Monday, August 31, 2009
Businesses are goal setting. Churches are getting ready to welcome vacationers back.
We appear to be so very divided around poverty and peace... and teachers, get ready... THE STUDENTS ARE BACK!
High energy, sorry summer is over--- the students are back. And, this year, the iron fist of NO NONSENSE, SETTLE DOWN, GET YOUR HOMEWORK IN NOW is decked out in black shirts... with that big downer, some time stopper that I would like to misquote now:
"Melvin and Lucinda, settle down or I shall see you after school at jug!"That's right, after school, when time is so precious and you get stuck in the classroom doing homework or some other task that you really do not want to do...
But you took your chances, your pushed the teacher too hard, and Mel and Luci... you are paying the price... sitting far away from each other, eyes on whatever you have to do, and slowly, slowly, you are ("wake up, the teacher is about to give you another day in jug...")
"Ah," you tell your folks after the teacher has phoned them that night, "I didn't do nothing." Well, check it out the teachers have the list in black and white now and this time, "if you do the crime, you'll pay the time."
Life goes on... school has started... and you are finding yourself on a grey day in a world of trouble...
Sunday, August 30, 2009
One of the most enjoyable events of summer is held every week on Thursday and Friday from 11:30 to 1:30 at Stadium Thriftway, near Wright Park, in Tacoma. Texas-style BBQ with the grill setup in the parking lot and fragrant aroma wafting throughout the area. Every customer is addressed as "Cowboy" or "Cowgirl" when stepping up to the counter to order. It is a fun atmosphere similar to what you'd find at 'The Fair' and even includes live music.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Several years ago I met local artist Tweed Meyer, down at the Swiss, in Tacoma. It was a packed house with great energy and Tweed was a major part of the night's performance for me. Off in the corner by the stage she set up her easel. Conducting the air with pencils, charcoal, chalk, brushes and fingers, she caught the essence of both music and the bands' performance on paper. All the while she danced and swayed with her swirls and strokes, her smile bemused and blissful.
Recently I had a chance to ask Tweed how the Muse led her to paint music, to document the energy of performance. True to her name, she began to weave a story of texture and depth.
My dad had a record store on K. Street and an album of Elvis, signed on his visit. Nat King Cole to Satchmo, my parents loved music and dancing. Music has always been an important part of my life. As Satchmo said, Life is what we play.
Right: Tweed's rendition of a Pearl Django performance.
Tweed's story-telling takes on even more colour as she moves beyond her graduation, in her thirties, from N.W.C.A. to studying in San Miguel de Allende. A flamenco guitarist set upon the backdrop of, "...vaulted French-domed rooms, tucked in amongst Diego Rivera's murals and a garden of fat doves," gave Tweed desire, whispered by her muse.
Back in Ollala, as a single mother of three, the seed was planted.
Bluegrass was always around in the very nature of its valley floor. I showed up to it, in our annual Bluegrass Festival.
During this time, the Ollala Community Centre was worked on and became useful again as a venue.
I wanted to capture, to document, our gathering in celebration and joy. Her eyes sparkle blue with the memories of an idea's tender shoots rising from home soil.
Left: Music at Tweed's house in Ollala.
Tweed Meyer is loved by area musicians because she 'gets' us. We are honoured when we recognise, not so much our physical selves, but the energy of our intent behind the performance...dancing in living colour across the page/stage. Even ghosts living in the Swiss have been known to come out and play within a scene!
Showing up...listen...tell the truth...don't care about the outcome...be present to process...right to be creative...document...trusting becomes honour...joy...showing up.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I didn't take the flyer with me, in case by some coincidence that homeowner was actually one of the check-writers. But I remembered the name Juanita Carroll, and as soon as I got home I searched the Internet for some kind of petition or blog post about this lady's predicament. Nothing. I called the store and spoke to a manager, and even offered to pay the amount of the check, but the manager told me that unfortunately this was the store policy, and even if the employee offers to pay the amount, they must still be fired (they are eligible for rehire if they remain active in the union).
That's when I went back to the house where I'd found the flyer. I knocked on the door and explained that I would like to take it with me, once the man had read it just to be sure he wasn't one of those customers. He seemed to find my request rather laughable, but I didn't care. I came home and called the union straightaway. Apparently this has only recently become a problem with Fred Meyer. And it's a problem I really can't understand. Why would you fire an experienced 19-year employee who says she loves her job (that kind of person can't be easy to find -- I'd have to pop happy pills or wear a hidden vibrator to make it through a day as a cashier!) only to have to turn around and go to the expense of hiring and training someone new, someone who might not even last once they got a taste for what it's really like?
I couldn't believe the union didn't have an online petition set up to pressure Fred Meyer corporate to amend or at least reconsider this policy. I couldn't believe they didn't have diaries posted at DailyKos or HuffPo or even our local newspaper, the TNT. I rely routinely on Fred Meyer for many of my shopping needs, but I would boycott them in a heartbeat to get them to change this heartless policy. In today's economic environment, a job loss can literally be life-threatening. I didn't go put my life on the line in Iraq only to come home and see my fellow citizens' security jeopardized not by fanatical terrorists but by greedy corporate policies.
This is not the end of this, but only the beginning.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Teachers, staff, and parents worked very hard to make this great day for all. The sun was shining. The grills were smoking... and all one had to do to make this a great day was just accept what was happening around you.
A good time was had by all.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Three wonderful young men, Patrick Couture, SJ, Michael Laveson, SJ, and Lorenzo Herman, SJ, publicly proclaimed their First Vows in the Society of Jesus.
These wonderful young men publicly stated that with the prayers and love of family and friends and with the loving support and direction of God, they were choosing to live, with their brothers in the Jesuit community, poor,celibate, and obedient lives... giving themselves to the work of supporting God in creating a safe, healthy, and happy world for all God's creatures.
Each one of them moved through the services with great grace, confidence, and humility. I was so glad I had the chance to thank them for what they were doing.
I had an opportunity to spend some time with Lorenzo's father. We laughed and teased. Here is a picture of Lorenzo Herman, SJ, with his familyAnd I had a few moments with Lorenzo and those few moments were the occasion for my thinking I was so happy to be alive.
At the Eucharistic Celebration, during the Ritual of Sharing the Scriptures, Lorenzo's aunt sang wonderfully... enjoy her prayerful singing
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Can you see the wee squirrel, down in the left and shown a little more close-up here? Anna (and her brother) have always had an affinity with squirrels, raising three orphans at different times in New York. Each one was successfully given back to the life they were supposed to have and even came to visit, showing off their own kids!
Last Friday Anna walked into the front garden and heard a distress call. Rani the pup used her nose and led Anna under the big fir tree, where she found a very new baby squirrel absolutely covered in biting ants on the ground. My daughter knew just what to do, grabbing protective gloves and a tupperware bowl. She brushed as many ants off as she could before picking up baby gently and placing it in the bowl. Anna and my husband worked quickly and carefully to remove every last ant from the wee squirrel.
With the calm assertive energy that speaks to all animals, Anna comforted and quieted the baby. She knew the squirrel's best chance was to be taken back to mama as fast as possible, so my hubby managed to put a cardboard box safely in the tree with baby inside. Now it was time to wait. Sure enough...mama came and a joyous, noisy reunion happened in the arms of our fir!
Grey squirrels make these little "meh-meh-meh" sounds between mama and babies. We've learned to mimic it (doesn't work with red squirrels) and have had many cool responses. The next day Anna went to the fir tree and heard the squirrels happily meh-mehing. She smiled and began to join in just a little, softly at the base of the tree.
To Anna's delight, mama came racing down the tree to within just a few feet of her. Anna watched and listened as mama grey gave a speech of thanks, complete with a couple of dancing flips...and what looked like blowing kisses! Anna's face glowed as she came in to tell me.
Squirrel medicine is about gathering. Whether it be food for the winter...or food for thought. Anna gathers information and compassion, sharing with the world and all her relations. Call us squirrely if you want: it's good medicine...and who doesn't love happy endings?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
My 11 week old puppy Kona’s little furry sweet face stops people in their tracks to coo. I mean, shoot, take a look at that pic!
And she is a good dog quite a bit.
Okay, she’s a good dog sometimes.
All right, she’s naughty. There.
So, bring in Tacoma’s Positive Approach Dog Training. I mean, we’ve been working HARD on training. We follow Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell. We read the books and the blogs; heck, we watch everything on Animal Planet.
We WERE having nice success (potty training and kennel training was a breeze, some commands learned, scheduled followed). These elements are still good, but playtime, turned into controlling behavior, nipping, irritating time. Hence, Positive Approach; and yes, we sprung for for the private lesson. It was worth all that and more.
A lovely, confident, knowledgeable, dog whisperer named Numia came to our home ready to go. She got down on the floor with my little bundle of fluff. Kona was wonderful at first; then they played. Numia politely acknowledged that our little pup was very stubborn, easily frustrated, and controlling (really a perfect fit for the Thompson clan).
We knew what we were getting into with a border collie puppy. There are risks with the herding breed, but with hard work, and being an active family, we knew that this was the right dog and she would be just wonderful.
Numia reinforced this and gave us excellent tips and tricks to help her self-calm and for us to gain back control as the pack leader(s). It was very informative and it is WORKING. Kona is doing much better with play time. We even got her out for a little walk today with her leash and harness.
We signed up for their Puppy Workshop. We can’t wait and Kona will love meeting the other doggies, too.
More “tails” from the front to come!
It was the most perfect of days to perform outside, with patches of sun and cloud carried on a sweet breeze. We were under a canopy, just in case, and we could have tied down the west side of it...but who would want to with a view like this?
I couldn't resist taking a picture of this wee tugboat, Reliance, as the fellas were setting up their equipment. Then it was time to get our groove on, starting with a mellow background feel as folks arrived from all over the world it seemed. Our host had a plan...and may I say, we have never been so well-treated as entertainers! For the first set we would keep it low-key so everyone could enjoy conversation, then our host would make a little speech.
After words of welcome, Frank proceeded to make the band blush with his praise. His plan was for everyone to eat (musicians first, even...just unheard of!) and then to arrange the chairs so that the second set would be a concert, all eyes on the band. We had permission for take-off!
What can you say when the sky lights your show for free? What can you say when an eagle hangs above you as if fishing for the notes? It had been months since Jazz Musette performed...and I had been jonesin' babies...jonesin'! To hell with the back and the joints of the old woman who ate me...all my hips heard was the rhythm section! Anna was able to join me for the last part, her harmonies always kicking it up a notch.
The evening was wrapped in bliss, wrapped in our motto of "Music, Love, and Laughter" with a wonderful audience rising with us to that place of magic between. We tore it up with some fun originals, sweetened with some old standards, peppered in a little reggae...wherever we were going, everyone was there.
For an encore, we did an Abdul Ibrahim piece that I wrote words for called, "Water From An Ancient Well," as the sun began to set. My eyes began to shine, thinking just how lucky I am in my line of work. I get gigs in Paradise!
Water From An Ancient Well (lyrics copyright 2004 Lorraine Hart-music and title by Abdul Ibrahim)
In the time of mountains
We humans barely show
There's a path
Where we come and we go
Every Age we go searching
For where our spirits dwell
Our need to drink
From the Ancient Well
For what is time
But this moment always
Forever touched with grace
If we only hold it so
In the time of mountains
We humans barely show
There's a path
Where we come and we go
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Passing through Point Defiance there were signs prominently displayed warning of the high fire danger in the park at this time. Despite the signage we noted a shocking example of careless behavior and thoughtlessness that puts the park at risk. Someone dumped out their used charcoal briquets on the ground alongside the parking area at Owen Beach. With everything tinder dry, pine needles, fir needles, twigs, and brush there near the base of a large tree was what someone had chosen to use as their personal dumping ground.
There was not enough ground clearance for a tractor-trailer rig sponsored by the US Air Force http://airforce.com at Tacoma Mall on Saturday when its trailer got high centered on one of the planting strips on the south side of the mall. Mall Security and the services of a Class C tow truck driver were working to free the big-rig. It seemed ironic with our being a global super power militarily that everything ground to a halt for the Air Force spinning its wheels in a shopping center's flower bed right here at home in a large US city. The driver must have been quite embarrassed finding himself and the flashy truck he was responsible for in that predicament.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Even the drive to the coast is refreshing. Those leaving Tacoma will probably want to take I-5 from Olympia, but if you live across the Narrows the route through Shelton is only 15 minutes longer than zooming down I-5 and so much more relaxing. From Shelton there are a number of roads that will get you to Montesano and thence to the coast. All have charms and I try to go a different way each time I make the trip. Since I make the trip frequently it is fun for me to see which houses have been painted, which are for sale, which may be gone altogether. Many little farms have eggs and vegetables for sale and everywhere is the beautiful green our state is known for—even in these dry times, although some of the grass along the highways has gotten brown.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
When I was pregnant with my first child, I endlessly read “baby preparation” books (and no I still wasn’t prepared, really). I noticed that in each book, there was always a little mini-warning that read a little something like this:
“Some parents fall in love their new baby immediately. Others take more time to “warm up” to the baby and this is perfectly fine.”
So now that we have our new puppy (nine week old Kona), I remembered this advice and took it to heart. The kiddos are warming up to her; still a wee bit hesitant at times, but learning. And this is perfectly fine.
I loved her the minute I held her. Yeah, I am one of THOSE.
Kona is sweet, smart, and awfully cute. She’s learned some early commands (that’s in her breed to be quick learners).
She’s a chewer (and a chewer, and did I say a chewer?) and “mouthing” becomes nipping after a time. We are working on this and training hard. She’s dug holes, ripped up my pumpkin vines, and attempted to eat her own poop. Patience, patience, patience.
It’s hard work, clearly to raise this wee pup (who ain’t so “wee” these days as she’s growing rapidly). We have a puppy training class next week (you’ll see a post on this for sure). Because she’s a border collie, this breed takes extra training and harder work, but it’s supposed to pay off in the long run with a wonderful canine friend and family member.
And being a family member, our dear Kona is subjected to numerous nicknames. We are trying to refrain from all this giddiness, but it’s tough (though, kudos to us pack leaders for always using “Kona” for commands religiously). Here are the nicknames (so far): Konesers, Koneyon, Kone, Dog-Puppy, Duppy (slang for Dog-Puppy), Duppy Duppy Doo, Rapscallion, Rascal, Stinky, Girl, Kona Girl, Wiggly Giggly Puppy, Wiggler Giggler, Diggy Doggy, Diggy, Diggy Diggy Doo, Little One, Sweetie, and Girly Girl.
Affix the label: Dog lover.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This is probably the last public opportunity to discuss the benefits and risks of this project.
Most agree that the floodplain restoration project is a good idea in the abstract. Property owners along the river have reasonable concerns about the risks this may propose to their property. In addition, many are concerned about the risks this project may present to the SR-410 bridge that spans the Greenwater river. Additional concerns are about maintenance for the proposed engineered log jams (ELJ), and there are concerns about identifying these ELJ’s in the event that they fail due to age or flooding.
The Greenwater community in particular as well as those with an interest in this type of project are invited and encouraged to attend.
Click on this link to display a PDF file that shows the project overview. Note you will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader or the equivalent to view the PDF file.
The meeting will take place at 3 PM on August 22, 2009 at the Greenwater Community Center. This is located in the same building as the Greenwater Fire Department.
Plan to arrive a little early.
Hope to see you there!
For more information, on this project look here.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Second cousins, once removed, play together while the adults catch up
Those members who were not present were not forgotten. They were represented in favorite recipes, pieces of jewelry, and the faces of those who loved them. The family hopes that there will be more such meetings without such a long interval between.
the talent of the people who planned the retreat and got the teens excited-- check some of them out in this video
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Young people of different denominations came together with wonderful, loving, inspiring adults to reflect on their spiritual lives.
The site... awesome--- the gathering... awesome
Enjoy this view of the ocean and the mountains
Monday, August 3, 2009
Astoria, Oregon, long a sad town with vacant shops downtown, is coming back into its own with galleries and book stores as well as organic bakeries and grocery stores. Add the Sunday Market into the downtown area and finding a parking place was hard. I drove around for quite a while and was on the verge of giving up when I found one near to the market.
As soon as I began to look at the booths I was instantly rewarded. We have been doing a lot of landscaping around our old Victorian cottage in Ilwaco and I had been looking for a Rose-of-Sharon that was just the right color for a couple of years. The second booth I walked by had a lavender one for $6. I was able to take it to the car and finish strolling (with a ridiculous grin) the market without lugging it around.
Astoria has a thriving art community and so there were plenty of photographs, pottery, paintings and crafts to look at intermingled with plants, fruit and vegetables. Besides the stalls of the market I ducked into Godfather Books where I purchased a copy of Jane Kirkpatrick’s A Tendering in the Storm which is set on Willapa Bay and Gypsy’s Whimsy just to smell the incense. The book has gone to the top of my stack of books to read and seems appropriate since I am staying a few miles from the bay.
In keeping with my New Year’s Resolution of not acquiring so much stuff I resisted the urge to buy anything else, except a peanut butter cookie. I tasted bread from the Blue Scorcher Organic Bakery and then forgot to go back and buy a loaf. Fortunately I know where the bakery is and when we go to do serious shopping I will stop and get some bread.
All in all, Astoria’s Sunday Market was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. If cooling off at the coast sounds good to you, plan your trip to include a Sunday and check out Astoria’s Sunday Market.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Allegedly students, I wonder what they were smoking when they decided that hiking in a nation at war was a good idea. “Hey, man, I heard they have some awesome mountains in Kurdistan.” In tourism 101 there’s a section about “What to do if a border guard yells anything at you.”
My money is on the fact that these Americans were not simply innocent hikers or tourists. With so few facts known it would be foolish to point fingers at any American governmental agency. For all we know one of the many ex-pat Iranian groups in the U.S. might have made the itinerary for this trio or maybe they are jounalism students looking for extra credit, but as the protests in Iran continue (largely ignored by American media) the Iranian government is going to take umbrage at anyone illegally entering the country, particularly from a country embroiled in a war that involves the United States, who has a history if interfering in Iranian affairs.