Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: cerise

Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: jpm14
(File created on: May 26 2008)
Tag, You’re it!
Only a few friends blog, but will you please answer the same questions I did below?

Angela, Suzanne, Uberimma, and Valerie (Whom I have never met, but am counting as friend since she has graciously put up with my questions and comments for some time)

Jeni– You could send me your answers and I will put them up….

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 06 2005 at 9:52 am
One comment:
1.) Where were you ten years ago?
August 1995
Working on my PhD in Storrs, CT.

2.) Five Years Ago?
August 2000
I’d lived and worked in Ithaca for about a year.

3.) One Year Ago?
August 24, 2003
I’d lived in Romulus for almost two months.

4.) Yesterday?
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I worked in Geneva all day.

5.) Today?
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
I worked in Geneva all day.

6.) 5 Snacks I Enjoy
I’m enjoying some Rum Raisin ice cream, Right Now.
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish
Beef or Venison Jerky
Did I mention cheese?

7.) 5 Bands I know most of the lyrics to their songs
The Beatles
Simon and Garfunkel
The Talking Heads
The Police
Early Billy Joel

8.) Things I would do with a million dollars
Pay large sums of Capital Gains taxes
Buy a different house, one right on the lake
Go back to school and embark on a career in cultural anthropology
Pay for my dad’s 24-hour caretakers
Trade in the Civic for a Prius
With anything left over, fund cancer and AIDS research

9.) 5 Bad Habits I Have
Biting my nails
Eating Cheese (did I mention I like cheese?)

10.) 5 Places I would Run Away To
New Zealand
A freighter cabin, anywhere
My house (I travel so much, I often wish I could run away home.)
Nova Scotia (but only in the summer)
The middle of Seneca Lake in a kayak (does that count as running, or is it paddling?)

11.) 5 Things I would NEVER WEAR
A string bikini
A Burkha
A body piercing anywhere that is usually covered by clothing
A lip disk or a series of neck rings

12.) 5 Things I like Doing
Patting the kitties
Snuggling with the kitties

13.) 5 Biggest Joys
Laughing while reading anything by David Sedaris
Laughing while swapping stories with friends
Purring kitties
Creating things out of paper, glass, or any other material
Seeing something ordinary in a new way

14.) 5 Famous People I would like to meet
MFK Fisher
Freydis Eiriksdøttir
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin
Laurie Anderson

15.) 5 movies I like
My Life as a Dog
Benny and Joon

16. 5 Favorite Toys
A furnace full of glass
A blowpipe
A gloryhole
A gaffer’s bench
A set of tools

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 24 / 2005 at 10:57 pm
Dry, dry, dry
As I sat at the computer trying to finish answering questions and looking at a sailing ship site Angela called my attention to, out the window I saw not only the robins, chickadees, cardinals, scarlet tanager, chipmucnk come to the blueberries to feed, but also a large yellow-shafted Flicker.

The kids had kept down the ripe blueberries over the past few days, so not many were available for the birds. But the heat and dryness are bringing berries on very fast. They are also bringing in birds which normally are primarily insect eaters, like the flicker.

It jumped right up into a shrub and spent several minutes eating berries.

The field corn which is growing for fresh chop in the field east of us towers at about ten feet tall. Just today the leaves are curling. The dead brown patches in the lawn

are spreading. I am moving the hose, which is siphoning spring water from 70 feet away, between many of the flower beds.

There is no rain in sight. We had just over two inches in July. Temperatures are running about 12 degrees hotter than average.

That young red-tail hawk is keening all alone as it circles around the fields and hedgerows.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 03 2005 at 3:46 pm
Answers, finally
A while ago Sora answered questions on her blog. I asked to be picked to answer them. I have been working on them for a while. I have had to change the answers to numbers 4 and 5 several times while I thought hard about what, especially, was going on five years ago. I have been so busy they never quite got finished until today.

1.) Where were you ten years ago?

July-August 1995 I was 37, married 9 years, living here in our home in the Fingerlakes. Isaac had been ours for a little over two years and I was glorying in being a mother at last.

After a litigious, costly, ignominious departure from his job as shepherd for 800 sheep, God blessed us during this time specifically by answering the five prayer requests Jay had for a new job: to work indoors, with plants, doing less physically arduous labor, for an entity that did not derive its primary support from Government, where the people he would work for would appreciate his work. Jay had been out of work about eleven weeks.

At the Blacksheep Handspinning Guild family picnic in Stewart Park on a Sunday, one of my fellow guildfriends, Celia, asked if I knew anyone who needed a job. She was having difficulty finding someone responsible to work in the research greenhouses she oversaw at BTI.

“Yes, in fact I do. My husband, Jay.”

Celia spoke to him and hired him on the spot to start the next day, Monday. Jay has enjoyed his work there ever since; a great blessing from Father’s hand.


2.) Five Years Ago?

July-August 2000 It seems were were blessed during this time period with benign obscurity, health, gardening, happiness.

Pounce had been born at home in late March of this year; one of five kittens Magdalena, his young stray mother had in her pen in the dining room on a card table.

I held a piano recital for my piano students in August.

I was preparing to homeschool Isaac for the first time since kindergarten. His third grade year in the local school he had asked to come home in January: “I think we could do more in a couple hours at home than we do all day there, Mom”.

Isabelle had been adopted almost four years earlier.

In the fall I would try to teach Isaac Latin from Latina Christiana. We would jump at the opportunity Jeni gave us to have a Latin tutor in late December. He would turn out to be Matt. His family would become great friends and blessings to us.


3.) One Year Ago?

July-August 2004 It was a travelling year. The kids and I had gone to Austin, Texas in January to visit Jeni and family, then to Boston in April to visit Susan and family. We were preparing to depart for Vermont, N. Hampshire and Maine where we would spend a week with Mark and Ingrid at Chewonki. We visited numerous museums and beaches there and along the way. Gardening,

4.) Yesterday?

Made breakfast for 13. Did two loads of laundry for departing friends. Helped manage children and last-minute needs. Sent my kids off to afternoon sailing camp. Said “good-bye” and “vaya con Dios” to Kiny and family as they left for the West coast and overseas. Cried as they pulled out the driveway. Their family had stayed here for three and a half days, swelling our household and blessing us all. We all had lots of fun and were exhausted.

A new freezer and front-loading washer was delivered six minutes after they departed. When the old freezer was removed, Jay found one of Kiny’s girls’ sandal, which he was able to return to her as they said farewells to other children. Washed floors and walls. Did a load of laundry in the new washer!


5.) Today?

Three loads of laundry in the new washer. How silly to be absurdly happy over a new tool. Washed more floors. Sweeping. Gardening. Reading.

6.) 5 Snacks I Enjoy

homemade salsa and tortilla chips

imported Spanish or Greek olives

high-end bittersweet chocolate

Purity mocha chip ice cream

high-end sweet potato chips

7.) 5 Bands I know most of the lyrics to their songs

I know lyrics to a few individual songs from

old Phil Keaggy albums, (old) Dire Straits, (old) Bruce Cockburn,

(old) Peter Gabriel and Nickel Creek

I can tell within a few bars who is singing/who wrote most popular

music from the 70’s-90’s.

Most music I listen to is instrumental.

8.) Things I would do with a million dollars

invest as much as necessary to generate a generous passive income

buy enough good farmland so development will not encroach on us


missions development

invest in promising young businessmen

9.) 5 Bad Habits I Have

Spider Solitaire

scheduling too much for a given time

saying ‘yes’ too often to those who are not family

not saying ‘yes’ often enough to family

Starbucks Frappucino

10.) 5 Places I would Run Away To

all temporarily, as long as I can run right home again:

the woods

Austin, Texas


most museums

New Mexico

11.) 5 Things I would NEVER WEAR

an ankle bracelet


halter top and miniskirt

a dashiki

string bikini

12.) 5 Things I like Doing

collecting papers, plants, insects, etc to make cards

making cards


cooking a nice meal for family and friends

watching good movies with friends

13.) 5 Biggest Joys


playing music with Isabelle

the gardens in the early morning

quiet time


14.) 5 Famous People I would like to meet


Simon Bolivar


Hadassa (Esther)

St. Albert

15.) 5 4 movies I like

Into the West


The Fisher King

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

16. 5 Favorite Toys

Pounce, the cat





Entry posted by jpm14 on August 03 2005 at 3:25 pm
I’ve had it 13 months and I still adore my front-loader. I like it so much I got one for my dad in January, and he is apparently still amused by it.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 04 / 2005 at 10:39 PM
Oh, I understand about the washer! We got a new washer, dryer, freezer, and dishwasher installed last week. I actually chuckled with glee. We’ve done about ten loads of laundry and I’m still waiting for the novelty of NO QUARTERS to wear off. I still haven’t really used the dishwasher, except for one experimental trial run–I’ve never had one before and keep forgetting it’s there.

I didn’t realize you traveled that much. You know that our new place has greatly expanded guest room, right? Plenty of space for four. Maybe you and Ellie and the kids should talk about a Chicago trip…


Comment posted by (ip: on 08 / 04 / 2005 at 10:58 AM
I had to laugh at your #5, last year I got a new washer. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Going up to my family with their socks, just to point out what a truly white sock was supposed to look like. It has been a year and I still am enamoured by my beautiful white washer (I have been caught caressing it’s agitator hehehe).
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 08 / 04 / 2005 at 8:25 AM
Mr. Arnold S___k, Piano man
If you recall, the sight of a newly reconditioned Yamaha U3 on sale made me think of what to do with my old piano.

I called a few more local piano technicians. Then, when calls were not returned I went further afield, to a more outlying, less snooty, less high-brow town’s piano store and asked them to recommend someone who might advise me, give me an estimate of what it would take to fix the piano, and maybe do the work.

The manager there gave me the number of Mr. Arnie S____k, saying “He does all our piano work for us. I think he is the man you want.” He lived a fair piece away, yet the elderly Mr. S___k and his wife showed up that very Friday evening after taking their weekly early supper out at a local restaurant.

Mr. and Mrs. S___k were adamant that there was nothing wrong with my piano that a good tuning and a few moments of their time couldn’t set right. Except for recovering the keys, which they offered to send away to a Rochester businees for a price so low it still astonishes. When I repeated the statement I had been told and read repeatedly that “pianos wear out after 60-70 years”, they both were indignant, proclaiming “good pianos can last forever!”

I pointed out the key that double struck. Mr. S__k promptly fixed it with a tweak that took him all of 15 seconds. I showed him the key that does not play at all. He said he could fix it with parts he carries in his car at all times. I asked about the overtones. He replied that tuning would take care of them. How about the practice pedal? He and his wife, with Isabelle in attendance, fixed it in a few minutes. That pedal has not worked in years. I could never figure out how to fix it for more than a few minutes.


I asked about reconditioning. He warned against it, showing how the each hammer struck each set of wires in exactly the right place to produce the correct sound. If the action were removed and not replaced exactly, the sound would never be the same again. He said the hammer felts are in very good condition. He confirmed that the sound (which I love) is one of unusually bright beauty, in a very lovely wood case that ws unusual given its age.

He so quickly changed the atmosphere surrounding my perceptions that previous piano people had imparted that I questioned him about how long he had worked on pianos. Mr. S___k had apprenticed at 14 with his uncle, who had a piano shop in McGraw, NY.

Who would think, now, that such a small burg could support such a businees, then?

He has worked on pianos his whole life. He willingly drives 2-3 hours away to tune pianos for people. It says something that people will call for him to drive so far for their piano. He and his wife are not in it for money. His price for tuning was $64 and change. All the other work would be for free, as part of the price.

He will come today to tune my old beauty.

God blessed us with a true craftsman.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 28 2005 at 9:54 am
On Faith and Suffering
Friend Uberimma

(click on show original post) has written a great reflection pertinant to the trials our family and many loved ones are going through this summer.

At Bente’s

memorial service the first hymn we sang (first four verses) was ” It is Well with My Soul “.

Bente had designed the service prior to her death. Her children all spoke; if my children speak so lovingly, kindly, fervently of me at my death as they did of their mother I will have done my duty, as Bente clearly did hers.

A pianist and cellist played three pieces as a prelude, including Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, a piece I love; “My Heart Rejoices in the Summertime Renewal of God’s Creation” by Brahms was the postlude.

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 28 2005 at 9:14 am
Home Grown Chicken
For late breakfast/early lunch I am eating seasoned sauteed chicken livers with the thin flower petal-like scalloped slices of Armenian cucumber which have been lightly salted and sprinkled with seasoned rice vinegar. Absolutely scrumptious! Both livers and cucumber are home grown, one by friends’ birds, the other right here.

Saturday morning we helped the M_____’s slaughter 14 of their three-month-old Rhode Island Reds, the family never having prepared chicken from free range live bird to carcass ready-to-cook before. All the birds were dispatched, plucked, singed, trimmed, drawn and washed in an hour and a half. The boys had to at least help hold the legs of the birds as they were plucked and then help with the fine plucking. N___, the wife, generously gave us two of the birds (3.5 pounds apiece) and some livers and hearts– and all the gizzards, saying “We would still be arguing about how to best kill the first one if you hadn’t come.” She had plunged right in helping with the plucking and trimming: “I’m only out here because Deb is. I have to keep up with her. If she can do this, so can I”; but she drew the line at gutting, separating entrails and opening gizzards.

The gizzards were a lonely job as even my family defaulted on me, thinking they were not worth the effort. They were proved wrong, however as when lunchtime rolled around we had sandwiches with a dark chicken meat spread that everyone found very tasty. Suprise! It was boiled, ground gizzard with fresh garlic, salt, pepper and mayonaise as a binder. Gizzard paste is almost as good as liver paste, though with more substance, more texture.

The birds themselves were washed again, quartered and put directly into Cornell BBQ sauce, a vinegary highly seasoned mixture I used as a marinade. There they sat all Saturday and until Sunday mid-afternoon when the parts were grilled over apple wood. Since the carcasses had gone through rigor while being marinated, and were fresh (never frozen), the meat and skin was wonderfully moist and flavorful.

With friends, we ate the chicken hot off the grill and with freshly picked and cooked green beans, fresh picked Sungold tomatoes, sweet corn, rice and iced tea or Woodchuck hard cider. A better Sunday meal would be hard to come by.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 25 2005 at 11:41 am
Harry Potter

has a great entry about Harry Potter and those who seem to think the books are promulgating wickedness.

Sora also has a bunch of guesses and discussion about what the future may hold in the last HP book. So does Jon Barlow.

Along with others I think there is much more to Snape than meets the eye. I think he is on the good side. And perhaps Harry is not “the Chosen One” and the one who will vanquish Voldemort. Could it be Snape? But he doesn’t seem to meet all the conditions of the prophesy….

Neville Longbottom does meet all the requirements of the Chosen One prophesy.

And I really liked that the British word “snogging” was kept in our American version. Wonder if Rowling asked for that?

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 22 2005 at 5:01 pm
One comment:
Nah, the Dark Lord has never “marked him [Neville] as his equal.” No question that the prophecy refers to Harry.

I found it amusing that we got to keep “snogging” and “skiving” and “sprouts.” That last one in particular was quite surprising.

Comment posted by Sora (ip: on 07 / 25 / 2005 at 5:12 pm

Sora’s E-mail:

Sora’s website:

It is all harvested now. Isabelle, K, and I did most of it while the boys were gone. Jay just pulled the special big variety Mark from Maine gave us last year.

We don’t grow much–about 300 plants. Jay works with L, who harvested her garlic recently also. All two acres of it. She told Jay they use a head of garlic a day.

Jay and Isabelle sell most of ours for $3.00 per pound. I have put in a request for some good sized head this year. I usually end up with the small ones they do not wish to sell or plant. OK, but for once I want some big stuff, too!

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 22 2005 at 4:20 pm
Piano Dreams
I have had my Becker Bros. piano for 24 years. It came to me for $400 from an elderly woman who, I am guessing, had it for at least that long, if not more. According to what info I can dig up, Becker Bros. stopped making pianos as the Depression set in, which makes this one at least 75 years old. It is beautifully finished (dinged in places) hard wood with the bright sound typical of older, well-used pianos. But it has come to the end of its life and has growing problems: one hammer pin is broken and the fix did not stay fixed which means my favorite Chopin waltz can not be played as written; a key in the first bass octave has started double hitting; the practice pedal is kaput; the brightness is becoming earsplitting; overtones are too much, too many and on the increase, etc.

Jay had been informed that something needed to happen with/for the piano and he told me to start looking.

Yesterday as I was buying books for a new student, I saw a reconditioned Yamaha U3 upright for sale. $4100. Choke. It is 30 years old, made and used and totally reconditioned in Japan and then shipped over to the US, then to the Fingerlakes. Ebony with a high polish, no scratches.

Nice sound, nice touch. It has been broken in by its first thirty years by Japanese owners. But it will last only 30 more on this recondition. That it does not have the fine craftsmanship of my current piano is evident in several areas, most irritatingly in the music stand, which is a short screwed on, fold up appendage stuck on the underside of the key cover–itself an irritant in that it does not sit nicely and unobtrusively out of the way when open but is glaringly apparent and clunky.

The shop manager is willing to “do whatever it takes to get this piano into” my ome because the shop is being sold and he is moving to N. Caroline. He told me a story of a man coming in to buy a grand several years ago and when the deal was almost done the buyer realized the piano was reconditioned. “Used? We don’t buy used furniture!” He was willing to pay significantly more for a new (less nice musically) grand piano. It was just for show in their (new) home full of other (new) furniture.

The (new) shop will sell (new) grand pianos as furniture show pieces to people with (new) big homes who do not play piano. Bizarre. He says there is a big market for them down there.

Today I called one local piano reconditioning shop today. Totally reconditioning my Becker Bros. would cost about $3000. I forgot to ask if the piano would be good for another 60-70 years. Tomorrow I will call a couple more people. Since there is a major music school in town there are several shops and people who do this kind of work here.

Decisions, decisions.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 21 2005 at 8:54 pm
I suggest that you go to the used piano sale at Cornell. I think it is in the fall every year. We went to look once and saw some great deals, none of which would fit in our house!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 21 / 2005 at 11:11 PM

Suz’s website:

I don’t play, but I would say to keep the piano you love. If you can make it sound nice again, it’s worth it, and it will be something that will mean much more to Isaac or Isabelle as adults.


Comment posted by (ip: on 07 / 22 / 2005 at 10:03 AM
Kids of Summer
This will be about the sixth year siblings K and A have come from city life in California from their (separate, because of divorce) families to visit their grandma and grandpa in the country. They also come to visit Isaac and Isabelle and me during some days. Jay is at work.

M, their grandma, used to be Jay’s boss and now works elsewhere but that hasn’t stopped us facilitating the kids’ friendship. M still has to go to work, as does grandpa. My workplace is here at home, so when they do not go to various camps, K and A come here and everyone has a high old time.

K and A have had quite a few firsts while visiting: hearing and seeing and finding their first cicadas and their husks, fireflies, climbing on big round bales, building forts in the woods, printing leaves and fishe, playing with cats and bunnies, picking fruit, swimming in a stream, climbing rope, mowing lawn on a tractor riding mower.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 21 2005 at 8:45 pm
One comment:
The four children reminded me during lunch today (egg salad sandwiches on homemade bread, freshly picked and cooked beets finely cubed with some vinegrette as a salad, iced tea with cranberry juice) that this is year seven.

They went up to the woods and hung out at the fort, then came home and had a knock-down drag-out Monopoly game. Girls lost to the boys, who worked together as a team even though independant players.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 07 / 22 / 2005 at 3:26 pm

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

Bente Starke King
Bente Starcke King concluded a long and brave fight with cancer on July 15, 2005 at the age of 79.

Born in Helsinge, Denmark, to Dr. Gustav and Gudron (Strandholm) Starcke, Bente participated in the resistance movement against German occupation during WWII. She graduated art school in Copenhagen (1947), and in the same year traveled to Ithaca for a one-year “au pair” position for the late Dr. Frederick Asher’s family.

Bente was a good and kind scientific illustrator, artist and teacher. I took her botanical illlustration class twice, a decade apart. She would tell stories of her time as a member of the Resistance in Denmark under Nazi occupation, how she thought early on she would become an architect, the influence of an artist uncle on her decision to become a scientific illustrator.

We visited her home and she spent a long time showing us her studio, drawings, her uncle’s paintings. She gave each of the children a calendar adorned with her drawings she had made to keep track of birthdays. One of them is in use right now on my dining room wall. At that time she was working on illustrations for her book, which was published last fall as Beautiful Botanicals. She had determined early on it would be spiral bound, for easier artist use.

Bente had one of only two Golden Chain Trees I know of in this area. Hers was very large and magnificent. She offered me seedlings, but our soil is too acidic. And I was in awe of her as my teacher.

Her full obituary and a good photo are here


Entry posted by jpm14 on July 20 2005 at 10:21 am
Growing Up is Hard
A youngster is not leaving its fledgling days behind without long involved vocalizations.

Loud insistant demanding wailing cries of a young red-tail hawk come from the trees beyond us and remind me so much of another teenager on occasion that it makes me smile every time I go outside.

An adult red-tail hawk started hanging out in one of the tall pines just west of our house a couple days ago. Maybe it just wanted to get away from the noise. The persistent screechy carrying noise of the youngster drifted down from the far end of the upper hedgerow for hours. This morning it has moved down a hundred yards closer, complete with its continual annoying ranting whine of a cry. The parent has decided the time has come for the juvenile to grow up, find its own food; all of us in hearing range are waiting for that youngster to just get down to business.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 20 2005 at 9:38 am
Summer Meals
In this heat wave I have had a hard time keeping up with the one, yes, one yellow squash plant Jay allowed us for early on. (There are two other infant plants nearby.) This summer squash is a good 3 and a half feet wide and although I pick off the fruit each day, many of them are larger than I like. I like my squash small, no more than a hand length (from wrist to fingertip) long. At that size (or smaller) the centers have not started to form seeds and are firm, not the least bit spongelike.

The first green pepper got picked yesterday. We have had a growing handful of Sungold tomatos each day since this weekend. I can dig carrots that are at least as long and big around as my fingers. We had a few little potatoes the other night in our Salad Nicoise. I picked lots of green beans Monday. The basil is growing so fast it is hard to keep it picked and used.

The blueberries are ripening fast due to the heat. We pick a quart a day, but could be getting many more than that. The wild black raspberries are on now, too, due to… Did I mention how hot it has been?

We have thinned lettuce, new small red onions and cucumbers from friends whose garden is grown higher up and more managed than ours.

Have to jump off now and take the girl to basketball camp.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 20 2005 at 8:08 am
One comment:
That summer squash plant is closer to six and a half feet across and 3.5 tall, I noted as I looked for squash this morning.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 07 / 20 / 2005 at 9:39 am

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

The Boys are Back
Forty-one members of our church, including Jay and Isaac, came back late Sunday night after a week’s trip to San Diego and the area between Tijuana and Rosa Rita, Mexico on a mission trip under the auspices of Amor Ministries to build two houses for two families.

Jay’s head is as brown as a nut. Isaac has achieved a South American Indian brown. They had much nicer weather there than we did here, even though they lived outside all the time. There it was dry, highs in the 80’s lows in the 60’s. Here it was (and still is) humid, highs between mid-90’s and 100 and lows in the mid-70’s.

Isaac’s three words describng the trip: “educational, fun, enjoyable”

Jay’s three words describing the trip: “dusty, dry, grinding”

Hmm. I hope Isaac is remembering the day the team spent in California before flying home.

Just tonight Jay started telling stories of who and what he saw.

The boys got home over two hours later than anticipated because of thunder and lightening storms in Philly (one hour delay) and the airline “making sure the luggage got on the plane properly” (the second hour plus). Upon arrival in Ithaca we eventually learned that the second hour probably was not used appropriately.

Mission Team Luggage scorecard:

First flight – out of 36 items– received 4

Second flight – out of 31 items– received 17

Jay brought me two great beetles and Mexican jumping beans.

Isaac bought me a souvenir spoon with a California bear on it.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 19 2005 at 7:14 pm
Blast from the Past
The whole knitting/office/library room is finally painted. Now I am in the midst of the unenviable task going through all the stuff that once was housed there.

This afternoon I found this dream story in a folder. Anyone else have some incredibly vivid dreams that are narrative in nature? Dreams which God uses to speak to you?

Reading it now creeps me out. It creeped me out then, which is one reason it had to be written down: to get it out of my system.


Story from a Dream, sometime in 1998


It was soon after the Change. He had fallen in with her as all were leaving one of their meetings. She was one of them now, she reminded herself. She had watched them flow, crablike and slow, backed up in their metal machines from the large parking place to the exit lane. As she had turned and gone on foot—few others did—He, walking also, caught up and fell in next to her.

“Well,” He said, “the big event is next week. All the plans are set. She keeps writing letters about it; how glorious it will be.” He was referring to a sister. “But why?”, I asked. “Oh, sublimation about their congregation I suppose,” He replied. “You know they will have a large place together.”

We returned the rest of the way in silence; He to his other work—whatever that was I did not yet know– and I to visit—how to call them, to know them, now? My beloveds? My friends? Servants? Slaves? Machines?

Anyway, I stood, not at the main window, but a side window and peered down on my former compatriots in their large, spacious area. Clear but for the filth pushed up around the edge and corners; furnished with only a refrigerator. It was a large wooden room, an empty stage of a room, the room where we had all lived until a short while ago. I was out now, looking in, Different. Still not completely comprehending the difference.

We are a cylindrical metallic people, made, not born. We grow over time and have need of food, after a fashion. No legs, no features until much later. They ‘bud’ out as one matures. We are a slave race made only to serve, not to be thought of.

I was the first to be Different—both free and alive. Almost “chosen” if you will—but not without great effort on my part. The only one who chose me was me. I chose myself to be Different.

At nights and dark times we had often talked of escape and made up games to practice. Who is the fastest, the strongest, the most cunning? (I have since found that strength of that kind has little to do with freedom.) Who the quietest in completing a task quickly. We practiced in teams of two, or alone, racing to the refrigerator to put in the remains of the meal and close the door—all in silence, with speed, with stealth.

During the work the room was empty. Work was always elsewhere and alone—or alone but in groups—if you see what I mean. Togetherness only happened in the room between work. But not only togetherness. Sometimes He would come and stand, blocking some light, looking down at us from the main window.

It was not a window, really, for there was no glass partition. Just a large viewing hole cut in the front wall, high up. He would stand outside it and watch—not speaking, not moving—as all our togetherness ground to a halt and we stood still where we were or scuttled in fear to the edges of the room out of direct line of sight.

Often he would say nothing, do nothing. Just watch—as one might watch a group of insects. I think it was not a wholly satisfying experience for Him because we, like insects, would not behave “normally” as soon as we knew He was there. He did not seem to realize He blocked out the light whenever He stood in that window. It was the give away.

What we did not know then, as I know now, was that there were other places to view us from, that He did know about light, that He can move very quietly.


Recently He has singled one of them out to speak with. That is how it started with me, too. She is young—her features have started to bud—and intelligent, like me. He speaks to her through the main window / not window. Calls her by name. What can she do but respond? Sometimes His voice is like large fingers touching her. It makes us all cringe. But what can we do? She knows she is chosen—but not really, unless—and here is the tricky part—unless she can break the bond. Unless she makes herself special through escape.

All know it is the way to freedom. We never spoke of it openly. To fail (if you try) brings death—painful death—to deter others trying. There are rules to which both sides must adhere. I know. I was the first to make them—Him in particular—live up to the rules they had set down.

I cannot tell what He thinks about my freedom and new reality. He has never tried to push me back into the old mold. But perhaps He intuits what I know. I am the first, but not the last. He has lived up to the bargain. Which is more than I have.


I visit them by night. I can never be with them on the floor in the room again. I have grown too much in too many ways for that! No, I stand, as He does during the day in the high window opening, and whisper down encouragements. I do not give details. That would not be kind.

And He may be listening.

She is very bright. I like her. I will help her, if I have the chance. But I seem indifferent and do not answer when she speaks to me. It would not do for Him to know my secret heart. Accidents happen. She may never get the chance. He might decide I helped, broke the rules, and invalidate her try if I seem too interested in her future now.

I look at her in a way that makes her silent, then turn and leave.


Others, you know, have tried since my escape. But, although sincere, the attempts were not well planned. All were found and destroyed before the allotted time was finished. Only I escaped unharmed and hidden for the fullness of time. And managed to reveal myself but not my hiding place after the time was up. I know He wants to discover where it was I hid so successfully. I know He listens when I visit them, perhaps hoping He will hear me tell them. I know I can never tell anyone.

If any others are to live, it must be on their own merit; they must be as canny, as silent and swift as I. In this I agree with Him, but would never say so.

I wonder if perhaps there are more subtle ways of sharing information and knowledge with them. I often lay awake thinking of what gesture or movement of the eyes or inflection of the voice could impart the particulars of my success only to my former people, not also to a secret observer. If only I could have one night alone with them all, to teach them how they must be, what to do, what not to do, when to act, when to be still, how to live to escape and Live.

But even as I think of this with longing I know it is a futile dream. Even if I could have the night in safety with them, the tribe, the people, the workers I came from, I know now, as I knew even then prior to my change, they would not listen. Every one thinks his way is best. All have a plan. Many are too timid to ever try but nevertheless carries a plan in their hearts which they will defend vociferously.

The room, the harsh light, the empty, filthy space. The eternity of corridors and walkways and paths leading to work. The drop-offs and hidey-holes. The battlements that surround us.

The high window.

All that is behind me now. But I carry it always inside me. In the beautifully appointed places, the green and lovely gardens, the strictly gentle classrooms I am yearning, thinking, calling, praying for someone else to follow me. For someone else to be as cunning.

The stage is set always in my mind. This theatre, this secret voice of life.


She has done it! The alarm is out! She is gone from her appointed place. She is hidden and no one can find her.

But I can find her.

I keep my face sweet and serene in His presence. He is too righteous to ask me if I know where she is, but I see it in His face and eyes and hands. He will not ask. It would be wrong. And I shall not tell. That would be wrong also.

I think of her constantly. As if walking in sleep I am drawn to her. No! I catch myself waking from a dream of going to the secret dark place. I could give her moisture from my tongue—the only thing I dare carry to help.

In the heart of the same dream I harbor a secret hope so subtle and deadly I barely bring myself to acknowledge it: That perhaps He has known the hidden place all along and turned away His eyes from searching that one particular place out of deep secret compassion for our kind, for me. For love.

It is only a dream. Of course it can not be so. And so I must not go to her. He is aware of all I do now. He spends hours at the window. I have found out how quietly He moves. He has come upon me unawares and suddenly several times with a quick, quiet step and watchful gaze, looking, searching all around my person. He would find us both. The future would die.

She will make it. I know. She is young, as I am. And swift, like me. But most of all she has the mind of one clever and canny. We are the beginning drops of a future river. Like their lake of cars leaving one by one, so we are the first two of a different rain to enter their stream. But not the last.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 12 2005 at 5:07 pm
One comment:
I think we have successfully escaped that prison. The next step…escaping from the prison we have created for ourselves. The lies we have spoken in echo to the enemy.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 16 / 2005 at 1:42 pm

Suz’s website:

Here is a picture of young Chip the first day or so we took him in.

And here is Chip a week, maybe, before his death.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 11 2005 at 8:58 am
Euthanasia for Babies
Tell me, in God’s economy is there such a thing as “futile suffering”?

As if decreaseing child mortality through abortion is not heinous enough:


Sample from “The Groningen Protocol for Euthanasia in Newborns”

Requirements that must be fulfilled:

• The diagnosis and prognosis must be certain.

• Hopeless and unbearable suffering must be present.

• The diagnosis, prognosis and unbearable suffering must be confirmed by at least one independent doctor.

• Both parents must give informed consent.

• The procedure must be performed in accordance with the accepted medical standard.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine, March 10, 2005.

Full article in the NYTimes Magazine on Euthanasia for Babies .

Remember, you can use bug me not to login if you do not wish for an account.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 10 2005 at 5:38 pm
I don’t know. I really don’t. I would like to think that I trusted God enough to let my child suffer. But I don’t know. If it were my baby screaming in agony, and there was nothing I could do to make it better, and I knew there was nothing anyone could do, and that he would just keep screaming for days and weeks and maybe months and years…

Would I be that strong? I don’t know.

Comment posted by Abby (ip: on 07 / 10 / 2005 at 11:46 PM
Physical pain can be moderated–we have drugs enough to dampen physical pain.

Abby put her finger on the crux of the issue: killing those who suffer is of benefit primarily to the observers who suffer (vicariously). Modern society does not like to let nature take its course, or God his.

I think there is a lot of (painful) spiritual growth that can occur in the lives of parents, family and others who care for and love those who are ill and suffering.

The article indicates some persons put in such a situation reject and/or deny such personal growth exists by rejecting the sufferer and putting the sufferer as far away as possible (killing him).

Caring for someone who is suffering–and dying– is exhausting. How much easier to end everyone’s hard work by a quick injection? “Quality of life” and money issues also color the decision.

An argument can be made that association with and endurance of difficulties, pain, suffering instead of lowering life quality actually increase character, maturity, patience, love: esteemed attributes have the high price of self denial.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 07 / 11 / 2005 at 10:16 AM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

A Modest Proposal to Decrease Child Mortality
Abort them.
Entry posted by jpm14 on July 06 2005 at 2:26 pm
But wait.

Swift’s proposal was satire.

This is for real.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 07 / 06 / 2005 at 2:27 PM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

The UN strikes again!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 16 / 2005 at 1:29 PM

Suz’s website:

Withdraw 1.To take back or away.

As a family we are experiencing many painful withdrawals this summer.

Our sweet humming Lily bunny was taken away, probably by a mink, about a month ago when we all forgot to put her from her outside pasture fence into her pen one night. The creature pushed the fence six feet or so, then dug a small shallow tunnel under into the pen. All that was left behind for burial was a half-palm sized piece of skin and fur.

Little Chip died yesterday morning after over a week of declining health. He would rally during the day, but as time went on, his daytime rallies became weaker. The last day before he died he had real difficulty swallowing any food. His beautiful metallic blue wing feathers never fully came out. Isabelle wrote of Chip: “Chip was a great example about being strong and not giving up just because it is hard. He was a great bird, who I will remember. He was strong and put up a good fight. He will be with God forever now.”

There have been more than a few discussions about where Lily and Chip’s spirits are now. Yesterday there was a serendipitous email from a former pastor of mine about this very subject.

My personal hope is that animals which were loved by the redeemed will be with them in heaven.

Our cousin Nancy is in the final stages of the cancer which she has valiently fought against for multitudes of months longer than the doctors said would be possible. She is only a few years older than Jay or me. She saw both daughters married, one grandbaby born, and was able to take a long awaited trek with her husband across this country. Family report she is thinner than one would believe possible, yet last Sunday still found her playing the organ in her church. She is on constant pain medicine now. She, too, has fought a good fight and will soon have her homegoing.

Our friend Gerlinde, visiting family in Germany with husband Ben, had a bicycle accident which terribly damaged her brain. She survived, but is still in a less-than-conscious state. She is now in a long-term klinik in Dresden where she is receiving world-class therapeutic and medical care. Oh, what a painful time for her family and friends. Ben sends many of us email updates every day for prayer. None of us know what the future holds for her. Gerlinde the way we knew and loved has been taken away.

Also taken is Chris Ackley, the young man who died in a car crash and was in Boy Scouts with Jay and Isaac.

What word is significant for you this summer?

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 06 2005 at 2:17 pm
Food Costs
Yesterday Jeni and I were talking and I mentioned I had seen in a local (upstate NY) supermarket the ‘freshly made’ in a plastic bag guacamole imported from Mexico that I had only seen before at HIB in Austin. Jeni said she can now routinely find ice cream imported from Chile: CHILE ! It was good quality and competatively priced. Not to mention the year round fresh fruit and flowers from other South American countries.

Then there is the food that is not fresh or as time dependant: olives from Greece and Spain, cheeses from all over Europe, canned fruits and veggies from Asia, Eastern Europe, the Mid-East. Also, coffee from S. America and Africa. And Chocolate.

How in the world is it feasible to make and fly ice cream to Texas from S. America? Or grow and overnight air roses from Peru? Or basil from Israel? Jeni once stumbled through the wrong door at a restaurand on her way to the Ladies’ room and came face to face with packing crates direct from Israel. (This in a town where locally-grown, organic produce is a pride and joy.) Correct me Jeni, if it wasn’t basil.

Or 12 ounces of beautifully made and seasoned ‘fresh’ guacamole from Mexico–at approximately the same price as one avocado?

I am pretty sure the main answer is lower labor cost. Secondary answers include less governmental regulations and oversight (therefore lower production cost), and, especially in the case of anything coming from China, lower quality standards.

Jeni has an aquaintance who worked as a US representative in the agricultural industry in mainland China. Her advice to Jeni: Never buy any canned food produced in China. You do not even want to know why.

I have educated guesses: use of herbicides and pesticides that are banned here, use of nightsoil (human feces) as fertilizer, lower food growing and processing standards resulting in food contamination . My guess is that lower standards would be more a worry than use of banned herbicides. There is A LOT of pollution there–the NY Times had a series of articles of groundwater and soil polution from industry that is killing farmers and their crops and animals in several regions in rural China. One of the few things the NY Times did well was keeping a good reported in China who was allowed to write pieces detailing life and problems on the mainland that otherwise we would not hear about.

This morning as I gave myself more time than I should have to peruse some blogs I came across a small cluster of agrarian blogs, and this one discussed another tangent of these thoughts.

More later. Must be a comforter. Chip is going down hill now rather rapidly. It just hit home to Isabelle, who found him laying on his side.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 30 2005 at 11:06 am
I did buy a package of the ice cream bars from Chile, just so I can see what they’re like and send you the wrapper for fun. They seem to be labeled for export. The labeling is mostly in English, with smaller print in French and Spanish (in that order). They are “Made in Chile by Industria De Alimentos Trendy S.A., … Santiago.”
You can send me empty food wrappers for fun, too. Only people who enjoy going to grocery stores in other states can appreciate that… ha!
Regarding the restaurant in Ithaca: It was that very nice Northern Italian place that used to be on N. Cayuga St., and what I stumbled into was a crate of fresh herbs from Israel. This was in February, but wouldn’t you think their supplier could have found something as delicate as fresh herbs from this continent for less money?
And on the Chinese canned foods topic, the person who “shooed” me away from those was a Department of Agriculture scientist from central California who took a 6-month consulting job with the Chinese government, during which she toured many farms all over the country.
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 07 / 02 / 2005 at 5:54 PM

Jeni’s E-mail:

Chilly sounds like the perfect country to produce frozen desserts. 😉
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 02 / 2005 at 9:55 PM
Ha! yes, dear, maybe the chilly-ans have found their export goldmine. We shall see. Meanwhile, in another grocery store brochure, I see frozen pizza from italy advertised. That’s made-in-Italy, frozen, and sold in Texas, pizza. Whoa, pardner. Let’s make our own dad-burn pizza right here. Or, in a pinch, just slap some barbecue on a fresh tortilla and call it dinner.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 07 / 06 / 2005 at 11:56 PM

jeni’s E-mail:

Or go to Taco Cabana!
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 07 / 11 / 2005 at 9:45 PM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

Busy Days
Real life is going at such a pace that the blogging of it has lagged seriously. The fledgling, Pig, is doing well. We see and hear him each day. And yesterday Isabelle and I got to within a few feet of him before he flew. No holding him anymore.

Chip is alive, although his progress is minimal. He is finally growing more feathers, but they are weak, though beautiful. Kids harvesting grasshoppers as supplements for him.

Watering, harvesting, weeding.

Painting, sorting, book weeding.

Packing, planning, preparing–Jay and Isaac leave in a tad over a week for a mission trip to Mexico helping build a house for a family; I am nominally in charge of making several months worth of evening meals for an older couple this week.

And this from last night out looking for Pounce in the dark:

Out late Tiger hunting, I notice

Summer lights

alive and flying

adorning the tall

pines and fields,

their chlorophyll fed

blinks punctuated

by high up heat lightening.

Small vessels sailing on

currents of warm air

in the grassy night sea.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 29 2005 at 9:36 am
From Nestling to Fledgling
The large nestling successfully fledged and went into the wild of the backyard over the weekend. Its parents are feeding it. We can approach, but it has taken almost nothing from us since Saturday. The parents sound alarm cries when we near. He flies, but most mornings is on the ground.

I picked him off a pine tree branch too close to the road yesterday and moved him up into some trees further from the road. He screamed.

The little guy, who now wears the moniker ‘Chip’, is still handfed and stays inside at night. He is still unable to perch, shakes after he is fed, his feathers are sort of weird and twisted, and he is generally delayed. We started augmenting his diet of soaked cat food with first instar grasshoppers, crickets and whatever other insects we can find, also some wild strawberries and small grape pieces. Both children were dispatched to fields up back with the job of catching insects for Chip. They rigged a jar with a small funnel in its mouth so insects could be dropped down in and (hopefully) not find their way out.

Yesterday, I put Chip out for the day under the hosta outside the window of the room I am still slowly painting. We would go out and feed him there. Some time after I plucked his sibling from the branch near the road, I saw Chip’s mom swoop down and feed him. I cried I was so happy. She fed him at least twice. The difference in him this morning is evident in increased stability and louder crying. Whatever secret ingredient in his parents’ regurgitations, he needs more of it!

So this morning I took him out to the far row of pinew where his sib sat, being fed by the parents. And then, when it became evident the parents fed the big guy and not Chip, I grabbed Big Guy and he is sitting here in the house for an hour or so.

I have seen the parents feed Chip at least once now.

There is hope for Chip!

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 21 2005 at 7:27 am
One comment:
I found these recipes online. They sound pretty similar to what you’re doing:

INFANT DIET (for baby birds with few feathers)

1/2 cup of medicated turkey starter feed
1 drop of liquid vitamin supplement for human babies
1 25-milligram tablet of vitamin B1 (crushed)

Mix the ingredients to a paste that will stick to a toothpick. At least every 15 minutes place a food lump well back in the bird’s throat to stimulate the swallowing reflex. Continue until the bird refuses food. (If medicated turkey starter feed is not available through local feed stores, a temporary infant diet may be made using 1/4 cup Gaines Meal dried dog food soaked in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes; add two vitamin drops instead of one. In either case, a worm or two can be chopped up into the mix.) Do NOT feed milk products to birds of any age, and BE SURE TO KEEP AN UNFEATHERED BIRD WARM AT ALL TIMES.

INTERMEDIATE DIET (for feathered birds, including adults)

1/4 cup of Gaines Meal dry dog food (soak as for Infant Diet)
Sprinkling of vitamin-mineral supplement (available from pet shops)
1 teaspoon of finely chopped apple, grape, or banana
1 teaspoon of soaked and finely chopped dark raisins

Wild bird seed and shelled sunflower seeds can be added to this mixture for adults that normally eat seeds; premium-quality pre-moistened dog foods might also be tried. Feed feathered young as often as they will eat. For injured adults, always have food and water available so that they can eat and drink when they wish. NEVER keep an uninjured wild adult bird in captivity.
Other places mention feeding them worms, or mealworms, or a little peanut butter.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 21 / 2005 at 10:35 pm
Chris Ackley
Chris was one of the ‘big boys’ in Scouting that Isaac really looked up to and Jay liked.

From the local news:” A Dryden teenager was killed in a one-vehicle accident on Lake Road Tuesday after his 1996 Chevrolet Camaro struck and severed a telephone pole.”

Story here.

Lots of tears in this house today.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 15 2005 at 7:11 am
I am terribly sorry to hear of the loss. I am sure that you will do wonderfully at helping Isaac through his grief, I found a website that you might find to be informative.

It is about teenagers’ grief.

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 06 / 15 / 2005 at 7:51 PM
Thanks, Sharon. I will check it out.
Last night (Friday) was the open-casket calling hours.
This morning the funeral mass.

Avoidance of reality by plunging into fantasy (computer games, movies) seems to be Isaac’s way of not coping with what is happening here.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 06 / 18 / 2005 at 8:50 AM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

The Girl of Your Dreams
Via Valerie’s blog: a written illustration by Josua Gibbs
Entry posted by jpm14 on June 13 2005 at 1:21 pm
Hotter than Austin
Last week the temperature each day here was about ten degrees hotter than in that lovely Texas city. We are talking high 80’s and mid-90’s. Bleh.

The blue jays are both fine, thanks. They spend the days outdoors in the shade. The little guy comes in each night and the big boy stays out. Blue jay parents are feeding the big guy some, but he gets supplemental feed 4-6 times a day. The pig.

Rash is abating after Dr. Dermatologist prescribed a heavy-duty cortizone ointment and 24 hour a day antihistamines. “I don’t know what it started out as, but now it has taken on a life of its own.” A rash taking on a life of its own on my body? Yikes.

So I’ve been feeling drugged up, but the edema, itching and rash are subsiding.

Many peonies have popped and gone by in the stifling heat. Clematis have started blooming. And foxgloves, perennal poppies and thalictrum.

I have been reading A Cry of Stone by a different O’Brian–Michael. I recommend it highly.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 13 2005 at 12:50 pm
Bolivia in Turmoil
“Bolivian President Carlos Mesa has announced his resignation after mass protests demanding the nationalisation of energy and constitutional reform.”

Received yesterday, June 5, from a Bolivian friend there:

“Please pray for the political and social situation in Bolivia right now. There have been strikes, blockades, marches and demonstrations for over a week, but today at 4P.M. the congress is deciding on whether or not to give into the demands of these political groups demands and agendas. If they do not give in, the marches will worsen and could get violent, if they do give in then they will only empower these groups and their ability to control and manipulate this country.

Today our children were evacuated from their school because the protesters threatened to march down to the suburbs.

Please pray for us and Bolivia. God has a plan for this country!

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 07 2005 at 9:12 pm
As I type, out my window the Invalid nestling is sitting in his basket inside the fence that encloses an area for his brother, the One Who Is Always Hungry. Their mom and dad swoop down into the enclosure and feed the fat one. I go out with soaked dry cat food and feed them both.

The Invalid has little motor control of his legs and is now half the size of his brother, but he is alert, aware, smart. His legs are mostly useless to him. He shakes; he tips over when he trys to preen. He has to be hand fed. Sometimes he needs help opening his beak. He knows my voice. He lives in his basket and stays inside at night and days when it is cool. He likes being held, especially when I let his toes grab a finger and steady his legs with other fingers so he can flap his wings.

The OWIAH is a loudmouthed squawker who stands under the hosta and eats four pieces of food at a go; he stays outside except for yesterday, when I brought him in during a thunderstorm and overnight because of the threat of more rain. An empty threat, alas. We could do with a few days worth of thunderstorms.

Besides caring for these two, I am slowly removing books and furniture a corner at a time from the one room we have not painted in the 19 years we have lived in our house. I wash the wall and floor, put two coats of paint on the wall and wax the wood floor, then with Jay’s help, move and re-arrange bookcases and desk to do another portion. The final grey-green color is analogous to the William Morris Willow wallpaper covering the wall of the living room outside the office/library.

Also consuming some of my attention is the still present rash, which I think is a fungus. Thursday was the earliest any dermatologist in these parts would see me.

Ah. The OWIAH has moved over on his perch (a bamboo stick we put through the mesh sides this evening) so he is resting near his sibling in the basket.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 07 2005 at 8:32 pm
Isabelle on God
“God is interesting, isn’t he? He is always up to something.”
Entry posted by jpm14 on June 06 2005 at 3:16 pm
Temporary Addition
The two remaining Blue Jay nestlings jumped out of their nest again this afternoon.

We believe the parents are having difficulty feeding them because it has been so dry.

They are about three inches long and just beginning to grow feathers. No fear; open mouths; willingness to be held. I think they were cold, too, due to hunger.

One is weaker, shakier, less able to eat. The other more agressive, hungry, vocal. They were very hungry and ate amazing amounts of kielbasa and soaked dry cat food in four allotments over the course of the afternoon for creatures that weigh virtually nothing.

I think they are dehydrated, too. So the two also received water via straw. I placed them in a cereal bowl lined with a washcloth in the sun just beneath their nest. Their mother and I took turns visiting them. She was hunting around the area, but never seemed to have any food.

After supper Jay rigged a platform just beneath their nest and placed them on it, thinking they would stay. One jumped out twice more; so we have adopted it at least for a few days. It has been the easiest adoption we have ever done.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 02 2005 at 6:18 am
Jay Got His Jake
This is the last day of May.

This morning is the last morning of the last day of Spring Turkey season.

At about 6 AM, Jay bagged a fourteen pound jake who came to his box

call and waltzed on down, wings and tail spread, showing off, to a couple foam hen decoys.

Two jakes had come out after three hens, who ignored the decoys

and went out into the field to eat breakfast.

He had a fist-sized crop. Bright yellow meal and small pea-sized stones were inside the pale

leathery sack surrounded by deep dark red muscle.

It had a preference for light colored

stones. He had been eating large roundish seeds with a brown coat and

yellow interior starch centers. We can’t figure out what they would be

from this time of year.

The bird also had worms like thick nylon fishing line about 5-6 inches long associated with its intestinal tract. Will do some research on what those were. Ascarids?

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 31 2005 at 9:06 am
One comment:
Spoke with the lady who runs Cornell’s Parasitology Lab after a web search failed to produce photos to compare.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 05 / 31 / 2005 at 9:31 am

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

Memorial Day Quotes
The kids were hanging around like vultures in the kitchen after dinner.

Jay: “What would you kids rather do? Go out and mow Mr. Ripley’s

field with scissors? Or watch Star Wars?”

Isabelle, as she cavorted around on the floor: “I wish I were a unicorn

so I could toss everybody around: “Go this way — or else!”

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 31 2005 at 9:02 am
Suffering through a rash
A week ago Thursday night after coming home from a singing engagement, after getting in bed, my right ankle was itchy. This small incident was the starting point for a mysterious spreading extremely itchy rash which travelled on both feet around the ankles, heels, down the sides of the feet and then progressed up the calves of my legs over the course of nine days, when I went to the ER on my doctor’s advice.

Initially I thought it was poison ivy and treated it accordingly. Then I added other treatments: calomine lotion, gentian violet, Domobromo baths, Benadryl, hydrocortizone ointments, cold water compresses.

I longed for a few hours uninterrupted sleep between sitting and running cold water over my feet or standing in buckets of cold water. I thought if I toughed it out, it would eventually heal up.

After a week my friend Ellie, a former public health nurse, saw it and said it sure didn’t look like poison ivy to her.

The diagnosis in the ER was contact dermatitis of some sort. A cortizone shot. Methylprednisolone pills, high test antihistamines.

But the itching remained, and intensified. Hydrocortizone cream applications now made the itching worse. While mulling over the symptoms early in the wee morning hours, I became convinced it might be a fungal infection of some sort.

Did some searching on the web. Bought Miconazole cream (sold as a cure for vaginal yeast infections). The Miconazole cream has helped tremendously. After informing a nurse in the ER, she also recommended Terbinafine (Lamisil® cream). That has helped also.

The cold water pail is still my trustworthy ally, however. My doctor will get a call tomorrow. I wonder if there is a pill he can give me. Sweet 3-4 hour periods of sleep are now within my grasp. Life is returning to its usual rounds.

What does God want from me in this?

-I think stress exacerbated and maybe triggered the whole cascade of events. There needs to be adjustments made in my life.

– C.S. Lewis called it “The Problem of Pain”. I should re-read that book.

I have been mulling over this issue of suffering, its value to me as an individual, to my family, to the Body of Christ. Is there a Protestant theology of suffering? Does it differ from Catholic teaching? The Catholic church, if I understand it rightly, says individuals offer their sufferings to Christ, who can use them for the edification and salvation of the Church (or particular people who may nor even be Christians, yet, as an offering).

-Then yesterday, we were informed that one of our friends has had a severe head trauma injury, the result of a bike accident. She has been operated on, placed in a coma for a few days. No one knows her future. If my suffering could help her and her family, Lord may it be so.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 30 2005 at 4:30 pm
Ark of the Covenant to be found by August?
Yes, according to Vendyl Jones and Israel National News.
Entry posted by jpm14 on May 21 2005 at 12:51 pm
Perhaps There is a book in me after all
If a <A href=”


C6U1O98GV2″>repetative act is all it takes to foster contemplation and prayer maybe its my attitude that is wrong. Dishes, laundry, cleaning: Repeat. Doesn’t do it for me.

But maybe I could write about the ‘real and fruitful spiritual practice’ of weeding perennial beds….I have lots of quiet meditations, creditable thoughts and prayers there.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 20 2005 at 9:43 pm
One comment:
“One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on eartn.”

Or so I’ve heard…I’m not much of a gardener!

Comment posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) (ip: on 05 / 20 / 2005 at 11:59 pm

Valerie (Kyriosity)’s E-mail:

Valerie (Kyriosity)’s website:

Grammar Avengers
I think Angela and Sora should subscribe to this!
Entry posted by jpm14 on May 20 2005 at 9:30 pm
Bird Tales

About ten days ago while Jay and Isaac were up back cutting up and hauling out the last of some lower tree top limbs to use for firewood a hen turkey flushed from her nest about five feet away from Jay. It had its nest in the cave-like space made by the finely branched tops of downed trees cut two years ago when the woods were thinned.

She left behind 17 eggs and never returned. She must have just finished laying; there were not even any blood specks on the yolks of two we opened a few days later when we went to check if the hen had returned. We were sad. The hen must not have been broody. Sometimes broodiness doesn’t kick in until a few days after all the eggs are laid.

Today, in a different corner of the woods, the children were cutting saplings to disguise their fort when a hen flew off a nest (situated beneath another old fallen top) and startled the boy nearest it. They wisely left the area. We hope returns; we will wait a couple days before investigating from a distance.


This morning while wandering around early I spyed a small creature with down sticking out where ears are on birds. It was a robin fledgling. Too young to have jumped; it had no tail feathers at all and could not fly, the toodle. Its parents screamed like crazy when I picked it up and moved it to the picnic table, but one returned with a worm a couple minutes later. Then, as Jay manouvered the ladder into position to check out a possible nest sight (which ended up being the Bluejay’s nest, with younger nestling), he spied a second jumper in the pachysandra. He joined his sibling on the table but promptly fluttered off, having less down and feathers a few millimeters longer.

Jay took the ladder to another tree, I lost sight of the escapee, the toodle was placed on a branch hopefully out of sight and mind of the cat. Pounce was let out only under strict supervision today.


The tree swallows are building a nest in one of the boxes. Isabelle is intrigued that they are seemingly so tame; she is able to get within a couple feet of them. After telling her about their antics, she threw down up in the air for them to come take. They came, they caught, they nested. The down was pulled from the nether end of downy guinea hen feathers in my collection.


Orioles are singing their flutey notes and are seen wafting about. The Bobolink was down today in the raspberries gathering dry grass. The Sapsucker has been in the Mountain Ash singing and boring hole. Jay cut out another two limbs that died from their attentions the past few years. Brown thrashers, Yellow-shafted Flickers, Pileated woodpeckers, Turkey vultures and Red-tailed Hawks have all been seen a short walk away.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 20 2005 at 9:28 pm
Horrors of Swiftian Proportions
Sounding the Trumpet has a post about Briton Leslie Burke . His story will make your hair curl. The local hospital is fighting for the judicial right to murder him via starvation.

The current issue of First Things, which is not online-yet- contains a short insightful piece on this issue by Richard John Neuhaus in In The Public Square. He notes that “People of a delicate sensibility were made uneasy by Terri Shiavo’s being forced to die of hunger and thirst.” Neuhaus quotes three big liberal papers and their medical experts who all agreed that death by starvation is peaceful, in accord with nature, painless.


“Christopher Levenick of the American Enterprise Institute was among the many who were much relieved. He suggests Governor Jeb Bush should introduce legislation requiring that the State of Florida use forced starvation as the preferred method of execution for its 368 inmates on death row.”

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 18 2005 at 11:24 am
Lydia’s Story
Our friends Lydia and her husband live on the other side of the lake. She is a nurse and was very active in theater in our mutual history. Here with her permission is her latest tale.

“We have a friend whose father (age 87) had a sore on his foot but would not let his sons see it.

So they approached him and asked that if a nurse would come over to the house would he let her see it? He said yes. So I was asked to come and as I thought about this the following came to

mind – since I was going to check his feet, most likely wash them, see if the sore needed to be treated, lotion and massage the feet, powder and put on freshly laundered socks, I decided to do this ‘in style’. So I got my Japanese outfit out of storage (kimono, special shoes,socks,two chop sticks with beads in them for my hair and special makeup). We arrived at his house and when he opened the door seemed a bit puzzled but when he saw Ted (whom he has known) he let us in. I greeted him, “Oh, good evening Honorable Elder Father” and when I saw his grandson sitting in the living room, I said to him, “Good evening #1 Grandson”. Well, as you all know I don’t know any

Japanese…………. So when I would have to stay ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, yes, no, maybe, etc. I decided to use the names of Japanese cars instead – So during the evening I would answer ‘no’ with a

‘Mitsubishu’ and a ‘maybe’ with ‘kawasaki’ and ‘yes’ with a ‘Toyota!’ I stayed in character most of the evening. It was a hoot to do……….one of his sons took pictures and so I’ll show them as soon as I get them………….

Just wanted to let you know what’s happening here in Podunk!”

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 18 2005 at 9:09 am
One comment:
Lydia is at it again! My favorite story is the one where she gave a rock from the parking lot to the patient passing a kidney stone….or was that just an urban legend?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 05 / 18 / 2005 at 7:50 pm
Stop the Presses!
Isabelle just came out from reading her history chapter and announced:

“Mama, Rome won the Therapeutic Wars.”

Myself: “Was it the psychologists against the psychiatrists?”

What she actually meant, I have since ascertained, is “Rome won the Second Punic War”.

Ah, diction.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 16 2005 at 1:09 pm
One comment:
Last year, when our kids’ Latin teacher announced to us that his wife was in labor, my then 11-year-old Jacob asked, “Is she having conniptions yet?” So much for Latin improving his vocabulary!

Our littlest kid has a knack for mispronouncing things in ways that reinterpret them. After a few visits to the Jack in the Box fast food place, he asked if we were going to “Lack in the Box.” The Honda Element is called, by him, “Honda Ailment.”

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 05 / 17 / 2005 at 4:04 pm

Jeni’s E-mail:

The Ice Cream Files
Lest I forget, and if anyone else is interested, a list of ice creams and their (aometimes approximate) ingredients made and eaten since my birthday present arrived:

Mango-cardamom: pureed, sweetened mango pulp, evaporated milk, freshly ground cardamom, corn syrup

Chocolate Coconut: coconut milk, heavy cream, milk, corn syrup or leftover heavy syrup from canned fruit, sugar, very good quality cocoa powder

Pumpkin: pureed pumpkin, sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, heavy cream

Guanabana sherbet: Guanabana nectar, lime and lemon juice, heavy cream, corn syrup

Apricot: Pureed apricots, sugar, milk, heavy cream, some of the syrup

Chocolate Irish Cream: corn syrup or leftover heavy syrup from canned fruit, milk, heavy cream, high test cocoa powder, about an ounce of Irish cream liqueur

Chocolate and vanilla from cooked recipes

Coffee Irish Cream: milk, heavy cream, corn syup or sugar, instant coffee powder, an ounce or so of Irish Cream liqueur

Those who know me kknow I tend not to measure much once I am fairly confident of a recipe. That holds true for ice cream. I do use a plastic quart yoghurt container and usually only make that much ice cream at a time. I pour in the primary fruit and add syrup and cream, etc to make one quart. Using real cream reduces the amount of finished product a person feels they need to eat. Real cream fills you up.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 16 2005 at 1:05 pm
Star Wars anyone?
Via the blog of a friend’s friend: The Darth Side


Some highly detail-oriented persons have noticed a connection between Hebrew and Sith letters here.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 15 2005 at 6:20 pm
One comment:
Haha. That Darth blog is hysterical.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 15 / 2005 at 7:58 pm
Textile stuff from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival
In the Textile Museum booth there were for sale from various relatively untravelled areas of the world lovely textiles. The cloths from Bolivia were from El Dorado. Each had the name and location of the individual who had woven the ‘tapicas etnicos tradiditionales’. The storefront is in La Paz–pretty upscale, with many items other than traditional tapestries.

One of the books I want to read, but not buy, is The Mummies of Urumchi by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. There were many many textiles buried with these folks of Caucasoid (not Oriental) origin.

We attended the first hour of the textile tools auction. A lovely old rug loom went for $50.00; other looms and wheels also went for prices far below replacement cost. One woman in particular was going out of her way to win many bids. My guess is she will resell many of the items on the internet.

On our way out from the festival I stopped at the booth for the Waldorf school of Baltimore. Their fifth grade students each make a 16″ doll all by hand during the school year. They also had dolls from the Q’ewar Project , which were Waldorf dolls from the Cuzco, Peru, all dressed appropriately. Lovely.

Perhaps Isabelle will make a doll this summer….

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 13 2005 at 8:22 am
One comment:
You know, I had that book. It was a gift from a friend a few years ago, and I donated it to the book sale in a fit of downsizing when we moved. I wonder if Ellie kept it–I remember vaguely that she kept a few of them. Anyway, it’s worth asking her. I didn’t like it because the idea of treating dead people, whom someone loved and buried and mourned, as interesting museum pieces just bothers me. I’d be a lousy archaeologist.
Comment posted by Abby (ip: on 05 / 17 / 2005 at 12:27 pm
New rat found in Laotian markets

“They live in the forests and limestone outcrops of Laos. With long whiskers, stubby legs and a long, furry tail, they are rodents but unlike any seen before by wildlife scientists. They are definitely not rats or squirrels, and are only vaguely like a guinea pig or a chinchilla. And they often show up in Laotian outdoor markets being sold as food.

Laonastes aenigmamus, or Laotian rock rat, has been identified as a new family of wildlife.

It was in such markets that visiting scientists came upon the animals, and after long study, determined that they represented a rare find: an entire new family of wildlife. The discovery was announced yesterday by the Wildlife Conservation Society and described in a report in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity.

The new species in this previously unknown family is called kha-nyou (pronounced ga-nyou) by local people. Scientists found that differences in the skull and bone structure and in the animal’s DNA revealed it to be a member of a distinct family that diverged from others of the rodent order millions of years ago. “To find something so distinct in this day and age is just extraordinary,” said Dr. Robert J. Timmins of the Wildlife Conservation Society, one of the discoverers. “For all we know, this could be the last remaining mammal family left to be discovered.””

Here is the article

Rats a foot long with a six-inch bushy tail. Discovered in the markets of Laos!

Notice: Western scientists still have not seen one of these creatures alive.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 12 2005 at 8:04 pm
One comment:
I just hope I don’t ever “discover” one in my house!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 05 / 13 / 2005 at 3:33 pm
Found: Toad’s List
In the greenhouse Jay accidentally watered a small notebook someone had left behind among the plants. He let it dry out a few days then looked today to see if there were any identifying names/numbers in it.

Nope. But there are lists in it just like Toad’s (of Frog and Toad fame, by Arnold Lobel)::

1-Get up

2-Get Dressed

3-Eat Breakfast

4-Do Homework

5-Go to the Greenhouse

Jay thinks it must belong to the one teenager he knows works part-time at BTI.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 08 2005 at 8:43 pm
Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival
Long drive. Nice motel. Great ladies to spend time with. We ate at a local seafood place where families were messily cracking and devouring piles of whole cooked crabs on tables covered with brown paper. We had crabcakes, asparagus, sweet potato fries, hushpuppies.

Early Saturday AM we drive to Howard County Fairgrounds and split up until the 11 o’clock sheepdog demonstration. I bought a small llama stuffed animal for Isabelle, had a talk with Max-Flex Fence guy and was sorely tempted by the show special on poultry fencing.

Had pleasant talks with several persons over the course of the day.

Wandering through the sheep barns it was clear my preference is for clean headed breeds. Saw and learned about Wensleydale sheep from a West Virginian whose family has 50 and whose primary income is from alpacas. They ask, and get, astronomical prices for ewe and ram lambs. Beautiful large animals. There are no purebreds in N. America; Cotswolds are being used to bring down mature size and open up the heavy ringletted fleece, and straws of semen are imported from English Wensleydale rams to increase blood purity. Remember Wallace and Grommit’s favorite cheese? It is made with this breed’s milk.

The lucette lady was demonstrating and discussing the history of lucettes. Rather than buy one I have decided we can try to make one on our own. There seems to be lots of info on the web.

Later on I met and spoke for awhile with the owner of Wooded Hamlet Designs, which is the place to go, he said, if you are reenacting and need period ribbons and trims. Their stuff is in “Gods and Generals” and “Master and Commander”. I bought from them a dark wood thread winder (style B). It seems there were specific spinners who produced thread for sewing here in the states up ’til the industrial revolution in the 1800’s. It was sold by the hank and had to be wound onto a wooden or shell winder for use. He told me there was much more steam power used to run machines to produce things like thread at a much earlier time in England than I had supposed–mid-1700’s. Of course, most of my mental picture of that time (late 1700’s early 1800’s) is from P. O’Brian’s maritime novels, Jane Austen and Thackeray–none of which mention such machinery.

The Textile Museum had a lovely small exhibit with an astonishing display of beautiful textiles from the third world and very interesting books on textiles from various hard-to-reach areas of the world. Books one wishes to read but necessarily not buy.

At eleven I met Ellie at the gravel covered ring and we watched shepherds order their sheepdogs to ably herd sheep back and forth, around and through various obstacles. The man sitting next to Ellie was in town for board meetings with the American Sheep Council; he is a sheepman in eastern Washington State and had some great stories of raising polypays, sheepdogs, horses and kids in the middle of lots of land. They lambed out about 600 Polypay ewes and had a 160 lambing percent–about 900 lambs. His wife is a veterinarian; they raise corn and alfalfa to feed the sheep on hundreds of acres of land. Rainfall is about 15 inches a year. Their sheepdogs train on a small flock of ducks. The head bitch gets the ducks moving by pulling out tail feathers. One of his wife’s horses was entertained one day in the corral by a large territorial Polypay ram who repeatedly backed up and ran at the horse to butt it out of the way. Rams do not stand as high as horses do; the ram would miss the horse’s body each time, enraging the ram further, and ended up trying to jump high in the air to hit the hore’s side. It always missed. One dog will leave a bunch of 5 or so sheep way out in the far pastures so she can have the chance to run way out a second time. Some sheep who have been put out to pasture have ended up ten miles over at a neighbor’s if they are not satified with the pasturage.

More later. We are off to look at plants for Mother’s Day.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 08 2005 at 1:12 pm
People and Places Week
I feel like I could be a page in a Dr. Seuss book: “Oh, the places you’ll go, the people you’ll know”!

Last Friday the kids and I visited with my friend, her husband and their year-old-son who are Orthodox jews and were visiting from Chicago. What a treat to finally meet baby A. in the flesh! I found out Mama A. uses the same source as Sora for

headcoverings. she also said the skirts at Tznius are very nice. I told her about Dinosaur Dry Goods since she admired the blue linen dress I bought there for under $25. Shipping is higher than from Tsius though, I imagine.

Saturday was the start of the Spring Book Sale. I was there at 7.20Am and worked a charge machine for two hours, then helped restock shelves. The overall quality of books put out for this sale was higher than historically because we will have an extra month of book intake since the sale is a month earlier than usual. What a crazy place! Lots of people from all over the world come through due to Cornell.

Sunday as we walked into church, there was Emily, a single friend of ours who had just returned from a stint in Kabul, Afghanistan as a nutritionist with UNICEF. Since I had been obediant to the Holy spirit and made a lovely cassarole that morning, we were able to invite her home for lunch and hear about her experiences and plans. I am in the midst of reading “The Sewing Circles of Herat”, which she has heard of but had not yet read.

Monday the children and I left early and drove up to the farm to see my folks, for the day, stopping at the Amish grocery store, Sauders, on the way. What a great place. I bought quite a few pounds of yellow delicious apples @ $.49/lb.

Tuesday night I made dinner for a church family I’ve never met who just had a son whom they named a very hispanic name.

Wednesday we went to geography and other classes, had lunch with friends, prayed for friends’ family in crisis, and Jay finally delivered the dinner at about 7.30PM while I went to small group meeting. Had deliverd to me the remains of a beloved, very small, rare pet finch who had accidently flown into the receiving end of a vacuum cleaner. My commission is to “do something nice with the feathers”.

Thursday, yesterday, we had friends and their relatives from the Netherlands to supper and a walk in the woods looking at wildflowers of the Northeast, and a salalmander. That was after school and visits to dentist, bank and grocery.

Friday, today, I will meet with two other friends at Ellie’s at noon and we will drive to Frederick, MD for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Be back late Sturday night. Jay and the kids have a BBQ and a flower sale to attend to in my absence.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 06 2005 at 8:12 am
Bigfoot, a lost bird found and a local Osprey sighting
This story indicates “a northern Manitoba ferry operator has sold an unnamed U.S. television show his video footage of a large, dark figure that some are describing as Bigfoot.”

And this story tells of multiple recent sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker which has been mourned for decades as extinct.

Why is it we think we know everything that happens in the great outdoors when we are there so infrequently?

We saw a very large bird yesterday while we canoed down Fall Creek. We think it is an osprey. A friend has sighted a similar bird a few miles away. It had the characteristic ‘pointy elbows’ and hovering ability, as well as the black stripe on the head.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 29 2005 at 9:52 am
hellebores and peonies
The weather has been too nice to blog, until it started raining last night. I finished the critical spring weeding/removal of dead stalks and leaves/pruning/fertilizing so I defragged the computer–it seems a similar kind of chore.

Three more hellebores have bloomed: two are the purpley maroon, each with increasing numbers of blotches/dark spots and the last is white. None appear to have the dainty symmetrical freckles found on so many of my Mom-in-law’s plants. Oh well. They are still lovely.

The earliest herbaceous species peony, given me years ago as a seedling by one of Jay’s sheep shearing customers has seven thick dark maroony stalks up with the buds all large and swollen. The leaves are now changing to a bluey-green edged and veined with the same purpley color. And, wonder of wonders, there are three teeny baby peony seedlings come from some of its seed I have thrown around the plant yearly. It may be Paeonia Mlokosewitschii or P. Wittmanniana. It has lovely pale yellow/parchment colored blooms. The leaves are not coarse as articles about P. Wittmanniana indicate but the veins are quite depressed making the leaves quite textural.

The fern leaf peony is up and progressing nicely, too.

The tree peony we grew from seed must be at least six years old now, but no buds yet again this year.

Many of the older tree peonies had severe die back last winter. Will have to see how they recover. At leat two have buds.

All the herbaceous peonies have jumped up and have nice fat buds developing.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 23 2005 at 10:20 am
Carmina Burana
Yesterday afternoon Suzanne’s family and our family attended the IC combined symphony orchestra and Choral Union production of Carl Orf’s Carmina Burana.

Wow. Three hundred plus voices and a full orchestra–Jay counted over 30 violins–in a beautifully sound designed hall.

We were thankful it is in Latin and sung quickly since in this collection of profane (as opposed to sacred) songs some are much more profane than others.

There were guest soloists: the baritone was a professional singer is the brother of D___, the lady friend who trims and highlights my hair, who herself has a great voice. She restricts her singing to church though. We could tell his speciality is opera; he was much more expressive in singing, facial expressions and movement than the soprano (a professor) or the tenor (ditto).

Wow. The hall was full to overflowing with sound. I am so thankful we could hear loud music in an appropriate context instead of just on the streets of Collegetown as classes end…

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 18 2005 at 7:22 pm
I rather liked the Tenor. Poor, old swan!
The Baritone was rather impressive. What is his background? I would have liked to have read a biography in the program notes.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 20 / 2005 at 4:34 PM

Suz’s website:

They had a bio insert for him–I will see if I still have the program for you to read.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 21 / 2005 at 7:50 AM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

Whoever sang was not the Baritone in the program bio. There was a statement that he was subbing for the scheduled soloist because of illness.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 21 / 2005 at 8:29 PM
April is Poetry Month
Since the children need help remembering things and with their diction I have decided they will be memorizing at least one poem apiece. Here is the poem Isabelle will memorize:

Can’t by Edgar Guest

Can’t is the worst word that’s written or spoken;

Doing more harm than slander or lies;

On it is many a strong spirit broken,

And with it many a good purpose dies.

It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning

And robs us of courage we need through the day:

It rings in our ears like a timely sent warning

And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can’t is the father of feeble endeavor,

The parent of terror and halfhearted work;

It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,

And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.

It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,

It stifles in infancy many a plan;

It greets honest toiling with open derision

And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can’t is a word none should speak without blushing;

To utter it should be a symbol of shame;

Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;

It blights a man’s purpose and shortens his aim.

Despise it with all of your hatred of error;

Refuse it the lodgement it seeks in your brain;

Arm against it as a creature of terror,

And all that you dream of you someday shall gain.

Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition,

An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;

Its prey is forever the man with a mission

And bows but to courage and patience and skill.

Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying,

For once it is welcomed ’twill break any man;

Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying

And answer this demon by saying: “I can.”

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 18 2005 at 9:39 am

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