5/24/2012 Turtle Day

This week is kind of a blur- a green blur, because the with warmth and rain both ground and canopy are fully in leaf and everything seems to be growing as lush as it can. Down at the bottom of Pinnacle Road the pond has yellow waterlily buds emerging. Yards with more elegance than ours have azalea and other bushes with bright pink, red and white flowers. Dandelions continue to cheer me all over the place, and there are still some bleeding hearts on my plant out front (and in the carafe on the kitchen table, along with a few fading lilac clusters). The bush the kids got me was covered with blooms so I figured that taking several off would allow it to put its energy into the root system rather than blooms. I also planted pansies in the cinderblocks edging the driveway. I don’t think I’m going to actually get a garden in this year, but hope to put a plant or two in the herb garden as a sop to my urge to dig in the soil. (After planting, I spent over an hour trying to repair my nails. I haven’t gotten used to how breakable they are these days, remembering that I used to tighten screws with them when I was younger. I suppose I’ll have to learn to wear gloves, but every time I do I end up taking them off for better dexterity and sensitivity, so I don’t know that I ever will.)

I’m amazed at how quickly it’s gone from “Wow, it’s so summery for the beginning of May!” to “OMG, it’s the end of May!” Where did it go? I realize that part of that is that the Memorial Day weekend kind of scoops up as many days at the end of May as possible, it “feels like” it’s the end of May because Memorial Day is SUPPOSED to be the 30th, whereas once we get home from the weekend there will still be three more days. (Good to put in the tomatoes and peppers and other frost sensitive plants…) Also we tend to think of the Friday driving there as part of the weekend, so that results in my thinking that the “end of the month” starts on the 25th, thus gutting the last third of the month.

This is a strange time of year for me. We aren’t safe from hard frosts until after Memorial Day, but we are getting as much daylight now as we will in late July, more than we get a Pennsic, which is when I tend to think of as “summer”. It seems just a few weeks ago that we “sprang forward”, and I was bugging John to do the goats in late afternoon when it was light rather than by the clock. I like the light, but don’t really get out in it enough.

We really haven’t done much this week. Willow has been making her blankets. As she’s learned from past experience, rather than doing all the cutting, then all the stitching, then all the backing, she’s doing a few at a time, so she doesn’t get repetitive motion injuries. She is planning on getting a good pile of them made up in advance so that she can have plenty to stitch up at Panteria this coming weekend. While she’s been doing that, she’s been listening to Eddie Izzard, and QI (Quite interesting), a British Show that Kat found and was listening to. Willow says that the discussions there remind her of our dinner table conversations, and I’ve seen a few clips now and agree. Here’s a clip for you to check it out:  http://boingboing.net/2011/09/27/stephen-fry-and-brit-talk-show-participants-marvel-at-american-prison-systems-brutality.html

So we are preparing to go to Panteria day after tomorrow. (yikes) Both because we feel as though we haven’t done much SCA recently, and because this year Sue has decided that pagans need to take themselves less seriously, so the theme this year is rubber duckies. I’m not sure that it’s going to work- although I expect they’ll have fun. I think the way people take themselves too seriously is where fun activities are least likely to reach. Frankly, for things like maypoles, where it often ends up in tangles, because people don’t get how it works, I keep thinking (with my history background) that back when they were the big event of the season, people actually practiced beforehand, and worked hard to get it right. (dammit) So I’m probably one of those who “takes myself too seriously”. All I know is that if I’m not comfortable with the drumming and drinking and fairy wings normally (except on the kids- kids and glitter go together), I just don’t even want to THINK about what it’s going to be like when they are trying to be silly! And this gives me an opportunity to go to Panteria, where I haven’t been in quite a while. In fact, last time I was at Panteria, I think they had a sort of “Wheel of Fortune” thing where they spun it so the fighters could find out what weapons form or who they were fighting, so they are what I think of as a “fun” barony, who doesn’t take itself too seriously itself. I’m really looking forward to it.

Kat has been spending a lot of her time concentrating on her art. She is so meticulous that it takes her a long time to get things done. She came up with the idea more than a year ago, and I think it would be popular in the SCA if she could produce the comic. We have this idea that it should only take a month to put out one story, but that’s based on commercial comic companies where each issue is worked on by several artists. One may only take a month to do the pencils, but another does the inks, another does the lettering, and another does the coloring. She’s doing it all herself. (I always fell down on the inking. It’s not a discipline/skill I have.) She’s posted the first five pages of KSCA (her sports- manga about the SCA) to the website deviant art, if you want to see it.


The first, or introductory page, I didn’t get, and Willow pointed out that to me having a helm in a locker, or a cape hanging on the wall, or celtic shoes are NOT going to make me do a double-take, but for most people they seem out of place. Yes, having spent the last four decades in the SCA probably has warped my expectations a bit.

My craft project this week is trying to finish the quilt I was inspired to start last year at the American Society of Dowser’s con. At some point after I started we cleared it away to make room for something else and I didn’t do anything on it for months, now I need to finish it before I head back at the beginning of June (same deadline as Willow’s for her blankets), so I’m trying to get a bit done each day. It’s a simple pattern (I thought), triangles about a foot across, with bands between them on which is written the principles of the dowsers- Truth, Balance, Honesty, Humility, Wisdom, Gratitude, Tolerance, Integrity, etc. Triangles go together easily, but at the corners where six meet, I’ve got six of those bars meeting- which creates sort of a star, and those aren’t always perfectly even. I expect quilters understand that, but, others may be more innocent- I was. I am ending up having to hand stitch each carefully in place, and they aren’t as even as I’d like. In theory every triangle is exactly like the others cut from the same pattern, but in real life, it’s not quite that simple. Sigh. Oh well.

I also had to replace one triangle. I was trying to rip out the stitching so I could shift it about a quarter of an inch over to make it fit right- and ended up ripping right into the fabric. I tried repairing it, but couldn’t, so I had to go back to JoAnne’s and buy another piece. It wasn’t the exact fabric, but it fit into the theme. All the patterns are “nature” themed- the reds looking fire-like, there are rocks, lots of green and gold leaves and flowers, blue watery ones, and even one with butterflies, since I couldn’t find one that looked like clouds. The new piece I got looks a bit snowy, so I’m not terribly unhappy with it.

Willow also had to pick up more thread, having used up the last 6 spools she’d bought, and she found a new set of scissors that claims it can cut through 20 layers of denim. Last time she was doing a big batch of blankets, cutting through 4 layers of polar fleece (cutting the fringes), she ended up getting blisters on her scissor hands. Let’s hope that between the new scissors and her spacing them out that that doesn’t happen again. She’s been wearing her snips (on a string) ALL the time, and even fell asleep wearing it once and woke up with a couple of nasty scratches from getting poked in her sleep. So yesterday she made herself a snip-scabbard to avoid doing that again.

I’m also working on driving Willow’s car (a “standard”). After seeing me stall out about six times in the JoAnnes parking lot while I was trying to go from reverse to forward, Willow’s wondering if I can’t borrow a standard from a friend. I’m pretty sure I’ll get to where I need to be by the time I have to, but I will need to practice more.

I’ve finally read all the chapters for the “viking” book for which I’m doing the cover. Now I can send Lynn the concept sketches, and get to painting. I really couldn’t until I’d read the book. I think I’m going to go with the Wolf Attack scene. Jane is also finishing up her folk medicine book and is eager to have me get that cover painting done as well. I want to concentrate on the things that I do that will actually make money. Back when Ælfwine died, I figured I’d try everything, and see what seemed to work best then concentrate on that. We discovered right away that I don’t like selling, and the girls do and are good at it. One down. But nothing else seemed to make money, and I’ve been having a real hard time trying to figure out into what to put my energy. I thought teaching, but when I started looking at it, I knew I couldn’t deal with the administrative (people) part. Another eliminated. (I am REALLY not good at dealing with people when I’m frustrated with them. Luckily, most of the people I deal with adore me.) Since I’m often where there are psychics, I’ve asked several if there was some indicator that would help. It actually got funny, six psychics and every single one said -in so many words- “Whatever you pick will be successful, but you have to pick ONE”. I hate picking one! The last one gave me a bit of hope- told me that I could do everything- sequentially, but not at the same time. OK, that’s easier to deal with. I still need to pick, and still want to figure out how to integrate all the things I love into a “perfect” job. A year or two ago I realized that I actually HAVE the life I’d described as what I’d want: studying fascinating things and sharing that knowledge with others. Sadly, I apparently forgot to include the “getting paid for it” part of the description.

This week while I was thinking about the SCA I realized that at events I am no longer The Lady of Stormgard; people don’t all come round to be with us. (They come to Cabochons to buy stuff, but that’s not the same.) I have to go out to them, and wherever I go, I’m greeted as a sort of local celebrity, but I’m not PART of their group. I’m on the edge of lots of groups. I think that explains why one has to pick one. You can only be a part of one group. It’s probably the same way with a career. Everyone else who works at a 40 (50,60…) hour a week job is probably thinking “well, DUH! of course you can’t do two jobs at once!” But I don’t have that background. My background is running the house- in which the goal is to watch the kids WHILE doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning, planning upcoming stuff, garden and animal care, etc. and you do that by multi-tasking and combining activities. It works for that, although it does tend to become 24-7. But that’s Life. You want to make a life where what you live is what you love. But just as I can’t be singing with Guinness’s group,  nibbling at the bacon orgy, dancing at Stonemarche, telling stories with Anne of the Fuzzy Hat, and goofing with Strangeways or House Evil Ducky, I can’t do everything at the same time.

Many years ago I thought I could sing two parts at once, it turned out that I was actually just garbling bits of both while hearing them in my head at the same time. I think that is what I may have been doing with a lot of stuff. Being into many things at once is really great for discovering connections between different disciplines, but it’s not very focused. If I have to concentrate on one (after I’ve fulfilled by immediate obligations), I think I’m going to try illustrating one of the children’s books I’ve been planning. Of all the things I’d be really bummed not to have done if I did end up dying as young as my mother and grandmother did, that’s probably one that would bug me most. Talented as I am at catching likenesses, my technique is not good enough to concentrate on portraits, but if I paint 6 hours a day for a few years, that will probably improve, and I can do that next. Or finish Subtle Pagans. We’ll see. I know I’m excellent at soothsaying, but inasmuch as that requires selling, worse, selling myself, that’s another thing I think I can put on hold. Also, most of the professional psychics I know got some sort of a “Sign” or calling that they were supposed to do that, and I haven’t gotten one.

I finished writing last week’s letter before I did the New Normal (my pod cast radio show) last week. It’s amazing how long ago it seems. (It really would be easier if it were a weekly show rather than every other week!) It was another near fiasco. When I signed in, the board wasn’t set up to have a show in that hour. I had to contact the producers (which was harder than it should have been), and get them to reset it for starting at 8:30, while my guest, Ellen Evert Hopman, was waited. I am beginning to feel that perhaps this “station” or whatever the podcast groups call themselves is really not good enough for me to deal with. I know I’m not a big-name professional, but there is some unnecessary crisis almost every week. I suspect that as one can’t really tell anything about a group from its website other than how good the website designer was, they may be a little wannabe “station” being run by a bunch of friends in their spare time- and they don’t have enough spare time. I’d hoped that this would give some exposure for my CTCW speakers, but maybe there aren’t that many people listening. Certainly the people on the “interactive chatroom” often don’t seem to give a damn about what my speakers are saying. Perhaps I should just put this down as a failed experiment.

The big event this weekend was Saturday- I FINALLY got to do the Psychic party for the poor lady who got it on the NHPublic TV auction two or three years ago. Every time we scheduled it there was a blizzard, or a power outage, or a close relative would die…. It got kind of predictable. She was very apologetic and worried that I’d say it had been too long, but I got to feeling sorry for her. The last thing I wanted to do was add my annoyance to all the other misfortune heaped on her! Saturday however went off without a hitch. Ms. Leech lived over in Hudson, and I was there from 1 to 4:30, so she gave me a tip for staying late, which was nice- it covered the gas, so I wasn’t out of pocket. Her friends (who I think came from farther than I did), all seemed to be impressed, and made the usual noises about wanting to have me read for them again. As usual, I didn’t have any idea what I was reading about, but they seemed to understand perfectly, and as all the cards fit together, I was pretty secure that the readings were good. I’m glad it went well for her. I really was creeped out by the housing development where she lived. I think it was a condo complex, row houses grouped around a circle, with almost no lawns or space. The immediate result was that there really not enough room for 6 cars, four were on the “street”, in front of neighbors houses. I wonder what it must be like to live like that. I think it was even tighter than back in Malden when we were living in the triple-decker. Of course, I’ve never lived in an apartment house, so I don’t “get” that sort of life-style.

I’m still concerned about driving. So much of our lifestyle has to do with going to events; we wouldn’t be able to do that if we didn’t have cars, and even aside from the gas, cars represent a huge investment in materials and labor. But out here, there isn’t public transportation- I wonder what changes in culture will happen over the next generation or so? Either we need to change our expectations, or the technology is going to have to provide huge changes I am not anticipating. On the other hand, while I did anticipate in home movies 40 years ago, and Science Fiction posited our credit economy, I had not anticipated how home computers would change our lives and attitudes, so there are probably other huge yet unanticipated changes just beyond the horizon of my imagination.

I expect that if my social life were confined to just the people in Lyndeboro’, I would find just as many really good people, and a similar proportion of people I don’t understand. For all I know there are people here who are into medieval history, and I just don’t know it because I haven’t bumped into them.

Despite having Facebook and Live Journal and such, I haven’t really developed any major relationships with people sharing my “passions”. I’m not sure how that is supposed to work. I continue following my passions mostly through the library and buying used books through Amazon. If nothing else, at least Amazon keeps track of the books I buy (and I can often get them for not much over the cost of shipping), so I don’t end up buying duplicates as much as I used to.

Tonight we’re going to try a new dinner one of Willow’s friends told her about: pulled pork over french fries! Sounds really good. All I have to do is really overcook some pork loin, tease it apart, stir in some barbecue sauce, and serve it over the fries. Pork loins are always cheap (although I feel guilty eating them, because I know that those factory farms are almost certainly WHY they are cheap), and that sounds easy and delicious. I know it’s usually put on buns, but this sounds better.

The diet continues ☠- I do miss some of the ease of prepared foods, but the scale read 265, that’s down 10 pounds, so I guess even though I thought I wasn’t using that many, the ones I used were enough to trigger weight-gain. So far the thing I really miss is ice cream on hot days. We cracked the plastic bottom of our blender, and had to wait a week (oh, the horror‽) for a replacement to arrive. (That is definitely a plus of modern life! We spotted the problem, I went over to the computer, and it was on its way, and here in about five days. I didn’t have to drive around trying to find one.) Also, I have to work to keep track of which iced tea container contains the fresh brewed, and which is from powder- which includes sugar. Powdered tea is both tasty, and really easy, but out of my life now.

Sunday John and I went to the recycling center, where the exchange table is still closed. I may have to start taking my stuff to the Milford or Peterboro Recycling center. I am NOT willing to just throw out perfectly good stuff, just because I don’t want it any more! Willow really finds that frustrating, because she (I think, in common with most people) just wants the stuff out! I have issues about throwing good things away, or worse, anything I don’t recognize. What if it belongs to someone who’d lost it, and they come looking for it and I’ve tossed it out? The argument that they shouldn’t have left it there doesn’t hold because you don’t leave things behind on purpose, often don’t know where you left something (that’s why they call it “lost”), and frequently what’s got emotional value to someone looks like junk to someone else. So I don’t throw things I don’t recognize out… and they accumulate. Sigh. At least if I recognize them, I can put them on the “still good, take it if you want it” table. But with that gone, I’m in deeper trouble, and need to find someplace to get rid of them. (I’ve got a huge collection of VHS tapes of great movies that I’ve now got on DVD, but no one wants them anymore, and it’s nearly impossible to just buy a player for them. How sad and wasteful!)

On the way home from the dump I got pulled over. It seems I didn’t have the right registration sticker on my plates. I was sure I had taken care of that in February, and even had things in my check register that reassured me that I had- but no, I’d gotten it inspected, but when I’d gone to the town offices (Willow remembered), they’d been closed, and then I’d forgotten to go back. I think it’s like the times I print out the letters that are going out physically, stuff them in envelopes, address them, stamp them, then put them by the door… and forget to put them in the mail box. My brain has filed the job in the “done” section and forgets it. So Monday I checked with the town clerk and got the registration done, but now I’ll have to pay a fine as well. Darn! Well, better a mile and a half from home than off at an event!

If you love musical comedies, as I do, you may remember the line in My Fair Lady “Next week on the twentieth of Mai, I proclimes `Liza Doolittle Daie.” I love holidays, so I tripped over a reminder that it was Eliza Doolittle Day (as well as Step-Mother Day, and several other , and celebrated by listening to My Fair Lady and I’ve been having the songs go through my head ever since. There’s an advantage to the radio, at least you get some variety in the music in your head.

Speaking of strange things in your head, I came up with this theory this week: The 1920s seem “post-apocalyptic” to me. They have that combination of the lovely remnants of the “Fin de siècle” buildings and other artifacts- the beautifully crafted things of the wealthy that form the core of the appeal of Steampunk, combined with the wreckage of the “Great War” (with it’s emotional wreckage as well, and the trauma of the Spanish Flu thrown in for good measure), creating the frantic scramble for new balance and new technology, and trying new cultural paradigms. It’s a thought.

Another thought I had was about traditional higher education. This may come from finishing the political theory lectures, but I’ve been thinking that the point of education was so that you could compare the philosophies of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and Kant, Locke, Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Augustine, and Confucius and the other big names. Apparently unless you know that someone famous has already said something like  the way you see the world, your perception is not supposed to be as valid as if someone famous had already come up with something similar. To be “educated” is to be able to show other people that you know what famous people said. In theory, this sets you up to be able to think about things yourself. I suppose it’s like trying a dozen flavors of ice cream, so you can say- yes, I like those, and I don’t like those. I like most flavors of ice cream, but then, most philosophers had great perspectives on the cultures that produced them. However, I feel that an idea can be just as smart and as valid if it is original and the product of observation of the world by someone who knows nothing of what other people have said, and it worries me that this is what education is about. An art teacher teaches how to “appreciate” famous paintings, but it is the artist inside each of us who appreciates the sunset, or face, or landscape before us. Tradition has much to teach us, but we must not let it hobble our minds.

I had a lot of fun on Facebook watching the people in the Southwest reporting on and sharing their views of the eclipse. From the map showing its path, I thought it would be pretty much over by the time it got to shore, but apparently it still put on quite a show. Wish I’d been in the area. Frankly, an annular eclipse sounds like it’s more interesting than a total eclipse. I remember “watching” the total eclipse in 1963 at Grammies’ house, but I don’t remember it getting that dark, and mostly what I remember was the grown-ups telling us not to look at it without the smoked glass, and how I didn’t like my cousins behavior. Since it’s probably the only one I’m going to be in the right range, I wish I had a better memory of it.

Also on Facebook I’ve been enjoying Megan posting pictures of where their narrowboat is docked in “Little Venice”, which I think is in the North of London. I love using the Google Maps satellite view to see where they are. The current picture shows their berth, but their boat isn’t there. She’s put up wonderful pictures of their boat and the paintings they done on it, and buckets, and the various gorgeous views they’ve seen, and Vito, the Wonder-Dog, who they took with them this time, and them- looking Oh so canal boat-y.  She even posted the picture of a potato-leek torta, which is just like porn for some of us.

During errands this week I finished the audio course “Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age”. I’ve now heard so many of the courses on that period that I get a little confused. They’re covering the same material, so I wonder if I’ve heard it before. Still, I’m hardly ready to stop, it’s not like I’ve read all the suggestions for more reading that come with it. Not enough time.

I may be running down on the “death” theme literature, but each book does have a new perspective. This week I read Final Gifts, a book from the perspective of an hospice nurse. It was beautiful. Quite the antidote for all those stories about hospital deaths with questionable interventions. Of course, one turns to hospice after the doctors have given up on interventions, so that allows the natural process to move forward without the burden of constant decision-making. She talks about how much better the dying person generally does when they know what to expect, and how she explains it to them, and to their families. She talks about the wonderful things she’s seen with deaths. I know some people just don’t even want to think about it until they have to, but it’s a marvelous book, and I can recommend it to anyone who has a loved one who’s dying.

I did watch a few more movies with death and funerals in them- Pushing Daisies is a TV show. I found it artistically pretty, but so silly that I’d have to be in the right mood to want to watch it. After Life was dark, I guess you’d call it horror- starring Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci. I enjoyed it, although it had some bits in it about laying out corpses that some would probably find disturbing. Death at a Funeral was just hilarious. It’s basically a “family” movie, using a funeral rather than Christmas or some other excuse for getting together the people who really know how to push each other’s buttons. Apparently it’s a 2010 cover of a British 2007 movie by the same name, Chris Rock, who stars, said (in the extras) that they hardly changed the dialogue. The British version is due in tomorrow, and I’m so looking forward to it.

I am, of course, still thinking about getting things organized for my own death- which I expect won’t be soon, but still, it does surprise us doesn’t it? Best to have all those forms done and stored somewhere intelligent. Most people put their advanced directives (what your preferences are about “heroic measures” etc.) and burial plans  with their wills. Given that the Will is generally not read until after all that is done, that’s not the right place to put it. I’ve got Willow as my designated Medical Power of Attorney, because she knows me best, but on the other hand, she totally hates hospitals and finds it hard to go into them, so I’d better not need anyone to run interference for me. Apparently Kitty was going to ask Trish to be her executor, but Trish told her she’d just have a dumpster brought to her house and toss everything in it, all the art she’s made and collected, so Liz gets to do it. You really have to think about not just how responsible they are, but what they’ll have to do.  I would need everything written out- who to call, who gets what, what to do with the body, all that stuff. And I’m trying to figure that out to give that list to Willow.

At the risk of being a nag, everyone (this means you) should have advance directive forms, will etc. ready, and FINDABLE, and whoever’s going to be handling it should go over things with you well in advance. You can google forms on the internet. (If I can, anyone can.) I’ve now got a form in my purse granting permission for people to visit me if I become hospitalized, and to get medical information from the medical caretakers, if Willow isn’t available to pass the information along to everyone. If you want to be put on that list of people that are not to be brushed off because they’re not family, let me know (along with your legal name and place of residence), and I’ll add you (unless I think you’re going to be a total downer.) The basic ones I’ve got are my kids, father, sisters, and mother-in-law.

As I’m also working on that list for Willow about what to do with all my SCHTUFF, let me know if there’s anything you’d like to have if I were to die in the next few years as a memento, so I can tag it/put on the list. I figure Willow can send the pagan stuff to the various prison programs, but I’m not sure how to find someone who’d appreciate my collection of Anglo-Saxon books. It’s not quite on a par with Yale’s, but I’ve got stuff that I think a lot of college libraries would love to get their hands on (MUCH better than what BU had when I was there).

Other things I’ve watched this week. Mostly Bones, I got started and now I want to go through as far as our DVD collection will take me. I did (finally) get to watching A Very Long Engagement (I think it was Tamooj who recommended it). It’s a love story from the first World War. My biggest problem was that I discovered that I couldn’t quite follow it without subtitles, so I couldn’t watch it while working- I think I did work on the quilt and had to keep backing up for the bits I missed. I’ve got Young Goethe in Love home, and am having the same problem with that. I hate that I can “almost” speak the language.

I watched Ship of Fools, a depressing film, great characters, but only the Jewish salesman was appealing. I prefer films where I can like the characters. After he said “There are over a million Jews in Germany! What are they going to do, kill us all‽” I started thinking. We are all familiar with the “6 million” figure (that comes from the Nazi’s own records, it may be more). But it does include those they brought by train (or foot) from Poland, France, Austria and elsewhere. I heard in some documentary or other how it broke down, but maybe it wasn’t world/European domination Hitler was going for, but simply access to the Jews. Maybe he invaded just to facilitate killing the Jews. What an awful thought. But it’s not really that bizarre. I’ve been reading a book on terrorism, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. (Talk about unlikeable characters!) The author talked to as many people as he could who are involved with the politically violent movements, not just Palestinians and Iraqis, but the Christians who bombed abortion clinics, the members of Aum Shinrikyo, and others. They really do feel that what they are doing is moral and the will of God. One thing I took from it was that some Christian fundamentalists believe that the second coming cannot take place until Christ has “ruled” in name for a thousand years. (I’m not sure where they got that one.) But that’s why they feel it is imperative to make this a Christian Nation so that that watch can start. (I’m not sure how much of the world has to be Christian. Do they start around the year 1000, at which point most of Europe was converted? Of course Lithuania didn’t convert nominally until the 14th century. Do they have to Christianize the world or do we just not worry about non-whites? Does it work like a “stop watch” and so if we stopped being a “Christian Nation” say at the time of Roe vs. Wade, can it start again if they get it repealed? It’s a bit confusing. I remember reading that there’s a farmer in South Carolina who’s raising red cattle because the Kingdom of God can’t begin until they sacrifice a certain number of red heifer’s without blemish at the altar at the Temple in Jerusalem. He figured he couldn’t pull down the Dome of the Rock, but he could have the cattle all ready for when the temple was rebuilt. Seriously. Considering what other people think of my religious beliefs, I’ve got no call doubting the sincerity of those of people with different ones.

Other things I’ve seen include a documentary on the Hidden City of Petra, (I had no idea how much space the town actually took up, they usually only show you the facades dug into the face of the cliffs). Dolphin Tale was a lovely movie about dealing with difficulties- apparently based on a true story. I loved that it showed how good people are. And another sports movie Coach Carter which I liked because unlike most of the sports movies, the team we follow didn’t win their big climactic game, but the coach did manage to get many of his “student athletes” to be students, not just athletes. I loved that at some point when they are talking about goals, and how much they want to win the championship, he asks them who won it last year, and no one knows. We can care SO much about things that no one else cares about. Most of the things that we work so hard for in this life whether it’s winning a competition, writing a book, or getting an award in whatever group you’re in, not only will make no difference when you’re dead, but most of the people in the world wouldn’t care one way or another whether you did it/got it or not.

On one of the episodes of Bones they had the FBI agent giving his Silver Star to someone and it occurred to me that I had no idea exactly what a Silver Star was given for. Then a few hours ago, someone on Facebook mentioned that one of our friends had earned one in Viet Nam 40 years ago, but was going to finally have it presented THIS Memorial Day. The post included a description of what he’d done to earn it. Risking injury and death to help your fellows IS something worth remembering, and as they showed in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life it’s not just the heroic moments, it’s the cumulative little things that we do, how we live our lives, that make differences to people our lives touch. I actually think that for the really great movies that are seen by millions with such uplifting messages, their makers may be more influential than Plato or Nietzsche. The ability to change people’s lives through your message is far more important than what great scholars say about it in their ivy covered halls (or papers).

Well, that’s it for this week. Make your will and other papers.


“When asked ‘What is the difference between Religion and Spirituality?’ a Jesuit replied: To explain that I have to tell you a little story. Spirituality is represented by the fresh spring water of God’s love for all of creation that arises naturally at the top of a mountain. It trickles down the mountainside and refreshes and strengthens everything it touches. Religion, now that is something else again, it is the well-intentioned man-made plumbing that often tries to send the water uphill where it should not go and, as often as not, whistles it past your arse without the benefit of a tap. Being man-made it always pollutes the water. So, when in doubt, always go back to the spring.”

~Tim Wallace-Murphy