Sunday, August 22, 2010

Morning, Menaul Avenue NE

As the sun climbs
the eastern side of the Sandias
illuminating the morning stillness,
cameras in hand,
they descend steel rungs
into a concrete arroyo
to photograph,
to document
shopping carts
pushed into
washed into
the arroyo bottom
left upturned, abandoned;
birds stop upon a telephone wire
to watch
and wander
and ponder dreams.

(Albuquerque 8/22/10)


Into the crack
between pavement slabs
tender, tenacious, green tendrils
patiently, persistently push
emerging to burst
into glorious purple and gold.

(Albuquerque, 8/22/10)

Forgot to take my camera on the walk.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Shire is empty

Tricia and Eric headed for home today. It's just me and assorted insects here at the Shire.

I had the great honor and wonderful joy of baptizing Ethan Alejandro Chan Craft, son of my friends Amanda Craft and Omar Chan. It was truly a blessing. He cried pretty much constantly - he's 13 months. Of course, he was exhausted - he fell asleep very quickly when Amanda took him and walked with him. He had also bitten his lip when I first met him. He was standing by a church pew with his dad and I went to talk to them. He fell down and the rest is history.

Painting continued at the Shire upon my return. The kitchen is painted. It remains to be put back together but that will be tomorrow night's task.

I ate out for breakfast (with Tricia and Eric - Panera's - they put the calorie count on the wall - very helpful) and for lunch (Moe's - they put the calorie count online and actually allow you to figure out the calories as you make your meal your way - helpful but one needs to know it in advance) as the kitchen is pretty disrupted.

Even with the eating out, my eating came in at the goal. I went to the gym and did 40 minutes on the treadmill. 10, 477 steps.

Movies - Three Kings and Tombstone. Neither are classics. Each has issues. But they are entertaining.

A good day.

See you along the trail.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Shire is abuzz

Tricia arrived at the Shire this evening. She had been unbinding the church. She came through Louisville to pick up Eric and take him back to Bowling Green. It is nice to have a fuller than normal Shire. But they leave in the morning. But Jessica and Ricky arrive on Tuesday.

The goals were met. Step count totaled 10,323; 35 minutes on the treadmill at the gym; and eating well.

Painting moved into the kitchen, thus making cooking a bit of a challenge. So eating took place in restaurants (except for an evening protein bar). That was accomplished within the goals. It is very helpful to have menus with nutritional information posted online.

Very helpful to have Eric as a co-painter.

Watched the Steelers play their first preseason game online. No movie today.

Shire renovations continue

With Eric's help work began on the kitchen. We painted the stain on the ceiling. We also prepped the walls and painted the walls under the cabinet. Moving the refrigerator led to the discovery of some pretty disgusting dirt. But that is no longer there. Tomorrow we will try to finish.

The three goals were achieved with 30 minutes at the gym (got there a bit late) and 10 minutes walking outside. Steps totaled 10,259.

Star Trek was the movie after the painting. Good stuff.

See you along the trail.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ten days

I made it today. I was working at the Shire (a new dishwasher is installed - not by me, but it is in) and that made walking hard. But with a little effort, and finishing after midnight, I made it to 10,025 steps. The gym and eating well were easier. That's 10 days. Pretty cool. I am starting to keep stats now.

Eric, Sparky, and I went to see Inception. A very interesting movie - great special effects and acting. Sparky said it would be a good movie to see again. I agree. It will take some mulling. I had not expected to see Michael Caine in it, but given the number of times he has worked with Christian Nolan, it maybe should not have come as a surprise.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The rum is all gone

Well at least in the movie. There is some at the Shire.

I made it again today - 3 for 3: eating well, 40 minutes at gym, 11640 steps.

A doctor's visit went better than I had hoped. But there is a great deal of work to do.

The movie of the evening is Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Always a fun ride. It's my favorite of the series. Johnny Depp is quite good - something of an understatement.

The second room in the Shire is now completed. Eric has been helping with cleaning and getting the next room - probably the kitchen or dining room or both some how.

A new dishwasher is to be installed tomorrow. It has been a while.

See you along the trail.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two day report

Monday 9 August
I made all three goals - eating well, getting 30 minutes or more of focused exercise, and walking 10,445 steps.

Eric got back from Ghost Ranch. It's always nice to have someone in the Shire.

I painted the woodwork in the second guest bedroom.

Tuesday 10 August
Plumber (who was supposed to come yesterday) came today. Did his plumbing, but also talked religion. Asked if I belonged to a whole gospel church. Not quite sure what that means. I thought of several smart responses - "No, we cut out the middle 5 chapters of each of the synoptics; and only use the first and last chapter of John." I refrained and came up with something vague.

All three goals achieved (although I would really like to eat a six-pack of Snickers bars). But did eat well - not as well as some days - but still within the limits; walked for 35 minutes on the treadmill; and did 11,879 steps. Eric went to the gym with me.

We started putting the second guest bedroom back together. That should be finished tomorrow. It will be nice to have only one bed in my room again.

Watched "Lonely Are the Brave" - an old one with Kirk Douglas. Pretty interesting - dealt with loyalty and being out of time and place in a changing world. Walter Matthau and Carol O'Connor were in it as well. Dalton Trumbo did the screenplay. Need to learn more about him.

See you along the trail.

P.S. I stole Eric's picture from his Facebook page.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two for three

Again, the day got away yesterday and I did not get (or make) time to post. I only met two goals yesterday - overeating in the evening - but at least it was on low-carb items. I did get to the gym and I made 10,437 steps.

The day saw the second coat of paint applied to guest room 2. The remaining task is to paint the woodwork and then start putting the room back together.

Today will be something of a challenge as I am working at the Shire. That could make it difficult to walk 10,000 steps. I will have to figure something out.

Eric arrives this evening. I will have to put him to work.

Broken Trail was the film of the evening - Robert Duvall good as always. Throughout the story, his character shows great courage in responding to physical threats and violence -- but fear and avoidance guide his emotional relationships with women. At the end there is a powerful scene where, in his old age, he receives a letter from a woman with whom he could have pursued love but he chose not to do so. His face reveals his wondering - his yearning - his conflict - as he ponders what might have been.

Kind of adds new meaning to my closing.

See you along the trail.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Making the fifth

I hit the wall last night around 9:00. All the Shire renovations, Shire Celtic Festival celebrations, and busyness of the day catching up to me.

I spent the day:
  • putting the first coat of paint on the second room
  • shopping - I purchased a toilet for the downstairs bath, hopefully it will be installed tomorrow, and I made a Costco run
  • listening to Irish music ("James Connolly" by Black47 playing right now)
This was also the 5th day for meeting all three goals - eating well, 30 minutes of exercise and 10,862 steps.

The weather remains nice - it is hot, in the low 90s, but the humidity has broken - so I walked to the gym.

Having gone to bed early, I am up far earlier than usual. I will do some work and then back to painting.

See you along the trail.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shire renovations continue on day 4

Yet another day of meeting the goals - ate well; 33 minutes on the treadmill; 10,355 steps. The humidity broke today - still hot but much more bearable - so I walked to the gym.

The day also brought a renewal of the renovation project on the Shire. A ceiling was painted and the walls spackled. Hopefully I will be able to move in the morning.

At one point, I had planned to go to Dublin, OH for the Dublin Irish Festival. For a variety of reasons - including a desire to get moving on the renovations, I chose to stay at the Shire.

So instead of watching a movie or putting a movie on while working, I went with my Irish play list on my iPod. It ranges from Enya to the Pogues; the Clancy Brothers to the Dropkick Murphys; Kila to Eileen Ivers. And a whole lot more. The festival lasts all weekend so I will continue to listen. There are about 850 songs left. It should last.

See you on the trail.

Three at Three for Three

I have now made all three of my goals for three days in a row: eating well, 30 minutes at the gym (32 on the treadmill today - I am slowly building the number up), and 10,000 steps (10, 079 today 0r yesterday now as the case may be).

Going to the gym in the evening seems to be working. Overeating at night has been less of a challenge than in the past.

I passed on the movie in the Cardio Theater - they seem to be in a Ricky Gervais phase. I am not. I listened to my iPod.

Spartacus was the movie of the early evening. Great stuff. Great back story - Kirk Douglas helped to break Hollywood's blacklist by crediting Dalton Trumbo be credited with writing the screenplay. An act of courage in helping to create a movie about courage. Among other things.

Stagecoach - John Ford's version with Claire Trevor and John Wayne - is on now - another classic.

I also put in a brief amount of time readying a room at the Shire for painting. Lots to do.

See you along the trail.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two in a row

Three for three accomplished once again: eating well; 32 minutes on the treadmill; and 10,040 steps. It is start. It has been a long time since I did two days in a row. Hopefully this is a trend.

The movie in the Cardio Theater was "The Invention of Lying." I only saw the end, but was not impressed.

Back to the Shire where I am watching Basil and Nigel in "Dressed to Kill" which is quite different from the 1980 DePalma film of the same title with Michael Caine and Angie Dickinson.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I think I said farewell

On July 27, the Sojourners blog carried the sad news that Art Gish, a long-time peace activist and peacemaker was killed in a farm accident. I had the privilege to meet Art and his wife Lillian through a mutual friend, Ray Foss. Ray arranged a several day visit for me to West Virginia presbytery a while back. He set up a number of ecumenical gatherings and it was there that I met Art.

Art's life reminded me of the importance of resistance and working for justice and peace.

Art's death reminded me of the fragility of life and the preciousness of the people with whom we share living.

It moved me to write about an experience I had on July 28 - an experience I now share. Note that "today" is July 28, 2010.

I think I said farewell to a friend today. Time may prove me wrong and that would be wonderful. But if it was farewell, it was good. Very good.

On my way out of Cleveland, headed to Elkhart, IN for the
Peace Among the Peoples event, I stopped at the Fairmount Heath Care Center of Breckenridge Village Retirement Center. For forty-five minutes, I had the joy, some times bittersweet joy, of visiting with Merdine T. Morris.

Merdine T. and I have been friends for more than 20 years. Friend really does not do our relationship justice, she is my mentor, teacher, challenger, comforter, disturber of my peace, guide, anchor . . . the list goes on. She and her husband Luke play and have played and will play significant roles in my life. Luke passed away some 10 years ago.

Merdine T. and I have shared some amazing moments . . . conversations . . . experiences . . . times of learning and growth . . . times of disappointment . . . ordinations . . . presbytery meetings (incredible to say, I know) . . . graduations . . . transitions . . . acts of justice . . . moments of witness.

In a small way, I was privileged, with Tricia, Sean, and Eric, to accompany Merdine T. as Luke courageously and graciously made a long journey through illness and into the shadowed valley. It was a time of great prayer, deep conversation (and silly talk about football among other topics), and profound silence. The sacrament of communion sustained us . . . communion shared with bread and juice . . . communion shared at the Morris home . . . communion shared in the hospital . . . communion shared with ice cream.

Luke died shortly after I moved to Louisville. I believed then and will always believe (and I told this to Merdine T. again today) that one of Luke's gifts to me was to hold on until I was not in a position to have to lead his memorial serve . . . so I could simply grieve deeply for my friend.

Merdine T. and I have remained in touch since I left Cleveland. We have attended some events together. We call periodically. When she called me on the night of President Obama's election, I could touch the excitement and joy and pride and pain in her voice. I still get chills remembering that call. When I get back to Cleveland, I try to visit Merdine T. Most of the time I manage to do so.

Now illness has become her companion. Oh, she has been sick in the past. I remember meeting Luke once in an emergency room . . . within half an hour, there were enough Presbyterians in the waiting room to hold a presbytery meeting (Merdine T. served in many, many capacities - she was moderator of the
Presbytery of the Western Reserve and she was Freda Gardner's roommate at General Assembly until Freda was elected GA moderator).

But things are different now . . . Merdine T. has been hospitalized several times over the last month. Twice I had tried to visit her but found her too tired to interact.

By July 28, she had returned to the Fairmount Health Care Center. I decided to try one more visit . . . on my way out of town. And we visited . . . we talked . . . we laughed . . . we cried . . . we remembered . . . we failed to remember . . . we dreamed of the future.

But perhaps most importantly, I told her what her friendship and love means to me. I told her (again) what Luke's friendship and love meant to me.

As I left, we hugged . . . as well as two can hug when one is in a hospital style bed. Through tears, Merdine T. said "Never forget me." "Never," was all I could say . . . nothing more than that simple one-word truth fit.

Leaving her room, walking back to my car with misty eyes, it occurred to me that, given Merdine T.'s health issues and her age ("If she won't tell you, I sure won't." said Luke one day) and my schedule, this could well be the last time Merdine T. and I see each other in this life.

And that saddened me. I had to stop and process that for a few moments.

But I also realized that this visit had been a moment of grace abounding . . . an incredible experience of the unconquerable power of love. Merdine T. and I may get to see each other again . . . heck, we may see each other often. But if we don't, we had the opportunity to say farewell . . . and to do so extremely well. We said what we should have said long ago. We said what we each knew the other one already knew. But we said it because we realized how important it was that we not only know, but that we hear it from each other.

And that is good. Very, very good.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back on the trail

It is time - it is past time. So today I try again. The basic goals remain the same.

A day of reviews.

A day of cleaning.

A day of starting anew.