Saturday, January 19

Reaching out to the Senator

Below is a  note I sent to Senator Ron Wyden after attending the Polk County Town Hall meeting held in January of 2013.  Should I get a reply from Senator Wyden, I will try to post that also.

"Recently my wife and I attended the Polk County town hall and appreciated greatly you continuing to take the time to reach out to each county in the state on an annual basis.  That is wonderful and we hope you continue this process.

Apparently I was one of the "shy" ones in the audience in that my ticket was called and I had no prepared talking points.  This is my opportunity and below is my question.

My question is about climate change.

How do you think the Senate will be most effective in the coming years in addressing the outcomes of climate change?  

I do not expect the legislative bodies in this country (fed,state, county, local) to solve the climate change problem, nor do I have any expectations that climate change will not continue at least at its current rate.  I believe that the federal bodies will continue to respond to emergencies around the country on a more recurring frequency and that more "Sandy" type bills will be passed through congress in the near future.  Personally I expect the weather to be completely different that it was 60 years ago when I was a child in Polk County and find the weather wisdom passed down from the 5 generations of Farmers that have lived on our farm to be less relevant that it was a decade ago.  Weather is going to be much more extreme and we feel so fortunate that we live in the parts of Polk County that will not be devastated by the rising sea waters or even river waters.  

Our lives are good and we love the people in our community and seek to improve their lives are we improve our own.  I'm active in Polk County related groups and feel a part of my community like never before.  

Please continue to seek out others whose views differ from yours,  offer the hand of friendship and compromise and give this congress a reason to be proud of the 2nd decade of the 21st century."

Saturday, June 16

Why not ask about food allergies?

After many decades of eating in restaurants, cafes, bars, and bistros, I am still waiting for a food server to approach our table with a question like this: "Does anyone at this table have any food allergies?".  This may have happened to you and hopefully so.  If it has ever happened to me or a member of my family, I sure can't remember it.  In fact, the strongest memories I have regarding restaurant servers and food allergies goes to the other extreme.  Instead of being proactive and asking prior to taking the order, several servers have either not understood "I am allergic to nuts" or not heard us when we mentioned it during the order taking.  This has resulted in food sent back, food not eaten and never returning to certain restaurants.  Perhaps the worst case was the server that brought the dish soaked in peanut oil and when reminded that someone had a strong allergic reaction to nuts, said "So?"



I think I need to follow the example of a pre-teen girl I observed (and later spoke to) at Denny's one morning.  When the waitress arrived at her table (she was seated with four constantly talking companions), she engaged the waitress privately with a clearly printed laminated card that stated two things:
  1. she had strong food allergies
  2. the three food items that caused her to react.
Nothing about what the reaction was, how strong the reaction could be, what might happen if the restaurant failed to heed her warning - just a simple message.
She said it worked almost all the time and that she had found examples of such cards online.  Of course I immediately forgot the name of the website just after I spoke with her.  It might have been foodallergy.org which seems to have some card templates although they seem more verbose than her card.

Friday, May 27

Socialization across species? A brief encounter

The bee flew past my head. I heard it go by, recognized the honey bee sound and for a brief part of a second, thought that I saw it in the air flying. It was definitely heading north, up the hill and away from me and our farm. it was May, 2011 and the day was warming up. I so wanted to fly with that bee right then and even briefly thought about flapping my arms, just in case the outcome was different now that I was in my 60's. It had been a while since I had tried flying by flapping my arms and you never really know what is going to change next.
As you probably guessed, I did not fly. In fact, I totally lost track of the bee except within my mind. I stood and felt frustrated. It was so hard to understand why I couldn't cross the border between my species and the bees. I wanted to, I had a reason, there was time; surely this problem was not so hard. I actually wanted to be the bee's friend and enjoy their enjoyments, anguish with them in their frustrations and marvel at their abilities, loves and beauty. I wanted a bee friend and I wanted to be a friend to that bee. If you see a lonely bee and they appear to welcome human companions, send him our way please.
It was not hard to imagine the flight the bee was on. They must have passed right through the hazelnut orchard to the north of us, without even pausing. This orchard is barren of flowers, food, nectar, pollens and other bees enticements in May. The ground had been mowed clear of all life, the hazelnut blooms had dried up in March and the hazelnut fruit was just beginning to wake up and form into a seed. There was nothing here for a bee that I could think of, except maybe some place to land and take a break. Bees take breaks, right?
Perhaps the bee paused among the Dome's 200 year old Oregon white oaks, just a little north of the orchard. There were plenty of flowers that would welcome a bee under these giants. The blackberries were not blooming yet but there were usually some wild flowers there in the spring. Yea, I could see my bee buddy stopping in there to see what was happening.
Or perhaps the bee was on a long distance run to the Bonnet's blueberry patches. There were many acres of blueberries packed together and they were in full bloom. There was always room for another bee. Yes, I bet that was where my new bee buddy and pal was going. He was flying pretty darn fast for going a short distance. I wonder how long before the bee returns to his friends.
Oh, there goes another one.