Saturday, July 29, 2006

Flood update from TeaTimeTim

Well after a grueling day of work on what seemed like 3 days rolled into one, we were able to repair the minor damage to our barn and get the horses back to some normal space. One of the good things about a packed gravel floor is they aren't hard too repair.

Today I will be installing a pump to draw from an old well which we will use for showering, and spraying salvaged equipment off, Then on to draining all the fluids into the tractor and pulling the carbarator off for seal replacement and cleaning. Plugs and cylinders will also be checked, and the head removed if necessary.

My truck is going to need extensive work in preventing it from rusting to death, but it looks like the insurance is covering all but $500.

I have fences to repair, debree to remove..

Our pond is the worst of it. A 5 foot wave come off the creek, over the the far bank, and out the dam side. Contaminated water in the pond, and the dams have take severe damage. We will have an engineer out monday, and were hoping that since our pond is our water souce that we can get some insurance. (small hope) We will more likely harvest about 100 Oak, Cherry, and Walnut tree's to pay for the repair.

Thanks for all those heart felt comments and concern.
I'm touched that you folks want to help. Really, we are very well off. We have rich incomes by most peoples standard. You can best help, by helping those less fortunate.

Red Cross has taken in many people during this time of crisis.
I put up some pictures for the family. I'll take more as we go along.

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Welcome to a gathering of the restful Sabbath

from listener

From time to time I will offer a Sabbath thread to perhaps help us through the world's difficult, dark days. With so much to take in, grasp, mull, act on and let go of these days, it may be helpful to support one another in the spaces between our actions, so that our mullings go deep enough to be meaningful and creative.

I will begin by offering the quote that begins every publication of Friends of Silence Newsletter, which was begun by my friend Nan Merrill:

"Is there enough silence for the Word to be heard?"

What helps you embrace and hold and lean into the deep Silences at the center of your being?

For some it is music. Here are two related quotes to ease your soul...

For a composer silence is something pregnant with expectation ... The most naturally spiritual medium. The music grows in the spiritual life: the silence of monks, the silence of meditation, the silence of not knowing something, the terrible silence of God when we are confronted with evil in the world. Music has always been intimately connected with the numinous and the immaterial. I increasingly believe that the non-corporeal quality of music can be a direct challenge to the world and its materiality.
~ James MacMillan on "Silence," Symphony No. 3

A small bird with a red bonnet on its head came and perched on a rock opposite us. It waved its tail, turned its head anxiously in all directions, then glanced directly at us and as it did so, it grew bold and began to whistle softly, tauntingly at first; but soon it threw back its head, swelled its throat, and gazing at the sky, the light, burst into song with abandon. Everything vanished; nothing remained in the world save this bird and God: God, and a beak that was singing.
~ Nikos Kazantzakis in St. Francis

Peace be with you.
~ listener

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Saturday Comics

And my favorite for today: Navel Gazing

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Bloggers Against Torture in Blogathon 2006

Remember when, all through the month of June, we had the "This Blog is Anti-Torture" button in the upper left hand corner of the page?

Bloggers Against Torture will be participating in the 24 hour Blogathon 2006, which is taking place tomorrow, July 29. The folks at Bloggers Against Torture will be blogging 24 hours nonstop to raise money for Amnesty International. Click the graphic below if you'd like to sponsor them.

Update: Don't forget Howard Dean will be on TV tomorrow.

Links to other recent posts:

A message from TeaTimeTim
Happy Birthday, Maura! (Charlie checked in in the comments of that thread.)

And finally, last, but definitely not least, please check out the Freecycle-inspired brainstorming thread. We got a lot of discussion of Freecycle, but the brainstorming part, not so much. So I'm doing some gentle prodding by reposting the link.

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Howard Dean on TV

I just stopped by the DNC blog and found this post: "Tune In: Governor Dean on TV"

Governor Dean will be making the rounds early tomorrow morning before heading to The Democratic Reunion. Tune in before heading out:
7:00 AM - ABC Good Morning America Weekend
8:05 AM - CNN Saturday
8:15 AM - MSNBC Live

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A message from TeaTimeTim

From Renee: I just got home and saw the messages from Tim (thank you jc for bringing them over from the other blog) as well as people's expression of their desire to help. I don't have any ideas myself, and there's a lot I'm preoccupied with at the moment, but I figured that pulling the comments together into a single post that people could link to might be a good first step. If nothing else, it will allow people to share the news with interested parties more easily.

Natural Disaster

This morning my wife woke at 1:00 am and become concern for our horses. I horses are in a barn about 10 feet above the flood plane. I trudge out in the dark and rain, found a massive flood the likes that had never happen in recorded history for this area. Getting to the barn I found the houses in 6 inches of water, with a foot and half of rushing water right out side the door. The farther down the drive the deeper. My wife and I made hast clear out our garage, and then guided the hourses through 3 feet of water at times to the hide side where our steps are.

Horses will climb steps folks. They are safe but shaken in the uper barn/ Garage. We begin to salvage some hay, and saw dust which would could access through a back way. Then I realized that my truck was parked on the steep bank of our lower driveway. I found it had 6 inches in the cab and the back end almost submerged. It a steep hill. Lucky for me the truck started, and the 4 wheel was already locked in. Our tractor is a complete loss.

Then we realized that our neighbors were down about as low as our barn, so we went up the road to check on them. The fire departant was on sceen already but because their drive crossing the creek no one could get to them. I guided them around the back woods and we brought them to our house safely.

Then I realized that our Office is also down low.. So I drove into work. 15 minute normal drive took 2 hours as I mazed around to try and find a safe route. I found the river rising well behond the 500 year flood mark. We pulled servers and equipment all morning. Mean while you could hear people scramming from the appartmetns across the Grand River. They spent the night with boats and helecopters rescuing people.

I'm tired and in need of sleep, and I have a laul.

You folks can read about it here.


The devestation of my property is imense. My horse Paddock is a debree field. Good news, I put fence post in deep, and most of my fence held. We found the dock that was on our pond in the horse padock. Two steel bridges we used daily to cross the creek are gone, and no where on our property. The list goes on.

I will be resigning my position of campaign manager. I must manage for my family now. Our house is the bright spot. Its still here, but we have no potable water. We spoke with FEMA and EMA from Geauga county and they were out to asses the damage. We are hoping for a low interest loan so we can have excavators come in and shore up our drinking supply, and purge our septic system.

This will be my last blog for awhile. We are safe, and no one died, and for that I'm greatful.

by TeatimeTim*in*NEOhio on Friday, 07/28/06 @ 01:24 PM

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Open Thread

If I haven't sent you a Blogger invite so that you can be a front page contributor, and you would like to be one, you can e-mail me at howardempowered at

FYI, I've been playing around with a MySpace page. If you're on MySpace, and feel so inclined, let me know who you are there. I've also set up a couple more Squidoo pages.

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, Maura!

I wasn't aware that today was Maura's birthday until I saw it in the comments. But if someone is Howardly enough to respectfully challenge Joementum at a public event*, I think she deserves her own birthday thread.

Happy Birthday, Maura! You always do us proud--you go, girl!

Update: jc posted a link to this stroll down memory lane for Maura.

*If you didn't see the video of Maura asking Joe Lieberman why he was being a "fair weather Democrat", it is the first video on this page.

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It's too late to sign up as a blogger for this event, but you can still be a sponsor.

I meant to post about this last night but got busy doing something else and ran out of time, but I did want to make sure I did a quick post drawing it to your attention. Basically, various bloggers or teams of bloggers agree to do a post every half hour for 24 hours, and other people sponsor them, and donations go to the charity of the bloggers' choice.

History of the event here.
Frequently asked questions
List of bloggers
List of charities

Different topic, but if you haven't done so already, please check out last night's brainstorming thread.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Freecycle-inspired brainstorming thread

It was Kimmy who first told me about Freecycle. If you haven't heard of it before, it's definitely worth checking out.

The Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by clicking on the region on the left. You may then go directly to your local group by clicking on "Go To" or you may immediately joining by clicking on "Join." It will generate an automatic e-mail which, when sent, will sign you up for the local group and send you a response with instructions on how it works. Can't find a group near you? You might want to consider starting one (click on "Start a Group" for instructions). Have fun!

The Freecycle Network was started in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown and help save desert landscape from being taken over by landfills. The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to "recycle" unwanted items. One person's trash can truly be another's treasure!

Anyway, I'm signed up via Freecycle Columbus, which is a Yahoo group. Posts all have in their title line the words "Wanted", "Offer" or "Taken".

I realize, at this point, that I've let you onto my train of thought in between stations. Here's what started this...

I was getting ready to put out another call for contributors. But not, contrary to what people have sometimes believed, because the workload of this blog is a big deal and I need help. After the big redesign I did a while back, posting to this blog has never been what I would consider a lot of work. If I don't have an idear for a main thread, I can always just post a few interesting links, or something from Cute Overload, or I can use an open thread to shamelessly promote the Cafe Press products that Demetrius has designed.

What I really want is for this blog to be a community blog, where people feel welcome to contribute what they have to offer, and with a variety of interesting, productive, discussion-provoking content that would make people want to link to it elsewhere, even if I didn't ask.

Ideally, I kind of wish that we could be set up more like one of the Scoop-style blogs where anyone can post a diary. But even though I could repeat the words "Scoop is free" in my sleep, I don't know the first thing about setting up that kind of system. I have tried, and it appears to be beyond me. In addition, just because *I* think that sort of setup would be ideal for a number of reasons, doesn't mean everyone else would like it, and I try to be sensitive to those here who are "change-averse".

I'll repeat the basics as far as contributing front page posts. If you are not currently a front page contributor and would like to be, just e-mail me and I can send you a Blogger invite. If you don't feel like making that commitment, or feel like the "technical" aspects are beyond your abilities (or what you have time to learn), then you can always send a single blog entry to that same address, and I can publish it for you.

But I've said those things any number of times before, and frankly I'm beginning to bore myself.

On my drive home from work today, I started thinking about the Freecycle model as a way to start talking about new front page content.

Wanted: what sorts of posts would you like to see, on what topics?
Offer: if you'd like to offer to post on a regular or semi-regular basis about some issue, let us know
Taken: if you see a Wanted post and think, "Hey, I'd like to do that!"

So...let's discuss.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Must. Resist. Happy dance.

Update: If you weren't here for the earlier thread, please check out what I said there about the Squidoo page, and let me know if you have any suggestions. (You can also set up a "lens" of your own, if you like.)

I've already posted this in the comments, but I think it deserves front page status. Plus, another Open Thread just seemed desperately lacking in creativity.

I found the following newsy nuggets at Buckeye State Blog:

The Ohio Fraternal Order Of Police endorsed Democrat Ted Strickland for governor today, turning away from a Republican gubernatorial candidate for the first time in more than 10 years.

The organization, which represents 24,000 police officers, had little to say about why it likes Strickland more than Republican Ken Blackwell.
"Blacks against Blackwell" has formed and begun distributing a pejorative flyer that groups Blackwell with President Bush and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

"Our color -- but not our kind" reads the flyer, complete with photos. "Joined at the hips and lips. The bad bunch. This trio has worked hard to suppress votes, erase civil rights and kill public education. In November, vote Ted Strickland for Governor of Ohio."
You can donate to Ted Strickland's campaign through our Act Blue page

Howard-Empowered Act Blue Page

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Open Thread

Just a few links to share with you this evening...

Check out my lens

I've been working on this Squidoo page for Howard-Empowered People. Let me know if there are any blogs you'd like me to add feeds to. I still plan to add a module with some of jc's designs, but I'm still figuring the whole thing out. It has a place to post Flickr photos, so if you know of any Deaniacs with Flickr pages, let me know so that I can add them. There is a section with YouTube videos, and I just added a new one with Connecticut pro-Lamont bloggers being forbidden entry to the Lieberman rally where Bill Clinton was speaking, even though they were legitimate ticket holders.

Just got this in my e-mail via Ken Blackwell keyword news:
Ohio gubernatorial candidate compares gays to arsonists, kleptomaniacs
Charming fellow, that Ken Blackwell. Before that, it was barn animals.

Thank goodness he's 20 points behind Stickland in the polls.

I leave you with something adorable from Cute Overoad.

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Mary Jo Kilroy for Congress

As I mentioned in the comments, today I got mail from the RNC, telling me how important it is to work to re-elect Deb Pryce, and how those scaaaary libruls (including "extremist organizations such as") are fighting against her. In fact, hers is a *nationally targeted seat"*. So won't I pitch in and give some money? After all, there are so many great things to recommend her, like, for example, she is "well-positioned to influence issues of importance to Ohio's burgeoning banking and insurance industries". Oh, right, because those industries are *totally* looking out for average Americans. Cough bankruptcy bill cough.

I don't have time to do a full-fledged post, as I really need to get to bed so I can get up and work in the morning, but I figure it's the least I can do to reward the nice Ohio Republican who sent me this stuff is to do another front-page plug for Mary Jo. Remember, you can donate to her campaign through the Howard-Empowered Act Blue page.

After all, I think Jo Ann Davidson, the "Co-Chairwoman, Republican National Committee" deserves something for troubling me--I mean for her trouble. So let's thank her by donating to Mary Jo Kilroy.

Previous posts
Dean Dozen Mary Jo Kilroy to challenge Deb Pryce (Oct 20, 2005)
It's Kilroy vs Pryce for OH-15 (November 17, 2005)
Mary Jo Kilroy on the Plunderbund Podcast (transcript) (June 8, 2006)

* For a fleeting moment there, I felt tempted to riff off of Pryce's "nationally targeted seat" and say something about "kicking her ass out of Congress. But, like Eliza Doolittle, "I'm a good girl, I am!" So I won't go there...

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Breakfast with Senator Durbin

The classic political junkie question is, "If you could choose anyone to have a meal with, who would it be and what would you ask?" Well yesterday, I had a chance to do just this with one of my top pick politicians, Senator Dick Durbin.

As many of you know, I was chosen to be a delegate to for the Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership 2006 class. This organization was developed by women leaders of the Illinois Democratic Party, with Loretta Durbin as founder and president. Similar to Howard Dean's plan for the 50-state strategy, the IWIL program recognized the importance of a developing a "farm team" for future politicians. This has given me an opportunity to have some incredible training, to network with leaders in the Democratic Party and to share this experience with other fledgling female politicians. Our group of fourteen women is as diverse as the Democratic Party. Seven of the 14 are from Chicago and seven of us are from "downstate" four are African-American and two are Hispanic. I represent the old-age group. :-)

This weekend we met at DePaul University in Chicago. This makes two weekends in a row for sleeping in a college dorm. Friday evening our group watched "Iron Jawed Angels". Our Friday night video about women's suffrage was a great way to start an inspiring weekend.

The meetings were at the university student center. On Thursday I received and email from our organizer that Sen. Durbin would start the day with a short talk. So as a seasoned Dean fan, I started my planning. When I entered I scoped out the room, four round tables with 6 chairs each and a long table at the end set with a warm breakfast. I figured that a front table could give me a closer view. I noticed that only two other women chose to sit there leaving 2 empty seats.

After we sat down, in entered Sen. and Loretta Durbin. Sharon said, "Look he is wearing a green tie." We noted that it matched Loretta's well fitted, lime green blazer. Jacky stated, "I have noticed a lot more green ties on men lately." As Sen, Durbin was filling up his plate with food, I could tell all the chairs were almost full so I quietly motioned for the Sharon to take off her bag from the chair next to her. Durbin, with a plate load of scrambled eggs asked, "Can I sit here?"

We had about ten minutes to talk before he was to speak. "Thanks for your great work in the senate for getting the stem cell research passed." stated a delegate that joined us. Yes it did force Bush to make his stance by vetoing it. We told him how we appreciated him coming here and how Loretta was insightful for organizing this women's training program. We continued to expressed appreciation of what he was doing in the Senate but I certainly didn't bring up my husband's concern about the Lebanon situation nor my son's anger about the upcoming Senate bill that would stop on-line gambling.

When we finished eating, he stood before the group directly in front of me. Sen. Durban, like someone else we know, is not a tall man. He started by saying he didn't want to take time away from the scheduled speaker but we all heartily expressed approval for him to continue his talk.

You could see his pride as he looked around the room filled with empowered woman (and amazingly, I was one of these women!!). He looked affectionately across the room to his wife of 39 years, and acknowledged her for making this all a happen.

Like all good politicians, he talked to his audience. He opened with encouraging us to run for office. He said if someone encourages you to run for office, consider it closely. 'Don't be discouraged, not everyone wins the first time. I ran four times before I was successful.' He proceeded to describe his failed candidacies. I never think about all that people go through prior to their success.

He talked about some successes this last week with the passage of the Right to Vote Act and the approval of stem cell research, at least in the Senate.

I especially love to hear insider stories. He talked about a recent meeting other Democrats and he had with the (evil!!) Republican message maker, Frank Luntz, Luntz talked with them about messaging and how successful the Republicans have been and what the Democrats need to do. This is amazing, Luntz sees this all as one big game and he is more interested in the ability to control people and how they vote yet he seems to have little alliance to a belief system of his own or a loyality to a particular party. Someone asked Durbin if there was a Democratic plan and he said they would be releasing it in the next month. He went over a few points, which we DNC people know is what Dean has already introduced.

Apologizing for interrupting our sessions, Senator Durbin left us to our instruction by two women from Emily's List organization and message maker, Pete Giangreca from John Edward's campaign. Giangreca had helped to develop the idea of "Two Americas." When asked about blogging he warned us not to blog because what you say there cannot be taken back, too late for me!

***An interesting side note. Saturday evening there was a BBQ with past delegates from the IWIL program and Loretta told Sen. Durbin that he could not attend because there was not enough room for spouses.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Katharine Jefferts Schori on CBS Evening News

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop Elect of the Episcopal Church, was on the CBS Evening News earlier this evening.

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What do you say to people who don't think that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church should condone homosexuality and same-sex marriages?

Katharine Jefferts Schori: Well, my sense is that Jesus invited everybody to the table, to the "great feast", and for us to say that some people are not fit to come to that feast is not our task.

You can find the rest of the transcript here.

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Truman The caterpillar

Happy Truman from listener Look how happy our little Monarch caterpillar is!

Ate a smilie-face in the milkweed leaf today!

I actually saw the butterfly lay the egg and brought it in so the mean red bugs couldn't eat it.

Our biologist son recommended wrapping the ends of the milkweed leaves in a wet paper towel.

It works great for keeping the leaves from wilting quickly!

We named the little fellar Truman. ;-)

Laughing Trumantook this clearer photo a short while later... which seems to show the smile turning into a belly laugh! I think Truman must have a great sense of humour!

Truman is three days old now, and for the first day I was really worried because it didn't appear that our caterpillar was eating anything, and caterpillars are supposed to be all about eating!

But as I continued to observe, I noticed on the second day that the little fellar had probably been eating all that time, but such a small layer of the leaf that it didn't show. It wasn't until the second day that Truman began to make a mark across the top of the leaf. Now, as you can see, Truman chomps right through like a champ, and is now big enough that we can make out body stripes! Truman is not only humourous but quite intelligent (especially considering brain size!); I noticed last night that Truman sleeps aligned along the center spine of the leaf, to be camouflaged! Why didn't I think of that?

Inigmatic TrumanWhat could Truman be saying here?
Is Truman asking about our housecat?
Celebrating CATS, being a CATerpillar?
Or is it a special message for Catreona?

It took Truman half a day to munch the smilie, most of the evening to laugh, and another couple hours to create the Cat. =^. .^=
Truman the Artist! Imagine what Truman will be able to do as a Butterfly!

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The Immigration Debate

Testing to see if the YouTube "embed" thing works

Or visit this link. This particular one is from CurrentTV (Al Gore's station). Apparently a lot of the blogs are having a YouTube war. I don't know the particulars, but here's the post from Firedoglake, linking to a song, "Keep your Jesus off my--" (male reproductive organ).

What good stuff have you found on YouTube lately?

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The image that appears above is from a page on Walking the Labyrinth that I put together a couple years ago.

Whether or not we follow a specific faith tradition, the idea of Sabbath has some merit. Even if it's not commanded by God, it is something our bodies can beg for and our minds yearn for.

Wayne Muller wrote:

Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that show us where to go. We lose the nourishment that gives us succor. We miss the quiet that gives us. Poisoned by the hypnotic belief that good things come only through tireless effort, we never truly rest. And for want of rest, our lives are in danger.
What do you do to rest, replenish, restore?

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