Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
In the news....
I just read about the trend in big business to enforce increasingly restrictive dress codes, including standards for underwear fabric (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40703930/ns/business-going_green). I wish to offer a reassuring word to anyone seeking employment with such companies: Don't worry, I'm sure your new bosses will support independent thinking and personal initiative. Like the Army.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
These weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are filled with holiday parties and multiple activities at church. I welcome the busy and bustle, as it makes the dark days pass quickly. At the same time Evan reminded me yesterday of my advice to him not to regard life as something that will happen later... Today IS your life. Regard it as such.
As the Longfellow poem exhorts: Let us then be up and doing with a heart for any fate. Still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Deep dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me
I can almost hear Buck Owens and Roy Clark singing this dirge from the TV show Hee Haw. If you don't remember the show, it featured lots of actors and singers dressed up as bumpkins and simultaneously performing and lampooning Country Western music. Most of it wasn't very funny.
Monday, September 20, 2010
The bicycle shopping episode brought up a challenge that I know I will face for the third time in my life. Megan looked at a bike at WheelSport, where I bought mine. She was somewhat surprised that I not only had their phone number in my speed dial, but that the guys greeted me by name when we entered the store. That fact, paired with my seeing several people I knew at the Farmer's Market led Megan to comment on how much I enjoy knowing people and being known. I resemble that remark.
When we moved from Lawrence, Kansas to Mount Vernon, Washington in 1998 I went from being a public figure to being a total unknown. For the first six months after our move I travelled back and forth between worlds, tripping to Kansas to complete my work, and back to Washington again. The contrast was striking. I was once recognized by the hotel clerk in Lawrence where I checked in very late one night after arriving on a delayed flight. In Washington I was totally unknown. In truth I enjoyed fame far more than anonymity.
I am completing the first quarter of my interim year at UUCS. I am fully engaged - a bit too much so - and enjoying my role. In nine months I will drop off the map again. There will be more time for my own pursuits, and more flexibility in Sally and my schedule. There will also be the experience of checking the email in-box again and again for the messages that never come, and being recognized by children in the grocery store who ask their parents, "Didn't we used to know that man?"
Like living without a steady income, I'm confident that I will eventually master the challenges of going incognito. Still, Megan's observations this weekend give me pause.
Friday, September 10, 2010
While in Corvallis we were able to visit Erin's new house and meet, for the first time, her roommate Kyle. The farmer's market in Corvallis is always a hit, as is the opportunity to peruse the many lovely stores and shops downtown. My favorite acquisition this trip was a new stainless steel travel mug, the "JoeMo". It is really nice to drink from, and keeps the coffee very hot.
We returned from Corvallis via Hood River, where Megan, Sally and I met my brother Tom and his wife Debbie for dinner on Sunday evening and coffee on Labor Day morning.
After a couple days in Spokane Sally and I drove to Lethbridge, Alberta. We ate our way through eastern BC, and then joined Sally's engineering colleagues for an ag conference in Lethbridge. Though Lethbridge is said to be the sunniest locale in Canada, we arrived in a steady rain. I can't help but think of the parallel between this circumstance and those climate-change deniers who use snowstorms as "proof" against climate change. Anyway....
The program year at the church now begins in earnest. I think I'm ready, and know it will pass quickly. At my age a year isn't such a long sentence. There's no hope of parole, good behavior or not, so I'll just do my best, and try to enjoy the journey.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Evan texted us last night from the Honda dealer where he was getting his car dropped off for service (again). As he waited for Angie to pick him up he looked at the new cars in the showroom (the real reason why car dealers even HAVE service departments) and saw the new Honda CR-Z Sport-Hybrid. He immediately fell in love, and I soon contracted the bug. Even Sally has been slightly infected.
So we are wondering whether it is our patriotic duty to trade in the Smart car we just bought in March for a CR-Z. Then we could trade it for the next gewgaw that comes our way. I can track the whole progression of purchases on my iPad (Yes, really). I guess we'll pass for the moment, hoping that perhaps the old Subaru will give up the ghost. I guess at my age a mid-life crisis requires quite a bit of rationalization.
Monday, August 30, 2010
So, I'm all set for a time out. I have had a few minor items to finish up, but the pace is different, as is the place. I'm at home, unshaven, and quite happy about the fact. My degree of satisfaction over having an unstructured day makes it abundantly clear: I needed a time out!
Friday, August 27, 2010
We were not alone in those feelings. Mister Cat was agitated, and kept seeking safe haven. He hid in the bottom of Sally's closet for a while, then went down to the basement and curled up under a table. Juni and Cayenne also seemed distraught. The house was warm as we headed for bed, but Ieft the windows closed to prevent even more smoke from entering.
Around midnight I got up with the dogs and noticed the freshening breeze. I opened the bedroom windows, and we all slept better from that point. This morning Cayenne "asked" to be fed before 6:30. Let's just say that almost never happens. We're all relieved that the smoke has cleared, at least for a while.
I can't help but think of and feel sorry for the Russian people, struggling to breathe day after day while the wildfires burn on. The Earth and it's forces are powerful and awe inspiring. Humility seems appropriate, and exceedingly rare.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
As I stated in my last post, I've been narrowly focussed on my work at the UU Church of Spokane for the past 8 weeks. Things have gotten off to a good start, though I am clearly ready for a break.
I have many wonderful new friends, which has been the highlight of my work at UUCS. The "lowlight", I suppose, is that I find even the Unitarians to be more religious than I am. I guess that isn't terribly surprising, or particularly difficult.
Attendance has been good this summer, which is a rarity for UU churches, in which pretty much everyone, including the minister, take the summer off. The fall promises to be busy and challenging. A couple weeks of R&R in preparation for e next stint are most welcome.
I hope anyone who reads this (Hi, Arlene!) is well and enjoying the summer. I may post again over the next couple of weeks, depending on how busy I get doing nothing.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Pop-off valves on the cars keep them from going fastOverride it and you're liable to run out of gasSo the last shall be first and the first shall be lastIt's a wonder that they call it racin'Are the great days of Indianapolis past?Oh the times they are a changin'
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
-Isaiah 1:18 (NRSV)
I don't view my sins as scarlet. I've been pretty fortunate in my life. I had a stable family life, and pretty good genes. My circumstances haven't placed me in temptation's way, at least not in many of the major temptation categories. As a result I haven't done much scarlet type sinning.
What if your sins are just kind of musty? That's what speaks to me. The mustiness of my life is a problem at times. I read the paper and get disillusioned and feel disempowered. Haliburton announced today that the cement job they did 20 hours before BP's drilling rig exploded had been "in accordance with accepted industry practice approved by our customers." Golly, their customers approve! I'm so grateful they didn't have to comply with any socialist, big-government regulations that might have impacted their bottom line! Much better to impact the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
Where was I? Oh yeah, how can I keep from sliding quietly into cynicism and despair? How do we avoid becoming numb in the face of all that is going on? How do we avoid compassion fatigue?
I'm not thinking I need bleach. I just need to find ways to become refreshed and reinvigorated. I need my colors brightened.
Well, writing helps. And talking with others. And chocolate, beer, dogs, bicycles, good music, gardening, going for walks, and counting my blessings. Yes, and being honest about my life and feelings.
Forgive me, for I have sinned. Do you have a novena for mustiness?
I'm going to pass on the WIN Detergent, at least until I get active enough to work up more of a sweat. Come to think of it, working up a sweat might be a good idea. I'll try to type faster.