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Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Sunny Sunday Afternoon

What a treat! 11 pm Sunday afternoon and everything inside of me knew that the sunlight would clear away a lot of thick, dusty cobwebs in my brain. I got myself together and headed for Blockbusters.
I smiled looking at the sign outside of the pizza restaurant next to the Big B. "I bet you," I thought, "some parents had to ward off some high pitched pleading from their kids today!"

Tops Market was crowded--- lots of cars in the parking lot.I got a tasty chicken bowl and headed for home.

This beauty held my attention for a heart stopping few seconds.

I enjoyed getting out and joining the Sunday afternoon parade:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Time--- Saturday Morning

For some strange reason beyond my ability to even put into words I pulled myself out of my very tired and needing to be quiet bed Saturday morning, ate, got dressed, and headed out for the main branch of the Public Library.
Leaving my house, I took a long, quiet, happy look at Mount RainierWhy the Main Branch of the Public Library?
I had just finished studying this one book in the Bible and wanted to do some more work around it. And I decided the Public Library might have some interesting books.
Some books... enough to keep this old word warrior working for two or three lifetimes.

Before I went in the library I walked passed a early morning eater, Mr. Squirrel. I was amazed. I stopped and looked at him for a minute and he just kept nibbling away. "Must be a pretty safe place around here for squirrels I thought."

With the help of two friendly librarians I found a commentary on Mark that will take me at least six weeks to finish.
I am determined to take my time with this book so I may never finish it. I am not concerned about finishing... just deepening my understanding of the book. As I left the library I whispered to the librarian, "Thank God for public libraries."
She smiled and said, "I say the same thing many, many times.

This video focuses on the sparse Saturday morning South Tacoma street traffic:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Regime Change in Iran: blog site for viewing what is happening in Iran

Here is another blog site I found discussing what is happening in Iran. It has some interesting posts and discussion about what the United States should or should not do with regards to the protests and brutality. If you would like my thoughts, click here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What to do when they bring you kale

As previously written here, I signed us up to receive bi-weekly deliveries of fresh produce from Terra Organics. Originally we were receiving the large mixed box, but to make a smaller carbon foot print I switched us to the Pacific Northwest box. It’s a little bit smaller and less costly and best of all it is local. Even though it doesn’t meet all the produce for a family of six, we enjoy finding ways to use the fruit and vegetables that come in the box and augment it with purchases from our local produce stand, Patterson’s here in Gig Harbor.

Each week Terra Organics sends an email listing what will be in the week’s box. I wasn’t looking or I might have changed our order before it came! Oh no, not kale! If you’d like to know what I did about the dreaded kale, click here.

The View from the Iranina Opposition

The Iranian opposition is wondering where President Obama is and why he isn’t declaring himself to be a “Tehraner” in the vein of Kennedy in Berlin. Were it but that easy. I doubt that there’s an American with a television, radio or computer who does not support the Iranians who are fighting for a more open and democratic society, but on an official level Obama walks a tightrope between not making the mistakes of the Carter Administration which refused to read the writing on the wall and continued to support the Shah out of personal loyalty and making an open declaration of solidarity with the opposition. Already the Islamic government is accusing Britain and the US of meddling in their election and whipping up the demonstrations that have gone on for over a week.

In the past the Iranian government has accused the United States of all kinds of ridiculousness including causing an earthquake there and sending CIA trained squirrels—really—to spy on Iran. A government so paranoid justified or not, is going to latch on to anything Obama says like a FOX commentator.

If you have a minute visit one of the Iranian opposition websites like Rotten Gods and leave a message of support. While our government may not be able to make an official statement of support, we, as democratic loving individuals, can.

Four Things I Learned About Myself This Weekend

1. How much I appreciate conversation with African American males who have the time and resources to become self-reflective, honest, and compassionate...

2. How deeply gospel music moves me to laughter and tears...

3. How delightful little children can be. I especially appreciated watching girls and boys between the ages of a year and a half and three first venturing out into new territory and then quickly going back and clinging to moms and dads and grandmoms and grandads...

4. How much I need men and women in my life who tell stories that cast light on the basic questions I need to constantly address: who am I, where am I going, and how I am going to get there...

Any Recent Aha Moments You Would Like To Share...

Saturday, June 20, 2009


There's gotta be a story in here; but how to get in here is the question...

The Struggle for Freedom Goes on in Iran

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Time...Another Joseph

1969... I had just begun a very long emotional and spiritual journey. The goals of that journey were my need to find new answers for very important old questions-- who am I, where am I going, how am I going to get there. I served as an intern at the Hilltop Youth Center that summer. I learned a lot about myself... how little I knew about other Black people... the music they preferred, the games they played together, their viewpoints of our world. I was caught in the Cold War Syndrome... the Russians were bad; Communists were taking over the free world, and it was my obligation to pray for the fall of the Russian Bear!
Racism at home... I was not attending to the impact it was having on other people of color and on me. I really had no inner image of myself succeeding in anything... doctor, lawyer, priest... no Black role model, no sense of the beauty of Africa, nor that, many generations before, that some of my ancestors had been forcibly taken from Africa and forced to live as slaves.
And sadly, I did not realize that my confused and frightened presence still had a positive effect on the young people that came to the Center.
I had much to learn. I still have much to learn. But this I do know... that you and I can choose to listen to each other, learn from one another, and support one another in becoming honest, open, generous, and self-sacrificing human beings.
And I am so grateful that I was challenged and supported to spend that very painful summer at the center, which is now known as the People's Community Center.

Here is a video of the area around the Center-- the Church right next to it; the wonderful neighborhood, the police station right across from the Center

Iran's Complicated Political System.

Iran’s complicated political/governmental structure is a mystery to most Americans. In light of the events of this past week Neighbors may be interested in a little clarification. The Iranian blog “Rotten Gods” has put up a chart that helps (a little) in figuring out how the Iranian government works.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Colorado Rudy

When I was staying with a WorldWide Marriage Encounter Couple in Fort Collins, Colorado, I became an acquaintance of one wonderful dog named Rudy. The couple had told me to close my bedroom door when I went to sleep because Rudy would stop by for a late evening visit and I might awake to find him giving my face a thorough sniffing over.
I kept the door closed!
But, in the morning, when I went to the restroom to shave and shower, Rudy was waiting for me right outside of the restroom door!
Rudy and I managed a respectful detente through most of the morning. But once I got an arm's length away from the lady of the house, AND, Rudy, her proctector, was right there in one smooth Clark Kent to Superman move... no biting, but he barked loud enough to insure that I kept my distance...
Rudy is one loving, caring, and loyal animal. When I grow up, I would like to loving, caring, and loyal too.

Check out Rudy on the hunt in the couple's backyard...

Wings of Freedom

For plane buffs who enjoy the airshow at the Freedom Fair each year, here's a chance to see some vintage planes up close. The Wings of Freedom will be at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field June 19-22nd. There will be a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-24 Liberator, and a P-51 Mustang. The times are June 19 - 2-5 PM, June 20 & 21 - 10 AM-5 PM, June 22 - 10 AM-12 PM. Walk through tours are available and no reservations are required.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We are all Iranians today

For the life of me, I cannot upload Youtube videos, but check out this one: What's going on in Iran?

Summer Season For Crystal Mountain to commence June 19

The snow at Crystal is melting rapidly under the late Spring sun. The folks at Crystal Mountain are revving up for the summer season. This year it is easier for more people to get into the high country. Hikers in the area know that the terrain around Crystal is hilly, but it is uniquely scenic and has only a tiny fraction of the visitors that Mt. Rainier National Park, situated a hand full of miles to the west has, so visitors to the Crystal area will get a nice wilderness experience. One of the largely unknown gems of Crystal is Henskin Lake, which is found a short distance beyond the top of Crystal’s Chair lift #4.

Getting to this lake is about 1,000 feet of elevation gain, and the chair lift is shut off so you are in for a work out. I like to hike and it takes me an easy 45 minutes to get to the top of the lift, and another 15 minutes or so to get to the lake. I always the long way back down. You can also get here on a bike, if you’re strong willed enough, or by horseback.

I love bike riding. If you want to ride a bike in the area, Crystal management says it’s okay as long as you stay on the designated roads or trails. They are not permitting bikes on the chair lift to go up hill or down.

Biking in the area amounts to a serious work to get up hill, but your reward is miles of free-wheeling downhill fun. One of my favorite bike rides this time of year starts at the bottom of Crystal Mountain Boulevard and winds about 6 miles uphill and offers about 1,400 feet of elevation gain. The ride ends at Crystal’s base area. There is not a lot of traffic on the road and the views are endlessly jaw-dropping. If you have a mountain bike and are up for a challenge, you can start at Crystal’s base area and wind your way up on any of a large number of marked trails. Either way, coming back down is both challenging and a thrill.

Crystal is situated just across the White River and up a hill from Mt Rainier National Park. Some don’t have the time to walk or bicycle ride up nearly 3,000 feet of vertical gain to a peak. This year Crystal is offering Scenic Chairlift rides on Sundays only. This ride takes the adventurer from Crystal’s base area on the Chinook Express high speed lift, to the mid-mountain drop off, and from there to the top by way of the Rainier Express (a.k.a. REX) high speed chairlift. The top of the lift is at a little over 6,870 feet above sea level.

From the top of the lift, Mt Rainier offers views that makes time seem to stand still …

…and it is a short walk along a mountaintop to Snorting Elk lake…

You can find information about their chairlift rides at here.

Once you’re done exploring the area from the mountain top, you can ride the chairlift back down to the mid mountain, than transfer to a different chair to return to the base. You can also chose to hike half way, or all the way down. If you chose to hike, you really, really need to have good boots and wear suitable clothing. A hike at Crystal is delightful. The wild-flowers and abundant wild life will dazzle you, and the high country wilderness can help change your perspective, long after you’ve left the area. But again, you really need to wear good boots and have suitable clothing because it’s most definitely not a typical walk in the park.

Another way to explore the area is on horseback. I've never done this but would like to. Crystal offers hose back rides in the area by way of a group called Crystal Mountain Outfitters. According to their web site, they are offering horseback rides starting June 15th and continuing through the summer. They offer rides of varying time. The costs are less than you might expect for the unique experience. A downloadable brochure at their site states that a “1 hour ride” is $30 per person, and an “All day +fishing” ride is $150 per person. Check their web site and contact them for more information. You will need to schedule ahead as these excursions are very popular, and for a very good reason. It is also a good idea to study their recommendations for clothing and related.

For those who are looking for about the most unique brunch or dinner experience in Washington’s highest restaurant, Crystal is offering their spectacular Sunset Dinners and also Sunday Brunch at Crystal’s recently remodeled Summit House. Getting to the Summit House and back takes place by way of their high speed chair lifts. If you like the experience coming up, riding down in twilight is something you will always remember.

Sunset Dinners are fine dining affairs and are offered on most Friday and Saturday evenings, starting on June 19 and continuing through September 5. Sunday Brunch at the Summit House is offered most Sundays. You need to check their schedule to get the details straight look here, and reservations are required.

Crystal is also offering 2 events that take the term culinary enchantment to the next level. These are on July 10 and August 14. The July event is their Winemaker’s Dinner and the August 14th event features a guest chef and an exceptional meal.

Make it a weekend to remember: If you want to spend the weekend and do a combination of these fun excursions, Crystal offers a variety of over-night accommodations. From camping to staying at a nice place with a pool, Crystal can accommodate you.

For more information see Crystal’s web site.

A duplicate of this articlecan be found at

The View From Iran

I was in college at Bellevue (then) Community College during the 1978-79 school year and had many Iranian classmates. It was amazing to watch the news at night and talk to them during the day as the Iranian Revolution unfolded. Technology in the form of the cassette tape fueled the Revolution as Khomeini’s sermons had been smuggled into Iran from France. Everyone had high hopes that when the Shah left Iran it was the end of an era of greed and savagery. Thirty years later we know that the story took on new characters, but largely the same story.

Iran suffered a brain drain as many “Westernized” and Western Educated Iranians fled for the United States and Europe. Many who were here stayed anyway they could. Some died in the attempt to get here. Not long after the Revolution one Iranian ex-pat went to Iran to marry his sweetheart. When they could not get a visa for her to the United States they hatched an ill-conceived plan to smuggle her into the country in a suitcase on his return flight. When he picked up the case at baggage claim he discovered that she had succumbed during the flight. Leaving the suitcase behind he drove to his university where he shot himself once in the head. People were literally dying to get out of Iran back in the 1980s.

This week it has been exciting to watch the Iranian people to once again demand a voice in their government. Once again, technology, in the form of email, blogs, and twitter, is fueling the protests. I am holding my breath because how the West reacts can influence the power of the clerics. If the opposition is seen as some sort of tool for the United States their chances of success will be materially damaged as will our chances of meaningful negotiations with the present government.

If you are interested here is a blog from Iran. You can see what is happening and leave a message of support if you want.

Put On Your Creative Teaching CAP: Local Mom Helps Special Needs Kids

If you are a parent of special needs child, you know the life drill. There are the multitude of doctor’s appointments, hours of research, support groups, online chat groups, seminars and special classes, up time, down time, small triumphs, big set-backs, pure joy, pure frustration, hope, and worry—all related to your child’s situation. If your child attends school (public or private) there are the scores of IEP meetings and other meetings, mountains of paperwork, and being a constant and fearless advocate. If your child is a homeschooler, there’s the teaching, sharing, exploring, learning, and planning. Throw in perhaps, a marriage, other kids, external family, friends, community, and a paying job, well that adds even more to life’s complexity. But these parents get the job done, no matter what’s thrown at them with bone-tiring hard work, unwavering determination, and a can-do attitude despite the odds.

Now meet Puget Sound resident Anne Scroggs.

Anne is the mother of an adult autistic and cognitively impaired son. Anne walked the path of what I described above with strength and tenacity. When her son was a child, Anne became increasingly frustrated with her son’s lack of progress in school. So, she pulled him out of school to home school. And it was at that point, that Anne took an unknowing journey to the spectacular. Using all her tools in her parental and educational toolbox, mixed with love and a big dash of creativity, Anne created her own curriculum and learning tools for her child to increase his vocabulary and language skills. It worked wonders.

Anne didn’t stop there. She kept learning, working, and striving to refine and develop her teaching tools. Hence, Creative Teaching CAP was born. Based on Anne’s early foundations of curriculum products and with a team of compassionate and caring fellow visionaries, a company, but more importantly an opportunity, was born.
And that opportunity has reached our very own South Sound. Tacoma Special Education teacher Kalissa Hovey incorporates the tool in her classroom with marked success. To read more from Ms. Hovey and last month’s press release, click HERE (and then click on the website’s press release icon).

After researching these products myself and seeing some additional materials, my take is this: they are durable, colorful, interesting, easy, and organized. If you are interested in these products or more on this company, check out the website HERE.

Congrats to the folks at Creative Teaching CAP for a job well done!

Les Schwab beyond expectations

After discovering a nail in one of our front tires, we drove as quickly as we could over to Les Schwab Tires on 6th Avenue, in Tacoma, arriving there just after 6 o'clock and seeing one of the employees locking the main entrance as we drove up. Oh, dear! Dreadful timing. But, one of the other employees still working in the garage (a man named "Heath") apparently saw the anxiety and despair on my face as I pulled in. He walked up and asked if he could help. After a quick explanation of our conundrum and without a moment's hesitation, he invited us to enter the showroom waiting area and assured us he would take care of the situation. He did that in a matter of minutes and with no grumbling, groaning, whining, or complaining about having to stay after closing time. As we waited, we enjoyed a complimentary bag of popcorn, too. The popcorn is standard fare at Les Schwab, but it was truly above and beyond expectations that "Heath" and the others stayed on after their regular business hours to help us get safely on our way again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Claiming Life!

I was very much a go down town for a milk shake, bowling, a movie with your best buddies kind of guy in my late teen years. A great date (movie, a big box of popcorn, a sandwich, fries, and a soda afterwards--- we walked downtown and bring to my friend's residence hall) would cost me fifteen dollars (twenty if I were really trying to impress the lovely lady).
Then I found myself, at the age of twenty, joining a Catholic religious community, and I passed my first three years as a member of that group in the high hills around Sheridan, Oregon. Many a night I found myself looking out of one of the windows that faced downtown and, a few miles down that high hill was an outdoor theatre. I could see these huge male and female figures on the movie screen. Many a tearful night I cried myself to sleep, wondering what I was doing and moaning and groaning about what I had given up.
If even a close friend would have said to me that a few gray haired years later I would be utterly delighted to pass a weekend at a retreat center located near the Rocky Mountains with no phone, no television, and no radio. And that I, along with three couples would be guiding twenty five couples through a WorldWide Marriage Encounter Weekend, I would have shook my head, sure that the woman or man with whom I was talking had lost her/his complete mind!I did enjoy my time at the Saint Malo Retreat Center.

The three couples were wonderful. They got the couples crying during the tough times of the presentations, laughing during those moments as they told their stories which every loving married couple have had to work their weary way through, and those wonderful, wonderful moments we all have experienced when we finally realized that sharing all that we are with other people was the reason we were given life.Early in the morning and late in the evening I found myself quietly and peacefully watching the mountains as I considered the sorrows and joys the presenting couples and the men and women who came to see me had shared with me.

And deep inside of me, around me, in the eyes of all who attended the WorldWide Marriage Encounter, I felt myself being changed for the better, being guided and nurtured by that mysterious, loving Power many of us call God. The picture I have included here is a photograph of a painting which was left anonymously at the front desk of the retreat center. It is a picture of a chapel which is located on the same property as St. Malo's Retreat Center. Besides this beautiful chapel, is there anything else you can see in this picture?

Enjoy this film of the pool and the trees and sky just outside of St. Malo!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tacoma candidates -- open thread!

This is in response to a Facebook thread that was getting out of hand. Consider this an open thread to sound off on your Tacoma candidates for office. Candidates, feel free to weigh in here as well!


Saturday, June 13, 2009


In recent weeks I've seen this car rolling through Fircrest and University Place a couple of times.

It is a wreck of a relic, a mangled old Ford LTD that is loaded with bumper stickers such as "Keep Washington Green, Move Back to California" and "Die Yuppie Scum" along with one for radio station KISW, and other oddities including a mailbox mounted on the hood that has the box number "667" and states that it is "Next door to The Beast".

Whoever and whatever it is all about, it is an amusing sight to see. Even as goofy as it is, it makes me proud to be an American that we can enjoy the freedom to be ourselves, to be outspoken, to be bold, and to just be out having fun in the sun.

Run To The Hills!

I live in the 'burbs just southwest of Tacoma. I go running in my neighborhood out of convenience. It's boring sometimes. But earlier this week, needing to desperately blow off steam, I did some city running and loved every minute of it.

City running is so much more intense and focused, particularly in my old stomping grounds of Tacoma's North End (Old Town). After dropping off my kiddos at my parents, I ascended one of many hills. I had to focus on the ankle breaking raised, old, broken and painfully narrow sidewalks, dodging potential falling disasters. I had to also dodge errant drivers (sorry Tacomans, but lots of you drivers don't yield or pay attention properly for pedestrians or bikers) when crossing the streets. The traffic was flowing, activity abounded on every street from people hauling in groceries to their homes, or business folks taking a sunny lunch break. I could hear sirens, birds, honking horns, laughter, and buses. I smelled cut grass, gasoline, hot cement, and flowers. I ran fast and smooth. So much to see, sense, and do.

However, my favorite part of the run was getting cat calls from some Washington-Hoyt Elementary School 9 year old boys. They weren't dirty, just silly. I laughed with them and wondered why these kiddos didn't realize I am old enough to be their mama.

So, for you runner (or walker) types, hit the road.

Happy exercise!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Democracy in Action

If our mission as a nation is to spread Democracy, we need to be prepared to accept the officials who are elected in fledgling Democracies. The presidential election in Iran is garnering a lot of American media attention.

Democracy is not an ironclad guarantee that the best person—or who we think is the best person—is going to get elected. We have Adolf Hitler and a couple of our own presidents as proof of that. What is more important than liking whomever the Iranian people elect is taking pleasure from the fact that they are using that process and appear to be as excited about it as we were in November.

Hello From Fort Collins

I am in Fort Collins, Colorado, sixty miles north of Denver. This evening I shall be joining three couples. We shall be the directors of a Marriage Encounter Weekend at Saint Malo Retreat Center in Allenspark, Colorado. This is the second time I have directed an encounter here. High in the mountains and I shall be definitely drinking a lot of water to keep from getting dehydrated.
Each time I present I learn a little bit more about myself... my need to let go of feelings of fear, for example. More and more I am realizing that if I make a mistake in what I am doing, I just need to move on and keep focused on the task.
I remember a few encounters back ending up presenting five minutes of material that did not fit the topic. I had put my materials in the wrong part of the notebook in which I keep my notes. I looked at the couple with whom I was presenting, shrugged my shoulders, and they just moving on, and no one listening to us appeared to notice that my words did not clearly address the issue we were considering.
At the time I was relieved. Later I came to understand that sometimes I blow it and that is okay.
The other notion that is, more and more, becoming more clearly etched on my heart has two points: first, I am not alone, two other people are working very hard to help those attending the Encounter; and second, that the couples attending really do the very hard work of opening up to each other and, in doing so, come to appreciate each other even more. is morning time here in Fort Collins. I have time to relax, read, write, and pray... and this evening... whatever happens will be exactly what should happen.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June Moon...Eat It With A Spoon!

Disk of reflection
Orb of tidal ebb and flow
La Bella Luna

Night light through the trees
Leaves whisper in their newness
Of the midnight sight

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A-1 Appliance is A-1

If you need an appliance repairman, call A-1 Appliance in Gig Harbor, 851-2577. Courteous and prompt A-1 will try to solve your problem over the phone. I’m not kidding, we’ve been walked through diagnosis and tweaking with no costly service call. Instead of showing up for a hefty service call just to spend a few minutes putting things to rights, this outfit does triage over the phone. If a house-call is necessary, it won’t break the bank.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gritty City Woman Gets a Fresh Lid and a Drunken Rooster: Azarra Salon and Wine

Fresh lid? Yes. I have a shorter, sassier, “summery-er” hairstyle (summery-er is not a word I know, but it captures the feeling, eh?) courtesy of my hair zen master Aura Mae of Azarra Salon and Wine. Drunken Rooster? Drunken Rooster WINE (Grenache), that is. And it was yummy.

Grit City has its very own groovy salon and wine bar all rolled up in one. Azarra Salon and Wine recently unveiled their new digs in the Harmon Building on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma. The new space features a cool reception room that overlooks Pac-Ave. (the people watching cannot be better!) and each stylist has their own room! Aura’s room is the “wine room” (how appropriate for this Gritizen). Excellent labels, good prices, and wine discussion—total fun. I loved being in my own little room as a client—it really feels like the focus is on YOU. And even better, I am surrounded by liquor. Bonus!

But seriously though, I love this concept and the look and feel of this place. And really, Aura and staff are cut and color experts. I have had the best hair looks and styles that I’ve had in YEARS. And I tried some highlights for kicks and they are PERFECT, every time.

Wanna check it out? Go for it, but read HERE first.


P.S. Before you ask, no, there are no pics at the moment of the new ‘do. My eyes are swollen, puffy, and dark circled from acute allergies and I have a scrape on my face (don’t ask). Plus, I don’t want to scare off any potential Azarra Salon and Wine clients. So, when I get back to “normal” (yeah, so to speak), you’ll get your pic.

When the Longest Day Saved the World

If there was any doubt that I am getting old it’s been put to rest on this anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Those Americans, British and Canadians who participated in the most massive military operation in the history of the world and the Frenchmen who scanned the horizon in anticipation are mostly gone. It is not hyperbole to say that had the Normandy Invasion failed the world likely would have been a very different place.

While the 65th anniversary of that Longest Day is being honored in the villages and on the beaches of Normandy it seems to be getting short shrift in this country. I hope that people will stop to take stock of what that event meant to the freedom of Europe and probably North America. Had their mission failed the Allies would have lost the element of surprise and possibly Europe. How long could Britain have held out? If fascism had won the day in Europe how long would it have been before tyranny came knocking on our door? How many more Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and disabled would have died before Hitler turned his eyes on the minorities of this country? I like to believe that we could have prevented Hitler from devouring North America the way he had much of Europe before anyone thought to stop appeasing him, but what kind of a world would we be living in had Operation Overlord failed?

As a Baby Boomer I was raised on stories of WWII, but the passage of time has dimmed the immediacy of what happened in that conflict and what D-Day meant. Young people are not cognoscente of what they owe. All people who enjoy freedom and Democracy owe a debt of gratitude to those brave men who lived and died on the beaches of Normandy. Thank you for literally saving the world.

Friday, June 5, 2009

An Activist is Born

Art Linkletter said, “Kids say the darnedest things.” The Bible says, “Out of the mouths of babes…” One of the beauties of living with a child is that they constantly come up with observations and remarks that help us to see the world through fresh eyes. Our grandson is having his first civics lesson and it was all his own idea.

We took five-year-old Gabriel out of town two weeks ago for a quick trip to the beach. While eating dinner one night he suddenly said, “Grammy, if all the soldiers just went home then there would be peace wouldn’t there?” Now we hadn’t been talking about the war that particular night. I don’t even remember what we were talking about, but his remark came out of the blue. “Why, yes,” I said, “if all the soldiers went home there’d be peace.”

Gabriel didn’t bring it up again on the trip, but after we returned home we were having dinner with his parents when he made the same remark. “I think you should write a letter to the president with your idea, Gabriel,” I said. That was three weeks ago. After work today Gabriel came to me with a pencil and paper and asked how to spell “Barak Obama.” “I’m going to write to the President that if all the soldiers just come home there’d be no war.”

My daughter-in-law sat down with Gabriel and had him sound out each word of his note to President Obama making his civics lesson into a phonetics lesson as well. I was a teenager when I began writing letters about the War in Vietnam. I stand in awe of my grandson. Together we went to Grandpa’s den and got an envelope to put his note in and voila, an activist was born.

Senior Exhibitions

For about eight years I have had the privilege of listening to the Senior Exhibitions at Gig Harbor High School. It is always a fun day to see the seniors all dressed up and looking appropriate and to see and hear the culminating project of their public school career. Yesterday was exhibition day at GHHS.

In the past there have been projects that were self-serving. Students have learned a new leisure skill with dubious community service involved. Over the years the quality of service has improved and yesterdays exhibitions were a joy. It was delightful to see what great kids we are sending out into the world. I wish it was into a better economy.

I strongly urge community members to volunteer to judge exhibitions next year.

What Happened to the History on the History Channel

I was thrilled when the History Channel went on the air. History is one of my great loves and to have an entire television channel devoted to history was divine. Unfortunately, I believe that the History Channel and its parent company A&E have lost their rudder. They used to have great programs and now a lot of it is schlock.

My husband says that reality programming is cheap and seems to be what the public wants. What in the heck is wrong with the American public? But to get back to the History Channel, I was appalled when for Memorial Weekend, with all the programs they have achieved from the days when they actually were a history channel; they chose to have a “Monster Quest” marathon. A part from the fact that I would argue that a program devoted to the mythology of monsters in various cultures hardly qualifies as history in the first place, I cannot imagine why the History Channel would devote three days to showing it 24/7 for something like Memorial Weekend.

I would also argue that “Axe Men,” a program about present day loggers, and “Ice Road Truckers,” about truck drivers who drive big rigs over arctic ice for a living, is not history. A little of it is interesting, but it is not history. Their new “African Expedition” is also interesting, but only a half-step up from “Survivor” and “The Great Race,” two more programs I do not watch. The only reality programming I found engaging had a beginning, middle and end. Those were some BBC and PBS series that set volunteers into situation meant to recreate various periods of history and follow how they dealt with it. Watching people have to build dwellings from scratch on the American plains or deal with the class structure of Victorian England was compelling to me, but it didn’t drag on forever.

The anniversary of D-Day is tomorrow. I’ve checked and the History Channel has some little programming devoted to it. Maybe the email I sent then on Memorial Day had an effect. I may actually turn on the History Channel this weekend, but judging by their line up, I won’t be going back to being a regular viewer any time soon. Thank goodness for books!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Last evening's spectacular, blood-red sunset and even this morning's glorious sunrise are not enough to obliterate the sorrow I feel for Kurt Husted's family. It is unspeakable that a Loomis armored car guard was murdered and so many other people simultaneously traumatized. I did not know him, but he had been one of my daughter's classmates at Lincoln. It doesn't matter whether I ever knew him or never knew him.

It is beyond my ability to comprehend how not just one individual, but two, three, four individuals (I cannot bring myself to call them 'people') found each other, got together, hatched a plan that they all bought in on, and apparently decided was a good idea or perhaps a quick fix for all of their problems.

All that I know for certain is:

  • They took his life

  • They've thrown away their own

  • All of it was for nothing

  • All of their lives completely wasted, squandered

  • And nothing is left in their wake but heartache.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dem Bones..Dem Joints..Dem Dry Docs....

It isn't fair. I didn't know I was being stalked from the bushes by an old and crazy woman. I didn't notice (being forty-five and fabulous!) as she took her knife and fork to me, eating in little slices over the next five years, until I was the little gingerbread girl! Help, I've been eaten by an old woman and I can't get up! I know I'm in here somewhere...but no mirror shows it, instead I think I'm passing a portrait of my grandmother. If I lift my glasses up to peer through the reading part, it's sometimes a portrait of my father...something about the Clark Gable moustache I suppose!

Did I miss the part in the Pre-Being Contract where preemies hit fifty...and jumped immediately to seventy as penance for being too eager? I was always eager. I ate life in large delicious bites, singing and dancing my way across the continent more times than I can count. I have the tailbone of a long-distance trucker; once journeyed across Canada in March, sitting sideways on top of the old truck's engine and staring into the hypnotizing, never-ending snow. My tailbone never quite forgave me for that trip.

What business does this old woman have, eating me? What chutzpah to chow-down on me yout' and then begin to crumble around me! I try to fight to rebuild bones with those nasty weekly pills that feel like setting cement in the endless half-hour wait before I can get to my cuppa and come alive. Doc said I needed extra calcium too but then there was too much in my blood and still not enough in the styrofoam bones. Oh, here comes the fun part....

Now they tell me I have become a little oyster, trying to make pearls of calcium deposits! I'm wearing them but they're not half as pretty as my Auntie Mary's little double-string with the antique-iffy catch. I suppose it's the only dressed-up part of me as I head through the revolving daktari doors! A few more x-rays and I should be able to get a part-time job as a standing lamp for room ambiance, pearls on the shade.

Don't you just love when a young doctor comes bouncing into the room, obviously oiled and with correct moving parts, tells you that you're a degenerate...bones, joints and discs...and then tells you that you SHOULDN'T be in this pain, as if you are a naughty wee girl vying for some attention. Excuse me young man, do you not see this old woman who ate me and is crumbling? I don't suppose you know what it feels like to lose two inches in height because of stress-fractures do you? I don't suppose you have knees and hips that can tell my local weather FAR more accurately than KING 5?

The bones are going missing under the porcelain tombstones of my teeth, leaving them to tilt and fall like vandals have come and gone under cover of darkness. Next Monday three molars will hit the an inflated cost that makes my poor grey matter deflate alongside our already fashionably skinny piggy-bank. The uber-expensive upper denture has never been able to fit...and of course it was the ol' woman's fault for having deformed the bill!

For the last month I have felt old, sore, stressed and tired like never before. I'm a little weak and shaky from the "suck-food" diet BUT...everyone tells me how fabulous I look with the drastic weight-loss....woo-hooo....*faint*

I won't go quietly, old woman...and I'll hold onto my sense of humour till the last. Oh, I'm gonna be a character alright...a tiny wee bent amputeeth sucker fish in pearls!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Warren Drive Road Closure

The section of Warren Drive between 70th Ave. N.W. and the Fox Island Bridge has been closed for roadwork, diverting Fox Island traffic on up 40th and past Areletta in a large loop before arriving ath the Fox Island Bridge from the other direction. For some the closure has brought irritation and frustration, but for others it brought peace and quiet.

We are in heaven and don’t mind the extra driving to get to our PO Box on Fox Island. Suddenly our busy 70th has become a quiet country road. It is possible to walk the dog during the late afternoon and early evening without fear for your life or that you’re breathing in tons of pollutants. It is quieter than it was 19 years ago when we moved to the Greater Gig Harbor Area, also known as unincorporated Pierce County.

Of course, not everyone is pleased with the Warren Drive road closure. I imagine that those living on that stretch are more than a little irritated and students living along there have to walk farther to catch school buses which are being rerouted around the construction. A friend in the Peninsula School District Transportation Department tells me it’s been a nightmare.

My son and his family have taken to strolling down 70th of an evening to the new wooded park where the road tees into 32nd or Warren. If they were to just keep that section of road closed forever we’d be pleased, but the party is to be over on the 7th.