Monday, July 31, 2006

lonely hearts club band?

You gotta have friends.

That's the byline of the article by Robert Putnam from the July 3 edition of Time magazine. I agree wholeheartedly. How can one get by without a little help from one's friends?
The subtitle reads: A study finds that Americans are getting lonelier. Mr. Putnam cites this study (which found a one-third drop in the number of people with whom the average American can discuss "important matters") to further his case that "the fabric of American communities has frayed badly since the mid-1960's."

Ah, look at all the lonely people. Where do they all come from? (Don't ask Paul McCartney, who just filed for divorce from his second wife. Just because one poetically posed the question doesn't mean one has the answer.) Disenfranchised, drained of passion, sated with processed food and processed education, racking up untold hours of video games and online drivel; here is the show-room of mainstream America. The more we gorge ourselves on the rich cream of excess, the more we atrophy within because of lack of bonefide relationships. The laptop has sindle-handedly trumped the place of the family pet, a good book (or even the Good Book!) read hearthside, the stack of satisfying firewood won by the sweat of honest brow, and plain, old-fashioned reflection. All of which are good things; none of which can fill the place of human affection and conversation, anyway. As a society, we are bereft of much.

I quote Mr. Putnam:
"Social isolation has many well-documented side effects. Kids fail to thrive. Crime rises. Politics coarsens. Generousity shrivels. Death comes sooner (social isolation is as big a risk factor for premature death as smoking). Well-connected people live longer, happier lives, even if they have to forgo a new Lexus to spend time with friends."

Yesterday's sermon encouraged me. I am blessed to be part of a healthy God-centered community that, despite our foibles and fickle failures, delights in giving. Giving financially, yes. But it is in the giving of our time, talents, prayer, efforts, home-cooked meals and our very selves that a healthy community is built. The Apostle Paul said it so eloquently:
"Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God." (2 Cor 9:11-12)

The sickness of loneliness that pervades our world needs a dose of strong medicine, and the Church ladles it by out by generous spoonfuls. The antidote is in the act of giving. Usher the lonely in; there is room for them here. After receiving, they will learn to pour out because the cure is in the overflow. We can point to the greatest Giver as our example; He so loved that He gave. Mother Theresa knew this principle well; she instructed her followers to give until it hurts. One of the greatest speeches of the 20th century was given by her at a National Prayer Breakfast, well worth reading. She patterned her giving after God, who sacrificed His beloved Son. Imagine! We can serve a God Who wants to give, and longs for us to do the same. This is an altogether different club and different band than the one of Beatles Fame.

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Cor 9:15)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

beans to you

Green Beans with Bleu Cheese

2/3 C oil
1/3 C white wine/cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh dill weed
1/2 tsp salt
1 C coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 C chopped red onion
1 C feta or blue cheese
1 1/2 lbs green beans, steamed and cooled

combine all.

This was last year's discovery, thanks to my sister Judy who has discerning taste. We all like it, but Hubby loves it best. The dill & beans can be found in my garden, which means we will make bowls and bowls of this stuff this summer. It's best at room temperature, odd as that sounds.

Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

List and Learn

#1 Daughter and I are home together on a rainy day. I am a bit tired as the hungry deer under the apple trees kept me awake with their "woofing" throughout the night. (Yes, deer "woof".) Because I have no significant nor poetic thoughts to share online today, I am resorting to a chore-list. If intoned aloud with deep expression, it just may sound insightful. Try it.

-drive 30 miles to obtain the correct lawnmower part. (I think I know the way now; this is my
third trip there in 10 days.) If our lawn gets any higher, we may have to hay it.

-cook & bake . I travel to NJ early Friday morning for an extended weekend and don't want the dear family to starve. Or eat junk food.

-research prices of horse-paraphenalia. (face-masks, lead ropes, etc.) Possible 15 mile drive (in the opposite direction of aforesaid lawnmower trek) to local Agway.

-catch up on returning phone messages.

-vacuum up 219 spiders that have taken up residence in 3108.

-return overdue music score to Crane library. Hunt for another one.

-accomplish all this by 5 pm today, so I can spend a relaxing rainy evening with the folks I love best.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

London dreams

Being the personality-type that stays fairly enthused with my surroundings, the shiver of jealousy caught me by surprise. That shiver, swiftly followed by a pang of longing, sent me careening down the halls of memory.

1998: in London for a whole sweet month. My official business was directing a musical at the Unicorn Theatre in the West End. (I see now they have moved to a larger venue!) My unofficial business was to spend my daily stipend on the opera, symphony, chamber-music concerts, and plays. The free museums, cathedral vespers, and London scenery were the gravy liberally ladled on my soul between dress rehearsals and morning matinees. My dear family came to bunk with me for a week in the middle of the month, but otherwise I was free as a sparrow to flit about the city alone, eat fish & chips, and indulge myself.

Every now and then, I find myself exploring the narrow streets of London in my dreams. They come to me unbidden; I can't call them up and what triggers them is a mystery. Afterwards, I rub the sleep from my eyes and rouse myself to the regular chores of life. Don't misunderstand: I thrive on the chores of life. Obviously though, there is a chamber in my memory that revels in my adventures over the waters.

Today, my dear Friend #01 will attend his official business in London, and then set off on his own adventure. This morning's charming and humorous email from him set my heart to spinning over where he should venture first. I long to join him, as I know we are kindred in interesting ways. But he will chart his own course, map in hand, through the galleries and amongst the manuscripts (where I know he will linger) just fine without me.

Anyway, in the years ahead, I wouldn't want to intrude on his dreams of London.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

a place for poetry (for the sake of life)


God banish from your house
The fly, the roach, the mouse

That riot in the wall
until the plaster falls;

Admonish from your door
The hypocrite and liar;

No shy, soft, tigerish fear
Permit upon the stair,

Nor agents of your doubt.
God drive them whistling out.

Let nothing touched with evil,
Let nothing that can shrivel

Heart's tenderest frond, intrude
Upon your still, deep blood.

Against the drip of night
God keep all windows tight,

Protect your mirrors from
Surprise, delirium.

Admit no trailing wind
Into your shuttered mind

To plume the lake of sleep
with dreams. If you must weep

God give you tears, but leave
you secrecy to grieve.

And islands for your pride
And love to nest in your side.

-Stanley Kunitz

I love to squeeze a dose of poetry into my day. When Garrison Keillor's mellow yet reedy voice intones a batch of lilting verse over the radio waves, I halt the stream of water from the kitchen tap and listen.

This poem is tender and wishful; I like it very much. The fact that is is named Benediction and then speaks of flies and roaches cracks me up. The penultimate line gave me pause, but I came to grips with it easily enough. If I insisted on hoarding bits pride in my life, then I guess islands would be the place to stash them.

I quote the author:
"The poem comes in the form of a blessing-'like rapture breaking on the mind', as I used to say in my youth. Through the years I have found this gift of poetry to be life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and absolutely unpredictable. Does one live, therefore, for the sake of poetry? No, the reverse is true: poetry is for the sake of life."

Stanley Kunitz was the recipient of many literary honors, not the least of which was America's Poet Laureate. He died May 14, 2006 at the age of 100.

Monday, July 24, 2006

going with my gut

1. great excitement or interest in a subject or cause.
2. a source or cause of great excitement or interest.
3. archaic- religious fanaticism

from entheos: having the god within.
from the Greek enthusiasmos: to be inspired by a god.

Okay, we'll go with the root meaning with only a slight change. ("God" instead of "a god" of course!) Having God within is what being a Christian is all about, and it should fire us with enthusiasm for a great many things. This unique aspect of Christianity--that the Spirit of God purposes to make His home within us-- is a privilege that makes my head spin with possibility.

I'm in the throes of a challenging experiment this summer. It involves seizing those inner intuitions, those nudges that spring up out of nowhere, and actually pursuing them. I'm not talking about kicking the cat here. The thoughts and ideas that banter about in my head; that's what I'm talking about. So many of them have gotten thrown along the wayside, but no more. Maybe it comes with being over 40, but I'm all about seeing them through these days.

The Curious will have to be satisfied that YES, there has been some amazing progress
in the laboratory of my life. (Not every detail is up for blog-fodder.) Let's just say that I am learning how to listen and then follow through. Far be it from me to look behind and say:
"Hey, that was a God-idea. Wish I had gone for it."

I am also thrilled to learn the root-meaning of enthusiasm, seeing that I have an abundance of it these days. By the way, I don't have the corner on the market. It's pretty much up for grabs.

Carpe Entheos, Everyone.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

some of my favorite things

Last evening was Movie Night at the Hull's Homestead. We ordered out for pizza and kicked back to watch 175 minutes of classic film-making: The Sound of Music. Grandma Jean joined us, along with Friend #12 (for her first-time viewing! We love to enrich her education.)

This was just the appetizer for attending the real-live stage version next week. Various talented friends will be treading the boards in this local production, and we wanted to prime our pumps for this classic tale. As befits a proper audience, we will stifle our urge to sing along. (and let's hope those around us do the same...) Those Oscar & Hammerstein tunes just rise to the surface and won't be denied. As I took off on my morning jaunt, I wanted to belt out, The hills are aliiivvve..... But it was 7:30, so I harnessed it.

It's off to church this morning. You'd think it was Casual Friday the way we garb ourselves for a service in July. The worship team usually rocks like a Saturday night band and Jesus wore sandals, so it's all good.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Of Wallpaper and Conscience

This week has been one full of wallpaper; definitely the largest papering project I have ever undertaken. It included curving attic walls and acres of sloping ceiling.

I am heading over there this morning with my trusty x-acto knife to nip & tuck. The saddest part? Probably the fact that it doesn't even look good: four uncomplimentary patterns were hung every which way, upside down and sideways. Yeah, this crazy job was just a prep for painting. (An unrewarding task for those who like to look back on a job well done!) Since the accompanying conversation while atop creaky ladders was priceless, I see this gargantuan effort (accomplished in an attic bedroom the hottest week of the summer) as a blinding success. Almost as successful as Always, Patsy Cline. Okay, a tad overstated. But you get the point.

It would take a pleasant drive to Malone, NY and an hour of my time to FINISH the last papering job on my docket. I left them high and dry last December, with one measly piece left to hang. This stubborn fact crept into the "good conscience" section of my brain numerous times this week. I'll be sheepishly reporting to their doorstep very soon.

And then I'll get a good night's sleep.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

a ton of blue

Yesterday morning found me tromping through dewy bushes, quite a few miles from home. A rope held a white plastic bucket around my middle and a striped hat shielded my eyes from the expected 85 degree sun. The glimpse of dusty blue through the scattered branches made my heart sing.

Blueberry-picking. Three hours later, 37 pounds of 'em were hoisted into a large cooler. My parents had gathered even more: 56 pounds! Call it greed, call it excess....but come January, we'll be dining on blueberry pie.

For those who need to know:

$1.25/lb pick your own
Godfrey's Last Stand
outside Central Square, NY

And speaking of gathering a harvest, here is this morning's Garden Report:

-bell peppers and jalapenos looking good, will pick this week.
-lettuces overflowing. Spinache daily, buttercrunch finally heading.
-beans past flower, twining all over.
-Parsley & cilantro abundant. basil gone wild. Who loves pesto? Contact me.
-cukes emerging, will be ready to pick this week.
-sunflowers cresting 5 feet. Their purpose? Nostalgic.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

in with the new

No one drinks buttermilk these days.

When I was young, my grandmother (Gruna) lived with us for a season and she always had a quart in the fridge. At midnight when she couldn't sleep, she would toddle to the kitchen for a pickle-sandwich chased by a slug of buttermilk straight from the carton. Satisfied, she would sleep like a stone. That's a home-remedy I don't necessarily recommend, but it's family folklore, for sure.

I have been buying a quart of buttermilk now and then. (I picked one up for old time's sake, actually.) With it, my pancakes have risen to new heights. ha. (the ha is for old time's sake, too. My great-aunt and my Gruna's letters to each other were fraught with them...) I also made the blueberry-lemon cake on this month's cover of Family Circle twice this month. The secret ingredient? Buttermilk.

Here we have it, folks, What's old is new again.
Buttermilk: nouveau cuisine.

Wouldn't Gruna be proud.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Patsy sings

Flouncy dress
and bobbed chestnut hair
wend demurely through the band

the filtered light of the swivel spot
and rasp of rosin on bow
call up the sound of scratchy vinyl

and Patsy sings.

crooning and bending over sixths and thirds
eyes down under fringed lash
baby hands thump the poplin of her dress
white pumps tip and tap

and Patsy sings

country fans gasp and clap
craning in their seats
"is it her?
yessir. that there's some singin,
Patsy Cl-ine.

You tell 'em, Louise.

over bacon & eggs
I hum a snatch of heartbreak
hear the crackle of kitchen radio
and palm-warm a half-thought-of cup

and Patsy sings.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

thoughts from the berry patch

The Parable of the Rich Fool

Then someone called from the crowd,"Sir, please tell my brother to divide my father's estate with me."
But Jesus replied, "Man, who made me judge over you to decide such things as that? Beware! Don't always be wishing for what you don't have. For real life and real living are not related to how rich we are."
Then he gave an illistration. "A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. In fact, his barns were full to overflowing -he couldn't get everything in. He thought about his problem, and finally exclaimed, 'I know -I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones! Then I'll have room enough. And I'll sit back and say to myself, "Friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Wine, women, and song for you!" '
"But God said to him, 'Fool! Tonight you die. Then who will get it all?'
"Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven."

(Luke 12:13-21, The Living Bible)

The words of Jesus are rich with parables. Knowing that hidden treasure abounds within them keeps my eyes peeled. Today in the sultry noonday sun, I was hunting for blackcaps behind the barn. After expertly picking over a patch, I turned over a prickly branch and voila! More juicy ripe fruit appeared. It pays to hunt thoroughly. I would've been content with my sour-cream container of berries, but now I see more.

Here are some juicy berries for the picking from this passage:

- a dumb request from a tattle-tale can spawn an insightful conversation. (" Sir, please tell my brother...")

-it's not good to always wish for what you don't have. We must've needed to hear this, because Jesus said it.

-real life and real living are not related to how rich we are. What a relief! If they were related to wealth, only a few would taste life. The proof is definitely in the pudding: how many truly satisfied rich people do you know?

-a bright idea or clever solution doesn't always solve the problem. ("I know -I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones!") Can you picture the light-bulb dancing over his head? (Bible times: perhaps a candle.) How many "fixes" in our lives need to be revisited with this principal in mind?

-self-gratification is not a commendable goal. Might that be the reason that the promised portion of Islamic martyrs (wine, women, and song) sounds so incredibly shallow?

-it is not foolish to get rich on this earth. But to ignore investing into eternity is the real foolishness.

I hope you can chew on that berry for a long time.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Such a hot day, and I am devoid of energy to visit the grocery store. The afternoon is leaning toward the dinner hour though, and my hard-working guys deserve a significant feast.
A swift raid of the garden, pantry, fridge, and freezer proves bounteous.

Here are the results of my spoils:

-2 chicken breasts, thawing
-1 flat-iron steak (grass-fed!) also thawing
-ingredients for pasta salad (spinache, cucumber, tomato, fresh parsley, carrot,
parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing)
-freshly baked bread
-freshly brewed iced tea with lemon
-cantelope and cherries for dessert

The only cooking left (after pasta) is the grilling.
Don't you just love summer meals???

Thursday, July 13, 2006

lake fun

This evening turned out differently than planned.

I attended the Village Green Concert for 30 minutes, but the music didn't hold my attention. Since I was there alone, it was an easy call. I grabbed my book and blanket and hopped in the car. #1 Son was mowing Grandma's lawn, so I visited 5 River just down the avenue.

While relaxing with Grandma Jean,#1 Son bounded in the door, sweaty and covered with flecks of grass.
"Can we visit the lake on the way home? I need to wish Jon a happy birthday, and the Daniels are boating there."
"Sure," said I. How convenient that the boat launch was two blocks away.

While on shore, minding my own business, I was wickedly connived into climbing into the Daniel's boat, cruising around the lake, and cheering #1 Son as he water-skied (while wearing jeans). From the bow, we admired the pink and violet clouds that streaked the horizon while the cooling breeze whipped our hair into a frenzy. As the sun nestled deeper into someone else's morning, we pointed the boat toward the dock. I must admit, I never get enough of being on the lake. (I kayaked for 1 1/2 hours this afternoon....)

"How was the concert?" asked Hubby when I got home.
"Ummmm...plans changed."

I'm glad I have learned to go with the flow.
Happy Birthday, Jon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

High (Literary) Hopes

Will I have a chance to read this summer?
I mean a side-porch, sprinkler-sound, salad-from-the-garden, cicada-droning, grass-smelling, veritable immersion in a good book. Or two.

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, my bicycle regularly trundled me to the steps of the Wingate Branch of the Schenectady Public Library. Quietly clasping the raspy door behind me, I would drop my army-surplus backback into a wooden chair and enter the world of books. An electric fan droned lazily from the front desk, recycling the unmistakable scent of printer's ink and old paper around the L-shaped room. I could be incognito here, as this humble building was blocks from the established boundries of my stomping grounds. (Colonial Manor, how ostentatiously regal!) My magnificent plan to read through the A's first always crumbled when I passed the display rack of "Librarian's Choice". Always a sucker for a recommended book, I would load up with the limit (5 books) and head home with my weekly supply. Ah, for the long afternoons of childhood!

My family conquers High Peaks.
I only wish to conquer this small stack of books:

2020 Vision ~Practical Ways Individuals and Churches Can Be Involved (Bill & Amy Stearns) I bought this after it was recommended by Friend #16 . It was my constant companion en route to D.C., when I had time to read. I'm about half-way through it.

The Yankee Way to Simplify Your Life ~Old-Fashioned Wisdom for a New-Fangled World (Jay Heinrichs and the Editors of Yankee Magazine) This is a re-read; a refresher course, so to speak. It takes work to keep our lives simple.

Big Stone Gap (Adriana Trigiani) This was a thoughtful gift from a friend.

Heidi (Johanna Spyri) Complete, unabridged, and another re-read! This time around, I am reading it aloud to my family before bed. Friend #12 listens in, too.

And because Friend #7 is getting SO smart and SO much more well-read than me, I need to step it up in the area of intellect. Friend #7, are you listening? Put your recommendations in my comment box. Pronto.

--'cause I'm always a sucker for a recommended book.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

what summer is all about

We settled into the white rockers under the apples trees, generously warmed by our morning walk. A cool breeze like an elixir wafted through the drooping branches which were laden with green fruit. From under the fringe of leaves, I admired our freshly painted house and hand-crafted shutters. Sharing the scenery with an incredibly dear friend made my moment complete.

Forgive the poetic excess, but my heart is filled to the rafters with contentment. Strange that I write of battles one day and peace the next, but life is a mix of many things.

Today, we have four children visiting. Add to that the company that joined us earlier in the week. They will play board games, jump in the hayloft, ride horses, and make summer memories. I may fiddle in the garden and do some more lazy visiting.

Golden hours. And I don't take them half-heartedly!

Monday, July 10, 2006

War & Peace

"There never was a good war or a bad peace." -Benjamin Franklin

I read this proclamation, and many others in his own hand, last month at the Library of Congress. (A fabulous exhibit: "Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words".) At the time, it seemed to ring true. Having in mind the tangled political affairs of this world, I chimed amen and went on my way.

Yesterday's sermon on Ephesians 6:11-18 invited me back to the drawing board, though.

"For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly [supernatural] sphere.
...Pray at all times [on every occasion, in every season] in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints [God's consecrated people]."
(Ephesians 6:12,18) The Amplified Bible

Lest I grow complacent while sipping iced tea in a shaded hammock, I ponder these words afresh. They demand a response on my part; one that rocks my pleasure boat. An unseen kingdom, a supernatural enemy, wrestling, keeping alert, having purpose: something is going on around here! Those on the Christian bandwagon know what I'm talking about.

With apologies to Mr. Franklin, I've known both a bad peace and a good war. And without trying to sound too hawkish, I'll take the good war (over the other) anytime.

Onward, Christian Soldier!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Helen is everyone's adopted grandmother at our church. She cheerfully and faithfully greets folks at the door on Sunday mornings. She enjoys praying for people and even the youngest children know her by name. Her fame extends to our homeschooler's Friday Program where she provides trays of freshly baked goodies for the staff. (That alone will make a person famous in this church!)
When I heard on NCPR that the StoryCorps was coming to Canton, Helen immediately came to mind. The StoryCorps is dedicated to recording the oral history of ordinary citizens. Housed in a remodeled airstream van, they park in town squares and on village greens to open their doors to people like you and me. They provide a cozy sound-proof room, recording equipment, a friendly technician, and plenty of encouragement. As a parting gift, StoryCorps hands the participants a CD of their interview. Clips of the interviews may be aired locally (NCPR) and nationally (NPR), and all of the recordings will be filed for posterity in the Folklife Archives at the Library of Congress in D.C.. What an amazing opportunity, I thought as I dialed Helen's number. She wasn't too keen on my idea at first, feeling that she hadn't had a remarkable enough life.
"I haven't done anything important!" she exclaimed. "Nothing anyone would care to hear about."
"Not true, Helen," I countered. "You have led an interesting and full life. And the world needs to hear what you have learned and experienced." It took some doing, but I talked her into it. This morning she admitted I had been a little pushy. "But in a nice way." Hmmm.

It was an inspiring experience listening to Helen recount memories of her childhood. She grew up on a farm as one of eight children and was educated in a one-room schoolhouse. The family was very close; they depended on one another through thick and thin. Her stories were rich in detail of her mother and father, rides over the snow in a horse-drawn sled, church meetings and family meals. Some of the tales Helen told today were followed by her wistful comment," I haven't thought of that in so many years..."

Anyone can visit the StoryCorps website and download a list of helpful questions to ask a friend or family member. (Or think up some of your own!) With the wealth of recording methods available today, an interview can easily become reality. Of course, you may have to do some convincing to get an elderly friend to talk into a microphone.

Just be pushy in a nice way.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Over one hundred people jostled into their places, music in hand, while emitting shouts of greeting and welcome. All ages, from the most recent graduates to those who bore the 50th reunion badges, exchanged banter and made the air quiver with excited chatter, booming laughter, and fond memories. The insistant rap of the conductor's baton rose over the din, the pages of Mozart's score shuffled to the first movement, and an obedient silence filled the atmosphere. An intake of quavering breath, and beauty begins to emerge:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine!

On and on the measures lead, the beat drawing our hearts together relentlessly. The rise and fall of tenor, soprano, alto and bass weave the loose strands of simple line into brilliant form, and Wolfgang's masterwork comes together one more time. Thousands -perhaps tens of thousands- of rehearsals, read-throughs, community sings and concert performances, and all is as it was over 200 years ago. Scenes from the historically overblown but classic flick Amadeus flash through my imagination as the women sing, voca, voca me cum benedictis! I see Mozart on his deathbed, his nightshirt damp with feverish sweat and his wide eyes gleaming with electric inspiration. I almost wish it did happen like this; Salieri frantically scribbling his rival's divine dictation while hissing, go on, go on! Truly a scene made for the stage!

Surely the drama of death, supplication for mercy, and the final judgement is the ultimate plot of humanity. We all have our part in this amazing story. The Bard wasn't exaggerating when he wrote: All the world's a stage, and the people merely players.

About the real Final Day: the privilege of being one of the beloved redeemed is mine. I won't have to memorize any eloquent lines. The staging, blocking, and timing will be set for me. All will fall into place, having been exquisitely planned from the beginning of time. Our season on earth behind us, the edge of eternity before us! A thousand --even ten thousand--days will barely hint at what is in store.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us rest.

This afternoon was just a lovely taste of forever.

Friday, July 07, 2006

here's 2 of 'em

Photo #1: My sister-in-law, Zalika. She knits while she strolls, stuffing the loosened skein in her bosom. (In this shot, she was reaching the end of a roll.) Last month, after some hard studying, she became an American citizen. Now she has a dual-citizenship: USA and Niger. Zalika is well known for her African cuisine: Torodi Hot Sauce and Sweet Potato Fries. Her American hobbies are fishing and blueberry picking. She's a pretty cool lady.

Photo #2: I call her Miss Belly. We shared Spain together: Spanish tortilla at 10 pm, a night in a palace, and the heady scent of orange blossoms. I love to be around her, in any country. Everyone is extremely eager to see this baby; we're guessing a mass of red curly hair and black-frame glasses. Danica deserves a number. I'll dub her Friend #40.

I am blessed to have such interesting friends.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Better than the Dollar Store

Every summer, I hit the sidewalk sale during the Potsdam Street Festival. My favorite bargains inevitably are nabbed at the T-shirt Print Shop. Each funky (or misprinted) shirt: one buck. I bought eleven. Who could resist?

1. Go North ( Northern Printing)
2. Norwood Lake Regatta (2004)
3. SLU Tennis
4. SHAKE IT like a polaroid picture
5. Clifton-Fine Adventure Club
6 & 7. Beat the Storm 5K- Potsdam Running Club (long-sleeve!)
8. Boy Scouts Pack #62
9. Norwood-Norfolk Flyers
10. "19"
AND, my personal favorite:
11. WWDWD, with scientific jargon on the back.

to each his own...

My dear fam is conquering an Adirondack High Peak this morning. They will slowly but surely reaching the pinnacle, only to dip valleyward in order to scale yet another. Today's agenda: Seward, Donaldson, and Emmonds. I would list tomorrow's peaks, but I can't read Hubby's 5 am scrawl. Officially, there are 46 Adirondack High Peaks, and my beloved hikers are aiming to climb them all. As for me, I once did 1/2 of one. Actually, I turned around halfway up, which would technically make it 1/4 of one.

To prove to myself that I am really NOT a wimp, I will kayak the Raquette River today. What I like about kayaking is a) it's not on an incline, and b) one can stop paddling and still get somewhere, if pointed downstream. There are other things I like about kayaking, but they mostly have to do with being by myself. It is a luxury to be alone with my thoughts.

My piano bench will be warmed today, as I have a Mozart score and a Dvorak score to learn: another luxury afforded me. Some Mahler scores rest on my stack of music, begging to be leafed through. While the washmachine is churning, I will attend to these rewarding tasks. Hopefully, it will rain this afternoon. Hard. ( just here, though, not on the mountain!) The kind of rain that makes me say: Oh well, I guess there's nothing else to do but shut the windows, ignore the phone, and stretch out on the couch with a book.

If anyone calls me, I'll get back to you. Eventually.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I notice advertising slogans. They are fodder for conversation as I tool around town with friend or family. Some deserve to be crticized:

Bugs eat Paint. Wash the Bugs off.

Bugs don't eat paint. How silly. No car wash will get my business with such drivel on their signs!
Some need analyzing, but are well worth the mental workout. Dunkin Donuts had a roadside banner displaying a huge iced coffee, headlined:

Just ice it and get back in there.

The athletes among us would get the entendre immediately, but it took me a few tries before getting the joke. It's oh so clever. I was actually proud of myself for catching on. (hey, sports were never my thing....)
Take M&M's newest venture. They have White Pearl M&M's now, courtesy of Pirates of the Caribbean II. Lovers of vivid verbs will approve of their advertising tag:

Plunder some before they're gone.

It's not often one can use the word plunder. Unless you are a pirate or a viking, both of which are pretty obsolete these days.

Since it is summer, and since we (supposedly) have more time to ponder such things, I may add to this silly list. (Too many profound posts may make the natives restless.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

the flow of blessings

I have many reasons to rejoice today:

1. the shutters are in place! see my flickr for proof.

2. unsightly lilac roots were dug up in the front and side yards. A large piece of machinery, Hubby at the wheel, accomplished this task starting at 5:30 a.m. I appreciate early-risers, and cook a big breakfast for them anytime! Landscaping is next. Any thoughts?

3. I baked a cherry pie for someone my family appreciates. The fruit was gathered from our tree. Neat.

4. we take our newly refurbished boat to the St. Lawrence today. Relishing the company of dear friends and family will take us into the evening.

5. I got to chat with Friend #7 on the phone . She had just woken up, her voice was froggy, and I'm sure her hair was a veritable bird's nest. She was eating yoghurt while talking to me. Boy, I love her. She visits home next month.

Enjoy the day, eat watermelon, take in the fireworks, grill chicken, play with little kids. Just don't forget to thank a veteran. And the Good Lord, from Whom all blessings flow.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

move over, martha

Today, I attend a very elegant wedding. The reception invitation states:

Adult Reception
Dinner and Dancing
immediately following the ceremony
at the home of.....

There you have it. Elegant.
We drove past the said home yesterday, on our way to Watertown. A glimpse of white tent, long sheer curtains lining the veranda,( yes, veranda....) and perfectly landscaped gardens gave me a taste of things to come. I am looking forward to a beautiful and meaningful ceremony, followed by the reception of the decade.

By the way, I found it nigh impossible to find a DRESS for this occasion, anywhere in any shop in NNY. Crestfallen after a last-ditch attempt in Watertown yesterday, I dug through my closet this morning before church. And what do I unearth? A simple linen black dress, never worn, compliments of TRL. Draped with a Spanish silk shawl and black pearl choker, compliments of a loving Hubby, I am off to trip the lights fantastic.

Happy Wedding Day, Christian and Elizabeth.