Friday, December 18, 2009

The Household Product Labeling Act has been introduced in the Senate

And it is about time!   HR 3057, the House companion bill, was introduced by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY).

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has introduced The Household Product Labeling Act (S. 1697).  This Act would require household cleaning products to carry labels that list all of their ingredients. “Moms and dads have a right to know whether harmful chemicals are present in their kitchen cupboards,” Franken says.

The way it is now, products are required to list immediately hazardous ingredients, but there is no labeling requirement for ingredients that may cause harm over time. The bill would make information readily available to consumers.


Nuts in 2003 received the FDA’s first qualified health claim for a food: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The FDA announcement was in response to a petition from the International Tree Nut Council’s (INC) Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Lasagna

About a year or so ago a wonderfully talented cook, Madelyn Hood, served Mark and I a wonderful dish of stuffed shells that had a delicious winter squash filling. She has since that time talked to me about a small catering she provided where the main dish was once again a pasta dish using winter squash (or was it pumpkin?). So I've thought about creating a pasta dish with winter squash for a while now.

My family spreads Thanksgiving out over the entire long weekend. Didn't make it to Madison this year (though I managed to deliver a Bavarian Apple Torte and a Blackberry Pie to them) but we still had our small family gathering at home Thanksgiving Day, and then one with Mark's family at a gathering at his sister's in Indy on Saturday. I had made some Brie with caramelized onion fondue for day-long nibbling while dinner was made on Thanksgiving day. The following day I kept working on creating a recipe for a new lasagna for the Saturday gathering and decided to combine the flavors of butternut squash with the brie and caramelized onion. The following recipe is what I came up with.

Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash Lasagna
with Portabella Mushrooms and Brie


4 cups pureed butternut squash*
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs minced garlic
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 - 2 cups bread crumbs (from 3 slices of whole wheat)

(I really need to become better at food
 photography.....this photo does not do it justice)

6 -8 medium onions - halved and thinly sliced (5-6 cups)
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups thinly sliced portabella mushrooms
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper

1 package egg roll wraps
(trust me .....these work great as lasagna noodles)
1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese
1 lb. round of Brie
more fresh grated Parmesan


For the Butternut Squash Puree:
I prefer the method shown by the folks at Food Mayhem for preparing puree. While the squash is roasting in the oven you can slice the onions and make the bread crumbs.

I don't bother with the food processor for the puree.  A potato masher works just fine.  Add the puree to a pot in which you have already started the olive oil and minced garlic. Add the vegetable broth ( I usually buy the vegetable broth powder at Bloomingfoods) and cream and the shredded parmesan cheese.  Salt isn't absolutely necessary, but be generous with the freshly ground black pepper.  Stir in the bread crumbs.
Set aside.

For the Caramelized Onions with Portabella Mushrooms:
The technique I prefer for caramelizing onions is the one advocated by Mark Bittman, the New Your Times columnist and the author of How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  You cook the onions without oil for twenty minutes......if you have to, you can add a little water during this time.  You stir infrequently, with a wooden spoon scraping up the "browning" which is actually the sugar cooking off and stirring it back into the onions.  Once the onions have cooked for about twenty minutes you add the olive oil.  This is when I add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and the fresh rosemary. Stir and cook until the mushrooms have cooked and everything looks yummy!  I have a hard time refraining from just eating caramelized onions straight by themselves.  It can pay to make plenty extra since they keep in the fridge well and improve everything, in my opinion.

Making the Lasagna:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Mine at home bakes hot at 375 so I adjust accordingly. Grease a large baking dish.  I use a  half-size commercial baking pan, but you can use a heavy 9-12 in. baking dish.

Open the package of Egg Roll Wrappers. Keep a empty dish with a lid on the table to keep them in while in the process of layering so that they don't dry out.  Be sure to peel them apart carefully...they are very thin.  Or you could opt to use two packages and have sturdier noodles, leaving them doubled.  I'm sure this would be fine.

Do the layering any which way you want.....really. But for those of you who want instructions:
Spread a very thin layer of the squash mixture on the bottom of the pan and cover with the egg roll noodles. It will take three noodles - two whole and one cut in halves.  Cover this with a layer of the onion/mushroom mix. You can see my camera phone picture of the strips of Brie I layer with the onions.

Another layer of noodles.  Next layer squash. Noodles. Mozzarella. Noodles. Caramelized onions with portabella mushrooms and Brie. Noodles. Brie. Noodles. Squash....and so on. On top a layer of noodles topped with mozzarella, brie and some parmesan.

Cover the casserole with foil for the first half hour of cooking time, and then uncover to let the cheeses get a nice and bubbly look to them.

Let the lasagna set for a good ten minutes before cutting into portions.  A hint from the kitchens (I manage Food Works for Middle Way House) is that you cut through the first layer with scissors. Then you follow these cuts with a knife to get perfectly evenly cut portions of lasagna.

This is a very rich dish!  Smooth and creamy.  Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today's Going To Be A Good Day!

Hello and blessings,

It has been a while since posting here. Working on "Simply Healthy" and as ever grateful for the abundant opportunities unfolding in my personal life and the generousity of beings! The link is an example. If you know me personally, you know that I love dance. I love dancing and appreciate every single performer who has ever inspired me to movement!

This morning I received this and the thought of 21,000 people dancing together is amazing and did bring me to tears.

Love and dance! May you have both in abundance in your own lives!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Local First Indiana

There is finally a group forming in Bloomington, Indiana to become part of the BALLE Network. BALLE is The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and works to promote local businesses.

Local First Indiana had its first steering committee meeting in late July.

Local First Indiana is a non-profit organization committed to supporting and promoting locally owned independent business by educating the public, facilitating collaboration, and engaging in outreach in order to create a more economically and environmentally sustainable local community, while preserving the unique local character."

This is how Local First Indiana is defining local:

1. Is the business privately held (not publicly traded)?
2. Do the business owners, totaling greater than 50 percent of the business
ownership, live in your local region?
3. Is the business registered in your state, with no corporate or national
headquarters outside your region?
4. Can the business make independent decisions regarding the name and look
of the business, as well as all business purchasing,practices, and
5. Does the business pay all its own rent, marketing expenses, and other
expenses (without assistance from a corporate headquarters)?

If you would like to learn more about becoming involved with Local First Indiana, contact Amanda at

or Una at

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Hair Cut

A forward from a good friend.

The Hair Cut...

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut.

After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot
accept money from you , I'm doing community service this week.' The florist
was pleased and left the shop.

When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a 'thank
you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the
barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you , I'm doing community
service this week.' The cop was happy and left the shop.

The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a 'thank you'
card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill,
the barber again replied, 'I can not accept money from you. I'm doing
community service this week.' The Congressman was very happy and left the

The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen
Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the
citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Another Diet Directive

I love the people at Organic Authority. But I am getting tired of the diet experts out there. Just a tad frustrated.

A new post states " Eating breakfast—especially one that includes whole grains—reduces your risk for heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart failure, according to the May 2008 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter." and goes on to say that a prominent physician, Matthew Edlund, MD, "suggests that if you’re watching your weight, there’s an optimal time to eat your first organic meal of the day: within 15 to 30 minutes of waking up, and no later than 8 a.m." and told Redbook magazine: “If you don’t eat breakfast, your body thinks it’s in starvation mode, and you’ll eat more food later on.”

I don't disagree with the original hypothesis of Covert Bailey in "Fit or Fat". I have struggled with changing my set point off and on for years.

However, I believe strongly that we cannot be standardized in the way that Matthew Edlund, MD suggests. He is just one among many in the science community guilty of this, so I don't really mean to pick on him. My point is, the fact that he is a prominent physician and has written a book does not give him an authority on every body type and metabolism type out there. The studies that exist, if you look closely, are often trying to extrapolate data from 35 to 50 people at a time to a U.S. population of over 304 million people. This is getting to be ludicrous.

People need to listen to their own bodies and develop their own approach. There are too many factors, work schedules, life styles, etc. for a one-size fits all approach to scheduling one's diet. I agree with the healthy and organic meals advocated, just not the broad generalization.

World Population .....yeesh! we have multiplied!

The US population is now at 307,098,995 and the World population is at 6,775,839,727.

Let's see. That means that the U.S. is only 4.5% of the world's population! This is a humbling thought. One that we need to remind ourselves of once in a while.

On another note.....Let's look at China. Their current population is 1,319,175,359. Which means they are 19.46% of the world population.

Peace be with all of us.

Did you know that their are more Chinese internet users than the entire US population?

According to the folks at "The number of internet users in China has surpassed the population of the United States, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Last year their use of broadband passed US numbers, so the level of service and number seems to be growing at a much more rapid rate than people had predicted."

I keep trying to think if I have anything to sell to China. :-) Nope. I will just send them thoughts of peace.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bamboo Biodiesel Taxi

This Bamboo Taxi Van runs on coconut biodiesel fuel. Looks so pretty and fun for a trip around town.

Picture and article are at Fast Company.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sausage and ice cream shop?

While in the U.P. I asked for directions from the dimestore clerk (they still have a dime store in Crystal Falls!) on how to get to th St. Vincent DePaul store - the equivalent to a Goodwill store here. She told me to go down 2 blocks to the ice cream shop. Went outside looking down the street ice cream shop in sight. That's cuz it really is the sausage shop. Is it just me, or is that an odd combination or what?
This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

Patent for cranberry seed oil claims anti-cancer properties

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. has won a patent for a method of extracting oil from the tiny seeds of cranberries. This news makes me want to go out and buy a bag of cranberries and just take a look at those seeds....pretty tiny if I remember correctly. It will take an awful lot of berries to come up with enough oil with therapeutic value, but Ocean Spray is wise to come up with a product that uses the left over mash left from squeezing out all that juice. The patent claims the extracted oil can be used for “treating or reducing the occurrence of breast cancer,” among other diseases. This is a pretty powerful claim, and from what I have read all research is definitely in the preliminary stage.

The patent claims the use of the oil for its anticancer, hypocholesterolemic, antithrombotic, antioxidizing, antiatherogenic, antiinflammatory, and immunoregulatory properties. I am already a big believer in the use of grapefruit seed extract and I think it makes sense that seeds would be powerhouses in medicinal value. Just think of the nutrient value one gets from seed sprouts. I would think that one could look at the beneficial aspects of a vegetable or fruit and then look to the seed for the corresponding concentrated benefit.

Here are some reference links: Beverage Daily Article ; Journal of New England Technology Article

The above cranberry image comes from Information Website for Cranberry Seed Extracts which provides exactly the information it says it does! No product page though, and is provided by a company called Fruit Essentials Incorporated....I have no idea who they are except that they are located in Wisconsin, not New England.

I did find a botanical seed oil available online at Botanic Oil Innovations, so obviously this is a market that is being jumped on by others. I have no affiliation or monetary connection to any of these links by the way. Just thought they might be helpful.

- donna

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Contradictions to some current propaganda against soy products

Direct quote:
After two years, those taking the soy product had better bone mineral density than those taking placebo. "[Even] after one year, there was a clear difference in the women who got the genistein," said Steven Wilson, a biostatistician at National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, and a co-author of the study, published June 19 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The research was funded by the Italian Ministry of Education and the University of Messina, Italy.

Genistein, an isoflavone phytoestrogen, is found abundantly in soybean products. Experts who study it hope it can build bone without the adverse side effects -- such as increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers -- associated with hormone replacement therapy.
Published ahead of printed in the journal Fertility and Sterility, researchers reviewed the findings of 15 studies and found despite the claims that soy lowers testosterone levels. Soy consumption had no significant effect on testosterone

Friday, June 19, 2009

AMA Resolution Would Seek to Label “Ungrateful” Patients

Say what???!!!!!!!!

I'm done with child birthing, but if I had been part of this labeling process "back in the day", I would have been labeled out of receiving available treatment. I practically was anyway. I had my first daughter Marissa at the hospital, only after a last minute decision to go there. The mid-wife hadn't personally delivered a breech baby. I was doing fine, got to the hospital too late for them to force a c-section on me, delivered naturally (no episiotomy, drugs, etc.) and went home. However, 4 years later I had an almost impossible time finding a doctor who would take me because the OB who delivered me had me blacklisted. Ended up going with a wonderful OB in Bedford. (another story). is another link.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Cranes at Sunset"

I am lucky enough to own this original piece of art by Patricia Coleman. This batik is also used as the art image for the Indiana Holistic Health Network. I hope to someday get back to doing art is a promise to myself.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Dear Inquisitive Skink,

I do recall that time, the media, how within a short span, another young woman was murdered by her husband. The community still recovers from such tragedies. Conversations about domestic violence need to be held by adults in the community. Conversations and real information needs to be offered in every school, beginning with middle-school and onward. A required class, for all graduates from high-schools, universities and colleges. Such information would benefit every community well. I think for a real understanding to be developed, each class would be a semester and designed around understanding domestic violence as it exist within our unique communities, the cost (mentally, physically, and spiritual) to the individual, children, community; preventatives, and resources to be aware of if you wake up some morning and find that this is your life.

Women and men, as Maya Anjelou said (not an exact quote) "If a person shows themselves to you, believe them". If a snake says, I am a poisonous snake, you don't treat it like a corn snake.

Recently, I participated in two memorial services. The first was a friend, aged 91, and the other, a young woman in her 60's. Each good-by was beautiful and uniquely different, yet each shared this Epitaph poem by Meredith Malloy. I hope to hold these words ever close within reach of my mind and heart.


When I die

Give what’s left of me away

To children

And old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,

Cry for your brother

Walking the street beside you.

And when you need me,

Put your arms around anyone

And give them

What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,

Something better

Than words or sounds.

Look for me

In the people I’ve known or loved.

And if you cannot give me away,

At least let me live on in your eyes

And not on your mind.

You can love me the most

By letting hands touch hands,

By letting bodies touch bodies

And by letting go

Of Children

That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die, People do.

So, when all that’s left of me

Is love,

Give me away.

I’ll see you at home

In the earth.

Meredith Malloy

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


This poem by C.P.Cavafy (thank you to Margot for the link) continues the melancholy tone started by my post about Jannifer. I will perk up soon. These words are too lovely.


Imagined voices, and beloved, too,
of those who died, or of those who are
lost unto us like the dead.

Sometimes in our dreams they speak to us;
sometimes in its thought the mind will hear them.

And with their sound for a moment there return
sounds from the first poetry of our life—
like music, in the night, far off, that fades away.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Remembering Jannifer

I don't know why Jannifer has been on my mind lately.
Sometimes I think it is odd how a person's life and death can affect someone.

Jannifer was someone I thought I was going to get to know better, and then didn't get to do so. My friend Leslie ran a program popular with a lot of homeschoolers called Children's Garden, and Jannifer had generously allowed full use of her house for the myriad of art writing and music activities Leslie had created for them. Jannifer herself wasn't there during Children's Garden most of the time. I do have memories of Jannifer handing over delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies to a swarm of kids; her helping with the May Day Maypole dance (Leslie was famous for these.....what a tangled cheery funny mess!), and sharing a rolling eyes humorous moment when her son and Leslie's son had been tormenting my daughter Jenna with a dead lizard. Jannifer was easy to be around and possessed a very kind and bright spirit.

Nine years ago, I got the children herded like cats into the van and headed to Leslie's house.....Children's Garden hadn't been held at Jannifer's for some time. I rarely watched or listened to the news so was oblivious to what was going on in the world. Hopped out of the van and was immediately greeted by Leslie flooding with tears with the news of Jannifer's murder. I and other moms did our best to shake of the daze of the how - what - why - impossible - no no no no no no no! experience so that we could be there for Leslie whose pain was like that of someone who had lost a sister.

The Herald Times description of that day is here:
A normally quiet neighborhood southeast of Bloomington awakened to sounds of gunfire and police helicopters early Tuesday morning.

Most of the residents of Bluebird Lane and Robin Road were moved to safety or evacuated from the neighborhood between 4:30 and 8:30 a.m., after a report of a man with a gun was received by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

Robert Boles shot his ex-girlfriend, Jannifer Cockrell, while she slept in her home on Bluebird Lane.

Because Boles was armed, police blocked off the area and evacuated many of the neighborhood's residents while they searched for the man, who later shot himself in a nearby wooded area.

About 15 people, including Cockrell's 14-year-old son, were evacuated by bus about 8:20 a.m. and taken to Jackson Creek Middle School, where the Red Cross set up a shelter in the school's auditorium.

Prior to all of this Robert had doused his apartment with gasoline and set his apartment complex on fire destroying his and his neighbor's apartment and sending all of the residents out onto the street for safety. He then gained entry into Jannifer's house, let her 14 year old son outside, and proceeded to kill Jannifer.

Jannifer had a restraining order against this man. He had transformed from a person who she had thought cared about her into someone whose intense hobby was to control her and make her miserable. He was very good at his hobby. There were plenty of people who spoke about how nice of a man he was and how shocking it was that he would do such a thing. This is a very honest truth from their perspective. What people don't realize is that most abusive partners look and act just like the rest of us in their non-intimate relationships. The clues you will get about abusive partners are going to come from their victims, not from the abuser.

As I said at the start, I am baffled as to why Jannifer has been popping into my head so much. It bothered me and I looked it up.....the anniversary of her death is tomorrow. I don't think its about not letting go of grief. Perhaps it is a need to examine it. I am getting older....she'd be 53 going on 54 now, just like me. She would still be playing her mandolin and I'd be still wishing I could make music like that.

If you have a chance to share a Maypole dance with a bunch of kids please do so and sing and dance a bit for Jannifer too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Playing around with baking bread

I have started to bake bread, mostly looking for an easy way to incorporate this new habit I 'm trying to establish into my already way-too-busy life. I really like the slow cooker bread recipe located here. However, the 3 hour baking period isn't always the most practical for me. I am going to test out a loaf that stays on warm for five hours and tell you how it goes!

My next attempt will be at following the instructions of the Five Minute Artesan Bread, by by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois . Mother Earth News provides an their master recipe online here, but you should really check out the whole book. It's worth it.

I'm interested in flatbreads and really like the ease of making chappatti's.

The recipe I like is this:

2 cups atta flour or whole wheat sifted flour

1 tsp salt

1cup warm water (Or more as needed)

Mix the flour and the salt. Make a well in the mixture and pour in the warm water. Mix. Turn out and knead for 8-10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper and let stand for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Divide equally into 8 pieces which you then roll, and flatten into 8 inch rounds.

Heat your skillet (I use cast iron) to medium high. Place piece into skillet for ten seconds, then flip over. Cook on this second side until there are small bubbles (approximately one minute). Turn back to the first side for about a minute. It should start to balloon. Apply pressure evenly with a clean potholder when the ballooning starts so that the pocket of air forms evenly. This is sort of fun! If it doesn't work out even, don't worry. It will still taste good. Remove from pan, cover with cloth on plate, and start the next one!

These are yummy for sandwiches, cooked rice and veggies, hummus. So simple it is hard not to have fresh bread every day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Silent Depression

United for a Fair Economy has published State of the Dream 2009: The Silent Depression. There is no creativity in direct quotes but since my time is very limited today, this is the background they give in describing this report:

"While the general population has been in recession for one year, people of color have been in recession for five years. By definition, a long-term recession is a depression.

We detail additional evidence that shows the current racial economic inequity, including poverty rates, wealth and assets and economic mobility. While racial barriers did not prevent an African-American from becoming President, they continue to impede many people of color from achieving the same economic success as their white counterparts."

Check it out at:

Overall, 24% of Blacks and 21% of Latinos are in poverty, versus 8% of whites. I hope that we do not choose to remain blind to issues of race simply because we have elected President Obama. Painful issues are still there, obviously.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Every gun that is made........

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

Former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech on April 16, 1953

Tough week...and thank heavens for Maya Angelou

Indiana’s unemployment figures for January, released Friday, show Monroe County as having the second lowest jobless rate in the state. This comes as no surprise to those of us who work in social services. Many people are out there feeling like they are scraping their faces on the sidewalk pavement. I am hopeful that perhaps this shakedown in our economy will be what we need to reset our table correctly. One can only hope.

It has been a tough week at work. Can't say much, other than that it can be tough working in the field of domestic violence. I don't know why I'm sitting here writing when my brain is fried and I started work at 5am this morning. Strange way to relax, huh? But before I sign off here are a few interesting tidbits to ponder. They do relate to my opening sentence, albeit from an odd angle.

Tidbit 1: While millions of families are losing their homes, jobs and health care, the military budget next year will top one trillion dollars — that’s $1,000,000,000,000. I just divided that by 60,000 to get 16,666,666 jobs at $60,000 per year.

Tidbit 2: Foreclosures are now affecting almost 1 in every 8 American homeowners.

Tidbit 3: Public pensions in the US had total liabilities of $2.9 trillion as of Dec. 16, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Their total assets are about 30 percent less than that, at $2 trillion.

Tidbit 4: This one made me sick to my stomach: The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined.

With stock market losses this year, public pensions in the US are now underfunded by more than $1 trillion.
This is the next bailout crisis waiting to happen.

The economy is in a free fall with no obvious brakes in place.

Beauty in the form of Maya Angelou helps to ease my heart.  My dearest friend Patricia and I went to her reading presented as part of IU's annual arts week.   The woman is so damn beautiful on a level not seen in many....her mind is like a jewel.  This makes what she has survived a reminder of the strength of the human spirit.  She spoke about being raped as a child, and how the police officers came to her home to tell her that her rapist, released after only one night in prison, had been found apparently kicked to death. She told how she was struck mute.....afraid that her voice could bring death.

I am ever so grateful that she found her voice.

Inaugural Poem

Maya Angelou
20 January 1993

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Afghanistan .......let's not continue failed policies

Obama has recently announced intentions to deploy 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan and otherwise expressed a continuation of the failed US policies there. In his very first hours as president, Barack Obama ordered two strikes by unmanned Predator drone missiles on villages in a remote area of Pakistan. We need to stay educated and active on this issue.

The September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is an organization founded by family members of 9/11 victims who have joined together to transform our (and especially their's) grief into action for peace and justice. They have published a primer on the Afghanistan issue that provides a detailed look at the situation in Afghanistan.

Military Families Speak Out is an organization of people opposed to the war in Iraq who have relatives or loved ones who are currently in the military or who have served in the military since the buildup to the Iraq war in the fall of 2002. They have published an Afghanistan Education packet.

Robert Dreyfuss is a Nation contributing editor and an investigative journalist specializing in politics and national security. He is the author of "Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam". The piece he wrote this past December titled "Obama's Afghan Dilemna" is still very pertinent.

Additional resources are located at United for Peace and Justice. A must read is a down-loadable Word document titled Why are we bombing Pakistan. Please read it!!!!

Call President Obama and your Congressperson today, and tell them that we must end military aid to Pakistan, that we want a reduction of troop levels in Afghanistan, a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and a commitment to diplomacy!

Congressional Switchboard: 202-224-3121
White House Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
Online comment submission is at :

Democracy only works from the bottom up. We can take action and help encourage the new administration to escalate peaceful alternatives and oppose the increase in military force.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter 2009

This is our driveway. I will try to get out today! Those tracks have been made by Mark driving the four wheeler back and forth.