August 12th, 2009

Alan - sunrise - Palm Springs area

In morning light -

I woke with a different opinion of the Julie Powell character played by Amy Adams in Julia and Julie.

I realized it shows the two different time periods.  Julie was able to build a following by posting daily.  She also showed her daily and even moment by moment moods.  Julia's life has the benefit of time, reflection and editing.  We are shown a more complex character and the movie begins with her having already achieved success during the war, so, in a way, she had less to prove, though she still wanted to be busy and involved.  She found her calling in cooking and persevered.  Julie uses her as a model to build her own life, to give herself a goal, and a way to actually stick to something, for, as her mother says, the first time in her life.  They are two different people in two different time periods.  Julia Child and her sister were very tall, and they both admit that because they clearly didn't fit it, there was a freedom from the beginning to do as they pleased.

I love the book on Julia Child from which the movie was taken.  She had a rich life in a different time period.  Who knows what we would think of her if she had a daily blog.   Who knows how the cookbook would have developed, but it is unlikely it would have had its strength without the years of revision.  We lose something and gain something in these modern times, but that the movie is still with me this morning and I am still thinking about the "characters" says it had an affect.

Perhaps I rebelled against what appeared to be a Cinderella story for Julie and yet it actually was.  She wrote a blog, and then, a book, and now there is a movie.  Cinderella finds her own shoe at the ball and walks alongside the prince.

And now, on reflection, I'm back with what originally bothered me.  It is a Cinderella story.  In the beginning, Julie Powell is seen having lunch with three successful friends, all busy on their cell phones.  It appears she judges that, and yet, it is jealousy because by the end, she, too, is successful, as regards fame and money, though she has muddled through her actual job and not given it her  best even though she has an understanding boss.   Do we only watch what celebrates the "super-hero," the successful?  Is that the entertainment archetype we need?  What if she had actually found satisfaction in her "mediocre" job and remained unknown?  Does that a movie make?

Perhaps since my niece's visit, I'm more aware of the role models we present, the goals we set, and we Americans are taught to achieve and compete, and perhaps that is why we as a nation struggle to accept universal health care.  Can't "they" do it on their own?  They do it in the movies, but life is more complex than that as is a true definition of success and I do see they tried in the movie to show that it really is all about Julie following her dream, and yet, in reality, her dream did come true. Is that possible for us all? Perhaps when success is internally set.  


alan - spring flowers

Health Care Reform -

I believe the most important issue before us right now is health care reform.  Every American must have health care coverage.  We also need to look at how we handle the last three to six months of life.  President Obama is addressing this issue and we must support him each and every day.  I don't know what people fear so much in this but it reminds me of the alarm around the ERA that it meant males and females would share a restroom.  Some restaurants actually do that now and we survive, but the threat of it destroyed what made such perfect sense.

I also believe that any person of faith, of any faith, knows that we care for everyone.  We don't ignore the weak.  I was surprised to learn when I read the biography of John Clare, a 19th century English poet
, that his town supported an asylum well-enough maintained that he would periodically check in for food and rest.  If they felt a moral obligation to take care of the people of their town then, can't we do it now?

Read this and sign if it speaks to you.  Jim Wallis of Sojourners speaks of values all life on the planet shares.  The Golden Rule is universal.  I think we need to sign every petition that comes our way to ensure that our president knows he has our support to get this extremely important legislation through and soon.

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space - center of our galaxy

The Sky!

I love meteor showers, seem to get excited about them each year, and I've been fortunate enough to see meteors all times of year, which reminds me that this doesn't go away during the day when we can't see them.  What does it mean to each of us that dust is swirling more magnificently around than usual.  Does it increase our sensitivity, agitate or soothe our mood?  Most of us are more aware of the sky this time of year and last night I kept looking up and feeling my eyes or else the stars play games as I looked for that fantastic dart, that message it seems from afar and yet, right now, is also here.  

Op-Ed Contributor

Dust in the (Cosmic) Wind

Pia Fischer


Published: August 11, 2009

Logan, Utah

THE Perseid meteor shower is summer’s closing act, arriving in mid-August like clockwork. For centuries, many Christians associated it with the martyred St. Lawrence, whose feast day falls on Aug. 10, so they called the display “the tears of St. Lawrence.” By the mid-1800s, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli came to understand that meteor showers are really comet dust — the “very minute particles that they have abandoned along their orbit.”


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alan's beach photo

Safety and Risk!

I drove by the Middle School today and on the sign is this:

Thank you, Mill Valley. Have a great summer. Stay safe.

I wonder if this is why we're having so many problems in this country right now. "Stay safe."

Is safety what life is all about? Is that how we became a free nation and went to the moon?

Perhaps that is why we struggle with health care reform. Those who have it are fine. Those who don't probably don't have the energy to fight for it, and so we continue with a mantra of "Why change? Stay safe."

Jon Carroll has this to say about politics and the Democrats:

And maybe this poem with its last line shows how complex this leaning from the humanness of duality into the spiritual unity of peace.

Quaker Meeting, The Sixties

by Robin Becker

Seeing my friend’s son in his broad-brimmed hat
and suspenders, I think of the Quakers
who lectured us on nonviolent social action
every week when I was a child. In the classrooms
we listened to those who would not take up arms,
who objected, who had accepted alternative
service in distant work camps and showed
slides of hospitals they helped to build.
On Wednesdays, in Meeting for Worship,
when someone rose to speak,
all the energy in the room
flew inside her mouth, empowering her to tell
what she had seen on her brief
encounter with the divine: sometimes, a parable,
a riddle, a kindness. The fall that we were seventeen,
we scuffed our loafers on the gravelly path
from the Meetinghouse, while maple and elm
leaves sailed around our shoulders
like tiny envelopes, our futures sealed inside.
Despite the war in Vietnam, I felt safer
than I ever would again. Perhaps
those aged, protective trees had cast a spell
on us, or maybe the nonviolent Quaker God
had set up a kingdom right there—
suburban Philadelphia. Looking back, I see how
good deeds and thoughts climbed with us to the attic
room for Latin, descended to the gym for sports,
where we hung from the praiseworthy scaffolds
of righteous behavior. We prepared to leave
for college, armed with the language of the American
Friends and the memories of Thanksgiving
dinners we’d cooked for the unfortunates:
borrowing our parents’ cars to drive
downtown to the drop-off point, racing back
to play our last field hockey match. Grim center forwards
shook hands before the whistle, the half-backs’
knee-pads strapped on tight; one varsity team vanquished another.

book lovers

Evening -

I went to Book Passage tonight to see Alison Wright, a photojournalist who was seriously injured in a bus accident in Laos, speak. She gave the first hour to a group who've been through cancer, and then, spoke about her book and showed slides of her trips around the world. It was fascinating. She has taken pictures of "Third World America" which she also shared, but said no publisher will use them for a book, says they are too depressing. Isn't that the point? She works for change.

Check her out:

Barbara Boxer was also speaking at Book Passage tonight so there were imported protesters to protest health care reform. It is the first time I ever walked out of peaceful Book Passage and saw cops. The contrast between Alison's talk and photos and the protesters and cops was definitely surreal. G.I. Joe is on at the local theater. There were about fifteen cars in the lot when I drove by.

Alison was to interview the man who was the Dalai Lama's teacher, but when she came he was too sick to see her and soon after he died. When he was said to be reincarnated in a young boy, she went to interview him. She walked in and the eight year old boy was absorbed in playing with his Game Boy. Then, he looked at her and said he knew her, and described her visit when they were unable to personally meet. There are interesting forces at work, and her theme of the night was how clearly we all are one and love our children and how it would be lovely if we could take care of everyone and get along. It was then odd to walk out and see people waving signs and police cars and police. How can anyone be against health care for all?

It is warm tonight so we can sleep outside. I'm hoping some meteors light up the sky.