Sunday, October 29, 2006

Africa in a nutshell

Now this is interesting. I hear people (especially high profile left leaning loud mouthed celebrities) go on and on about how the world isn't doing enough for africa, blah, blah, blah. The world, the US, the UN et al, are doing plenty for Africa, the problem is the African governments. I hold this view, some may argue, but I don't see how you can argue with the immense corruption present in most African governments. Money goes in and goes straight to the pockets of the corrupt officials. Soldiers who are supposed to guard supplies so they get to the people are the ones stealing it and selling it on the black market. It makes much more sense to deal with the corruption first, then help the people. Everything else is just wasted efforts. If even a 5th of the aid actually got there it might help, but I would wager less than 1 percent actualy does, heck, most of the problems that require aid are caused by the terrible mismanagment of the governements there. Solve the corruption and much of the problems go away. I don't feel certain the problem is a lack of money. I know the people are poor by western standards, but they have done well enough for thousands of years as it is, without outside money. What has changed? So here is a person willing to address the root of the problem, and he is soundly criticized. Anyway, read it and make your own decision.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I don't disagree with the facts of this article, but I don't understand the conclusions they reached. In LA, many people were not satisfied with their insurance settlements, but the predominant groups that got their claims satisfactorily adjusted were those who complained to the authorities, and this group was predominantly white. They did not say blacks were denied claims or denied the right to contest thier settlements, they said blacks didn't bother to contest them. They, the black homeowners didn't feel the battle was worth it. So, what conclusion did they draw? That blacks are being disenfranchised. I don't get it. They stated that when blacks did contest their settlements they were settled satisfactorily at the same rate as whites, but blacks mostly didn't contest, they just accepted the low settlements.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I thought Portland had it bad with "The city that works" (as opposed to what, the city that doesn't work,the city that sits around on it's ass all day eating cheetos and poptarts, and scratches itself??). Seattle took it from SayWA, which if a little dorky was at least kinda cute. Now see what they have done.......can you say whathef***???? Oh, correction, the saywa was the new state motto. Oops.

See the story here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

new remains

Maybe I am missing simething but why are the families of 9-11 victims upset about the finding of new remains so long after the event? I would think they would be glad that something has been found thatmight be a connection to their loved ones. It isn't a very diginified palce to be laid to rest, under a manhole cover, basically a sewer, but at least they were intact bones and as such, could be used perhaps, for dna and ID. Then there could be a real burial. Why is this a bad thing? There are still finds being made even today from WW1 and 2, because of the extent of the death and destruction. I would not be surprised if parts turn up for decades to come. Of course it's grisly, the whole business is.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I face, as I do every year, the tug of war inside myself over the holidays. On the one hand, I understand the idea that we are to celebrate things, that God isn't telling us to shut our curtains and lock our doors and never have fun, but, then I see the shape of things around me and I wonder, is this what God really wants me to celebrate? Halloween is kind of self evident, and IMHO has gotten darker and darker over the years, to the same degree that movies have turned darker and darker. It is almost as if they want to wallow in the blood, gore, despair and evil, not simply nod to it. It is one thing to say we are just aknowledging the darker elements, and in the case of some churches, even saying we are showing how light overcomes darkness (I don't see how that is being done by our current celebrations, no one had really given me a good explaination), it used to be a fun, pretty lighthearted event. Now there is such strong representations of evil. Wallowing is the best way I can describe it. I can't in good consience as a Christian just shrug it off and go with the flow. I can't ignore it either because my husband and I are not in agreement about the whole thing. He thinks its just fine and doesn't see anything wrong with it. That doesn't releive my conscience.

The best I can do is minimize the dark parts. I try not to play it up too much, and instead I celebrate the fall, which I do really enjoy. It is my fav time of year. I love the colors and the cool weather, the fruit, the harvest, all of it. So I don't put up halloween decoration but I do put up fall decoration. I try to give Thanksgiving more than the cursory nod that the rest of the culture allows. I am surprised to find the fall decorations wedged in one half of one aisle inbetween the Halloween and Christmas stuff.

Christmas, there is another winner. Why do people who aren't Christian even celebrate it? Why is the store so busy pushing the marketing when it isn't even halloween yet? It isn't a race. I want to savor the time we spend in each season. I want to remember the pears we canned in September, and the caramel apples we ate in October when I am enjoying the turkey in November. Each time I pop the top on a quart jar of applesauce and smell the aroma, I remember our trip to Hood River to gather the apples and the steamy hours spent over the stove making the stuff. I don't want to be sick of Christmas before it even gets here. The waiting and the anticipation is a treat in and of itself. My kids hate waiting, it seems almost painful to them. If I can give them anything, it would be to learn to enjoy the waiting as much as the arrival. I spent so much of my life trying to get to a place, and looking back, realize I was always somewhere, that I missed out on the joy of where I was thinking about where I wasn't. Why can't we just enjoy where we are when we are there? Why must the culture push in our faces what they think we should be wanting, instead of just let us enjoy what we have.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

halloween costume

Ok, so it looks like the shark is giving birth to a large staring sea creature, or its humping my head, but the guys at work will love it.

pretty shot of the mountain

Monday, October 16, 2006


Well, I have been using the CPAP since thursday, it kinda sucks. I had such high hopes, and I do hope that it will improve with time. I am jsut having trouble getting used to this mask on my face. That pressure part I can deal with, although the first few minutes are rough. I can understand why people with claustrophobia would have trouble. It isn't that you can't breathe in, that is easy because of the pressure opening up your airway, it is breathing out, you feel this resistance and it feels somewhat suffocating, as if there were something over your face, like a bag or something. It is just an odd sensation. I get over it with a few deep breaths, but the mask is another matter. It slips around and leaks around the edges and if I tighten it to keep it still it hurts my head and face, and if I loosen if for comfort, it leaks, in any case it wakes me up regularly, which kind of defeats the purpose of treating the sleep apnea, which also disrupts my sleep. I hear that you eventually adjust, and I did speak to the nurse at pulmonology, she will message the sleep guys ot call me and set up a one on one appointment to see about the mask. I am so tired! I beleive it will get better.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And on the medical front....

I have been worked up for sleep apnea, and found that I do indeed have it. I get to go back in once more today in order to be fitted for a CPAP machine which will help me breathe at night. I notice the apnea, I wake up all the time from snoring and I often feel short of breath. I also wake up feeling as if I have not even slept, like I could go for another 8 hours. Very frustrating. Even more frustrating is that my Dr and I discussed this in Oct of last year, and the referral was made then. We might have actually made the referral in March, but either way, it has taken a looooong time to get er dun. I had to go in for 2 sleep studies, wearing 22, count them, 22 different electrodes and wires connected to me, a nasal cannula stuck up my nose and the last time, a face mask. And yet I slept, go figure. You would think wearing a plastic face mask would make it harder to sleep, but I can tell you, once you get used to it being there, which took maybe 20 minutes, I got the best sleep I have had in years, and I woke up feeling great. I had energy, and stamina. I rarely havethose things any more, I feel so old and slow. I reallt felt good, and that was only one night. Then they tell me, 4-6 weeks before you can get your machine for home. AHHHHHWWWWW fudge. That is so mean. GIve me one good sleep and then say, sorry, no more for a month or two. So I am happy that I will go in today and get my very own sweet dreams machine.

Oh, and get this, I also have restless leg syndrome, which I did not know about, but I guess can cause problems also with sleep deprivation. The drug the Dr ordered is called Mirapex, and it is primarily used for treating Parkinsons. It has a host of side effects, not limited to causing compulsive behavior, hallucinations, akathisia, narcolepsy like symptoms, hypotension and fainting, nausea, constipation, insomnia (remember, I am taking this to help me sleep better), and lastly, decreased appetite and weight loss (Yay! One I can live with!). I wonder if the disease is better than the cure??

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I read an opinion letter today in the Oregonian that struck a sour note for me. The opinion expressed was roughly, this "Christian nation" went to war with muslims, while those who keep religion private are condecended to, forced to do little but mutter to themselves while the vote grabbing continues, and that we are all put to shame by the Amish. Their response to the killer and his family is an example of real family values and "true Chrisianity".

On the one hand, I agree, it is all that (a great example of true Chrisitan response). On the other hand, forgiving those who hurt you is done on a personal level and rarely happens in the limelight of the media. I have witnessed many examples of Christians forgivness, but it doesn't get in the paper. The proper venue for that to happen in in a personal, individual level, and cannot be extrapolated to national policy. We might behave that way as a nation but you cannot compare what we are expected to do individually with what we do as a nation.

For example, after WWII we worked hard to help the Japanese (instead of punish) but they were willing to work with us. Does anyone really think that is we just knocked the crud out of the Muslim world (whatever that is, how many countries would it take to encompass the totality of terrorism???)and then went to them and said, ok, from now on, you cannot have any armies, you must work at developing a stable ecnomy, and you cannot attack anyone else, that they would just go, "oookay, shure thing"? Really??

Do I expect my government to act as I would as an individual and as a Christian? Well, why would I, when the secular forces of our society has worked so terrible hard to remove any and all tinge of Christianity out of any aspect of our lives, public, scholastic and governing? I don't expect our leaders to act any more Chrisitan than any other joe on the street, why would I expect different, they are individuals just like me. I don't know what their religious beliefs are. Why would we expect our goverment to function as a Christian would individually, when we deny the very role of Christianity in public life? That which we have tried so hard to seperate we should not be surprised really have become seperate. Unless I missed something about seperation of chrch and state in the last 30-40 years.

Is non violence the best answer? I think a lot of liberals would say yes, but if the criminals were holding a knife to their throat, would they want a policeman who was non violent or one who was prepared to use violence if necessary to meet the immediate need? Unfortunately in this fallen world, there is a time and a place for force, it need not the the only, the best, answer but it is an answer. You will notice the Amish were happy to accept the use of medical technology to answer the need of their injured children, despite their adherence to the "old ways". They recognize that extraodinary needs may require extraordinary responses.

I dunno, it seems easy to point the finger and say "see, they are being the real Christians here". The statement implies that other Christians aren't "real" or "true" Chrisitans, when that just isn't true. God made a variety of people and we do things in a variety of ways, who is to say that their response is more better than say your neighbor who, rather than yell and swear at you when your dog poops in their yard, or when your dandilions get out of control, smiles and says hi, or helps you weed one day. In a matter of degree it differs, but forgivenss is a choice we make every day of our lives in big and little ways. Just like there is not big sin and little sin, and God doesn't differentiate in degrees, we need to recognize that the little stuff matters too, and not pooh pooh it because it doesn't make the headlines. God says, he who is faithful in little things I will make ruler over big things. Hopefully none of us has to practice the level of forgiveness that the Amish were asked to do, but please don't denigrate the impact that Christians make in the myriad of little ways each and every day. In the eyes of God, they all matter.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A drive to the coast

Via Salem, and Hwy 22, a few nice pic's of the sunset heading toward the coast range.

Hood River/Mt Hood

Fall is my favorite time of year. These are pictures of some pretty fall colors on our trip to Hood River and back home over Mt Hood and through Government Camp. Enjoy!
Oh, we got apples, I will put some pic's up of the jelly and applesauce I made. We tried some new varieties, King David's, Pippin's, Braeburn's, Spitzenburger, and of course, the favorite, mystery apples. They are heirloom apples that the farm cannot identify but which are great quality. We go to Mt View Orchards, in Parkdale. You can't beat the view and the drive is nice from Portland.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A sad day

Yesterday was a sad day for me. One of the people I care for in my job, which by the way is a community inclusion program for people with disabilities, passed away in the night. His name was Frank, and he had become ill about 2 weeks before, and he just couldn't pull through it. Frank was a very dear man. He was tall, if he were standing, probably 6 feet or more. He had salt and pepper hair, and always wore sun glasses, as a result of siezures which were worse in the sun. He had a wonderful dry sense of humor and found many things funny, especially funny stories, puns, and anecdotes. He laughed when a story caught him as funny, and sometimes we, the staff, would just be talking and would hear a snicker from behind us as we drove in the van, and would look back and see Frank smiling to himself about what we said. One story especially made him laugh, for hours. A girl was talking about a previous job she started as an in home caregiver and when arriving to the home she got no answer, called her employer who checked out the situation and found out the 90 + year old woman had beat up her caregiver putting her in the hospital. Frank found this hilarious, I asked him if he had a few caregivers he'd like to knock the crap out of, and he agreed. Frank couldn't really talk, he raised his eyebrows for yes and shook his head for no. He could say yes, and a few other words, but not more than a croak. He loved coffee, it had to be thickened and he had to be fed, but he loved it. He loved pretty girls and he and his weekend nurse John would spend a lot of time "birdwatching" at the park. Frank was born with no disability but due to a brain tumor at age ten became disabled and unable to walk. He also became unable to eat and eventually had to be fed by a tube. He continued to eat for pleasure, the things he could, and at out last big outing, to Oaks park, I gave him a bite of cotton candy which he loved. He grew up on the oregon coast and always loved the beach, and especially loved clam chowder. The only thing he liked more than chowder was chocolate. He was a devout man, and loved the Lord, he loved to have the bible read to him and enjoyed when we talked about God. He liked to listen to gospel music and even liked to sing, although this became more difficult later in life due to his deteriorating neurological condition. I will miss Frank very much, and I just wanted to tell a bit about this person who I have worked with every day for more than a year, and whose company I very much enjoyed.
God bless you Frank!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I made a beautiful pear jelly, it is the essense of pear distilled into a jewel like state, clear as glass. I also canned pears, just as nice but not as clear.