A beloved Aunt Merle

Bloged in Family by mark Tuesday March 27, 2007

The last surviving sibling on my Mother’s side passed away this weekend at 83. Aunt Merle was a favorite to almost EVERY cousin. Because she was the youngest? I always thought it’s because she always looked intently and solidly at you when you talked with her and when she responded with pointed questions or comments, it showed she was listening to you and treating you as an adult and an equal. Merle thought things through before speaking. Something I’ve never learned to do well enough.

merle2
Perhaps to try to escape the boring life in the old cowtown of Vale, OR, or………wanting to help out the war effort, Merle and sister Pauline joined the waves and served for a long time.
merlepauline
When the war was over, on their way back, all the navy veterans were brought into San Francisco where they often spent a few nights before going back to those farm towns that would now seem boring, maybe?

But for Merle, that stop in San Fran turned out to be providential. A Bar that’s still open there, BIMBO’s, was a big draw from returning soldiers. On the very night Merle and Pauline arrived in the bay and had gone to Bimbo’s to see something exciting, a young veteran from John Day, OR, Bo Workman was already there. BO knew the owner and had already told him, “IF you can find me a girl from Oregon that’ll dance with me, I’ll buy your whole damn place a drink.” Bo didn’t know, but the owner had just met Merle & Pauline. He introduced the two, and they spent the rest of their lives together……..
merle1

They ended up in a tiny logging town near John Day: Bates, Oregon where Bo was a logger for his working career while Merle raised the six fabulous kids: Nancy, Charlie, Georgeanne, Jenny Lynn, Mike & Pat.

So they had a good life, and a hard life logging there in the woods. But I do love those kids, and will miss my dear Aunt Merle………………………………………..

The St Paddy’s Official Hooley & Angel Moroni Trademark Infringement Threatens the MORMONS

Bloged in Mormons by mark Tuesday March 27, 2007

AHooley you say? Someone of Irish descent may tell you it’s simply a small gathering of sufferin’ souls feelin’ a bit of a need to gather with others of like mind and rehash the last 800 years of English oppression. Others may simply say it’s a wild party. Even the name suggests there might “be” a connection to a word that denotes something beyond a simple afternoon tea: Hooligan and Hooley just may be related.

By the luck of the Irish (?), or maybe because John & Toni invited us, WE WENT to one here on St Patrick’s Day and had let its dear memory slide off center because, truly, it succeeded as an Irish St Paddy’s Party should. Both Rodger and I were simply very mellow the next day. Call it what you must, but, yes, the thick feeling resulting from our attending a fabulous gathering at the Hooley in Ladd’s Addition was worth it.

We felt a bit timid to go since we would know not anyone other than our hosts. With that in mind, we mixed up a big batch of humus, pita bread, some tomatillo salsa, and headed to the East Side destination neighborhood called Ladd’s Addition. Ladds Addition is a fantastic gathering of oddly angled narrow streets built 60-90 years ago….on the interior blocks, large gardens (some serious rose gardens) are maintained mostly by the residents. The homes are all architectural beauties with some of the classic craftsmen homes grabbing your attention with those huge porches. When the neighborhood was originally designed, cars weren’t seen as something to be allowed to mess up your property, so no garages were built. This places another layer of serious “charm” (see…this IS an Irish note) charm to a visitor. J & T’s completely restored 90 years old big Craftsman home is a shining example of beauty in the neighborhood sitting directly across the street from a mammoth square city block size rose garden. Here’s an example of a simple street in Ladds:
ladds

John is one of 12 kids (yep, Catholic background)…you should see that family picture. He says his Mom is quite senile now, sadly, but I can’t imagine surviving raising 12 kids back then. TONI is a true Irish native and has only been here a few years. She did begin to blog here originally to keep her family at home in touch. They live a full life and you can see about that at PORTLAND DIARIES…………….

At any rate, I hope Toni won’t mind if I copy one paragraph from her own blog that sums up what the party was like:
brennans
The 2nd Annual St.Paddy’s Day Hooley took place at 2020 Saturday night. It was a raucous, debaucherous affair with much booze consumed. John had the living room rigged up like an Ibizan disco. Speakers U2 would be envious of, strobe lights on remote control, a fog machine, and disco ball with green spot lights aimed at it, oh and the webcam was rigged up to convert people dancing into groovy psychedelic visualisation that was projected onto the ceiling – a real engineer’s party!

A truly great party consists of the environment, setup, and of course the people. This crows was one of the most diverse groups of wonderful people that could be. No one was a stranger. We had a fabulous time………..and look, here’s pretty beautiful people (yessir, some Irish blood here):
b2
Toni’s dear friend Mary has all of the vibrant beauty and charm that could be. I couldn’t decide if she was the new BVM, or just a straight-shootin’ Irish Lass as dear as Toni………we’ll be joining her with T&B at the new Irish happening place Leaky Roof in a couple weeks to hear owner Sheamus Blaney’s little brother Connor perform…………..

At any rate……..the last thing one sees leaving T&B’s neighborhood are the angels at the corner…where the forbidding Church, “I am Sanctuary” sits:
angelweb No, I’m not sure just where the green cover came from…………..

THIS was a night to remember.

In other news……..in UTAH, as ONLY a big bully Church/Corporation can do, a tiny Coffee Shop owned by two guys (one an ex-Mormon) devised a logo featuring the Mormon’s own Angel Moroni (The gold guy who sits on top of ALL of their Temples blowing a gold horn)…being given coffee poured down through his golden trumpet. It was a simple spoof………….can you not like satire?
moroni
A couple poor Mo’s in the shop neighborhood began to whine and cry feeling all picked on as Mormons are wont to do. The T-Shirt you see was selling very modestly at the shop and then last Friday, 3/23/07, the Church Daily Newspaper “The Deseret News” ran a story about the shop and the Fact the Church had put out a cease and desist order claiming Moroni was their Trademark and the boys would be liable if they didn’t stop using the picture. That story ran Friday early pm, and the T-Shirts were sold OUT by nightfall. The Church Big Lawyer following that rush to the shop with these words, “ANYMORE T-Shirts made or sold will result in a lawsuit.”
How about that for big corporation rule? My guess is that the same people that were whining about the golden statues they have on top of the temples were laughing about Muslims being angry how Mohammed was portrayed in cartoons here or in Denmark.

Funny thing, religion is…………… but NOT funny is that one cannot possibly even faintly recognize what I’m talking about here (free mind thought) when you’re inside of a controlling entity with fundamentalist doctrines that say, “WE have the truth and ONLY we have the complete truth. You NO longer need to think. We will tell you what’s right and what is wrong.” Just keep sendin’ in your money………………………………………………….

Rufous Hummingbirds taking up residence

Bloged in birding by mark Tuesday March 20, 2007

As of yesterday, when I first saw three female rufous fighting for one of the three feeders up around the yard, I immediately added another four and within minutes saw them testing out the feeders. Since that moment, I’ve seen hummingbirds every few minutes somewhere in the yard. It appears our own local kids are arriving back here for a few short weeks of nest building and rearing young.

I stumbled on another web site that may give you a good look at these little birds in action. They have lots of wildlife catalogued with video clips, and the hummer is no exception….take a peek:

RUFOUS HUMMINGIRD

I am perty happy too that I still see an Anna’s every day or two…both male & female. Here’s fair pic from the web of a male:
annamale
**You can also see them in action at that same web page.

So now I’ve gotten the other box of feeders from the garage and will begin cleaning out the BIG Hummer feeders for our peak hummer time in mid-April…………through June.

On the War’s 4th Birthday………..

Bloged in Bush,General Home Life,Political by mark Tuesday March 20, 2007

Baird has given me a new favorite quote. A Rabbi has said something VERY powerful directed at Christians who seem to think WAR is okay. The quote? “I’m very sure that when Jesus said Love your enemies, he didn’t mean to kill them.”

Portland hosted what may be the largest Peace Rally in the Nation Sunday. I wanted to be part of it. Rodger did too but was forced into yet another very long day working to get their grant finished.

There was NO question this would be a peaceful rally. It wasn’t raining and it was warm. Don’t let anyone tell you a hostile rally could happen in THIS town on a sunny day. It would be virtually impossible to find an angry Portlander when it’s not raining, let alone the sun’s out TOO! This was one beautiful luscious day. It began with a grand view of Karen’s jumbo Daffodils at the edge of her beautiful yard:
daffodil
The Smiths and I got downtown about 1:15 and joined hundreds of people joining up in the Park Blocks by the Congregational Church:
crowd
The Church Tower is quite lovely, AND…they began ringing the big bell as the march began…it kept tolling for over an hour.
church
We were soon joined by neighbors Peter & Jeanne, so of course posed for the police mug shot:
neighborhood
We heard some great speeches and were surprised the Mayor spoke, Rep Blumenauer spoke, a most powerful and emotional fiery speech by a native Iraqi got the whole crowd fired up. It was quite eloquent to be emotionally reminded by one of that country’s natives why we’re not wanted or needed there. He made it quite clear the country will NEVER begin to heal or repair until our Army is gone.

Finally the March began, a nice LONG walk across town from 9th to 2nd and from Madison down to almost Burnside….back up to Broadway then over to the Park Blocks.

I had never seen so much imagination at work with this crowd and their signs. I’m just putting several in here…..my favorite is at the bottom.
potato
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preppy
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origami
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oilsand
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hitler
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fruit
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levees
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gallon
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swastika

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dopefiend
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bashing
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coffin
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bonesboms

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bushcontrol
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And a others not pictured:
**Terrorism is the poor man’s WAR is the rich man’s terrorism
**Frodo failed, Bush has the ring
**Which of your children are you willing to sacrifice?
**Indict, Impeach, Imprison
**Violence is the weapon of the weak
**Collateral Damage: 1) American civil liberties 2) homeland security 3) US respect abroad 4) national debt 5) US military families

Of course, there were hundreds more. We saw only one counter-protestor sign…something about hippies ruining everything. BUT!!!! This is a STRONG POINT !!!! I saw MORE yuppies than hippies, more kids than people my age. Lots of elder citizens, lots of college kids.. people were here from EVERY EVERY community group. Lots of Churches, Schools, Teachers, it was MOST inspiring! ! ! We were quite enthused when we left. Next year we can only hope there won’t be a need for a rally……………….but Cheney, Rove, Bush, Wolfowitz, Feith, etc, are still likely to be in power and so we gotta crank up the fight.

This War of empire will NOT end until the citizens of this country protest loud enough and in strength by the millions ……….. That’s what it will take. You can’t stop this by watching the daily death count on TV. Get informed. Watch Democracy Now (or web it), watch Olbermann on MSNBC, look at BlueOregon, Alternet or any of the hundreds of web pages that INFORM rather than give you propaganda. This was a thrilling day.

You want Crap or Steak with them fries?

Bloged in Vale, OR by mark Sunday March 18, 2007

Our tiny once-a-week town newspaper from Vale, Oregon (“The Malheur Enterprise”) was recently bought by someone “new” to town. He of course, promised a continued excellent product with improved formats, etc. Yes, for the first time, there are now color photos in the 6-8 page paper. But I did notice maybe the proof-reading work was forgotten when writing about “Annual Crab Feed” article anyway. Those kids may eat for less but it doesn’t sound like THEY get the same menu choice the adults do:
crapandsteak2.jpg

Dear Mr. President

Bloged in birding,Political by mark Saturday March 17, 2007

I love THIS VIDEO ……………………. Sung by Pink, she has put together some questions in her song for the President that I would like to ask him.

I love the solid fact that discussion, protest, demands for change are finding voice in Americans of every age. I am thrilled to read that the S.D.S. (Students for a Democratic Society) are re-born and alive on 3 campuses here in town. I am thrilled to find America may save herself as we stand up to the corruption alive but no longer well in Washington, D.C. The status quo will ONLY change when the voices of protest become louder than the repeated babble those in power.

I have a dream:
bushresign

On to the Peace Rally tomorrow afternoon! Where’s my sign!!!!

Lastly, what am I MOST excited about as I’ve written this little post? The fact that the hummingbird feeder outside of this window has been visited at least a dozen times in this ten minutes by one or more female regous, AND…..I’m watching her just sitting on the branch above and back of the feeder. I love these little birds. (Thanks, again, Nancy).

The Word Today: Bird Photo Site

Bloged in birding by mark Thursday March 15, 2007

I was referred to a splendid bird photo site, one of the best I’ve seen. . . . This page has them grouped by family, so start here, browse around, and I bet you bookmark the site:

Lumiscape Photography

YES, the owner SELLS the photography so they can’t be copied, but it’s a free browse of some fantastic bird shots.. . . ..

And on that note, I can also mark the arrival of our house finches this morning! No WONDER the songbird calling is not just on the rise, it is absolutely multiplying in numbers, quality, variety, the mornings are NOW officially sounding like a strong SPRING is here.

Gays are immoral but OK for Cannon Fodder. Did I read that right?

Bloged in Gay,Political by mark Wednesday March 14, 2007

IF you happen to read on FOX news (& you should never be listening to FOX Propaganda Channel if you want to know an entire story) that General Pace is such a nice guy for wanting “them immoral Homasexuals” OUT of the army……………and maybe FOX says them homasexuals shouldn’t be a-whining since the Army is not kicking any out anymore……………. You should KNOW why the Army isn’t kickin’ ‘em out so much this year…….
=========================
Here’s the rest of the story from Democracy Now this morning:

Gay, Lesbian Military Dismissals See Decline
In military news, new figures show the number of openly gay and lesbian service members discharged from the military under “don’t ask, don’t tell” dropped sharply last year. Critics say the figures show the Pentagon is abandoning the policy not because its discriminatory but because of the need for more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Around six hundred gay and lesbian troops were dismissed last year — fewer than half the number let go in 2001. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network spokesperson Steve Ralls said: “It is hypocritical that the Pentagon seems to retain gay and lesbian service members when they need them most, and fires them when it believes they are expendable.” The news comes as General Peter Pace — the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — has refused to apologize for calling homosexuality “immoral.” Pace says he regrets making the comments but stands by his beliefs.
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Inneresting, eh? Early on in the war they kicked out thousands of the most VALUABLE recruits that were Arab translators (but gay)……………… Now, youse guys Can’t get no more a-them volunteer boys to join up for this Cheney war, Mr. Pace? So….I guess a pansy is OK for them I.U.D. & suicide cannon fodder deaths …..since you can’t get your “MORAL” straight boys to sign up.

Hm…………………………………………

Rufous Female Arrives

Bloged in birding by mark Tuesday March 13, 2007

Friends of Spring (and hummers):

I just am going to post on the OBOL (Oregon Birders On-Line) Site that we have just watched our very FIRST FEMALE RUFOUS visit our feeder…………………….YEHAOOOOO !

***NO, this picture isn’t this morning……….this VERY special pic RODGER was able to take of a little RUFOUS BABY on June 9, 2003:
hmrbaby.jpg
After we saw that first male, we’ve been wondering how long it would be before we’d see a female.

We HAVE Been seeing a male at LEAST once a day………..not sure if it is the same one or not. Most likely, these are migrants to Canada or further……………. BUT still, things are working.

NOW…………..The sun is breaking out……………it appears, for some odd sunny reason, I am going outside to work on getting these things begun today:

1) Spray the APPLE TREES with their final dormant spray.
2) PLANT some potted shrubs, 3 trees
3) Start some NEW lettuce seedlings in the cold frame.
4) MAYBE just maybe………….MOW the parts of the lawn that have become SOLID and…solidly green in the last two weeks.
5) Replace the screens in the bird feeder (damn raccoons.

CAN YOU TELL? I think it’s a SPRING DAY HERE……………… THAT will take out the jet lag of the time change!

HOPE YOU’RE ALL WELL…………………………

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