Monday, January 25, 2010


Thought I'd kick the week off with a short story.
This came in the mail today.
It's too good not to share.
a short story by Bruce Holland Rogers
When he was very young, he waved his arms, snapped his massive jaws, and tromped around the house so that the dishes trembled in the china cabinet. "Oh, for goodness' sake," his mother said. "You are not a dinosaur! You are a human being!" Since he was not a dinosaur, he thought for a time that he might be a pirate. "Seriously," his father said to him after school one day, "what do you want to be?" A fireman, maybe. Or a policeman. Or a soldier. Some kind of hero.
But in high school they gave him tests and told him he was good with numbers. Perhaps he'd like to be a math teacher? That was respectable. Or a tax accountant? He could make a lot of money doing that. It seemed a good idea to make money, what with falling in love and thinking about raising a family. So he became a tax accountant, even though he sometimes regretted it, because it made him feel, well, small. And he felt even smaller when he was no longer a tax accountant, but a retired tax accountant. Still worse; a retired tax accountant who forgot things. He forgot to take the garbage to the curb, to take his pill, to turn his hearing aid on. Every day it seemed he forgot more things, important things, like where his children lived and which of them were married or divorced.
Then one day, when he was out for a walk by the lake, he forgot what his mother had told him. He forgot that he was not a dinosaur. He stood blinking his dinosaur eyes in the bright sunlight, feeling its familiar warmth on his dinosaur skin, watching dragonflies flitting among the horsetails at the water's edge.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hope- on it's way in from Left Field

Boy, help comes from the most surprising and unexpected places at just the right times.

Just reminds me that you can work and work and feel like you're not getting anywhere, and then, just over the next hill, there's Rob Reiner with the Calvary!

"Of all the people arriving at the gay marriage trial, none was more unexpected than Hollywood's Rob Reiner. In fact, Reiner is financing much of the legal expense on the gay side and he recruited conservative lawyer, Ted Olson, to the team. ...fundraising was done quietly without the knowledge or help of traditional gay rights groups"

and one hill after that, Cindy McCain!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tony Hall- How Faith Works

I have thought of former Congressman Tony Hall time and again since reading his book a few years ago.

He is against hunger.

He talks about how he grew into a person of faith, and how the relationship he had with God and Jesus wove through his experiences in Congress and his own life.

His stories of dealing one-on-one with both Democrats and Republicans were encouraging examples of cooperation based on what we have in common.

This vid is worth the watch, but if you don't have 20mins, here's the point:

Do the thing that's in front of you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Anne Frank, Miep Gies, and you


“Not a day goes by that I do not grieve for them," said Miep Gies, who protected Anne Frank, and saved her diary.

She carried those memories and, I'm sure, grieved for the Franks every day. And now she's gone. It's up to the rest of us to remember them and tell their stories; and Miep Gies.'

I was just thinking of those closer-than-you-realize connections and my college gospel choir director, La Joyce.

We would always sing for the Martin Luther King, Jr Convocation on campus. We'd hear those famous words reiterated, and distinguished speakers (Dr. Samuel D. Proctor, the 1st time) would remind us of the importance of what he did, as giant pictures of the key people and events from the Civil Rights Mov't would flash across the screen on stage. Martin, Rosa Parks, fire hoses...

It was years later, dropping in on a rehearsal, with all of us bunched around the piano, that someone asked,

"Miss LaJoyce, tell us about Mrs. Parks again."

Then, LaJoyce- who I've known for YEARS- suddenly recounted how, when she was a child, they would go up to Detroit and visit relatives who lived on the same block as Mrs. Parks. And, when the kids were given money for the candy store, she'd try to hurry past Mrs. Park's house. But it never worked. She'd always, almost make it, and then hear,

"La Joyyyyyyyyyce?"

And LaJoyce would miss out on her candy run b/c Mrs. Parks would ask her to come inside. Then, they would have tea and Mrs. Parks would ask her to recite Bible passages. (and, I bet, sing)

I was blown away.

A year later, at the MLK Convocation, I heard those words and I saw those pictures flash above the stage, and LaJoyce standing with the choir on the stage, and I realized: They -MLK, Mrs. Parks, Dr Proctor, all of 'em- were just regular people, who we just missed, via being born a little late and in another place. But our friends and family and neighbors DID know them, or go to listen to them, or had tea with them, and we are all. so. closely connected., and that what we do matters immensely.

And, even if we aren't living those lives, we can tell their stories. ....over and over. (it's better than reality television)

Meanwhile, keep your eyes open and those stories close... you never know....

No one can predict those moments that, in hindsight, appear to be an encounter with destiny - Mrs Parks wasn't expecting to be "Rosa Parks: Icon of the Civil Rights." And what Miep Gies saw was a family in trouble, and a pile of papers that belonged to a little girl...


It's with a heavy heart that I read LaJoyce's announcement on facebook today:

On January 9, 2010; my mother ,Minne P. Daniel, passed from this world into glory. She is at peace now and left a legacy of phenomenal proportion. She is the most amazing woman I have every known. She gave so much love and was loved by so many in return. Thank you for her life and her witness. Please pray for my family.

If you're so inclined, keep them in your prayers. Thanks

Monday, January 11, 2010

Interview with Marriage in America re: gay-marriage

Prof. Nancy Cott is currently testifying in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the "Prop 8 Trial."

She's an expert on the history of marriage in the US.

Here's the blurb from NPR's Fresh Air page, from 2004.

"Cott is a professor of history at Harvard University. She testified before Vermont's judiciary committee. Vermont became the first state in the country to make civil unions legal for gay and lesbian couples. Cott is the author of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Harvard University)."

Bear Cam

Lily, the Black Bear, is hibernating and expecting cubs anytime.

She's denned up under a log in Ely, Minnesota.

You can see her here:

As I type this, she's sleeping.
I expect that will be the case for a while.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

close encounter

Okay, I WISH I had taken this.

After a Classic day in the woods, I wanted to find a picture that would help me remember it.

2 days ago:

The hills and woods were draped in a heavy snow. Everything was muffled. As I sat on my backpack on the ground with a book, snow flakes piled up on my clothing and caught in my eyelashes. 26 degrees. My rifle -who never complains about the weather- settled in for the long haul; the most perfect Stoic I know.

Hours passed. As I read, the pages got soggy and snow accumulated in a line between the pages.

Glancing up now and then, things were quiet, with occasional limbs dumping their load of snow.

Then I saw a blocky figure of a deer in the thick stuff across the valley. Then another. Then another. I watched as the deer made their way through piles of snow, pawing down to the brown leaves underneath.

Deer can be incredibly slow-moving. Oh, they can rip through the brush and bound across fields. But, when it's cold and darkness is falling and you must hold still, don't be surprised if they take their time.

Add to the scenario: I'm not keen on shooting any of them. Yes, I like to eat them. Yes, they get hit on the road and damage crops. Yes, we paid for licenses and gear. My head knows that. But I'm not Spock. Or my gun. I have a hair-trigger heart.

I bought myself some peace of mind with my choice of hunting spots. I set up near the posted land. So, a deer would have to meander down the hill, across the draw and over to my side of the valley before I could, by law, shoot. At that point, they'd be really close to me and probably smell me or sense that something was amiss and then show some of that speed.

Tonight, however, they did cross. I slid around and propped my gun up on my knee and watched through the scope. Through that little circle, I waited for deer to step out from behind chunks of tree trunks. And they did, time and time again.

I am getting good at coming up with excuses not to shoot- brush in the way, wrong angle, wait for a bigger one, wait for them to go up the hill so I won't have to drag them up later (gross, I know, but reality)..... the list is ever growing.

Meanwhile, they kept heading on a steady course... right. to. me.

Finally, a new and exciting excuse: how close will they come?

Hunting from a treestand is one thing- even if they are right under you, you are still 25 ft or so above them.

From the ground, you're looking up at them. And, in theory, nothing's stopping them from walking right up to you (and possibly trampling you... if they knew what you were planning).

So there I was, frozen and snow covered (best camo-job yet) and here they came.

Cresting a small dip, a puffed up yearling (like the pic above) strode right up to me. At 6 yds, she juked her head (their version of a double-take) and zeroed in on me. Then she relaxed- maybe she thought she was looking at a poor hunter who'd frozen to that spot.

The moment became too much. With a quick dart to the right, she doubled back, leading her mom and sister back across the snow-thickened woods in awesome silence.