Friday, August 31, 2007

HAPPY CAMPERS

Man, the folks in the Mediterranean know how to live. At least when it comes to enjoying fresh, fairly simple food.

Got home from work the other night, mom had spent the day doing zucchini relish and was pretty wiped out. It was hot, and neither one of us felt like cooking. And I didn’t feel like going the yogurt shake route.

So, out came the apples and the veggies, sliced a couple of good sized chunks of French bread off the latest product of our oven. Didn't even have to butter it. Just zapped it in the microwave for a few seconds. Add a few olives from the ever present container in the fridge. Cut a  few slices of cheese from the cache in the drawer. Mix some fruit juice into the also ever present jug of iced tea and add some ice cubes. And as the saying goes, we were picking in really tall cotton.

Total dirty dishes? Two plates, two glasses, a knife and the cheese slicer. And two very happy campers spending about three minutes washing them.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

THANK HEAVEN FOR THE WORLD WIDE WEB

For the record I’m in the market for a new doctor and I know it will take a little time to find a good match. Seriously, I’m looking for the equivalent of the village wise man or woman who also happens to have a medical degree.

This is relevant to this entry because I’ve been doing a little research on the old world wide web on the relationship between certain foods and blood pressure. Turns out celery, carrots, bell peppers and apples are tops on the list of good things to munch on. Of course most of the sites advise you to check with your doctor first. Based on the few times I’ve brought the subject up my current medico would only recognize an herb if you cooked with it. And forget anything about foods you should eat or avoid. I got the standard little sheet based on a diabetic exchange diet and the offer of an appointment with a nutritionist.

I don’t know if any of you who also have weight problems have noticed this. I get the impression that the folks around you mentally knock about five points off your IQ for every 20 pounds or so that you’re overweight. Excuse me doc, I have written a research paper or ten in my life. I know about checking my sources and having at least two sources who agree. I don’t automatically go, “gee, this sounds great, let’s go with it.” It’s more like “this sounds possible, who else says the same thing.” Then and only then will I consider it. And after thinking it over for a week or two. And this from a doctor who couldn’t tell me thing one about the side effects of the drugs she was prescribing. And yes, I did read up on the side effects of the herbs I’m taking too. The goal is to get to the point where I take the minimum amount of anything to keep me reasonable healthy.

At least with the web you have access to research done outside the US. Many medical schools overseas areexploring the medical uses of plants and herbs used by their native practitioners to see if they’re useful. And guess what? The old boys and girls knew what they were talking about at least part of the time. You can read about the information and at least attempt to verify it.

And perhaps that's part of our problems in the US. The family fragmentation started by the pioneer era, continued in the post war corporate move where we transfer you, move the seniors to enclaves in the south west and Florida ensures generational amnesia.

Much of the herbal knowledge of western Europe was lost or fragmented during the witch scares and religious wars. And what wasn't lost is ignored by the philosophical split that puts heaven up there and the natural world down here. Salvation is found in the laboratory not the natural world. We're taking baby steps in treating our bodies as self contained, inter dependent systems rather than bags of bones and organs surrounded by skin.

While we’re getting the song and dance about the patient being more responsible for their care I really get the feeling that we’re not supposed to stray too far from the well travelled path. Being more responsible seems to translate as “buy into the advertising and ask your doctor for this drug.”

At least none of the herbs have the notation that basically says “don’t even think about becoming pregnant while you’re taking this.”

So, done venting, for now.

 

Monday, August 27, 2007

STILL THINKIN'

Just sitting in a different chair. Doing this on my lunch because I've learned that if I wait, it's harder to capture the words later. So if this entry is a little disjointed, please excuse the mess.

Damn, I knew I should have never opened that door. Looks like I’m going to have to come up with my own yogurt combos, perhaps sweetened with a little honey. Or mix the fruit with a couple of stewed prunes or some raisins. The yellow raisins might work too; they’d certainly look a little better. Maybe add a little gelatin to the base for stability and vanilla to stretch the sweetness. Then add other fruit to it.

We should all remember that these artificial sweeteners were originally marketed to diabetics and patients with cardiovascular disease who needed help to control blood sugar and weight, like yesterday or who needed a bridge while they learned how to use natural foods better. I really don’t think they were intended for long term use. Just as breast milk replacements were intended for women who couldn’t breast feed or didn’t have enough milk.

Remember the old slogan from the middle of the last century, “Better Living Through Chemistry.” Please don’t get me started, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of rotten fish.

But, hey, we’ve got a product, we want to sell it; all we have to do is convince you to buy it while acting as an unwitting guinea pig and paying our advertising costs.

And get this, the sucralose molecule was discovered in the mid seventies by scientists looking for new pesticides. Now that is a seriously scary thought.

So it looks like Splenda may be something I want to get out of my food plan. I was blaming the blood pressure drugs for my skin problems and they are part of it. Turns out both drugs now list skin problems as side effects. But, it turns out that for some of us Splenda may also cause skin problems. Talking to my doctor is a joke. She knows just what’s in the manufacturer’s handout. Any attempt to bring up research from the net is met with “anybody can post anything they want.” And yes a new doctor is in my future. But since I’d prefer the equivalent of the village wise man or woman who also has a medical degree the search may take a little while. Please excuse the digression, back to the journal entry.

And just because somebody has something they want to sell me, doesn’t mean it’s in my best interest to buy it. Think how much extra income we’d have it we weren’t subsidizing the corporations advertising costs, or subsidizing the lower prices that run smaller local businesses such as bakeries or smaller locally owned grocery stores out of business. Oh, and after you check out the sites further down, rmember that it appears we also pay for the corporate donations to fund the efforts of outfits like this to further gut the few protections we still have.

Checked out Aspartame too, just for kicks. There’s a website called the Aspartame Archives which is run by a group called Citizens for the Integrity of Science. Follow this link to see just who these guys are. Oh, dear me, this can of worms is just getting bigger all the time. According to Wikipedia these guys originally got started with money from tobacco companies. Yeah, I'm really going to trust you. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Citizens_for_the_Integrity_of_Science  Poor picked on Aspartame. And this is their website. Gotta be fair you know. http://www.aspartamearchives.org/aspartame-side-effects.htmThe archive entry quoted the FDA extensively. Or one person from the FDA. Frankly, at this point, if the FDA says it’s good I’m running in the other direction. Yup, doc, anybody can post anything on the net. But, the old who, what, when, where, how, and why are still useful sifting tools.

Please don’t tell me there’s something wiggy with the non fat cream cheese. Better check those ingrediants too.

Note: I’ve had really good luck so far with the bread recipes from Brother Juniper’s Breadbook. For the yeast breads anyway. I’ve had to seriously play with the two muffin recipes I’ve tried. Way too much sweetener even if it is honey or molasses, especially when you realize that honey is twice as sweet as sugar. A half cup of brown sugar was more than adequate for 18 muffins. More than enough. Especially since the recipe calls for apples and raisins. Otherwise it was a good recipe.

Sorry the paragraph with the links didn't turn out quite the way I planned, but it all makes sense sort of. Oh and the Wikipedia entry is fun too, just Google the name of the two man "organization." Oh, and the other guy used to work for Fox News. May still be there for all I care.

 

Sunday, August 26, 2007

JUST SITTIN' AND THINKIN'

Which is dangerous when I'm the one doing it. This will be a quickie, 'cause frankly it's bedtime but if I don't do it now I'll be writing this in my head for the next hour and I'll never get to sleep.

What I"m laughingly calling Opration Crunch is doing fairly well so far. Hey, it's only a week, what can I say, except that my muffin or yogurt is definitely on the morning break menu. Nibbling veggies is good, but a little variety through the day is better.

Anyway as the title of this entry suggests I got to thinking. There is a study out there http://www.diet-blog.com/archives/2005/06/13/diet_soda_and_obesity_is_there_a_link.php that tracked over six hundred people over an eight year period. At the end of that time results showed that those who drank diet sodas were more likely to be overweight. There are various theories. At least one mirrors my own (or mine mirrors theirs) in an earlier entry. Eating or drinking things that are sweet but no or low calorie keeps the cravings going.You can't relearn how to eat the good stuff if your tastebuds keep thinking that a lot of sweet things are normal.

And as an extra added attraction. Based on about five minutes of rigorous research I found several websites detailing  how the two most popular artificial sweeteners Aspertaime and Splenda may not only not be helping you lose weight but are actually dangerous to your health. Enter Splenda risks and Aspertaime risks in your search engine and see what pops up.

Anyway, this is where I was going in the first place. What if this whole artificial lo cal trip is the wrong way to go. I'm beginning to suspect that our bodies expect certain results when certain kinds of foods are eaten. That there will be an expected amount of energy from the food and when it doesn't get it, then our bodies will go looking for it. My body knows that when I crunch a small pile of raw veggies it's going to get a fair amount of fiber but not a lot of quick energy, so it doesn't go looking for more.

Natural sweets are generally a source of quick energy for your system. Foods that are normally higher in fat metabolize in a certain way and provide something the body is used to using for fuel. What if we eat things that the body expects to give an expected result and it when it doesn't get it, it goes "?" I'm not getting what I need, guess I'd better send signals to get what I expected. And sends out those hard to ignore signals that basically tell you your stomach thinks your throat has been cut.

So,  too many of us buy into the advertising and get the exact opposite result. Maybe being couch potatoes is only part of the problem. What if the "diet" industry is also part of the problem. A big part of the problem. A multi million don't bad mouth us part of the problem.

Oh, and I ran into one bozo who equated drinking diet soda with being less educated and not too bright. Darn I can't find the site again. He also quipped that he'd never seen thin people buy diet soda. Geez guy, which planet did you just beam down from?

Anyway, now that I've planted this little land mine it's time to hit the sack. Back to the salt mines tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

FAIRLY EASY CHEESE SPREAD

I adapted this from some spread ideas in The New Laurel's Kitchen cookbook.

Haul out your trusty food processor. If you don't have a food processor, measure out the ingrediants, let them come to room temperature and combine. I'd recommend using the finest side of your shredder.

Combine one half cup each low fat cottage cheese, non fat cream cheese and a good cheese shredded. Go for something with a really good flavor and kind of pack it in the measuring cup. It's worth it to spring for a good chunk of swiss type or sharp cheddar because a little goes a long way. Process until smooth and put in a covered container in the refirgerator. Because of the cottage cheese only make what you can use within a week or so.

I've had good luck with a spicy pepper jack. And also made on with gruyere swiss thins morning. Added a teaspoon of dill to the swiss spread and it seems to work well. The occaisional crunch of the dill seed as I munched my veggies was a nice touch. Another combo could be sharp cheddar and chili powder or cumin to taste.

The cookbood was written in the late eighties so a lot of the no salt herb combos weren't on the market at the time. At least not the wide variety of say the Mrs. Dash brand. You could just do the cottage cheese and cream cheese and add curry or cajun seasonings for a good bite.

Great with raw vegetables or apple slices. Pretty darn good on a good bread too.

I'm not sure about the calorie count. But the cottage cheese has about ninety calories per half cup and at thirty calories per two tablespoon serving of the cream cheese I'd say maybe two hundred and forty calories or so on the cream cheese. Hard cheese expands wonderfully when you shred it, so maybe two ounces or so of the hard, higher calorie cheeses. A couple of generous tablespoons has been enough for me to take to garnish my veggies for work so I don't think it's too bad.

Run with it and see what works. I suspect that fresh parmesan and tomato, garlic, basil Mrs. Dash would be really good too. And I suspect that about a quarter cup of shredded parmesan would go a long way. Hm, shredded asiago (Greek style cheese) and lemon pepper? Down girl, down.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SAME SONG FIFTH VERSE

I haven’t written much about trying to lose weight, because frankly I haven’t have much to say that hasn’t been said before, usually better, by a lot of other people. But, after about four years of semi successful weight loss I have noticed a few things that may be worth sharing.

I don’t know about anyone else but it seems like my system has an on/off switch. There’s a point when it’s “time” to try again. And it’s not like I’m that strict about it while I’m doing it. After dropping about ten to fifteen percent of the beginning weight the switch goes “off.” Suddenly it’s much harder to say no to certain things. And these periods are about a year apart. It’s as if I can lose so much and then my body says “ok, I need some time for housecleaning and adjusting here, back off a little.”

After four years of adjusting what we eat, sweet things are really sweet. And I do mean poisonously sweet. I’ve always thought Granny Smith apples were too tart to be a good eating apple. But the nibble I had the other night was pretty good. Have to keep my taste buds open. Could have been an unusual batch of apples. LOL

Has anyone else noticed how many so called diet foods mimic the foods that got us into trouble in the first place? Even the shakes and bars that target diabetics look a hell of a lot like shakes and candy bars. How can you retrain your taste buds when so many of the products available are basically high priced candy bars? Granted they’re candy bars with vitamins, but what the #$##%$? And yes a lot of the high priced frozen dinners that while lower calorie, are smaller portion versions of the food that got me and you on this subject in the first place.

It’s no accident that both Jennie Craig and Lean Cuisine are owned by Nestle. There’s money in them there fat people. And one journal type website put the weekly cost of the food on the Jennie Craig program at about $125.00. That’s food for one person for one week. Yep, there’s definitely money is us hefties. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t afford $500.00 bucks a month for groceries just for me. Maybe Kristie and Valerie can, but I can’t.

Just a note, they get us at both ends. Nestle owns a highly touted infant formula line too. From birth to the grave and all points inbetween. And paying through the nose for the privilege. (and since women are the traditional caregivers and nurturers the message in all of this hard to swallow food is a whole ‘nother journal entry)

One of these days I want to do an entry on how similar advertising is to the definitions of demogogary. Yes, most of us need help. But, for me at least, any program that keeps me eating the kind food that helped me pile on the weight in the first place isn’t going to work on the long haul. What does seem to work for me is a semi vegetarian, whole grain, whole foods approach. And since there’s very little money to be made by the big multi nationals when consumers get smart enough to do this,  I guess we won’t be seeing any high powered ads starring B list actresses any time soon. (uh oh, my inner snarkiness is coming out, better end this pretty soon)

We’re still getting the yogurt sweetened with Splenda because it’s only got a hundred calories and it does have fruit in it, not just fruit flavor. Rather nice pieces of fruit actually. And we go for the low fat cottage cheese and no fat cream cheese. We use Pam, some olive oil, non stick pans, and a lot of garlic.

It’s surprising how far you can get with a large apple, a hunk of bread, accompanied by small portions of really good cheese and salami. Thehigher calorie things almost become condiments. Oh, and chai spice (no milk or sugar) or a good herb tea to go with it. I’m leaning more and more to decaf these days. It’s a good thing Celestial Seasonings make decaf Chai spice or I’d be up a creek.

So, same song fifth verse, quietly, patiently (I keep telling myself that anyway) here we go again.

Monday, August 20, 2007

QUICK FRUIT DESERT FOR TWO

Core and slice one apple, peeling optional and Granny Smiths work really well for this. An apple like a gravenstein would work but you’d probably end up with applesauce. And don’t add water to gravensteins, at least no more than a splash they have plenty of their own.

Simmer briefly in a little water with a tablespoon each of any two of the following, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, chopped prunes or any other fruit you like. Just until the apples are slightly tender and the fruit is plumped. This works really well in the microwave, but get it hot and then reduce the power to avoid boil overs.

Drizzle with a little honey, top with a little granola (the home made granola worked really well) and nonfat vanilla yogurt. Serve warm. Pretty darn good for something I basically made up as I was going along.

Use two apples for four servings and multiply the dried fruit by two also. Of course you can use fresh berries if you have them. I was inspired about fifteen minutes before time for dinner. Thank heaven for microwaves and a well stocked fruit bin. And it was a good used for that granola I made.

EMBRACING MY INNER VEGGIE

The New Laurel’s Kitchen  has several recipes for cheese spreads or dips based on cottage cheese and regular cheese. First experiment was a half cup each low fat cottage cheese, no fat cream cheese and shredded pepper jack cheese. Turned out pretty good. I tend to read a recipe and then go “well that’s a good place to start.” And this was written in the eighties before so many of the no sodium herbal blends came on the market so I don’t see any chopped sautéed onions in my future. At least until I get a handle on how fast I go through a batch. Onions are good for you but I don’t think the amount that would go in a batch of cheese spread would make that big a difference

So, boys and girls I’m preparing to fully embrace my carefully washed or peeled inner carrot (celery, zucchini,  olive, apple and raw mushroom). Now all I have to do is convince the digestive tract I inherited from dad that “raw is good, live with it.” (or at least keep the grief to a minimum)

Frankly, the potential weight loss while good for me is the secondary reason for increasing shift in our diet. Funny how that goes. I’m getting fairly good control on my blood pressure with straight herbal preparations with reduced doses of the prescription drugs as a bridge. Less weight means lower pressure. You only have to hit me over the head a dozen times or so before I finally see the light.

And I’m about a year and a half into my dentures so my mouth has finally toughened up enough to look at raw vegetables and go “ok! Not a problem.” And it’s been slow, but I’m still over a hundred pounds lighter than I was over four years ago. Will Cheetos never darken my mouth again? I’m not going to promise anything. But, it just won’t be nearly as often.

 

Sunday, August 19, 2007

SANCTUARY IN THE KITCHEN

I'm afraid that if Moses were to come back on Sunday mornings he would be very unhappy. He'd find me in the kitchen, not in the sanctuary. But, for me, the kitchen is one of my sanctuaries and what comes out of the oven or the pot isn't work, it's worship. At least for me. To take what the Creator/ress has given, ingrediants and imagiination, and you end up with miracles. Little miracles, granted. But, miracles none the less.

A good basic, crunchy granola. With old fashioned oats, almonds, honey and other goodies.

Banana oat bran muffins. These are an experiment. I was going to do an actual apple oat bran muffins. But, I bought more bananas and we didn't really need to. So I switched to bananas. I'll try the others later.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

MOUNTAINS AND STARS

From my favorite astronomy site. The mountains are the Grand Tetons in the Rockies. You have the Milky Way on the left. The bright star nearby is Arcturus. And on the other side you have the Big Dipper.

This is a composite of five digital shots, turned into one. Probably been worked over to bring out the stars a little better. That's ok, but the Big Dipper looks almost fake. Sky looks different away from the cities.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ANGELS

Now all she needs is an airbrush to join the other angels that have been out adding color to the world when we aren't watching. The local trees are starting to show some fall color. Just a touch here, a branch or two there, the top leaves on one side of a tree. Just enough to notice. Just enough to tantalize.

A MEME

Found this meme via Russ’s Inner and Outer Demons. I’ve always had trouble with one single answer to almost any question. Kind of depends on the mood I’m in at the time.

 

What’s your favorite Movie? If I’m looking for a mood lifter “Finding Nemo” does a good job. “A Man for all Seasons” is one of my all time favorites, though. Fantastic acting, great script, a real winner.

 

What’s your favorite color? Just about any shade of blue. Especially the deep, dark jewel tones.

 

What’s our favorite ice cream flavor? I’m with Russ. CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No chips, o nuts, no marshmallows. Just deep, dark chocolate.

 

Where do you want to go on vacation? Any place north of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Coos Bay on the Oregon coast. I have a weakness for wind and cliffs.

 

What’s your favorite animal? I only get one? Ok, hummingbirds. They’re there and then they’re not. They just make me smile.

 

What’s your favorite TV show? Almost any of the science shows on PBS. Failing that, my collection of tapes and DVD’s. Anything by Jacques Cousteau, Joseph Campbell or Carl Sagan is a sure winner.

 

What’s your favorite drink? Hot cocoa, with dark chocolate and a little cinnamon. I don’t seem to  like chocolate do I?

 

What’s your favorite flower? Again, I only get one? Purple Irises  and dogwood for spring. Roses and black eyed susans for the summer. Lavender, anytime.

 

What’s your favorite pet? I guess I have to go with Lucky. She’s so sweet. She pats you on  the cheek.

 

What’s your favorite book? There are several. I think I’d have to put Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country at the top. In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden is another. Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael mysteries are always good reads. Oh, Mary Renault’s  Mask of Apollo and Tolkien’s Rings trilogy. Guess I better stop before I run out of room. Oh, and there's my complete collection of Bloom County cartoons. I kind of miss old Bill the Cat. Thwpppppb!

 

 

Sunday, August 12, 2007

DANGER BLOGGER THINKING IN PUBLIC

I’m not sure if this was discussed in Sunday school or my Great Religions class at the U of O, which was taught by a retired minister by the way. But, once things start bouncing around the old brain box who knows what will come out. The Sabbath was presented as an improvement over earlier religious practices because it set aside a day as holy. Well duh, turns out that the so called pagans had holy days and festivals year round. Many of them lasting up to several day. One of the most famous was the Olympic games but it wasn't the only one.

 

Greek philosophy described an ultimate God/dess who had more than one face. And some of the Gods had more than one face as well. Poseiden was the God of the sea, but he was also known as Earth Shaker. There were various versions of Apollo, Athena, or Artemis and they all had festivals. Many of them lasted several days. Dionysus was not only the patron of the vine but of actors and the theater.

 

Many of the festivals were times when plays might be presented as part of a contest, sometimes not. And, in theory, actors were under the God’s protection so they could travel from city to city even if those cities were at war with each other. Of course you might find as the actor in Mask of Apollo early in his career. You might get to your next stop only to find that the men were away fighting, the women and kids were barricaded at home and the occupying troops were bivouacked in the theater using the scenery for the cook fires. Whoops, guess we don’t get paid for that trip.

 

 There was a rich spiritual life that has been either dismissed or barely acknowledged because what became our way was the right way. Period, end of discussion.

 

What was accomplished by setting a specific day as holy, by breaking the links to a changeable calendar that was tied to sun and earth? It undermined the authority of the astronomer/priests. One of their responsibilities was to keep track of the coming of the full moon for certain festivals of the goddess. Also theykept track of the orbit of the sun to signal the passing of one season to the next and the solstices and equinoxes that were the midseason festivals.  

 

By undercutting the authority of the astronomer/ priests it helped to reinforce the authority of the Mosaic priesthood. And it isolated the followers of the Mosaic Law from their neighbors. No shared festivals. No ties of guest friendship that allowed people to travel from town to town and be sure of some sort of welcome even if your co religionists didn’t live there.

 

Under the old calendar any day could be a holy day for somebody. If one day is set aside as holy what does that make of the other six days of days of the week? If only one group within a society is labeled holy because they were born into that “tribe” where does that leave the rest of us? If God lives up on a “holy” mountain, is the rest of the earth not holy?

 

I don’t think so. I believe that holy ground is right outside my door. And I also believe that if we listen the way we should, any one of us can hear the Song.

SCANDIE AND GARDENS

Made it out to the Scandinavian Festival yesterday. Got to visit with Lisa briefly while she was baking her heart out. The Scandie run was yesterday morning so the festival was busy before it was even supposed to open. The weather has been perfect this weekend and they were doing very, very well. I imagine she’ll have details on her journal, when she regains consciousness.

 

Did some serious people watching and craft stall browsing. A lot of nice things. Not much that is in our style though. Especially the stained glass. Marvelous work but I’m not sure where we would put it so the cats couldn’t get it. The lines for the Swedish meat pies were going one way, the Swedish pancakes just as long and going another way, and the aebelskivers (little, tiny, popover style muffns) the other way. There are some very talented folks that work these festivals. Came home with a pair of earrings for mom and plans to go up north to Lisa’s over Labor Day I hope. Thank heaven for three day weekends.

 

Found our first little baby bean this morning. They are starting to bloom fairly well. We’ll get a few pints at least. To with the cukes and tomatoes. Little green onionn are good with both the cukes and the tomatoes.

 

Bed booted me out before seven yesterday morning. There’s a huge cedar tree across the street and the sun was behind it when I went out to get the papers. So there was a patch of sun here and another somewhere else in the yard. So I parked myself on the porch for a little while and just watched the sun move through the yard. It was quiet except for the birds. You can hear the freeway and at that hour, with a little imagination, you can almost tell yourself it’s the ocean. Granted I have a really good imagination.

Monday, August 6, 2007

CATCHING SPARKLES

Trying to explain the mystical lake I’ve dipped my toes into is like trying to explain the color green without referring to things that are green. Especially to someone who has never seen what you’re talking about. We have a wide variety of trees in this area. Maples, oaks, birches, poplars, pines, firs, spruces and cedars to name a few. Each one with its own particular shade. Or the foliage on daffodils or cone flowers.

 

And they all look different depending on whether it’s cloudy or sunny, windy or still, early morning or high noon. Imagine trying to describe the color of the needles on a high plateau Ponderosa pine at sunset to someone who’s never seen one would be, well, nearly impossible. And don’t even get into the gray greens of the sages in Eastern Oregon. Now that I think about it, Misty’s eyes are about that color. Maybe a little greener. (insert sound of very loud raspberry) They're sort of green, sort of grey and they match her perfectly.

 

I suspect I’ve managed to link, just a tiny bit, into that wonderful, awful (in the original meaning as full of awe), frightening current that ties us all to our mother earth and to each other. And it is full of wonder. And it can scare the hell out of you. But, I think I’d rather take the risk than never hear the music.

 

Ah, this wonderful blunt instrument we call language. The words I try to use dance around like sunlight on ocean waves. If you touch where they are, they go somewhere else.  

Sunday, August 5, 2007

CANDLES

We kindle this flame in honor of the Creator of Creation. We are grateful for the plenty that blesses us. In a world where many walk hand in hand with hunger we have abundance. In a world where too many walk in fear we can speak as our hearts lead us and show our faith freely. In a world where too many are alone, even in a crowd, we are rich in family and friends.

 

We kindle this flame in honor of the earth and the star that warms it.

 

We kindle this flame in gratitude for the changing seasons, for the coolness of rain, for the shifting mists and warmth of sun.

 

We kindle this flame to ask healing for our battered world. May we learn to use only what we need and to respect what we use.

 

We kindle this flame in gratitude for theplants, animals, air and waters that sustain us. Their infinite variety is wondrous.

 

We kindle this flame in honor of all who share this little world with us.

 

We kindle this flame in gratitude for our fellow travelers. We kindle this flame in gratitude for birdsong, the glory of infinite colors of flowers and trees, for the seas, the rivers, the rolling hills and the soaring peaks.

 

 

We kindle this flame to honor the infinite variety of our brothers and sisters.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for those who lash out in fear.

 

<BSTYLE="MSO-BIDI-FONT-WEIGHT: normal?>We kindle this flame to ask for healing for those who lash out in anger.

 

We kindle this flame to ask healing for those who lash out in ignorance.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for those who are ill in body or spirit.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for their caregivers, family and friends.

 

We kindle this flame in honor of the river of faith. Help us to remember that many streams enter the river of faith that sustains us. Help us to remember that this river has many wells to refresh our thirsty spirits.

 

 

We kindle this flame in honor of our family and friends.

 

We kindle this flame in gratitude for their love and support.

 

We kindle this flame to ask for healing for any sickness or injury. We kindle this flame to ask that they may find the love and support to live the lives they were meant to.

 

We kindle this flame in faith that we can return the love and support that has been so freely given to us.

 

I posted an earlier version of this last year. I haul it and re read it periodically. And something a little unexpected happened after I finished it. I like to re read it, but you don’t always have a lamp or a candle handy. So I tried imagining one. Well I got my candle all right. I got a whole room full of candles. Candle after candle after candle.

 

And this is where it starts to get, strange doesn’t really describe what I’ve had happen. I’m not sure I have the right words. Anyway, one of our fellow bloggers was going through a tough time and I was repeating the line asking for healing and suddenly I had a vision of one of those candles breaking away from the group and heading out. In the right direction.

 

Granted, what I saw may owe more than a little to the movie Fantasia. At least as a way for my brain to put this in a way I can understand. But, the thing is, I wasn’t thinking about road crew candles. That puppy took off on its own. It’s happened a few times since then. I can’t explain it and I’m not sure that it can be explained, in words at least.