Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spaghetti and Meat Ball

We just got back yesterday from Baltimore and the granddaughters. It is always pure joy to be with those three girls but this time seemed to be particular and peculiar magic.

Emma (almost 6) lost her first tooth. We let her call her parents at work to tell them. We made her put it in a zip lock baggie so she didn't lose it. And she kept saying, "Can you believe I lost a tooth?" Even though it was completely believable, we agreed that it was just short of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Ah, the joy of simple things--that's what children teach us.

And Tegan, coming up on 3, announced with certainty that she "had a fly bite on my butt". Look as we did we couldn't see it but she was convinced and we went along. ('Going along' is another thing kids teach. Why can't adults, from time to time, just 'go along' with the story even if it is a tad unbelievable and beyond proof?)

But the thing I really brought back from the trip was the shear wonder of holding their little bodies next to mind. The entwine themselves on me and it is heaven. So young, they are, so sturdy, so smooth, so clinging.

Morgan and Emma, the twins, are build like our son Josh was as a child--lean and taunt. Tegan, on the other hand, is like our daughter Mimi was--stocky, solid and stout. They decided I needed grooming and circled me with brushes and hands. At several points all were, somehow, on my lap at the same time--I do have a large lap, I suppose--and it was like thrice heaven.

I remembered then a ritual from our children's childhood. Practically every afternoon we would gather in the large living area of St. Paul's in New Haven's Rectory and wrestle.

Skinny Josh would be 'Spaghetti' and thick little Mimi would be "Meatball" and I would be Andre the Giant. Bern would referee and soothe the bumps and bruises that invariably occurred because they were so intent on bringing down 'the Giant'...which, in the end, they usually did.

That physicality with my kids (Josh 5 or 6, Mimi 2 or 3) was so important to me. A way of connecting with them on a visceral level--struggling, holding on, embracing, touching. Even though it was not a fair match, just the touching and tumbling and tugging was a gift to me...and I hope to them. A bumped head or elbow, from time to time, was well worth the joy and pleasure and bonding of those wrestling matches. It got them so into wrestling that we went to WWF matches at the New Haven Coliseum . But we never got to see Andre the Giant.

That was me, after all.

Now they are 37 and 34. I long to be a giant in their eyes these days....

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Harriet, the Parish administrator of St. John's for the last 10 years I was there, and I used to send each other emails with the title "Stuff", because it wasn't about any one thing but lots of things. We still do that, from time to time.

This is a 'stuff' blog. No real central message just a lot of things that are...well, stuff.

There's been a family or two of groundhogs in the area behind our back yard for years. Part of the little wooded area to the south west of our backyard has been ruined to build a great big honkin' house. So I was afraid the groundhogs would relocate. But out on the deck at twilight I saw one. The thing about the groundhogs that is best is that our neighbor on the west has a mulberry tree that sheds berries in late summer that ferment and the groundhogs eat them and get drunk.
If you haven't watched a drunk groundhog be drunk, you haven't lived....

Princess Mimi
Our daughter's birthday is next week. She has always been my princess. I love her so. Sometimes I just walk around the house looking at all the photos of Mimi and Josh, our kids who are kids no more. My soul soars as my heart aches for the little ones they were. The adults they are are remarkable, precious. But those children, I miss....

Movie Review
You're going to have to look for it, but you must, must see "Moonrise Kingdom". I saw it today and I've already asked Bern to go with me to see it again so I can measure her response to mine, which was it is a wondrous movie. It is in the realm of "Stand by Me" for young actors. It has a drop dead cast and the best sound track I've ever heard. Run, don't walk to find it.

The General Convention...
is over by now and did great things. But in spite of the fact that I attended the last 5 General Conventions--as a Deputy from Connecticut in 2009, 2006 and 2003--I can't tell you how disinterested I am in the whole thing. Being retired has stripped away some stuff that used to inspire and obsess me. How soon such obsessions fall away. I find myself, more and more, only caring about the moment I'm in at that moment. A sort of Zen thing, I guess. How odd that 'the important' can so easily become 'the unimportant'. All that concerns me these days is 'what makes a difference'.

Ireland, here I come
I'm going to Ireland in October to help lead a "Making a Difference" workshop which is based on what I just said above--we tend to think that life is made up of what is 'important' and 'unimportant' but what matters down deep, in the marrow of life, is what makes a difference. These workshops, of which I've helped lead 30 0r more, commence with a painful number of conference calls between all the people involved. Tomorrow at 2:30 pm--7:30 Irish time, I hope I'm right in the time difference--I have a Skype conference call. I am so non-technical as to be considered homo erectius rather than homo sapien, that I've never done a Skype call. Since people from Ireland are involved, I hope to uphold the illusion of American ingenuity and be able to get on and participate. Lordy, lordy....

Well, enough 'stuff' to ponder for tonight. Be well, Umfandusi (South African word for 'good friend'). That is one side of a parting conversation. That's what you'd say to the person leaving. And that person would say to you "Stay well, Umfandusi".

All in all, not a bad way at all to part.

Be well and stay well, good friends.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

squirrels and peaches

So, yesterday I saw a squirrel 15 feet up in a tree eating what looked like a orangeish tennis ball.

I looked and looked and couldn't figure out what the squirrel, who had a tail and back of his torso that was almost blonde, like he'd be dipped in bleach.

I showed him to Bern and she recognized what he was eating as a too ripe peach she'd thrown into the 15 foot by 10 foot area off the east side of our deck which may be the largest compost heap in Connecticut. Bern puts all the flotsam and jetsam from her work in the yard there and we both throw vegetable and fruit stuff there--peels and skins and husks and such.

So the squirrel had a peach. God and the squirrel knows how he got it that far up in the tree.

The next time I looked, he was hanging upside down on the trunk of the tree by his back claws and holding the peach in his front paws, still eating.

He enjoyed it greatly, I imagine.

I hope it didn't disturb his digestive tract too much. Who knows how often squirrels eat peaches?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom on Independence day

Today is a day that Americans talk a lot about 'freedom'. I'd like to share some the freedoms I'm interested in.

*The freedom to disagree with politeness. We seem to have lost this one in the last few years. To "disagree" with anyone about anything gets you called names. You're a 'socialist' or a 'Nazi' or 'un-American' in some way if you disagree. I want to be free to disagree and be treated with respect. And be 'listened to' even if I'm not 'agreed with'.

*The freedom to deviate from the norm and be accepted. This obviously begins with the need to let everyone who is in love, no matter their gender, have the same opportunities and rights as people who are heterosexual. But it goes far beyond that. Muslims need to be treated with the same respect as Christians or Jews. The 99% needs to have a seat at the table and a voice in the matter as the 1%. We all need to 'occupy' our place at the table. Undocumented persons need to have access to citizenship's rights no matter how they got here.

*The freedom to be 'equal' needs to be absolute for women. This incredible upset about The Affordable Health Care Act requiring employers to provide total health care for women is simply bogus. I guarantee you if someone suggested that prostate care for men should be exempt for certain religious reasons it wouldn't stand a chance in hell of a consideration. Plus, why is equal pay for equal work such a big frigging problem? Sounds obvious to me. Women have always carried the wood, they should have equal say in how to build the fire.

*The freedom to be 'equal' should apply to the poor. The social Darwinism of many in our society would leave the poor to fend for themselves. Either 'we're all in this together' or it's 'every person for themselves.' The very nature of capitalism creates poverty. Our society should be free to redistribute (yes, Virginia, I said the word!) wealth every decade or so to even the playing field and give everyone a shot at true equality.

*The freedom to not have my patriotism questioned when I question government policy. I have the freedom to 'stand against' what the government does as a way of being a Patriot.

That's a good enough start on the Freedoms I celebrate (and devoutly pray for on this day of Independence.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ponerable things...

Some things I've been pondering about these summer days.

How does my cat know I'm cleaning his litter box? He always comes while I'm doing it to try out the new litter....

Why do people walking on the canal prefer their ear pods to the sounds of birds, bullfrogs, the wind in the trees and the gentle murmur of the moving water.

Where does the water in the canal come from and go to? Is the water sad that it can't flow into the sea?

How many words does my dog understand? I have a partial list: he knows the names of 3 of our friends (John, Jack and Sherry) and will bark and look around for them when we say their names in his hearing. It's the same for our children's names and 'the girls'--which is what we call our three granddaughters. He knows "upstairs" and will go there when I say it downstairs. He knows "big bed" and will run to our room when we say that. He knows "bye-bye" because when I say that he'll come inside with me. He knows "bowl" because he'll look in it when you tell him too. He knows "drink of water" and will go over to the nearest sink when you ask him if he wants one. He knows "bathroom" and runs to the front door when we say it inside or begrudgingly go down the steps of the deck to the back yard when outside. Other than that I'm not sure what other words he understands--well, 'sit' and 'down' and 'leave it', he knows of course. I had a list of about 30 words I was convinced our Puli from 27 years ago knew. You could tell Finney (named for Albert Finney) "get your ball and put it in your bowl" and he would. Our current Puli, Bela, isn't nearly that smart. Or maybe he's more stubborn.

I ponder why I, an English major, didn't know the meaning of "temerity" when someone asked me?

I wonder what it would be like to be inside my dog's brain, or my cat's, or a conservative Republican's, or my wife's.

If Jesus were here today would he go to church?

Why do I feel a bit bad when I kill insects?

How come I like iced tea but not hot tea? I like both hot and iced coffee....

Why can I often access a random and weird fact and not always remember people's names?

What's it like to be dead? Or, not yet born?

How can it be, over the years, that I have played 7472 games of Hearts on my computer? (I've won 3628--48%!) maybe being able to win has something to do with it....

Why did I have a dream the other night about wearing a clerical collar when I haven't worn one for 12 years or so? What's that about in my inner life?

How can anyone be against the Affordable Health Care Act?

What causes 'freezer burn'?

How come some finger and toe nails seem to grow faster than others? When did I stop biting my finger nails?

Nothing earth shattering, just stuff like that....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.