the difference between cats and dogs

Sometimes Get Fuzzy can be rather off the wall, but I thought this really captured at least one aspect of how cats and dogs are different.


what is good

I've always loved Micah 6:8:

  He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you but to
do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

I was reading Phillip Carey's Good News for Anxious Christians the other evening, and he made reference to this verse and said, in essence, "that's all you need to know."

I can live with that.

keeping things straight

Terry and I made reservations for an Alaska trip next May. It's something we've wanted to do for a long time, and we decided it was time to do it. We're taking a Princess cruise out of Vancouver and the Princess railway cars to Denali. Really looking forward to it.

Looking at the tour book we noticed that there are something like nine different options for travelers embarking at Vancouver, depending on whether you take a round trip cruise or what kind of land tour you take when you reach the port in Whitter, Alaska.

It made me wonder how Princess keeps straight who is going where. I asked our travel agent about this and she said that they were the experts. That they invented the Alaska cruise/land tour combos.

I'm sure that true. I'll have to trust that it is. Still, there's a part of me that's a tad nervous.

But Princess Cruises is the expert. I'm just going to have to leave it to them.

the benefits of pressure cooking

We continue to use our pressure cooker regularly. It's wonderful for weeknights, and frees up extra time for me.

I had a thought the other night. Since we bought the pressure cooker we haven't bought a take-and-bake pizza, and we haven't bought any Bertolli or TGI Fridays frozen stir fry meals.

That's a good thing.

photography and writing

I had one of those associative memory moments on Saturday evening. I was pulling out our Yosemite Lodge wine glasses, and I thought about our last trip there. We didn't get a room in the building we prefer and always request, but rather in another building which happened to be next to the bus turnaround. And there were a lot of buses. We had had one of those middle-aged moments when we made our reservations, and had made them for the week before Memorial Day, instead of two weeks before when we usually go. Yosemite was crowded to say the least. Not our favorite Yosemite trip by any means.

As usual I took a lot of pictures. I shared them online with my colleagues at work. One of them commented, "How peaceful and serene." Not at all.

I realized on Saturday as I was pulling out the wine glasses that when I take photographs I lie. And when I write I don't.

Now I don't use Photoshop to take an image of the moon from one picture and put into another where the moon wasn't. But when I frame a shot, I do so as to remove as much evidence of people and man-made structures as possible. And when I get home I will use Photoshop to remove signs, overhead wires, and sometimes people.

When I write, I write truthfully. I do, as I have said, reserve the right to make omissions. But whatever I do say is true to the best of my understanding, belief, or recollection.

It's an interesting dichotomy I hadn't considered before. Or maybe not a dichotomy at all, in the context of "omission."

faith and science

Episopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to the Chicago Tribune on faith and science: The clash between the two is "a particularly American conflict."

  Much of the clash "has been framed around issues of evolution and Darwin. That is simply a signpost for the
challenge of living with different worldviews," Jefferts Schori said.

But she contends that the two disciplines go hand in hand and every nation, including the U.S., owes its
children the best of scholarship in science and comparative religions.

courtesy of Episcopal Cafe

Coffee House

I'm somewhat addicted to The Bridge on XM Radio. It's mellow and folk rock from the seventies: James Taylor, Carly Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King and the like. Their playlist is fairly short, and for that reason Terry likens it to fingernails on a chalkboard. For me, it's right in my wheelhouse, and it's usually what's on the radio in my Corolla as I'm buzzing around.

From November 29 through Christmas, however, The Bridge has given way to Paul McCartney. All Paul McCartney all the time. Mind you, I enjoy Paul McCartney. (Did you know that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?) But just not nonstop.

Terry and I were driving into Sonoma last week. We stopped for lunch at Pizzeria Capri Ristorante, a small Italian place, primarily because it was the first place we saw and I was in one of my low blood sugar, "need food now" places. It turned out to be a good choice. The food was good, down-home fare, and the service friendly.

I was also really enjoying the music they were playing. Turned out to be the Coffee House on Sirius/XM. I hadn't listened to that channel in ages, but they were doing a really good job. I kept listening during our Sonoma trip.

They play a nice mix. You get some of the acoustic work of the Beatles, R.E.M., Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, and the like. Then there's a number of artists with whom I am not familiar: Matt White, David Gray, Jill Sobule, and many others.

Something for me to enjoy until The Bridge returns, and even after that. I've already freed up a preset on the car radio for Coffee House.

Advent quiet

I really like the Rev. Ann Markle's take on Advent. She's the rector of St. Raphael's Church, Crossville, Tennessee.

  "Not only is Advent a time to think about what's really important, it's also an opportunity to make a
Christian witness and be the counter culture that the Christian church is really called to be," she said.

"I just threw out [recycled, I hope!] reams and reams of paper from advertising sections that came in my
newspaper," said Markle during a Dec. 1 telephone interview. "What retailers want to do is to
whip us up to run out there and spend money we don't have to try to win friends and influence people
when what we really need to do is be quiet."

The whole story is on

while I was out

Some of the most interesting news stories seem to break when I'm away on vacation. From the end of last week:

  • A NASA scientist has discovered a microbe that that can use arsenic rather than phosphorus in its cells. The finding challenges some of scientists' basic assumptions of what it takes for life to exist. Here's the L.A. Times report on the story.
  • It may be that the number of stars in the universe has been seriously under-counted. New calculations suggest that the universe may contain 300 sextillion stars, three times the previous estimates. Here's the USA Today version of the story.

Both stories make me think about what an amazing, incredible, wonderful universe we live in. No matter how much science learns, there is always more to be discovered.

In this Advent season, I think taking time for a sense of awe is appropriate along with the waiting and expectation.

a Sonoma state of mind

One of the things that Terry and I do well is that when we get away it's often to a place where the pace of life is slower and you really just have step back, breathe deeply, and take it easy.

That's how it was in Sonoma. The pace of life is just generally slower there.

When we had lunch Thursday at Pizzeria Capri Ristorante on our way into town, I had to go find the waitress to get our check. We were the only ones left in the restaurant so she wasn't out and about the floor. She said, "You ate fast." Now I didn't think we ate our lunch any faster than we normally do, but there you are. That's Sonoma.

Add to that the fact that we had rain on Thursday, and just plain cold, cloudy, gray weather on Friday, there was not a lot of motivation to be out and about. We might well have gone exploring and wine tasting. Instead we slept late, had breakfast, and then went across the street to Barking Dog Coffee, a small espresso shop frequented by locals.

Jacket2After that we went next door to a cowboy gear shop. My eye was caught by a really nice Pendleton jacket. Not something I would normally consider, but given the the place and the weather, I was thinking differently. I had told Terry that for Christmas I wanted a new jeans jacket. I asked her if she'd get that for me instead. She loved the jacket and was all too happy to do so. More money than we'd usually spend, but high quality and something that will last.

Friday afternoon Terry napped and then went off to her spa treatment. I wrote.

Dinner at the Santé Restaurant was relaxed and leisurely. The food, by the way, was exquisite and the service impeccable. Our courses arrived in front of each of us in perfect synchronization. Amazing. We both thought that Santé outdid the Ahwahnee, and that's saying an awful lot. The entire experience took the better part of ninety minutes. Slower and more relaxed.

A way of thinking to bring home with me. And I have a new jacket to help remind me to maintain that Sonoma state of mind.