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 -

Thursday, August 09, 2012


Funny how human beings are so programmed to uphold social norms. Two of my sons, Anthony and Caleb, have taken up barefoot running for the health of it, and people sure take note - frequently yelling out of car windows: 

"Hey! You forgot your shoes!" 

Today I saw someone trot up behind Anthony with an i-phone and record him running! Is running barefoot really THAT odd? (I went barefoot everywhere all the time as a kid . . .  walking, running, whatever!) Why do people feel compelled to comment and record?

I just find it strange, because I think when eccentricity is pointed out and celebrated we all celebrate right along, and I think we all want to be unique individuals.  Yet, when we're not thinking about it, it seems it is human nature to be guardians of standard protocol and that we naturally try to get everyone to walk to the beat of exactly the same drummer  .  .  .  

Hmm  .  .  .

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It Must Be Your

"though your sorrows not
any tongue may name,
three i'll give you sweet
joys for each of them
But it must be your"
whispers that flower

murmurs eager this
"i will give you five
hopes for any fear,
but it Must be your"
perfectly alive
blossom of a bliss

"seven heavens for
just one dying,i'll
give you" silently
cries the(whom we call
rose a)mystery
"but it must be Your"
e. e. cummings (1894-1962)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Card of the Day

Loving this card for my Ixidron deck :-)

Friday, August 03, 2012

25th Anniversary - Part 3 - Gran Bahia Principe Resort

Below I've posted pictures of the Mayan sites we visited during our anniversary trip.  I'll finish up with this part showing Gran Bahia Principe where we stayed in the Mayan Riviera - a place we highly recommend.

Looking back at the resort from the water.
Looking down - so many fish right there immediately off-shore.

Our room

Pasta bar at the buffet
Mariachi in another buffet
I kept wanting to say to David, "Welcome to Fantasy Island!"  The resort was so big that there was lots of tram-type transportation.
Brazilian "Parade of Swords" dinner
They had a dolphin pool right in the midst of the resort - with shows and also opportunity to swim with or learn to train the dolphins.

This place was huge!  That conical-shaped building in the distance is our lobby.  We're not as far to "this" side as we could possibly go, and there was at least as much distance on the other side.

Enjoying one of the pools.

There were iguanas EVERYWHERE!  Pretty cool!
 More images of our room.

 A game of Scribbage in our room
Our favorite spot in the buffet - near the central fountain - 
 We could take out sailboats, kayaks and other water-sport equipment -

Me by our room - bye bye!