Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
Its loveliness increases;
It will never
pass into nothingness;
But still will
keep a bower quiet for us,
And a sleep
full of sweet dreams,
And health,
and quiet breathing.

~John Yeats

Of Note: Mt. Merapi--meaning mountain of fire-- erupted this week on the Indonesian island of Java. According to Javanese, the mountain is home to a spiritual kingdom, and eruptions are attributed to offending the spirits. Sadly, the spiritual gatekeeper of the volcano, Mbah (Grandfather) Maridjan, will no longer be around to appease them because he was killed in the recent blast. His charred body was found in an attitude of prayer when rescuers went looking. Maridjan was appointed by the Sultan of the local province in 1983 and said of his work: "My job is to stop lava from flowing down. Let the volcano breathe, but not cough." In recent years, he has said that the spirits are unhappy with the destruction of forests and quarrying on the mountain. With his death at the hands of the revered volcano, the local villagers are preparing to choose the next gatekeeper soon. Mt. Merapi erupted following an earthquake that measured 7.7 on the Richter Scale and send a 10 foot tsunami to land killing hundreds. Could it be the spiritual kingdom high on the mountain is telling us something? Many Indonesians would interpret the signs thusly.

Today's Weather Report: The sun is shining and puffy clouds dot the blue sky. Even though it's only 20 something degrees Fahrenheit, the illusion of warmth is there. I have been sucked in before, though. Thus, when going outside, I will be well covered from head to toe. Yesterday our male dog, who is now at least 100 pounds, ran off--twice--only to be brought home by the next door neighbor. Mind you, the "next door neighbor" lives about a mile away. The second time he ran, we were quite upset with him and just as my husband was preparing to go find him, the neighbor brought him back. Later in the day, the neighbor emailed to say that her 97-year old Mom, who lives next door as well, became ill and had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. On that second run, Chewy gave her Mom a solid, wet kiss as the paramedics were loading her in the ambulance. Ma Cech only told her daughter this later--and asked her to email us with a Thank You! With that email, the wayward pooch was vindicated, at least for the day. By the way, this is not a picture of Mt. Merapi, rather it is the Maroon Bells of Colorado USA taken by my talented sister, Marie.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Upward and Onward

Those who are lifting the
world upward and onward
are those who encourage
more than criticize.

~Elizabeth Harrison

Of Note: The election season in the United States is quickly coming to a close. On Tuesday we vote. By Wednesday, for the most part, we will know who will be representing us in Congress. This cycle has been characterized by vicious ad hominum attacks and bizarre rants. It is amazing that adults would act like this. Maybe that is the problem. These are not truly adults, but children playing in adult suits. A playground monitor might be a good idea.

Today's Weather Report: The high today was 44 degrees Fahrenheit, though this morning we woke to a low of 20. With that low temperature, we know that winter is right around the corner. After almost a week of dreary clouds, the sun shown today. Our fake stream started to freeze over this morning. Thus, it is probably time to turn the water off; a signal that the summer season is over and done. The aerator, which we have been working on for two years, is now properly functioning. All it took was a new air compressor unit. Were we ever happy to see the bubbles streaming up from the aerator head that sits in the lake. Speaking of the lake, the water is starting to lap over the dock in a few places. We already had the dock lifted once. Looks like it will be necessary again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seek What They Sought


~Matsuo Basho

Of Note: One of the Millennium Development Goals is equality for girls and women. One commentator noted that it actually underlies all the other MDGs. The World Economic Forum recently released its 5th annual report on world gender inequality. 134 countries were ranked as to how much they had closed the gender gap in education, politics, health and economic opportunity. The very best country was Iceland which came in at 85%, followed closely by Norway at 84% and Finland at 83%. Sweden was up there too at 80%. At the other end of the spectrum was Yemen at 46%, Chad at 53% and Pakistan at 55%. The United States jumped 12 places to number 19 showing improvement in parity between the sexes while France fell precipitously from 18th to 46th place. One of the reasons for the changes in these two countries was attributed to the number of women in politics. As a matter of fact, guaranteeing a woman's place in politics is considered essential for the evolution of a country from developing to developed. For example, when the new Iraqi constitution was being considered, the minimum number of women in the parliament was explicitly stated. USAID is making an impact through another door--the Woman's Leadership Training in Economics program--whereby women from developing countries receive a full scholarship to obtain master's degrees in economics from U.S. universities. Upon receiving the degree, each scholar agrees to return to her country where she is expected to pursue a career in economic policy-making and public service. Women at the table make a difference. Research has shown that a group's collective intelligence is affected not by individual intelligence but by social sensitivity and the ability to make inferences, which according to the New York Times are skills women are more likely to possess then men. Many predict that when men and women share equally, freedom and peace will prevail. That is what the men of old sought, and in the days ahead, their dreams may come to fruition.

Today's Weather Report: Today it is overcast once more and 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The rain has apparently stopped, and the sunshine peeked out for a short time an hour ago before swiftly retreating once more. This is the tail-end of the worst storm to hit the Midwest in decades. Yesterday, we were without power during the first snow storm of the season. The electricity went out at 4 am yesterday and only returned this morning a bit after 9 am. It was like camping in the house. Not knowing how long the electricity would be out was the bad part but not that bad in the scheme of things. We decided it was a good test for all of our emergency supplies, which we found quite lacking. There is a reason people are advised to have one of each in a stockpile. Acquiring that little cache will be one of my next projects. Meditation does not require electricity, however, so the best part of my day continued unimpeded.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We are Interconnected


~Sogyal Rinpoche

Of Note: A continuing theme of this blog is the interconnectedness of all to all. That is playing out in real physical time these days on the Internet where we can be and are in touch with most anything and anyone we want. The dark side of this connectivity has been highlighted in a series of stories in the Wall Street Journal over the last few months. The WSJ investigative reporters uncovered how data-mining companies use the information we type in the computer or share on social networking Websites. Forget privacy. That is an illusion for anyone using a computer or even a credit card. The information we enter is gathered and tracked by the data-mining companies and then sold to others who want to use it. Some of these companies even sell it to other of these companies. Around and around it goes. The information collators tell us that names are not associated with the data--that is usually not. A mega data-collector, Rapleaf, does associate names with data and their information is highly prized by many, especially politicians. To opt-out of their "services" log on to, go to People, click on Manage Your Info and on that page is a box to Opt-Out. From there if you wish, click on a blue box to access the national ad association's Website and Opt-Out of ALL the trackers. The data-miner's defend their actions by saying our data is only used to help make a better connected world. By opting in or out, we can each decide on the merits of their claim.

Today's Weather Report: A blustery fall storm is blanketing the Midwest today, and it is in all the news. The whole area is bracing for 24 hours of high winds and several inches of rain. Tomorrow northern Wisconsin might even see snow. That seems a little far-fetched since it is 54 degrees Fahrenheit at the moment. But it is October and stranger things have happened in this transitional month. Regardless of the weather conditions, I have to go to town today to run errands. Better today in the wind and rain than tomorrow in snow. With all this precipitation, there is a very good chance the lake will reach its original shore line by the time it freezes over for the winter. My husband says that usually occurs around December 1st, which means we still have over a month to go.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Growth is a Rare Phenomenon

Growth is a rare phenomenon.
It is natural, but rare.
When the seed has found the right soil,
it grows--it is very natural.
But to find the right soil,
that is the crux of the matter.


Of Note: Last Saturday, finance officials from the Group of 20 met in South Korea to discuss the global economy, 85 percent of which they control. The meeting's opening statement said: "Our cooperation is essential. We are all committed to play our part in achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth in a collaborative and coordinated way." The idea of cooperation on the global front is relatively new, and world leaders are just beginning to get the hang of this collaborative approach. Around since 1999, the G-20 has taken a leadership role in pursuing financial reforms, even more so since the financial meltdown. Of particular concern at Saturday's meeting was strategic currency devaluation that could lead to a "currency war." The finance officials vowed to "move toward more market determined exchange rate systems" in order to avert rampant and ever-spiraling protectionism (separatism) that is at the result of such a struggle. They also called for greater representation of emerging countries on the executive board of the International Monetary Fund. An EU commissioner expressed his satisfaction at this agreement: "It is a milestone in reforming global governance. Today we have been re-balancing global growth and re-balancing political influence in global governance." We will see how world leaders respond on November 11 - 12 when they meet in Seoul to consider the agreements made by their respective finance officials. Whatever the result at these particular meetings, it is emblematic of the fact that the right soil has been found and plowed for global cooperation and collaboration on many fronts. We predict that as more and more of the various global summits produce successful results, there will be no going back to unilateralism. It will simply be unacceptable.

Today's Weather Report: Although it is not raining, thick clouds blanket the sky and rain looks imminent. Temps are in the mid-40's and the ground is too soggy to work outside after a couple of rainy days. So, a little housecleaning was in order. Recently, I purchased a portable DVD player to watch educational DVD's while walking on the treadmill. Geometry has been the first topic. So far, the lively professor from the University of Texas at Austin has covered the line, the circle and the triangle, though apparently we are just at the beginning of that lengthy discussion. The segments are 30 minutes long and that is precisely how long I walk--or have interest each day for geometry. I have found that studying as an adult is totally different than the "indentured servitude" of education as a child. To say I did not like school would be an understatement--even though I made excellent grades. The anxiety of the experience was overwhelming. Now learning is a joy. From the number of DVD's available to adults for learning or re-learning, I gather that my experience was not unique.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Kingdom is Spread Out Upon the Earth

The Disciples asked Jesus,
"On what day does the kingdom come?"

Jesus replied,
"It does not come where it is expected.
They will not say, Lo, here! Or Lo, there!
But the Kingdom of the Father is spread out
upon the earth, and men do not see it."

~Gospel of Thomas

Of Note: Interestingly, the Disciples asked Jesus on what DAY does the kingdom come, and He answered, "It does not come WHERE it is expected." He went on to say that "the Kingdom of God IS spread out upon the earth" but men do not have eyes to see it. This statement implies that the Kingdom of the Father is here already and one day we will recognize that truth. It is all in the recognition, the revelation of that which is around and through us always. In agreement, the wise sage Krishnamurti said: "There is no path of wisdom, there is no path at all. There is no journey." How can we attune ourselves to the higher kingdoms, which according to two wise men are right here? Meditation is one way. Sitting in meditation, the recognition comes that the Kingdom of God interpenetrates and connects all to all. When a majority of humanity has come to this realization through meditation or some other way, an even greater revelation is promised. We do not yet know what that revelation is but we know it will change the world forever.

Today's Weather Report: It is raining and 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Ten degrees colder, and there is a good chance we would be looking at snow. It is very dark and dreary outside. Inside, it is nice and toasty now that the wood boiler is heating the floor. The fire in the fireplace does not hurt either. Yesterday in the rain, I sowed the remainder of the grass seed for the year and threw straw on top of it. It is sometimes fun to work in the rain as a way to feel closer to the earth. It is also wonderful to come in, take off all the soggy clothes, and get into something warm, then sip a hot chocolate in front of the fireplace.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Planted theSeed of Holy Words

I planted the seed of holy
words in this world.
When long since the
palm tree will have died,
the rocks decayed;
When long since the shining
monarchs have been blown
away like rotted leaves;
Through every deluge a thousand
arks will carry my word:
It will prevail!


Of Note: Cynicism these days is rampant. As a matter of fact, if we are not cynical, we are considered tolerably naive. My thoughts? That dominant attitude does not make the cynics right. Since we don't know the future for certainty, why not believe that the good will prevail? There is no downside to that concept particularly if we accept the fact that energy follows thought. A mind-ful humanity has the ability to MAKE it happen and eventually will. Timing is the only variable. Acting AS IF now could prove to be an accelerant toward the period when spiritual values will dominate the environment. Then we will know the true meaning of "The Peace that Passes Understanding." If that is considered naive, so be it. Only time will tell who had it right.

Today's Weather Report: Word has it that this is the last "nice" week of the fall. And nice it has been. Today it was 60 degrees Fahrenheit! It is not unusual to have some snow in October, so this is unseasonably warm. Because of the forecast, we will be planting the last of the grass seed and laying the straw the next few days. By next spring, we are hoping for a lush lawn around the barn. The new aerator compressor arrived today so we will be putting that into the lake shortly. The fish appreciate a little extra oxygen to prevent die off during the long winter months. Our neighbor has had to sustain the effort alone the past two winters because various attempts to fix our old aerator failed. This year, we got a brand new one so it is certain to work.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Bent Man


372-289 BCE

Of Note: Let's face it--we are all a little bent. According to this wise sage, that means we have little ability to tell others how to lead their lives. That may come as a surprise to many who spend much time giving this or that advice. But, in reality, we have no way of knowing what a soul has planned for any particular life. Therefore, judgment should be left at the doorstep. Once tried, it is relatively easy to have no opinion. What a great first step toward simplicity and freedom.

Today's Weather Report: At 42 degrees Fahrenheit, what a nippy day! That was 42 with a stiff breeze to boot. Because I had to drive the lawn tractor almost a half mile down to the pole barn, dressing in several layers was appropriate. The get-up I wore was laughable, though, and included my bright yellow snow pants, winter boots, gloves and a pull-on hat plus several layers underneath a winter jacket. On the walk home, I had to find my gas cap which was missing when I arrived. It was nestled in some weeds half-way down the drive. After that, I borrowed my husband's size 12 waders and retrieved the bubbler part of the aerator from the lake. I didn't have to go far thankfully because the old waders leaked. What an afternoon! It was nice to get back inside where a lovely fire was burning in the fireplace, and dinner was on the table.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We are Each Others Business


~Gwendolyn Brooks

Of Note: We might think that the secret to turning consumers green is money or information. Both have been tried with limited success. A few people bite but not enough to make a real difference. What have psychologists found that does change behavior? Guilt. Guilt associated with peer pressure works. For example, when Washington DC imposed a 5 cent surcharge on bags, the proponents of the measure hoped that bag use would decline. They further hedged their bet by making consumers ask for bags in front of other customers. The result? Bag usage declined from 68 million bags a quarter to 11 million. On Potomac River Watershed Cleanup Day, volunteers pulled 66% fewer bags out of the river than last year. One city councilman concluded that "it is more important to get into their heads than into their pocketbooks." Thus, while two-thirds of Americans say they are sympathetic with environmental causes, this attitude does little to translate into concrete action. Next time you are in a hotel, read the little sign that asks you to reuse your towels. It probably says "Join Your Fellow Guests in Helping Save the Environment--75 % of Guests Do" rather than "Show Your Respect for Nature." That is because the first sign moves guests to action, the second does not. One of the social psychologists conducting these influence studies concluded: "People don't recognize how powerful the pull of the crowd is on them. It is a fundamental cue as to what we should be doing."

Today's Weather Report: What a strange weather day. After over two weeks of warmish fall temperatures, today it started off cloudy and quite cool with rain pending. Then it lightly rained. Then the sun came out. After that, quite suddenly, black clouds rolled in with a twenty degree drop in temperature, and it poured. This was all before 3 PM. At this point, I took a nap. This was enough confusion for one day. Tomorrow the forecasters predict another nice day. Just for the fun of it, when I got into my car today, for no apparent reason, the car horn sounded, over and over and over. After that, the car did not want to run. Never having been through something like this before, I turned the car off and then on. At this point, the car kept running, but the blasted horn was still tooting and the lights were flashing. So, I did what any girl would do and drove down my road hoping it would stop--and it did. I realize now that I must have hit the PANIC button accidentally. This would be quite embarrassing in a parking lot.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We are Our Brother's Keeper


~Swami Vivekananda

Of Note: It has been revealed that upward of $1 trillion dollars in the global battle against poverty is lost to corruption. Yes, that is $1 TRILLION each and every year. What that means is that nations must provide aid far in excess of that amount in order for those in poverty to even begin to see results in their day to day lives. "Send more money" is the usual message as if inadequate funds is the problem. In reality, it is probable that more than enough money is being given but humanity's underbelly is siphoning much of it away for its own nefarious purposes. This revelation does change the discussion. President Obama's demand for more accountability in the aid bureaucracy is timely--but those in power must be willing to take on corruption at the highest levels. Now that the extent of the problem has been uncovered, it is time that political will became energized to get the money meant for poverty eradication to our brother's in need--not our brother's in greed.

Today's Weather Report: We are now in the second week of blue skies and no rain. Yesterday a few clouds rolled in and promised precipitation but blew away before leaving a drop behind. Because it was 28 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, my husband fired up the wood boiler which will perk away for the next six months. Now he will be married to that hungry lady, who he must feed once or twice a day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Underlying Synthesis

The attempt to identify the
One True Theory of Everything
is surely an intuitive response to
the underlying synthesis that
lies behind all forms.

This synthesis is rooted in
the abstract realm of Spirit,
which explains why it can never
be reduced to one single form;
rather every form of thought,
every theory of ideology,
is a fresh attempt to capture
some aspect of the Real.

~Dominic Dibble

Of Note: This concludes the three part Sunday series from the article "The Quest for Synthesis." It is featured in the most recent World Goodwill Newsletter, which highlights the energy of goodwill in world affairs. Goodwill itself is defined as a living expression of synthesis, which is an uncommon term just beginning to be used and understood. Expect to see more of it as Humanity recognizes that the Three Musketeers' chant "All for one and one for all" has real meaning. Check out for more interesting information on the scientific reality of brotherhood.

Today's Weather Report: Oh my, what a brisk morning at 34 degrees Fahrenheit though the sun is out and presents quite a deceiving appearance of warmth. We have lots of little maintenance chores today including placing an aerator in the lake to make sure the fish do not freeze out in the winter. Our only other neighbor on the lake has one as well, thankfully, because the last two winters ours has not worked. This summer we fixed it and today comes the official "sinking" of the aerator head. What I want to see are little bubbles arising to the surface. It would be nice if it was in the 60's Fahrenheit before doing this lake work since we always get wet when working out there no matter how hard we try not to. On another note, one of my numerous cacti bloomed this summer and is pictured here. The dark circle above the bloom is a bottle that after many years is now embedded in the cacti. In a very abstract way, if turned sideways, I saw the word OM--the O being the neck of the bottle and the M being the cactus bloom. Yes, I'm serious. Give it a try.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Outside the Universe


~A Zen Harvest

Of Note: Would it make a difference if we all knew for certain that we were a part of the living universe? Quite literally, the atoms that make up our body originated way out there in space. According to a scientific source, 40% of the elements such as oxygen and carbon that make up the material world including our bodies were created in supernova explosions. The remaining 60% are hydrogen atoms that were formed during the "Big Bang," or for those who do not believe in the "Big Bang," in a time far, far away and long, long ago. This means that we cannot in any real sense live "outside" the universe as the universe runs through us every moment. We are one with the universe, and all are one with us. Brotherhood then is scientific fact. When we know and understand that universal law, peace will certainly prevail.

Today's Weather Report: Another gorgeous sunny day reigned. It had to be in the mid to high 60's as it was somewhere between short and long sleeve shirt temps. Our 6-year old friend Olivia visited all day as her Dad did excavating work on our property. Our big adventure besides watching the guys pull out stumps was a trip to McDonald's for lunch. I had originally planned PB&J sandwiches with apples, but Olivia does not eat peanut butter so we went to town instead. The apples came later as a snack. Chewy really wanted to make a new friend, but he outweighed the visiting tyke by 40 pounds so that did not go over too well. She kept hiding behind what ever adult was available until the curious dog was put on the back porch for the rest of the day. Interestingly, our 4-year old granddaughter who visited in July was best friends with Chewy--she ordered him around like a military Sargent like she did her own dog at home. Not so Olivia, maybe next time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh Lord, Help!


~St. Augustine

Of Note: Since Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel Peace Prize, it would appear that the Chinese government has been in a quandary. Word had it that the country was ever so slowly moving in the direction of reform. After all, last August Premier Wen Jiabao gave a speech in which he said: "Without the safeguard of political reform, the fruits of economic reform would be lost and the goal of modernization would not materialize." However, the Nobel Prize committee upped the ante, and the government's initial response as been to place Liu's wife under house arrest and harass his friends. Now a letter by 23 Chinese Communist elders dated October 1st and released last Monday has further stoked the debate. The timely letter demanded that the "invisible black hand" of censorship be abolished in favor of the freedoms enshrined in the 1982 constitution. It said unequivocally: "The Internet is an important platform of exchanging information and opinions. Internet regulators shouldn't arbitrarily delete online posts and comments." Amazingly it went on to say: "The freedom of speech and of the press we now enjoy is inferior even to that of Hong Kong before its return to Chinese sovereignty, to that entrusted to the residents of the colony." Some predict that the letter in conjunction with the controversial Peace Prize will fuel a debate that may be unstoppable. Could be that the more harshly the Chinese government responds, the greater will be the counter response from the Chinese themselves. Never underestimate the power which accompanies the promise of freedom as it is part of our divine heritage.

Today's Weather Report: Yesterday's clouds and chill were just a glitch on the radar. Today we are back to fair and partly cloudy in the 60's Fahrenheit. Perfect to get a few tasks accomplished like taking a broken piece off the tractor for repair. I wouldn't mind too much except it is part of the fuel line and gets anything in its path wet with gasoline. No getting around it. One thing that did not happen this summer was the erection of a promised cell tower. That was a real disappointment as we still have no cell phone reception at home....or text messaging or the use of apps and the like. My Mom, who was visiting from Dallas and is totally connected to her iPhone, feels like her arm has been cut off when she is here. A recent report states that teenagers send and receive on average 3,339 texts a month (!) while adults ages 45 to 54 send and receive 323. Either way, that's a lot of messages we are NOT sending and receiving. I wonder where we would find the time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mother of All, Eldest of All Beings





~Homeric Hymn
7th century BCE

Of Note: Once upon a time, feminism ruled my heart. Turns out that when I became wiser, I realized that the masculine and feminine reside in each of us. To turn against the masculine, then, was to turn against the self--and that aspect in every person on earth. Balance was required. The same thing is true for all of humanity taken as a whole. The masculine and feminine "reside" in it, and balance is required. Presently, that balance is sorely missing on this planet. We are in such an imbalanced state that equality and education for girls and women are the second and third Millennium Development Goals, right up there with eradication of hunger and poverty. How would the world look if the feminine aspect was respected globally? A researcher at the University of North Texas' peace studies institute has shown that we might have a more peaceful planet: "If a country's women had the ability to read, write and comprehend, the likelihood of that country re-entering into civil war was decreased by 75%." Education of women has also been shown to lower birth rates and begin the process to alleviate poverty. Greg Mortenson of Three Cups of Tea fame is another proponent of educating girls and women, especially in war-torn areas such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he is making this point one school at a time. Here is one person who is obviously in touch with both his masculine and feminine aspects and a man to emulate. For more on the groundbreaking peace work of his visionary organization, check out

Today's Weather Report: Strange weather day. After a lovely fall day yesterday which my Mom and I spent in Bayfield, Wisconsin, along the shores of Lake Superior, today was windy and chilly--though the temps were in the 50's Fahrenheit. Glad we chose yesterday for the trek north. While the fall leaves in our area are long gone, the golden and russet leaves in Bayfield still graced the trees. Every colorful tree seemed more beautiful than the next. Even though these displays are commonplace in the north, Mom took tons of pictures because she does not get to see such glory in Texas where she lives.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sharing Your Gifts With the World

It is not a question of whether
you "have what it takes,"
but of whether you take the
gifts you have and share

them with the world.

~Neale Donald Walsch

Tomorrow's God

Of Note: We have basically taken care of visible pollution in the developed world and generally it has fallen below our level of consciousness. In America, the Environmental Protection Agency takes care of "that problem," and we have moved on to other things. Not so in the developing world where resources are scarce for pollution clean up. One man and his organization are taking that problem head on. Richard Fuller, a entrepreneurial Australian, founded the Blacksmith Institute in 1999 in order to tackle pollution in the developing world. He figured all the global pollution hot spots could be identified and then one by one brought back to their original condition using such low cost and indigenous tools as molasses and worms. So far, the foundation in collaboration with local partners has cleaned up 50 sites with 40 in the works spread out over 20 countries. In one of their latest efforts, they were asked by the government of Nigeria to tackle lead poisoning--a result of low tech gold mining--that has killed hundreds. At first, the deaths were attributed to malaria and Doctors Without Borders was asked to assess the situation,. Eventually, lead levels literally off the charts was determined to be the culprit. Fuller described the situation as a "true environmental disaster." With 25% of the deaths in the developing world attributable to environmental factors, this visionary and the non-profit he founded are working on a shoestring to provide relief for millions and millions. Check this out at and, for anyone interested, they are recruiting interns.

Today's Weather Report: Another day of high sixties, low seventies Fahrenheit. Rain looked imminent but then the clouds swooshed away and blue sky reappeared without a drop. Darn. I'm still waiting to check out the caulking job from last Saturday. My Mom is visiting from Texas so I'll be taking a couple day's off from the blog. Look for it again on Thursday or Friday. Speaking of Mom's, this is one spritely lady who at 84-years old looks and acts at least 10 if not 20 years younger. Good genes which I hope have gotten passed down to her offspring. The photo above of our lake was taken last week. It shows a waterline nearing its original place along the shore. At the lowest, the water was to the left of the weeds growing in the middle left of this shot. Obviously, the water level still has a way to go but we are happy with the progress so far this year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Absolutely Every Thing Counts



~Sogyal Rinpoche

Of Note: The oceans will be a little less mysterious after the first global marine census is published today. It represents one of the largest collaborations in the history of science. Over a ten year period 2,700 researchers from 80 countries collected specimens on 540 ocean expeditions, which spawned 2,600 papers based on 30 million observations. The scientists utilized an array of technology to plunge to the ocean's depths and bring up samples from the most inhospitable places on earth. 250,000 species were identified without counting millions of microbe species that make up 90% of the ocean's biomass. It is estimated that at least 750,000 species remain. 6,200 new species of marine life were collected and only 1,200 have been formally identified. Surprises were aplenty for the researchers who found anaerobic creatures that could live without oxygen on the sea floor and a presumed extinct deep-water clam that flourished 100 million years go. One of the marine researchers recently quipped: "While it's a start, we haven't turned on the lights yet." This gargantuan effort was originally funded by a $75 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation but eventually cost $650 million, funded by hundreds of other institutions, laboratories and governments. The research data will be available online to the public and is part of a larger project called the Encyclopedia of Life, an effort to document all 1.8 million named species on earth.

Today's Weather Report: The forecasted rain vanished with nary a trace. We had become so accustomed to precipitation every few days, this past week seemed like a protracted dry spell. The Indian summer weather is not going to waste, however, as the final touches are being put on the future grassy expanses by the barn. Last night at 9 pm it was 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For October, that is warm and welcome. Every day we don't have to have the wood boiler heating the place is one more day of freedom from filling it once or twice a day for months upon months.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Incomplete Without the Others

In the past, we have seen the tendency of religions to claim that they are the One True Faith, or have access to the One True God. And in the present, it seems that science has taken over this attempt at presenting a comprehensive description of reality, with a quest for the Theory of Everything.

But perhaps, the picture is both simpler and more complex than either approach is willing to admit.

Might it not be the case that the many faiths exist to provide for the spiritual needs of many different types of people, offering multiple paths toward the Divine? And might it not also be the case that each of the myriad theories, both scientific and philosophical, that seeks to describe the Real, is incomplete without the others?

~Dominic Dibble

Of Note: In the October issue of Scientific American, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow postulate that the physicists who have long sought the Theory of Everything might be barking up the wrong tree. These two eminent scientists created a concept called model realism under which "it is pointless to ask whether a model is real, only whether it agrees with observations." In other words, they suggest that many different universal realities may exist; it is all in the eyes of the beholder. Under this paradigm shifting thought, many underlying theories of the universe could co-exist: "We might have to accept different theories in different situations. Each theory might have its own version of reality. . . and each is acceptable, and none of the versions can be said to be more real than the others." Could it be that the universe is so dynamic and alive that each theory describes just a part of it as Mr. Dibble suggests? Hawking and Mlodinow may be leading the scientific community toward that idea. Wonder who will lead the religious community to the same place?

Today's Weather Report: Rain is forecast but the sky is blue with a few scattered clouds and the temps hover in the upper 60's Fahrenheit. Doesn't seem like rain is imminent or even around the corner. This has been the longest stretch without rain in months. Yesterday I caulked the hunting cabin where water was pouring in during the last gully-washer in anticipation of rain. Oh well. Looks like I will have to wait. The leaves have started falling from the trees in bucketfuls as have the white pine needles. Interestingly, white pine loses its needles annually, just not all of them. What is underneath gets covered, however, in a blanket of golden needles. Grass is particularly adverse to pine needles as are many perennials. I like to use the needles for mulch as weeds aren't fond of them either.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Teach Them To Long For the Sea

If you want to build a ship,
don't herd people together
to collect wood and
don't assign them tasks
and work but rather teach
them to long for the sea.

~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Of Note: Most people in China have never even heard of Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize this week. As an ardent advocate for freedom and democracy, his existence has been kept under wraps by a communist government that does not recognize individual liberty. Two years ago Liu was imprisoned for writing Charter 08 that was based on Charter 77, which helped bring about the end to communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Liu's manifesto was censored in China. In all likelihood, the prisoner did not know he won the Nobel Peace prize until informed by his wife when she visited him today. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch said this award could provide the impetus for the communist Chinese government to begin reforms toward freedom because "millions and millions of ordinary Chinese people, government employees, party cadres, and students are going to want to know who Liu Xiaobo is and why he was sentenced to prison. They are going to discover Charter 08, which will spread uncontrollably." That may be just what the Nobel Prize committee had in mind.

Today's Weather Report: Another beautiful day in the neighborhood--sunny and currently in the mid to upper 60's Fahrenheit. Tra-la. It is a shorts and t-shirt kind of day with company coming to visit for the weekend. The men, who arrived just moments ago, threaten to catch the largest bass in the lake but my husband also has sausage-making in mind so we will see how much fishing gets done. One of the men has an affinity for the 1937 dump truck we have here--so we can also expect to see that behemoth chugging down the road. Not the county roads--just the roads on our property as the truck is not licensed. The guys are sure to be surprised by the high water mark which is much different than the last time they were here. Congratulations to the Chileans for finally reaching the 33 trapped miners, although it will be a few days until they are extracted. Our hats go off to the United States drillers who accomplished the feat in record time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

God is Not Evenhanded

God is not evenhanded.
God is biased, horribly
in favor of the weak.

The minute an injustice is perpetrated,
God is going to be on the side of the one
who is being clobbered.

~Desmond Tutu

Of Note: The archbishop is "retiring" today on his 79th birthday. He has worked tirelessly throughout his life for truth and justice, and for that he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize. The Arch, as he is called by friends such as Bono, is an eternal optimist even though he has seen first hand the underbelly of civilization. According to TIME magazine, often this Fire of a man was able to walk into standoffs between South African protesters and armed police and persuade both sides to walk away. His secret? Faith in the divinity of humanity and, based on that belief, the knowledge that good will prevail. Even during the worst, he KNEW: "In the end, the perpetrators of injustice and oppression, the ones who strut the stage of the world often seemingly unbeatable--there is no doubt at all that they will bite the dust." We hope that the Archbishop even in retirement continues to affirm this message as the clobbered have few champions as vocal and influential as he.

Today's Weather Report: More of the same spring-like temperatures in the mid-60's Fahrenheit but without the winds of March. Perfect. As I look out the window of the office, the sun is illuminating the golden leaves of the nearby trees. How rich! Think, in the southern hemisphere, it IS spring. In the middle of winter, I have gotten photos from a friend in New Zealand of her magnificent garden in full bloom. Let me tell you, at that point it is literally a "sight for sore eyes." The one I would have a hard time get accustomed to is Christmas in the summer. Shows how relative are our experiences.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do All You Can

Do all you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.

~John Wesley

Of Note: With consumers buying less in developed countries, international companies are taking note of a long ignored group, the poor in the developing nations. Proctor and Gamble, for example, has reversed engineered a razor blade that costs 11 cents in India. Rather than creating an item and then assigning a price, which is the usual practice, P&G is now starting "with what customers can afford and adjusting the features and manufacturing processes to meet the target." In the past, the company, which sells such ubiquitous products as Gillette razors, Pampers diapers and Crest toothpaste, simply distributed the same products in developing countries that only the rich could afford.

Wall Street Journal
reflected on the drastic change by P&G to reach 5 billion of the world's expected 7 billion population: "This move by the maker of five-bladed, battery powered gizmos reflects P&G's aggressive push into emerging markets for new customers and growth. That focus is forcing them to be more modest in scale and more flexible in price." All the better to serve customers in every walk of life. Forced innovation, we like it.

The World Bank is taking note as well. It's president, Robert Zoellick, recently said: "To make economic research more relevant to developing countries, it should be
democratized--meaning that researchers in Washington and Western academic centers should collaborate more with professionals in developing countries." The powers that be are beginning to pay attention to all customers. It's time, don't you think?

Today's Weather Report: Another brilliantly sunny day with temperatures in the mid-60's Fahrenheit. A drive to Ashland yesterday revealed that the fall leaves are predominantly gold and russet this year with little red or crimson. It was gorgeous nonetheless. Today I noticed on our property that most of the leaves have already fallen and have accumulated on the ground like a carpet. Many pick up those leaves but mine just languish in place. After mowing next spring, they turn into mulch anyway and must provide some organics to the predominantly sandy soil. At least that's what I tell myself. That belief gets me off the hook for endless work this time of year bagging leaves.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior


~Sogyal Rinpoche

Of Note: One spiritual warrior garnering attention these days is Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize winning microfinancing guru. He has taken his message far and wide, even starring on a segment of the long-running television show "The Simpsons" last Sunday. In that episode he taught Lisa Simpson and Springfield the power of microfinance to lift poor people out of poverty. Of greater importance, however, is the Congressional Gold Medal that Yunus will receive for his work. The RESULTS advocacy group was responsible for the political action behind this medal and walked the halls of Congress until 2/3rds of both the Senate and House passed the necessary legislation. A RESULTS member said of the high honor: "Over 160 million people have received microfinance loans to work their way of out poverty--a transformational growth that would not have been possible without Professor Yunus' pioneering work to develop microfinance. Presenting him with a Gold Medal at a congressional ceremony will further raise the awareness of power of microfinance to change lives; build bipartisan support in Congress and send a signal to USAID and the World Bank that the U.S. is committed to microfinance." Mr. Yunus has been featured in this blog in the past for his financial innovations and continues his important role as a spiritual warrior working to lift millions out of poverty one microfinance loan at a time. Want to find out more about the advocacy group RESULTS? Check out

Today's Weather Report: Looking at the weather for the coming week shows that it will indeed by sunny and in the mid-60's Fahrenheit the entire time. Amazing for early October to have such a stretch of shirt-sleeve temperatures. All the better for the newly planted grass by the barn to get a start before the snow flies. Please note the Search box to the upper right. It is now possible to search for terms used in this blog since its inception December 2007. For example, the other day as a test, I searched for the term "spiritual values." Up popped a list of several blogs in which the words were mentioned. Professor Yunus would come up a couple of times as well. The Dalai Lama, another spiritual warrior, has been featured numerous times as have others tirelessly serving humanity.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Justice Shall Prevail


~Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Of Note: Archbishop Tutu will be turning 79 this Thursday and his wife says he will retire on that day. TIME magazine ran a short summary of his career as if he had died saying: "Apartheid scourge evolved into the world's moral compass. As he hangs up his cassock, Desmond Tutu reflects on his life spent defending the oppressed." What are the chances of a defender of the oppressed hanging up their moral compass? I don't think we need to be too worried that such a Fire will discontinue his illumination of the global underbelly even in "retirement." Our hats are off to the Archbishop for his illustrious career but we still need him and wish him a long life.

Today's Weather Report: At 6:45 am it is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun is rising, and fog envelops the land. The landscape looks a bit surreal. I couldn't sleep so got up, let the dogs out and they have trotted off. So here I sit awaiting their return. Darn dogs. It is supposed to be sunshiny all week. If so, it would be the first time in months it did not rain in a week. We will see if the rain pattern continues or not. My bet is on the rain.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Ideal of the Common Good

Humanity's difficulty has been the tendency
to identify with one form of thought

to the exclusion of all others.

One of the most pernicious of these forms is
the idea that satisfaction of material needs is
the be-all and end-all of existence.

The ideal of a Common Good is then sacrificed
on the altar of the selfish greed of individuals,
as every man struggles to grab his share of
the limited physical resources of the planet.

Humanity will find the ideal of a Common Good,
a true Common-wealth, elusive, until there is
a genuine willingness, not just to recognize our
radical interconnectedness, but to put in place
social and economic arrangements that
respect that interconnectedness.

~Dominic Dibble
The Quest for Synthesis

Of Note: Mr. Dibble edits the World Goodwill Newsletter available online at This regular bulletin highlights the energy of goodwill in world affairs. Like my blog, the newsletter has no Pollyanna overtones, however. Rather it speaks of the basic ideals toward which Humanity is being drawn, such as the sacrifice of selfishness for the Common Good, for inevitably we are being pulled, kicking and screaming in many cases, toward that goal. Those who sense the ideals are responsible to bring this information to the attention of the world. We can thank those at the World Goodwill Newsletter for doing just that.

Today's Weather Report: It is another gorgeous day in the northwoods that will eventually be in the mid-50's Fahrenheit. A few clouds float in the sky like cream but do not obscure the sunshine streaming down. The ticks have been terrible this year and are back after taking the summer off. We put the expensive tick treatment on the dogs last week and repeated it today as the ticks have continued seemingly undeterred by the medication. What that is about is anyone's guess. The final touches are being put on the field that at the beginning of the week was home to the last rock pile on the property. The pile was overgrown with foot-tall weeds and most would not have known it was there. The rocks and dirt have now been distributed along the fake stream bed that at the beginning of the summer was a maze of weeds, cattails, logs, and boulders and now looks like a Zen garden. Looking at the work accomplished over the summer, we can acknowledge that we were certainly busy and have much to show for the effort.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Dazzling Aura of the Profoundly New

One of life's most fulfilling moments
occurs in the split-second when the
familiar is suddenly transformed into
the dazzling aura of the profoundly new.

~Edward Lindaman
Thinking in the Future Tense

Of Note: Seems that everywhere we look these days, we are asked to think in new terms. It would appear that everything is changing right before our eyes, and we are in a constant rush to keep up with the "profoundly new." As a matter of fact, that urgency can take up a good portion of the day. Could be that the changing scenario before our eyes is simply the outward sign of an even greater inward change in consciousness. If we get too caught up in the physical manifestations of change, we might miss the more subtle but significant changes in our minds. Ageless wisdom suggests that the changes needed to move the world are at the level of mind, and it is wise to spend some part of the day in quiet contemplation away from the hubbub. It is then that we can hear in the quiet of the heart, the "whisper giving strength to weakness, courage to fear and hope to despair." Some might say that the world needs this right now more than the latest iPad.

Today's Weather Report: Can you believe it, more rain is falling as we speak? Pouring rain. If this was Bangladesh during the monsoon season, I wouldn't be surprised. But after 7 or 8 years of drought, the rain this year has been astonishing and quite welcome. Like an old friend we'd thought we'd never see again. My husband has been planting grass for a putting green and a field he just cleared. Every drop that falls from the sky is one less he must artificially apply by sprinkler. On another front, our black cat actually rubbed against Misty, our female German Shepherd, the other day. Misty did nothing but sniff. Maybe the truce has been signed. It's about time.