilt teeth. None of his fillings have fallen out to date. I'd still be going to him except he had a stroke and turned over his practice to a young dentist.

Dentistry has changed tremendously; but with deeply engrained memories, many people my age still avoid it more than is healthy for gums or teeth. I finally made myself go in again last month... It wasn't exactly being proactive given I thought I had broken a piece from a tooth-- wouldn't be the first time considering the number of huge fillings in my mouth. It wasn't a tooth this time but broken off tartar. I admit it'd been a year and a half since the last cleaning...

At the moment, my teeth have been cleaned and all necessary fillings completed. I am likewise filled with the self-righteousness of someone who is currently out of sin-- would be nice if I could keep it that way. Maybe I'll even floss this time...

Monday, June 19, 2006


Have you ever thought-- somewhere there is a magic symbol, which if you find it will unlock the secrets of life? Or if not all of life, at least those of your own? Do you make it a practice to look for symbols? A rose bloomed and it was the anniversary of some special event and therefore it had significance beyond any other rose? Or a dragonfly stayed beside you and dragonflies always show up with certain events in your life?

This week-end I finally saw The DaVinci Code which I enjoyed. The strongest feeling I came away with was the importance for each of us of understanding symbols in the world and our personal lives.

The week before, I had glanced through a book by a woman who claims to contact the souls of people on the other side of the veil. There is a television show about her. She, like many others who claim the same thing, believes most often when a spirit attempts to communicate, it's through the use of meaningful symbols.

Whether we have any interest in reaching someone who has died (or even believe we should), the importance of understanding our own personal symbols is important in dream work. Yes, you can use a book that interprets general dream meanings; but it might say a black bird in a dream is an omen of death and for you it's a nursery rhyme that was always sung to you.

There are certain universal symbols, which the beginning of The Da Vinci Code pointed out are often interpreted differently in different cultures. So a swastika is a sign of Hitler but it also shows up in Native American petroglyph sites with an entirely different significance.

As a creative person, symbols have meaning to me and I try to incorporate them into my work when I can. Some years ago, I was told by a psychic that someday my sculpture would use sacred geometry, which would be used for healing work. After that, I studied sacred geometry off and on, found it interesting, used some of it in a manuscript I wrote (as yet unpublished), but it has never flowed for me in my sculpture.

Whenever I have the opportunity to visit a Native American petroglyph site, such as the Anasazi one above in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, I feel I am touching on sacred ground. I try to think what the meaning might be or was intended to be. I wonder at the one who created it and what they felt, what they hoped to accomplish through their symbols.

The Da Vinci Code mainly raised questions for people to consider. I did not see it as putting down the foundation of Christianity but suggesting people question what they know for themselves (in relationships, religion and anything else).

There was one element in the movie that was stronger, to me, than in the book. It has been a few years since I read the book; so maybe I am wrong. It explored how people can believe by punishing themselves for God, they are pleasing him and attaining spiritual perfection. Beat the body and you perfect the soul, prove the strength of your character, or atone for sin. This idea is in many spiritual traditions-- not just Christianity.

Incidentally, I was surprised to find I liked Tom Hanks in the lead role. After having read the book, I didn't see him as Robert Langdon, but the characters were mostly vehicles in both book and film for moving from one symbol to another. They were where events could unfold as well as be digested. With lots of fast-paced action, there was limited time for interaction between them.

The film left me wondering what personal symbols should I be more aware of? Am I walking around missing too much? I believe, we can all go through life on different levels of awareness from just living to what some call enlightened living. Although now and again things will nudge us or even give us a shove, in the end, it is our choice.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lies that are not Lies

Because some very nice people do not like reading political opinion pieces and otherwise read this blog, I am warning here and now-- partisan political discussion ahead. I do not want to be responsible for any high blood pressure!

There are lies that are okay and lies that are not. You can now know which are which, at least according to the political party holding the er uh moral high ground.

For the Republican base, the good news is Karl Rove will not be indicted for lying (which from what I can tell is the correct, legal decision given the circumstances). Rove has long since gone past being the sort of man who minds lying to most of the people while he manages to tell the truth to who he must. Some might call that hypocrisy but I doubt he does. He would have to indeed have an amazing brain just to keep track of it all. It also takes a lot of chutzpah to knowingly be testifying to an investigation and being truthful about the things that could have sent him to prison while letting his president walk in front of all the American people and say -- nobody in my administration was involved in the outing of that CIA agent. Did Bush know? Given my opinion of Bush, I suspect if he didn't, it was because he didn't want to.

So in public Rove smiled and kept his own mouth shut letting his spin machine work while he told government investigators the truth-- except, of course, for anything they found out he hadn't told the truth about but he simply had forgotten.The base apparently doesn't care about political lies. To them the excuse is everybody does it. All that matters is winning.

Reminder to add notation to the Ten Commandments sprinkled around the country. False witness only refers to government proceedings. Or to save doubts, you could cover that commandment with bird droppings. After all, isn't that Bush's nickname for Rove-- Turd Blossom? See how easy this is. It doesn't even have to be true. Just a question...

When Bill Clinton lied, it was not okay because he lied in legal testimony (not to mention he was part of godless liberals who secretly-- well not too secretly since this bunch's new bestseller knows all about it-- want to destroy the nation). I am not sure if lying would have been okay about blow jobs otherwise. Guess he could have said-- I forgot; but I doubt Hillary would have bought that. Considering how many women Clinton probably had and has, the rest of us might have.

Still we are not talking about him, after all what kind of leader would you expect from the 'godless' left. No, this is about ones on the morally superior ground. The latest New York Times bestseller (obviously made so by conservatives) is one claiming loudly-- as usual-- that liberals are godless. How does lying fit into that conservative's superior moral agenda?

The author's latest extremist effort is not being promoted by lies... mostly anyway. It's about interpretations and innuendos. It's okay to ask the question whether certain women, whose husbands were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack, might have had men who wanted to divorce them. Not that the writer had to have any evidence-- nor was this a lie even. The question was just asked-- how do we know? (four kids is not evidence)

What do you think the odds are that if these women had used their position to support Bush's agenda, it would have been just fine with that writer (who shall remain nameless here because she's only one of a group). It was not okay because the widows were politically incorrect-- to the right.

So in these cases, it appears lying or distorting (and I could write a book on that but they've already been written) is fine with the conservative base, which makes books like this last one an instant hit. By the way, if you aren't sure if you are in the right wing base-- if you bought that book, you are; and if you chuckled over how Rove pulled this off and thought glad he's on our side, you are.

After all, if lies are for a good cause, which in this case was about keeping any of this under wraps before the 2004 election and the Libby trial on the other side of the 2006 election, the morally superior bunch are fine with it. It takes a high level of hypocrisy to do what Rove did; but heck, so does supposedly improving opportunity in this country by taking government money from programs for the poor and even Veterans to hand to the rich. Chutzpah is a virtue in and of itself, isn't it? Not to mention, even godly groups sometimes need a man like Rove out there. Dirty tricks don't just do themselves.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Come spring, owners of small sheep flocks are out looking for shearers-- or forced to sharpen the blades and do it themselves which is hard on back and sheep. This year, just before summer was officially here, we got lucky and found a young woman in the area who came out Wednesday and sheared our small flock for a reasonable fee.

We will be trying to sell these fleeces on eBay to handspinners who like natural colored fleeces of different shades of black, brown and gray.

Yes, I have cleaned, carded and spun the wool with a spindle, even have a spinning wheel, and two small looms. I liked weaving, love the look of handmade rugs; but it's not possible to do everything you like in life. Maybe again someday I'll pick it back up. Years ago, I came close to buying a full-sized wooden loom. It was so beautiful; and then my head reminded me the only place for it would be the center of the living room-- not exactly an appealing idea.

More than the profit you might make from selling the wool (which isn't much), the important thing about shearing is for the health and breeding of the sheep-- not that they believe that.

It's both funny and sad for awhile after the ewes have been shorn as their lambs do not recognize them. The ewes know their babies, but the lambs spend a great part of the next day running around calling for their mother-- who comes to them and they promptly run off as that can't be her. Their mommy is much larger. The flock will be noisy through the night.

The two rams will have their own adjustments to make as once again it's time to knock heads determining supremacy.

This ewe did a particularly good job in expressing her opinion regarding the process. Hint: it was not favorable! She will be happier about it-- tomorrow.

(as always click on any image for larger picture)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Synchronistic Moments

We had a fawn born near our house two nights ago by one of the does who frequents the roses that come through the trellis and the shelter that she knows she finds here with nobody chasing her away. Because of deer is why I have fences in the yard. I liked being able to look out at the flowers and see only space behind them and tried everything else first; but in the end, peaceful coexistence came because of fencing what I wanted to see bloom and turning my head the other way when everything else is nibbled on. (The one that mystifies me the most is why sword ferns that I have replanted from forests nearby are more tasty than the ones still in the forest. Is it forbidden fruit?)

The fawn is gorgeous with all the spots, long spindly legs and a little shaky but it's up and following mama. No photos because by the time I get the camera, they are heading on past and I don't want to disturb mama from thinking this is a safe haven. Beyond is not so safe for her with the coyotes and cougars and if she panics, running across the nearby highway wouldn't be safe either; so I admire her from a distance but don't move fast when I see her.

Yesterday afternoon I heard the loud scream of like a wounded rabbit, maybe a strange bird. As I ran out of the house, I thought it possible a lamb or cat was being strangled or had been attacked by something.

Down the driveway, there was the black cat staring intently toward the orchard and beyond him were the doe and her newborn. I stopped as I watched the newborn run to the doe and begin to nurse. No camera, of course, but it was a special moment for me to be that close, to have the doe see me and yet not be afraid to nurse her baby. I backed off and left them alone and hope they headed back into the thicket down toward the creek.

I am not sure what caused the panic from the fawn but am pretty sure it was the fawn who screamed. It must have felt very threatened, and I have wondered if it had suddenly come upon the black cat-- who was still looking, until he saw me, like he was considering whether the fawn was fair game.

The photos here are of two Red-breasted Sapsuckers who have been favoring our trees out front. I am not a bird expert but one looks more mature than the other. Since I would assume the female would be more brown like other woodpeckers, (but don't know and if anyone else does, I'd love to hear) my feeling is this might be a parent and less mature sapsucker.
When I looked through my books for exactly what the bird was, I learned that the holes the sapsucker makes-- which I've seen on those trees, but never known why, help hummingbirds when they travel north each spring before sometimes sufficient flowers are out for their sustenance. The hummers can use those holes to get sap to keep them going. More of the synchronicity of nature.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Blue Butterfly

'The only way to catch a miracle is believe in it."

Do you have a friend who when they say, hey you gotta see this film, you know you will like it? Earlier this week, a friend like that sent an email to tell me about The Blue Butterfly.

The movie is inspired by a true event-- the search for the Blue Morpho by a boy dying of cancer. In the movie, a boy and his mother ask a famous entomologist, played by William Hurt, to help him as a last wish. The story mostly takes place in the Costa Rican rain forest as three people are changed through the boy's quest. It is mystical, beautiful, thought provoking, and heartwarming. The forest, wildlife, bugs, actors, mysticism are all characters as the story unfolds to an uplifting conclusion.

I am not much of a bug expert. My usual comments when I see a butterfly run about like this-- pretty gold butterfly, oh there's a red one... Butterflies though are inspirational to me and I appreciate their beauty wherever I see them. They are very symbolic.

One year, when I was much much younger, we were camping in the Cascade Mountains with our families. Our daughter was a year old and stayed with her grandma in camp, while the rest of us hiked into a more remote mountain stream with a waterfall. As we walked down the stream, we came into an opening in the forest with a beautiful pool and small falls where there were hundreds if not thousands of Monarchs. They had gathered for some purpose known only to maybe an entomologist and themselves.

The very nature of a butterfly is a bit mystical to me. They develop from tiny eggs, to caterpillars, to a chrysalis and then emerge a beautiful butterfly. They know what they must consume to survive. Nobody teaches them how to do any of it. They just know.

Then in the case of the Monarch, they migrate great distances to temperate climates for the winter. The ones in Oregon go as far as a valley in Mexico. Not one butterfly will return to where they were originally born. They breed along their way back to their summer homes, but it is their offspring who will return to that home.

How do they know? It's the kind of thing that should encourage us all to follow and develop our own instincts. Seeing a film about butterflies, about throwing yourself into your dream, was a special treat for me. My friend was right.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Self portrait

Natalie at Blaugustine presented the idea for a group of people doing a self portrait digitally. She was inspired by another blog which led to some rules for anyone who is interested in attempting this for fun. I gather after reading the rules here that the self-portraits can now be done in any medium you choose. Well for all I know they always could be.

The first time I painted my self portrait, I wasn't even 30; and the painting easily looked 50 and very much like a witch-- which, of course, I can look like now and again anyway. I had the courage to enter it in the county fair and as I recall, they hid it behind a pillar. It did not get a ribbon.

Since then I have drawn myself a few times, painted myself now and then-- sometimes not on purpose, but the one above is the first I have attempted digitally.

Where I have adequate control with pen, charcoal and paint, I had almost zero (not a whole lot more now) using the mouse and Corel's assortments of tools. The program I used had limited colors-- I am not really bright pink. Anyway it was fun and if you want to try this, follow the yellow brick road to Natalie's site-- Blaugustine and let them know where yours is.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Gravel Road Wildflowers

blooming along roadsides
sprinkled in pastures
peeking out from behind trees

volunteers often little noticed
by most who pass...
or worse
weeds to those with sprays

now it's their moment
in the sun

it is our loss
if we don't stop to see
the proud richness of their colors
their fine design
their determination
to bloom
where they are

now is their moment
in the sun

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Because I like positive thinking better than negative, I would like to start with something positive about President George W. Bush... Someday that might be possible-- but not this day. I could lay out a string of policy choices I disagree with him on but will stick to the one this week where he announced his intention to press for passage of a Constitutional amendment to ban states from allowing gay marriage.

Of course, this has nothing to do with his fall in the polls. Bush doesn't care about things like polls. He's a man of honor-- everybody knows that. Well 30% of the people in this country still believe it, and the rest might be convinced again by some quick foot work, a little swift-boating if needed. It's not that he and his people enjoy playing dirty. They are Christians after all. It's just sometimes, for the higher good, one has to accuse a war hero of being a traitor to his country or a coward. If it works, it must mean god blessed it, right?

It's not surprising he and his handlers would think gay marriage would once again be the way to turn things around for him. When he ran against John Kerry, that was a factor in the narrow win-- no matter what Republican strategists want to admit. People went into a tizzy in one state after another at the sight of two men on a courthouse step kissing, two women plighting their troth.

It's not like this was an issue that only appealed to the religious right. There is apparently something threatening to a lot of people about gay marriage. Here in Oregon, where we used to have a live and let live attitude, the ban on gay marriage was voted into the Oregon Constitution in 2004 by around 60% of the voters. It blew me away but there it was.

So now, when in trouble with popularity (which of course he doesn't care that he is) and with an important mid-term election coming up (which he does admit to caring about), out comes the gay marriage ban.

It's not enough to let states individually decide this. States can't be trusted to do the right thing. The anti-gay marriage contingent already know some states haven't been wise. Although they do have the satisfaction of waiting patiently for a hurricane or tsunami to punish the errant ones. Which, as an aside, seems a bit ironic that Pat Robertson said God told him a tsunami might hit Oregon this summer. I mean Oregon did the right thing and banned those gays from marrying. How could God forget so quickly? Or is that because Oregon is allowing dying people to choose their own time and method for death?

For Christians, at least those who don't pay too much attention to what Jesus actually said about gays (answer: nothing), this is a hot button issue. The cry is we must prevent homosexuals from being married as it will ruin marriage for everybody else-- not to mention risking having ourselves turned into salt pillars. The issue doesn't hurt fund raising for James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and their ilk either.

Is there any logic to the idea that homosexual marriage will somehow hurt heterosexuals? It's not like homosexuality is catching. To see a happy homosexual couple down the street, raising kids like everybody else, how is that threatening to you or me?

How can Bush not sink into the ground with embarrassment (I know after 6 years seeing him in action that is a rhetorical and dumb question)? But come on, given all the important issues facing this country, and he is out there promoting this one! It's as bad as Hillary with her proposal to ban flag burning-- say what!?!

To me, pagan Christian that I am, we should be encouraging gay marriage as a way to give homosexuals a way to live their lives with normalcy. Whether marriage makes anyone else happier is something for them to decide, not someone else for them. It makes no sense to try and force people to live phony lives, marrying sometimes and ending up with divorces, running around from partner to partner, or even living celibately to satisfy some misconstrued sense of what is normal. If people are born desiring their own sex, and many say they were, that's what is normal for them. I do not desire men because I chose it. It is simply what appealed to me from an early age-- not saying how early.

And for all you who love Bush and everything he does, hopefully you are at least aware of the hypocrisy in his latest foray into invading the rights of adults to live their lives in ways that harm no one else. Maybe you can be embarrassed for him since he appears to not know how.

When it was originally said Bush would be giving his news conference regarding his support for the gay marriage ban in the Rose Garden (which he didn't end up using), I thought -- perfect, I'll use photos of roses to illustrate my opinion that love is love regardless of the sex of the partners.

Roses are a beautiful symbol for love-- the purity of the colors, the delicacy of the petals, the wonderful fragrance, even the thorns. Each rose blossom only lasts for a bit and then is gone, but even the dried blossoms can carry the feeling of what the rose once was. Roses can be wild or very refined. Some have ancient histories and stories that go with them. Roses don't come in one color or even shape. Nobody expects them to.

(These are roses from my garden and up the gravel road along the fenceline. Photos taken June 5)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

It's not just their problem

In the comment section to my last blog, One World Order, there were quite a few really good thoughts, but one idea particularly struck me because I have been thinking the same way. Dick from Travels with Huggy said we need to put pressure on Mexico to try and make the life of their people better. Ingineer added to this by his point questioning why Mexico has this problem given the natural resources they have?

If we mostly could close the border or force employers to not hire illegals, it won't end our problem with Mexico. Their problems with lawlessness in some regions, revolutions now and again, and lack of quality jobs is our direct problem more than when the same thing goes on in Africa. It's in our neighborhood.

Dick's point was a good one-- make people's economic situation better where they come from and they won't need to leave their homes and families. Ingineer's question equally good-- why is this happening there with all their natural resources?

It's a sovereign nation. We can't 'make' them do anything, but can we do things that make it better for their people to stay where they are? Is it possible? Other countries have different cultural responses to life and is that part of why they aren't prosperous? Is it because they were looted by the Western powers or because they simply have corrupt leadership that loots them continually? Other countries with all of Mexico's problems have overcome them and like India are on the road to prosperity.

Theoretically the United Nations was supposed to be a place to help those in trouble. They have proposed a worldwide tax to help disadvantaged countries. Except who would trust them to administer it? Not me. Too many times there have been incidents like their conference to discuss world hunger where the delegates feasted on lobster and stayed at a luxury resort. The United Nations began with grand goals; but, I believe, there has been a big slide from there. Some of it is politics and some just human nature wherever power comes into play.

My question for others to consider ;and if you someday write your answer in a blog, please leave a comment here to tell us where it is-- how could we help Mexico with a problem that is spilling over up here? Do you think if the Mexican government didn't know they could let their people leave, as an escape valve, that they'd care more about solving their own problems? One article I read says that 10% of the Mexican population is now in the United States.

This is not about immigration and trying to stop it all. We have immigration from around the world coming in legally and will continue to do so. The immediate problem is one of uncontrolled immigration and mostly with a neighbor that, if only selfishness will motivate us, has a potential to someday prove as dangerous as the Palestinian/Israeli situation. Are there real solutions, to improving the life in their country, that would cut that flow back to the trickle it used to be and make them more of an ally in prosperity as Canada is today?

Friday, June 02, 2006

One World Order?

For the last few weeks there have been discussions over the Senate bill, now being considered in the House, which would allow eventually citizenship in the United States for possibly 40 million Mexicans (not just those here illegally but their relatives still in Mexico). Some say it'll end up closer to 100 million when it's all said and done. Interestingly enough, for the first time, the proposal for new immigrants would favor those with no education. Why do you suppose that is?

Okay, let's get my selfish concerns out of the way first. For someone who values the quiet places, farmland, wilderness, less traffic, I see this kind of rapid increase in population as negatively increasing an already ongoing situation of cities stretching farther and farther. With instant population jump, what does that do to transportation, housing, schools, taxes, medical care, etc.? Given the seeming rush behind this measure, is there even time to consider long-term ramifications? It seems it's more like hope-for-the-best as it was with the tax cuts that were not supposed to increase the budget deficit. So why suddenly now? Are there hidden goals?

Out front are humanitarian issues. We are a nation of immigrants. Some want to see everyone in poverty able to move to the United States for a better life. Has it occurred to them, when all those reach here from around the world, it is more likely to lower the lifestyle of many here already. The same humanitarians generally favor government programs for those who are disadvantaged which will mean higher taxes for everyone-- who pay taxes anyway. It will crowd what is already crowded and little by little the land will be filled with homes and no space for the wild things. Not that those who favor expansion of our population by such huge numbers normally care much about wilderness.

Also vocal about why to do this are those who favor an influx of low skilled immigrants as a way to keep their stock market investments high. The argument is presented that we need these people to pay for the pensions of our aging population. I have heard-- who will take care of us in retirement homes? For others it's a source of cheap labor to do home repairs and gardening since they no longer do such work for themselves. Most of those do not directly have to hire the illegal. They hire a contractor who hires them. Who will pick the crops? And on it goes.

Are these the reasons why the proposal favors uneducated people over educated or trained? Is it about importing a servant class? If that's what the 'middle' class thinks it is getting, I think it is in for a surprise.

For those of you who don't like to hear conspiracy talk, time to head onto a different blog because it's what I'm about to discuss-- the possible hidden agendas.

Could it be this has the intention of turning the United States into a third world country made up of a wealthy and a servant class, enabling it to compete with markets like India and China? For those who think that is ridiculous, think who most benefits from this abrupt increase in a certain type of worker. (hint: think who benefited from the income tax cuts)

Where will all this leave our current middle class? Their good paying jobs are already disappearing to some extent-- salaries not keeping pace with inflation. If it keeps on as it is, the center of the middle class and the lower rungs will be as extinct as the dodo bird. Some of those in the middle will, of course, move into the upper rungs economically but many will be pushed into the lower class.

Is that only possible hidden agenda? *Conspiracy music, please. Not Pink Panther but more like Night on Bald Mountain.*

For as long as I can remember, there has been talk of an eventual one-world government. There are those who see that as the best possible of worlds. No borders. No diverse local laws but rather a one-world system where laws are decided on a 'higher plane' for the good of all. Their dream is a time where the term your country is a misnomer.

There's already the European Union and could this be the next step-- Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America? Sound good? Utopia is only a step away. Naturally a benevolent dictatorship is the most logical government form for something this big.

Since the link above isn't the kind of reading material that will find a place in the front pages of most newspapers or make a 60 second sound bite on the evening news, a lot of people won't even know until it's a done deal. How many, including newsmen, have bothered to read the fine print in the Senate's proposal to see the true numbers? People are too busy for such boring stuff. They are off watching American Idol and voting for their favorite -- in numbers greater than for any United States President ever.

The Bible speaks of a time of dictatorship and total economic control over the whole world. Seemed far fetched at one time, but does it now?

"And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six." Rev. 13:16-18

Mystics and prophets generally say whatever is written can be changed by people repenting and changing their ways. Today I don't see much to suggest people will make those changes or even realize what is happening before it's too late.

Maybe the coming changes are inevitable. We want our children to grow up in a better world than we did. It doesn't always happen. I just wish that I felt when the change came it would be because people had stayed alert, weren't doped on junk television, and had made the choice based on fully realizing what they were doing.

This photo takes a little interpreting. It is at a hot springs in Eastern Oregon that used to be a resort. The pond has cool water at one end with lily pads, cattails, fish, and frogs. At the end where I was standing were hot spring vents.

I looked down to try and figure out what those little white shapes were and then realized-- the bodies of frogs. Frogs that hadn't noticed, until it was too late, as they moved into the warmer water, that it was getting hotter. A life that seems easier isn't always a life that is healthier.

I hope Americans will watch the signs and not be like the frogs-- cooked before they realize it.