Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Einstein Quote of the Day

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.

Izzie, the Bad Habit Rabbit

Since Christmas I've been shuttling back and forth between my daughter's home and my son's.  Izzie has to do stairs at my son's but they are carpeted and she seems to do just fine.  It's more than four weeks from her surgery and she's beginning to take to walks again.  She doesn't want to go out in the back yard unless my daughter, Buttercup and I go as well.  At my son's she will join Zephyr and Eva in the back yard, but she's known those two dogs for a long time.  Eva came to visit us in Wyoming when she was a pup and Izzie, although four years old, was new to me.

Izzie is teaching Buttercup very bad habits.  My daughter and I went out to look for a red dress (they're going to a wedding in Colombia at the end of the month and was told everyone was to wear red).  We found some possibilities, but she's very tiny and the one she liked the best didn't come small enough.  I wish I had that problem. Anyway her hubby stayed home and when he came into the house, both Izzie and Buttercup were snoozing on the couch.  He took a picture which I will post as soon as he gives me a copy.  Izzie also has Buttercup hovering around the table hoping for food.  My bad.  It will take them weeks to recover from our visit.

This morning she and hubby are going to the garment district to look there for the dress.  Buttercup is going to doggie day care (so Izzie doesn't teach her anything else new while they're away). I'm going over to REI since I have a small rebate from last year and need some socks.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Health Care and Christmas Eve—A MoveOn Video

This video is from MoveOn.org.  It's worth passing on.  Health care reform may have passes the senate, but it has a long way to go, before even a minor change will happen.  The public option may not be dead, but it seems quite moribund.

A Christmas Sermon I Doubt I'll Ever Give

The hymn, A Stable Lamp is Lighted, from a poem by Richard Wilbur, as sung by The Miserable Offenders in their album "Keeping the Baby Awake" is one I never hear sung at Christmas.  First of all, few people know it, and the tune in the hymnal isn't nearly as good as the one used in the album.  The words too, must put a lot of people off.  At Christmas time we don't want to offend people by reminding them that the lovely little baby boy, born in a humble stable grows into the man who is crucified on a cross, and people like to sing what they know.

People who come to church only on Christmas and Easter don't want to be disturbed by the reality of a world where the stones cry out against violence, injustice and stony hearts, they want messages of peace and goodwill. Those are not bad things in and of themselves and I do believe in preaching the good news, only I don't think it should be sugar coated.  I can, however, imagine the words of this poem making a pretty good Advent sermon though and a really good one for Palm Sunday.  A barn harboring heaven and the stones on which the palm branches are strewn remind us of the kingdom that boy-child was to usher in. It hints at the Magnificat with "the low is lifted high" and that at the end, the worlds will be reconciled.

For those who aren't familiar with the words:
A stable lamp is lighted
Whose glow shall wake the sky
The stars shall bend their voices
And every stone shall cry
And straw like gold will shine
A barn shall harbor heaven
A stall become a shrine

This child through David’s city
Will ride in triumph by
The palm shall strew its branches
And every stone shall cry
And every stone shall cry
Though heavy, dull and dumb
And lie within the roadway
To pave the Kingdom come.

Yet He shall be forsaken
And yielded up to die
The sky shall groan and darken
And every stone shall cry
And every stone shall cry
For stony hearts of men
God’s blood upon the spearhead
God’s love refused again.

But now as at the ending
The low is lifted high
The stars shall bend their voices
And every stone shall cry
And every stone shall cry
In praises of the child
By whose descent among us
The worlds are reconciled.

A very joyous Christmas to all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Visiting the Navaho Nation

I made an unplanned trip into the Navaho Nation today.  I-40 was completely blocked after Grants, NM.  I don't know what happened, but they routed us off the interstate and there was no detour marked for going west.  After following the big rigs, we were told to turn around.  I decided to see if there was any alternate route and since I couldn't look at my map, I called my daughter and her husband looked up a route for me.  It worked, but it took a while.  I went though Navaholand to the north of the interstate.  There was a police woman at one intersection who was there to direct those like me who were taking this route.  She told me how to get back on I-40 at Gallup.  She also told me where I could get gas, which I really needed.

This is a very sparsely populated area.  I did pass one mine, either coal or uranium, I don't know which and a number of empty ore-carriers.  The state road was really good and the speed limit was 65.  The Navaho road (N-9) was pretty good too. I'll have to do some research into the area later.  The last time I was near there was in the 1970s when I visited both the Hopis and Navahos to talk about coal gasification.

When we finally got back on I-40  there was very little traffic.  I decided to drive past Flagstaff to Williams.  Stayed in a Days Inn there a couple of years ago.  They are a very dog friendly chain.  In Amarillo the fourth floor seemed to be the doggie floor.  We met a Newfie and a Golden there.  Izzie wasn't interested.  Right now she's sound asleep.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not Blogging

I left the book I was going to read on the coffee table, so I really can't continue the last blog.  Also, I'm pretty tired when I get to a motel at night.  Driving across the country in the winter means being constantly vigilant and so the tiredness after about 8-9 hours on the road.  Today may be a bit longer since I'd love to get into New Mexico on I-40.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Climate Change V

The LA Times has a headline: Climate Talks Deadlocked as Clashes Erupt Outside 

I think we were very fortunate in the 1980s.  Of course the stakes weren't so high and the issue was hardly as global. When I was going to meetings in London to amend The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by the Dumping of Waste and other Matter based on the International Atomic Energy Agency's work to revise criteria for the disposal of radioactive waste into the oceans, Greenpeace organized active protests in front of the building where we met.  One morning I was greeted with 55-gallon drums with the words "dump the IAEA" on it.  I thought it pretty clever wording, but it had little effect, I still continued to serve as the IAEA representative.

The protesters in Copenhagen want to dump the official delegates and do the work themselves.  It's an interesting concept and has some things of merit, but not likely to work very well.  The reason international agreements are so difficult is that so many interests are at stake.  Our Bishop has a book discussion going on-line with the book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope by Brian D. McLaren.  I rather like McLaren's somewhat simplistic Three Subsystems in Society that help to form a "suicide machine": the prosperity system, the security system and the equity system.  When these systems are not functioning in an interactive way with each system checking the others, bad things happen.  He goes on to point out that there are of course other factors, our environment, for example. We take in heat from the sun and we generate heat from other sources. The heat needs to go somewhere.  We pollute in lots of other ways, too.  I do wish I had more time to write about this, but it will have to wait at least until I get going on my trip west.

In the article quoted at the start of this post i was taken with the following statement: "Much of the uncertainty in the Copenhagen talks stems from how slowly the first U.S. legislation to cap carbon dioxide emissions is moving through Congress. Passage of a U.S. climate change bill is expected no earlier than next spring -- and many other nations are unwilling to make their final commitments until the U.S. does."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Climate Change IV

Huffington Post has this fascinating article on Copenhagen and global warming called COP 15: Accepting Responsibility.  It starts:

Imagine you're a well-to-do person attending a dinner of your peers. The food is top-rate and there's plenty of it. Course after course is laid upon the table.
A group of less-advantaged people has been watching from the sidelines. When the dinner is done, you invite them to join you at the table. After the restaurant staff has served coffee, the bill comes. You and your rich peers insist that everyone now at the table must share in paying the entire bill.
The author, William S. Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, uses this story to make the position of delegates from emerging economies clearer.  They want reparations to help them deal with anticipated changes.  The US negotiator is using a "blissful ignorance" defense.  Later in the article it says
Every U.S. president since  [1965 when President Johnson's science advisors told him] (words in brackets mine) has known of the risks of climate change. Every president and Congress since has failed to adequately mitigate or manage that risk. Although then Vice President Al Gore signed the Kyoto Protocol on behalf of the United States in 1998, the U.S. Senate made clear it would not vote in favor of ratification. As a result, President Clinton didn't bother to try.

The climate change negotiations are about money, but they're also about responsibility.  The US and other nations need to step up to the plate.  I personally don't care if the money used is called a reparation payment or not.

Einstein Quote of the Day

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It doesn't make much sense, but I fear we all do this; ergo we all have insanity in us.  I wonder if the real problem is that we are unaware that we are repeating our old ways.  We see it in people who tend to marry the same kind of person over and over and get divorced over and over.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Marriage Equality in Maine— Question 1 Redux

Question 1 passed and overturned the legislature's vote on marriage equality.  This morning's Bangor Daily News has an article on how the same people who poured tons of money into the state to make this happen are going to target legislators in next year's election.  The National Organization for Marriage has indicated in court filings that it plans to make gay marriage an issue in the coming races for governor and legislative seats. The organization would apparently target legislators who voted in support of a same-sex marriage bill that was ultimately repealed by voters.

And in another paragraph it says:
The intentions of the National Organization for Marriage to stay involved in Maine politics came to light as part of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland focusing on the substantial financial role that the organization played in defeating same-sex marriage at the polls on Nov. 3.

They still refuse to say where the money came from to support Question 1.  In the most recent court filing that included the sample campaign materials, the National Organization for Marriage argues that requiring disclosure of all donors to a political action committee “will deter donations to NOM from those who otherwise would donate.”

Dr Johnson may have said that Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, but I think secrecy might be just apt in our day.  After all Sydney can appoint bishops that way and they can enable the Jensens to stay in office that way.  Just see Nobel Wolf's post today.

Climate Change III

From the Bangor Daily News

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Einstein Quote of the Day

If I give you a pfennig, you will be one pfennig richer and I'll be one pfennig poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too.

The Most Terrifying Video

If you have about ten minutes to spend, look at this. It helps if you're a nerd like me, or if you want more information on the various positions on climate change.  It's a few years old (2007), but is right on. It's about decision making and climate change. Greg Craven, the author has written a book, "What's the Worst that Could Happen," based on this.

Climate Change II

Photo: Campbell Shelf Ice (NOAA) from Wikimedia
Andrew Revkin and James Kanter have an article in today's NY Times "Climate Conference Begins to Feel Pressure of the Clock."  Having been a "sherpa"/ observer on international agreements on marine pollution, I feel a great deal of sympathy for those people who are working so hard to come up with an agreement that the politicians can sign.  National interests, both economic and political are always there and especially in the case of climate change the question of who pays is always there.  The authors say:

The main points of contention remain as they have been for years, with a gulf to be bridged particularly on four points:
  • How much and how fast rich countries should cut their emissions or pledge to limit the rise in planetary temperature.
  • How much emerging economic powers like China and India should rein in the growth of their emissions, and how they should prove they have diverted from “business as usual.”
  • How much rich countries should compensate poor ones to limit vulnerability to climate extremes that are expected to worsen in many regions near the Equator as greenhouse gases build in the atmosphere and seas continue rising.
  • How those money flows can be guaranteed, given that past commitments under earlier climate pacts have largely gone unpaid, and which bloc gets to manage and administer the money.
And, as expected, the Republican right is leading the charge denying that there is such a thing as global warming citing some questions on data from a British center. It's just a red herring. The article goes on to say:
Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, has led that charge, proclaiming over the weekend that the climate proposals of China and other large industrialized countries were a smokescreen for what was really an economic battle. Over the weekend, his official blog quoted him as saying, “China, India, Mexico, they’re all champing at the bit for America to ration our energy, because they know they’ll get our manufacturing jobs.”
Of course this battle has an economic component.  However, study after study seems to show that saving energy saves money in the long run.  Both the World Meteorological Organization and our NOAA say that the decade we are now in is warmer than the 1990s.  But it looks like economics will triumph.  I only hope that whatever the proposals are they do take scientific data seriously.  Trying to redress all the ills of the world by tying it to this one issue will not work.

Controlling marine pollution is a piece of cake compared to climate change.  But even then, we worked till the wee hours to get a final draft done. It took four years and five-10 day meetings to come up with a regional agreement, so I can just imagine the background work it has taken on this issue which is global.

Rich countries, like the U.S., really will have to belly up to the bar.  Denying that we've not contributed to a problem that is far more likely to affect the poorer countries of the world so flies in the face of the message that Jesus brought.  Pray for all who are working to bring about an international agreement and pray that this time the U.S. will sign on in spite of Inhofe and his ilk.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Einstein Quote of the Day

"If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."

Anybody think I should send this one to Mad Priest?

Climate Change, Gordon MacDonald and Some Thoughts on Science

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Some years ago, in the mid 1980s, while I was working for the International Atomic Energy Agency, I was asked to attend the first meeting on global warming held in Geneva as an observer from the IAEA. It was the only meeting on that particular subject that I attended, but it really opened my eyes to the particularly myopic view of the United States on global warming. Finally that vision seems to be sharpening and I do hope that the meetings in Copenhagen are fruitful.

Some years before that I worked for Gordon J. F. MacDonald, then at the MITRE Corporation, and he was so concerned about global warming that he posed for a picture on the cover of People Magazine where he stood on the steps of the US Capital building showing where water could rise to if global warming did become a reality. Even though Gordon was first and foremost a scientist and believed that scientific literature was the place to publish data, he thought the issue serious enough to use a popular magazine to try to promote his point of view. He was somewhat embarrassed by this. [People Magazine only goes back to 1990 on line, so I can’t find a copy of the photo]

After my years in Vienna he became the head of IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis). Global warming was still a concern of his. If he were still alive, I’m sure he would still be pushing for people to pay attention. The National Academy of Sciences published a review of his scientific work which may be found at: http://ulmo.ucmerced.edu/~westerling/pdffiles/gmacdonald.pdf

Gordon was a holdout against the theory of plate techtonics for many years, but the evidence eventually convinced him, albeit grudgingly. If only those who do not accept that we humans are responsible for global warming would keep open minds to the data. So few people take the time to look at the data for themselves and the number of people who have taken sufficient science and math courses seems to have dwindled.

While I worked at the IAEA on the control of deep sea disposal of radioactive waste, one particular issue bugged me (and some other scientists as well). That was whether the long-held assumption that if humans are protected against the negative effects of ionizing radiation, so would other [read lesser] organisms in the environment. Some of us asked if this really was true for radioactive materials placed into the deep sea (deep meaning 4000+ meters). We know so little about the interchange of deep sea organisms with those we harvest for food, and most of the calculations and criteria involve protecting our food supply. So we made some simple assumptions and used a fairly simple model and concentrated on what might be the impacts on organisms that might live at such depths. What the modeling showed was that the assumption was likely false. If we want to protect future generations the same way we protect our own, we need to pay attention to the potential of negative effects.

Global warming has gone beyond the realm of potentiality for me. I believe it is a real threat and that future generations will suffer or benefit from what we are doing now. Do I think that Copenhagen will come up with a workable plan. I hope so. I pray so. I am also realistic. It is very complicated and countries don’t act against their perceived economic self-interest. So I am both optimistic and pessimistic. God created a wonderful world for us and gave us stewardship over it. God also gave us brains to figure out and create solutions. I sometimes wonder if God wonders if we are worth it, and then remember that God’s son came to show us we are.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Einstein Quote of the Day

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar-Day 1

Gracious and loving God, bless us, your children, as we begin our Advent journey.  Give us eyes to see the world as you see it and ears to hear your Word afresh that on our journey toward Bethlehem we may see and serve you in every person we meet.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pay Attention

While reading It's Margaret's blog, Leave it Where Jesus Flang it this morning, I was reminded of the Miserable Offender's rendition of "Pay Attention" on their Album "God Help Us."  The words and music were written by Deborah Griffen Bly, half of the duo (Ana Hernandez was the other half).  It's Advent and we all need to Pay Attention.  It's part of the Advent Message. Every Advent I listen to their album "Keepin' the Baby Awake" and wish they were still recording.  I find myself wanting to sing the hymns in church the way they recorded them.

Pay Attention (words and music by D.G. Bly)
Are we almost there!
How much longer till I'm safe in bed at home!
How much money do I owe for what I own!
How much left to pay!

Pay attention
Pay attention
This is it, more or less
Who would ever guess
This is the best of times
This is the worst of times
And it's passing
Pay attention.

Is it over yet!
How much longer does the hidden road go on!
How much farther till I cross the Rubicon!
How much toll to pay! [Chorus]

This isn't where I thought I'd be—
I ignored my own design
But if you're here, if you're with me
I like it fine.  I like it fine...
Someone tells a joke
Someone marries, someone else is giving birth
Someone's praying, someone's buried in the earth
All of us will pay—[Chorus]

We tend to just go through life, not paying attention and life just goes on, so Pay Attention, notice, think, act, serve.  We're waiting for the baby Jesus to come, but not really paying attention that he already has come and is here with us.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Izzie— Sunday Morning

The vet just called.  Izzie is complaining about being caged.  When they let her out to walk and pee and such, her tail wags and wags.  She wants to be around people.  In the cage "she vocalizes."  I assume that means she's either whimpering or barking. Probably both and she's very likely pawing the bottom of the cage. The vet said she would be better off at home since she's walking pretty well.  They will give me instructions on her care.

Instead of going to church, I'm going to go get her, even though I love the First Sunday of Advent. I finished Morning Prayer an hour ago, so that will have to do.

UPDATE:  Sunday evening.  Well she's home.  I had to wait a bit to pick her up.  I have no idea what they were doing.  The vet tech told me they had separated Izzie out from the other dogs and that she was quite a character.  She just needs to be around people.  I was shown how to do physical therapy with her.  We tried it out at the hospital and Izzie was less than cooperative.  Mainly it's massaging her back and back legs and working her legs four times a day.  She has two medicines she has to take.  One is prednisone and the other an antibiotic.  You should see her.  She has a rectangular bald patch on her back with seven staples in the middle.  I just took this picture of her battle scar.  You will have to click on it to see it in its full g(l)ory.

We took a little nap after we got home and now she's resting after a bit of food.  She won't let me out of her sight.  Her activities are supposed to be restricted, but mine are too.  She's worth it.  Right now she's resting on the floor at my feet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Update on Izzie's Surgery

The vet just called.  Izzie is walking, although her back legs are a bit weak.  She has urinated, which is a good sign as well.  The vet said she didn't eat much and thought it might be the pain killers.  However, as most of you know, Izzie likes human food and she's not getting any of that.  Besides, breakfast isn't her thing (unless it's a piece of bacon).  A snack at lunch time and a good meal in the evening are more her style.

She will be on IV painkillers until this evening at 6.  They'll then give her pain meds orally.  I told them that she really doesn't complain unless it really hurts.  The only sign that I've noticed is that when she's in pain, she pants.  The harder the panting the more the pain. The doctor said she'd write that in Izzie's chart for the night vet.  They told me I can call at any time to find out how she's doing even in the middle of the night (I'm not going to do that—I've done too many 24-hour on-calls in the hospital to call in the middle of the night just for information).  They will call again tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cribbage, Pecan Pie and Izzie

Izzie and I drove up to Millinocket, about three and a half hours from here.  We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving dinner with our friend Pat at her son's house.  Pat and I played some Cribbage afterwards and I beat her 2 out of 3 games.  I'm always amazed at how competitive I get when I play games.  It must be a residue from my childhood.  Of course back then we played Hearts after the Thanksgiving dinner, using two decks of cards because there were so many of us.  Canceling out the Queen of Spades so you didn't have to take it was always a time of great hooting and carrying on.  There was also a coffee table cribbage board that always had takers.  Somehow playing cards goes with Thanksgiving.  It's also a signal that a hot turkey sandwich or a second piece of pie will follow.  I had pecan pie.  I think it's my favorite, although I wouldn't turn down pumpkin or apple.

This morning I drove Izzie down to Scarborough for her surgery.  The vet called me later to say she thought Izzie came through it quite well. She also said there was a lot of material that had oozed out of the damaged disc that she had to clean out.  Izzie will be there until Monday.  It takes approximately four week for recovery.  In the mean time she needs to walk on level surfaces (no stairs).  Go outside only on a leash and if she is not supervised, she needs to be confined.

Izzie is a VERY stubborn dog.  She doesn't take to pampering very well (except for food).  This is going to be a tiring time and I do hope it's worth it.  I asked if she would be able to travel after a few weeks and the answer was yes.  So, at least right now, I plan on driving the two of us to California for Christmas.  Of course, the next two weeks will tell.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Not Cancer. Yea!

Thank you everyone for your prayers for my sweetie.  BUT I just got a call a few minutes ago from Izzie's neurologist.  The tumor under her tongue is benign.  I feel sooo relieved.  It's a good reminder that our eyes can sometimes mislead us and jumping to conclusions before the data are in is never good.  I'm grateful though for all of your wonderful concern.

Today Izzie was rebelling against my picking her up to get on and off the couch.  If I say "mommy help" she runs away from me as fast as she can go.  She has also decided to sit on the back cushions of the sofa.  Something she hasn't done in years.  Her back leg still doesn't function well though.

My friend David, from California, suggested that I give her Vitamin D-3 and for the last two days, I've given her some.  It can only help.  David's friend, who is developing Alzheimer's, accidently took 5 x 5000 IU of D-3 a few weeks ago and her ability to do complex tasks improved dramatically and quickly.  She normally takes 5 x 400 IU a day.  This led us to doing some research on the web as to the safety of such a large dose.  25,000 IU is still well within the safe amount, if not taken at that level every day.  Anyway, it's good for bones and muscles so David and I decided that Izzie should start taking 5000 IU to see if it would improve her back since we didn't think surgery would be an option.  I will continue her on it until she goes in on Friday morning.

Again, thank you all for your prayers for both of us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Robert Whalley's "Poem for Monday"

My friend Robert Whalley (from All Saints' San Francisco and Berkeley days) now from Australia, will be ordained to the transitional diaconate in less than 15 days.  Bob is a wonderful, gentle soul and has spent a good part of his life as a college chaplain.  He writes beautifully and this poem from his blog, called Poem for Monday really spoke to me.  It seems I needed to hear the words of "stretching into the present."  Izzie's cancer has me off-balance and living in today is so important to get through this.

Poem for Monday
We don’t have to have a past today
Could simply follow the sun like certain plants
Face the light, turn to what is bright and warming; or, conversely,
Like a more delicate potted plant, move into the softer shade for the filtered light
Humankind cannot bear very much reality, nor should many other growing things.

Find the place that suits for this morning,
the ecology that supports enough growth,
(the life of significant soil), between reseeding (receding) and bloom.
But not being caught, rooted too deeply, in either of those beds.

Instead, stretch into the present like cats do, relaxing and
Letting the spine of the moment open like a shy smile,
An intake of breath, an increased delight, a touch of dancing
While you silently stay exactly where you are.

And all that carried history and expectation,
Heavy potential and the weight of undone deeds
Unfinished stories and long-dead parents and people
We never liked all that much; make it compost, treat it like dung.

To be left behind, discarded in a pile to decay, mulch,
To ripen into something that can feed new
Unthinkable, unspeakable growth that may
Bloom into possibilities in another spring

photo from Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Isabelle

As Izzie has posted on her own blog, she has had a difficult time recently.  Over the last few days she really struggled going up stairs and got half way down and wouldn't move any further.  So I carried her down.  Then she whimpered whenever I picked her up.  We've been sleeping on the futon in the study since Sunday evening. I increased the medication she was taking for joint pain and swelling to the original dose, and although it helps, wasn't doing the trick.  I also noticed that her left rear leg would splay out when I set her on the ground.  But, once she got herself steady, she seemed to walk ok, if stiffly.

Yesterday she saw her vet again.  The vet thinks that a disk in her back is causing the problem.  She had an x-ray taken of her spine while we were still in Rangeley, and although at the time it wasn't really obvious, the vet here said she saw that one of the disks was not like the others.  She warned me that Izzie could get paralyzed if it broke.  Our vet thinks it's early enough to do something about it and give Izzie a few more good years. Izzie is now off her NSAID and on pain killers (she will probably need diagnostic procedures like an angiogram) and has an appointment this morning with a specialist.

Please pray for her and for me.  Izzie has been my partner in ministry.  She breaks the ice in a new parish and keeps vestries from taking themselves too seriously.  If people go on and on, she lets out a VERY loud snore which always gets a laugh.  She has also been known to snore in the middle of my sermons.  Which keeps me from taking myself too seriously.

I will update the blog when we (I) return from Scarborough.  When I posted this, the ad on the side was for "herniated discs."  Weird!

UPDATE: 2 pm (Thursday, 19 November) I just returned from the vet and the news is not good. Even though the disk is quite repairable and Izzie would likely come through that just fine, they discovered a tumor behind her tongue. The vet said it looked like squamous cell carcinoma, although a biopsy is needed to be sure. The vet said she would hate to do surgery on a dog that might live just 6 months or so and I agree. I will pick her up in the morning and she will get medication for pain for her spine and other meds and I will just wait and watch. I'm devastated and need to rest a bit.

UPDATE: 4 pm (Friday November 20)  Izzie is snoozing on the couch. She's on pretty strong pain meds. I am not to let her jump on furniture or go up and down stairs for the next four or five days and she has to be confined when I'm not around.  The only procedure she had was the injection of contrast media to look at her spine and a biopsy of the tumor.  They found the tumor when they were prepping her for surgery.  She seems to be her stoic, cheerful self, although very sleepy.  She shared my lunch (bits of turkey and ham from a chef's salad and ate a few treats when we got home.  She'll be on soft food for a while (a bit cheer from Izzie, since she detests kibble anyway).  I've decided to pamper her (even more) for as long as I can.  When she gets to the point where she can't eat properly or her back legs really go, then I'll have her put down.  I pray that is months off.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bad Nativities

Already frustrated by the Christmas decorations going up. Take a look at Going Jesus. It's not new, but now that the stores have the Christmas stuff going full bore, I think we all need to be prepared to  have our aesthetic senses refined. The post is called: It Came Upon a Midnight Weird: Cavalcade of Bad Nativities 2007,   I rather like the rubber duckies, myself.  The angel is kinda cute.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No Gay Marriage in Maine, Alas

I am really upset that Maine did not reject Question 1 and allow marriage for all couples, GLBT or straight.  I've shed a few tears this morning in anger and frustration.  I've looked up the voting statistics in the various counties and I do believe what people have told me is basically true.  There are two Maines.  The only two big(ish) cities, Portland and Bangor voted No, while rural Mainers tended to vote Yes.  Although the town I live in voted NO, the county did not, although the county vote was nearly 50/50.  In addition, the Roman Catholic church still has considerable influence in spite of progressive groups that don't hesitate to question their authority. I am truly sorry for all gay and lesbian Mainers who wanted the choice of marriage for themselves and their families.  I am truly sorry that an opportunity was lost to show the rest of the country what "justice for all" really means.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Souls Day

I'm reading a mathematics book called "Does God Play Dice" by Ian Stewart. It's not a new book, although I have the second edition, but like most people I tend to throw around the term "chaos theory" without really knowing what it entails and this book is about the mathematics of chaos. I'm trying to do something about my limited understanding. There's something very intriguing about the idea about the underlying order in chaos and the chaos in things that seem quite orderly. This loving and wonderful God whom I believe created all there is made a most amazing universe. I know there's a sermon in here somewhere. But for the moment I need to put the book aside and work on other things.

There is something very solemn for me about this day. All of my mother's generation has passed away (she was the youngest of her family and the last to go) and even though it's been over ten years, I do miss her. She wasn't the easiest mother to get along with, especially when she was depressed, but she did have a good sense of humor, was a great cook and until toward the end, up for adventure.

I'm listening to the Tallis Scholars singing Byrd's The Great Service. It has the right tone for me today to help me while I spend some time working on a paper. You Tube doesn't seem to have any of the wonderful music from the this album which contains:
  1. Venite
  2. Te Deum
  3. Benedictus
  4. Creed
  5. Magnificat
  6. Nunc dimittis
  7. O Lord, make Thy servant Elizabeth
  8. O God, the proud are risen
  9. Sing joyfully unto God
However, I did find this glorious piece: Vigilate (Keep watch) which also seems appropriate. It was recorded at Tewekesbury Abbey.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Who Are We?

Linda Clader posted this on Facebook and I liked it enough to grab it. It's really worth repeating here and lots of places. We are hope.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Cost of Following

Today, I'm serving at St. Matthias in Richmond, Maine as supply. I've used the hymn "Will you come and follow me" a number of times in sermons and it seemed to fit today's lessons too, so here's another version. As usual, the sermon is as written, not as delivered.
Picture from Wikipedia.

In his address to the Diocesan Convention on Saturday, our bishop, Steve, talked about the changing fortunes of the parishes in the Diocese of Maine over its history. Among the things he said was: We know that we are in the midst of massive change both economically and culturally. We know that 1959 (when our Sunday Schools were chock full and everybody went to church on Sunday mornings) will never come again. We know that the economies that built and supported our communities are gone or going. We know that the things that we keep trying to do aren’t really working, haven’t worked for a long time... but we keep wishing it weren’t so and keep trying to make them work. We keep thinking that if we could only do it right, then we’d get back on top of things, and our congregations would flourish again. He then spoke of the difference between tweaking things, which he called “technical change” something we all tend to do, and “adaptive change” which means working at learning new ways to be church.

When Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho with a big crowd, they encountered Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the side of the road. Bartimaeus shouted out to Jesus quite loudly asking for mercy. Now a lot of people in the crowd didn’t like this dirty beggar disturbing the order of things, but that didn’t stop Bartimaeus from shouting until Jesus took notice nor did his blindness didn’t keep him from running over to Jesus as fast as he could go.

When Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" Bartimaeus answered "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus told him it was his faith that made him regain his sight and followed him on the way. This following Jesus on the way is church. Bartimaeus joined the group of followers . Not only did he see again, he saw the path opened for him. He obviously wasn’t born blind because he said to Jesus “My teacher, let me see again.” And after his healing we hear that “he regained his sight and followed Jesus [him] on the way. The shouting until he was heard and the following were both adaptive changes. It was pretty dramatic stuff.

I don’t know if a song from the Iona Community in Scotland is familiar to you. It’s starts: “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? One tune is found in Wonder, Love and Praise, the supplement to our hymnal, but most people know it with this melody.

1. Will you come and follow me if I but call your name. Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
 Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
 will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Jesus does call us by name, but often we seem reluctant to listen. Naming is important. Naming a new baby. Maybe choosing a new name as an adult, or choosing to use our middle name instead of our first, or when a woman chooses to use her husband’s name after marriage or when a couple decides to hyphenate both surnames. In some cultures real names are kept secret, because knowing someone’s name gives you power over them. Names are important. We don’t know the names of all the people Jesus healed, the gospels don’t always tell us, but we do of know the name of the blind beggar, Bartimaeus because he became one of Jesus’ followers.

2. Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
 Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
 Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
 Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

The God who created us both individually and collectively as church wants us to follow his Son. When we do that, we can see there is a way that is different from the way of the world. We, who are so often blind, see. One of the things we can see clearly is this world we live in that is so often marked by cruelty, vengeance, deceit, injustice; a world where so often people and governments alike lie about what is really going on in order to hide the truth of unfair dealings, exploitative relationships, and oppressive policies. When we follow the way and let God answer prayer in us we become like Bartimaeus unafraid to speak out. Because of God’s faithfulness that never lets go of us, we are set free to be the people we are called to be. This is the God who never turns away from us, even though we really never stop being sinners as long as we live in this world. Jesus sets us free to look at our lives and our communities with the point of view of the kingdom of God, where love is primary. Where love requires us to put everything on the line, to love those who are difficult to love just like we love those who are easily lovable, and to answer our unique call. We are called to adaptive change.

3. Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
 Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
 Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
 and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

I’ve often wondered what letting the blind see really means. Does it mean we are called to remove barriers to others seeing what God’s kingdom is about? What does that mean in a small church like this? It’s scary to admit to what Jesus means to us. If we admit to what he means we might have to go out and follow like Bartimaeus did. In discipleship, Jesus leads us down many paths of service in life, many activities, occupations, and roles, but the disciple is always playing as serious game of “follow the leader.” Our leader provides not only direction but the power and grace to persevere.

4. Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?
 Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
 Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,
 through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

How do we stop the fear we feel when we’re called to reshape the world around us? We’re all so much more comfortable with things when they don’t change, yet they change in spite of ourselves. Our prayers in community, our breaking bread together, our listening to God’s world will help us not to hide. Every time we take communion together, remember it is first and foremost, God’s hospitality to us present in the person of Jesus. All the inhospitality in the world is looked at straight in the face in the awesome mystery that Christ gave himself for us. It signals that in God’s kingdom there is room for everyone, even blind beggars.

5. Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
 Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
 In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.
 Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Jesus calls us ordinary people to follow him and leave their old selves behind just because he called them by name. Jesus calls us to serve him no matter what our work is, whether we’ve retired, or if we’ve just started out. I know that there are events in our lives that make everything else seem trivial, at least for a time. These events can be negative such as the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one, or a huge natural disaster, or a major economic crisis like we’re now in. They could be positive too, like a chance at a new opportunity or getting ready for marriage or welcoming a new baby into the family. When we think about how these events take over our lives, our minds, our feelings, we can appreciate how important being in community is. Facing these things alone is daunting, but we’re not alone. To be in community with each other, with our families and with others in this dioceses will help us live in anticipation of Christ’s coming is to live in faith and hope. It will take all of you to find out what God is calling you to become, so you can live and move and grow in Jesus as he lives and moves and grows in each of you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hunter's Orange: Hiking at Dodge Point

The four of us took a hike at Dodge Point near the Damariscotta River. We bought sandwiches and ate them in the car because it was so chilly out. Just as we were about to embark on our walk, we noticed a sign saying to wear orange because there could be hunters in the woods, so I drove back to town (10 minutes) to Reny's (a Maine institution) and bought us each an orange watch cap and Izzie an orange band for her collar. Izzie's band doesn't show in this picture, her hair is hiding it. This is at the start of our walk. Fortunately I'm not in any of the pictures. I would imagine that my purple jacket with orange hat would make me look quite odd, or festive, depending on one's PoV. We should have gone home to get Izzie's pumpkin outfit (hah).

The air was was cold, and there wasn't much sun, but the woods were quite lovely. Grandson is supposed to go on a nature walk and collect things to share at school, so we found some birch bark, acorns, pine cones, rocks and red and yellow maple leaves. We will iron the leaves between pieces of wax paper to preserve them. He can take a copy of this picture along too. We can't take living things with us out of the woods, but pictures are a great way to keep memories alive. Izzie loves hiking and had a great time being off leash. I'm glad we found this place. I saw it while driving down the road to pick up a pottery chalice and paten for Rangeley's new deacon.
Yesterday we drove up the coast to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory. Four-hundred feet above the Penobscot river on the top of one of the piers you get a great view of the town of Bucksport upriver and the sweep of the river as it moves down to the ocean. An elevator takes you to the top. It is on the site of Ft. Knox, built in 1844 to protect the river valley against possible British invasion. Maine was involved with border disputes with Canada both during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The fort, seen at the top of the point of land to the bottom left of the photo, was named after the first U.S. Secretary of War, Major General Henry Knox, who was born in Boston, but retired to Thomaston, Maine, just a ways down the coast.

My grandson loved the canons at the old fort far more than going up the elevator to the observatory. I found a book called "You wouldn't want to sail in the Spanish Armada!" and he has had his father read it to him a number of times already. He especially likes the parts where things get blown up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Something Silly

The Bangor Daily News covered the Pumpkinfest with the headline "'Something Silly' hits Damariscotta." The photo is from them as well. It's the founder of the fest on his motorized pumpkin. Grandson really enjoyed the pumpkin drop, though. Watching a 300+ pound pumpkin drop on a junker car from 200 feet is quite a sight. Silliness indeed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest

Well, judging by the number of people walking downtown yesterday, Pumpkinfest must have been a success. The pumpkin boats raced and artists carved or painted pumpkins in front of businesses and they were quite imaginative. Izzie was a hit in her outfit. You can tell how thrilled she was to wear it in the picture on the left. She got her picture taken by so many people, she'll be famous around the country (one lady said she was from Colorado) and a man from Texas asked where we bought it so he could get one for his dog for Halloween.
The next photo is my son and grandson and Izzie on the way downtown. We'll take more pictures today.
The pumpkin drop is this morning. I have no idea what that means. It's also the last day that the homemade ice cream place (Round Top Farms) will be open until next summer. I do love their ice cream even though I'm lactose intolerant. They have vanilla lactose free ice cream, but some of the flavors are so tempting that I make sure I have Lactaid with me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Glorious Maple

Here's a picture of the maple in the front yard. I decided to take the picture before more of the leaves fall off. They're predicting more rain tomorrow. The tree is turning bit by bit rather than the whole tree turning at once. There's still a lot of green on the top. This is my favorite time of the year even if it does mean that winter is on its way. I really missed the seasons the years I spent in California.

This and That

I finally have a place to work at home that's not the dining room table. After looking at desks and tables and such I finally settled on Elfa freestanding shelving. Since I am only renting this house, I wanted something I could take with me that was versatile. Of course trying to put it up by myself was exciting. There are cross-pieces at the top of the vertical standards that were impossible for me to pound in from a step ladder. After grousing to my friend of 35 years (he's in California) and an engineer, I followed his suggestion of putting the unit flat on the floor with the feet against the wall and putting them in that way. It worked!

In case you're wondering, that's not St. Francis on the top shelf, but St. Martin de Porres. I love it because of the dog, cat, mouse and bird on the statue. Born in Peru in 1579 of a Spanish father and Panamanian mother, this first black saint from the Americas is supposed to have set up a hospital for cats and dogs at his sister's house. His feast day (Roman Catholic) is November 3. It's pretty fragile pottery, but has survived all of my moves to various place for my interim work.

This is all part of a push to get the house finished for the visit of my son and grandson for a week starting on Saturday and then for the visit of a couple of friends the following week for a few days and then my friend Jane from Vienna will be coming in early November.

Next task to get the small bedroom in order.

Update: Making a bed with Izzie around is quite a task. She insists on jumping on the bed and gets up on top of each layer. I usually try to do it when she's pre-occupied (sleeping). I finally managed to finish. Small bedroom is ready. Now for the study.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Garrison Keillor Apology?

My friend Peach spotted this and posted in on facebook. It's a piece by Garrison Keillor found at Common Dreams.org. It was originally posted on Salon and is titled
I Was So Wrong
Even people who oppose regulation and don't mind manufacturing hamburger contaminated by E. coli deserve healthcare

It's good satire in typical Keillor fashion that takes Republicans to task. I particularly like the bit where he says "Republicans have the same right to quality healthcare as anyone else, and you can quote me on that. Even people who are crazed stark raving berserk by the thought of a president with three vowels in his last name deserve to be treated with kindness and dignity, and shot with tranquilizer darts by game wardens and wrapped in quilts and taken to refuge."

As Peach said, Keillor is an American treasure.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Episcopal Bishop of Maine Speaks Out

I lied, I didn't post at all last week, or this week either. Today's press release from my diocese was enough to get me off my duff and post this. Yesterday, The Episcopal Bishop of Maine made a statement during a press conference sponsored by the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine. Although his whole statement may be found on his blog Round Maine with Bishop Lane, in essence what he says is that he supports voting "no" on Question 1 (Question 1 if passed would repeal the work of the Maine legislature permitting same-sex marriage). He says:
It is my belief that the right to marry is a crucial civil right, establishing both protections and obligations that safeguard gay and lesbian couples and their families.
It is core to our Christian belief that we are all children of God, created in God’s image, and, in baptism, we are all full members of the church. In the Episcopal Church, we have also determined that sexual orientation, in and of itself, is no bar to holding any office or ministry in the church, as long as the particular requirements of that office or ministry are met. In many of our congregations, both here in Maine and around the country, faithful same-gender couples and their families are sharing in their local church’s life and ministry and in service to their communities. As full members of our churches and contributing citizens of Maine, these families are as entitled to the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage as any couple.
He ends by reminding us that "Our tagline of many years, The Episcopal Church Welcomes You, has never seemed more important."

I'm proud of my bishop and the clergy and lay people who stood with him at this conference and all the people of faith who spoke. There is a video of the Dean of the cathedral who also stated his view on scripture and marriage equality, which I recommend as well.

Erratum: I changed "Proposition" to "Question". After living in California for so many years, and voting on so many "propositions" I reverted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm not posting this week. I'm at a clergy retreat. Will resume Tuesday of next week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hope versus Fear

Eric Reitan has written an article on Religion Dispatches called Presidential Pep Talks and the Religion of Fear: How Did an Uncontroversial Speech Become a National Controversy. He articulates the differences between a religion of hope and a religion of fear and why those who are part of the religion of fear do not want the President to appear moderate and human. He refers to these people as belonging to a religion of fear believe in a vengeful God who visits his creatures who disobey with disasters such as 9/11. They believe it is crucial to keep the followers of the religion of hope out of power, so that this vengeful God may be appeased by forcing everyone to "toe the line." But what I really liked about the article was his description of the religion of hope:
The religion of hope is beautifully embodied in the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and is concisely expressed in his conviction that “beneath the harsh appearances of the world there is a benign power”—that is, a transcendent benevolence that cares about the good and supports those who work for justice. A key feature of the religion of hope is that, because the root of creation is good, no existing thing is essentially bad or evil. Most significantly, this means that every person is a product of a benevolent creator and so not only has inherent value and dignity, but has the capacity within them for moral goodness.

No one is irredeemably evil. No one is so far gone that they have been rendered incapable of compassion; even if, as may be the case, this capacity has been buried beneath layers of prejudice and fear. Because all of us are products of the same divine benevolence, and because our divine creator is a real power moving within all of us to nurture what is good, we can enter conflicts in the hope that we can reach and connect with our opponents’ best selves, that fundamental part of who they are that is responsive to the needs of others.

This is not to say that evil systems and forces aren’t real, and that people do not become deeply entangled with them; nor that injustices can be overcome without struggle, or that there will never be a need to apprehend and incapacitate dangerous people; nor that our duties to protect those in our care will never call us to harm an aggressor in their defense.

But it does mean that even our most dangerous opponents will be seen as fellow human beings with a capacity to care about the good. Those who live by the religion of hope are therefore more inclined to pursue reconciliation even when there are risks, and more likely to forgive even when a past wrong is truly grave.

And when and where the religion of hope prevails, it is difficult to foster an attitude of paranoid hysteria. Even when threats and injustices are real, those who live by the religion of hope look for ways to overcome those threats and injustices by building and recognizing connections of common humanity. They are not easily convinced by those who fabricate dangers out of thin air, and they are not likely to view an occasion for staking out common ground and shared values as itself a danger from which our children must be shielded.

This is so opposite what we are finding in our political and religious communities in the USA, and is exactly the message that Jesus preached. And don't the angels when they appear to us mortals start out by saying "Be not afraid!" I strongly recommend you read the whole article.

H/T Paige Blair now a priest in the San Diego area, a wonderful iconographer and u2charist proponent posted the link to this on her Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Joan Chittister on Sr. Louise

Another great post by Joan Chittister: Louise Akers: Silenced or louder than ever? in the National Catholic Reporter. Chittister starts off by saying "History is a dangerous thing. Somebody ought to be reviewing some of it carefully now -- for the sake of the church, if nothing else. There may be a lesson to be learned here. " She goes on metioning the Attenborough film, Gandhi where Gandhi leads the poor Indians to the sea to collect sea water to make salt. She goes on to say "Gandhi was clear about the purpose of nonviolent resistance. It would expose the injustice of the oppressor and claim the conscience of the world.

The lesson is a sobering one: Suppression does not end revolution; it breeds it. It solves nothing."

Later in the blog she says:

If you think not, think Martin Luther or Ulrich Zwingli or John Calvin or Mary Ward or Mary MacKillop or John Cardinal Henry Newman or Teilard de Chardin or Hans Kung. Think of any number of others without whom we would still be selling relics or teaching merit theology or refusing to allow women religious on the streets or rejecting the concept of the sensus fidelium or refusing to attend the weddings of our children in Protestant churches or disdaining to deny science, scientists, the movement of the sun and evolution.

The continued suppression of thinkers who call for the discussion and study of the role of women in church and society is not suppressing anything. In fact, more and more men and women are beginning to speak out about it. Which is where Sr. Louise and Archbishop Pilarczyk come in: Like the English, he has the power of the past on his side; like Gandhi, she has the power of the present and the promise of the future on hers.

What a clearly articulated reason that in the long run, suppression fails.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"We Can't Afford to Wait"

Thanks to Emily for pointing me to this. At the end of the video you can sign up. MoveOn is a political action group. The video is a series of people who are asking for universal health care with a sign telling why they or someone they love need it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Marriage Equality in Maine

It is now September and it's time I start blogging again. The house is nearly straightened out so I have no more excuses.

There have been a lot of good TV spots on marriage equality as a run up to the November referendum here in Maine. This is one of them and my favorite so far.

Our clergy day discussion will be about how to respond pastorally to same sex blessings in our churches.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Theatre Connections

Last week I drove to Monmouth to see Twelfth Night that my daughter's friend directed. It was a fun production and the cast had a lot of energy. The staging was wonderful. It starts off with Feste dressed in early 20th century garb in a movie studio and the characters are costumed to resemble people like Mae West and Buster Keaton and the Keystone Kops and swashbucklers, etc. Not only does said friend act and direct, she also teaches acting in California during the winter.

Then yesterday said friend and a friend of hers came to town for lunch with me. Daughter and friend met in Vienna in the 80s at the English Theatre. Friend is a actress (and director) and daughter had just finished two years in university studying theatre arts. Daughter worked mostly for free and backstage except for one play where she had a bit role. Friend had leading roles. It's hard to believe it's been over 20 years since those days. Vienna's English Theatre is still going strong. Not only did we have lunch, I introduced them to a couple of great stores in town and then we went to the bookstore.

I'm sorry I had no idea that she was in Maine earlier in the summer, otherwise I would have seen more of the productions. Friend is also Gertrude in Hamlet and and Angelique in A Little Hotel on the Side.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shelving Books

Shelving books in a new house takes time. The house that I'm renting has lots of built in bookcases and, at least so far, I think I have plenty of space. It's just that when I pick up an old friend that I haven't read for while I need to think about where it should go or is there something in it that I need to re-read and I find myself thumbing though it. Of course there are lots of books that immediately find a home like all of my bibles and commentaries and liturgical resources and children's books. I like to organize them by category and then author, so I can find something fairly quickly.

This morning I opened another book box and thumbing through a source book on liturgy I opened it to the following gem. It is a section called "Tell Them the Truth" It reminds me of Telling Secrets recent post on misogyny and all the fuss about Hillary Clinton's speaking out in Africa.

I know that many men and even women are afraid and angry when women do speak, because in this barbaric society, when women speak truly they speak subversively—they can't help it: if you're underneath, if you're kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experiences as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.

That what I want—to hear you erupting. You young Mount St. Helenses who don't know the power in you—I want to hear you. I want to listen to you talking to each other and to us all: whether you're writing an article or poem or letter or teaching a class or talking with friends or reading a novel or making a speech or proposing a law or giving a judgment or singing the baby to sleep or discussing the fate of the nations, I want to hear you. Speak with a woman's tongue. Come out and tell us what time of night it is! Don't let us sink back into silence. If we don't tell our truth, who will? Who'll speak for my children, and yours?
Ursula K. Le Guin

This quotation is from "Dancing at the Edge of the World." I loved Ursala Le Guin's fantasy, science fiction and her children's stories. Her writing goes far beyond that, though. Her most recent novel (2008) called Lavinia is about the wife of Aeneas. For those of us who read the Aeneid in Latin, we know there isn't really much about her there. In fact, I had forgotten that after he got to the Italian peninsula he wooed a local girl. I'm going down to the bookstore to see if they have it. I like Le Guin's books because they have strong female characters. These women are not afraid to tell the truth.

Update: the bookstore had to order a copy, they sold out of what they had. It should be in on Monday. I love independent bookstores and this one is great.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cooking for Izzie

For those days when I'm too tired to cook, we've found a chef for Izzie.
I have given up trying to get Izzie to eat dog food. I have two books on cooking for your dog and since she just loves whatever I eat, I think her last years should not involve nightly fights (which she usually wins) over what she eats. Tonight she had roasted chicken, brown rice and some bing cherries (one of the few fruits she likes). This week we've had ground lamb patties, sweet potato, Swiss chard, pork tenderloin, sweet corn, summer squash (you get the idea) She doesn't like eggplant, though. I've been sprinkling vitamins on her meat and have seen a definite improvement in her ability to do stairs and jumping on furniture this past week. We had a good long walk today and she managed it without balking. So her dried food is just there for snacking, should she choose to want some.

Izzie was four when we became companions. I don't know much about her history before then, but it's been a real struggle for the past seven years to get her to eat anything except people food. There are a few veggies she doesn't like, but mostly if I fix meat or fish, something starchy and some veggies she will wolf it down. She really likes the cabbage family of vegetables and sweet potatoes. Pasta is her favorite starch, although rice will do if it has butter on it. One of the books said to give her equal portions of meat and vegetable and double that of starch, which is what I do.

Here's a recipe for Canine Lasagna that Izzie (and her doggie friends) like:
1 pound (minced) ground turkey cooked until browned.
1-15 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
some garlic powder (optional)
oregano (optional)
1 lb. elbow macaroni cooked
1 lb low fat cottage cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

Put a third of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish (add oregano and garlic to sauce if using)
  1. Top that with 1/2 the pasta
  2. Spread half the cottage cheese and then half the cheddar on top of the pasta.
  3. Add another third of the spaghetti sauce.
Repeat 1,2,3.
Cover with aluminum foil
Bake for about 30-40 minutes in a moderate oven (350°F)

I usually cut this into portions and freeze some for later use.

It's not bad people food either, although I prefer it with some onions cooked. Izzie tolerates onions quite well, but a lot of dogs don't. Izzie had an Australian Shepherd friend named Sydney that decided I was ok after I fixed her this one day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Glorious Sunday

I wish I could find my camera. I guess it's in a box I haven't unpacked as yet. Today was a glorious day and after church Izzie and I took a drive to see a bit more of the peninsula. We saw New Harbor (there's a great Puffin watch tour that you can take from the harbor, that I will take soon) and the cute village of Round Pound and stopped and bought some corn and raspberries and wild Maine blueberries at a farm stand. They had beautiful produce. The views of the water were quite special which is why I wished I had my camera. That and the fact that I have some pictures from Europe I haven't down loaded yet.

After the drive I had lunch at a local restaurant. One of the specials was lobster salad and crab salad in avocado halves. They were surrounded by the best tasting strawberries I've had in a long while and some watermelon and Granny Smith apples. What a treat! I then went to the local bookstore cafe—had a cup of coffee and chocolate chip cookie then walked home to take a nap.

All in all a glorious Sunday.

Friday, August 7, 2009

How would you like a moose in your lobby?

I still don't have the time or energy to write something original, but here's something from the Bangor Daily News. It should lighten up your day. A few days ago, this large moose walked into a building up the coast a bit from where I'm now living. These things weigh about a ton. After getting it sedated, they had to use a backhoe to put in in a truck.

The settling in is going reasonably well. The weather has been great and I really think I'm going to like it here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Promises, Promises

I promise I will put up a post soon. I'm quite overwhelmed by this move. I did take a drive this morning down to Pemaquid Point to see the lighthouse. Of course, this was after I went to the hardware store for some much needed cleaning supplies.

Update: for those who want to see what the light house looks like here's a link.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Suryia and Roscoe—From the Rare Species Fund

My friend Robert, who posts occasionally at Chaplinesque, and who is a Yank in Australia, pointed me to this. It's delightful.

What in human terms we would call generosity and love shown by Suryia the orangutan to this dog is heart-warming and that the dog would have no fear is amazing.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Greying Hair

I just read in my "Science News" that stress causes grey hair. I've been here for just two years, but my hair has definitely gotten considerably grayer over that time. I refuse to acknowledge that it could be my age, so it has to be the stress.

I'm not blogging much, since I'm packing up my belongings quite seriously now. I give my last sermon on Sunday. We'll have a party after church and then I move next week, Wednesday and Thursday.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Society of Ordained Scientists

As of this morning I am officially The Rev'd. Amelia Hagen, SOSc. It was really quite wonderful being with this group of men and women whose interests span both science and theology. The fields of science, medicine and technology that are represented are quite varied. There were five of us who became members this morning. We need to renew our commitment in a year. At that point we can commit for three years and after that we can commit for life. The Rule of the Society is:
  1. To pray daily for the aims of the Society and for its members.
  2. To remember the Society and its members regularly at public worship. (when appropriate)
  3. To endeavor to attend the annual gathering and retreat of the Society.
The aims are:
  1. To offer to God in our ordained role the work of science and technology in the exploration and stewardship of creation.
  2. To express both the commitment of the Church to the scientific and technological enterprise and our concern for its impact on the world.
  3. To develop a fellowship of prayer for ordained scientists by the following of a common rule.
  4. To support each other in our vocation.
  5. To serve the Church in its relation to science and technology.
I had wanted to join this fellowship after I was first ordained, but the time commitment of my work as an interim made this nearly impossible. Attending the annual meetings just wasn't on. Now I feel that by doing part-time interims, I will have time and energy to commit to the Society.

Bishop Steve's Busy First Day

This video is from Bishop Lane's (Diocese of Maine) Blog. He's quite good at keeping us informed. The main topic is legislation from the dioceses where same sex marriage is legal that would enable using the Book of Common Prayer for blessing of civil marriages of same sex couples. He was testifying about this.

It's very strange to be across the ocean during General Convention, although I must admit, I seem to schedule vacations around that time. The last time I went away, +Gene Robinson was approved and it was interesting to listen to Wyoming radio on my drive back from backpacking in the Big Horns. This time, at least I'm in touch, via the internet.