Saturday, November 28, 2009


It may be my iconoclastic, eternally questioning little soul but it’s been years since I bought into the “gentle Mary, the meek and mild” interpretation of Jesus’ mother. I guess this is my not very traditional take on the advent season.

A few years ago I found myself asking “what if Mary had said no?” In theory she could have. We do have free will within our relationship with God. I assume she was a well brought up, faithful Jewish girl. She’d probably been to the synagogue; was familiar with the Law and the commandments. She was betrothed; she was as good a married. Customarily it was all over except for the blessing as soon as the marriage contract was signed and here was an angel announcing that if she said yes Someone Else was going to be the Father of her first born. Even if all this was God’s idea, if Mary said yes she was technically committing adultery. If you look at it one way God was breaking His own commandment.

Her first thoughts just may have been “Joseph is not going to believe this” followed by “and neither will anyone else.” Then I can see her straighten up, lift her head and step right off the path of the known of the Law and into the unknown of the Promise.

This was no empty vessel. When God said “walk with me” she reached out and took His hand. Then they both reached out to Joseph and said “trust, it will work out.” Then to add a little extra adventure to the story and get mom to Bethlehem where the prophecy was to be fulfilled the Romans decided that this year would be a really good time for a census. And to accomplish this exercise in imperial bookkeeping for tax purposes everybody had to be counted SOMEPLACE ELSE. Imagine nearing your due date and traveling from Galilee to Bethlehem either one….step….at…..a……time, or perched on the back of a donkey. Makes me sea sick just imagining it and I’m not nine months pregnant.

Then because everyone else in Judea had to be someplace else at the same time as everybody else in Judea, she found herself giving birth in less than shall we say desirable conditions. In a stable for crying out loud. At least it wasn’t by the side of the road. I guess you have to count your blessings. Many Mediterranean buildings do have the living quarters over the barn; even if the stable was in the ground floor of the inn, it was still a stable. Most western mothers to be would probably faint at the idea. The heck with the Father, I’d want my mother, now.

So Mary’s managed to give birth to her promised first born. The family has been counted, the baby has probably had his bris and they learn that life just keeps getting better and better. Somehow the new parents discover that Herod the Great AKA Herod the Paranoid and Extremely Ruthless believes that while prophecies of promised Messiahs are all very well in theory, he prefers theory to fulfillment. It would be better to return home,eventually, by another road. Via Egypt. Joseph’s house and workshop probably weren’t all that much, but it was home. I mean, here we are stuck in a stable and now we’re homeless and on the run. Just keep repeating “we did say yes, we did say yes…..”

Traveling overland through country that’s just this side of being a desert on donkey back toting a newborn? If that isn’t trusting in the promise I don’t know what is. I can only imagine what was running through their minds every step of the way; “we did say yes, we did say yes, we did say yes…………”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Truer Words Were Never...E-Mailed

I received this in a forwarded e-mail today.

I don't usually go ga-ga over chain emails, but I'll gladly make an exception for this one. It is so priceless, so perfect, so spot-on--I wish I'd written it.

Subject: Lost

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him,

"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

"She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat."

"I am,"replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


So, the health care reform opponents have been at it again. Using images from Nazi Germany. Trying to tie this administration somehow to those…….abominations. Are some of these groups so hard up for fodder for their campaigns that they have to resort to using these horrors for personal gain? This is personal opinion, but I find this: God save us, these actions seem to be committed by individuals who are either abysmally ignorant or criminally cynical. If it’s through ignorance than I can only think they’ve been sitting in a corner with their fingers in their ears humming really, really loud. If it’s cynicism; honestly why should I be surprised. We’ve seen it before, over and over in the last election campaigns. Karl Rove would be so proud.

I stumbled across a rerun of a short mini series on the early years of John Paul II starting with the occupation of Poland by the Nazis. The program reminded me of other material I’ve read or watched over the years. I worked my way through the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in the ninth grade but seeing is still more immediate than reading.

Here was true horror. The Holocaust not only of the Jews but the attempts by the occupying forces to stamp out Polish language and culture. The Nazi’s plans for the Slavs were slightly more generous than what was planned for the Jews, but not by much. The attacks on refugee columns. The bombing and near wholesale destruction of cities. The closing of schools, seminaries and universities. Deportation of men and women as slave labor in the Reich. Teachers, professors, clergy, civil leaders, even monks and nuns either shot without trial or sent to concentration camps. Constant harassment by occupying troops. The country stripped of resources, the population to be reduced to slavery, ignorance, and near starvation. The Poles fought back, not only with guns and bombs but with underground theaters, schools and seminaries.

Heaven save us. May this country never be faced with a similar fate. America was singularly fortunate at the end of the war. We didn’t have to rebuild our cities, homes and factories. We could count our dead in thousands, not millions and almost all of those were military not civilians.

I’m truly afraid that we’re past the point where we’re willing to talk to each other instead of shouting at each other. I’m even more afraid that the violence in out language is mirrored in the constantly increasing physical violence around us. In the last week a police officer was killed in a drive by shooting in Seattle, the shootings in Texas and another in Florida. I feel like I'm watching a train heading downhill with no brakes and the bridge is out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


A friend of mom's passed this along to her.


If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you live in Oregon.

If you’ve worn shorts, sandals and a parka at the same time, you live in Oregon.

If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed the wrong number, you live in Oregon.

If you measure distance in hours, you live in Oregon.

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in Oregon.

If you switched from ‘heat’ to ‘A/C’ and back again in the same day, you live in Oregon.

If you install security lights on your house and garage but leave both doors unlocked, you live in Oregon.

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Central, Southern or Eastern Oregon.

If you design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over 2 layers of clothes or under a raincoat, you live in Oregon.

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow and ice, you live in Oregon.

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in Oregon.

If you feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash, you live in Oregon.

If you know more than 10 ways to order coffee, you live in Oregon.

If you know more people who own boats than air conditioners, you live in Oregon.

If you stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal, you live in Oregon.

If you believe that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain, you live in Oregon.

If you can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, and Dutch Bros., you live in Oregon. (That’s coffee, folks. I'm sure other states could say the same about their regional coffee sellers.)

If you know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon, you live in Oregon. (Especially if you know that fish are being discussed without salmon added to the description)

If you know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Clatskanie, Issaquah, Oregon, Umpqua, Yakima and Willamette, you live in Oregon.

If you consider swimming an indoor sport, you live in Oregon.

If you know that Boring is a city and not just a feeling, you live in Oregon.

If you can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food, you live in Oregon.

If you never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho, you live in Oregon.

If you have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain, you live in Oregon.

If you think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists, you live in Oregon.

If you buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time, you live in Oregon.

If you actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your friends (Oregonians or otherwise), you live or have lived in Oregon.

This is true of Washington too. They just have more rain and more snow. If we get a foot of snow in the Southern Cascades; Washington will probably get three feet on Snohomish Pass. At that point getting through on I90 get a little problematical.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Bandit is the only cat we've ever had that regularly sleeps on her back. I mean no matter what position she starts out in; she ends up on her back when she feels really safe and relaxed. She really loves mom's chair and she's even taken to doing it when Lucky (the senior kitty) is around. But, Lucky doesn't yank any chains unless she really feels like it.
I love her lazy, half asleep grooming. She almost makes it to her ears.

Sort of washes her face.

Cruisin' on auto pilot

I'm so totally adorable aren't I?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We live on the east side of Kelly Butte. The butte is about seven or so blocks long and basically runs from Centennial to the river with one street to cross on the south end to get to the river. The wild critters can go through the pack and hit the woods south of town or work their way up the greenway along the bike path for a couple of miles. Heck I wouldn’t put it past them to swim the river or use the railroad bridge, follow the tracks and hit the hills on the other side of Glenwood.

Our back yard goes up the hill and the backyards of the lots up the hill go down the hill leaving a fair amount of tree and brush covered ground that the deer can cross to go back and forth. Many of the yards are fenced but ours isn’t. So, we’re part of the deer expressway. And they aren’t too proud to raid the feeders or check out the ground below for what spills over. Please do. The squirrels are such sloppy eaters.

This morning we had a momma and her twins drop by for a visit. I got some half way decent shots through the windows.