Friday, March 30, 2007

Carmina Burana

Wednesday evening my daughter and I went to see the ballet at the Kennedy Center. My previous exposure to ballet has been a large number of children’s recitals and once I saw “The Nutcracker” at Christmas time. Ballet is wonderful. It was amazing to see the graceful, yet powerful movements of the dancers. One of the dances was Carmina Burana. I have heard my musically talented teenage granddaughter exclaim over the beauty of this music. I was looking forward to seeing dance and hearing the music.

The lyrics for this piece are based on ancient texts found in a German Abbey. They were believed to be sacred texts. In fact they are the writings of wayward monks writing uninhibited poetry extolling young love, the joy of springtime and the celebration of sexual union. The dance was a beautifully choreographed depiction of the wonder of physical love. I felt like I was watching a sexual orgy set to poetry and music. It was a powerful dance. I am glad that I did not watch it with my grandaughter.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


God is such a little word for such a huge and complex being.

There is a little chant I frequently sing whose lyrics just repeat over and over again, “Hoy One, Holy One living within me.” Just singing it helps me to be still and to hear the spark of God that lives in me. I like slowing down and listening to God.

Another of the songs I love to sing is frequently called 728B, referring to its page number in the hymnal. It starts out with these lyrics, “There is beyond the azure blue, a God concealed from human sight.” It is a well-loved hymn that speaks of God’s greatness and power.

These two concepts of God seem far apart. How can the God who is concealed from human sight live inside of me? I don’t understand, but I believe that somehow both ideas are true. The God I worship is far too big and too powerful to be contained within me. Yet the Almighty knows my name and dwells in my heart. My God is an awesome God.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

We’ve spent the last two days enjoying the beauty of nature at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. What a wonderful, peaceful place to rejuvenate. We sat at the edge of the water and listened to the quiet. The only noises were the wind in the trees and the water lapping against the shore. Overhead we watched eagles soaring in the sky and osprey diving for fish. There was a great blue heron walking regally along the shore. My husband the birder identified twenty-eight different varieties of birds while we were there. We even saw nine white pelicans, which were about a thousand miles from their normal southern habitat. The rangers have installed an eagle cam where you can see baby eagles in their nest. It is very cool.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Today is Jared’s thirteenth birthday.

He was three weeks old when I first held him. His little fingers curled around my finger, and his big brown eyes gazed up at me. My heart melted. This was my grandson. The last time I held him he had just come running toward me with his little arms raised up. He was laughing when I picked him up and held him close. The next morning he was gone.

I am blessed with eight beautiful grandchildren who fill my life with joy overflowing. But sometimes I fall into the hole of pain where Jared used to be and it hurts.

Happy birthday, Jared.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Everyone I know is a citizen. Why then do we not refer to children as junior citizens and to adults as citizens? It is not until we are old that we are referred to as senior citizens. The youth minister at our church calls older members seasoned saints. There must be a better way to refer to my age group. Being old is really not so bad. Not everyone gets to live this long. Maybe I can just be an old lady.

What do you think would be a good term for old people?

Monday, March 19, 2007


When was the last time you checked the dates of the spices in your cupboard?

Sunday the family was here for dinner to celebrate Paul’s birthday. My daughter wanted some cayenne pepper to spice the green beans she was cooking and went searching through my spice cabinet. She found what she was looking for, but wasn’t sure she should use what she found. The can had no expiration date, but the McCormick Company packaged it in 1977. Daughter was laughing pretty hard while she showed it to all of us. We wondered if we could sell it on eBay. Would anyone want a half full can of 30 year old red pepper? We used it, but I think it has lost some of its zing.

Today I went through the cabinet checking dates. I found some evaporated milk that said best used by June 2000, and some Bisquick that expired in 2004. Everything else was current dates. I wonder how long a can of milk be stored safely?

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Today is my baby boy’s birthday. He is thirty-eight years old. Paul is our fourth child and our second son. He was born just five years after his oldest sibling. It is hard to find a picture of Paul alone. He was number four He relished becoming an only child after all the older siblings went off to college and he was finally the only one home to get all of our attention

School was hard for Paul. We were told he would never learn to read. Paul reads. We were told he could never finish high school. He finished high school. We were told he could never succeed at college. He is working on his master’s degree. Paul is a wonderful man. He fills this mother’s heart with pride.

Happy birthday, Paul!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Big Lady

After my morning session of water aerobics I entered the locker room to find it full of excited little girls. They were there for swim lessons. They were so cute as they waited to go to the pool. I said something to one of the little girls about hoping she had fun swimming. She then turned to her little friend and pointed at me and said, “See that really big lady, she nice.”

Do you suppose it is time for me to consider going on a diet?

Last night I talked to Joe on the phone. It was great to hear his voice and to hear him laugh. He has been moved to a rehab center to begin the long process of therapy and recovery. He is feeling pretty discouraged about his prognosis.

Thanks for all your prayers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Apparently Joe suffered another stroke last night. This morning the paralysis includes his entire right side. He is able to talk, but he appears to be more confused. Today his strongest emotion is fear. It is scary when your body starts attacking you. He will probably be spending a long time in a rehab center going through therapy to regain function in the areas that have been affected.

I have talked with my other brother, Bill, several times in the past couple of days. With Joe so sick we realize that we are entering a time of life fraught with all kinds of medical problems. Bill has just finished treatment for cancer and is doing well now. I have knee issues because of arthritis. Our bodies are wearing out. Old age has arrived and we don’t like it. We go along thinking we have some control of our life and then all of a sudden something comes along to remind us that we really have no control.

Each day of life is a gift to be lived and enjoyed. My plan is to be grateful for each of my many blessings and to live each day to the fullest.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Joe is stable. He received the clot-busting medicine and spent the night in the ICU. This morning his strongest emotion is anger. He had hoped the medicine would work miracles and relieve all his symptoms. It wasn’t quite that good, but his speech is better today. The right arm is still not working, but that should improve with physical therapy. He is out of ICU. The prognosis for a full recovery is good. It will just take time and therapy. We are all feeling better tonight.

Monday, March 12, 2007


This afternoon my brother Joe had a stroke. He lives in California. I live in Maryland. Those 3000 miles seem very far away tonight. My niece called this evening to tell us that he was in the hospital – still in the ER. The doctors say it is a small stroke, some slurred speech and right side paralysis. They are doing more tests and deciding on treatment options now. We are praying for a full recovery. It is very scary. I love my brother.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Awesome toilet!

This is a picture of a public toilet in Houston:

Now that you've seen the outside view, take a look at the inside view...

It's made entirely of one-way glass! No one can see you from the outside, but when you are inside it's like sitting in a clear glass box

Now would you... COULD YOU... Use it?!

Senior Chorale

If you would like to hear a sample of my senior chorale, click here. enjoy

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Senior Chorale

“You guys can do better than that. We’ll do it again. This time on doot.” Our talented, young director, Craig, worked us hard during our morning rehearsal today. We are preparing for our spring concert. The music will be wonderful, but the rhythms are difficult. The basses protest that their notes are too high and want to sing an octave lower. Craig tells us that we have the right to complain, but rehearsal is a “Craigocracy.” We have to do what he says. He will try to be a benevolent dictator. “You basses can sing higher. Use your fluffy, little man-cloud voices.” He wants the sopranos to sing louder. “Be divas for me! You act like you’re afraid of forte!” when he said forte the entire chorale of senior citizens heard a word that rhymes with forte and we laughed long and loud. When Craig finally understood why we were laughing he turned a lovely shade of red and banged his head on the piano. Finally he said, it’s not sopranos, but the basses who are afraid of that. I love our rehearsals.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Today I officially became a disabled person. My knee has become increasingly painful and walking any distance is difficult. The doctor says it is arthritis and there really isn’t much that can be done. I don’t like to complain but it has become a problem. The doctor signed all the paperwork for me when I was there last week. Today I went to the MVA and requested a disabled tag so I will be able to park closer and not have to walk so far. It was the easiest and quickest thing I have ever done at the MVA. In my previous adventures I have been known to wait up to two hours to get tags and licenses. Today they said right this way, please. A nice lady took my papers, typed up some forms, put stickers on my new tags, and I was out in five minutes. I guess when you become old and disabled thy figure you can’t stand in long lines. Another advantage of getting old!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Amazing Grace

We saw the movie Amazing Grace this afternoon. It was a great movie about William Wilberforce and his long, painful battle to end the slave trade in the English Empire. He fought political power, greed and tradition. His opponents said this evil should be phased out very slowly, if at all, so as not to hurt the rich who were thriving from the slave trade. I have never understood people who support the idea of phasing out evil slowly so as not to upset people who are prospering on evil. Wilberforce demonstrated an amazing amount of grace to fight evil. Go see the movie.

The movie ended with a beautiful, haunting rendition of the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” played by pipes and drums. This hymn is probably the most popular of Christian hymns. It is played at many funerals, including the funerals of both of my parents. One sweet memory of my dad includes this hymn. My dad was sick for many years before his death. The family finally made the difficult decision to move dad to a nursing home. No one was happy, but it seemed to be the only possibility. The day before he left home the family gathered around his bed for a time of family worship. Dad’s voice had weakened and he was no longer able to speak above the faintest, unintelligible whisper. That day we read some scriptures, we prayed, we had communion. Then we joined together and sang “Amazing Grace.” My dad’s sweet voice rose and he sang with us. As he sang our voices faded and we listened to this man of God sing. Tears were flowing and God filled that room with His spirit. It was the last time I heard my father sing. I am looking forward to hearing him sing again.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I occasionally work a day in the doctor’s office where I was the nurse for twenty years. Yesterday was one of those days. I had a great job which I enjoyed, so filling in once in a while is kind of fun. The commute to the office is usually about 25 minutes, most of it on a fairly light traffic portion of the beltway. Yesterday it was the commute from hell. Just as I turned onto the beltway yesterday morning the traffic stopped. The warning sign overhead reported that there was an accident further ahead and all lanes were blocked. There would be major delays. I got off at the first available exit, as did many other commuters. I wondered through the city streets seeking a way around the accident and finally arrived at work after a ninety-minute drive. Just as I was preparing to leave after a pleasant day at work we heard there had just been another accident on the beltway. This accident involved two semis and lots of spilled diesel fuel and flames shooting into the air. The beltway was closed in both directions. I again had to find a way on unfamiliar, overcrowded city streets. The traffic was at a crawl and the drivers around me were not happy. The drive home took two hours.

I did make it home just in time to get to the awards ceremony and watch granddaughter number three inducted into the Junior National Honor Society. It is so wonderful to watch my grandchildren succeed.