Saturday, December 08, 2007


We adopted this partbred German Shepherd from the Humane Society Shelter. She was close to going to puppy heaven. I've never had such a loyal, sweet dog. She even likes the cat. Amazing. She's had some health problems but once she is over them, I hope she'll live a long, healthy life. Welcome to the Double Barrel Ranch, Keesha.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Cloud

A dark, ominous gray cloud sits to the south. Sunshine bathes us after a night of rain. The air is moving to the north. It is going to rain again. The birds are getting in their last songs. Rain is rare enough in the desert that I enjoy each facet of it. This will make digging in my garden tomorrow easier. The desert has many faces.

Friday, November 16, 2007


It looks like I have been slacking off in my blog posting lately. It is not because I have stopped thinking. I've been reading a lot. Then there is the news that Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for his work in advancing the cause of "Green." I also heard he is selling his enormous Viginia home because presumably he realizes how un-green it is.

My house was green before there was a green movement. I could list all the features: using grey water to irrigate vegetation, solar panels that produce electricity such as the power my computer is using right now, etc. but I only designed these feautures because I love nature. In my neighbor when a contractor comes in to build a house, the first thing they do is bull-doze the site, leveling all the vegetation, sawing down all the trees. I almost burst into tears when I see that. My contractor only bull-dozed a narrow spot, leaving vegetation within an arm span of the finished house. They probably thought I was nuts. This was 1988, before the green movement remember. The natural plants that are here are the ones which are going to survive drought, storm, animals. And today I have a healthy animal community and diverse plant species - that I don't have to water.

I keep on thinking. I have found great insight on the internet, and utter nonsense. The Yin and the Yang... I'm thinking..... I really am.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Organisms in the Water

My annual battle with algae in the swimming pool has begun. The water is still clear but yellowish-green organisms are growing on the walls. Time to bring out the big chemical guns. Those expensive bottles of mysterious mixtures that do mortal harm to bad substances while being safe enough for your average fifth-grader to handle.

I didn't need any weapons to terminate the lives of 4 creatures who drowned in the pool overnight. I fished out a dead mouse, a dead toad, a dead tarantula, and a dead centipede. This is a highly unusual number of unfortunate non-swimming victims. Well, probably the mouse and the toad swam for awhile before succumbing. Maybe I should put little life preservers out in the water for them? After all, the ancient Buddhist saying is "May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering." Or perhaps I could place small warning signs: Beware! Large body of water ahead. Enter at own risk! Actually, that sounds about right to erect for human consumption. I might add something about yellow-green algae and E. coli, that should keep people out of my pool.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I got the idea for today's blog from a gal in Tasmania. She had been asked to list six unusual things about herself. So I decided to do that also:

1. I am tall. This means I cannot find pants long enough, shoes big enough, and long sleeve tops with sleeves long enough to fit me. I am used to it by now though. I just assume clothes will not fit me.

2. I have never worn make-up. I tried it once as a young teen and I thought I looked so ridiculous, that I have never worn it again.

3.I'd rather drive a truck than a car.

4. I practice Yoga.

5.I've been baptized twice. Sprinkled as a baby and dunked as an adult.

5.I enjoy reading the dictionary.

6. And finally, I like the smell of vehicle exhaust fumes. But of course I know it's toxic, it's just that it doesn't repulse me.

Odd, eh?

I could actually continue on and on with these oddities but perhaps six is enough.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Memorial to R.O. (1937-2007)

But listen to me: for one moment
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you. God.


On August 5th our community lost an eminent son. No, he never made the newspaper. He never had a medal pinned to his chest. But by his love, he moved many people to become more and better. He was a conduit of blessings from God to man. I can't help but be sad that he won't be among us anymore. But, God, I hear the petals falling around me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stuck With It

I've been doing a little study in comparative languages. (Did you know there is no future tense in Finnish?) Did you know that many languages have no spaces between words? As a native English speaker, I cannot fathom having a non-stop string of letters and being able to make sense of it.


Yes, I think labels are important. Words are important. Experience needs to be communicated.

Our thoughts can be brought from "out there" and felt in the gut. A good writer punches. A good writer slightly rustles the leaves and our nose picks up the scent. The sticky label is stuck to your skin and difficult to remove. A trace remains. You use a censored word synominous with animal reproduction. Other people laugh. They recall their own similar experience. It can be translated to all languages. We are moved, together.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Home of the Brave

When I was ten, my country was at war in Vietnam.

When I was a teenager, my boyfriends were all certain they'd be drafted and sent off to die in a jungle. They were brave boys. But my country wasn't brave. From that experience we don't want to repeat the mistake of not honoring our troops again.

Now I am 52. My husband served in the US Navy on a ship taking troops to Vietnam. Today the brave boys volunteer for the military service. We send them off to far lands again. Some die. Not many. Not like Vietnam. On the home front we advertise our "support for the troops". But still, my country is not brave.

In World War II, on average, 280 US soldiers died EVERY DAY. America was brave. We wanted to free people from oppression. We were willing to pay the price. We supported our troops. We sacrificed on the home front for them. My father served in the Pacific theatre in WW II. During those awful years we buried our military dead, we buried millions of civilians in the war torn countries, but we who survived and we who were born to those who survived, we hesitate - as a nation- to sacrifice again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Physical Arizona

Arizona actually is quite varied in it's topography as can be seen on this physical map. My home is in the south east corner, between the mountain ranges. Phoenix is the capital and it is the most populous state capital in the US. It's located close to the dead center of the state. It is much hotter in Phoenix than where I live. Most of the lakes in Arizona are man-made, including all you can see on this map. Water is everything in an arid climate like this. Arizona is surrounded by Mexico, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. The 200 mile long Grand Canyon was formed by the Colorado River cutting jaggedly across the northwest corner of the state. The wide-spread use of central air-conditioning in this sunny clime has made the state attractive to new residents and it is now the fastest growing state in the USA.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Decision

Recently I was faced with a chance to do something unethical which would profit me, I would profit financially from it and there was no chance that my action would be discovered. I didn't hesitate. I said "no". The vast majority of people may say I was stupid. I brought suffering upon myself because I wouldn't "cheat." It was a win-win situation if I said "yes." So why did I say "no"?

It is popular in today's world to believe that the ends justify the means. We are taught that we have "to play the game" to get ahead. One must have a positive mental attitude. Look at the bookstores, brimming with self-help tomes. You could fill your house with words on how to achieve success.

Unfortunately, when people get that success, they find it is hollow. An astonishing number of million dollar lottery winners are broke within a few years.

So, what can we do to make our lives meaningful? I am not going to tell you to volunteer to help Africa, get religion or join a 12 step program. Those are noble. But no. I am going to tell you to behave everyday with integrity. Be patient. Treat everyone as you want to be treated. (Where have you heard that before?) I may lose financially today. But I am at peace. I'll gain riches tomorrow.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Modern Behavior

I admit it. I am a babyboomer. A product of the 60's. The motto was "Question Everything". The generation before me had another set of morals. Today they are considered old-fashioned maybe. Men opened doors for ladies. Those men did not seriously think that women could not open the door by themselves. It was done as a sign of respect. Women bore the children of the next generation. They were highly invested in bringing those new lives, the product of both man and woman, into the world.

Then the birth control pill caused a seismic shift. Children could become products. Abortion on demand fixed any irregularities. Morals became "relative". Not many doors were opened for ladies anymore.

Recently a talk radio host found it easy to refer to a group of educated and physically gifted athletes- of more than one race-, as some "nappy-headed hos." He is an idiot. He also should have known better as he is closer to that more respectful generation than I am. All have been polluted by the downward pull of modern American culture.

Then we hear of a sick young man ranting in a self-made video, just before he goes into a gun-free (read="safe") school and blows away some innocent people. Men, women, teachers, students. Nobody stopped him. His rampage only stopped when he committed suicide. There is probably somebody out there who thinks they can do more harm than he caused. People cause all their problems.

Basically I think people try to do good, to get along. But there is a hole where respect used to be. Society needs to fill this hole in our moral fiber with a goodness that can reach those who look at others as bullet targets, sex objects, products of conception or evil personified because of their religion, race, ethnic origins, or bank account.

I still question things. Why is this country not what I had hopes it would be when I sang of peace and love in the 1960's? They were naive songs. Dreams of a child. But I remind myself: that character that I want to see in others, it begins with me.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Night and Day

There is darkness, there is light. I find it interesting that God first created the heavens and the earth, and then on the second day got around to creating light, separating the two and making day and night. So there is always darkness before light. Ignorance before enlightenment. Chaos before civility. In the womb our eyes are closed. I can think of one instance where there is light before darkness: when a camera flash goes off in your eyes. Very bright. Then you can't see straight. Gradually vision returns. One sees the heavens and the earth again. They didn't go anywhere.

Of course the 800 pound gorilla in the room on this topic is evil. When was there evil in the world? At first there was no law. All was natural. God saw that it was very good and rested on the seventh day.

I believe we have a propensity toward evil since those days in the Garden of Eden. We know what is right but we choose to do otherwise for a multitude of reasons. Eventually we don't even know what is right. What is right becomes what is expedient. Your actions follow your beliefs. Life becomes one narrow and selfish series of events. When things are all relative, then there is no vision. Without vision a person perishes. Darkness prevales.

After darkness is light though. It is a lie that one should abandon all hope when one enters the darkness. Here is a tiny candle for you, Dante Alighieri.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My Free Will

There were waves made recently when a travelling minister came to our church and said that God was not all-knowing, not omniscient. He claimed God was moving through time with us, which is why we truly have free-will.

It's an interesting idea, but so outrageous that I have to comment on it.

The first thing that comes to mind is how we can have prophets if there is no known future to predict? Did Jesus just hope he would be raised from the dead on the third day?

More serious, studious students of scripture do not question the omnipotence of God, but rather that beings have free will.

If I am given two options A & B and God is all-knowing, God knows I will choose A, God cannot be wrong. So if I cannot choose B, how do I have free will?

This argument is true in that:

-I can freely choose between A & B

-God is all-knowing

-God knows I will choose A

-God cannot be wrong

But the next statement does not follow. Just because God has knowledge of something does not mean that He makes it so. For instance, I love horses. If I am travelling in a car and someone notices and comments that there is a horse out in a field, I have a choice to look or not look. It is my free will. But God knows and everyone else who knows me knows that I will snap my attention to try to see that horse.

Free will and omniscience are compatible.

By the way, God invented time, that He would lower himself to be limited by this construct does not follow.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


We spend too much money feeding wild birds, but they are so cute, we can't help ourselves. These are finches I think.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Found Poem

Here, try this one:

The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 12, 2002

I love this!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hameln and Greenland

I cannot emphasize how much fun it is to be a member of Yesterday I actually got a postcard from the home of the Pied Piper of Hameln. Now is that unique or what? Evidently after the children were led away, the adults got busy and had more children because the population there is now 60,000. (Just joking.)

If anyone wants to learn more about the people and places in this world, I can think of no easier way. Just make sure you have on hand a lot of postcards of your own area. Thankfully the whole project is devoid of politics. About the closest we get to politics is to complain about our various postal services.

I have a beef with my own post office. The substitute letter carrier, not the regular guy, delivered a book to me on Saturday and jammed it so hard into my mailbox to make it fit, that the wrapper and the cover of the book inside were ripped. All because they did not want to return it to the post office and leave me a card that I had an over sized package. My regular mailman just brings any big packages to my door. But that takes time and is above and beyond service. A "substitute" feels no such duty.

Postcrossing requires a lot of trust. You send out random postcards hoping that eventually you will get some in return. Sometimes the mail system is rough on cards and they never reach their destination. Sometimes people get lazy and do not mail what they have promised or even acknowledge that they have received this gift in the mail. But despite these pitfalls, hope springs eternal and everyday people join the postcrossing family, from around the world. Although everyone is hoping to get a postcard from Greenland, those residents seem reticent to join the family of postcard swappers. Do they have postcards in Greenland? I imagine they are pictures of glaciers, which I hear are melting. More land is being exposed and so the livable areas of Greenland are expanding. Maybe there is hope for more Greenlanders! The people of Hameln did it!

Friday, February 02, 2007

A.K.A. Woodchuck Day

Today is the thrilling second day of February when the notorious ground hog (Marmota monax) crawls out of his burrow to check the weather. If he doesn't see his shadow, as I heard happened today, it is good news. It signals an early spring. Now I live in Arizona where spring is always early. And we don't have ground hogs either. But I did peek at the expected overnight low temperatures in places I have friends: -19, -9, -7. and -1. That is painful weather. Here we might get a frost. It is the full moon. It always seems colder on nights of a full moon. There I go sounding like the "Old Farmer's Almanac". Must be the superstitious farmer in me. I'm not superstitious though. I believe things happen in a grand design. For which there needs to be a Grand Designer. And that character has a great sense of humor, to invent a creature like the woodchuck, to whom all honor goes, today, Ground Hog Day 2007.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lombardi Trophy is "Stolen"

I am sorry to say that I don't have anything original to write today but I have another blog to comment on. Dr. Sanity. You can jump to her blog by clicking on the link I have here for her always interesting postings.

On January 26 she wrote:

"The Democrats lost the 2000 election. Therefore it must have been "stolen".

The Democrats lost the 2004 election. Therefore it must have been "stolen".

The Democrats won back some seats in the 2006 mid-term election to claim a majority in Congress. Obviously it was a completely fair election process overall.

Notice any sort of a pattern here?"

So, did you notice anyone protesting that the election was rigged? Did the media question any of the results? No? Hmm. What does this say about the civility of some political parties? I am not going to say who I voted for, but I've never questioned the results of the balloting. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. My team did not make it to the Super Bowl - where the Lombardi Trophy is awarded to the winners. I don't think that anyone "threw" any games. Maybe I'm naive?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Snow Party

There is a columnist in the newspaper that I read and usually find annoying. His name is Garrison Keillor and writing has made him a rich man. On January 25th he started his column describing the postive aspects of winter, i.e. shoveling snow, feeling like you are freezing to death, etc. He said we "need winter to enjoy summer, just as your kids need to work lousy jobs for low pay in order to appreciate having a car and an apartment." On January 22 I woke up to find 9 inches of heavy wet snow carpeting my area. Branches were snapping left and right under the unnaturally heavy load. I disagree that the native acacia tree in my yard that split off 2/3's of it's being due to being too much a desert tree not built for snow needed that experience to enjoy summer. They say it has been 30+ years since this much snow fell here. I have been enjoying summer just fine without shovelling snow and freezing to death.

But what really toasted my bread was Keillor's comments about the poor. Somehow his column morphed into political commentary and he advised us about poor people and that their grooming is poor and how you would not want to attend a party in their home. I felt like vomiting. It must be nice to sit on his high horse and throw scraps to the rabble below. You know Keillor, when poor people have enough money to throw a party in their home, they actually tidy up as best they can, and one can have a really good time if you overlook the fact that your skinny butt is not sitting on real leather. I've been to gatherings with the high and mighty and with those who don't have much further to fall, and it is much more fun to sit among the warmth of real people than to sip champagne with the big wigs.

Friday, January 19, 2007


At exactly midnight this morning the first raindrops fell. All day it lightly rained off and on. Tonight the snow level is forecast to drop to 3500 feet which is just a hair above me. We haven't had snow in years. But maybe...tomorrow.

There has not been measurable rain here since I got home from my trip in October. The desert has been brown and getting browner. But this miracle will do a world of good.

My hometown is renown for rain and clouds which is probably the reason I moved to the desert. It has been a strange winter so far in many places. A jet stream driven wind blasted Europe, knocking trains off their tracks, felling huge trees, some fell on occupied cars and there have been dozens of fatalities. Ice has caused havoc in Texas and many other states. There was virtually no snow for Christmas in most places in the USA. But Colorado has endured unprecedented snowfall. Weather has always been a fascination for me. It ties in with my interest in plants and their cultivation. Last spring I planted my tomatoes outdoors in February. Other years we have had frosts as late as April 1. Drought has ravaged my orchard. What fruit the trees were able to produce was immediately ate by starving wild birds. I may plant nut trees this winter. Maybe they would be safer from birds.

In high school I studied Horticulture 3 years under a teacher who was nearing the end of his career. He retired and they discontinued the program. I was terribly offended. I was an "A" student.

After school I worked 5 years in a greenhouse growing every imaginable plant under glass. I had a green thumb. It has to this day remained my favorite job. And by far, my lowest paying. Every time the government raised the minimum wage, I got a raise. Then they had to give me a little bit more because I had experience.

I credited these experiences with my knowledge and interest in plant life, wild and domestic, and my refusal to give up on trying to grow green things in the desert. My choices have certainly been modified by the lack of regular rain miracles though!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

For the past few months I've been participating in a postcard swapping site know as Postcrossing. In just the last few weeks I've received cards from Italy, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Finland, Slovakia, Austria and Japan. Today I sent a card to Luxembourg. The county I live in is larger than that entire country. My county is not the biggest one in Arizona either. Things are much more compact in other parts of the world. There are pluses and minuses to that. But something much of the world has in common is that they are interested in Arizona. I guess we can thank Hollywood for advertising our wonders to the world. One postcard said she was fascinated by the desert but didn't want to live in one! I actually knew little about deserts when I moved here. I was more moved by the rugged mountains which contrast with the desert. They are some of the most difficult in North America. The mountain that looms over me is only the 3rd tallest in Arizona, but it is not uncommon to have to call out the search and rescue to find someone who has underestimated it. Of course there is no comparison here to the Colorado Rockies or the Alps. But that a person could get lost in a pine-fir forest in a state known for it's cactus, is not a well-known fact.

On the other hand, I've learned much about the rest of the world from the random postcards I've found in my mailbox. For example: they watch American TV shows, they write impeccable English, they complain about the weather too. Dogs are loved everywhere. But first and foremost: everyone loves mail!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Freedom of Expression

With their way of life collapsing around them, the common folk of Nazi Germany still had a sense of humor, although at a cost. This was a joke circulating in 1944:

Hitler and Goering are standing on top of Berlin's radio tower. Hitler says he wants to do something to cheer up the people of Berlin. "Why don't you just jump?" suggests Goering.

Sadly, I read that a Berlin woman, who worked in a munitions factory, was executed for telling this joke in 1944. How different it is today in the USA where anyone can express their opposition to the government's involvement of troops in Iraq and this is seen as normal and acceptable. People at the execution of Saddam Hussein certainly had opinions. They were expressed at a socially inappropriate time, but they had the freedom to do so and I don't think they should be punished. Having bad timing like this should not be illegal.