Friday, December 30, 2005

Brief check in

Twirling a stick as bait, the mighty hunters prepare to enter the wilderness in search of the perfect "Non-Religion Specific, Yuletide, Winter Solstice Holiday Tree."

Of course we ALL KNOW what it really is. ;o)

Scout is more successful at creating Snow Angels than Helga is, but Helga does her best anyway.

The girls and Helga (black lump in back) frolic in the snow.

Down the trail I go, with the fish-eye lens.
(Don't try this on your own kids. I am a trained professional.)

This is my best friend of 22 years, Barb, leading the way out into the wintery Wilderness to slay the elusive Christmas tree. She is notorious for selecting a 12 foot tree and requiring us to saw off the bottom 4-5 feet. She is what we embarrassingly refer to as a "tree-topper."

Even after lopping off the botton 3 feet, she still got home and it was too big, requiring another amputation of the bottom 4 feet. This left the tree at about 6.5 feet tall.

She is a crazy woman.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A visit from the Trojans...

Insures that my frequent web presence will diminish for a little while.

I will catch you all later.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

2nd Annual Christmas Greeting

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

From me to you, with all the heartfelt sentiment I can muster.


Actually, this is my telephone answering machine recording at the moment.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I am trying not to be whiney.

But four freaking days before Christmas and they decide that now is the right time to tear the remainder of my kitchen apart in order to lay tile?
Furniture is redistributed through out the rest of the house and in the kids bedrooms, making them a cramped mess.
The refridgerator is parked in the family room.

For the next 3+ days, my kitchen, the laundry room, Scouts bathroom and her bedroom will be nearly inaccessible.

I am kinda pissed about the timing of this.
but you see, I can't be pissed.
Stu is shooting a marketing video for the flooring company and the materials distributor, so the flooring job is almost free.

Still, it is kind of a bummer.
The kids are out of school on break.
They are bored out of their skulls because of the freezing rain, they can't really go any place.
Now they are jammed into tighter quarters.

I still have Christmas shopping and presents to wrap.
I have no idea now, how I will get in there to defrost the turkey for Christmas Eve dinner.
There can be nothing out on the counters or any dishes out because it is a shooting set as well as a construction site.

I am trying not to whine.
I am trying to remember that this floor job is waaaaaaay over due and now we are getting it for mere pennies.

I just wish that it wasn't happening now.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Another Installment of Christmas Tune Cavalcade

ok, so...
All I can say is about this weeks "Christmas Tune Cavalcade" selection is:

Yes, this guy is totally serious.
No, I am not going to tell his name.
(Poor kid-and hey, it's NOT one of mine!)

The title of the song is :

"Christmas Time is Here."
(And we could also say, "don't we all just want to die?")

In fair warning, I should mention that I was not actually able to listen to this song the whole way through the first time I heard it.
I had to digest it in snippets.
The magnitude of this boy's sincerity is both pityable and terrifying.

Hope he has a good year this year.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Well, I was unprepared.
Unprepared for my own internal response.
Having read the entire collection, many times over, ever since I was 12 years of age, I found myself weeping.
And now for the confession:
not merely weeping at the proper, poignant parts of the story, but weeping from the very beginning.
"What?" you ask, "You mean as they were setting up the story, before the kids ever arrived in Narnia?"

Earlier than that, for I am uber-pathetic.

I found my eyes grow damp, during the Opening Credits!

Am I stupid or what?

Tumnus was perfect.
The Queen was perfectly chilling.

I blubbered my way through the whole freakin film.

After all the years of reading these works, and often finding metaphorical applications for my every day life, I guess I sould have expected as much.

I was unprepared.

Watch the ending credits too.You may see some familiar names.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

POCCNR Freakin' Christmas Deer!

Well, I don't have Cyrillic loaded into my computer.
As many of you know, Stu recently spent a month in Siberia acquiring interesting images and even a nifty souvenir in the form of arrest papers and a signed confession. Among some of the other neato souvenirs, were some lovely Christmas cards.
Now if I had a Cyrillic font, I would just type out Russian Christmas Cards in the proper way, but since I don't you are stuck with:

(For fun, I am choosing to prounounce it "Paw-K-nrrrrr.")

So, in the Spirit of Christmas I give you
Merry POCCNR Christmas!

And also in the Spirit of the Season I have uploaded my first Christmas song selection for this year. It is "Merry Freakin' Christmas" by Calibretto 13.
It is a 2MB wma, and will end up on the SOUNDS link, in the sidebar at the right.

We have had decent snow in the last week or so, and now we also have freezing fog, which some may find annoying, however I find it so lovely that I don't even mind the dumb deer so much.
I had fun using my first Apophysis render as part of the back ground. :o)

Monday, December 5, 2005

Apophysis Fun and Thot 4 the Day

So I downloaded Apophysis last night and messed about with it for a while today.
I can see how, once I get a handle on it, it could be really fun!
Fun program.
Even for a sufferer for Math Anxiety such as myself.

As I ponder things and people it occurred to me that when we become obsessed with the utter destruction of a thing/idea/person/company we hate, far too often we end up becoming a carbon copy of that thing we hate.

Funny that.

Actually, it's not funny.
It's scary.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Tune, Snow pics

And Now: Snow

The snows have finally come!
See what comes of leaving your toys outside?

More snow
in the front yard,
here and here.

A Christmas Song For You (tm)

In honour of Decembers first friday, I give you a lovely Christmas tune to start your weekend.
Check out a selection from the soon-to-be-holiday-classic:

Star Wars - Christmas In The Stars
Scroll down about half way and just below the terrible photo you will find the link to the song.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Birds and Brine - A German Thing?

Makes me wonder, because a good friend of mine, Pete Ballerstedt
(can you GET any more German than that? *waves to Brian Siegfried* Yeah, yeah you too!) was telling me that he just brined his turkey for this recent Thanksgiving dinner, and also, Blue Max has posted up his most favorite Fowl Brine recipe at his site.

So, you looked at his recipe, right, and now you're back?

Ok, so I will progress, mainly in repsonse to the recipe details (lacking) in Mr. Max's recipe:

I started by following the directions.
(That is how these things ALWAYS start, don't they?)

Ok, I got everything he said up until the putting the chicken in the marinade part.
I was planning to cover the top with Saran Wrap and place the whole thing in the fridge, but the chicken kept pecking holes through the plastic.
I tried to wrap it again and again more quickly and replace the thing back into the fridge, and before I could, the stupid chicken got a leg free, which tangled in the wire condiment shelf above, and pulled that out, spilling the condiments out onto the floor.
I slipped in a puddle of Apple Butter and ended up sprawled on the floor with the chicken starting to really get loose at this point.

I reached behind me with one hand to flip open the cupboard door and grabbed a mettle lid to smash down over the top of the pan, but it wouldn't stay on because the chicken kept trying to jump up, no matter how hard, or how many times I slammed the lid back down!
So, I wrapped the chicken under one arm tightly, and I got hold of the wooden meat-mallet from the third drawer, and started to beat the bird into submission, but - and do you know how hard it is to beat a chicken while it's kicking and pecking and you only have one arm to hold it with? Well I hit myself in the face a couple of times just because some blows glanced off the chicken and back at me. I also got my arm a few good times I'll tell ya, too - but anyway, I finally got the thing to sit still for a minute, and I put the lid back on the pan, and it seems to be staying on now, but I will say that, in the future, Mr. Max should put a mention in this recipe about the length of the prep time as well as the clean up time.

Hey, and the laundry too!

Monday, November 28, 2005

New Job Congrats & News Papers

Congrats to a long time friend on his new job in AZ.
This is what we've been praying for, right?
Remember that when you feel exhausted.


Also, after reading the account of a friend regarding the audacious miss use of editorial priviledges utilized by his local newspaper, I was prompted to check out the editorial policies of our own Sisters Nugget News.
(For fun, check out the Sherriffs Calls and Letters in the left hand sidebar.)

It seems that there is a word limit, however, I don't know how strictly they adhere to it, because it seems like there are occasionally some letters which are well over 300 words, and yet they are permitted to appear because they make a point of some sort.

Reading Aquila's account of his own experience in Modesto, makes me appreciate the more open attitude of our own editorial staff.

And check this----> What people think they have a right to say - much thanks to North Canton Airline and Storm Door for bringing this to our attention.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Which Muppet Are You?

rizzo jpeg
You are Rizzo the Rat.You have few friends, but are loyal to those you do
have. Maybe if you didn't smell like sewage
you would have more.

Ya know, He's not such a bad guy...for a rat.
I coulda done worse I think.
He's kinda uptown and clever.
I should aspire to such heights!

SPECIES:Rodentia Digesta Lotta Grub
FAVORITE MOVIE:"Rat On A Hot Tin Roof"
FAVORITE SONG:"The Pest Is Yet To Come"
FAVORITE FOOD:You got it, I'll eat it.
HOBBIES:See "Favorite Food".
QUOTE:"When do we eat?"

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by

Thanks to SALAR (See link in sidebar)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Helpful Household Hint of the YEAR!!!!

I love Companion Pet Clinic (tm).
It's like Kaiser, but for Animals.
We had a Companion Pet Clinic when we lived in Portland - the most Honest and thrift minded but compassionate vets I ever knew.

And now I finally found another one!

So the helpful hint they shared with me???

Hydrogen peroxide!

Buy a spray bottle and label it and keep only peroxide in it.
Its many lovlerly uses?

-a wound on man, child or beast that you don't want to apply pressure to but need to sterilize?

Spray the peroxide on the affected area.

-Got a Blood stain on your clothing or elsewhere?

Spray peroxide on the stain. It works much like it does on the wounds - bubbling out the offending germs/molecules whatEVER.

I saw it in action. A lady brought in an injured cat which left blood all over the front of her shirt. The tech sprayed peroxide liberally all over it and I watched the stains almost disappear before my eyes.

-Got some other freaky stain? According to the tech, if you spray it quick with peroxide, then blot it, (or dilute with water/more peroxide and blot it) then you can get rid of most any stain. Impressive.

My poor dear Cat Twizzle:

You see al lthat thick, downey hair?
She suffered some sort of puncture wound that jammed a HUGE wad of this hair into the wound and she got a horrific absess from it.

Her post surgical care calls for Daily moist hot packs ( Ever try to hold something wet against an injured cat? riiiight) and sterilizing with peroxide. Well, I got smart in one area. I immediately bought a small spray bottle and filled it with peroxide. What could be the most stressful area of her care is a complete no-brainer/non-issue.

If I had only known this when my kids were small, they could have brought all their little 'owies' in and I coudl have zapped a bit of peroxide on there and a bandaid with neosporin and away they could go. All of those bloody noses that every one in our family has suffered (Severe. Lasting 45 min to an hour 3-5 times daily in spring and summer) If I had known the peroxide trick, I wouldn;t have thrown out so many ruined articles of clothing.

And so, I am telling you, it is a good idea to keep a spray bottle of Hydrogen peroxide in hand -

Just in case.



Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'll see that Alfredo...

...and raise you a Mashed Potato - in honour of the holidays.

So Blue Max's recent Recipe update reminded me that I haven't yet shared out this years Recipe for the Holiday-Side-Dish-of-Joy.

Blue's recipe reminded me of this because my own recipe (or rather Scout's) is comprised mainly of dairy products as well.

-8 potatos cubed and boiled (or how ever many you need-just adjust the other ingredients accordingly.)

-2 c grated cheddar
-1 brick of Creme Cheese (Neufchatel for the weenie - uh I mean calorie conscious)
-1 small container of Sour Creme
-1-2 cubes of butter. (Not margarine aka plastic)
-1 c of some other grated cheese. Mozzerella, parmesan, Swiss, whatEVER.
-Some half and half or whip cream or at least some milk.

Boil the spuds until tender aka mashable
While they are still mega hot, dump in all of the dairy products except the half and half or whip creme. Slowly add half and half/cream/milk while you beat the entire mess with an electric mixer until smooth.

Feel free to make alot, because these keep VERY well being refridgerated and you can dilute with milk/half and half (or even maybe a light ale?) , add chives/onions garlic etc...and you have alovely potato soup.

So there it is.
Scouts Famous Mashed Potatos Aka "Hot Cheese Pudding."

Bon appetit.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Grace-ious Living?

Pete B sent me this nutty-cool link where this guy has started a photo blog of "Grace."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Butch Arrington:3D and Film Making

Check out Butch Arrington's latest endeavor, as he journals his way through shooting.

Jutting Brow lapses into Sink Hole

As you may recall yesterdays blog post, (Scroll down 1)
I was visiting with the neighborhood, itinerant doberman - a VERY friendly dog,
and one I would adopt in a heart beat.
So as the next 1 hour (post injury) wore on, I could feel the swelling go down, but then I had weird headaches and neck aches all day. I guess it was just those fluids trying to escape?

Anyway after yesterdays injury hooplah,
I awoke this morning to the greeting of my son saying:

"Whoa! Dude! Your eye!"

So I went to the mirror and what do I see?

I apologise for the blurriness, as I am still trying to get used to this new camera, but I DID have the presence of mind to toy with the fish-eye (no pun there) :

I am going to have lots of fun with the Fish-Eye (lens!) at next summer's Mysterium.
it will give a new feel to the old-style "Wall-Of-Shame" photo's.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Jutting Brow of the Neanderthal... now mine, courtesy of a neighbor dog.

Buddy is a gigantic and VERY friendly doberman. He is so sweet.
He has a very hard noggin, though.
And he is a "leaner." He leans his eentire weight against you in a show of affection.
So he is leaning aganst my hip (again this is a tall dog)
And I bend over the other direction to pick up something I dropped while petting him and he jerks his head around toward me and cold-cocks me right in the eyebrow which swell up to the size of an Almond Roca immediately!

That was about five minutes ago and the thing is still growing larger.

It hurts like "12 yards of you-know-where."

Just call me Cro-magnon Girl, I guess.
(N0. Don't.)



Saturday, November 12, 2005

Same post UPDATED: Russia's Window-Revisited

First Siberia Update - in pictures

The landscapes of siberia are incredibly beautiful.
The people are warm and friendly, each face a story in itself,
as we can see in the eyes of this lovely Siberian girl at Age 20 and at Age 25

On a seperate note, and since we have spent the month processing Stu's lovely trip to Siberia and enjoying his aquisition of the neato Souvenirs (Arrest Papers and Signed Confession),
I thought I would add this nutty Russian Art tidbit, courtesy of WOHBA.


If you're inspired after watching other people create, click the pencil in the upper right and become the artist.

Anniversaries and Literary Triumphs!

A fun desktop

Well, I was wondering why I have the recent craving to Play Riven again, while I haven't even had the comon decency to finish Exile, URU, Revelation of Myst V.
Of course, at this time of eyar my thoughts turn toward Christmas, as I am the quintessential Queen of all things Festive during the holidays. (Those websites that you visit with the Bad Christmas lights? That is what is going on in my heart and head starting in November!)

Anyway....So I figured out why the craving to play Riven happens to me inthe winter. DUH!!!
Riven was the first coputer game ever, that I played. I got it for Christmas. I think this is why.
So I thin I will give in to my craving and make space annually at this time of year to play Riven.
An anniversarial kind of thing, ya know?

So...the other Big thing which thrills me:
I have long wanted to have a means/opportunity to read aloud, the works of Stephen R. Lawhead to students. I used to read his youth works to the 1-4th graders (Timothy Mallard, Anna Hedgehog and Jeremy Vole).
I have long wanted to share his Arthurian Quintilogy with the older grades.
Granted, there are some graphic battle and crusader-type atrocities described in it, but after consulting with a bunch of people at the forums, I have decided to pencil in my own edits now that ...

*Drumroll please*

...the Junior High English teacher has enthusiastically invited me to read Lawheads works!
I could almost spit I am so thrilled!

So I will start with Taliesin.
I was thinking of skipping the Arthur quintilogy, and starting with the Albion Saga trilogy, being that it is merely a trilogy, but I had to check my heart.
While the Albion saga is probably his best crafted work yet (imho) my heart lies with Arthur. :o)

So - quintilogy it is.

The books I will be working through are:
Then if there is time, hit the recap in the 6th book "Avalon."
(Although I may skip it as I think it would be a boon to bring in some exposure to the Crusades.)

If I get through all of that, then maybe when the current 6th graders are 8th graders, I will be able to move them right from Arthur into Lawheads Crusader Trilogy:

-The Iron Lance
-The Black Rood
-The Mystic Rose

I can't wait to begin!!

Where did the koi go?

N.S. Tartan

Fact of the day from the Scotsman Journal:
Hugh Gray of the British Aluminium Company took the first known "photos" of the Loch Ness Monster today in 1933. The first claimed sighting of the legendary beast that may live in Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, was in 1871. More than 50 people claim to have seen "Nessie". For more information on the Loch Ness Monster click here

Nessie Lives!

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I have this friend who I like to think of as "Majik-J."
Many times, all I have to do is share an idea, and my friend Majik-J, manages to make it possible to happen. After many years of Majik-J making many wonderful things happen, I was allowed to be a part of something that Majik-J was doing.
To be invited to help a friend is a huge priviledge.
To be invited to help a friend who is helping many other friends, is a high honour.
I am humbled by recieving such an invitation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Studio update

I was chatting in CC (Yes its back now!) with Jahuti, and ended up shooting an updated set of pics of my studio space as it is today. I apologise for the grainy/blurriness. I was in a hurry.

When you walk in the door, and a big white wall greets you.
So turn your head right...

This is kind of like a sitting, thinking, resting, greeting area.

This is the back wall

This is the workspace. Can you tell what I am looking at on my computer?

There are about 12 of these orb things and they are all sitting around the house.
Each one is approx 2 ft in diameter.

The cool thing about being back in CC today, was that I was able to work on this canvas that was REALLY annoying me and I was not sure I was going to be able to finish it. While I was sitting there watching the screen and seeing everybody bop in and out, I found I was able to work peacefully. I even ended up getting some ideas from K'laamas and may try to incorporate thos einto the image as well, if they end up fitting.

Anyway, it was a fine day to be sure.
You never know what you've got till its gone.
Thanks to Mark D for getting Cho back up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Peek thru Russia's windows

An actual church building. (As oppposed to a home church)

A nice lady in front of her house.

Stu Experiments with the fish eye


They let him leave the Country and he is now firmly ensconced back in the good 'ol USA!

In Celebration I put forth the first of two events:

First off, I would like to share this deep and meaningful song with you, as it has touched my life profoundly, and has everything to do with what makes the United States the envy of all it surveys. It is a wma.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My Underlying Thought for the Day:

To Russia:

"Don't make me come over there!

You'll be sorry.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

But wait - there's more....

Russia just gets BETTER and BETTER!

Another letter arrived Sunday morning (which is Sunday night over there) from Stu regarding the Russian Festival of Bureaucracy and Paranoia.

Pasted Letter:

How things happen over here is a big mystery to Bill & me. We believe there is some information we are not getting from our host Yuri, in regards ot all this. We specifically asked for prayer for it though in the church service today, so it must really concrne him.

I've been dissapointed in the footage I've been getting or more yet the footage I have not got. It's seems there has been a roadblcok at every turn, from our hectic travel schedule, to restrictions put on me by Yuri, to getting harrased by the authorities. It could turn possibly tunr into a huge hassle should I desire to get a travel visa over here again since I have been arrested. We're still trying to find things out thgouh. We don't want to cause Yuri and his organization any headaches over here, as far as having Amerciancs come to Russia. Still we need to find out the bottom line about what is going on over here and how to avoid it on the future. To Bill & in many ways it seems Russia has swung the other direction from freedom to tightening things down again. We'll see when we get back to the U.S. and try to figure out what is going on as it relates to possible future trips and certainly anyone else we 'know coming over to help.

It's about 5 pm Sunday over here. So you can start praying on your Sunday night for everything to go smoothly as Bill & I check into our exit hotel to have them do the paperwork for us leaving. We pray we don't have to go into downtown Vlad and stand in multiple lines for multiple days to get this thing resolved. Our flight departs at 4:20p Tuesday, which will be about midnight Monday for you. We have a very quick turn of about 50 minutes in Seoul to catch our flight to Seattle, so please pray that all happens. Odds are our baggage could be lost but we'll see. Lots to pray about. Can't wait to leave the hassles behind here and get home to see you and the kids.

Friday, October 21, 2005

2nd Run-In wiht Russian Police Results in Arrest!

This is Stu's own account of his recent arrest in Siberia.
Mind you, this is the SECOND altercation he has had in as many weeks.

Stu Writes:

Greetings from Vladivsotok,
We have returned from another week of travel as our journey here winds down, but not without some harrowing experiences and some run-ins with the police. It was much more severe than last week's travel and this time it cost me more than just inconvenience.

We started our week of travels on Monday in Vladivostok , shooting interviews at the future Bible college that is being built from the shell of a large brick house north of town.

However, our return journey this morning from Chuguveka, we faced our first good snow (snik) of the year and a normally four hour drive back to Vlad that turned into seven hours of sliding around the rough highway. We saw countless wrecks and cars down embankments, fortunately we weren't one of them, that despite Yuri's overly aggressive speed. Bill and I took turns riding in the front seat of the van, which we changed from "the very scary seat," to "the Jesus seat," since it made us feel closer to meeting Jesus just riding there. Frankly, it wasn't the fear of death that was the problem, it was the fear of surviving and ending up in a remote Russian hospital manned by old pensioned doctors, whose only calling in life, I am told by locals, seems to be that you just die more slowly under their care. Still, while riding up front as passenger, I worked as hard as Yuri, using body English to try to get us around each corner and truck that we passed on the icy highway.

Earlier in the week we left Vlad under clear autumn skies with travel five hours north to the industrial city of Spaask-Daliny. As I gathered up my camera gear to go out and shoot up the town, I was a bit more paranoid of the militia having had a run-in with them the week before in Olga, yet felt confident that it was just a blip on the radar screen. Still, our Paravorchetsa (translator) Irena, and companion Bill Chesley, insisted on accompanying me on a walk around town to gather lifestyle footage. Frankly, it was tough to find good images. There weren't a lot of people on the streets in this town, that made its name producing concrete to build the Soviet Union of the Far East & Siberia. The town is facing high unemployment and has cut back on production of the only major construction material of every apartment we ever saw. There is always present the pall of concrete dust in the air in Spaask. Lung conditions are not uncommon here.

The only real fun I had that afternoon was when I stopped in a gift store to buy a watch (about $5) and the lady couldn't get either of the two I liked to work. Oh, well. I did have an amusing time with about a half-dozen boys and girls who were about 12 years of age outside some nearby apartments. I made Polaroid photos of them for gifts, which they thoroughly enjoyed. We were also welcome curiosities as the first Americans they have ever met. They didn't want us to leave and even invited us to a school program they were performing in that evening, which we couldn't attend because of my shooting schedule that night at a Bible study at the local church where I would gather footage of the ministry of pastor/missionary, Sasha Zimin. He's a good man, ministering in a tough place with a small band of 60 committed believers in this town 40,000. It's not a pleasant place to live and when I asked Sasha's wife, Anna, about Spassk, she remarked, with a content smile on her face, that they felt certain it was where God would have them minister for now. Their apartment on the fifth floor is Spartan. Bill and I slept on the floor, but as always we were made to feel welcome at the small table we huddled around for meals of borscht, bread, sausage and chi.

The next couple of days were frustrating on the shooting end of things. We went to the closed military city of Novosisoyevka. MiG jets raced overhead and old Russian fighter aircraft stood anchored to the ground as display relics between the labyrinth of worn-out concrete apartment buildings.

We were warned not to loiter, not to speak English in public, and not photograph outside of the apartment we were staying for the night. Now, that is frustrating for a guy whose soul purpose is to be documenting the people and places of Primorski. Still, if I would have known the secret lurking inside my travel papers, I would have been more than happy to keep a low profile. We got a good interview with a young Pastor Piotr, and his wife Olga, who minister to many families here in this military town, where like most cities, alcohol and drugs are a huge problem. It is an aimless life in a dreary place, where real hope is a scarce commodity.

I asked Pastor Piotr why it was difficult for Christian work to take hold and he remarked that old ways die hard and that people are still generally suspicious of new ideas. Many regard Evangelical Christianity as an American import, which the Russian Orthodox Church is more than happy to perpetrate.

When we traveled east an hour to the town of Chuguyevka the real troubles started for me. I was anxious to get caught up on footage that showed Russia towns and villages. I struck out on my own down the main street shooting picturesque houses with their brightly painted, distinctive Russian shutters, people drawing water from the well and stacking firewood for the winter. A man emerged from his house and gave me a cold stare. I ignored him and kept on shooting. Soon a white sedan pulled up to where I was standing and the same man emerged, demanding to see my passport. At first I was a bit reluctant, but then thought, "I'm legal, so why not?" Well, he looked at my immigration paper and I'm guessing by a few key words I knew, was wondering why I hadn't had a registration stamp for Chuguyevka. As far as I knew I didn't need one, only if I was staying for three days or more. I had been in town two hours. I quickly turned to my Russian phrase book, but couldn't find anything appropriate to say except, "This dress doesn't fit, do you have it in another size?" I'm sure that would not have impressed him. This was a guy who was bespectacled in his mid-fifties and looked very disappointed that communism had failed. He loaded me and my gear into his sedan for the very short trip to the police station. He seemed to know everyone there, greeting them by name and shaking hands. It was later I found out I was shooting video outside of his house, the chief weapons officer for this police district. Oh, great. He led me down some dank, gray hallways and into the office of a very serious thirty-something woman adorned in the no-nonsense olive drab uniform, the only other color being the starred gold and crimson bars she wore on her shoulders. The officer exchanged words with the woman and left. I was on my own.

She spoke zero English and my Russian phrases only included, "sure is cold out," and "thank you for the cabbage, it is delicious." Soon she found a young woman in the office who spoke limited English who explained to me that my travel visa was expired. They showed me the date on it. I was in disbelief and tried to plead my case, explaining that my visa was good for the entire month of October. She again pointed to the expiration date on the immigration document I received when I entered the country. At that time they had mistakenly put the wrong exit date on it. I was supposed to have left after my first week in the country, on the 10 th. I didn't really feel nervous, but I could see my hand trembling as I held the visa to show them the dates on it. It was getting close to my rendezvous time with Pastor Genya and Bill at nearby Lenin Square. They kept my passport and allowed me to leave to go get Genya. I brought him back and the long conversation started about why I was there, what I was shooting (they asked me to playback some of the tape I shot that day) and why I had not left the country on the 10 th. Genya was warm and friendly to them, but I picked up a hint of the great unknown in his voice, although he assured me it would be no problem, and that I wouldn't have to spend the night in jail. As the woman officer turned to work on her computer, ironically running the Windows operating system, Genya transitioned from why I was there, to document the work of Christians in Primorski, to giving the now three woman officers, and a Chinese businessman, the Gospel message. What an amazing guy, using every opportunity to share God's love with people.

After two hours of paperwork, writing and signing a confession, it was decided that I must pay a 1000 ruble fine and return to Vladivostok in the morning. The 1000 rubles was only about $30 so no big deal there, I had that, and we were heading to Vlad anyway the next day.

Still, I have never had more hassles in Russia than on this trip. It was probably good in several ways that I was arrested. Bill's immigration papers were also flawed. Fortunately he stayed hidden and didn't have to pay the fine. But if we arrived at the airport this Tuesday with expired visas we might be detained while they straightened things out and have to stay in Russia until the next twice-a-week flight took off for Seoul, if it wasn't already full. But the greater good was that people got to hear the Gospel in that police station who might not otherwise hear it and Pastor Genya got to make some good connections for future ministry. Still, I didn't shoot the amount of footage I was expecting, which was a huge disappointment.

When leaving Chuguyevka behind Friday morning, I turned to Bill and made the selfish remark, that, "well at least we can leave," speaking in broader terms, that at least we can leave this village and country. As I sit in the apartment in Vlad, it is bitterly cold outside. The wind (duyvetier) moves the curtains through two separate panes of glass. The coal-fired central heating plant in Vlad probably didn't see this storm coming. The heating radiators here in the apartment are as cold as it is outside. I'm wearing thermal underwear, a sweater, drinking chi, and still I'm a bit chilled. Still, I have the hope of leaving to another home.

This is a tough place. People age prematurely. Alcohol and the harshness of life often take their toll. However, this is the life they know, in their words, normalna. The Christians here though have a brightness about them, a real hope that reaches beyond the day to day toughness of making life work here. I think of the people in my own country who exist in normalna. If you don't know any better, whether in The Russia Far East or the USA , you don't know that you're missing the hope, joy and peace that Christ brings even in the most dreary of circumstances or in a life numbed by a preoccupation with the toys that affluence buys. Yes, I'll get to leave for a better home in a few days, however along with the Russian believers, the hope awaits of the ultimate home someday, for all of us who believe.

Tonight I venture out to shoot the youth group at the church across town, and then hopefully gather footage of the life around Vladivostok, and shoot a few more interviews before we leave for the states on Tuesday.

The believers here are strong and committed. They lack many resources, but have faith and heart to propel them. They experience a God who provides what is needed for the day.

I could fill many more pages here with the stories of hope I've heard, and tales about the nuances of a life and culture I find difficult to understand at times, but also the many laughs and smiles I've shared with new friends here. It is with anticipation I return to the states, and begin work on the documentary of what is happening in the lives of people in the Russia Far East. It is tinged though with a sharp melancholy for the people I leave behind, the memories of which I'll treasure greatly, and who will now be in my prayers.

Thank you for allowing me to share this trip with you and for making it possible for me to undertake this journey, and especially the experience, the wonder, of seeing God anew through the eyes of the people of the Primorski region of the Russia far East.

Much Love in Christ,

Monday, October 17, 2005

Russian update

For those who are trying to follow the Siberian Gig:
many of you, Stu doesn not have updated email addies for,
and apparently they keep bouncing. (!)
Anyway, so here is the most recent update, as of yesterday - which was their today - go figure!

Stu writes:

Greetings from the Russia Far East!
Well, I got busted.
The cops came down on me and it almost cost me a big part of this trip.
More on that later though.

The second week of this trip started out like the first, with a long, bumpy, sometime harrowing, 8 hour drive north of Vladivostok to the ministry field of, The Primorski Association of Missionary Churches of Evangelical Christians (PAMCEC). The first stop was the village Olga on the Pacific coast, where an energetic, 27 year old Pastor Vitaly, his wife and 3 kids live. The church where they minister is a small converted grocery store (magazeen) that serves the 40 people who worship there. We awoke early Tuesday morning from the very frigid apartment where Bill, our translator Irena, and I stayed, to attend their daily prayer meeting. Every morning in the dark about 15 of the faithful gather to sing and pray for friends, family and community. It is having a huge effect on their community of about 3000. People are coming to faith in Christ, and good relationships are being established.

This is also the place where I got into trouble with the police. I was out shooting stills and video in the community when the local authorities came rolling up in a beat-up old Chinese pickup truck. A large officious woman in Olive, with Crimson epaulets (I swear she looked like she was right out of central casting including the overly dyed red hair under her police cap) jumped out in her tall high heels and demanded to see my passport and visa. All this is taking place in Russian which I know very little of. She got very agitated as she was sorting through my visa and passport which we were warned to always, always, have on us. Something was strangely amiss though. She became even more upset, blathering on in Russian. I sent a young boy who was walking with me back to find Bill and my paravorchek (translator) Irena. As soon as they arrived, accompanied by Pastor Vitaly, in the van, I understood that I was missing a valuable piece of immigration paperwork that was issued to me when I arrived and that I must have when I leave the country. I sorted through all the luggage in our van and couldn't find it. The woman said that if I couldn't find it we must leave for Vlad immediately (8 hour drive back) and have it reissued. Don't even think about stopping anywhere else or there would be real trouble. Fortunately, Vitaly was neighbors with the woman and his winsome ways did a lot to diffuse the situation. She gave him the only smile I'd seen out of her, in a way that communicated that she wasn't surprised Viatly was mixed up in this somehow, but in a way that conveyed trust in Vitaly's character.

There was one last camera bag back at Vitaly's house. We prayed as we drove back and I quickly emptied the contents on the floor. There in the midst of the heap was an innocuous, wrinkled little piece of paper with a red stamp on it. The missing document. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Now we could go on to Dalnegorsk and Kavalerovo and Fabreejnee.

I shot an interview with Vitaly and then helped him haul water before we left. Although he lives in a house, there are many strange dichotomies about living in a typical village like Olga. He doesn't have running water like most people who live in houses here. He hauls it every other day or so from a town well, filling large 10 gallon milk cans that he keeps on the porch. Without running water, everyone uses the outhouse out back. The house is heated by wood stove. Yet on the flip side he has a decent laptop computer and a good color printer. Like most people he has a 5 foot satellite dish out front to bring in TV. Add to that a cell phone which strangely most people have (about $6.00 per month for service). No running water but good cell service, go figure. Because almost all of these young pastors don't have large enough congregation to support them yet, they rely on Ukrainian, Korean, and Russian and American Christians to help support their work. They are the ones who help with computers, used Japanese cars, and the other things, like cellphones that help the process of doing ministry in this rugged part of the world.

We stayed next at the church in the large mining city of Dalnegorsk tucked away between large mountain ranges. Like a lot of churches this one occupies an old commercial building. Not perfect for a church but a good meeting place for the believers. They also run a seminary-Bible school several months out of the year, inviting in guest teachers from the Ukraine, Korea and the U.S.

The real thrill of this past week was our time in the town Kavalerovo a town of about 40,000. You wouldn't think there were that many people in this town, but almost all are housed in huge clusters of concrete apartment building that rise 10 stories up. A real cookie cutter process, they all look identical.

The church there under the care of Pastor Ruslan (28) is healthy and thriving with about 100 believers. The building was built from scratch, funded by Ukrainian Christians. It is nothing fancy, but very practical and will fit about 180 in a squeeze. There is a wide range of ages, well balanced between older, younger, in between, and a good balance between men and women, which is not always the case. Often times the women far out number the men. Many men believe that religion is for women and as men they would prefer to spend their time with a vodka bottle, which is why you see very few older men. The believers though are generous, light-hearted and have a real love for the Lord. They even have an Awana program for the kids! Pastor Ruslan spends his time making many friends and contacts around the city. He is well liked and respected everywhere, by those in authority and the ditch digger. And his is a tough work. It is slow going. The real tough reality is that many people over 30 are still very suspicious and reserved having been brought up under communism. The people that are under 30 are chasing the dollar, or should I say Ruble? They believe that an easier life-style will bring them ultimate happiness. They are many entrepreneurs around. Ruslan keeps in good contact with them for the time when they will realize that money won't buy the meaning to life. It's very great and inspiring to watch Ruslan work, handing out Christian newspapers and books to non-believers all who willingly accept them.

One of the few other treats we had while in Kavalerovo was interviewing the oldest believer in town, a 101 year old woman. She was 12 years old when the communists came to power and spent her life worshipping God in the underground church. She wandered a bit during the interview, but living to be 101 she earned the right to talk about how she makes her favorite jam!

After a few more stops in villages we have finally settled back in Vladivostok for the weekend, having driven over 1500 miles in last few weeks over some of the roughest "highways" in existence (most wouldn't pass for a poor county road in the states) We are regrouping here, shooting some interviews at the Bible school being built north of Vlad and then we'll start out again tomorrow in our travels 4 hours north to Spaask-Daliny and other villages in the region where the Association is planting churches. Right now I am trying, between power outages, to get this e-mail out. A frustrating but not unusual for this part of the world, even for a city of 800,000.

The shooting of video and stills is going better this past week, although we still short of "color shots" that really help paint the full picture of what is happening here, while in truth, as Americans, we can never fully appreciate what is happening just below the surface of the people and culture of this land. They are many things that defy explanation, as least to me, and I have worked hard with our paravorchek (translator) to try to understand what I am seeing and experiencing. It is a blessing though to see how Christ meets people in every culture. So different and yet the same. It is that very bond with these Christians that despite the hard work, sometimes sleepless nights on a couch, or frigid apartment, and eating way too much borscht, cabbage and fatty sausage (cardiac arrest on a plate), that still makes coming here a real blessing. I hope the footage I gather here will be able to communicate at least in a small way, the remarkable story of people in this remarkable land.

Please pray that has we enter this final week, for safety as we travel (Yuri's driving still makes me feel closer to Jesus, but in the wrong way). Also, for good health and especially great opportunities to gather great footage. I'm still a little nervous about accomplishing that task.

Many thanks!


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Future Studio/Meat Puppet Monger?

I am kind of at a loss.
A friend of ours has been trying to get his studio up and running for more than a year now.
He is a visionary.
You know the type –
"Big Ideas", "Not always sure about how to get them implemented", etc.
Every business needs visionaries.
But also people who have the capabilities to bring their out-of-the-box ideas to fruition.

Anyway, Stan (not his real name) has been building on this double duty studio idea for over a year. Now he is wanting some one to come in and set up the office for both the Film School and the Facility Rental aspects of the studio. He is under some kind of time crunch, needing to get somebody in there next week.
For once, he is talking Green. ($$), although not in any quantifiable manner.


As always, I am wary.

Stan is always full of huge ideas.
So far few of them have actually come to anything.
But such is the way sometimes, with visionaries.
What is it Edison did? Found 2000 different ways how not to invent a lightbulb?

I am supposed to go down and have a meeting at the studio on Monday to see what needs to be done, advise him a little bit and possibly set up a temporary schedule for helping him get things rolling.

I know that I am supposed to be not working full time.
I know that I am not supposed to be working in a situation that leaves me so drained that I haven’t got energy to devote to my kids.
I also believe that this is a time that I am supposed to be focusing on art.
Which would leave precious little time for any meaningful extra-curricular work.

But who knows.
Maybe I can get it rolling for him and then train somebody to come in and take over.
Beats me.
The fun part will be building the talent database though.
And writing copy and press releases and building press kits.
I actually enjoy that kind of stuff.

Oh well.

I am torn.
I do not want to allow myself to be distracted from my goals (being a mom, building my own Portfolio) by some other thing that mildly interests me.

I am proceeding VERY cautiously.

Those of you who walked with me through the fire of “quitting my day job” feel free to remind me of things I said/wanted/prcessed back then.
Feel free to poke me in the nose and say, “what are you thinking you flake!” or Say “hey, this could be something _____(insert your thought)”, anyway….

Decisions decisions!
I think I will just sit down and watch a movie with Scout today.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My Dog Helga

Is a beauteous wonder dog! She is German Shpeherd and Golden Retriever - but looks and has the IQ of a German Shepherd. Her gate, as she gallops or trots across field or yard is a beautiful metronome of flight.

I ran her over in the driveway today!

She apparently layed down beside my car in the time between my getting in it, and the time I started it and put it in gear. I had no idea she was laying there.
I backed up and heard her cries. I immediately shifted back into drive to moce forward - I had NO idea where she was at the time.
She cried again.
She is up and walking about, but I am watching for internal injury symptoms.


I dunno.

She is such a love...


Please pray that she is ok.

Doris the Flight Attendant's Catch 'O' the Day

Today's link is supplied to us courtesy of Blue Max at North Canton Airline and Storm Door Co
who's motto is, "We're the Up Yours people."

(Doris has her own personal addendum's to that motto, depending upon her mood:
"We'll get you there. Eventually."
"We'll get you there. In our own way and in our own good time.")

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cleavage of Doom

Why does this kind of crap always seem to happen to me?

At a church camp-out last summer, we are all sitting around the campfire.
Suddenly an ember pops, sending a flaming missile - not straight FOR my shirt but arching into the air and straight down INTO my shirt. I am hopping madly all over the place attempting to free the "Blistering Morsel from the Abyss" from my unmentionable-garment.

Likewise, this evening, I am preparing the gravy for our dinner.
In order to eradicate some lumps from the gravy in a hurry, I pour the whole batch of hot liquid into the blender, thinking I will puree them out.

Nobody ever told me what happens when you try to put hot liquid in a blender.
And how could I imagine the outcome?

It spewed scalding lava - where?
You guessed it!

I have a scalded torso that hurts like all the flames of Satans own domicile, and can barely scrape up enough pluck to clean the minimal residue that did not find its way to my cleavage, up off the floor.


I swear I am going to invest in lead turtlenecks from now on!


Tuesday, October 4, 2005

First Efforts and Siberia

Page 1.

I hate the wallpaper and am planning to get rid of it, for a solid coloured wall instead, however Jessica (Illustrator and designer for a local publishing house) likes the wallpaper. So now I don't know. I think "Little Bad Girl" would 'pop' more if she were against a solid background. not sure yet.

Stu should be arriving in Vladivostock this morning. He probably spent a spent a yucky night trying to sleep in the airport in Seoul. I had a feeling he was not going to try to get a hotel room. I think he didn't want to commit and then have his flight be delayed and not use the room but still have to pay for the majority of it. Also, when it takes 90 minutes to get to a hotel that is 21 miles away, it makes one rethink whether one wants to get stuck at the mercy of some cabbie 90 minutes away from the airport in freaky unporedictable foreign traffic. So anyway, he probably spent a crappy night, is my guess. He is in Siberia through Oct 26th. I think while he is away I will go through the huge print box of photos from the last trip, but that time I think he was further north, around Yakutia. Still he had some fun images and maybe there are somethings I can mess with in PS now. Back in those days all we had was PS LE. That was like, what...early 90's? Late 80's? Something. MacKEnzie has that old computer now and I have to laff. Poor kid. It does nothing but notepad and LE. Its good. It keeps her humble.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Where I am at today

Hey Leh thanks for the offer to help.
I am still investigating the "round room" issue that I emailed you guys about, so if you have any words of wisdom on that, I would sure use them.
After meeting with Barb (who I collaborated with) I think it is going to end up being a flip-flop book - open the book from one side and the main character will be a girl and her sisters. Open it from the other side and it will be a boy and his brothers.

So while it is not going to be double the work, it will be double the subjects to shoot, but that is ok. I was thinking about it (sorta) in the middle of the night last night, (Funny how ideas on the edge of sleep seem kinda good at the time!), anyway, I was thinking first, that with the addition of the double-sided book it was going to take me for stinkin' EVER to get the thing done. After I thought a little more (Between sleep? Not sure,) I guessed that maybe I could set a goal of 1 page per day. I am not sure if that is too large a goal or too small. Certainly for some pages it is going to take longer, but for the most part that is a goal that will get this completed in good order.
Also, since I really am not in a tearing hurry (yet) I am thinking that in stead of grouping my shots, according to talent/location/etc, I have the liberty to be really psycho and shoot page by page. Today I am shooting page one. Tomorrow I assemble page one. Wednesday, I shoot page two, Thursday I assemble page two.

Maybe, but that would cut back my goal to "complete a page per day," even so, part of me doesn't want to get too structured either.

What kind of flake am I?
I don't know!
(And I think maybe I don't care either.)

But that was my middle of the night idea. We will see how it fares in the light of day and family and kid needs and all. ;o)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Room In My Head is Back in the line of Fire.

I saw ~Insanity-is-a-gift''s photo shoot with his younger brother and it reminded me that it is always dicey shooting kids. It put me in the frame of mind that I need to be in, for a shoot with a 4 year old on Friday.

After having a childrens book sit on the back burner for 2 years, I am finally getting around to doing the illo's and some of the elements are photo manipulated.
I meet with the collaborator again, tomorrow-Thursday, and I hope that she likes where I am going with the imagery.
Granted, no "normal" publisher will publish it, and no "Inspirational Publisher" will publish it, because it is just on the fringes of marketability for either genre. But I can't let that stop me/us.
It has its place.
It has a message.
I used to teach the story to kids in schools, after I survived an auto accident and a surgery gone wrong.
I lay in bed, seemingly "unconscious", but VERY aware of my srroundings and people in the room.
I just couldn't "wake up."
I couldn't come out of it for days.
What started out as terrifying, ended up as peaceful and beautiful, and became a story of encouragement that I could share with my students, via oral story telling.

A childrens book author offered to help me take the story from oral to written, and it has become a childrens picture book. The ideal illustrator, while expressing interest, was unable to take on the task, as I could not pay up front, and the illustrator had a family to feed. It is understandable for I, myself, am in the same position.
As it happened, I came to decide that I would just have to buckle down and find a way to do the illo's myself.

Anyway...thats more than I intended to share...but I started making this journal entry and it just all came out.
It's more than any of you wanted to know, to be sure.

Still...there it is. So if I seem negligent or out of touch, I am not being aloof, I am just busy with a shooting schedule, and my new camera just shipped out of Houston today - one day ahead of Hurricane Rita!
There it is.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Working away

SO I got a call to come and fetch my unwanted items downat a local church. They were remodeling the sanctuary and they were going to take these old light fixtures to the dump.
Instead of the dump, they are now being Prisoner/Rover style candle lanterns in my studio and also subjects/props for some photo shoots this year.

You may have to click on the image to reveal it at full size.

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


The SOUNDS link in the sidebar has been updated.
It is a SERIOUS download - 4MB.
The Music of 12th Century's Hildegard von Bingen.
***See previous post***

12th Century Nun is conduit for the music of the Heavens

The Music of Hildegard von Bingen.

In honour of my search in to early church roots, I will share the very large (4MB) wav file. Let me begin by saying that this particular rendition was recorded in the mid 1980’s and therefore reflects the style of that era. Even so, if you just focus on the ear-bending vocal music, her trademark 1-5-8 (octave-fifth-octave) leaps, you can see what a gifted artist Hildegard von Bingen was.

Hildegard von Bingen was the 10th child born into a noble German family in the year 1097. She was given as a tithe to the church at the age of 8. She was a frail child and subject to frequent debilitating sickness, but was a unique and gifted child. She saw visions at an early age, but did not speak of them. She eventually became the Abbess in the year 1136. After a life threatening illness, she writes,” when I was 42 years and seven months old, a burning light of tremendous brightness poured into my entire mind, like a flame that does not burn but enkindles. It inflamed my entire heart and breast, like the sun that warms and object with its rays. All at once, I was able to taste of the understanding of books – the Psalter, the Evangelists and the books of the Old and New Testaments.”

I find it encouraging, because here was a woman, sickly, and serving piously all of her life. Creating art, as God led her to do in her environment. In a day and age when women were not valued in such ways, she did what she did. And it was not until her 40’s that she received even greater insight into the workings of God, and she ran with it.

I just think it is cool.

The Music of Hildegard von Bingen, 12th Century.
From the CD “Vision”, by Richard Souther.

I will post all of the lyrics that I have so far in the comments section directly following this post. Please bear in mind that they are incomplete - missing a verse, for the time being. As soon as I figure out which verse is the missing one, I will post it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Christian Medievalism and the Early Celtic Church

(The concepts put forth in this post are subject to change, considering I am only half finished reading the book I will mention: Angels in the Architecture.)

In the last two months I seem pointed in the direction of studying the “Early Church” as it sprouted, bloomed and was cast forth out of the British Isles and seems to have hidden roots yet, deep and strong.

Pete B has inspired me, with his accounting of his experiences in the Margaree Valley Church in N.S. He has inspired me with his reports on the English church in Sheffield.

Anybody who knows me, knows I detest “Christian literature,” even after my stint at a large Christian publishing house. I stopped reading Christian books about 5 years after I decided to do things Gods way. The only exception to that was the book “Addicted to Mediocrity,” by Frankie Schaeffer. It is about the arts. It also touches on the atrocities committed on the arts community by the Victorian sensibilities and that era’s version of Christianity in Western Culture. It is an awesome, life changing book for any creative person, (writing, painting, sculpting, musician what-ever) who also loves God, and hates the unspoken constricting messages sent to its own by the “modern” church.
I say read your bible, but also read this one if you can find it and be FREE!

But I digress……

People in church say, “oh, did you read so-and-so’s book?”

“No. I reply. I do not read Christian books, because every wind of doctrine blows through them. I read my bible. It is a Christian Book too, maybe you didn’t know that?”

If they have a brain, that comment pisses them off, renewing my appreciation for them in even a small way. If it doesn’t piss them off, then I don’t really worry.

So, here I am fulfilling my Garage-Sale addiction and I find this book.
It is on Christian Medievalism.
Words I never put together before but seem perfectly joined and supporting what I have learned from my interaction with Pete.
So my curiousity is piqued.

It is an AWESOME book!

It is entitled, “Angels in the Architecture.”

I will write more after I have read it through a few more times. (5-6 times)
So far, I have gleaned the following, which addresses ideas and concepts that I have secretly held in my head/heart for a long time, and only now seems confronted and confirmed by another source:

My gleanings are as follows:

With all the new interest in seeking out ancient Celticism, people seem so willing to jump over 1400 + years of recorded Christian history and slide back into the beliefs that held the people in fear for millennia. The ancient Celts knew a good thing when they saw it. When they compared their belief system of the day, to what was offered to them by Christianity, they pretty much said, “this is a God we want to serve.”
In essence, from their “educated” perspective, having lived wicca, druidism and all of its counterparts, they opted pretty agreeably for Christ and His loving ways.
To them, this was the “good life.”
And so it was.

The church has not always been a money grubbing, abusive, “hold you back so I can get ahead” monster that is purveyed in todays media. And some of it rightly so, I will concede, after all, people ARE human, and the church is made of people.
Many atrocities have been committed in the name of Christ. Too many, and I know your mind is already ripe with the imagery and names, so I am not going to go there.

The point is, if you truly look with open eyes, mind and heart, the monastic life and early church was all it was designed to be.

This is what draws me to the early celtic monastic mindset:

How did the monasteries work at first?

You were given to the monastery, or visited one of your own accord.

If you needed food, you were fed.
If you needed shelter, you were welcomed.
If you hung around to observe the way of life, you were allowed.
If you liked what you saw, you emulated.
If you were disinclined, you were free to leave, and missed when you left.
If you wanted to, you could join the order, if you didn’t want to, you took what you learned to your village and home and practiced the same.

Are these not examples of how Christ Himself directed his disciples?
This is what was lived out in the early church, and these are the activities that set the early Celtic Church apart, appealing to the demon-abused populace who were accustomed to seeking all the livelong day, ways to placate or not piss off the spirits of the world.
They lived in fear.
Christianity was the rescue , and they took hold of it happily.

I do not understand how so called “intelligent” people think they are now suddenly wiser than the people who lived through it. Opting to go back to the dark ways, and passing by as though it were dung, the truths which the early ones worked so hard for centuries to preserve.

Oh man you are so small.
Why do you not heed the words of the elders you profess to honour.

Basket Full of Random

If there is one thing I have learned from The Pratt, it is that one can compile seemingly unrelated and/or meaningless blurbs in a post and it is still readable.
Granted, what works for him, likely will not for me, but I am not letting THAT stop me.

Because I can.

Michelle, remember these words.
Tattoo them to your forehead.
Repeat them aloud: “Never. Never ever again. Ever.”

Am I supposed to be doing this?
When I am doing digital art, I am frequently heard to mutter:
“STOOpid maCHINE!”
When I am painting, I am most often:
Quiet, prayerful, peaceful, thoughtful, at rest.

Does this mean I am *supposed* to be doing this, or perhaps it is more the natural effects of painting, and many people experience the same?

I know that we credit the Japanese for the invention of the Sumi-e Brush, and that is all good, but honestly, I think that God invented it when He coloured the whole earth.
Surely this is Gods own paintbrush.
It is just THAT perfect.
Goes from fine-point to fat-flat-and-smooth with the flick of a wrist.
Holds lots of paint.

It is perfect.

But so is chocolate.
When manna fell from heaven, I have a feeling it was Chocolate.
(Of course if you ask Canada, they will say it’s cheese.)

What am I listening to?
Gorilaz-Feel Good Inc.
Ill Harmonics – Banana Republic
Hocus Pick- I’m So Happy.
REM-Shiny Happy People
Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang.
“ “ “ - Where’d ya go Ohio?
Enya – May it Be.
Annie Lennox – Into the West
Brak – What Day is It?
Devo – Gates of Steel
Devo- Freedom of Choice
Devo – Mongoloid


The use of the number '5' is temporarily suspended until after todays "meeting."

-----End Notice-----

Some friends of mine were recently involved in what we hope will only be a temporary lay-off from their jobs.
The thought occurred to me to pray for their poor wives.
While it IS fun to have your man home for a while, sometimes you say inside your head:

“This is what I DO on Mondays” (or insert other weekday as appropriate).

“Uh, this is my ‘bubble.’ (Draws circle around self with two index fingers) and right now, you are IN my bubble. K?”

“Don’t you have a lawn to mow somewhere?” (!)

Ok well, it usually happens after about a week. Two if you are a good boy.
(Oh people! Don’t you know a joke when you SEE one?)

But hey! Here is a thought:

Ladies, here is what you can do.
Is your man temporarily finding himself with too many spare moments at home? Is he beginning to cramp your style a tiny bit?
Well, use this extra set of hands and have him:

-Clean out the litter box.
-Clean out his closet and fill a bag for the thrift store. (This may keep him occupied for a full day, just exploring his old junk.)
-Have him scrub the floors. Men usually have greater upper body strength than women, so use it to your advantage. Encourage him to scrub those little spots in the vinyl flooring that you can’t seem to get out with a mop, or on your own.
-How about kill all the end-of-summer garden spiders that like to build webs up under the eaves of the house.

These are all great things that need doing and will keep him occupied on those rare moments when he might be “under foot.”
Maybe offer him a snack and a nap in the afternoon?

That WAS a terrible rant.
And honestly, it was pretty demeaning and rude.
My apologies for that element.
But it was a free association moment.
Sometimes I can’t help but push the limits of humour.

0): Reprise
Because I can.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Allegory, metaphor, analogy, fantasy twilight zone

This is a fairly unedited, allegory that I composed in my head today on the long drive to Portland and back.
(6 hours of high-speed-passing-lane-hijinks, and car-food fun.)

I pondered sending it to the lyst, but probably won't because it is:

a). unedited.
b). requires that one make extreme mental leaps, that match precisely my own mental gymnastics in order to comprehend, as IF that is ever gonna happen. ;o)
c). it is probably an over-emotionalization of things that were, are or may yet be.

Take into consideration, I was listening to The Lordof the Rings Sound Track at the time this came ot me, and listening mainly to Enya sing "May it Be," and Annie Lennox sing "Into the West."
But anyway, I am going to digress out into fantasyland - twilight zone, and toss out this metaphorical allegory thingie, that I imagined as I pondered our Myst Community, it's humble beginnings and what has transpired in the last few years/weeks/days/months/something:
(so basically I am venting weirdly.)
(How is THAT for a set up?)

Leave now if you hate metaphors, allegory, and analogy.
Run while you can!


Today I remembered a question.
Not a question asked of me, but of a little boy by his grandmother:

"Look Atrus. Tell me, what do you see?"

I see a City.
Where there was once an empty wasteland, there is now a City, set upon a hill.
The City, fashioned out of Words and Ether, has taken on flesh and bone.
The walls behind which the City took refuge, are no longer.

"Look Atrus. Tell me, what do you see?"

I see a Little Tree.
The sheltering walls of the greenhouse have been taken away.
It's leaves flutter desperately as in a gale,
But it is only the caress of the evening breeze.
Though the sun has faded, the pale twilight dances among the leaves,
And the air around them is illuminated.

"Look Atrus. Tell me, what do you see?"

I see the City on the hill.
Its light shines out across the land in the setting sun.
Vulnerable, not knowing the strength within.
The light, which shines out from the City, is its love of the pursuit of wisdom, honour, truth and beauty.
It beckons those wandering in the vastness, and its citizens encourage those who come to take shelter beneath the branches of the Little Tree.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Black Thursday comes and goes...

...and the sun still rises.
There are new days ahead.

My gut response is, Grab All the People and Circle the Wagons.
Get every ones email address and keep a mega lyst.

But now I just do NOT know.
The days are changing.

I pretty much quit going to CC regularly a while back, hanging more in Lyst Chat, and at in Barliman's.

But now, I think of all the people who were mere tots when I first met them online and now many are grown up even. I see others that are so dear and like cyber kids of my own just like the now-older ones.

My concern is that we all hang together, and yet, inevitably there will be fading.

So many memories.

I guess the only consolation I yself can take in partings, is holding on to the hope that someday I will see people in eternity, if I don't see or hear from them again in this life.
After many partings, this is the only consolation I can find and hold on to.

Good byes are impossible.
They are for me at least.
The most rotten two words on the face of the planet.
(Besides "Balance Due.")
This is a phrase straight from the bowels of Hell itself, because originally God never designed us to have to say them.

I NEVER say them at Mysterium.
I NEVER say them when friends move far away.
I NEVER say them at the end of the evening, in the pub when we all depart.
I NEVER say them at the end of a phone conversation even.

I sometimes think I would rather face death, than to utter such horrible words as "good" and "bye" in the same breath.
May I never say them.
May I say, "see you later," or may I leave early.
But never "good" and uh...that other word.

Evil words, those.

To my Cyan friends, I have no fear that you will ALL find a wonderful new place to employ your many gifts. You are all so talented. Perhaps some of you will moveinto the film/production industry.

Maybe I'll "see you later."

who is Maranwe in Barliman's

And the Cry went forth, Where is Aid, you lazy FEMA

First off, make sure you understand that I am NOT minimizing the horrific situation going on right now in our own New Orleans wrought by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Why is the amount of aid needed to save lives not available in full at this moment in N.O. and Johnny-on-the-spot?

Wake up America!

This is how huge portions of the rest of the world live on a daily basis –dying hourly because there is no water, food or medicine.

The US government is not made up of Gods, super heroes, or even miracle workers. These things take at least SOME time.
There are logistical issues at work here that are not minimized just because the need is dire.

Mobilizing men, acquiring and transporting supplies such as food, water, medicine and clothing require that Gas also be transported to the staging areas to move the food, water, medicine and clothing to the areas needed, and if the roads are not in place that further hampers the efforts.
And let us also look at a small percentage of the multitudes of citizens of N.O.?
A few are ruining it for everyone else. Criminals are loose among the people.
Many of them are hindering the Aid work itself because of their lawlessness.

So I would not blame the government/FEMA.

I would say, “Welcome to the rest of the world, America.”

This is how people live, in the regions where you buy your diamonds.
This is how people live in the dumps, in the nations where you buy your drugs.
This is how people live in the places where you buy and procure goods and discard them later.
This is how people live in the rest of the world.
You are not more honourable than the rest of the world.
You are human.
And you are at the mercy of the earth and its forces like every one else.
And so are those who try to rescue.

You are human.
You are at the mercy of the whims, generosity and cruelty of your fellow human beings – just like the rest of the world.
And so are those who try to rescue.

And American's, you are so pathetically addicted to instant gratification and immediate comfort.

You are not more special America, and you are as vulnerable as the rest of humanity, who lives in lesser conditions and is made of much more honourable stuff (apparently?) than you.

Where is aid?
It is on its way.

The only people who have good reason to cry out in agony and terror are the people currently stranded in N.O.

For the rest of us, it is just frustration and self projecting indignance, and what would be best for the restof America to do is to shut up and be helpful, rather than
point the finger when a tragedy like this occurs.
And it is always easiest to blame first, the people who are trying to be helpful, in this case, it happens to be FEMA.

Just like always, the American population expects/demands a quick fix.

And in situations like these, there is no such thing.

American's, do you imagine that more aid was available in such short order after the Sunami's?
Our friends in N.O. are suffering in the same manner as those in the areas stricken by the sunami's.

When cataclysms occur, not even the government is strong enough to rescue immediately.

Not even here in America.

Welcome to the rest of the world, USA.

Remember what I said to begin with: make sure you understand that I am NOT minimizing the horrific situation going on right now in our own New Orleans, wrought by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday Monday

-Wondering how my nephew in Biloxi has faired.
-Did the ever-dreaded back-to-school supply shopping today.
-Updated the DulciNET jam tune for this week.
-Got a poop-load of portraits that people want "adjusted" in PS.
One mom wanted all record of her sons blemishes erased. Honestly, I don't see any, but...I think she is "like that" anyway. Poor kid!

I go to pick up Blake from Camp tomorrow. He will be home for good now that camp shuts down. They finished clean up on Saturday and then all went down to Tillamook (Famous Cheese factory town) for a staff retreat. Then I will have mountains of crusty, skanky, post-camp laundry to do before the first day of school on Thursday.

School Rant
Now it wouldn't be August without Michelle going off on a rant regarding the state of public education, so sit down, shut up and buckle up, cuz here we go:

The new (NEW!!!!) super intendent of our school district decided at the beginning of the summer that the schools should start here a week early. The businesses in town were pissed, because this is a huge revenue week for them before the advent of winter, and this removes half of their labour force during that crucial week. This super intendent has alot ot learn. He is the kind of administrator that believes parents are all idiots, and they should just shut up and do what they are told, because the school employs "Proper Trained Educators" who know better than a parent, what their child should be taught and learn and believe.

He is an excellent reminder to me, of why I chose to keep my kids out of the public system.
The Proper Educators:

-Who else gets a job where they are guaranteed employement despite their work ethic?
(Called "Tenure")

-Who else gets 3 months paid off per year during the summer?

I am a firm believer that tenure should be abolished straight away. Then we would see some serious changes in the school system. Teachers who don't teach and who don't give a rip, would be in dire straights - and well they should be.

And here is an interesting factoid:
Private school expensive? (Without vouchers, yes it is.
I would like to have my tax $$ back to pay for it thank you very much.)

Just see how much it would cost you to send your kid out of district to a different public school without the blessing of the current district they are in? Then compare the cost of the public schools flat tuition to that of your average private school.

- It's cheaper to attend a private school than it is to attend a public school.
And, the private school generally offers a better education - provided the teachers are all state certified and the private school is accredited.

If vouchers for education were permitted, you would also see severe panic and subsequent change in the public school systems. For the better!

I do not believe more money is needed for our schools.
I believe accountability is needed.
These people owe us an explanation and an account for what they are using our tax dollars for in the name of our children.

The NEA sucks, and is a pack of self serving lying Bast......uhm, buggers!
They hit us where our hearts lie: the benefit of our children - when really that is very often not what is their true underlying concern.

There are few jewels in the educational system crown.
They are the few, individual teachers, sprnkled though out each district, who actually care about students, and are willing to work with the parents to achieve the best possible outcomes for the kids.

That is my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Sorry for lack of content: busy week

I got sidetracked with a last minute art project, (shown to the left) which is currently unfinished and is clocking in at a total of 486 layers. Still, it is a fun project. I got ths really cool tutorial at (thank you Lehsa!) on doing digital knotwork. I haven't used it yet, but this project was DANG HARD! and I am now certain there must be an easier way to do knotwork than the way I did this! I can see this going on for ever and I am having a hard time knowing when to stop. I am working on the Fish now, and turning him into a knotwork pattern, but with en eye toward retaining the Pacific Northwest Native Art style.

Other than that, I have been busy re-processing how I want to share the News According To Scotland, aka Scotsman Journal Snippets. Granted most of the links are worthless unless one is a registered member of the but still, it is interesting to read their perspective in the headlines, and see how the rest of the world processes the same kinds of things that we in America do.

The world grows smaller everyday.
At least from where I sit. (Maybe I should go on a diet?)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Amusing Movie Quote

Fiddler on the Roof.

Golde: "Ennhhh! You could DIE from such a man!"

Tevye:" If riches are a curse, then may the Good Lord smite me, and my I never recover!"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

New Jam Tune to Learn

DulciNet has a new tune to learn for this week complete with audio file, PDF and ABC files.
This weeks tune is: THE ROSE TREE.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Updated : Word From Cannon Beach

Had this "Beauty" Shot lined up right?
Early morning mist and all?
As I am totally focused on framing the thing, at the last minute there is a cameo appearance by America's favorite over-bred, under-brained canine: The Lab.

In the end, I decided it would make the perfect post-card:

Any way, Yesterday Blake and Andrew wanted to earn some $$ so that they could buy some more firewood to build another fire on the beach at dusk. Blake has one of those fishermens rain hats, like the Gortons Of Gloucester Fishermen wear, and Andrew has a Skipper/Captn hat.
Blake takes myIrish whistle and Andrew take a small, rusty metal bucket and they go down outside of the Mariner Market. They stand in front of the covered porch and where there are 3 benches for people to sit and rest.
The benches are labeled:
DEMOCRATS (This is the one nearest the front door of the store)
REPUBLICANS (this is the one Nearest the Street and Furthest from the door,)
and in the middle of the benches is an unmarked Green Bench.

ANYWAY, so Blake (Who can NOT play theIrish whistle) begins to toot and repeat some nebulous melodic (almost) pattern over and over and over and over and over and over again while Andrew dances and clanks the "Primer Change" in the bottom of the metal bucket in tune to the "music."
After what seemed an eternity, people began to throw money in the bucket, (more to get them to STOP I am sure.)
Anyway, the girls and I eventually ambled along and pretended we did not know them (for good reason) and we sat and "listened" for a while.
Then I loudly declared, "You Suck!" and attempted to rip the bucket out of Andrew's hands.
A wrestling match for the bucket ensued, much to the astonishment of the onlookers.
They were bad.
Yes, horrible even, but they WERE just kids.
Who was this dreadful woman verbally abusing them?

Well I ended the mock-battle by saying "fine!" and I grabbed a couple of coins from the bottom of the bucket before beating a hasty retreat.
Blake followed and said loudly, "Uh, excuse me Maam, but we would like our nickle back please!"
"Fine!" I replied.

Ah with the tourist trade in a small beach town.

See y'all when I get back.

Friday, August 12, 2005

All I want for Christmas...

Are some platform Biker boots!

Ok well, anyway, my friend Amber shared these links with me and I swear! I a gonna get some of these boots. Not the pointy toe stiletto ones, but the raucus big ol' lug sole 12 buckled steel toe
'ecrasses merdes'!

Boots by Pennangalan

9 Buckle Calf Comando Boots

Bucket Muskateer Boots

Libby 8 Strap Wedge Boots

Storm L5 Wedge Boots

Storm Elevator Boots

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Sometimes the weirdest stuff comes out of your kids mouths.
It's just too bizarre.

So, here are two examples taken from the last 24 hours in our home.

“Hey Mom! I just farted eggs in pots, and flowers grew,
and dead people said, "THaaaaaNK YOU!”
– Said while playing Banjo Kazooie.

“Mom, I can’t tell the difference between you and me.”

-This comment was made while watching a slideshow of recent photos taken in Eastern Washington State.
(This quote should be unnerving to her on SO MANY levels but she does not yet seem to be appropriately alarmed. She has not yet learned to cry out, "NOOO! I have become my mother!"
On the other hand, I feel pretty darned good!)