Sunday, April 28, 2013



 "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rhode Island

The state motto, seen here on the state flag, is Hope.

I lived in Barrington, Rhode Island during 1993-1994 while on sabbatical taking writing courses at Brown University.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Hatred will never cease by hatred.
Only love will erase hatred.
This is the eternal law.
~ Buddha

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?
~ Jesus of Nazareth

Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love.
~ John of the Cross

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this;
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
~ Paul of Tarsus to the Galatians

Liberty, equality, fraternity

Merci beaucoup!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Martin Richard, 8, killed by the explosions in Boston

Spring hopes ...

~ A. A. Milne

Friday, April 19, 2013

On a brighter and more colorful note UDATED

This morning our birdfeeder was visited by a bunch of common redpolls, a small bird we had not see here before, although they winter in Wisconsin. They all showed up at once and began crowding along the edge of the feeder. Apparently they can be coaxed into eating out of your hand, much like chickadees. Besides the redpolls, however, we were having snow showers and I did not feel like playing the St. Francis statue with hands full of seeds while the weather was less than balmy. Anyway, it was nice to add a new bird to our list.

UPDATE: Peggy thinks I may have seen house or purple finches. Those I have certainly seen around here before, and she may be right.

A month from today ...

A month from today, that is to say on May 19, I will turn 63.

Recently I went for my annual checkup, and what with one thing and another, the doctor thinks I have hyperparathyroidism... Couldn't have a simple name like "Smith's disease", right? Anyway, in order to find out, now they have to start the labs-referral cycle. Turns out the earliest appointment in our area for an endocrinologist is August 27, so now they are looking for an endocrinologist in Madison. So tests, more tests, possibly other referrals, definitely other appointments, probably (outpatient) surgery.

I am not as bothered by the possibility of hyperparathyroidism and treatment -- there is a very high success rate -- as I am by the fact that I seem now to have entered into that period of life in which all my travels are going to be from lab to lab to doctor to doctor...

And I had such different hopes for my retirement!

Life on life's terms, as they say. At least I have health insurance at the moment. (Although that will disappear at the end of the year and Medicare won't kick in for a year and a half after that.)

And I am in a much better situation as I write this than my friends in Boston! May they all be safe and well.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


The sun shines in Uruguay.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Attention ...

I recently read a book about relationships that advocated following the Five A's:
1. Attention [to the other person, what they say and do]
2. Acceptance [of the other person, even if you do not understand]
3. Appreciation [of the positive qualities of the other person, even if there are also faults]
4. Affection [shown in an appropriate and clear manner]
5. Allowing [the other person to be who he/she is, even if you do not agree with everything]
Tom just wandered in and looked at my blog.

Tom: "Is that your new blog design? Pretty spiffy!"

Me: "Well, it is my new blog design for about the past six months ..."

Tom: "I live with you, I don't have to read your blog to know what's going on."

That's what he thinks!

Extra credit: Which of the 5 A's am I failing to follow in this post?

Life getting too serious?

Although not actually in the Hippocratic Oath, we associate the following direction with that and other medical principles: First, do no harm.

I would paraphrase that to meet the needs of most people today: First, watch no cable news.

And here are some other random bits of advice for making life a bit more fun. I admit I got them off the internet, but isn't that what a net is for?

  • On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  • 54.3 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  • 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name. [Tom, of course, is in the 1%.]
  • I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
  • Honk if you love peace and quiet.
  • Remember, half the people you know are below average.
  • Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
  • The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  •  Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow. [I actually got this one in a fortune cookie.]
  • Always try to be modest, and be proud of it! [Or as a classmate at Michigan State used to say, "It makes me proud and just a little bit humble."]
  • If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
  • If the speed of light is 187,000 miles per second, what's the speed of dark?
  • Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
  • Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film in the camera.
  • I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.
  • Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

Birds sing in the spring

Although there are some patches of unmelted snow still about, yesterday and today I heard birds singing for the first time this year. We have birds year-round, of course, and we hear woodpeckers pecking and not long ago I heard the owl who lives down by the ridge. But now I have heard actual sweet song, and that is a good sign. Sounded like robins staking out their territory.

It is going to be cool this week, but it does look like we will have quite a bit of rain to finish off those snow patches. I admit that we may have a flurry or two more in our near future, but yesterday Tom dug down into the ground to put up a post and the ground has thawed. So we are on our way!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Peter and Jennifer

Peter and Jennifer arrived last night around 9:30, tired from their trip from Chicago. Tom had made a Greek salad with grilled chicken, and we visited while they ate. I went to bed first and I think everyone was tucked in by eleven or so.

It is 7:30 as I write this, and we expect workers to arrive at 8:00 this morning to futz around in the basement all day. Their arrival will probably wake the guests and Tom can make us all a wonderful breakfast. Peter and Tom thought it would be a good idea to take Jennifer to the railroad this morning (although I can't say she looked all that excited about it), but there may be rain to make it less fun riding the scooter out to see where snow is still piled up. Tom is supposed to go to the railroad this afternoon to help Gil with an engine, and Peter and Jennifer will head down to Madison for roller derby activities. I will hang around the house as long as the workers are here.

Supposed to get up into the mid-50s, so that plus the rain should help get rid of more of the white stuff patches that are still scattered around.

Beyond that, who knows?
Yesterday I had to wait around all day for a call from the doctor's office to schedule a colonoscopy. (Nothing good in that sentence at all, is there?) They called at 3:45, just before I had to leave for Town Hall to witness the opening of one absentee ballot and finish up the paperwork for the election. The good thing of the day was that I got my state income tax return in the mail. I had already received the federal return. Between the two of them, I can pay for two months of health insurance and have a bit left over. Ain't life grand?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Although I closed my Facebook account months ago, I have begun to receive tons of emails from women claiming to be entranced by my cute pictures on the social networking site and offering things that clearly indicate they know nothing about me, besides not having likely ever seen what I look like. It is easy to spot such emails and to delete them, but it confirms my determination to ignore social networking sites in the future.

It does make me curious: does Facebook sell all your info when you close out your account so they can wring one last dime out of you? Not that I am inclined to conspiracy theories ...

Oh, take a hike!

If someone tells you to take a hike, are you offended? You shouldn't be if you hear that today.
On this day, April 3, Americans are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It's a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to give your family, friends and co-workers a friendly push toward a healthier life.
This is an initiative of the American Heart Association to get us moving to help fight heart disease. It's a good and simple thing to do. Of course, you don't have to sound rude and tell someone to take a hike. Instead, why not invite a friend or a pet to join you for a walk; that is even better. Do it every day and keep that heart beating longer.
I need to take a walk today, assuming it gets warm enough. I worked at the polls yesterday from 6:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. It is not hard work but you are stuck in one room for the entire time and I came home rather spacey. (Tom might ask, "What makes this night different from any other night?") I slept late this morning and that helped. I have to be back there Friday afternoon to sign papers because one person who had an absentee ballot decided to mail it yesterday. So our job is not done until that one arrives, if it does so by Friday.
So next time there is an election where you live, why not try walking to the polling place? Do your civic duty and do your heart a favor!

Monday, April 1, 2013

No joke!

I have my annual physical at 9:40 and I have to fast until then. Not even coffee!