Saturday, January 29, 2011


Heidi, bless her heart, is a famous little possum… a traveler from the United States to a zoo in Germany. I guess she is cute in her own little way. But then, I am obviously fond of possums. Got a few of them here on the blog… anyway, I hope this works. I am not a techy type person, and my computer is a dinosaur… I won’t even tell you how old it is… or that I still have dial up service. sigh. It is all part of learning to develop patience, you see. Actually, I am so old, I still consider computers a miracle. (I remember cranking the phone and knowing the operator’s name… our phone number was 23!)

A friend sent this a couple weeks ago… I just had to share it.

Probably by now you have seen Heidi on TV or on YouTube.

Bless her little heart! Is she cute or what?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


A neighbor did a blog on the color Red the other day… at the moment I was reading it, I was taking a break before peeling apples for an apple pie. Red, apples are red, well, some of them are. I was using Macintosh apples which are not really supposed to be red-red, but I suppose you know they spray paint them to make them look more appealing to the consumers. DSC_0852 The apples were set out on the counter next to one of my favorite kitchen gadgets – my apple peeler, which is also red. I have worn out 3 apple peelers. I always bought them from LLBean, but this last one I had to buy from the Vermont Country store. I am so not into recipes or blogs with recipes, but my apple pie has a fan club. One crust (usually) to cut down on those carbs and gluten, sweetened with honey, thickened with arrowroot, and flavored with cinnamon. Very low-cal, very healthy and yet tasty. I HATE real sweet pies. DSC_0869

After the pie was in the oven, I glanced out the window at the bleak landscape looking for a hint of red. Fortunately, the sun was out that day so my little camellia was bravely trying to open. Give it a bit of sun and it will bloom even with the temps in the 30s. DSC_0853

There are a lot of red berries around here. I have numerous “girl” holly trees. DSC_0859  Then there are the berries on the NandinaDSC_0855 and the pyracantha.DSC_0857 Even the azalea bushes have a bit of red in their leaves.DSC_0856

Then, of course, there are the cardinals. I am lucky to have at least 4 families living here, but just try to get all 4 males in one picture! DSC_0104 I really love it when their color contrasts not just with the green, but also with the snow.

Looking around in the back yard, I noticed the red in my new Prayer flags.DSC_0860 The old ones had just about disintegrated. I love the bright colors on them. While I was out there, Spook came to get a drink out of the nasty birdbath. Even though I clean it almost everyday so it is not too bad, he still loves to drink out of it. There is an old Iroquois story about an old man’s dog saying he got his vitamins by drinking from what appeared to be a muddy puddle. Maybe that is what keeps Spook going! The red metal thing in this picture holds the clematis in the summer time.DSC_0867 Check out that little pink tongue! 

Anyway, I thought it was fun to see what was red out there this time of year. I guess I am lucky to have as much color as I do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I have no idea who gets credit for saying this… I got it in several emails, most from Buddhist friends. Someone said it was on CNN – I don’t know, I don’t have cable (or a dish)… But I felt the need to pass it on.

“This week we saw a white Catholic male Republican judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20- year old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon, and this was all eulogized by our African-American President.”

In separateness lies the world's great misery, in compassion lies the world's true strength.

May we learn to have compassion for one another.

A neighbor, who proclaims the fact that he has been saved, hates Obama – we all know why – and will tell you all the people listed above will go to hell because they are either Jewish, Catholic, gay, not white and probably a Muslim, and he is sure the Korean is some sort of heathen. He hates them all. But he believes he is a Christian and is going to heaven. Is that really what Jesus taught?

Just askin’…

Friday, January 14, 2011


In case you missed what will most likely be a speech for the history books, here it is. (I hope this link works, I’ve never tried this before)

It is heartbreaking to hear all the hatred spewing from the mouths of otherwise good people when it comes to politics. Of course, some people are PAID to spew hatred and poison the minds of America, and they do it so well, the innocent believe them. Those of you who know me know I believe our goal in life is to learn to live together in Peace and as much harmony as we can manage, not incite others to hatred. Love your neighbor as you love yourself, right? I think those who cannot at least try to love their neighbor are those who, in reality, really do not love themselves.

Anyway, the speech made at the Memorial service for those poor souls who died in the Supermarket lot, was outstanding… not just for those dead and wounded, but for our entire nation which has been deeply wounded by the open hatred and imagery and lies spewed forth for power and monetary gain. Here is the speech.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I have always tried to keep  religion and politics out of my blog… If you are a friend or neighbor, you know how I feel, but the purpose of this blog has never been to push a political or religious agenda. I still am not PUSHING an agenda, unless it is an agenda that will somehow heal this nation… That said, I was sent a copy of this sermon. I feel I must pass it along.


A Meditation on the Attempted Assassination of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the Necessity of Speaking Truth in Violent Times

9 January 2011

A Sermon, James Ishmael Ford, First Unitarian Church

Providence, Rhode Island

The Sunday after Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, my husband’s family attended their Presbyterian church.  They went with heavy hearts, expecting the pastor to help make sense of the tragedy.  The minister rose to preach.  The congregation held its breath.  But he said nothing of the events in Memphis.  He preached as if nothing had happened. My husband’s family left church that day disappointed; eventually, they left that church altogether.

This Sunday, many Americans will go to church.  A sizeable number of those people may be hoping to hear something that helps them make sense of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the others who had gathered at her sidewalk townhall in Tucson.  Some pastors may note the event in prayer and some may say something during announcements or add a sentence to their sermons.  But others might say nothing, sticking instead to prepared texts and liturgies.  Many will eschew speaking of politics.  That would be a mistake.

If we don’t speak for the soul, our silence will surely aid evil.

Saturday morning at ten o’clock Arizona time in a Safeway supermarket parking lot in Tucson, an apparently deranged young man, Jared Lee Loughner came up to Representative Gabrielle Giffords and put a bullet through her head. He then continued shooting into the crowd. Federal Judge John Roll, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush was killed on the spot, as was Gabe Zimmerman, the Representative’s local director of community outreach.  Christina Taylor Green, a nine-year old girl died a few hours later during surgery desperately attempting to save her life. Including Congresswoman Giffords, the judge, the child and four others who have died it seems at least nineteen people were shot. A number of the survivors are in critical condition. Details are still confused.

However, already blame is being assigned. One conservative writer wanted to make sure people knew Loughner listed the Communist Manifestoamong his favorite books. Ignoring, of course, that the same list included Mein Kampf. People on the left point to the poisoned political atmosphere, much of it associated with the right wing Tea Party movement. So, far, the slender evidence currently available points to someone mentally unbalanced, following his own inner demons. The best that can be discerned at this moment is some sort of vague grudge against government.

On the other hand our political atmosphere is indeed poisoned. Sarah Palin’s distasteful website targeting vulnerable democratic congressional seats by putting up cross hair target graphics, as well as her rhetorical flourish on a tweet calling upon her supporter’s to “not retreat, instead reload” is an egregious example. The worst example, however, from the recent election is probably Nevada’s Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle’s calling for “second amendment remedies” to political issues. Even Representative Gifford’s opponent in the last election held a fundraiser at a shooting range, where he fired an M16 while calling upon supporters to help remove her from office. This political atmosphere is oxygen for the crazed and violent.

However, while the rhetoric of violence has mostly been associated with the American right, it should not be missed how politicians right and left have stood with the representative and her family at this horrific time, as best I can tell without hesitation. Republican House Speaker John Boehner acknowledged his horror at the shooting, saying “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.” Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called the shooting a “terrible act” and a “national tragedy.” I heard a Republican congressman whose office was near Giffords,’ being interviewed, and while speaking of her and her staff, breaking into sobs.

Representative Giffords was, forgive me, is a Blue Dog, a moderate, in some areas liberal, in others conservative. She took a much stronger stand on immigration than I feel necessary, although she did oppose that abomination SB 1070. In another crunch I am deeply grateful for her vote for health care reform. The night of that vote the glass doors of her Tucson office were shattered by a vandal or vandals, a small fact not to be forgotten. Our political atmosphere is poisoned.

She was, is, also well liked in the House, and while it is to be assumed politicians of right and left from the Governor of Arizona to the President of the United States would speak of her as a personal friend, it well may be true. Gabby, as she is known to friends and constituents is a genuinely likeable person, hard working, and difficult to categorize. Not the obvious target even in these terrible times.

But these are terrible times.

So, what it means is far from clear. What to bring here to this Meeting House isn’t at all obvious. I know a vague disgust mixed with anxiety for the Representative, for our republic, for all of us. Perhaps you share this, or your own mix, possibly including anger, maybe fear.

National Journal editor Matthew Cooper notices this is the first American woman politician to be shot. “It’s a reminder that female politicians,” Cooper observes, “Are no more protected than female cops or firefighters, soldiers or corrections officers. And yet the first time we hear about a mother killed in the line of duty or a female POW, it curdles the stomach, not because of paternalism but because it marks a new barrier of decency that’s been broken.” He adds, how now, “We live in a country that’s more like Indira Gandhi’s India or Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan than we had thought.”

We are in times of great upheaval. So much has happened, so many social and economic changes over these past decades. When I was young my mother explained how there would never be a woman national news anchor because their voices couldn’t command authority. So sad that she thought such things. So, amazing that such a thought is alien to most of us today. And now a female politician has been shot.

A few colleagues exchanged notes on Facebook about this, and what we should say from our pulpits. One said, whatever people do, don’t go for “let’s all be nicer to each other.” Don’t call for a silencing of debate. And I agree. While I believe in common decency in how we relate to each other, in the power of civil discourse, and how dialing back some of this rhetoric is important, I agree with my friend the issues are too important to allow the crazies to shut us up.

My faith is grounded in a belief in the preciousness of the individual in all our passing glory and in how we take our being, each and every one of us out of some great and mysterious unity that we are all part of, a glorious radically interdependent web. No web no individual. No individual, no web.  We are one. And the expression of that knowing is love.

This means when I leave this Meeting House I am informed in profound ways about what is important. And inside this Meeting House and outside I must speak from that place of intimate experience. It is the possible healing of this world, of this country, of our individual hearts. This is the way of love, not a simpering, maudlin love, but a dynamic and challenging love. A love that calls us to know we are all in this together. I need to proclaim, to speak. I will speak for individuals. I will speak for families. I will speak for this lovely country. I will speak for our precious planet.

And I will not be shut up.

Economically, it means not allowing our trending to capitalist excess to own the day. If we had a socialist movement, I would be critical of it. But we don’t. Never have. Instead our shadow in this country is economic greed, and there is a constant pull to unfetter business, to disallow regulation, and to let business do the business of business no matter the social cost. I have no brief against business and economic activity. It is a human thing. It can be glorious. And, it has deep shadows, including the inclination for the rich to simply continue getting richer while the poor get poorer. The growing gap between the fabulously rich and the rest of us, and the increasing uncertainties needs to be noticed, needs to be challenged. And challenged from a pulpit informed by a deep knowing of our intimate connections, all of us. The average American is being taken for a ride, hearing the false witness of conservative and libertarian economists and other apologists for the rich, pretending we all might get there, too. For the sake of the many, for those who have never benefited from the business of business, as well as those who have succeed in this enterprise but remain of good heart for all, who show us how it can be done, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for the poor who have broken one law to cross our borders, to become a part of the dream of possibility, who provide the hardest labor upon which this country’s comforts are built, but who live in shadow and fear and become the scapegoat for those who would rather we not look into the dark hearts of those who are making most of the money, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for a fair and equitable access to healthcare for every one of us, I will not be silenced. Speaking for access to a good education for all, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for those who are given second class tickets to the feast of life because of their color, and who continue to struggle, having to be twice as good to get to the first rung of our society’s economic ladder, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for women who have finally, in this country, at least, and some others, achieved most of the rights we assume are human rights, but whose positions are still fragile, who need men to stand with them, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for lesbians and gays and bisexuals and the transgendered, people who have been for too long the easy scapegoat for imagined ills, whose love has been denied for vastly too long, and who now stand at the edge of genuine freedom and an authentic place within our culture, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for our precious planet, beautiful and fragile, ravaged by our human hands, and in need of healing, I will not be silenced.

Speaking for this wondrous country of possibility, acknowledging its long shadows, and its astonishing potentials, a republic of dreams, a home for the birds of paradise, celebrating it for its good and chastising it for its crimes, I will not be silenced.

And, neither should you.

Our faith calls us to look deep within our own hearts, to see who and what we are, and to sense who and what we might be, to take nothing for granted, to challenge all authority, very much including that which is proclaimed from this pulpit, but even more that which resides within each of your, of our hearts.

We must embrace the open way if we should ever hope to heal ourselves, our country, our world.  And we should not let those with guns with threats of guns silence us.

The price for that silence would be too great.

The need for us to stand up and speak is too important.

This is the way of love. This is the call of our faith.



THE SECOND GREAT STORM of 2011 (drum roll please) did not happen here. Even my friends up in Dover, Delaware got by with just 2 or 3 inches of white stuff, BUT, they have a good layer of ice underneath all that snow. Here, in VA, it was a rain event, for the most part. However, we do have below freezing temps. As I type this, the temp has dropped to 30 degrees. It hovered just a bit above or below the freezing mark all night long, currently doing its daybreak dip of a degree or two. Haven’t you ever noticed how the temp drops as the sun comes up? As I write this, a sand truck just went by spraying sand over the black ice.

I got up early this morning, earlier than usual… I am trying to learn to sleep in, stay in bed until 6:30 or 7… as I was going to be on TV again this morning. I am the Southernmost Weather Watcher for WBOC, so whenever there is a storm, snow, ice or hurricane, I am the first one to be put on the air. This morning’s report was really quite boring vs the last time when we got 16 inches of snow and then 5+ foot drifts. This morning, only black ice to report, no pretty frozen trees or bushes, it just looks wet out there.

Several years ago I gave them a very exciting LIVE report… I don’t remember which hurricane it was, but I took the call outside on the carport. We had just spoken a sentence or two when the storm snapped my big maple tree – you could hear the craaaaaaaaaaaack on the air – Anna yelled for me to get back in the house – but it was fascinating to watch. The tree missed me (and the carport) by getting caught in between 2 other trees.DSCN2452  Fortunately I did not say anything bad (Oh CRAP!!!) comes to mind at a moment like that… I would hate to be bleeped on TV! LOL!

I have learned to be grateful for NO excitement like that! Calm and boring is much easier to live with.

Anyway, I am grateful we just have little inch long icicles hanging on the redbud, and also grateful for the nice layer of sand on the road. We cannot use chemicals, remember, too close to sea level, “Save the Bay” and all that.

So, now that I know we will not be frozen in, I guess I have no excuse for not calling the doctor and finding out what is happening with my heart. The chest pains are getting on my nerves and I really hate it when the old ticker skips a beat every now and then.

Hopefully the storm didn’t do too much damage in your neck of the woods… Stay inside, stay warm, be safe.