Thursday, October 30, 2008

full circle

Nine years ago I came to Tennessee to serve The Church of the Epiphany as their vicar. After two and a half very good years there I parted company to move to Missouri and marry a man that I thought I was destined to be with. Fortunately for me, destiny whispered a warning about that future before it was too late, and I called off the marriage.

The road from that point until now has been generally quite bumpy, especially as it relates to my vocational life. I have prayed and discerned, discerned and prayed, tried and failed, tried and gotten run over to find the right niche within (and without) the parameters of the Church to serve God as a priest.

In the meantime Epiphany has been down its own bumpy road as it tried (and failed), and tried (and gotten run over) to find solid clergy leadership. Last May I was asked if I would fill in there for a few Sundays to fill some gaps in the clergy schedule--what we call being a "supply" priest. Within a few weeks I was asked to serve alternate months with another priest. No problem.

I didn't know what to expect when I first returned last May, but was pleasantly surprised to find the church calm, peaceful, and hopeful. A good place to be for a church. It's membership was diminished in size, but not in spirit. It's been a good experience, good enough that conversations began to take place about the possiblity of me returning there in a more official capacity.

Jumping ahead (the full story is longer than anyone wants to read)--a few weeks ago I received a call from the bishop to tell me that he wanted to appoint me to Epiphany as Priest-in-Charge. I said yes. The appointment is for a two-year period, at which time we will all evaluate where we are, and the parish will have the option to call me as their rector.

There are a few old fogies who are resisting my return, but as we have all discussed--the Church is in a different place than they were six years ago, and I am in a different place. Our need for each other appears right, and the fit, good.

This Sunday will be my first official day as the new Priest-in-Charge. We've come full circle, that funky little church and I, and there is every reason to believe that the days ahead will be good ones.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

take a whiff

It's cold here this morning, and Ken is at home putting together estimates for prospective jobs before heading out to the project on which he is presently working. For some reason I slept late this morning, and when I finally emerged to start the day was surprised and delighted to find a fire going in the fireplace.

Having a fire is one of Ken's simple pleasures. We have noted, as well, that with the ceiling fans operating the heat circulates through the house reasonably well, shaving a tad of the expense off our utility bill.

As I was sitting in the wing chair by the fire earlier with my breakfast, I got a whiff of that distinctive wood-burning scent. Yankee Candle is missing out on an opportunity for significant sales by not having a candle scent of the same. For all those with gas fires who miss the scent of a "real" fire, this would do the trick. And of course a natural place to sell such candles would be hearth oriented retailers making sales to homes making the transition.

I think I'm on to something here. Who do I talk to?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the new look

About a month ago we got our new living room furniture, and I promised pictures! At long last, here they are, with a "before" and then an after shot.

In the "sort of strange" department we saw our old couch on the news last week, in the home of a couple being interviewed for a local news piece. And not too long ago on an episode of Criminal Minds the fabric in which I reupholstered an arm chair was covering the couch on one of the sets used for that episode! Not sure what any of that means, if anything, but it just strikes me as a little strange.
Here's the look before:
And here's the new look! One of the things I love about the change is that the window is no longer obscured with the couch in front of it, and we have more light in the room. I also took down the old curtains and left just the sheers. The painting doesn't work so well over the couch, given the color, but it does fit the wall. Oh well!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

you say "liberal" like that's a bad thing!

I am indebted to an interview on NPR that I heard yesterday while on my way to a meeting for prompting today's reflection. Bernard-Henri Levy, author of the book Left in Dark Times: a Stand Against the New Barbarism, was the guest. During the interview he talked about the origins of the use of the term "liberal," referring to those who advocated for or took up the cause of victims. I had a minor epiphany then (one of those "duh!" moments), suddenly making the connection between the word "liberal" and "liberate," to set free.

It makes perfect sense that "liberals" would be associated with the notion of liberation and setting free. My musings sent me to the dictionary (something I should have done long ago related to this topic), and I was interested to learn that the root of the word also connotes "belonging to the people." Further exploration yields "the securing of equal social and economic rights," and "persons favoring progress and reform in politics, education, and institutions." I'm hearing a resonance with the goals and desires of the founders of this country, and words from our Declaration of Independence ring in my ears.

It's true that the extreme of such a view, what we call radical, can be over the top, and annoying and even disturbing even to those of us wear this "label" with pride. But as with most things, I am somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, following a heart of compassion and mercy, shaped by an ideology that advocates the common good, and desiring opportunity and choice for all.

I can think of worse things with which to be associated--far worse.

Friday, October 24, 2008

worth repeating

Thanks to my friend Debi for sharing this. (I especially like #18, which made me stop and think for a moment.) I'm relieved to know that I already practice a good portion of what follows, but there is always room for improvement (isn't that always the case?). I encourage readers to adopt one new thing from the following list.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to God about what is going on in your life.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today. I am thankful for______________'.

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and lots of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control—instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a lady-in-waiting.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good. 10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything - but you have to ask Him.
20. However good or bad a situation, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!! 22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You'll be smiling before you know it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I appreciate smart. Whether it's delivered as eloquence, wit, thoughtfulness, insight, or any other of the many guises smart wears, I appreciate it. If my friend Kathy were still alive she would tell you that I also appreciate smart, clever advertising (she used to laugh at my familiarity with TV commercials).

Yesterday I saw an ad that, to me, depicts "smart." It was posted on a billboard by a stretch of downtown highway, an example of less-is-more wisdom. The ad read:
"Sex May Sell, But It Has Nothing to Do with the Making of Great Vodka."

Sobieski is the leading brand of vodka in Poland, and it is increasing its market niche in the US. I don't notice differences in vodka (probably don't drink enough of it to make such an observation), but in thanksgiving for their advertising alone, I just might buy this brand in the future.

Another example of their smarts? "Who Needs Superdelegates? We've Got a Whole Country Behind Us. The #1 Premium Vodka in Poland."

Okrzyki! (that means "cheers!")

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

being american

Years ago when I lived in Connecticut an article appeared on the front page of The Hartford Courant with an accompanying photograph that I've never forgotten. The issue was immigration, and the article reported a protest staged by members of the area's large hispanic population. The photograph showed protesters in front of the state capitol holding a sign over their heads that read "Real Americans didn't come over on the Mayflower."

Oh, really? Perhaps it was a defensive response from my gene pool, which carries markers from passengers aboard that historic ship. Or perhaps it was my tepid disgust for the ignorant and uninformed mindset that crafted that phrase. Whatever jolted me then about the statement, it all comes back now as voices fill the airwaves with accusations of one kind or another about public people being un- or anti-American.

So I got to thinking. What does it mean to be "American?"

As I ponder my own response to that question I quickly discover that any answer is far more complex than the question, or should be! My initial reflection took me immediately to Norman Rockwell's The Four Freedoms. In those paintings he brings to life tangible depictions of the desires of all people to be able to speak freely, worship as they choose, not go hungry, and go to bed at night feeling safe from harm. (It is the latter painting, Freedom from Fear, that is my favorite. )

Rockwell's suggestions offer perhaps obvious reflections of what we say it means to be American, but more and more it sounds as though some people believe it applies to their own choices, and not the choices of others when differences emerge. The notion of difference appears to be very threatening to so many, and that is foundational to the problems we face as a society.

The false rumor spread about Obama being Muslim is a case in point. Colin Powell finally voiced what I have been saying for months. What if Obama were a Muslim (he's not, just in case anyone reading this isn't aware that he is a Christian)? Would that be a bad thing? Do people fear that a Muslim's beliefs might influence how he or she would shape policy? How is that different from how a Christian's views shape their own worldview? Or a Jew's, Hindu's or Budist's? (Remember, our government has branches with distinct responsibilities and powers that are designed to prevent autocracy from ruling our land.)

And let's talk for a moment about Jeremiah Wright, one of those being accused of being Anti-American. Are his views about being attacked on 9/11 any more radical than those of the Christian right who claim that the events of that day were God's judgment against America's sinfulness? Since when is being radical anti-American? Think for a moment about who fought the British in these colonies during the American Revolution, the movement for fair representation that led to the incredible freedoms citizens of this country now enjoy. The architects of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and our Constitution created a government that protected and provided for Americans that at that time came from all over Europe, represented a variety of cultures, spoke multiple languages and practiced divergent forms of religion. I wonder what it meant to them to be part of this country in its foundling years? And what would they say now to the bickering and the maligning?

We each hold our own view about what we value about our country, and we express those views and values in various ways. We may not understand how another arrives at their view, but the first responsibility we have is to learn from each other and to clarify misunderstandings before we assert our right to speak out against our neighbor. Being "American" too often is about freedom, and not often enough about the responsiblities that come with those freedoms.

I feel I'm leaning a bit toward a ramble, so I'll wind this down with a simple invitation to think about this question, and, if you're willing, to share your thoughts. Anyone?


Monday, October 20, 2008

oh so sweet

I don't have any evidenciary reason to think I might be allergic to gluten. I've learned that it is an allergy that can develop in mid-life, and that for women over forty (that would be "wof," of which I am one) it can be a culprit in the weight-gain battle. So, while I am adjusting my eating habits I thought I would go for a week without wheat, just to see if it makes a difference in how I feel.

After four days I can't determine a difference in how I feel, so chances are good that gluten is not a problem for me. What I CAN tell you is that I am looking forward to resuming having wheat in my diet for one simple reason: honey. It is a glorious food, one of God's better gifts to us, and about as natural a food as you can get. It is wonderful in tea, and since I am now a tea girl adding even a drop to the pot I brew in the morning is a treat.

In this gluten-free interim I am using alternative breads but they are not the same, and I am looking forward to my own freshly baked biscuit drizzled with honey. Ah, the anticipation...

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Yesterday proved to be the perfect antedote to the slipshod day before. It was a gorgeous fall day here--cool temperatues, light breeze, sunny with the occasional cloud playing peekaboo with the glorious autumn light.

This weekend is the annual Oktoberfest sponsored by the local town bank. I always enjoy going to see what sorts of things people have crafted, what local merchants are there, and of course, to smell the food! The church has a booth, as well, and we wanted to stop by and encourage them in their efforts. It was great to be out and be just one of the folks, and I did my part to support the local economy by buying a t-shirt at the humane association booth.

Later in the day I got engrossed in a project that took up what was left of the afternoon, and smiled to myself as I heard football coming from the other room. We heated up leftovers for dinner and afterwards Ken built a fire that bathed us in comfort and normalcy. For the first time in a long time the day felt like the kind of Saturday that I remember from a former life. Shedding cares, delighting in the moment, and unlike the walls at Melrose, feeling plumb with life.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

desperately seeking a better day

It was one of those days yesterday. Got up and walked with Ken in the morning. It was cool, the perfect walking temperature. After we returned home he got ready to shove off to work and I came to the computer to blog. My brain was foggy though, and I was just dragging. I felt tired, and finally decided to go back to bed, where I slept for several hours! Yeah, that walking stuff will really wear you out.

I received an email about a dog up for adoption/rescue--Ken and I talked about it and decided to go for it, only to learn we didn't meet minimum criteria because our yard isn't "hard" fenced (we have an invisible fence), and the dog isn't good with children.

Got a call from the host from what would have been today's Pampered Chef show to tell me she had to cancel...

I needed to put some things into the mail to Junior, so bundled some errands and off I went. First stop: post office. Missed the usual turn I take to go there to avoid traffic and sat, yes, in traffic as a consequence!

On to the election commission for early voting. I should have known not to bother. The parking had overflowed into the church lot next door, but I decided to be optimistic. There was a line. It went outside the front door and wrapped around the corner of the building and down the handicap ramp. I decided to endure it until I looked through the window when I got that far along. The line wrapped in the lobby, too, and that was before getting into the room where we would encounter officials and vote. Nope, not today.

Off I went to the gas station to exchange a propane cylinder. Waited in line. Waited ten minutes while the staff looked for the barcode that was supposed to be taped to the cash register to scan the propane tank. Never found it and finally my purchase was input manually under groceries. Did you know that the propane isn't taxable but the tank is? Funny, they tax the entire amount...

And now some aspect of my computer is acting up. I can't highlight text to cut, paste, or otherwise edit. VERY frustrating.

So today I am hoping for better things, and at the least, a way to work out what is going on with the computer. Anybody out there have any ideas? Kip?

Wishing for you all a glorious weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

day one

Ken and I have a new doctor. We met with him for the first time on Tuesday, and I shared with him the concerns I had about my weight gain. I also told him that I had been unhappy with two doctors who had essentially blown me off regarding that concern, and that I wanted him to take my concerns seriously. He did.

He proposed the following. For the next month:
--cut out white food (including pasta)
--don't drink anything with more than one calorie in it
--don't eat any "manmade" sweets
--walk 30 minutes every day

The eating regimen is familiar (except for the beverage portion), part of the philosophy I embraced two years ago when I lost weight effectively. I've also read some additional things to aid women over 40 struggling with weight issues, including avoiding wheat (gluten allergy), adding flax seed to my diet and drinking green tea. Yesterday I was able to eat the proper foods without too much trouble, and even made soup to take to last night's Gifts and Talents program that fit The Profile.

Recovering from depression, however, makes it more challenging to take on a discipline with consistency. My greatest loss is morning coffee, in which I MUST have half and half if I want to experience beverage bliss. As I mourned that loss yesterday morning Ken took sympathy on me and made the following offer. He would walk with me every morning at 6.

This morning we began. I'm grateful to have him join me on the walk--it gives us time together for uninterrupted conversation, keeps me accountable, and gets him walking too. Fortunately it is dark now at that hour, so he isn't starting work until a bit later. We should be able to make this part of our day for a long time.

And now if you'll excuse me, I hear the whistle of the kettle announcing that it's time for tea.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

aren't they cute?

Junior was in Atlanta last weekend on a dual mission: job interview and female pursuit. We think the job is a done deal (more on that later), and the other mission, while not accomplished, appears to be making excellent progress. We drove through Atlanta on our way home Sunday, and were able to stop and have a little time with Junior and Trisha (and we think she and the dog are both adorable). It's nice to see your child happy, and its fun to see that she's quicker than he with the comeback! I think he may have met his match, but it's a bit early for prognostications.

Turns out she's from Augusta, of all places, so we are thinking that Thanksgiving at Melrose might be in our collective future. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, October 13, 2008

drum roll, please!

Without further ado, here is the new kitchen at Melrose (a few finishing touches still to be done).



It is close to impossible to tell that there is a new dishwasher. To the left of the stove in the "before" picture is the hot-water heatercovered, and the top takes the shape of a counter-top. You really can't see a difference in the picture!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

heading home

It is always hard to leave this place. Even with the nonstop pace (for Ken) of getting essential work done here, there is always the view, the peace, the essence of warmth and hospitality that Melrose embodies, and the oppotunity to be away from the usual daily pressures that provide respite. Unfortunately Ken got no break, no day off, and there are still things left to do (minor for the kitchen: painting trim and installing cabinet finish trim). Tomorrow he starts on a new job with two others still needing to be finished. Sigh. If we're able, we'll sneak back for a long weekend while weather permits.

I'll be glad to get home to return to the land of dsl. Dial-up is agonizing here. I'll be delighted to be reunited with the dogs. I need to ramp up Pampered Chef. But I will miss being here. Miss the breezes, the sound of the birds, and the ability to note on a daily basis how the colors are changing. But we'll be back.

Hope all is well with those who come to this blog. I'll report in once we're back on home turf, with pictures of the kitchen!!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

simple joys

This one is for you, Gail!

Last weekend Mom accompanied my brother and sister-in-law to Middlebury, VT for parents' weekend at Middlebury College, where my nephew is a freshman. In addition to visits with Jesse they took advantage of being in Vermont, making a stop at the Vermont Country Store (where are there are a host of wonderful (and sometimes hard to find) things. Among them was some apple cider that Mom brought with her to Melrose when she arrived earlier this week.

Some things are quintessentially New England to me, and apple cider is one of them. It evokes memories of crisp fall days, a certain kind of light, the sound of fallen leaves kicked up as you walk through them, and the replacement of summer clothing with winter warmth.

Every place has its own markers of seasonal changes, subtle or substantial, but I maintain that New England (and upstate New York) has a distsinct edge over other parts of God's creation when it comes to the sensory sensations of fall.

Here's to the season in all its glory, however it presents itself where you are.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

sing with me now; "it's a small world after all!"

So, there I was checking my email and minding my own business when I got a notification from facebook to confirm that I would accept a request to be friends with another facebook member. Ah! One of my former seminarians! I’d been meaning to drop him a line to congratulate him and his wife (rather belatedly) on the birth of their second child. Their first child, Noah, was born back in the days when Paul worked with me.

I went to my facebook page and clicked to confirm, then clicked on the link to take me to Paul’s page. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but the news that he lives in Wasilla! I knew he was in Alaska, but how small a world is it (considering the size of that state) that he should be living in the most Googled small town in America. It’s almost frightening to consider that I might be two degrees separated from Ms. P!

Hmmm, maybe I should suggest that we arrange a pulpit swap. Now that might be interesting! Not to mention that it's snowing there...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

il pleut!

Which is a good thing! Not only does this area of South Carolina need rain, but the deluge that struck late this afternoon revealed something rather critical: a leak. Since no one is here ten months out of the year we have no idea how long it’s been there, but chances are good that this is not a recent event—there’s paint missing on the ceiling at two locations, suggesting sufficient dampness in the wood over time to cause the paint to peel. Ouch. Poor Ken. Assuming it doesn’t rain tomorrow he will be up on the roof to examine the damage and determine what can be done to repair the problem. Last spring Mom talked about wanting to re-roof the house in a couple of years. I suspect that project is now going to move up on the list of things to do. I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t going to be any vacation for Ken this trip.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

diary of a mad remodeler (as told by his wife)

Day 5 of The Project.

It has been what we call in this family a typical Melrose Project –nothing goes quite as one would expect. The most challenging aspect of installing the new kitchen cabinets is the direct result of “this old house.” There is no such thing as a level floor or a plumb wall. The variance in floor pitch is nearly four inches from one end of the cabinets to the other, and there is some fluidity, as well, from the primary wall in toward the room. This makes for truly fun times! It took Ken an entire day to get the floor and base cabinets level and installed. This morning we went to place the countertop and discovered that the drawers and cabinet doors below could not be opened because of the countertop overhang. I won’t repeat Ken’s response to this newest of setbacks.

The good news is that the end is in sight. Little details remain, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be time consuming. Under-cabinet lights need to be installed; trim added to hide their presence; molding placed above the wall cabinets to give a finished look; “kick plate” and additional trim installed at “floor level” to hide the necessary elevations; drawer and door knobs attached…” You get the idea. Although I have been useful here and there providing a second pair of hands, vacuuming sawdust, painting and so on, Ken has done the heavy lifting, literally and figuratively. He has persevered like a trooper in the face of annoying delays and painstaking attention to detail. I have at times felt helpless to lessen his stress and grateful for some time to tend to other things and be out of earshot of the running commentary that emanates from the kitchen.

As I type the faucet is being hooked up, so tonight we will have use of the (new) kitchen sink again for the first time since Friday morning. We set up a makeshift dishwashing area outside where, fortuitously, hot and cold water spigots were installed last spring (see picture).

I promise that pictures will be forthcoming soon. In the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy the little taste of Melrose beauty as demonstrated by last night’s sunset, and the more-than-content butterfly.

Until next time,
The ever-patient, and mostly sane, wife

Monday, October 06, 2008

note to self

Get better informed. I pay attention to the news, I read, and I try to follow what’s going on. But I confess that days can go by and I miss details of ongoing stories that enable me to have a full grasp of their complexity. It becomes all too easy to have Sound Byte Knowledge as opposed to Understanding. The debate about Sarah Palin’s levels of Knowledge and Understanding serve to confront me, as well, about what I do and don’t know.

I suffer at times, as well, from the intuitive dilemma of forgetfulness. When what I read makes internal sense the information is absorbed into the inner pool of knowledge and I lose its source and, often, the specifics. Case in point: I read Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat when it came out several years ago. Now I can’t remember what I read. Time to read it again.

All of this is underscored whenever we are at Melrose. We disappear into the black hole of “no news” (radio signal is weak, and there is no television here). Hungry for news, on Saturday Ken set out to find a decent newspaper while we were in town picking up a few things for The Project. We stopped at three drug stores, one convenience store and a grocery store, only to find the local paper (Augusta Chronicle) and a day-old USA Today. Venturing to Starbucks might have yielded a New York Times, but traveling to pick it up involved more time and gas than he wanted to expend at that point in the day.

We’ve read a few headlines online: OJ was convicted, and Sarah is accusing Obama of running with Terrorists. We’re interested in something more substantive. If only we could figure out how to get a dsl line out here…

Saturday, October 04, 2008

of mice and men (and women)

We love being at Melrose. It’s a beautiful and restful place (well, unless you’re replacing windows or renovating kitchens…), and for me it is filled with memories from throughout my life. The cottage is old, and though we don’t know exactly when the oldest part of it was built, there is some evidence that my great-great grandparents came here after the Civil War when they were forced to vacate their home in Burke County, GA.

Except for a few years toward the end of my great-grandparents’ lives, no one has lived here year-round. It has never been updated with insulation or any kind of HVAC system, and a phone wasn’t installed until sometime after I was in high school. There are two temperate times of year to be here: spring and fall. The cool days are helped by space heaters and the fireplaces in the living and dining rooms. Hot days are less tolerable, but are helped by ceiling fans and breezes that come up the hill from the Savannah River valley.

I mention this so that you know this is a country place. The determined snake can find its way into the house through cracks in the floor around the plumbing, and mice make a habit of homesteading in our absence. Snakes in the house are rare, however, and not harmful. Mice are more of a problem.

When we first arrive a ritual setting of mousetraps is essential. Our first night here on this trip we spotted four individual mice. As of this writing the body count is seven (sorry if that is disturbing).

I was therefore amused when I received the following in an email today. It’s good for a laugh and a smile, whether you’re plagued by mice or not.


A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. 'What food might this contain?' the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!'

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, 'Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.'

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, 'There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!' The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.’

The mouse turned to the cow and said, 'There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!' The cow said, 'Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose.'

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

And so, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Just a quick hello since I am having some connectivity problems and we are getting started on Day One of the Kitchen Project. I've got my "before" pics, which I'll post later.

It was a beautiful day yesterday for travel, and we were here with plenty of time to unload and settle in before the sunset. Although it was a fairly ordinary sunset (no clouds, but some richly colored bands above the horizon), it's still wonderful to be able to sit and watch it unfold. The "title picture" above is a Melrose sunset.

The debate was boring, but I give SP credit for doing a credible job of delivery. If only there weren't so many lies and if only she would actually answer the questions. She's proven that she can memorize talking points, and her TV broadcast experience comes in handy. I just wish she'd quit dropping her g's.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

off to Melrose!

It's that time of year again! This morning we depart for our tree farm in South Carolina. The first several days will be a "working" holiday, while Ken installs new cabinets in the kitchen (I will help, as well). If any of you in the southeast experience a cosmic "nudge" in the next few days it will most likely be emanating from the cottage, which hasn't seen this kind of update in my lifetime. All because of a broken dishwasher... Before and after pictures will appear here before your very eyes.

Mom arrives on Wednesday. She is delaying her trip south because she was invited by my brother and sister-in-law to go with them this weekend to parents' weekend at Middlebury College, where my nephew Jesse is a new freshman (I know, that's an oxymoron). The plan is to have all the remodeling done before Mom arrives. Not only will this make Mom happy, but it also means we will be able to relax and enjoy the remainder of our visit as a vacation. Ken really needs a vacation!

The laptop is traveling with us so I'll be able to stay in touch. We're also taking a small television in order to watch th VP debate tonight. We considered attending a debate party somewhere in Augusta, but opted for this plan instead. I know Mom will understand. Televisions don't belong at Melrose, But since she set the precedent by having one there to watch the final episode of The West Wing a few years ago, we're confident this will be allowed.

Pray for our safe travels, for no injuries on the job, and for no surprises during the installation. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

be vewwy, vewwy afwaid

From Tuesday Night’s CBS Evening News interview with Sarah Palin

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

What’s frightening about this goes beyond the increasingly abundant evidence that Sarah Palin can’t answer a direct question with a direct answer. What is evident here is that she has no curiosity about the world. The question posed to her was about what shaped her worldview. She could have offered a local rag as her print source, TV news, CNN alerts via email, or the significant relationships she has with people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. But no, she offered nothing. She lacks curiosity about, interest in and concern for others. Consider her comments about her "best friend" of 30 years who "happens" to be gay. After 30 years in a close relationship like that you would think Palin would come to understand that being gay isn't a choice, and yet that is how she sees it.

We have an inherently myopic individual who lacks any kind of sufficient base for making essential decisions for anyone besides herself (and even then I suspect her resources are unselfconsciously limited). Her crash course in domestic and foreign affairs have become memory minutes, not integrated knowledge, and with each foray into the unscripted public arena she demonstrates the weakest of grasps of what is essential and important for this country at this critical "juncture" (thank you, W). The lens through which she looks at life must be is frighteningly akin to gossamer wings

Country first? Only if it's the countryside offering up moose and game for sport.


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