Thursday, September 27, 2007

What if...

What if believers of every stripe joined together in support of these these folks and marched in every city in the world to support the right of freedom for all people? Why do they have to do it all by themselves? What if New York were shut down for the afternoon or DC tied up on the evening commute so that people everywehere could march for the freedom of the peoples of Myanmar?

Everyone stop, put on something red and march....

Monday, September 24, 2007

Importance of health insurance

Last year was the attack of the kidney stone and I realized how quickly you can go from feeling great to feeling horrible. Just seconds.

Earlier this summer I was afflicted with "the gout." It too is painful and debilitating.

Having great health insurance is a real blessing and allows me to get the treatment and medications I need to ease pain and to heal.

But there are lots of children who do not have the blessing of health insurance and will not be covered under any state or federal programs.

Overall, 47 million people lacked health insurance last year, up from 44.8 million in 2005. The percentage of the U.S. population lacking health insurance last year rose to 15.8 percent, the highest level since 1998.

We are facing the fact that a number of families currently receiving health insurance for their children through their state's Children's Health Insurance Programs - children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase private insurance, are about to be denied their insurance.

New federal guidelines require states to demonstrate a 95 percent enrollment of children whose families earn under 200 percent ($41,300 for a family of four) of the poverty line before enrolling families above 250 percent.

The scandal of uninsured children (9 million nationwide) is such that even families earning above 250 percent cannot afford private health insurance. These new federal guidelines will push those children onto the rolls of the uninsured.

These regulations should not stand and the President should not veto the bill about to be put before him this week. This is a real crisis.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If I could only listen to one artist...

If they passed a law that said that I could only listen to one recording artist for the rest of my life and that I had to choose that person on the spot - I would answer "Emmylou Harris" without even thinking.

I enjoy so many other singer/songwriters but none appeals to me more broadly than Emmylou. I always have one of her Cd's in the car and several of her albums on my i-Pod. I almost always include at least one of her tunes on every play list I create.

I have seen her in concert a few times and each performance has been mesmerizing.

Emmylou Harris is one of the leading figures in the Americana music (old timey, bluegrass, roots) movement beginning in the 1990's and continuing through today in the recent independent music explosion.

Her ethereal voice and her poingant lyrics combined - can bring about tears and heartfelt relief in the same song.

One of my favorites songs of hers is Prayer in Open D

There's a valley of sorrow in my soul
Where every night I hear the thunder roll
Like the sound of a distant gun
Over all the damage I have done

And the shadows filling up this land
Are the ones I built with my own hand
There is no comfort from the cold
Of this valley of sorrow in my soul

There's a river of darkness in my blood
And through every vein I feel the flood
I can find no bridge for me to cross
No way to bring back what is lost
Into the night it soon will sweep
Down where all my grievances I keep
But it won't wash away the years
Or one single hard and bitter tear

And the Rock of Ages I have known
Is a weariness down in the bone
I use to ride it like a rolling stone
Now just carry it alone

There's a highway risin' from my dreams
Deep in the heart I know it gleams
For I have seen it stretching wide
Clear across to the other side
Beyond the river and the flood
And the valley where for so long I've stood
With the Rock of Ages in my bones
Someday I know it will lead me home

Friday, September 14, 2007

We have first floor walls...

The Walkout Basement

The view through the front porch

Standing near the water looking back at the camp

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Of smoked meats, apple cider and guide boats

In the years before my dad died he would smoke meat, can summer vegetables, and make his own blueberry wine. He knew how to get by. By that, I mean, he never went hungry because he grew, made and preserved what he could in order to supplement his daily living.

There is an undeniable appeal to me to be more self-sufficient. When I was growing up on the farm we butchered a lot of our own meat, we hunted rabbit and deer, grew vegetables and we made our own butter.

I would love to make my own apple cider, keep some chickens, grow vegetables and, in general, be more self-sufficient.

Part of the reason that I want to move to VT some day is to have more opportunities to do just that.

But self-sufficiency has its limitations. I can’t do everything by myself. There are some things that are easier done with extra hands - life can be more enjoyable when it is a shared experience.

Sharing labor, meals and play can enhance our lives and encourage us to not be so inward focused.

We were recently paddling around the pond and got into a race with some friends in a canoe. It was one of those fun, spontaneous moments that just happen in the company of other people with whom you share a sense of community.

By the way – rowing the Adirondack guide boat by myself – I beat the two of them paddling their hardest in the canoe.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ponderings from the pond

We don't make enough time for contemplation... for careful thought. Time for reflection on the way we live and the way we think about ourselves and others. Time for us to consider our path and the direction our life has taken.

Maybe it's just me. But I don't allow myself that luxury - or - maybe I don't want to face the reality of who I really am and who I have become.

Some time away from work helps to provide the space that is needed for such thought. When I am here in VT I like to spend the early morning or late afternoon paddling around the pond...

Listening to the loons and the rhythm of the oars going in and out of the water help to get me to a good place to think.

Then I pause and listen to the sounds of the pond and the forest surrounding me.

Peaceful contemplation.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Time on the pond...

This weekend has been a refreshing one...Time spent on the pond always is. Times of refreshing. Vermont is such a beautiful state.

Progress continues on the camp. There should be a sub floor by the end of this week.

The quiet is what is amazing to me...and the stars...the night is filled with stars that you never see in the big city.

Nature all around me...

I am going to live in this glorious place some day...