Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
My husband's brother Mel died early this morning of ALS. May flights of angels sing him to his rest. We love Mel and we shall miss him. Our condolences to his children Rhonda, Chris, Scott, Jeff, Kerri, Cindy, Jodi and their families, and to his brothers and sisters, Donna, Alyce, Jean, Richard, and Marv and their families. Mel leaves behind 20 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.
As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22)
To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. (John 18:37)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Emily Dickinson had much to share with the world about life, and love, death and hope, and being human on a planet that has much to learn about compassion and forgiveness. Maybe most about hope. "Hope," she wrote, "is a thing with feathers That perches in the soul."
Here is one she wrote called: This Is My Letter To The World
This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me
The simple news that Nature told
With tender Majesty
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see
For love of her,
Judge tenderly of me.
And so, Christmastime is when hope perches in the soul of mankind perhaps more than at any other time of year, with its message of peace and goodwill. Here then is my Christmas message to all of you, my friends whose hands I cannot see, in the form of a question, many questions:
BETHLEHEM IN PLEIADES
Is there a Bethlehem
in Pleiades? --
made of stranger stuff
where a virgin,
silver-eyed and young
and far from home
laid another Babe
called Christ? --
Or is he called by different names
Was it a thousand
thousand years ago
he ran across the four-starred
square of Pegasus
Is it, in all
the deep Manvantaras of space,
Is it winter on Arcturas?
Do angels carol and rejoice
to an infant
born only NOW --
light years across the universe
among strange six-hoofed beasts
that stand and low and bray,
Do they see
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I am Confessions!
by Saint Augustine
You're a sinner, you're a saint, you do not feel ashamed of your past, but it did such a great job of teaching you what not to do. Now you've become a devout Christian and have spent more time ruminating on the world to come rather than worldly pleasures. Your realizations and ability to change will bring reverence upon you despite your hedonistic transgressions. Florida will honor you most in the end.
Thanks to my friend Nienke at The Writing Life for the Book Quiz. Try it! Find out what book you are! I still ruminate upon worldly pleasures a lot though...not to mention all my hedonistic transgressions. Nienke was The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. (Let me know what book you are.)
But what is that stuff about Florida, anyway?
Saturday, November 29, 2008
My grandson Isaac turned six-years-old the day before Thanksgiving. We are thankful to have him in the family circle. He is smart, and kind to others, and very, very handsome. We're proud you are ours, Isaac! May the Force be with you!
When I was one I had just begun.
When I was two I was nearly new!
When I was three I was hardly me.
When I was four I was not much more.
When I was five I was just alive!
But now I'm six, I'm as clever as clever,
and I think I'll be six forever and ever!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It's a sad thing that people have singled out the "Mormon" Church as a scapegoat for the passing of Proposition 8, amending the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act, overriding a state Supreme Court ruling. The backlash against the passing of this proposition has been responsible for a lot of hateful targeting of the LDS Church for exercising its right to speak up for what it considers to be a moral issue in a free election. Let me say, up front, that I didn't agree with the Church's meddling in California politics. While I think concerned folks from Utah had no business contributing to a political campaign in another state, I believe the Church had every right to advise its members in that state concerning what they believe to be a critical issue concerning the ultimate nature of the traditional family.
In fact, we were not alone. Months before the first ads ran on Prop. 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to Mormons (having been bishop of SLC for eleven years, he knows Mormons well) and asked for their help on Prop. 8--seeking the support of many other denominations as well to form "the core" of this volunteer operation. The money was grass-roots donated by concerned people of many conservative faiths. The Mormon Church did not contribute money to this fund. Nobody was coerced. Our young missionaries would never break into anyone's home and scatter decency to the wind as shown in that reprehensible TV ad.
It all seems a bit ridiculous to me, a simple matter of semantics. If the word "marriage" is the problem, then why not continue to call gay alliances "civil unions," or "gay inseparabilities," or whatever else they choose. Equality in every way except their use of the word. I think everyone agrees that giving everyone the same legal rights to make decisions for incapacitated loved ones, the same insurance coverage, and the same respect is the only decent way to go--which, by the way, the Mormon Church advocates, as evidenced by specifically pointed statements published in a Church News release concerning rights of hospitalization/medical care, fair housing, employment, probate/wrongful death rights and domestic partnership rights for gay couples, who have every right to live and love together in a state of gay bliss. Just not in marriage. The M-word.
LDS Temples across California (and in Utah) have been damaged, chapels have been vandalized. Facebook groups have formed telling people to boycott Utah in general (tourism, ski resorts, the Sundance Film Festival, etc.). Websites have formed calling for an end to the Church's tax-exempt status, saying things like: "We're going to bury you (shades of Nikita Kruschev!)," and "Destroy Utah--it is a Hate State," calling us a "religion of Bigots and Hate-Mongers!" We seem to have become a punching bag, and people feel free to shout profanities at us, spit on our cars, block access roads to our temples, shoot out the windows and glass doors of our chapels, and wield their cans of spray paint like weapons. This morning's news reports 2 more chapels in my neighborhood were vandalized overnight and two historic buildings were burned.
What I want to know is this: where are the protesters when other churches exercise their right to decry what they consider to be moral issues? Where are those others who also helped Yes on 8 and should be standing by us? Is Abortion a fair issue? How about pornography? Mormons don't like those things very much, either. Nor do I. Just call me old-fashioned. But please don't call me moron, or scum.
Well. Okay. I feel better now. Sort of. Thanks for letting me vent.
[UPDATE. Wednesday, Nov. 12th] The protests in California and Utah have spread to the East Coast. New Yorkers are now going at it, and protests against Mormons are planned in every state this Saturday: more harrassments and assaults, more horn-honking and spitting, more obscene gestures, hate-mail, and vandalism....
UPDATING THE UPDATE- Friday-Nov 14, 2008, Deseret News: "Envelopes containing a suspicious white powder were mailed (from California) to two LDS Temples and a Catholic fraternity (Knights of Columbus), prompting a hazardous materials response and a federal investigation into who is behind it...." The FBI will probably discover it is cornstarch, but it might have been anthrax.
UPDATING THE UPDATED UPDATE! My good friend Orlan (see comments) suggests you take a look at this article for a well-balanced view of this issue.
. . . .
Also, on this Veteran's Day, when I saw on GMA a tearful mother in a cemetery embracing her son's tombstone, I cried with her, and remembered why I am glad to be movin' on from Bush to Obama....
Photo Credit: Beetle Blogger
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Last night the City Library offered a Dewey Lecture with poet and musician Joy Harjo, a multi-talented artist who is both an internationally known poet and a player of an Indian flute as well as the saxophone, which she said she learned to play at 40. She's played her original and native music around the world, and has been featured by Bill Moyers and Garrison Keillor. Her performance in Salt Lake last night was part of the award-winning PBS series American Experience called "We Shall Remain." We were privileged to see a film clip last night as part of the program. It will air in the spring of 2009. Be sure to watch for it!
Jo Harjo is a native American of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Her poetry (interlaced with lyrical Indian melodies) is both simple and eloquent and real. When someone asked her, during the short Q & A time at the end, what her imagery of horses, "means, exactly," Ms Harjo said you can never explain to someone what your imagery means, exactly. She told us not to look to hard for a meaning in poetic imagery (something akin to what Robert Frost said, that a poem should not mean, but be.) "Poetry," she said, "is a dream filled with language."
She said the image can be transformational. She spoke of the true power of the word, of the true danger of the word, and the true beauty of the word. And of what a journey poetry is. Here is one of her poems, from her book, How We Became Human:
IN PRAISE OF EARTH
We kept on dancing last summer though the dancing had been called subversive.
We weren't alone at the end of this particular world and knew
it wouldn't be the last world, though wars
had broken out on all sides.
We kept on dancing and with us were the insects who had gathered at the grounds
in the grasses and the trees. And with us were the stars and
a few lone planets who had been friends
with the earth for generations.
And with us were the spirits who wished to honor this beloved earth in any beautiful manner. And with us at dawn was the Sun who took the lead
and then we broke for camp, for stickball
We all needed praise made of the heart's tattoo as it inspired our feet or wings, someone to admire us despite our tendency to war, to terrible
stumbles. So does the red cliff who is the heart
broken to the sky.
So do the stones who were the first to speak when we arrived. So does the flaming mountain who harbors the guardian spirits who refuse to abandon
us. And this Earth keeps faithfully to her journey, carrying us
around the Sun,
All of us in our rags and riches, our rages and promises, small talk and suffering. As we go to the store to buy our food and forget to plant, sing so
that we will be nourished in turn. As we walk out
into the dawn,
With our lists of desires that her gifts will fulfill, as she turns our tears
into rivers of sweet water, we spiral between dusking and
dawn, wake up and sleep in this lush palace of creation,
rooted by blood, dreams, and history.
We are linked by leaf, fin, and root. When we climb through the sky to each
new day our thoughts are clouds shifting weather within us.
When we step out of our minds into ceremonial
language we are humbled and amazed,
at the sacrifice. Those who forget become the people of stone who guard
the entrance to remembering. And the Earth keeps up her
dancing and she is neither perfect nor exactly in time.
She is one of us.
And she loves the dance for what it is. So does the Sun who calls the Earth
beloved. And praises her with light.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Last week the Utah Opera opened its new season with Puccini's "Madame Butterfly," and we were there, five rows back, center right. Sure, it's a tearjerker, and I (along with most of the audience) shed some tears. Barbara Shivis was perfect as Butterfly; as the 15-year old in the first act, she was fragile and vulnerable, funny and trusting, and stubborn (as most 15-year-olds are!). She was magnificent as Butterfly three years later, her trust broken by that cad Pinkerton. Her performance was "stunning" as the review in the paper said--which brings to mind an ongoing argument (discussion?) I have with my husband concerning opera in general. He believes the voice rules. Physical appearance, not so much.
I remember when Martina Arroyo sang the role of Butterfly. She is a hefty Black woman, about 45 at the time. Well, that sort of thing doesn't work for me. The voice may be terrific, but Butterfly should look like an Asian teenager full of innocence and hope, like a butterfly, if you will. I have nothing against Ms. Arroyo, who has a splendid operatic voice and is a lovely lady in her own right.
So, what do you think? Does appearance matter, or does the voice overcome questionable casting??? Should an opera singer also be able to act?
Sitting next to us, as they have for many seasons, was a nice lady lawyer and her elderly father, who recently returned from a visit to New Zealand--Queenstown and Hamilton. They took harbor cruises and visited the LDS Temple and College in Hamilton. They LOVED New Zealand, and it was fun to hear their stories. And it turns out, their guide was an old friend of my husband's! Small world.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
NGC 602 is just too plain a name for this spectacular star formation happening in the Small Magellanic Cloud ~ Notice all the background galaxies hundreds of millions of light years or more beyond NGC 602. Please, guys, don't let Hubble die!
Have you ever seen ANYTHING more MAGNIFICENT??? Click it!
(Photo credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team)
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
In the beginning, so many circles of earth spinning around the sun ago, before clocks, before hours or minutes or even seconds were counted, in another garden outside Eden there were dragons. These dragons were simple water creatures whose feet were smallish and not made for walking on dry land. You might call these creatures monsters, really, because they were very large and scaley, toothy, four-mouthed beasts with tiny fins good for swimming. But because their fins were small and weak, they moved through the deep waters of the garden slowly, so slowly in fact, that the youngest sons of Cain (who had been cast out of Eden for slaying his brother) climbed up on their backs for rides across the river. Sometimes they brought their toy cannons and pop-guns and carved shields, and shouted, Ho, Away! and with the heels of their hard boots they goaded the poor things to go faster, and faster still, faster than their God made them to go. First the children of Cain shot their wooden arrows to frighten birds away, and then they fired their tin cannons at one another, and played dead, and rose, and fired again. Finally they kicked their sharp heels into the dragons ribs until their poor tongues hung out of their mouths like sausages, and their loud bellows frightened away all the rest of the birds. And how long they did this no one could say because there were no clocks to tell the time.
One day the boys began to make bullets of the dragons teeth, and they mended their worn and shabby shields with the dragons scales. Another day they forgot it was only a game they played, and they called it WAR. Many died. The dragons grew old, and their great hearts began to burst, their brains turned to smoke, their bones broke and they sank to the river bottoms like torpedoed ships, and they drowned and their flesh was soon eaten by the many big razor-jawed fish who now sweetened the waters. Their teeth became opals, their eyes became diamonds, and their bones turned into black gold.
Now they say there was an angel who stood guard with a sword of flame at the Gates of Eden, letting no one in, and very few out. The keeper of the garden's name was Adam. One night while sleeping, Adam dreamed of a great white horse who carried him out of Eden on its back. And Adam dreamed he saw the holy spirits of a hundred dragons rising from the water, their tiny fins having become wings. And Adam dreamed he called them by name (for he knew all their names). Elon, Kimani, Adara, Isabelle, Takoda, Dak-Ho, Izyan, Christopher, Jack....
Then, two of the hundreds of spirits of dragons came and sat at Adam's feet. To the first, Adam said I shall call you Alligator, and to the second, he said You shall be named Crocodile. And it was good. And Adam sent the two spirits back down into the ebbing and flowing waters of the garden outside of Eden.
. . . . . . . . .
When he woke from his dream, Adam found himself still in the garden outside of Eden. He marveled when he found those very dragons he had named Alligator and Crocodile swimming in the river, and he said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply. And they did.
But Adam grieved sorely for his wife, and for his children. He returned to the Gates of Eden, but the angel guarding the gate waved the sword of flames under Adam's nose and would not let him pass back into Eden, and Adam wept loudly and called out to his wife and children, Come here! Cross over, and I will show you these new creatures I have named Alligator and Crocodile! They are as sweet and tame and timid as rabbits! So his wife and their children packed up their tents and binoculars and sleeping bags. They filled their backpacks with flashlights and compasses, and they set up their camp in the garden on the other side of Eden. When they were done, and the others sang and told stories around the campfire, one of the children went off by himself and made a sundial of stones, with an arrow that cast a shadow on the edge, and when the sun rose, the arrow marked the sun's passage across the sky, dividing daylight into many parts, bringing TIME to the garden on the other side of Eden.
Before noon, the children, some of them, found these wonderful new creatures Alligator and Crocodile. They played tag and hide and seek among them, made them necklaces of flowers and fed them figs and apples. Some of them climbed upon their backs, and by and by began again to play the game WAR. Many of them died. And it came to pass that both TIME and WAR spread both East and West, North and South. The birds, which Adam had named the Doves of Peace returned, but could find no place to rest their wings and build their nests, and so flew far away.
And it came to pass that Adam wept in despair, and said, Will we never learn?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
The autumnal equinox occurred on September 22, marking the end of Summer and the first day of Fall. Fall is a great time. I went to Simon's soccer game early today. The morning was cold and rainy, no sun rose over the Wasatch where a snowstorm was falling on the red scrub-oak and yellow patches of quakies. They were playing football to the east of us and several other soccer games were going on to the west. We cheered and clapped and whistled to encourage our Green Team (the Green Lightning's) even though they lost the game. They played well and tried hard. Watching a bunch of frozen seven-year-old boys struggling to kick a ball into a net is exciting, especially so if one of them is yours.
The full moon nearest the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon, and the markets are full of apples and pumpkins and nuts and egg-nog. The election is coming up! Remember to vote!
This magnificent photograph of the sun, taken just this week, on September 29th, should help to thaw the chills of those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and encourage those of you on the Southern side that Summer is on its way!
(Photo Credit: STEREO project, NASA)
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Our friend Tammy, aka Warrior Woman, otherwise known as Robin, and Pam, aka Spike, otherwise known as Batman, and my brother-in-law Mel, aka Mel, have all been diagnosed with ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Tammy is sponsoring a team to walk for the Defeat of ALS ~ Tammy's Warriors. Those of you who would like to participate either as a real-life-flesh-and-blood walker or as a virtual walker (like me) on her team, or to simply contribute to the Defeat of ALS, contact Tammy here!
or my personal ALS page here.
Thanx ~ your participation is appreciated! BTW, this is a picture of the Warrior Woman's cool new tattoo...how combative is that! We are on the warpath!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Six unremarkable things about me:
1. I'm really messy. But I usually know where everything is.
2. I don't eat anchovies. They are icky. Or fish with bones in it.
3. I avoid parties--except for family do's.
4. I avoid make-up and high heels, unless I'm going to a party. Or to church.
5. I LOVE pictures from the Hubble telescope, and pictures of my grandkids. Both make me swoon. Do people say that any more? Swoon?
6. I don't like to be licked by dogs, even my dogs.
There it is. I could go on, but I won't. If you want to play, list 6 unremarkable things you would like us to know about YOU!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 11, 2008
-- WE REMEMBER . . .
DAVID PRUDENCIO LEMAGNE, a police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was last seen helping form a human chain that was leading people out of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In the final moments of his young life, he saved two fellow comrades of the PA police and a third civilian security guard. He might have saved himself, but went back to save others.
DAVID graduated as a paramedic in 1994 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Even after becoming a police officer in 2000, he continued to work as a paramedic at the New Jersey City Medical Center, simply because he loved to help people. When the attack occurred on the Twin Towers, he was told to stay put, but moments after the second plane hit, he asked to be sent to the trade towers, because of his training as a paramedic. Having aided and saved many lives in medical crisis, David understood what it meant to be of "Service."
OFFICER LEMAGNE was a notorious prankster, with an infectious grin. He loved jokes. He loved cycling, playing softball and basketball. Those who knew him best said: "I'll never forget that smile of yours or hearing you laugh."
"From time to time I still see you with your basketball, walking to the courts on 67th Street. I see your dad often, and he still cries...."
"I always looked up to you. I knew you for the brave leader you always were and the good friend everyone wishes they had."
"I don't know many people that was like you, David, kind, giving, down to earth, humble, bright, and a real good guy!"
DAVID loved dominoes games, and Bar-B-Ques, and smoking cigars. He loved hanging out at the "Spot," and throwing parties at "Topps."
David was 27 years old. He is survived by his parents, Prudencio and Ruth, and a sister, Maggie. And an entire nation, who appreciates and honors his commitment to his mission and vocation. We still cry.... To OFFICER DAVID PRUDENCIO LEMAGNE, Badge #834, we say, "Well done!"
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
So. Tomorrow it goes live. The recently canceled Great Experiment is rescheduled for tomorrow. The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland will determine if Higgs boson, the "God Particle," actually exists. Two beams of protons will be set to travel in opposite directions, gaining energy with each lap around the huge circular supercollider, until they smash into each other. There hangs the tale. The result will revolutionize our understanding of physics, anti-matter, mass, the interior workings of atoms, and how the universe began. Scientists will use the LHC to recreate conditions just after the Big Bang. So, things are about to change. Tomorrow.
Or, (more unlikely) they will create a Black Hole that will swallow us all in a flash. Tomorrow. So polish your shoes and comb your hair. And cross your fingers. Either way, I have enjoyed your company!
UPDATE: We are still here! Apparently the beams are going successfully in the same direction and won't be set on a collision course in opposite directions "for some months."
(Sorry the link doesn't want to work...I hope the LHC works better than the link. Google it if you want to know more, or in my blog search bar type the god particle, to see what I wrote earlier this summer.)