Thursday, July 31, 2008

BLOGGER MEET UP

Yesterday I got to meet Fran!!!

We were going to meet at Gloria Jean's at the Glendale Galleria for coffee. But Gloria Jean's was gone! So we got a cuppa at Cinnabon and talked non stop for over an hour.

I was going to take a picture. I had my camera with me. But I was having so much fun talking and sharing with Fran that I forgot! Mea culpa!



She is WONDERFUL! Just like you would imagine from reading her blog. Smart, energetic, pretty, funny.

It's a very cool thing with every blogger (all three) I've met so far. It feels like meeting up with an old friend and just picking up the threads of a warm and familiar conversation.

Anyway, if you ever get the chance to meet Fran, you will enjoy every minute!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ORPHANS WORK ACT

Do you take pictures?
Do you draw pictures and post them on the internet?
Do you write and post it on the internet?
Do you blog?
Do you have any kind of media work that you have created that is accessible to the public?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you have to read about The Orphans Work Act

If this passes, then anything you and I have written/photographed/created that is available anywhere online or in any media anywhere, even if it is licensed and/or copyright registered, it will be available to anyone to use in any manner they wish and profit from that use without paying you or me a penny. Unless, (of course there is an "unless" and it will cost) we register each and every work with a newly created database (companies yet to be formed) and pay for each item's registration. On top of licensing and copyright.

This has such serious implications, I cannot begin to list them out. I will predict that many blogs will suddenly be deleted, as well as Facebook, MySpace, Flikr and other such accounts.

It's time to contact your congressperson again. This bill needs to go down. Tell ALL your friends and family. Spread this news like hot frosting on a red velvet cake!

This is very very bad juju.


Here is another informative link from AIGA to read.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ALL IS FORGIVEN




He laughed with his comrades in arms at mess. But the laughter never reached his eyes. His comrades did not notice. Because the laughter did not reach their eyes as well. They had shared their tales of the day’s bombings as they always did. But for the first time since they had flown together much of each tale was either made up or truth glossed over.

He dreaded having to sleep. He avoided it as long as he could. Finally there could be no more excuses and he had to go lie in his bunk.

Tonight all the beds, normally filled with the snores of the pilots, were dead quiet. Not one soldier in that room slept that night. Nor did they sleep at all well for many other nights.

When he’d first heard the nasty rumors he had dismissed them. Why on earth would this man’s army want a group of first rate P-51 flyers to fly P-47’s? It just made no sense. But the rumors were true. And he was a good pilot. And a loyal soldier.

He lay in his bunk that night and tried to close his eyes. But every time he did the faces would come back to him. The faces of those he had killed that day. The first time in his two years in this war that what he did looked back at him with eyes full of fear and horror. As if he were the monster.

Nothing in his 21 years on this earth had prepared him for this kind of soul destroying experience. He was a builder! He was a man who loved the earth. He was moral and good. Raised by Godly and decent parents. He was taught that to kill was a sin.
And today he had killed.

Of course he had killed on other days, but in his P-51 so high in the sky there were no faces. His targets were munitions dumps. Train stations. Bridges. Nothing with faces or eyes that shouted accusations of “Killer!” to him. And he knew enough German from his mother to understand the curses yelled up to him.
He was not the monster here!

He tried to close his eyes again. Then had to smother his face into his pillow to try to erase what had burned into his brain.
Each day that followed, each new mission completed, carved out a little more of each soldier’s soul. Dark circles and sunken cheeks occupied the place where the warm comfort of camaraderie used to light up the mess hall each night. For the first time since they’d been stationed in Paris, trays were returned with uneaten food. The cook, a normally sensitive cuisinier, did not complain. He knew.

Each night during that dark time he would return to his bunk. Some nights he would bury his face so hard into his pillow, hoping to be able to cry. Or scream. Nothing would come. Just the faces. Men. Women. And even children. Their homes. And he was the destroyer.

After a time the emptiness settled into a very large knot that lived in the pit of his stomach for the rest of his life. It was a knot that had strangling tendrils that would reach up to his mind and repeat the same message. Over and over. That he did not deserve to have any kind of a life after this. That he was no longer entitled to the life he carried in his sack of bones. That nothing he could ever do would make up for what he had done to those faces.

When the war was over and he was sent back home, he did what all his buddies were doing. He pushed the knot way way down. And pretended it wasn’t there. Though his nights were filled with nightmares that lifted him, screaming, out of his bed.

I do not know if what I wrote above is what actually happened. This is what I can only imagine happened to soldiers in WWII. And in all wars past. And after. Innocent young boys (and now women) were trained to use instruments of death and destruction, without any thought or attention given to what this would do to their souls and their psyches. During or after. They were sworn in to do a necessary and ugly job. And they did it with stoic courage and honor.

I am safe today in a privileged life because of what my father did in WWII. I did not fully appreciate the gift of his sacrifice until later in his life. I am so grateful that I finally did in time to call him on Veteran’s Day to thank him.

But the tragedy is that even then, he still felt unworthy and not entitled. And almost nobody ever knew this.

And it did not fully occur to me until the last couple months when visions of the above and what he must have experienced during that time took up a dance in my head. I pray he’s somewhere he can read this and know that I know now. And that I understand.

Like I said to you that last day, Dad, all is forgiven. ALL is forgiven.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

FRIDAY FIVE - WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, CAN'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT



Singing Owl says ~

"We will be at a chaplain's convention when you all are answering the Friday Five Questions. I'll look forward to reading your answers next week when I get home. At the moment we are trying to get the car loaded so we can hit the road, so this will be a simple F.F. This running around madly in order to leave has me wondering: what are the five things you simply must have when you are away from home? And why? Any history or goofy things, or stories?"

Oh goodness me, you can't just leave it at five. I am a notorious over-packer. Truly. When I toured with Covenant Players my suitcase was much like the ones you see at the circus. Where the clown just keeps pulling impossible things out of a suitcase, like a bicycle and a ladder and a line of chorus girls. That is me. Even for just a weekend.

1. The toiletries bag - includes evening face scrub, morning soapless face wash, sunscreen, ointments in case Wonderboy's eczema pops up, implements of tweezing, clippers, bandaids, St. Bernard with cask of brandy. (OK not really the St. Bernard)

2. The suitcase - includes the necessaries, plus an extra set for "just in case", clothes for each day, with some extra pieces in case of weather changes. I have cut myself down to just three pairs of shoes. Sweatshirt. Something nice in case we go out to dinner. The shoulder strap purse. G-string and tassles in case I run out of cash. (Naw, that'd never happen. I always have enough cash)

3. The car purse - this is usually a fanny pack with a smaller wallet, aspirin, another pair of clippers for that pesky hangnail that always pops out 30 minutes into a drive, cell phone, bluetooth in case I drive, pencil for car necessaries as below, lipstick, zit cover up, George Clooney's telephone number. (Fine, that last one's made up too. *sigh*)

4. Inside the car - A book. Two if the one I'm reading is almost finished. Magazines not yet read for when I am bored with the book. The latest puzzle page with the Sudoku and the crossword. Drinking water in my Kleen Kanteen, snacks if it's a long road trip, towel to cover the plastic seat if it's a hot day and binoculars so I can look into other people's cars. (hee hee. Just kidding. I don't need binoculars to do that!)

5. Inside the trunk, with the suitcase, the shoe bag, the toiletries bag, the toys suitcase, the beach bag, and the scooter would be a first aid kit, emergency water supply and bag full of unmarked bills in case we have to bribe our way out of a local jail. (Kidding again! I have my G-string and tassles, remember? No jail time for us)

And that should do it. Though we do have to book an extra day at any hotels because of the time it takes to unload the car, unpack and then at the end, repack and reload. But Wonderboy doesn't mind. I only make him carry one suitcase at a time. ;)

Monday, July 21, 2008

FOR WANT OF AN ENORMOUS AND MULTIMILLON DOLLAR NEW BUILDING.......

I have written about my church's massive multimillion dollar capital campaign almost a year ago.

Well, even though they're a couple 'a million shy the original goal, demolition begins this week I believe, on the second phase of the project *drumroll please* the Children's Pavilion. Never mind that two of the pastors are now doing three jobs with less assistance. Never mind that the original building's goals have not yet produced the regular "programs" that were planned, because the plan was to staff the church mostly with volunteers who have not materialized. Although all the hype you would read or hear decries the opposite of what you would see and experience.

The macro tragedy is the enormous amount of expenditure into buildings so grandiose that many are now askance at said grandiosity. Not to mention the debt the church will be burdened with for many many years. (Financing is with independent banks, not Presbytery). And when, as I fear, a sizable amount of the pledges those loans are based upon, prove to be uncollectable, it's not gonna be pretty.

The micro tragedy (or actually tragedies) that draws my sight to the macro tragedy are personal experiences such as -

~I learned that a mission fund had an additional $6,000 to give away and was looking for needs. I called them. Twice. And e-mailed. With a most appropriate avenue. No one ever called me back or replied to my e-mail. Not even to say "Sorry, already spoken for".

~One of the pastors was to call me, during a difficult time, which I was really needing. Took my number. And never called. When I saw him some weeks later, not even a mention of the oversight.

~The deacons received new assignments this year. I received a postcard telling me that "K" was to be my new deacon. When I saw her on Deacon Sunday she said, "No I'm not. You're not on my list". I don't believe I was on any list. At any rate, three months later now, "K" kindly "adopted" me, after the pastor in charge of the deacons was not able to figure out what had happened. I've talked to several members recently who have said, "What? We still have deacons? What do they do?"

~And this, which really makes me sad in terms of the new 8 million dollar Children's Pavilion. I volunteered to teach Sunday School this summer. Such a big push for volunteers needed because summer is so difficult. I have never taught at this church, so I expected some kind of phone call, or flyer or something to prepare me. At least tell me where to meet. The Thursday before the first Sunday I was to teach, I finally got an answer to my e-mail saying that because of the early demolition on the Sunday School buildings there had been no time to prepare a lesson and that a video would be shown. The second week, it took my third e-mail sent late Saturday night to find out that VBS had taken more attention than thought and again, a lesson had not been prepared and a video would be shown.

~Wonderboy and I ran into a young woman who had grown up in the church. I asked her what she thought of the highly touted youth programs. She sighed and said that she had tried to get into the youth groups there, but as she neither lived in the area nor attended the same school most of the kids did that they ignored her. That it was a very cliquey group. And this surprised me because for years I've heard what a great program this church does with its youth. Though it misses the mark on most everything else. Certainly the children's choir has not been that way for us.

The upshot is that Wonderboy will participate in his beloved Children's Choir with Janet and Judy one more year. Especially since his school will be new. Then I believe it will be time to move on.

And I will never again volunteer for anything at this church. It makes me ill to imagine what good would have come if the building and upgrades (many of which were sorely needed, to be fair) had been done in keeping with the original architecture and done more modestly, with all that lovely money.

Now they will have a very fancy Children's Pavilion to show the kids videos on Sunday because there was no time to prepare a lesson.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

EARLY DAYS IN HIS TERM

PCUSA's new moderator Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow got to meet blogger pal Brittany of Tales of the Journey at a conference this week.

She had a very positive experience and some interesting comments on his leadership of a town hall meeting. Read about it on her blogpost here

Brittany also shared an interesting reflection on poverty.

Good things goin' on amidst all the strife.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"SHE'S SO ARTISTIC" AWARD



That scamp Singing Owl bestowed this lovely award on me! I am very honored. And in such excellent company. To my great relief I did not have to participate in the bathing suit competition.

There are rules and responsibilities in holding this award:

1) Pick five blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of Arte Y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award -- which is here: Arte Y Pico.

I will pick five, and if you've already received this award, then you're twice as artistic. In no particular order:

1. First I choose Princess Mindy because not only is she creative with sewing and crafting and now creating a slice of heaven with her new house, she also creates tremendous blessings for all of us who know her through her blog by her gift of hospitality and making connections.

2. Next has to be SpookyRach. You must go there and see her photographs and then read her wonderful stories from Friday Cemetary Blogging. Even more fun are her tales from work and life. I always feel like a welcome member of her family, sittin' and laughin' with her. That is truly a gift.

3. Even if you've already won this, Barb, I have to pick Views From the Road. Barb makes the coolest videos and photoshop pics you've ever seen. Of course the pictures are my favorites, since I am in most of them. You should not miss her Bored Mom Productions and Empty Nesters Hiking Club. Great fun! I admire her prolific production skills.

4. Cynthia is a profoundly gifted poet. Sometimes she takes me to look at things I'd rather not, but in such a way I realize I should and do some more work. That's when I find poetry truly edifying. When it calls me to task or shows me a new view of an old picture. Cynthia does this. And she paints the prettiest darn pots you ever saw!

5. My hero and one of my first blog friends is Quotidian Grace. Her artistry is in her passion for the church and our sweet Lord and how she pursues it with, as her name says, tremendous grace. She is unflagging in sharing this passion with all of us. And I've heard she sings like an angel. (time for a You Tube, Jody!!)

.....C'est Tout!

LIEUTENANT DAD


I have an award to accept and pass on. But before I do, I want to share a couple photos and YouTube that our friend Peter found about my dad in WWII. Now I have lots of photos of my dad in WWII, but these are special because someone else took them and they traveled more than 60 years to come back to my mom and me.

This is my Dad. Or I should say Lieutenant Dad...



This is my dad and his best buddy. They flew in the Battle of the Bulge. Every time they went out on a sortie, only half their squadron came back. Then it was just the two of them. They went to their CO individually asking that the other guy not be sent out again. So they got leave and caught a flight to the south coast of France. To Nice. But the pilot got lost and ended up flying over a battle field in Italy where they were shot at. They finally got their leave. And I have the key to the hotel in Nice where my dad stayed.



This is the You Tube of my dad's crew chief Joseph Kronek talking about my dad and some other fellows taking him "Hedge Hopping".