Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's pagans and Quakers in a grudge match

Another spin of the Belief-O-Matic, this time with (a little bit) more thought involved in setting the priorities for each question instead of leaving everything with medium priority, changes the lineup (and sends a couple to the back of the pack, to my especial relief). Still, I think this quiz needs a section on religious intolerance; that is, where you get to wipe out any labels that you just can't bear to have applied to you.

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (95%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (93%)
4. New Age (89%)
5. Mahayana Buddhism (80%)
6. Secular Humanism (76%)
7. Reform Judaism (72%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (72%)
9. Bahá'í Faith (69%)
10. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (69%)
11. Taoism (65%)
12. Jainism (61%)
13. Orthodox Quaker (59%)
14. Hinduism (58%)
15. Scientology (57%)
16. New Thought (57%)
17. Sikhism (54%)
18. Nontheist (49%)
19. Orthodox Judaism (44%)
20. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (43%)
21. Islam (40%)
22. Seventh Day Adventist (29%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (25%)
24. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (25%)
25. Jehovah's Witness (15%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (12%)
27. Roman Catholic (12%)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


For reasons that are unclear to me, this arrived in my inbox tonight:

"Even if YOU don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic™ knows. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice...or ought to consider practicing.
Warning: Belief-O-Matic™ assumes no legal
liability for the ultimate fate of your soul.

With what fervent concentration I could muster at the midnight hour, I took the quiz and am posting my results below as to what belief system most closely matches my own. I started to laugh somewhat maniacally as I started to read - it seemed absurd - but when I really look at those top several, I think holy cow (er, or sacred cow) - no wonder I think I am all over the map spiritually, because this is actually fairly close to the things that I woud put in the blender for my personal faith milkshake. Though sorry, the Mormon part just plain creeped me out and I want that removed from the choices because I think it's a cult and not a faith.

1. Liberal Quakers (100%)
2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (94%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (94%)
4. Bahá'í Faith (91%)
5. Neo-Pagan (82%)
6. Reform Judaism (80%)
7. New Age (79%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (76%)
9. Mahayana Buddhism (75%)
10. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (66%)
11. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (64%)
12. New Thought (64%)
13. Orthodox Quaker (62%)
14. Sikhism (60%)
15. Jainism (59%)
16. Secular Humanism (59%)
17. Scientology (57%)
18. Taoism (57%)
19. Orthodox Judaism (56%)
20. Jehovah's Witness (55%)
21. Islam (51%)
22. Hinduism (50%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (44%)
24. Nontheist (36%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (35%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (23%)
27. Roman Catholic (23%)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Love among the ruins

Yesterday morning I hauled a bunch of stuff to the landfill in midtown. Somewhat smugly, as did everyone there, feeling so industrious to have already loaded up and be out there before 9am.

One of the things that I dumped was the old TV set that I've had sitting on my porch since winter, hoping that someone would steal it but no such luck. It was quite heavy and as I struggled over to the drop zone (that was SO satisfying to drop that the 14 feet or so to the concrete below - crash!) a voice behind me said "Hey, do you need help with that?" and I said no, I've got it - dropped it over the edge, turned around and there of all people was my occasional-friend Ron. Or, as Michele said today, "This was Nice Coffee Guy?"

Yes. As in not Strange Coffee Guy, which was a different story. Ron and I met at the feed store last year and he and his sweet dog Elsa came on some walks with me and Hunter, and some smallish dates, and....I just didn't go there. For the silliest reason (or not) - the thing I never felt okay about is that he was way too good-looking. A very nice man. But prettier than any man I've known and a good 3/4 of the women too. I always felt a little intimidated because he's a guy that people just look at. I haven't quite sorted out all the reasons I denied myself any exploration further, but the fact that there were multiple reasons was enough for me to just close that file.

Still, I felt a little wistful to learn that he and Elsa are heading south, tomorrow as a matter of fact. Back to Montana, likely for good. I'm sad not to say goodbye to Elsa. But let it not be said that I cannot grasp an opportunity, as there in front of God and everyone at the Central Transfer Station, among the blowing trash and the ravens, we had a goodbye kiss of the type that alerted me to previously uncharted nerve endings in my toes. So long, cowboy.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Roast or choke?

Those seem to be my only two options at the moment, as another record-setting high temp has made the day pretty unbearable (by my standards) and now a wildfire across the inlet to our north has filled the skies with acrid smoke. The day was getting more comfortable by the onset of a brisk wind tonight, but of course that that drove the fire (from 10 acres to 200 currently) in no time also. So I can close my windows and roast, or I can keep them open and choke. Either way my sinuses are a goner, and Hunter's too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I hate global warming

I do not live in Alaska so I can die of heatstroke! It's +81F today and oh, most decidedly time for Hunter to have his summer clip. At least with the job change (and because no one but me is here at Nancy's house working today), I was able to shuck my sweatshirt a couple hours ago and work au-quasi-naturel. But I'm still waaay too warm and so are the dogs. Not a hint of a breeze even.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Altering course

So this past Friday was my next major step in course correction, the last regular day at Job 1 (or was it Job 2?). I've agreed to continue doing some contract work there to see how that goes. I've been aware of how stress-producing this situation has been for me, but even so was surprised when I got to the end of the day and sense of ease whatsoever. Kari and Dirk and I went out to celebrate, and even with a series of Pancho's potent margaritas, it just felt like I couldn't let things go. We left my car at Kari's shop and by the next morning when she picked me up to go get it, I was beginning to feel that I could lay that burden down. But felt somewhat slack and paralyzed much of the weekend, did get some things accomplished but also did just a lot of sitting. Hunter and Emma didn't mind - it was a gorgeous day yesterday and I just left the back door open for them to come and go.

This morning I finally do feel a little less fractured, and the relief of setting down the mental vigilance required to sustain full-time knowledge and responsibility for two part-time jobs. It's off to Job 1 (or is it Job 2?) every day this week, then a long weekend, and then a new job-share as I start at Kari's shop part-time the week following. My guess is that the eventual shifts are going to take far longer than we'd hoped but that isn't much of a surprise, and in the meantime I'm making important steps to working conditions that are just easier to bear and feel more focused, instead of scattered and exhausting.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Doggie drama

Puppy Pickpockets: A Potboiler in Seven Acts, with Intermission
Starring Emma and Hunter
Special Guest Appearance by Nancy
Filmed and Produced by Peg

Act 1: O How Lovely To Have Treats
On A Fine Spring Day!


Act 2: So Happy! Glorious Treats!


Act 3: Hey, Is That a SQUIRREL?




Act 4: Oh No.....!


Act 5: Sob! Too Late!


Act 6: Too Smart For Squirrels!


Act 7: Hey, Is That a CAT?


Friday, May 12, 2006

Do not trifle with the Timekeepers

Hunter and I are settled in at Michele and Chuck's to stay with the baker's dozen until Monday night. I guess technically it's not a baker's dozen with Hunter included, unless you're counting only dogs (and Quincy the Cat says why would you count only the dogs?) It's been really good to see everyone again. I've written about this before but it's always just very soul-filling to see these dear furry friends, and I hope to get a round of new photos this weekend too.

We fell into bed very late on Wednesday night. I'd worked late at Nancy's so had arranged to come in a little later Thurs morning since it would be the first morning on the gang schedule (though really it's just not that big a deal). Neighborhood courtesy demands we rise no earlier than 6:45 to 7 am for noise abatement (though really the dogs are just not that noisy on first outs). I expected Hunter to get restless around 5 am or so since we are early risers at home every day of the week. He did. Then everyone else did. I kept looking at the clock and saying "You kids, we cannot get up this early." Bubba (largest of the large) did his usual morning greeting of Watch Me Squeeze Into Four Inches of Bed Space. Amber (smallest of the small) did her usual morning greeting of Play With Me But Don't Pick Me Up Or I'll Harm You Badly. But all of it was a good hour ahead of schedule. All the upstairs dogs were vulturing me, the downstairs dogs were rumbling and thumping ominously, which generally means WE ALL HAVE TO PEE AND YOU WILL BE SORRY. I kept thinking what in the world is going on - this is the exact morning routine, but the timing is way off.

Finally I heard Lexi (oldest of the old) begin to whimper a little. Well, we can't ever allow that. So up we got at 6:30, and we tiptoed as well as 54 feet can tiptoe, and began the day early.

Until another hour or so went by and it became evident that the TV was an hour ahead. And so was my cell phone. And so was the computer. In fact, the only clock that was wrong was in the bedroom - still set back an hour from the spring time change. I will never doubt the reliability of the real clocks again.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Saints Benjamin and Jerome

Have finally manifested the divine, with a beer-and-chocolate ice cream. The new flavor Black & Tan combines cream stout ice cream with chocolate, and the pint has a 'head' of the cream stout portion. It's really too good for words, with a strong taste of very dark malt throughout. I've always been a fan of drinking cream stout with chocolate desserts, but this is just perfectly lovely.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Theory of Peripheral Fame, Bluegrass Division

I learned during the playlist at last night's gather that JD's sister is the fiddle player for the all-female string band Uncle Earl. They call their music 'old times for our times' - I love their sound, so smooth and soulful and yearning but with frequent kicks in the ass.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Since JD is headed back to Cordova in the morning, we had a gather at Keith's tonight - the boys did their usual spectacular job of cooking (deep-fried turkey, salad, yams and other stuff) while a few neighbors and some tag-alongs none of us had met before kept pace with the appropriate number of beers. Fun to meet new folks and have them fit right in to the serious hazing that this group commits on each other.

AND. Before the crowd arrived I went out to admire the Jag, and suddenly I heard the doors unlock and Keith was right behind me and we took off. Oh. My. Goodness. If the sleek ride didn't get me, the automatic butt-warmers surely would. Not sure how I feel about a car that has way too many interior controls for me to understand and is able to determine on its own what needs to happen so that you don't have to understand the controls anyway. Hal the Jaguar. I hope it's the first of many test drives!

Monday, May 08, 2006

You don't need a big research grant

With the Backyard Dog Cloning Kit from Ronco. The other day I was surprised to look out and see the Doublemint twins. Our neighbors have family visiting this week, and Roxanne is Angel's littermate. Hunter was bemused at first - he's pretty observant and seemed sure that something had changed - but then the flirting started and then the play full-out. He's really been enjoying the new arrival.

There was also an unauthorized sortie into our own backyard last night when Princess (little black Lab puppy) wriggled her way under the neighbor's deck to emerge from under mine. She and Hunter went bananas over each other - he just LOVES puppies - and the blondes felt very left out and said so! I gathered the little one up and carried her home and we will all attempt to block the escape routes a bit better. The previous neighbor's teacup poodles had no problem coming through there but I thought this pup would be way too big. Actually I'm sure she is, so she must have dug herself a bigger tunnel.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The golden rule of Emma

More wisdom from my favorite Golden Retriever - I came to work for a while today and this saying is on my desk:

The Golden Rule of Emma

If I love you, then you are lovable.
I do. You are.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hold that tiger

Keith and the Jag dropped off the radar at Grande Prairie and didn't surface again until Whitehorse yesterday - he blew through there and on to Destruction Bay last night, where he could access email for the first time since the trip began. We've been guessing he'd be home yesterday or today, and around 6 am today there was another email that the generator power was out to half the rooms in the roadhouse so he was hitting the road. In a way I'm sorry he didn't linger and enjoy his trip - I know for him the stopping and visiting and exploring is the real fun - but on the other hand I'm fairly impressed that he made Evansville/Anchorage in six days, averaging 650 miles daily. (Still doesn't beat my 930-mile day on my 2003 drive East...but then I don't know why anyone would want to break that record. I think my back still hurts from that one.)

Suddenly I'm wondering why I've been asking when I could get a ride in the Jag... Gimme those keys!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dogs who email

I am fortunate to know many dogs who send emails, but tonight's favorite is my Emma girl, who sent me a sweet little note to uplift me at the end of a long day, and included this photo.

Family comes first

That's something that I've heard Kari say many times. When she went down to Denver to care for her sister's kids last week, her mom came over from Tacoma to share the visit. The unexpected turn is that she had two heart attacks before last week was over, was moved to a regional cardiac care center, and is at this late hour just emerging from a triple bypass, valve repair and MAZE procedure for atrial fib. Kari managed three kids under the age of 6 plus a critically ill parent, with both she and her mom far from home. At this end, I don't know if I helped all that much, but I tried - I put in my time helping at the daycare, helped with the demands of the accounting firm doing FOP's audit this week (note to self: never let the treasurer go out of town during the audit), oh yes and tried to keep going to my two regular jobs as well and then prep and run a Board meeting this evening, which included preparing service awards which I really wanted to be extra nice. Kari has been with us for five years and Pat and Michele have both dedicated fifteen years to board service.

I am grateful for the many people of spiritual power who grace my life, because last night and this morning when I was feeling scared and weepy for Kari and her dear mom - they told her what she'd experienced were just small tremors of what would have come - I just picked up the phone and started calling on them to devote that power and focus to Doreen's condition and to her healing.

I know that the surgery is only a small part of it, but it's been a relief through this evening to get Kari's calls at each step, keep praying hard, and know that everything that can be done is being done. And I am grateful that in my life as in hers, it actually doesn't take a heart attack for us to know that family comes first.

Uncle Teddy said it

It is not the critic who counts,
nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again;
who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those timid souls
who know neither victory nor defeat.

- Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Over the fence

I may have mentioned that we have neighbor dogs on both sides of us. In the other half of our ZLL home is a family with three daughters and two dogs (see Retriever Convention photo below). Our lot is bounded by a privacy fence around our yards and garden plots, a privacy panel between our decks, and then a chainlink fence splitting the yards in two. So we are somewhat communal in our backyard living. On the opposite side of our yard is the next lot with another ZLL, and the side closest to us (owned by my landlord) has a young military family with a couple of boys and with two dogs, I think. I've never seen the one dog. The other dog is a German Shepherd Dog of whom I see far too much because he hangs over the top of the 6-foot privacy fence (there are doghouses on their side that he jumps up on). Something about that house, I dunno - when the landlord lived there, her American Bulldog would leap from there onto my shed roof and bark into my bedroom window for hours.

So the typical scene is that on our side of the hedge, Hunter will go out, Angel and Princess will approach the fence and some play will ensue. For approximately eight seconds until the Fun Police next door begins his disturbance. Or sometimes the retrievers will bark at the GSD and he bark back, and Hunter walk outside, think 'this is nothing I need to get into' and turn around and come back in.

I don't pay the GSD much mind except when I have guest dogs, because he gets very agitated and one of these days he's going to figure out that actually he can scale the fence without much difficulty. So I just try to keep it cool and sometimes I brandish my poop shovel just to make him hop down on his side. And I will say calmly once in a while, "Oh, give it a rest."

Way back there when I mentioned the daughters? They're 10, 7 and 2. And where they've picked this up, I'm not sure, but it cracks me up because if I step out onto my deck they will call "Hey, neighbor!" They know my name, but it's always Neighbor.

Tonight I had just brought a very bouncy Hunter in from a play date with the girls, as Kaiser (I don't really know his name) began his reading of the riot act. And I hear a young voice call past my yard and beyond: "Hey, neighbor dog! Give it a rest!"

My work here is done.