Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And Many Happy Returns

A celebration - or perhaps better said, a recognition is underway throughout the Christian world.  2011 marks 400 years since the publication in 1611 of the King James Bible. There are many good books out.  I recommend Alister E. McGrath's "In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language and a Culture".  If I lived near New York City I would drop by the American Bible Society building at West 61st and Broadway and see their current exhibit of Biblical illustrations,"On Eagles' Wings".  The title is taken from Exodus 19:4 - "Ye have seen...how I bare you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself".

This focus on the King James Bible has me thinking about language and the difficult art of translation.  For centuries people have gone to war over words.  "Being of one substance" is different than "being of the same substance".  Both are phrases that describe the Holy Trinity at the core of Christian belief.  The original text was in Greek.  Then there were Latin translations.  And since then, there has been controversy.

Everyone should take a turn at translation.  If you think you don't know a foreign language, listen to kids.  A teacher I know had his class translate some Shakespeare into the shortened language of text messaging.  Then they discussed what was gained and what was lost in the translation.  The authors of the King James Bible used simple language that tells the story with nouns and verbs.  The action is easy to follow.  400 years later, it is still a best seller.  Modern translations use contemporary grammar but don't do any better at describing each scene.   Plan your own recognition and read the Bible today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Am the Cat Who Walks by Himself

My favorite blog is written by Jenny Glen.  It is called Alta Pete Farm Tails.  Jenny and her husband Scott live in Southern Alberta.  They raise sheep and train dogs to manage the sheep.  They compete with their dogs throughout North America.

Yesterday Jenny passed on a piece of blogger-conventional wisdom: "If you are too busy to blog, post a picture of your cat".  Instead, I invite you to read about cats.  The link is to a short story by 19th century author Rudyard Kipling from his book "Just So Stories".  I sat last evening in the last light watching a black cat make her rounds.  If you are too busy to watch a cat, you are missing a great entertainment.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

Did you watch Fred Rogers?  Did you sing along with him, perhaps as you sat with your very young children and watched him put on his cardigan and sing "... won't you be my neighbor."

Fred Rogers grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  He was born in 1928. ( A year later, Arnold Palmer was born in the same small town.)  Latrobe is a railroad town, 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.  There were good jobs in the railroad days, jobs we now call "family wage jobs".  A main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad ran through Latrobe.  The short haul Ligonier line ran along the Loyalhanna Creek through a deep mountain gorge and then on a spur to several coal mines.

No doubt, Latrobe was a neighborhood.  Coal hauling, railroad repairs, engineering, smithing, taking in laundry and preparing meals.  The population was under 10,000.  People knew each other's name.  Your neighbor knows your name.  Your neighbor gives you a hand.  Your neighbor waves in passing.

We have come to live in a neighborhood.  Kids on bikes.  An ice cream truck playing familiar nickelodeon tunes.  Cats in the sun washing and sleeping.   Mr. Rogers urged his young audience to be a neighbor by sharing, protecting, respecting.  Latrobe is proud of this native son - for good reason.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Dust bunnies formed as soon as I opened the first box - first of several hundred.  We are now day 8 in our new house.  We had our internet installed today.  The previous seven days were "radio-silent".  We hooked up our stereo system over the weekend providing music to unpack by. Willie Nelson offered the right mix of sing-along and remember.

Our new house is in a retirement community.  It is a continuing care community which offers no support, some support or full time support as we "age in place".  We both volunteer at a local sheep farm, herding ewes and wethers and lambs with our dogs.  I am in a martial arts program, working towards my black belt.  I am not ready for support for my daily care, but I'm glad to know it will be there when I am.  This chapter is the last, but may be the longest.  For now, I'm glad that someone else will plow the snow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It Takes a Lot of Living....

My mother was a stickler about the proper use of the words "home" and "house". Her clarification: "It takes a lot of living to make a house a home." Today we made a down payment on that investment. Tomorrow our dogs will join us. Dust bunnies will begin to form under the bed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I have mentioned before that we are preparing to move.  Now it is happening.  We begin this move in earnest tomorrow.  We have done all that we can in preparation for younger and stronger men who will arrive in the morning.   We are experienced movers, but no amount of experience really prepares you for the loss of control that follows the dismantling of your home.  I have wandered through our increasingly empty house with an item in my hand that I want to pack with others like it.  But I can't find the others.  My husband packs more than I am wanting to save.  I throw out more than he is wanting to lose.  We create tension between "it might be useful someday" and "I haven't used it in a year".    I visited our new neighborhood this morning.  I talked with one of our new neighbors and took a picture of our new mailbox with our names on it.  Comforting moments reminding me that when one door closes, another opens.  This time next year I will be thinking about other things.  Perhaps a block party with our new friends.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What Do I think?

Casey Anthony.  The media never gave her a chance.  They still don't, calling her a killer and questioning the trial and verdict.  The jury were not convinced.  They were there.  Their word is good enough for me.

Congress.  Doing their job.  The system is not broken.  The hot heads in the House acted just as the Constitutional Convention predicted they would - hot-headedly.  The deliberative Senate acted just as the Constitutional Convention predicted they would - more slowly and with more thorough debate.  Read James Madison's notes of the proceedings.  This is the way our legislative branch is supposed to work.

The American people.  Doing their job.  The elected legislators and executives have heard from their constituents that change is needed - less public expenditure.  Despite fear mongering, Granny has not been thrown off a cliff. 

The US economy.  Working.  Everyone is cautiously holding cash.  Consumers are saving more.  Corporations are investing less.  These are uncertain times.  In a free economy such as ours there will be winners and losers.  We have come through a long hold-harmless era during which government has sought to mitigate the consequences of failure.  We cannot afford to indemnify all risk.  The challenge will be to back away a bit.

The Tea Party.  They acted in the way that we advocate in all civics curricula.  They organized around common principles and values and got out the vote for candidates who agreed.  Those with a different view have the same opportunity.  The Tea Party folk have remained focused for over two years.  I'm impressed.