Sunday, October 28, 2007


Honestly, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, just a few more distractions that usual. Mom’s big brother came up from southern California for his 65th high school reunion. He rode the train up and she went back by train with him for a visit. I took a vacation day to enjoy an all too short visit. He talked more about things he’s done than he ever has before.  


He joined the navy in ’42, straight out of high school. To be honest, I think it was as much to get out of the house as to get in on the action. Their step dad was the only grand father we knew and he’d mellowed by the time the grandkids came on the scene. But, he had a temper and a fondness for booze. And I think that the navy probably did a lot to temper uncle Jack’s temper, too. Anyway, for anyone who's interested, he served on three ships, the Casablanca, the Kadashan Bay and the Gardiner's Bay.


Anyway, three years in the navy on three different ships. He followed this with twenty years as a cop in LA and a stretch with the US Marshall’s service. We had a good time. So, I saw them off last Saturday and I’ve had the place to myself for the last week. It was hard watching them leave. He’s two years older than mom and has some health problems, I couldn’t help wondering if I would get the chance to see him again. But, we had the time and I’m thankful for it.


Me, the cats and a flare up of the lovely little “irritation” I had last summer. Plague take it, it certainly isn’t fatal but it’s damned uncomfortable. Frankly, working and entertaining the four legged Velcro cats was about all I was up to.


Much better by Saturday. Good thing because I was faced with a substantial to do list. Mom is not coming home to a dirty house. A bit messy, perhaps, but fairly well caught up. The local birds and squirrels are absolutely ravenous. I fill the feeders the night before and come home and do it again. They’re storing up for the winter. It’s turned chilly, and not before time. After all, All Hallows Eve is almost here. Mom will be home Tuesday. She gets a kick out of the candy seekers, especially the little ones. Speaking for the Velcro, I’m getting the hungry eye from the furballs. Time to break out the cat food.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


A quiet discusion over who is going where. Misty (on the left) does much better when she gets behind Bandit. And if she gets the younger Bandit in a corner, she usually gives way. Bandit is the youngest and knows it, even if she is the largest of the three.

Bandit gets the rips a couple times a week. She "attacks" the little area rug next to my chair and manages to get herself under the rug. And then she plays hide and seek.

The lump under the rug is Bandit. Misty is either trying to figure out how to join her or how to attack. I'm not sure.


New addtion next to the deck. We went out to Jerry's yesterday intending to check the kinds of blocks, sizes and prices. We ended up bringing home what we needed enough 12 x 16 blocks to do a double row and gravel to fill in the low parts. It looks pretty good for a pair of rank amateurs. We basically leveled each pair to the next, so it's not exactly level. A couple of large planters and some kind of yard art in the middle will cover a multitude of architectural sins.

The bark chunks will be slowly replaced with concrete stepping stones. At least the bark will keep us out of the mud. And we'll put down bark mulch on the rest of the yard. Only took a couple of hours to get it done. And I felt every one. But I"m in better shape than I was in the spring. We we high fivin' all over the place.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


From the Astronomy Picture of the Day website. The aurora over a lake in Alaska. And if you look very closely under the aurora and towards the center their is also a meteor falling to earth at the same time. A nearly miraculous shot.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


This picture was in an e-mail forwarded to me by a co-worker. Who shall remain nameless. She’s a nice enough lady but……I guess I better leave it at that. Needless to say I found this disturbing as hell. I only shared this with one of out IT guys. He’s studying for the ministry when he’s not trouble shooting our computers. He was as flummoxed as I was.


Geez, at least get it right. The Eid isn’t exactly a holiday it’s the feast that ends Ramadan and has nothing to do with Christmas. Took an early break and spent a lot of time reading and rereading my candle piece. It helped a little. I’m only posting this to remind us what we’re up against. And bless me if I know what to do. Except to keep lighting candles, lots of candles.


Islam forbids images and they've used arabic script as decoration for centuries. It's a pretty design.




How ironic is this??!! They don't even believe in Christ and they're getting their own Christmas stamp, but don't dream of posting the ten commandments on federal property?

USPS New Stamp

This one is impossible to believe. Scroll down for the text.

If there is only one thing you forward today.....let it be this!





REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of Pan Am Flight 103!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />World Trade Center in 19 93!

REMEMBER the MUSLI M bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon !

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military Barracks in Saudi Arabia !

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa !

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on 9/11/2001 !

REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!

Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class < I>holiday postage stamp. Bull!

REMEMBER to adamantly and vocally BOYCOTT this stamp
when purchasing your stamps at the post office. To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.

REMEMBER to pass this along to every patriotic AMERICAN you know!!!


Don't know about anybody else but I'm not feeling very patriotic right now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


This entry was prompted by a comment Russ made on my last entry over in Pixels. I don’t hate the timber companies, but I am very, very, very irritated by them

Hopefully we’re coming to end of the “mining” of the forests era in the US. I truly hope so. I hope and pray that those who manage our resources will finally wake up and quit sniffing the shit. A forest isn’t just trees it’s an ecosystem. There is this attitude from the late 1800’s through most of the 1900’s that any tree that dies naturally, falls and rots is wasted somehow. Believe me, it isn’t wasted.

There used to be this old rotting stump by the bike path near where we live. The top of that stump was a whole little world of its own. There were a couple kinds of moss, some teeny, teeny mushrooms, and a few blades of grass. If you looked closely there were small insects, and maybe a miniature centipede or two trundling about in their own little world.

Back when there was less of me and my knees were more cooperative, I did some day hikes over on the coast. The Oregon coast has a network of state parks from border to border and there are trails of some kind in all of them. You come out of the trees into a little open space where a tree has fallen, and it’s like that stump, a whole little world of its own. That tree isn’t wasted, it’s just finishing its life and nourishing the new life around it.

The company that puts out this ad shall remain nameless. They like to remind us that the law requires that trees be replanted to replace the trees that were cut. But, they don’t plant every kind of tree that was on that clear cut. They only replant the trees they want to cut. They’re planted too close together, the natural fertilizer that would have come from the last generation of trees is gone, and they have to use herbicides to kill the competing plant life. The new stand is never properly thinned and when it goes up in smoke somehow it’s mother nature’s fault not ours. It’s always somebody else’s fault.

And let’s not even go into the sixties and seventies when most of the big company owned timber was exported as raw logs. They kept counting on timber from the federal and state forests to take up the slack. Federally owned and managed timber sold at cut rate prices. And I don’t know if this is still true, but half the time the sale didn’t include the cost of putting in the roads for the private company to use to haul out the logs. Funny how when it helps big business make a profit, it’s good for the economy but if a poor kid needs subsidized insurance it’s a drain on the economy.

Maybe someday, sooner rather than later I hope, we’ll see this little ball for the space ship it really is and begin to show it a little more respect.

“We don’t inherit the land, we borrow it from our children.”  Native American proverb.

“We’re spending our kid’s inheritance.” Seen on a bumper sticker.

And I'm repeating myself, but you can only claim to own what you create. Nobody can own the land. We can use it, abuse it, build it up, tear it down, leave something better for our children or leave a wasteland. Our choice. Not even the rocks live forever.

Just a some appetizers on the thought menu.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


A fairly quiet weekend. Actually compared to some of the blogs I follow, we lead a very quiet life. Get up, eat breakfast, drive to work, drive home, and spend the hours in between in my little cubicle home away from home. Usually the most exciting thing that happens to me is dealing with some of my fellow commuters. Some of these guys are crazy. Hug mom, torment the cats, eat dinner, take a shower, read a little, knit a little, surf a little, go to bed and start over the next day.

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Somebody flipped the weather switch and it’s been relatively cool and damp since the end of September. Just about the time you start to expect reasonably good weather for most of October it decides to be different just to keep us guessing. Actually this summer has been weird anyway. I hope it doesn’t mean we’re going to have a cooler than usual winter. Although folks living in the Midwest and New England would probably argue that what passes for winter in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Willamette Valley is just a really cool fall. There’s maybe six weeks from mid December to the end of January when there’s any real risk of severe cold or a lot of snow and the last ten years or so there’s been maybe one really bad winter storm that affected everything from Seattle to Springfield.


The upshot is that the trees start to leaf out fairly early and they turn color in pretty much the order they leaf out. We get really pretty autumn color, but not all at once. I see some really pretty ornamentals by the streets that are a fantastic red or orange right next to maples or poplars that are still nice and green. And it seems like when the colors hit their height we have a windy rainstorm and everything gets blown down anyway.


Ordered the DVD of An Inconvenient Truth and I’m looking forward to getting it. I get a kick out of reading the one star reviews of any film. Most of them love to label global warming as pseudo science. Some cite prehistoric data that the planet was warmer, much warmer, once upon a time. Yeah it was. Back when the continents were in different positions, the Arctic Ocean wasn’t nearly land locked, Antarctica wasn’t sitting on top of the South Pole, dinosaurs were still trundling around and the plants were much different. Flowers, grasses and deciduous trees are all post dino adaptations.


One argument I really love is that since ice is floating on the oceans, melting the ice won’t raise sea levels. Yo, that would work if most of the ice in question wasn’t on land. Even if sea levels didn’t rise, most of the water on this planet is sea water. And most of the fresh water is frozen. It isn’t going to do us much good flowing into the oceans. And most of our food crops and domestic animals were developed in the last eleven thousand years under a specific type of climate. I just love writers who criticize a lack of critical thinking while showing absolutely none themselves. Fall weather to climate change. Never quite sure where I’m going to end up when I start.


Have a couple of good books going. More about that later, I hope. I start something contemporary and keep putting it them aside because the answers seem to lie in earlier history. Then I start that and end up going further back. It’s like trying to untangle a skein of yarn that has a big knot in it without resorting to Alexander’s solution to the Gordian knot. (He took his sword and cut right through the middle, tempting but you can’t do to people what you can do to a ball of string.)


Anyway, it’s Sunday evening, and it’s quiet and I have to go back to work tomorrow. The weekend seems to go by awfully fast lately.




We headed out to Deterings yesterday in search of apples. Unfortunately they were overun with other folks in search of pumpkins. And that's ok, except there was no place to park so we headed back towards Coburg. Instead of dropping our bucks at Deterings we ended up dropping some loose change at Johnson's nursery. They had some great pots on sale and basically good prices on everything else. So we got the nice big pot, some winter pansies and a New Zealand flax called Golden Ray. Should top out at three feet or so and is striped green and yellow.

It doesn't look like much now, and probably wondering what the heck happened. The silvery plant is santolina and it's going bye bye. It was one of those good ideas that just didn't work out. The color is nice and for us, that's about it. It's a good plant for a more formal setting because the color is good and it can be easily shaped for border plantings. But that's not how we're going in our yard. We cobbled together the base from some left over concrete blocks and bricks. If anyone wants to cart this off he's going to need a fork lift.  I think we'll probably go with some small grasses, daisies and herbs. It's open and we have all winter to figure it out.