Saturday, January 31, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/31/09: Puppy Horse, Goldmember, Dada

1. Snug's trainer, Debbie, kept moving the puppy horse closer and closer to Snug and gradually he became more and more comfortable until finally he was sniffing the puppy horse all over and was not afraid or threatened by it any more.

2. Molly taught me the phrase, "Not you, henchman holding wrench" and I feel oddly empowered.

3. Molly's short videos posted on Facebook embody a delightful dada absurdity.

Sibling Assignment #89: Fun with Phoebe and Mona and Nick and Kitty and Kelly and Jeff and Mary and Tara and Phil and ....

The 89th sibling assignment comes from Silver Valley Girl:

Think about a television show you watched growing up while you lived at home. Write about what you enjoyed about that television show, and how that show may have influenced you in your adult life.

This is a tough one. While growing up, our television was on all the time and I enjoyed cartoons, baseball, basketball, and football games, golf tournaments, bowling tournaments, situation comedies, news casts, news specials, hospital, court room, and police dramas, variety shows, talk shows, game shows: I enjoyed The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, the NBC Baseball Game of the Week, Monday Night Football, the NBA All-Star Game, the NCAA Final Four, the Masters, the U.S. Open; I enjoyed Dick Weber, Earl Anthony, Dick Van Dyke, Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, All in the Family, Ron Bair, Jack Dunhaver, Bob Briley, Peter Jennings, Frank Reynolds, Huntley and Brinkley, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Judd for the Defense, Storefront Lawyers, the Mod Squad, Merv Griffin, Laugh-In, Carol Burnett, Dick Cavett, Joey Bishop, Johnny Carson, Seven Keys, the Dating Game, Hollywood Squares, Jeopardy, Concentration, You Don't Say, Match Game, to name a few.

When did I play baseball, read the Hardy Boys, swim, golf, hang out at the triangle park, shoot baskets, go the YMCA, listen to LP's, listen to the radio, go to Rose Lake, go up the river, all of which I loved, when the television was on so much? When I watched so much tv?

I don't know.

But the assignment is to choose one. It is to choose one that has influenced my adult life.

Well. Did you notice a genre I didn't mention in my copious list above?


Not only did I enjoy soaps, they have had the a longer lasting effect on me than any other television.

Two soaps stand out: "General Hospital" and "All My Children", but I think I'll reflect on "All My Children".

Now. Don't be afraid. I'm not going to go all literature instructor on you here. I'm not going to pretend like I enjoyed soaps for their deeper meaning, their sociological importance, their way of reflecting current social issues.

No! None of that!

"All My Children" was fun.

What is more fun than knowing someone who watched "All My Children" back in its early days and followed the trials and tribulatioins of Phil and Tara and Jeff and Erica and Mary and Phoebe and Dr. Martin and Ann and Nick and Ann and Brooke and who can forget when Palmer came on the scene and Cliff and Nina and how about Myrtle and Mona and on and on?

Some of my best times in marriage have been recounting "All My Children" storylines, laughing about Linc or remembering Kitty or Tom Cudahy, and spinning one yarn after another, testing memory, looking stuff up, and taking delight in all the outrageous things that have happened.

When I was injured at the Zinc Plant, Mom watched "All My Children" every day in my hospital room, except when it was pre-empted for the Watergate hearings, and the hearing Nick sing or watching Dr. Tyler solve family problems helped relieve me of the irritation in my lungs and the headaces from the injuries to my eyes.

But what makes "All My Children" the best in my adult life is laughing with my sisters and mom. Mom watches "All My Children" religiously each day. When I visit her, it takes about one or two days to pick up the current story lines and then, as if we were geneologists, we start tracing back, remembering character histories and then when my sisters and I get together, if the subject becomes "All My Children" we laugh and laugh about all the great things that have happened over the years and the things we remember from thirty, forty years ago.

It's simple. It's mirth. It's feeling merry. It's laughter. It's remembering stories. It's why "All My Children" has influenced and made my adult life more enjoyable.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/30/09: International Workers of the World, Radio Neighborhood Tour, Au revoir Caroline

1. In Fat Cats and Underdogs we watched the 1979 documentary film, "The Wobblies" and listened to a series of men and women bear witness to the labor struggles of the early 20th century. It's a chapter of USA history that's been largely silenced.

2. I arrived home from school, parked in front of the house, and was so enthralled with a radio story on "Day to Day" about a New York City U. S. Attorney who survived a violent robbery and kidnapping that I took a slow tour of the Whitaker neighborhood until the story was over and then I parked in front of the house again and shuffled into the house.

3. The latest issue of "New Yorker" published a profile of Caroline Kennedy that casts a somewhat sympathetic light on her decision to withdraw from consideration as a candidate for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. I found the piece enlightening. I'm saddened by her withdrawl and I understand better that such a public office may not conform well with her personality, character, or way of life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/29/09: 3BT Makes the Classroom, Verbs Buzz, Coffee Change?

1. Daphne talked with her WR 105 students about Three Beautiful Things. Could seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary help LCC students in their scholarship applications? I sure hope so!

2. My energy has picked up considerably in the last five days. It's contagious. WR 122 buzzed this morning as we explored the power of verbs as a way of invigorating one's writing style.

3. Willa's piece in The Torch made me wonder: should I go a few blocks out of my way and pick up morning coffee and vegan danish at Wandering Goat in the mornings?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/28/09: Essays, Pepper Laugh, Snug's Growth

1. In Fat Cats and Underdogs this morning, student after student reported on and read from compelling paper after compelling paper they had composed about ethics, solidarity, class stratification, aspirations, class markers, and other concepts we are studying in our class.

2. I opened the door for a couple nearing eighty years old at Carl's, Jr. and once we got in line the man not only told me his age, he said he was going to have a jalapeno burger and we had a good laugh when I told him, "That ought to get your blood flowing!"

3. When Snug and I first started to play ball, he was awkward, uncoordinated, and comic; today I marveled at his grace as he flew off the ground to snatch the ball from the air, his timing perfect, his motion poetic.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/27/08:Going Deep, Owl, Bill D. at Dover

1. Many of my writing students are seeing the wisdom of seeing the world from a Buddhist perspective as a way of thinking critically and analytically and exhaustively about a subject. It's fun to shift out of traditional ways of thinking and see how we can be enlivened by other ways of understanding reality.

2. Russell told me that his very young son uses the word "owl" when he sees a bird and also when he wants something. We had a good laugh when I said, "Maybe he thinks 'owl' is a way of saying 'I'll' and he's saying 'Owl have that!'".

3. I became Facebook friends with my nephew, Bill. He's studying in Canterbury. When his dad told me he'd be at Canterbury, the first thing I thought was that he'll love the castles of southeast England. Today I saw pictures Bill posted of Dover Castle, and there was Bill and I could tell he was letting his imagination take him centuries back and he was a medieval soldier helping protect his country.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/26/08: Pepto Starbucks, Harlan County, The Americans

1. Last evening's chili had me feeling queasy this morning, but a cinnamon scone and a grande house with room at Starbucks miraculously helped settle down my internal combustion.

2. Our students in Fat Cats and Underdogs expressed high regard for the men and women of the coal mining town of Brookside, Kenucky in their struggle for justice while striking for union representation in the astonishing documentary film "Harlan County, USA". It was really gratifying that our students felt such respect for working class people who are often looked down upon and made fun of because of their speech patterns, clothes, dental problems, and the work they do.

3. I don't remember having heard of Robert Frank and his influential and controversial 1959 collection of photographs, "The Americans". Bob Edwards devoted his radio program to this collection today and I spent time looking at Frank's brilliant pictures online. I can hardly wait to find a copy of the book and examine it more closely.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/25/09: Mental Fog, Papers, Blog Breakthrough

1. I think my mental fog is lifting.

2. I finished commenting on papers I should have returned a week ago. The mental fog slowed me way down. It is lifting.

3. I finally wrote in my blog again today. I wrote about the mental fog I've been living with, here. I think the fog is lifting.

Sibling Assignment #88: Fog

I have disappointed myself with this sibling assignment: and I'm the one who gave it! I like the assignment. I just wrote the word "fog" to my sisters and they posted beautiful pieces. You can find Silver Valley Girl's here and InlandEmpireGirl's here.

My disappointment is pretty simple. We had a series of foggy mornings here in Eugene and I had planned to grab my camera and take fog photos.

Every morning, I forgot my camera.


So why my forgetfulness?

Mental fog.

If you've read much of this blog at all, you know that I struggle with mental health problems, namely depression, and I take medication to keep the chemicals in my head in some kind of balance.

The medications are a good thing, for the most part; they help keep my mood even and help my behavior be more predictable. But the medications also rob me of a certain range of feeling and when I don't take this medicine, my dreams stimulate me with their absurd plot lines and fantastic images.

So, sometimes I take a vacation from my medicine, and I make a contract with myself. As soon as I begin to have feelings of self-destruction or of sabotaging myself or as soon as I can tell I'm getting needlessly cranky, snapping at people, I go right back to taking my medicine.

Well, I went quite a while without taking my medicine, but about a week and half ago, I started again. I felt myself getting cranky and moody in ways that I knew I needed to treat before a destructive momentum built up.

Taking the medicine again made me dizzy, nauseous, and sick. That was the physical part.

Mentally, fog has rolled in.

The fog of fatigue. The fog of lethargy. The fog of procrastination. It's a drowsy fog, a paralyzing fog. It's a familiar fog. It's a fog a dread. Hours of fog pass by and I've done nothing: no writing, no grading, no reading, no cooking, eating, walking, just sleeping. Sleep helps me escape this fog, but when I awake, the fog is still settled into the valleys of my consciousness.

At work, I exert a lot of energy masking the fog, trying to keep my voice upbeat, my performance in the classroom lively. I crack jokes. I engage my students. I can feel the energy draining from my mind and body, from my muscles and my bones. I push forward. I can hardly wait to get back home and sleep.

No one can know that I'm in a fog. Especially my students. I confide to MB that I'm a little foggy and she understands and, as we share the teaching load of our team taught course, we look out for each other. She's in a different fog of preoccupation with a criminal in her life, and we both know what each other is going through and respect the impact of the mental fogs we are in.

As I write this, I realize that I haven't posted on my blog since January 12th. It was the 14th when I started taking my medicine again. That's the fog at work. It separates me from what I enjoy and in some areas of my life I don't have the will to fight it.

Today, I am fighting it, though. I've written this post. I don't have pictures of fog for it like I wanted, but maybe you get the picture.

Maybe you sense that the fog is slowly lifting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/12/09: Free Play of the Mind, LCC Fog, Hash Brown Dinner

1. In Fat Cats and Underdogs, when we got somewhat deep into Robert Grudin's arguments regarding the free play of the mind, a still wondrous silence fell over the room.

2. Coming over the 30th Avenue hill to LCC, fog encased the campus, except for a sliver where the clouds broke apart and the Center building peeked out. This was a transcendent moment. It had to be. The ugly pile of concrete looked enchanting.

3. An early evening dinner of hash browns, bacon, eggs, toast, and Diet Pepsi hit the spot in a crisp, fluffy, chilled, soupy way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sibling Assignment #87: A Perfect Day

For this sibling assignment, InlandEmpireGirl challenged us to describe a perfect day. InlandEmpire girl's perfect day is here and Silver Valley Girl's is still to come.

I can't actually write about what would most fully be a perfect day for me because it would involve passions and pleasures I just don't write about in my blog. So, I'll keep my real number one perfect day a private dream and I'll write about another kind of perfect day that I'd enjoy having.

My perfect day would occur in Kellogg and the surrounding area. It would begin with my sisters and mother and by the end of the day would involve friends I've known for forty to fifty years or more.

To start, my perfect day would begin with a Jimmy Dean sausage and eggs and potatoes and toast and coffee breakfast. No homefries. No herbs. No omelets or eggs benedict. No. Just fried or scrambled eggs with hash browns and toast with strawberry jam or preserves canned by Mom or one of my sisters and plain ole coffee out of the can: MJB maybe. Mom usually has Yuban. It could be Folgers or Maxwell House or anything else ordinary and normal.

Mom and my sisters and I would jump in the car and start driving the Silver Valley. We'd go up Wardner, check out the progress of the construction up Deadwood Gulch, drive through Smelterville, identify where people live and used to live, remember where Farmers Market was and tell tall tales about the Happy Landing and Frontier Days.

If we wanted a pop break: the Boat and then a swing through Page and checking out the construction there and come over the hill into Pinehurst and circumnavigate the golf course. I'd want to see if we could identify the tree planted in memory of my dad.

Then I'd want to head east of Kellogg and drive up Elizabeth Park and Montgomery Gulch and go up Moon Gulch and Big Creek and tell more stories about people we knew and know all these places and have Silver Valley Girl give a local history lesson about all these places.

My perfect day would then take us to Murray and the Sprag Pole for burgers and fries and on the way back we would find some obscure road Silver Valley Girl knows about and come back to the Valley via it, possibly retracing the tracks of Noah Kellogg or some other early pioneer.

In my perfect day, we would return home in time for Mom to catch at least one soap and then we'd start frying chicken, lots of chicken, and making potato salad, lots of potato salad, and start filling coolers with Heidleberg and Olympia beer (no microbrews allowed) and friends would start to arrive for a chicken and potato salad and beer party in the back yard.

Since it's my perfect day, it would happen in a perfect world and old Silver Valley friends would travel from as close as Kingston and as far away as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and come over to Mom's backyard to eat, drink, bullshit, laugh, and enjoy each other.

Washing over the top of the party would be the sounds of Steppenwolf, Chicago, the Carpenters, James Taylor, the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, CCR, Carole King, and all the other music we all enjoyed in high school and soon there after.

My perfect day would lengthen into a perfect evening and stretch into a perfect night where all my great Silver Valley friends, men and women alike, would be filled with the joy of one another's company and good cheer.

Three Beautiful Things 1/11/09: Vaughn Williams, Mozart at St. Mary's, Eagles Are Alive

1. I have one more cd to go: then my entire Ralph Vaughn Williams catalog will be loaded on my Sansa Clip MP3 player.

2. A formidable soprano, whose last name is Rossi, sang a stirring Mozart aria as the postlude at the 11:00 service at St. Mary's today.

3. Fire Andy Reid! Get rid of Donovan McNabb. The Eagles are dead! I hope the fans who want to get rid of Reid and McNabb will wait until after the Super Bowl, just in case they beat the Cardinals and advance to the Super Sunday. I love this story and love it when bitter beer-faced nay-sayers get proved wrong.

Three Beautiful Things 1/10/09: Snug Language, Blizzard, Birthday Blog Post

1. I learned more today from our dog trainer about reading Snug's physical vocabulary. I'm especially keen to learn how he communicates being relaxed, although knowing how he communicates the fear he feels so often is crucial, too.

2. I'd never had a strawberry cheesequake Blizzard until tonight. It was about 80 per cent refreshing and about 20 per cent phony.

3. My sisters enjoyed what I wrote on my blog in honor of InlandEmpireGirl's birthday; IEG liked the photos and that made me very happy.

Self-Interview: Confessions (Part 3)

My first self-interview is here, the second, here.

So, you've been away for a while. You haven't subjected yourself to my questioning since New Year's Eve. What's the deal?

There's no deal. I've been busy getting everything underway at school. I've been thinking a lot about what we've been discussing, so let's resume the interrogation.

You don't talk about your Christian faith in terms of belief or Christianity as a belief system, do you?

No, I don't. To me, when you start talking about Christianity as a belief system, then it's too easy to become attached to a system of ideas, to a system of language, and the system begins to mean more than the experience of faith. I do not find the experience of faith at all systematic.

What do you mean?

Systems are orderly. I do not find the experience of faith at all orderly, except as it's ordered in worship...which I enjoy very much. But an orderly worship service is equivalent to taking certain aspects of life and creating a theater piece. No one play, say of Shakespeare, tells the whole truth, but it distills and gives us a magnified experience of the truth it does deal with. Similarly, worship is an orderly, magnified, focused hour of experiencing parts of the Christian experience.

But, as we move through life, moment by moment, it's not at all systematic. I don't think a belief system is all that helpful. It's why I think of faith not as what I might say I "believe", but my faith is demonstrated in how I follow the way of God or the way of Christ.

So, to you, faith is living.

Living the way. Yes. I mean faith doesn't suggest knowing or believing. It means acting as if something is true. Not that it is undoubtedly true. If the way of God is to love, forgive, serve, share compassion, and so on, I am being faithful as I do those things and do them not for reward, but because it's the way. The problem, of course, is that we live in an unjust condition.


Well, we are terribly imperfect beings, we human beings. We do not see things the way they are or understand our world very well and we get it wrong a lot. We live in a condition in which getting it wrong can be (maybe often is) a source of suffering or guilt or shame or confusion. But, because we are imperfect, we err a lot and suffer for it. It's not fair. The way of life holds us to standards that we may not understand well, that we might stray from out of ignorance or misunderstanding, but, still, we pay the consequences. It's a weird set up and it's what sets our lives in motion: we have a dim understanding of the way of God, we act out of harmony with it, we didn't really understand we were out of harmony, and pain ensues. We learn. We might do better next time. But because our understanding of the mysterious way of God is always ongoing, we never come to a full understanding and we are always both following and not following the way.

Are you, perchance, talking about sin?

Yes, I am.

You make it sound like we live always in sin.

Yes, I think we do. We can't get around it. We pursue the way of God, we learn, discern, remember, orient ourselves, do all we can and we stray. We are always living the way and not living the way. Living out of joint with the way isn't the only way we are, but we are always out of joint, to some degree.

But not completely.

No, not completely. If you see a life of faith as dualistic, then, yes, a person is, at a given moment, either living in sin or in grace. It's why I reject the dualism. We are always living in sin and grace. Simultaneously. It's why I think of sin as a condition of separation from God, or from the way, not as individual things we do. The things we do that are life denying and harmful grow out of our separation. The separation is the root problem and we are always, to some degree, in a state of separation from the way of God.

But, we are always, to some degree, always walking the way; we are always also on the path; well, maybe I should back off this a bit and say that cases certainly exist where it's hard to see any evidence of God's way in what a person does. But, in the main, my experience is that we are walk in sin and grace, in separation and along the way, simultaneously.

How do we tell the difference? How do we know the ways of God?

With certainty?

Yeah. With certainty.

Ha! We see through a glass darkly. No certainty. But, personally, I experience the Holy Spirit in knee-shaking ways and when it comes to discernment, clarity, inspiration to follow God/the way, well, the Holy Spirit is the mightiest force I experience, especially of the three dimensions of the Trinity.

That seems like a good place to stop for now. And, you know, there's a guy named Mark Watson who wants to get in on this conversation. Would you be open to responding to his question(s) next time around.

That would be an honor!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 9th: InlandEmpireGirl's Birthday -- -- It's All Goodness and Light

Raymond Pert Marvels at His Baby Sister

Times don't change much. Just I did in this picture over fifty years ago, I still marvel at my sister, my adult sister. She's hardly my baby sister anymore.

If you follow this blog, you know my sister as InlandEmpireGirl, the creator of a stunning blog, Gathering Around the Table.

If you are looking to enjoy a blog that is a perfect reflection of its creator, go enjoy my sister's blog.

I marvel at her blog.

My sister is devoted to goodness and light, whether it's the goodness and light found in her dogs, her cats, her husband, God, gardening, cooking, reading, writing, photography, teaching, our family, or being a trusted and faithful friend to so many.

Every time my sister posts at her blog, it grows out of the goodness and light of her heart and soul and mind. She write beautiful musings upon the things in her life that bring her goodness and light, she takes photographs full of goodness and light, she shares poems, recipes, flower arrangements, gardening ideas, pictures of her gardens; she matches pictures with quotations from her favorite writers and thinkers, always working to inspire readers of her blog to see more fully the goodness and light in life.

I can be a dark soul. When I visit with InlandEmpireGirl, whether at her home or through the wonders of the internet or the telephone, her great humor, positive outlook, honesty, and faith always inspire me to see the world in a better light. My sister's goodness is especially inspiring because it's grown out of her strength, out of her suffering through difficult times. Rather than being left embittered by what she's endured, my sister has transmuted what she's learned from suffering into compassion for others and learned ways to see the goodness and light in herself and others. I marvel at how she does this while always aware of the difficulties she's endured.

So Happy Birthday, Sissy! Keep on shining! And, to close, in case you have forgotten, your love for looking into things for pictures began a long time ago. Here you are looking at pictures in a View-Master at Grandma's house on E. Bridgeport!

Three Beautiful Things 01/09/09:Framing the American Dream, Mental Health Care, Headache Subsides

1. MBayless was back in class today. We asked them each to tell the class how they framed their understanding of the American Dream in their first essays, and we were both impressed and excited by the quality of their thinking.

2. I didn't go to the early part of the division meeting today. I wasn't interested. I arrived for the middle. It was good. Mostly. I left before the last third got started. I am protecting my mental health. Not attending barely bearable discussions in meetings at work helps, immeasurably.

3. After the first week of classes, enrollments seem stabilized. The no-shows are gone. The students wanting in are enrolled. Those accidentally dropped are registered back in. It's amazing how much time that should be given over to learning is spent taking care of institutional business in the institutional classroom. I hate it. I love it when these enrollment headaches are resolved.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/05/09: Class, Spud Sleep, Fiesta

1. American Working Class Literature and WR 122 got off to a solid start with a lot of ideas and insights flying around the room as we started to try to define the Working Class and examine the American Dream.

2. I dropped like a sack of Yukon Golds when I arrived home after class and fell into a zeta state of sleep.

3. After dinner, I went to sleep very early with ESPN on the radio and awoke around 10 p.m. to the news that Texas had had to rally with a touchdown with two minutes to go in order to defeat the recently Bowl-hapless Ohio State Buckeyes. I would have loved to have seen the Ducks play either of these squads and knock them into tomorrow.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/04/09: Home at Church, Fat Sausages, Zero

1. Church feels like home. It always has. I'm happy to be back again and welcome. I don't know what to say when I'm asked where I've been. My struggles with depression and fatigue are difficult to explain. So is the necessity of allocating my energy, not to mention how church, which feels like home, was wearing me out.

2. Those fat organic pork breakfast sausages I bought at the Kiva were really tasty after church.

3. I played hours of live music performed by Zero and let Steve Kimock and Martin Fierro and the rest of the boys carry me away and my imagination and memory transported me back to all those great shows at WOW Hall and the Hilton Ballroom. I miss feeling the satisfaction and sublimity hearing Zero live used to give me. Recordings are a decent second best.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Deke

The Deke celebrated her birthday a few weeks ago in West Point, NY with Adrienne, Molly, Patrick, Nathan, Hiram, and the dogs Mike, Claudia, and the continuously flatulent pit bull terrier, Dink. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/03/09: Angie and Coomer Updates, Clip, Riot of Flavors

1. My cousin Angie wrote me an email today. When's the last time we had any contact? 1980, maybe? What a pleasure to hear from her and to find out how her sisters are doing and what's up with her mom and dad. Hmm....I didn't realize when Angie got a little silly at InlandEmpireGirl's wedding twenty-eight years ago that it was her first time getting drunk. That surprises me. She seemed like such a booze pro that evening.... ;).

2. Yesterday I picked up a Sansa 8 gig Clip MP3 player, paid in part by the Wal*Mart gift card Mom gave me for my birthday. I started loading the player up today and always enjoy learning the in's and out's of these remarkable gadgets.

3. I bought a tiny turkey breast yesterday and late this afternoon the Deke heated it up and she made some sour cream mashed potatoes. I sliced some turkey, spooned myself some spuds, and suddenly I anticipated bliss: I fell to my knees in front of the open fridge and moved the eggs and fruit cake and lemon poppy seed cake and container of salsa away from each other and a clear path opened to what I knew was hiding in the shadowy back of the fridge: orange cranberry relish. Patrick and the Deke had it with their turkey on Thanksgiving and I greedily pulled it out, slathered it all over my turkey and splashed it on my spuds and savored the chaos of CranberryOrangeSourCreamPotatoTurkeyAllRunTogether and gave my widening belly a satisfied tap.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 01/02/09: Mary Chat, Kelly Chat, Sunrise

1. MaryF has been retired from LCC for about ten years. How long has it been since I talked with her? Dunno. Today we had a great talk at Trader Joe's and slowed down all kinds of people as we clogged the arteries of three different cashier lines.

2. KellyD took a few minutes away from keeping Trader Joe's afloat and on course and we had a great talk.

3. I can't remember the last time I bought a tray of sushi and did some shopping at the Sunrise Market, but today I loved losing myself in noodles, chickpeas, sesame candy, teas, and scores of other foods and products.

Three Beautiful Things 01/01/09: Grand Ole Floyd, Slips Sheep, Ron Franklin

1. I listened to Luther Wright and the Wrongs transform Pink Floyd's "The Wall" from a rock opera to a Grand Ole Opry and it works. It really works.

2. My first prayer of 2009 was answered at about 1:00 a.m.: The Floydian Slips played "Sheep" in their encore. Rich Sellars comes out from the percussion section at the back of the band and fronts the band for "Sheep" and his sense of drama makes me think of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Perfect Theater of Alienation.

What do you get for pretending the dangers not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.
3. I listened to the Orange Bowl on the radio. It wasn't that compelling of contest, but I enjoy listening to Ron Franklin do football play by play so much that I remained fixed to my seat.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Three Beautiful Things 12/31/08: Shine On, St. Mary's, Ham Soup

1. I'd been riffing a little on Pink Floyd's song title, "Shine On, You Crazy Diamond" as a New Year's greeting during the run up before going to the Floydian Slips show tonight. And wouldn't you know it! The Floydian Slips opened their show tonight with "Shine On, You Crazy Diamond"!

2. I had business to take care of at St. Mary's Episcopal Church today and realized that it's been months, maybe over a year, since I went to the church during the day to take care of something or go to a meeting. It's a funny thing to say, but I feel much more like I'm really getting back into life at the church just by having gone there today and asked Louise for help and then dropped in on the church bookkeeper.

3. Marla fixed a flavorful and comforting ham and potato soup and she and Randy and family invited me over for dinner before Randy and I went to the McDonald to hear the Floydian Slips.