Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Dinners

Dinner Christmas Eve at Mom and Dad's house:

Dinner Christmas Day at our house:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thought Revisited


On dreams, on mathematics, and on death.
Card-catalogues turn up such heady stuff
Sometimes as this, this rapture from the depths
Which isn't where it should be on the shelf.
For a moment, remembering Borges' poor young clerk,
I idly consider writing it myself,
Setting a record for the shortest work
The world had ever seen on three such themes
Of such import as death and math and dreams.

I think of asking that a search be made,
But give it up, my French is not so great
And right now I've got plenty on my plate
Without this title turned up by pure chance
As if desinged to bait my ignorance.
And yet -- ? But I shall let this once-glimpsed fish
Swim through the deep of thought beyond my wish,
And resign myself to knowing nothing more
Du reve, de la mathematique, et de la mort.

Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Now Thank We All Our God

I'm a beginner, so I may be jumping the gun in going public here, but I thought this was an appropriate weekend (Thanksgiving) for this piece (Now Thank We All Our God), and my enthusiasm has overcome my shyness.

I decided later in the day to go "whole hog" and put up the other pieces I've been working on - for better or for worse. If nothing else it will give me sometime to compare to when I've had a few more months of lessons.

Fugue by J. K. F. Fisher

Psalm xix (part 1) Benedetto Marcello

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Jacob introduced me to a "new" artist (new to me anyway), and I want to remember who she is - hence this post of one of her pieces.  The artist is Maria Remedios Varo, and I love her work!

Friday, November 02, 2012


It is so good to be able to reflect on scary times from the vantage point of the good times we're experiencing now!  And we are so thankful!
Five years ago in June David and I celebrated our 20th anniversary.  We had no idea as we played beach volleyball and took out sailboats and kayaked and swam and hiked around the Maya ruins at Chichen Itza that in a mere few months David would be felled by a stroke, lose all sensation on his left side and be unable to walk - needing to spend a month hospitalized, initially in ICU.
Here he is about 3 weeks after his stroke on a "field trip" from the rehabilitation hospital to watch our youngest son Caleb play soccer.  I remember it being pretty tricky navigating that wheelchair over the bumpy field.
He worked very hard a therapy - here working on larger muscles - back in his room working on picking up coins with the fingers of his left hand, re-learning to shuffle cards (very important to him!) - and so on.
Eventually he graduated from a wheel-chair to a walker and then to a cane and then  .  .  .

 .  .  .  finally to walking independently!
The next spring he had surgery to repair the hole in his heart that had thrown the clot and caused the stroke.
And this past summer we celebrated our 25th anniversary - back in the Yucatan Peninsula checking out more Maya ruins.  He's able to climb steep pyramids now as well as walk.  Here David is pictured most of the way up the main temple at Coba.
Here's another picture to illustrate how steep this pyramid is - this is me working hard to get back down!  There's a reason they've strung a rope all the way down the center!

As to recovery, he didn't get everything back.  Though he hides it well, he still can't really feel much of anything on his left side (try coming up behind him and tapping his left shoulder - he won't know you're there!).  Due to this loss of feeling he now has a very good excuse for not playing video games with the boys, because if he looks at the screen he can't tell if his fingers are even on the controller or not (so guess who gets to play Super Smash Brother's Brawl with the boys?!).  And you may as well give up on having your call answered if he's put his cell-phone in his left pocket!  Good thing he wasn't a keyboardist (piano or computer) before, because he wouldn't be anymore!  Also, each morning when he gets up he has to take a short time to re-teach his left leg how to walk, because it's always "dead" after sleeping.  The one real frustration that remains with him is that he cannot run as he used to and that the imbalance between the sides of his body causes him to injure his knees and have a set-back when he tries to do so (which he does keep trying to do because he has a passion for running!).
We could have lost our precious Hubby and Daddy, but he's still here with us!  PRAISE GOD!  He could have remained unable to walk, but he can walk!  He could have lost his sight or his hearing or his ability to think.  But he can walk and work and drive and play cards and do yard-work and go on vacation and think and see and hike and climb and ride a bicycle - and do just about all the good and joyful things of life.
WE ARE SO THANKFUL!  We're also SO THANKFUL for friends and family who surrounded us at that time with prayer and support - and for ongoing relationships with the awesome people in our lives who are there in good times and bad.  THANK YOU!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Adventure

I started taking pipe organ lessons earlier this year and just had opportunity arise to buy a used practice organ for my home.  After much deliberation (especially about where we could make room for it), the decision was made to get it.  This weekend's first "adventure" was tackling our bonus room upstairs - taking everything off the shelves and moving them and other things - lots of dusting and reorganizing ensued.
 Finally a big enough space in the corner was cleared out:
ASIDE - We REALLY like games!  So that's what our shelves are full of!
 The organ arrived around 4:30pm Saturday from Patterson in a sweet ride.
Dear friends and family members arrived, ready to haul quite a large instrument upstairs.
 Banisters were protected against any untoward events.
Time to start unloading  .  .  .
 Here comes the pedal board.  Thank goodness the organ could be taken up in pieces!
Slowly the organ makes its way to the house  .  .  .  
   .  .  .  bit by bit  .  .  .  carefully all the way  .  .  .
Now to figure out how to get it up the stairs  .  .  .
  .  .  .  all 400 or so pounds of it  .  .  .

Up we go!

A little concern at the landing.
 Got it!
Settling into it's spot  .  .  .
Time for much-needed refreshments!

 Then back up for some repairs  .  .  .
   .  .  .  including the use of open flame!
  .  .  .  and then the professional showed me how it's done.
 Caleb, enjoying the concert  .  .  .
 And then it was my turn!
 And here it is in all it's glory.  The biggest game in the game room! :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cross Country Awesomeness

David shared the coolest thing today.  At the end of Caleb's cross country meet, when the varsity were running the last race, it looked like it was all over - teams were gathering for the awards.  The crowd at the finish line had dispersed.  This one guy was walking on the course, and David figured it was someone who had finished and was cooling off.  It turns out he was the last runner - hadn't made it in yet - had kinda given up.  A group of guys from a different high school saw this kid and started cheering him on.  Then they headed his way, surrounded him and began to jog, and he began to jog too.  He finished with a sprint.  There were no longer any bystanders at the finish line, just one official.  It's like no one even knew this kid was still in the race, but his competitors surrounded him with support and brought him in.  I was moved to tears at hearing this and feel my faith in humanity restored!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Time o' Year for Hay

I'm sorry for the Dead—Today—
It's such congenial times
Old Neighbors have at fences—
It's time o' year for Hay.

And Broad—Sunburned Acquaintance
Discourse between the Toil—
And laugh, a homely species
That makes the Fences smile—

It seems so straight to lie away
From all of the noise of Fields—
The Busy Carts—the fragrant Cocks—
The Mower's Metre—Steals—

A Trouble lest they're homesick—
Those Farmers—and their Wives—
Set separate from the Farming—
And all the Neighbors' lives—

A Wonder if the Sepulchre
Don't feel a lonesome way—
When Men—and Boys—and Carts—and June,
Go down the Fields to "Hay"— 
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recess Never Comes

I never felt at Home — Below —-
And in the Handsome Skies
I shall not feel at Home — I know —
I don't like Paradise —

Because it's Sunday — all the time —
And Recess — never comes —
And Eden'll be so lonesome
Bright Wednesday Afternoons —

If God could make a visit —
Or ever took a Nap —
So not to see us — but they say
Himself — a Telescope

Perennial beholds us —
Myself would run away
From Him — and Holy Ghost — and All —
But there's the "Judgement Day"!
-Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Unc Marv

My last three posts have been of poems about suffering and death as I've been trying to process the loss of "Unc Marv" - my husband's Uncle Marv who always signed off on emails to us that way.

We lived about 300 miles apart, and we were in different seasons of life, so we didn't get to see each other much.  But I always tremendously enjoyed any time I got to spend with him.  He was fascinating to talk with, and he had the most beautiful speaking voice I have ever heard.  I'm having a hard time processing the fact that I won't be able to hear that voice again on earth, nor will the future conversations I had hoped to have with him ever come about now.

He was a world-class scholar - holding an endowed chair at Chapman University in Southern California - and frequently consulting for the National Geographic Society.  He spent time at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  One of his specialties was the Coptic language, and National Geographic called him in the help translate the recently rediscovered ancient text, the Gospel of Judas.  He'd been interviewed not only on the National Geographic Channel, but also on PBS, the BBC, A&E, NPR, the History Channel, etc.

Sometimes we would turn on the TV and - surprise! - hear Uncle Marv's unmistakable voice!  What fun!

Yet he was so humble, and he would listen with great interest as I talked about my enthusiasm for mathematics and poetry.  He was very down-to-earth, was so full of life, and had an amazing sense of humor.  I can still see the sparkle in his eye.

Though he was our uncle, he was only 17 years older than us, and his youngest child is only 4 years older than our oldest.  I hurt for them and for his wife, our Aunt Bonnie.

We used to joke about David and his uncle actually being twins.  There is that 17-year age difference, but there was an uncanny resemblance.  Though they don't quite do the resemblance justice I'm going to close out with a couple of pictures of the two of them.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Let them bury your big eyes
In the secret earth securely,
Your thin fingers, and your fair,
Soft, indefinite-colored hair,—
All of these in some way, surely,
From the secret earth shall rise;
Not for these I sit and stare,
Broken and bereft completely;
Your young flesh that sat so neatly
On your little bones will sweetly
Blossom in the air.

But your voice,—never the rushing
Of a river underground,
Not the rising of the wind
In the trees before the rain,
Not the woodcock's watery call,
Not the note the white-throat utters,
Not the feet of children pushing
Yellow leaves along the gutters
In the blue and bitter fall,
Shall content my musing mind
For the beauty of that sound
That in no new way at all
Ever will be heard again.

Sweetly through the sappy stalk
Of the vigorous weed,
Holding all it held before,
Cherished by the faithful sun,
On and on eternally
Shall your altered fluid run,
Bud and bloom and go to seed;
But your singing days are done;
But the music of your talk
Never shall the chemistry
Of the secret earth restore.
All your lovely words are spoken.
Once the ivory box is broken,
Beats the golden bird no more.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

To What Purpose?

O what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

-"Spring" by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Response to Hard News Heard Today

About suffering they were never wrong, 
The Old Masters; how well, they understood 
Its human position; how it takes place 
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; 
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting 
For the miraculous birth, there always must be 
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating 
On a pond at the edge of the wood: 
They never forgot 
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course 
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot 
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse 
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. 
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away 
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may 
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, 
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone 
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green 
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen 
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, 
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

-W. H. Auden

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reminder to Self - L'Chaim

O Taste and See

The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see
the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,
grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform
into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being
hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

-Denise Levertov

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mom and Dad's 50th Anniversary

Big event tonight - celebrating Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary (which is actually September 21 of this year).  Here are some photos from their wedding day -