Parkdale! FALL is spectacular there.

Bloged in Fall,General Home Life,Nature,Oregon,Pacific Northwest,TRAVEL by mark Wednesday October 29, 2008

Where? Parkdale is a small orchard town on the back side (East side) of Mt Hood… You can get there via the Columbia River Gorge, to Hood River then drive 17 miles up to this gorgeous place, or go straight up to Mt Hood, and drive completely around it to get there. THAT circular drive is called “The Fruit Loop” because Hood River and environs IS the apple/pear/peach capital of Oregon.

John and Tony just back from a fantastic wedding in Toni’s Ireland, got a little acreage there, have a new home up and running, and allowed us to come help with a little fencing job they wanted in before winter sets in.

We were excited, the DOG was excited

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Even HERE, it’s no longer possible to NOT know Fall, no longer hinting that it’s coming, is brazenly colored. Of course it IS the Northwest, yes, so green is all around you always, but it’s strongly penetrated with all that Fall brings: gold, red, orange, browns, rust, mushrooms.

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Squirrels are working like crazy getting a stash stored, deer eating every apple that falls, it’s a very universal feeling.

We are getting reminded that the Deer rut will begin next month, mating then, and fawns born next May. How was I reminded? I forget every fall to put protection over young shrubs. Buck’s, in preparing for the mating ranking, get their antlers all filed down by rubbing and yes, breaking lots of limbs. Our Bay Laurel is almost destroyed, as is one of the currents. Oh well.

We joined John & Tony at their home so we could take one car….a mammoth Suburban pulling the trailer with all the fencing materials aboard. Lovely drive in the dark, a stop for groceries, and we were at the new home about 8:30 to meet John’s nephew Keith and pal Nat. These young New Hampshire guys are staying at the house for the winter while they live a thrill: Working at Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort one as a trainer and one Boarding expert who will repair snowboards. They’re just out of college, and having a year off here. Great guys. This was Tony’s breakfast offering Saturday morning:
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Rodger, John, Nat, me, Keith and Tony’s behind the camera.

Rodger swears he’s going to blog about this, so I can’t upload some of the gorgeous photos, but know this:

1) I was in absolute AWE all weekend every morning to look out and see the huge North face of Mt. Hood out the windows, and only about 20 miles away. If you’re THAT close to a volcano, you will be in AWE of the sight. That alone had my heart feeling fabulous.

2) At night, I went outside regularly because, again, I was held in absolute AWE all weekend staring at the bright star loaded sky. One forgets about the light pollution we all now live with in/around our cities. You can hardly even see a star from downtown Portland. Up here, it was SO intense, I felt reverence for the beauty of it.
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3) ALL weekend, all afternoon, a gorgeous large Red-tailed Hawk sat on wind turbines, flew ALL around us, or dove ofter gophers in the orchards. He’s taken residence up here, and I loved seeing this awesome raptor.

4) ALL fruit orchards and other deciduous trees were in full blazing autumn color. Yep, I was in awe.

So the days were filled with building a lovely split rail fence, joy of nature views you can only HOPE you get to see a few times in your life, fabulous home cooking (home-made pizza friday, Toni’s southern savory corncakes Saturday, yeast waffles sunday, and at night, lively talking with these friends well into wee hours I no longer knew I would ever be up late enough to enjoy.

I was absolutely exhausted when we came home, as was the dog:
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This was the BEST Birthday gift I’ve ever received to be with wonderful people like this group was.

** Northern Flickers** backyard note: TODAY, I got a welcome revelation! We’ve always loved our favorite all-time most beautiful Northern Flicker coming to visit our suet post on the deck. We knew there may be more than one that came in. THIS morning, I watched 3 of them have a bit of a duel about territory that involved some actual fighting. ALL three flickers were calling loudly, I had a thrill watching that too.
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Seems nature is my religion………….

Mormons and the Misery of Sin

Bloged in ex-Mormon,Mormons,Political,Religion by mark Wednesday October 22, 2008

I have just become aware of a second Gay Mormon “support” group (Affirmation is the one begging the Church for recognition and acceptance as they “are”)…………….. Finding the Evergreen International Group however has made me doubly sad. It is yet another Christian “Gay Recovery” ministry. Mormons state that acting on your homosexual tendencies will lead to a Life of Misery and Sin. I read on one of their pages a quote from their most recently deceased ***”Prophet”*** , G. B. Hinckley who emphatically stated (in their LAST financially backed campaign in California to fight gay marriage), —Marriage is valid only for a man and woman (note: Polygamy, of course, is still carefully omitted and remains doctrinally soundly locked institutionally in “sacred scripture” …..THAT one ain’t going away. Their doctrine states polygamy WILL be re-instated in the future….)

Both of these groups are made up of Believers in Mormon doctrine. For that reason alone, they are on a frustrating and emotionally painful and often self-destructive road to a life unfulfilled.

I can’t quite put my self in their frame of reference to this religion and realize that I can only discuss my own experience. I’m happy to know young kids growing up now have so much science data for research and can truly understand why they are the way they are. ALL science except religiously skewed and biased studies can tell you it’s genetic. That being said, one is NOT going to change the object of his sexual attraction.

I grew up in a sheltered little farm town right after WWII. Sex in any form was not discussed in public or in the home. As a result, I had NO idea that the “attraction” I was feeling was something I “assumed” was part of growing up and would go away when I had a “girlfriend.” I at least sensed enough NEVER to hint I possessed those feelings because yes, somehow, SOME of the non-Mormon (and in my own mind, urbane) town kids knew enough to call names to boys that were different, and it wasn’t in a good way. I paid no attention, because, I still “assumed” those feelings would vanish as I grew up…..(and got married in the Mormon temple, then everything would be “right”).

At 19, I came to have faith that the requisite Mormon mission would “cure” these now lingering and deeper feelings. The feelings did not go away, and I began to understand that it was not simply sexual attraction that was inside my head. I wasn’t cured, and at 21, I realized those feelings had a name. It was getting serious. I thought therapy on my return to BYU would cure them. That didn’t. What I learned finally at 21 that I had fallen in love. I simply assumed that relationship was going to become pretty much the same as the marriages I knew all around me. We left the Church, aided by the fact, I had NEVER felt the big “Holy Ghost” knock on my head revealing to ME that the Mormons WERE the ONLY TRUE path to God……… In truth, for THAT matter, GOD had never hinted to me He was around either. So perhaps LEAVING the Church wasn’t as hard for me as it was for others. And I was in LOVE !!!!

Well, that character was only in my life 2 years, and I do blame his own Mormon background partially. He was overcome with guilt about being open so continued to act out closeted fantasies often observed in men who can’t accept those same feelings I’d had, they’d heard from their Church leaders about this “Misery” would lead to. That 1st ‘love” continued lying, sneaking, acting out. At a point of final disgust for how he was treating me and our relationship, it was brought to an abrupt end. Sure, I still was completely naive and made plenty of my own mistakes, but even now, I fault not having learned when I should have, had I had any access to valid information, any skills in being who I was.

And what’s the point of this blabber?

I am finding that although forbidden by their own “scriptures” (The Doctrine and Covenants) to be involved in political matters affecting the government. SEE D&C 134:9 to read it prohibits church members from using religious beliefs to influence civil government: “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”

Despite that, I find in simple research ( mormonsfor8.com ) that 47% of the funding to get the anti-gay initiative passed comes from Mormons who ARE only 2% of California’s population. This is not undue influence?

I feel so strongly for any LDS Mormon kid just feeling foreshadowings that he may be GAY, especially if he’s in one of these donor families. He will go through the same struggles (or worse) than I did back in the naive 1950’s. He will have NO ONE he will dare ask questions to. He will hide his feelings, feel shame, embarrassment, exclusion, loneliness, despair. As he approaches his 20’s, he may even go through the suppression therapy thinking they will “CURE” him of his inside nature. WITH HIGH HOPES, I will believe that he will LEAVE his false sad Mormon life and discover his worth, the beauty of the world, and love.

I also hope, if he is so inclined, he gets married……………..because he wants to and because he can. That he gets to grow old together with that love just as humans have done for thousands of years.

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**Leightons’ “The Secret”.

In the very words of many Republicans now jumping on that bandwagon of Palin’s, “Are you a REAL American or a suspect?” The very meaning of the word Democracy implies tolerance. Tolerance is allowing something you believe is wrong.

Americans developed religious tolerance because, at first, many colonies sanctioned one legal religion. Those asserted that they alone could save and all others were damned. As heretics and the disgruntled split off and our country grew, religious diversity became a necessity. Reluctantly, over time, Americans allowed the existence and practice of others’ “wrong” beliefs. It was a begrudging making of space for the Other, for evil.

The Mormon stand on gay marriage is intolerant because it wants MORMONISM “beliefs” to be enforced by government. When beliefs differ among good citizens, tolerance, however begrudging, should rule.

It doesn’t take much thought to know the truth. Just be quiet in a quiet spot for a few minutes and your heart will let you know that tolerance is the correct response.
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Is Palin qualified to be VP ?

Bloged in Political,Religion by mark Tuesday October 21, 2008

Although overcome with an unexpected raspy energy robbing respiratory cold this weekend, I saw a video on the Daily Show I thought EVERY American SHOULD see.

Yep, the Daily Show’s a comedy show. But they have become one of the strongest sources of truth when a voter searches for more about issues or candidates, and THIS is a perfect example.

While Palin’s constant attacks that Obama is not “ready” or IS actually even a subversive terrorist, she’s claimed SHE knows more about government, and has worked harder than he. Do you remember her famous quote, “As major of a small town, I had actual responsibilities.”

Daily Show’s Jason Jones was sent to Wasilla to find the “REAL” American patriots, you know, those “patriots” referred to by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman this weekend (yes, another disgusting statement saying there should be a media investigation of the Senate and Congress to find out which ones are “unpatriotic”). Jones INTERVIEWS the current WASILLA Mayor, and THAT is the part of this video I HOPE you’ll watch. Her specific interview portion sitat at the the 1:56 minute marker.

Hm. At the end of that, you see the secessionist Wasillan identify the Palin’s as members…..that’s a group who consider the continental U.S. disgusting. Now is THAT patriotic?

If that doesn’t convince you that Palin was simply picked for 1) to appease the Fundamentalists, and 2) bring a “cheer-leader” factor to a dying campaign, AND in truth, she is NOT qualified to protect this country from anything, let me know. We’ll try to get some information to you.

M

Scuff Boys Featured in local Media!

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Friday October 17, 2008

Leanne L. has been writing about Portland Gardening for a while. She writes about her own life at LELO in NOPO…and at the moment you can see she’s done an article about us. She’s done things for the Oregonian, but currently writes her gardening column for the local Gay Publication: Just Out Magazine .

both of us

She came up a couple weeks ago to do an interview with us about our gardening and canning hobbies. It has just now been released. I hope you’ll get to visit those two links above. **There’s also a link on Lelo’s page showing some of the other pictures she took while she was here. I am humbled . . . .she was most kind in her writeup.

Leanne is a fabulous cook and gardener. You should see HER yard. Not one inch of space wasted, everything artfully set, it’s a beautiful picture itself. We’re enjoying getting to know her.

I suppose we’re now going to have to start autographing our Jams ? Hah. Only one tiny correction need be mentioned: The Russian Tomatoes are “stupice” .

Voter Suppression

Bloged in Bush,Political by mark Friday October 17, 2008

With all the conservative blabbers mouthing loud noises against a truly patriotic organization that has been around a LONG time, the A.C.O.R.N. kids, they are truly blowing smoke trying to cover up the frightening partisan (Republican) voter suppression going on around the country. I looked for news of this somewhere besides the rare liberal talk shows, and found nothing as a headline. Nowhere. I finally GOGGLED: VOTER SUPPRESSION.

There were 542 stories shown. With Tens of Thousands of names being booted from the voter rolls in MANY states by Republican officials and even a sheriff, how is this not a news headline? You can’t turn to the big propaganda stations like FOX, CNN, etc w/o hearing: “ACORN – – we got to stop them kids from getting poor people to vote!” (See O’Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, etc etc).

Sometimes I think the country’s waking up, and I can’t wait to cast my vote in hopes the tide can be turned. Still, it’s despairing seeing the Corporate Criminals with their hand inside Bushes’ tush manipulating billions from our ragged pockets into their own guarded gated private accounts, no doubt, offshore to avoid any tax penalty.

WHO EVER takes over in January will have a most desperate situation. These CRIMINAL pigs-at-the-trough are actually getting away with pillaging and plundering what little’s left that supports the life of the ordinary citizens here in America. At days end, they smile at the same country clubs holding up cocktails laughing at the weakness of the poor.

Ah! I feel BETTER.

Failures of Unregulated Capitalism

Bloged in Bush,Political by mark Wednesday October 15, 2008

I am feeling quite hopeless lately after the financial markets are being manipulated by speculators, short sellers, etc., to pocket money.

I deeply resented this picture of two of those pigs at the trough taken as they left the Senate hearings this week:
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John J. Mack, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, left, and Vikram S. Pandit, chief executive of Citigroup, after a meeting at the Treasury Department on Monday.
= = = =

In another mood though, here’s how some see the election choices coming up:

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I HAVE been depressed lately to truly realize we live in a sham of a democracy.

2008 Deer Buffet Opens Tonight !

Bloged in Fall,garden,General Home Life,Nature by mark Saturday October 11, 2008

With the first freeze forecast tonight (about a month earlier than normal), I dismantled the garden’s deer fence. So. The gorgeous omnivores have been invited in to begin their two week long munch-a-thon finishing off the garden:
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STILL there will be a pepper or few, composting tomatillos, thriving celery and all the other herbs.

It was a little sad for me, the gardener of this space after a summer tending the little space.

The deer will have NO such sentiment as their noses detect the barrier to those other delectable smells NEAR the apple trees was removed. They’ll be happy to have something to munch on besides apples.

I DID get the last bit of harvest though. Rhubarb – the 4th cutting is in the freezer. The LAST tomatoes… I estimate I will have my last superior fabulous BLT by next week, and eat this, the LAST of 2008 garden lettuce too:
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As our Gravenstein apples have matured, we’ve only used a fraction, so I’m trying to find a home for the rest. The GRANNY” SMITH apples are about to begin though in a couple weeks:
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They’ll be just in time for Thanksgiving Pies, eh?

We both decided to see what we could preserve about our peppers…. Hanging in the garage to dry are the Jaloro Jalapeno, and the Fatali Habanero:
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Once that’s dry, we’ll bag it and use it for the next year or two.

In the tub, we’re hoping this Habanero will continue to grow this winter:
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I see some great Mexican Food in our coming winter / spring.

I guess I’d better store up more food than I planned. Bush-o-nomics seems to have plundered the last bucks I had stashed away in the Republican Social Security system, i.e., Stock Market.

Hope all’s well…………..

Guys Like That

Bloged in Bush,Political by mark Friday October 10, 2008

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This was not written yesterday, but a while back. It sure fits today, though.

*Guys Like That*

Drive very nice cars, and from
where you sit in your dented
last-century version of the
most ordinary car in America, they

look dark-suited and neat and fast.
Guys like that look as if they are thinking
about wine and marble floors, but
really they are thinking about TiVo

and ESPN. Women think that guys
like that are different from the guys
driving the trucks that bring cattle
to slaughter, but guys like that are

planning worse things than the death
of a cow. Guys who look like that —
so clean and cool — are quietly moving
money across the border, cooking books,

making deals that leave some people
rich and some people poorer
than they were before guys like that
robbed them at the pump and on

their electricity bills, and even
now, guys like that are planning how
to divide up that little farm they just
passed, the one you used to call home.

by
Joyce Sutphen

Joyce Sutphen lives in Chaska, Minnesota and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.
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WHO is voting for McCain/Palin?

Bloged in Political by mark Friday October 10, 2008

These are exactly the only voters I could ever imagine voting for McCain. My position is: IF THIS is ALL you know about issues, i.e., simply believing what a candidate says and knowing NOTHING ELSE, NO research?

Here’s an after Palin Rally Mob Scene:

Hm. That’s the “heartland” ??

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