Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving
WH Auden
When pre-pubescent I felt
that moorlands and woodlands were sacred:
people  seemed rather profane.
Thus when I started to verse,
I presently sat at the feet of
Hardy and Thomas and Frost.
Falling in love altered that,
now Someone, at least, was important:
Yeats was a help, so was Graves.
Then, without warning, the whole
Economy suddenly crumbled:
there, to instruct me, was Brecht.
Finally, hair-raising things
that Hitler and Stalin were doing
forced me to think about God.
Why was I sure they were wrong?
Wild Kierkegaard, Williams and Lewis
guided me back to belief.
Now, as I mellow in years
and home in a bountiful landscape,
Nature allures me again.
Who are the tutors I need?
Well, Horace, adroitest of makers,
beeking in Tivoli, and
Goethe, devoted to stones,
who guessed that-he never could prove it-
Newton led Science astray.
Fondly I ponder You all:
without You I couldn't have managed
even my weakest of lines.                                        May 1973

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Notes from the Pew

There are some things folks in my generation don't do enough off and I would put singing right at the top of the list.  I would also add partner dancing; the odd polka here and there probably does much to lift one's spirits.http://www.youtube.com/embed/iiClaM8gMto

I learned to polka in the 3rd grade and I was always partnered with Cody Love, who was the only boy in the grade who was taller than I was.  Third grade teachers have a thing for symmetry.  The thing is, I had a small crush on Cody which manifested itself in my swinging him so hard that he hit the back of the gym wall and couldn't participate in gym for two weeks.  Thus ended that budding relationship but not my love of polkas.  Oh no, not my love of polkas. 

Our Christmas pageant this year is a musical!  Complete with a rocking tune about the stable that lends itself to a samba number, which I tried to demonstrate to my daughter's class.  My daughter put her head down on the desk and refused to resurface for 10 minutes.  I have tried to tell her, repeatedly, that I will not stop dancing because it horrifies her.  We are at an impasse.  She is playing Mary this year and Luke is stepping up from being a shrub to a shepard.  The congregation will join our merrymaking and we will all sing to the heavens....Did you know, according to Margaret (our very own wisewoman) that a song becomes a prayer when you sing it three times?

At coffee hour, we started our holiday celebration by singing carols.  Choir members drifted over and did some beautiful harmonies with "Silent Night" and "Winter Wonderland.".

So, today the holy was found by singing.  We rocked it:)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I come in peace

Sometimes, I feel like an alien who has crash landed in a place that seems vaguely familiar but is not home.  I try to figure out if it is parenthood that has catapulted me to this frontier, with all the noise and pressure of trying to raise good enough kids.  Trying to support their passions and keep them from cheating in front of all their relatives in an endless game of Trivial Pursuit (all hypothetical, of course).  Or is it marriage?  The seesaw effort of keeping things in balance when God Damn It things hurt now when I climb and why did you rip the wallpaper off the walls when all I wanted to do was change out the toilet. 

I don't want to host Thanksgiving at my house and nobody would have asked me to until I landed in this place, and started making these things: 

My husband is travelling in this land, as well: (using drywall screws to make a turkey centerpiece that was mistaken for a peacock)

Julia Child started cooking in her mid thirties out of boredom and out of a desire to keep her renaissance husband happy.  Until that point, she had viewed food as fuel.  She was an all-in kind of gal and threw herself into the literal foreign land of France and French cooking.  It is possible she was an alcoholic, serving shots of vermouth to her crew before cooking for 14 hours to "steady the hands" but maybe she was just trying to get back to her own place.

Spiritual masters talk about the 1000 deaths we experience as we let go of our old selves and embrace our new paths.  Middle age seems to be about nostalgia for what was and a bit of confusion about what is coming.  I'm going to keep reading about feisty women who said "the hell with it" and reinvented themselves over and over again.  And I may try a French recipe or two....Tant pis!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

For my folks

West Texas Blues

To lie under a night sky bleeding darkness.
To hold onto the hope of rain.
To sit in the shade of a beat-up Chevy.


Sing a gospel tune
hearing the voice of
the old preacher,
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

Shell peas,
shattering the silence
of the enamel bowl
‘til the day cries “Uncle”.


To make an angel in country dirt.
To dance with a cowboy poet.
To call back God.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Beautiful Game

Tim Howard, American World Cup Team Goalkeeper and Everton Goalkeeper.  I feel it is my duty to share this with you....for the love of the game.

For more beautiful shots,
ESPN: ZOOM Gallery


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Good Problems to have

Just pondering what defines a "problem" and I would say the little moments in life that cause aggravation:

1.  Standing in line to vote
2.  Cartwheeling daughter who knocks off your glasses
3.  Tree house without walls...tree platform, really
4.  Thousands of leaves to rake up
5.  Student conference that did not go as expected
6.  Asked to speak your piece about a sport team that imploded.
7.  Murder mystery with no murderer
8.  Slow leaking tire on my Pilot
9.  Stiff knees
10.  Soggy banana bread.

At the end of  every day, my prayer to the universe is to keep my "problems" in perspective and to see them as the gifts they really are.  We are all healthy and happy and let's face it, my FM (faux menopause) has momentarily settled down. 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Notes from the Pew

I have a love/hate relationship with daylight savings time:  "falling back" in the moment feels glorious and mischievous, you have stolen an hour from the time gods; but then you remember the darkness that descends by 4:00 and one feels like Persephone, minus the dead daughter.

I have been cranky, as of late, with a hair trigger.  I was happily blaming it on perimenopausal hormonal shifts until my latest physical showed no hormonal changes.  Why oh why am I so persnickety?  Could it be the upcoming dearth of Vitamin D?

This morning, to prepare for a religious education lesson I had to round up the following items:  foil, small rock, stick, chalice, book, stuffed animal, dinner plate, hiking boot, first-aid kit, and a wooden bowl.  Did you know that Dr. Albert Schweitzer was a Unitarian?  He also had a very impressive moustache.  Those items had something to do with his story.  Additionally, I had to find and tear up material for bandages so we could re-create a hospital environment....we also needed pillows and sleeping bags.  Not to bore you too much, but in the frenzy of gathering up 40 props, I forgot the actual curriculum and had to tear home to retrieve that during "joys and sorrows.'  Flow like a river.

I made it to coffee hour, where I learned that my son was off doing community service somewhere in town with his class, no idea where and no idea when he might return.  Viola...return and magnification of faux perimenopausal symptoms.  And then, I noticed the light in Parish Hall:

I had the time and space to notice the light.

My friend/brother Mike who is a gifted photographer talks about the "magic hour" when the light is just starting to fade but everything is paradoxically as clear as it ever gets:

On a run around Dean Park, I had the time and space to notice the light.

So, as we begin our descent into the darkness of  New England winter months, remember the light.  We have to take the time to find it.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Let me start this potpourri post by saying that I work in a town with a business by this name.  My 8th grade students, in hushed tones, told me that this factory specialized in sex toys and naughty items.  I believed them and conveyed this to several friends.  One looked it up and told me that in fact, Potpourri specializes in decorative household items.  This is why I truly love 8th graders. 

We had a whirlwind week-end before the hurricane when we had the distinct pleasure of working with this group:

These folks will come out to where you are and help your organization dismantle bikes which they will then ship to countries where they can be used for primary transportation.  Check them out at www.bikesnotbombs.org

A couple of week-ends ago,  we reconnected with our dear friends and snuck in some leaf jumping and apple picking (fall in New England is as good as it gets):

Then, we had to ride out a storm.  We did it in style:

And that just left the annual halloween party:

When AC Moore tells you they absolutely do not have tissue paper bells...do not believe them and do not abandon your halloweenie quest, for it is a noble, holy grail type endeavor.....Scary, no?

Dr. Who and a Carthwheeling Genie
Friends and family on the East Coast are grateful for all our blessings....we all made it through with minimal damage.  Emma did spend the bulk of the day under our new dining room table after we did a "tree falling drill".  Marry an engineer, do drills but stay safe and feel loved:)
Finally, a big shout out to Heather for sending this my way.  It is a powerful message right before elections:
Peace to you all