Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hot Colors of July

It's time to post the Colors of July.  Southeast Michigan has been hot, humid, and wet over the past few weeks.  The colors are also hot:

  Holly Hocks:


The geranium at the front door:

And there are fragrant flowers:
I love the smell of phlox.

And there are exceptions that prove the rule of hot weather and hot colors:
Pansies don't usually survive the 90 degree temps. we've been having.

The deer have left the echinacea alone since I scattered some used kitty litter around them.  They are still kind of stunted.  But last year there were no surviving blooms at all.

Below is a bulb given to me by my mother-in-law years and years ago.  It is the very first time the plant has bloomed:
She calls it a "resurrection lily".  Early in the summer it shoots up leaves that look a lot like day lily leaves.  Then the leaves all die back and this shoot comes up with the blooms.  Here's a picture to prove that those leaves do all die away:
See?  Nothing at the base....nada.  I had totally given up on it ever blooming, but there it least 10 years later, possibly more.
Okay, your turn.  Head on over to Sue's to see July colors around the world and perhaps add your own.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Scuba diving is an integral part of our family life.  Dh and ds specifically love diving on shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.  Occasionally we take a warm water trip to dive on the reefs.  (full disclaimer:  I was a certified diver for only a short while....preferring the surface, I can snorkel with the best of them.)

Another occasional family trip is a weekend in Chicago for Our World Underwater, a trade show and underwater film festival.  We did attend this past February for the 40th anniversary of this event.  Wes Skiles hosted part of the film festival in his folksy inimitable way.  This was a man who enjoyed life and wanted to share the beauty and bounty of what he had discovered with everyone he met.  His cinematography of the underwater environment is breath taking.  As a cave diver, he created adventurous videos to share a part of the world that only few will ever see.

Just Wednesday night, dh showed me the photo of Wes cave diving that is on the August 2010 issue of National Geographic.  Little did dh know that on Wednesday, Wes made his last dive off the coast of West Palm Beach:

There's not a lot of light in the underwater lose most color in natural light at around 18 ft. of depth.  And now the underwater world is just a little less colorful, with a little less light with the loss of Wes. 
With deepest sympathy for those he left behind.    National Geographic Story

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Location (sort of) Revealed...

A couple months ago a friend who falls into the category of a  Motherless Daughter asked if I would  attend a retreat with her.  The subject was "Voices of Our Biblical Mothers".  I hesitated for a minute, thinking of the possible minefields to be negotiated, then figured that a weekend away is seldom a bad thing.  So, off we went to a convent last weekend.

We arrived early enough to check into our rooms, and figured we would have to scout around for supper before the 7 PM opening session.  Nope...Pat, a sprightly older woman scooped us up at the reception desk saying,  "Come on!  It's five o'clock, we might just be able to beat the line!"  So we trundled after her to the cafeteria.

At dinner we learned that Pat is a nun who just moved back to the mother house from Chicago where she served at a number of literacy centers.  In her words, "The winter driving was getting to be a bit much.  Not the roads, those are all cleared.  It's those darn parking lots!  That's where I slipped and broke my hip last year."  Pat is 83 and doesn't act or look a day over 70.  When I requested that she ask the blessing over our meal, she prayed a spontaneous, heartfelt prayer.  Then she looked up with an impish grin and chuckled about her natal sister whom she said is stuck back in the days of pre-Vatican II.  "If I pray like that for dinner at her house, she says 'that was nice, now pray: Bless us O Lord...."

The first session began at 7PM Friday.  The room filled with women.  Gray hair dominated the room, but that wasn't much of a surprise.  When the conference coordinator took the podium and revealed that there were 44 nuns and 2 secular people in the room......that was the surprise.  I'll have to admit my first reaction was not one of pleasant surprise.  I was wrong.  The entire weekend was a delight.

The presenters for the weekend are cousins.  Both women teach at the university level in different institutions.  One teaches scripture the other teaches communication and theater.  First we had exegesis on the Hebrew texts of the woman under discussion.  Her cousin followed with a dramatic presentation she had developed in the form of the character speaking to us.  It was sort of a "left brain - right brain" approach.  Both were superb and they complimented one another beautifully.  Each presentation was followed by a time for reflection, then an opportunity for discussion among the 5 women at each table.  The Bible characters covered were:  Eve, Sarah, the midwives of Exodus, Miriam, and Ruth.

After the first round of discussion, I began to realize that most of these women had entered the novitiate in mid-50's to the mid-60's.  As a group, they represented some of the best educated women of that generation.  Most of them are still active in the community serving at literacy centers, in health care, and as community organizers.  They are passionate about social justice, the environment, and peace.   The minefields I anticipated were absent.

Here's what I learned:
  • The power of imagining possibilities.
  • The necessity of risk in realizing those possibilities.
  • There's a time for strategic planning and a time for strategic waiting, particularly when resisting injustice.
  • An obsession for control diminishes our capacity for compassion, listening, and yeilding our own (sometimes wrongly held) beliefs.
  • My response can have the power to shape the moral response of those in power.
  • Everything is created by friction and disturbance.  Anything protected from disturbance is protected from change and risks becoming stagnant.
I hesitate to give you more specific information about the event because of news stories like this and this.

In spite of that sad note, I was surprised by joy.  The only thing that would have surprised me more was if there had been a PBR in that bowl during social hour.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Reality check

I actually write like
someone about to go on a killing spree
I Actually Write Like Analyze your writing!

Again....same response on three tries.  I am, if nothing else, consistent.  And if you think about it, there is a relationship to the Stephen King response.

To read more about the "I write like.." phenomenon go here

BTW...still waiting for answers (guesses) on the last post.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where in the world...

am I?  A multiple guess quizz.

Here are the clues:

This chime, or gong, is a part of the setting.

We are having fun socializing.

And there is quiet time for reflection.

Bonus hint:  It's the first time in a long time that I have been around a group of people more radically liberal than I am.
Here are your choices:
  1. A spinning retreat.
  2. A yoga retreat
  3. A convent
  4. A hula hooping fest.
  5. Insert your own answer.
Use the comments to select from the above, or insert your own thoughts about where I am, what I am doing and with whom.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Then I should be making more money....(or any money...or have more readers)

 Blacksheep had a link to one of those online analyzers.  So I went to I Write Like and pasted in some of my blog writing:

I write like
Stephen King
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Imagine my surprise at that.  So, I plugged in some more blog writing.  Again it came up Stephen King.  Finally, I decided to just type a paragraph in the box.  A third time.....Stephen King.

So...Redrum! Redrum! anyone?

PS:  I have been knitting and spinning.  Perhaps I'll have something to show in the next day, or two......... or seven.

Friday, July 09, 2010

What has me smiling today...

 Ringo Starr's 70th birthday concert:

1.  Ringo looks amazing....70? really!

2. The list of old rock stars present is amazing, even though it's incomplete.

Then the follow up, a tribute from fellow Beatle, Paul:

I've got a rock and roll heart.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Food for Thought....

We had a wonderful time last night:  A great dinner with good friends followed by our community's fireworks display, while sipping one's favorite libation.  It was a good representation of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
On this day, of all days, it is good to reflect on the document, and the deliberative process that led to this document, commemorated on this day.  With all of the divisiveness in today's public discourse it would do us well to reflect on what it took for these men to agree on this document.  I have included the names of those who signed this document for emphasis of that point.  With gratitude I offer you the Declaration of Independence:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Friday, July 02, 2010

More hoopin'

Last night was our second hula hoop class.  There are 13 of us women:  from a bride to be (in August), to two newish moms, and the rest of us are peri- to post-menopausal.  For that last group....well, we've been fighting gravity.  The teacher is somewhere in the middle of our age range and built like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

As a group, we are making progress both with the hoops and with our level of comfort.  There is almost as much abdominal toning from the laughing as there is from the hooping as evidenced by this quick interchange last night:

Teacher:  "If you're having trouble with your elbows getting in the way of the hoop, just put your hands on your shoulders."

Well endowed lady:  "It's not my elbows that keep getting in the way of the hoop!"
Less well endowed friend:  "Well,  you can just flip those up onto your shoulders too!"

At this point, most of us lost our hoops to the ground.

I still want more hoopin'!!