Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's a jungle in here.

Dios mio. The plants are taking over the living room, and the dining room, and any other usable window space. The greenhouse and raised beds will be ready this week, so the crucifers, squash and other veggies will soon have a new home, but what am I going to do about these 40 tomato plants? (they aren't ever happy in the greenhouse, it's a little to chilly in there)

I guess they will just live in the house with us, and that's fine with me as long as they are making tomatoes.

I am especially excited about my flowers this year. The calendula already have buds! Call me weird, but I love the potent medicinal smell of calendula, and they just look so hearty and robust.

It sure is nice to come home to some green living things. Hawaii was so lush, and even though the weather is lovely here, it is a little early for everything to be good and green yet. If you look really close you can see some signs of spring on the tundra, but it is still very subtle. Unlike these beefy summer squash. Nothing subtle about those. Booyah!

Can you tell I'm excited about my garden this year? I'm also excited about 5 feathered, egg-laying ladies who are about to join our menagerie tomorrow... More about that soon....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

10 months

Look at this big girl:

Sadie 10 months

That's right... We're off and walking all over the place. I think the final push to really start walking has been hanging out with cousin killian (seen here imitating Sadie who just woke up from her nap) Sadie has a little ways to go though before she can move like said cousin;) Also working on a whole bunch of new sounds, especially "ffffffff" as in flower. Sadie loves flowers. Good thing this whole house is surrounded by plumeria. It smells like I imagine heaven would.

Sadie 10 months

Ffffffff flower.

Sadie 10 m

Another ffffffffavorite: eating sand.

Sadie beach

And best of all, fffffffamily.


We sure do love you little 10-month-old girl. looking forward to many more beautiful family vacations together, weather that be the sunny shores of Hawaii, the misty moors of Ireland, or our own beautiful Alaskan back yard. You light up our lives wherever we go.


Friday, May 13, 2011


Hello from sunny, beautiful Moloka'i!

sun hat

As you can see... I have finally figured out how to post pictures from my ipad--a convoluted process, had to take it back to the old-skool html, but I did it. Yay! I don't have enough marvelous adjectives to describe Moloka'i, but let me just say, this place is magical and I will be posting more pictures soon, but now it is time for sleeping.

Cousins & sunshine

Here are a few shots of Sadie and her cousins in sunny Moloka'i. Hopefully these ones will stick, because the Internet seems to be periodically eating the blog entries I am making on the iPad.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reflecting on the Death of Bin Laden: Loren's 10 cents.

(okay, its actually more like a buck-twenty five)
This is Loren, Tara's husband, posting for myself and not her, so these are my own thoughts.

I concur with the reactions expressed here, and am proud of my wife to articulate such thoughts and have this dialogue with you. I agree with Mama C too, that it is healthy and necessary to address the controversial and reflect on the aspects of this and similar events. That we can in this manner, we should give thanks for such freedom of speech...

The death of bin ladin is complex. It has tremendous propaganda value, expressing the "might of the USA" and our ability to "procure justice for all." Presumably this amounts to equal retributions for those who would sin against us (though more than 40% of the US population purports to routinely pray for "forgiveness of those who sin against us" on a regular Christian basis, rather than "two taps to the head"). The killing of bin ladin "as a way to cut off the head of the snake," presumes an undeniable guilt (he did admit to helping plan 9/11 and was proud of that act, and continued to lead others to attempt other such acts of violence after all). Further bin ladin's guilt, the scope of his crimes, and the risks he seemed to pose to the free world have all been used to justify what amounts to the targeted killing of multiple peoples, including women and in front of children, and the invasion of air space of a sovereign nation. And most of the Western world, and surprisingly Arab world, have taken this all in stride. We Americans even took to the streets to "celebrate." This "victory over evil" has been compared to the successful downing of Admiral Yamamoto's aircraft during World War II as "one of the greatest American achievements in securing a psychological victory over our aggressors (Bloomberg Media, Wednesday's edition)" in the history of our country.

The reality is the death of bin ladin has little bearing on our security, as I think we all agree. It serves to justify our actions abroad as a waring nation this past decade. It serves to send a warning to terrorists everywhere. It serves to define "good" vs. "evil" with good prevailing. Ever wonder why our history books alwasy show us as "the good guys" in our efforts abroad? It is because we as a culture, more so than many other on the globe today or even those before, have an ingrained conflict of puritanical ways and personal freedoms pitched against a sence of justice for all. If we see ourselves as the good guys, and we want the good guys to win, then we must win in the fights we fight and conflicts we face.

But it is when this sense of justice for all hits home, when we go after the "really bad guys" who have attacked us, killed us even, damaged our homes and homeland, and who would just as soon see small town America afraid as those in our largest cities, that we find ourselves most conflicted.

If we are truly all created equal, if we are all one nation, under God, and are a beacon of hope to the rest of the world, are Reagan's "shining city on the Hill," then how can we justify organized murder led and planned by our highest elected leader? How can we justify the bombing of Dresden, napalm in the jungles of Vietnam, genocide of the First Nations, carpet-bagging in the South, the burning of witches, segregtion of blacks and whites, or the killing of one bin ladin? The answer is we cannot, and that is why we are conflcited, why we shake our heads at those caught up in the national fervor, embraced by the media and say "that's not me, that's not US."

And that in fact is what we should all do. We should all be brave enough to carry this conversation beyond the blog and into our lives and not be afraid to profess love over hate, to profess forgiveness over sins, to stand up for what we believe in and see freedom of equality applying to our unmet brothers and sisters around the globe, and yes, even our enemies.

(By the way, this philosophy of love your neighbor is really bad business. You can't sell military hardware or virus protectors or hand guns or international export taxes with the ironically-named Golden Rule. You won't get elected president if you try to love the terrorists. But you might sleep better at night, and your life will be richer for it.)

In the end there is no glory in killing, regardless of your justification. I have wanted to kill humans before when my mother was the victim of a violent crime. I have had moments where I would not have hestiated to kill those who threatened my family. I have held a handgun to a stranger's head who came in to my home at night, drunk and lost. I have killed animals to feed others and looked in their eye as they died at my hands. I promise you there is no glory in any of this. My grandfather was a WWII veteran who served in the army and saw combat and never ever spoke of glory of his actions, only warned that I do everything in my power to never go to war if I could help it.

And so there is no glory in bin lad in's death. There is no glory in the streets of New York. There is at best closure for some, and at worst political propaganda busy at work and fueled by a largely biased media. And that is why, I think, we don't feel very American watching others cheer the death of another man. I suspect there were many beyond the crowds of Golgotha who felt much the same.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hate cannot drive out hate.

”I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

I don't usually blog about topics political on here, as it seems those topics tend to be ones that can cause dissention amongst friends and family, and that really isn't the point of this blog. That being said, I have been feeling a heaviness this week, a sense of something very spiritually amiss while following the national response to the recent death of Osama Bin Laden.

It is an interesting phenomenon to see people actively celebrating the death of another human being. Was Bin Laden an evil man? He was a man who chose to live by the ideals of intolerance and hatred. There are many people in the world who live by those ideals. What made Bin Laden unique was that he had a tremendous ability to make other people believe in his ideals. Maybe his "evilness" was a function of his influence more than anything else.

People who live by the sword generally die by the sword, so the fact that Bin Laden is finally dead, if he indeed is, should come as no surprise. What is a surprise to me is seeing so many people making a party out of the occasion, including many members of the religious community. I came across the above MLK Jr. quote on a friend's Facebook page and the truth in it really rings clear. Celebrating Osama Bin Laden's death as though it is the end of all evil in the world is incredibly naive. And celebrating the death of any human is a reflection of the values of hatred and intolerance which have already been the cause of so much loss and sorrow, not just for Americans, but for people all over the world.

When people say things like, "we can all sleep better at night now that Bin Laden is dead" it makes me lay awake at night trying to figure out why. Are we really safer now? If we are, you will soon see the government backing up out of everyone's coolaid with their myriad infringements on our civil liberties in the name of national security. All my money, marbles and chalk says that aint gonna happen. Do you know why? Its because we are no safer now than we ever were, or ever will be until humans stop relying on wars as a way to solve our problems.

What peace of mind does that passing of Bin Laden actually offer people? Bin Laden was just a man, but the power of his ideas went well beyond what any one human is capable of. In his passing, we can hope that his ideas die with him, but they wont. There are probably hundreds of other men and women with the same ideals, and powers of persuasion waiting in the wings to take his place. Celebrating Osama Bin Laden's death is easy, in a "yeah, we got the bad guy" kind of way. But easy does not always equal best.

Especially for those in the spiritual community, this should be a sobering time, a time to reflect on the values we promote in our own lives. The only way to really stamp out the negative impression that Bin Laden has left on this earth is to fill it with an even greater amount of love and understanding. To do that takes the persistent and unrewarded work of many lifetimes, but it is, in my humble opinion, well worth our best efforts. There was this one guy, I think his name was Jesus, and he encouraged us all to strive towards this goal.

We need to do better, to put our race, politics and religion aside and engage in a meaningful dialogue with someone who is "different" or makes us feel uncomfortable. Reach out to our neighbors, to our community, and to our brothers and sisters of the human race. We need to be mindful of the ripple effect that our actions and attitudes have in our global community, and how those actions can shape the attitudes and beliefs of others. We are all children of God. All humans are born with the seeds of both good and evil, but it is our environment, and ultimately our own choices, which dictate which ones we cultivate. Water the right seeds, think about the bigger picture. Don't just go with what is easy, or pop-patriotic. In doing so, you also set an example for the people around you. You might become a light in the darkness for someone who would otherwise become very, very lost. Lost like Osama Bin Laden. It wont matter how much money we invest in wars, and military intel, Osama Bin Ladin will never be dead until we can weed out our own hatred and ignorance.