Saturday, May 15, 2010

Heart thread - 05/15/2010

Prayers for Jonathan on this Seventh Sunday of Easter as he bids farewell to the church where he has served faithfully and moves into a future known only to God - yet surrounded by saints in heaven and on earth who hold him dear and intercede on his behalf.

Word from Margaret:
Tommy Brave Heart!!!!
Dear all,

Just a very quick update: Tommy was extubated at 9:30 this morning. He is resting well, breathing on his own, with the right oxygen saturation rates. They will be taking out his foley in an hour or so (he can pee on his own then), and we will be looking to take out the remaining drain tubes and arterial lines within the next 24-36 hours. He is almost there, but his breathing on his own is absolutely huge.

Thank you, thank you for all your continued prayers and love, and light and energy sent our way. It is part of this miracle and we are so very, very grateful to all of you, gifts from God whom we know and whom we don't, for holding us in your hearts.

Natasha, Blaine, and Tommy brave heart

We offer continued prayers for his healing.

We also give thanks for Margaret and all who joined in today's bike ride to support the local Free Clinic.

For John Bear and Raven during John's ongoing clinical trial.

Continued prayers for Declan and his family as he is in a big chemo week. This is Declan playing with Daddy. You may follow his story here.

I give thanks for the graduation ceremony today at which my neighbor and friend Rob received a double master's degree. His wife and mother hooded him. I also rejoiced that one male graduate was hooded by his male partner and one female by her wife (announced without fanfare as partner and wife, respectively).

For Mark, Bruce, Mother Sandra, Janet, Jack, David, Frank, Jim, Kathy, N. and D. in their new apartment.

We give thanks for the ordination today of Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool as bishops suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles.
Photo by Christina House for the LA Times

We continue to pray for the Gulf Coast and all who work to halt the oil leak and minimize its impact.
Oil spill imperils an unseen world at the bottom of the gulf
Washington Post - ‎1 hour ago‎
We remember those recovering from floods in Tennessee.

For the people of Thailand.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thousands of Thai protesters refused to leave Bangkok's streets on Sunday despite three days of fighting that has killed 24 people and spiraled into chaotic urban warfare, with both sides calling for reinforcements.
For those who risk their lives for the sake of others.
Slain Oakland Police officers honored
San Jose Mercury News - ‎1 hour ago‎
WASHINGTON - Four Oakland police officers killed in the line of duty were remembered Saturday as President Barack Obama paid tribute on behalf of the nation to law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while safeguarding their ..

Ascension by
Bagong Kussudiarja, Indonesia

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

--the BB

This is not a theatre review

This is really more about me.

I went with friends to see Anton Checkov's The Three Sisters at the Vortex Theatre this evening.

The set and costumes were good. The blocking was good, the directing and acting quite good. The many characters were well delineated. I did not have that conscious awareness that I was watching actors performing that one experiences when the acting is not so good. In other words, I think it was a top notch production.

And I left at intermission.

That is not a judgment on the production.

A primary criterion in my response to plays and movies is whether I care about the characters and what happens to them. Love them, hate them, be amused by them, feel compassion, feel anger... no matter; do I care? Do I want to see what happens?

And tonight I did not. About two-thirds of the way through the first act I was ready to go home but I waited until intermission after the second act. In a telling parallel, I also left years ago during the intermission of Waiting for Godot at The Berkeley Rep. Excellent production then as well but (1) in that case I had read the play when studying 20th century French drama in college and (2) I had more than enough. I knew nothing would happen in the second half. In the instance of tonight's play, I did not care what happens in the second half.

As I said, this is really more about me and what engages me or does not. Give me Greek tragedy or Shakespeare, thanks.

I believe it is also a testament to Checkov's success in expressing the claustrophobic frustration of people trapped in unfulfilling lives. The characters are bored, struggling, and making no progress toward a happier life. I felt incredibly claustrophobic. Physically there was a set with many characters crowded into it and I was not sitting in the front row where I usually sit and can stretch my legs. But it is the emotional claustrophobia of the characters in their situation the connected solidly. They were not getting out of their situation. I had a choice, and I exercised it.

So this is being written while the third and fourth acts are being performed. I congratulate the actors, the director, and the Vortex for doing a good job. And I want to share some of the director's notes.

Denise Schultz writes:
As a pompous undergraduate student in the late 1960's, I hated Anton Checkov's plays. When asked to read these scripts, I groaned... they were boring, pretentious and were irreverent [irrelevant?] to the world I existed in.
She goes on to describe a transformative experience of The Three Sisters and concludes:
I became and still am a lover of Checkov's musical language, breathing characters, and his dynamic ability to tell a remarkable story. Either Checkov or I grew up. I am assuming it was me.
Though I prefer the slower pacing of European cinema to the rushed pace of Hollywood, I guess I have not yet matured with respect to Checkov.

I am much happier at home right now and, blessedly, much happier with my life than the poor folks in the play.

Sorry, Mimi, I know you loves you some Checkov.

For Checkov lovers in New Mexico, there is a good production at the Vortex through May 30.

--the BB

Friday, May 14, 2010


This is a photo I took this morning of one of the two Iceberg rose bushes. They are both in bloom and full of lovely, full, snow white blossoms.

Tomorrow there is some planting, watering, attending a friend's graduation, and catching Checkov's The Three Sisters at the Vortex. Somewhere in there should be laundry and thinking about Sunday's sermon.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

--the BB

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Il y avait une fois....

I got up to around page 120 in Volume Three today. This is part of the long, slow process of re-engaging my fantasy world and the current tale so I can pick up where I left off and finish telling it.

Things that need clarification or expansion or simple rewording show up on every page but basically I feel very pleased that I can tell a rich and engaging story. Well, pride goeth before a fall and all that. Nonetheless, it is gratifying to follow the adventures of characters I not only created but love dearly (or hate passionately).

From the beginning, back in 1972, these tales were only meant to be ripping good yarns and pure escapism... but with serious content wrapped in narrative. Entertainment is the primary goal (though I confess that moral formation lurks within the adventures).

I guess they are really children's books for grownups. Yep. That sounds right.

It all began as a bedtime story, and now it is time to put this weary body to bed.

--the BB

The evening workout

Two nights ago I was digging a trench in heavy wind. This evening was beautiful, balmy, and calm. I stopped, as usual, at the Despot, and loaded my car with more compost and mulch and a few other items. (No roses. I have my thirty.)

I came home, schlepped everything from the car to the back yard, and set to work. My neighbors came over and visited a while.

The windbreak is now in place On one side are the Purezza rambler rose and a grapevine, on the other a honeysuckle. I am counting on these three to cover the trellis in no time. On the east side that one sees entering the yard from the side of the house are white petunias, magenta million bells, and something else (I forget what already).

There is a stretch along the south wall between the present border plants and this windbreak and I plan to put blue delphiniums, purple foxgloves, pale pink petunias, deep purple petunias, and snapdragons.

This weekend I must get serious about dead heading.

I then had some supper and watched TV until The Daily Show was over. I am tired and my body aches just a bit from the exercise.


Sweet dreams, my frolicking fritillaries.

--the BB

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Booms will only collect 15% of spilled oil

God bless Representative Capps from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Oxnard.

She asks why there have been no improved technologies since the 1969 oil spill off Santa Barbara. In all these decades nothing better than what was done then, and that was totally inadequate.

Translated into rudespeak, she's saying, 'Y'all have done diddly, you irresponsible bastids." Only she does it like a lady.

Rape and pillage is all they know.

H/t to emptywheel

--the BB

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Questa notte

The winds have been out of control for two days now. It is just an integral part of springtime in New Mexico but it gets very tiresome.

I mean, y'all know I waited until we were supposed to be past freezes (and only one week after the last one) before planting vegetables. Well now my tomatoes are blasted by desert wind all day long, and half the night.

Tonight's forecast:
Mostly clear. Windy. Lows in the 30s to mid 40s. West winds 25 to 35 mph becoming northwest 10 to 15 mph after midnight. Gusts up to 45 mph.

This, mind you, is after the severe weather advisory was lifted at 8 PM. Hah!

We all know about mad dogs and Englishmen being the only ones to go out in the midday sun. Well, what about the evening gusts? Mad bears. Yep.

I have been thinking about setting up a trellis perpendicular to the south wall near where one enters the yard from the side of the house. The area between the houses is a bit of a wind tunnel. I figured if I could get some vines going that this would provide a bit of a windbreak to protect the likes of the America rose on the south wall that has been so battered by wind and cold that I am not sure it will ever be healthy again.

So I have my eye out. I was thinking maybe another grapevine as they grow so rapidly and some other vine or two. Honeysuckle, whatever grabs my fancy.

Yesterday evening at Home Depot I noticed some rambler roses looking healthy. Tonight I bought one. And another Thompson seedless grapevine. The winds were crazy (the wind actually opened the balcony door of our office several times today as though a ghost were walking in from outside). But I waited for them to die down. A little before 8 PM, when the wind advisory was supposed to lift, I went outside.

The wind had not relented, not even a little bit.

But I had the plants and decided I would not put this off.

So as it was beginning to grow dark I dug an eight-foot-long trench. At the spots where the vines would go I had to take a small adze to break the clay and sand up to enlarge and deepen the hole. I filled the trench with lovely compost. And I planted them with the wind howling around me. Their trellises are behind them, reinforced with 2"x2" stakes driven into the ground. A few other plants are in but most still wait to join them. When the winds die down in a few days I will add a 4'x8' trellis behind the current supports so they have lots of room to sprawl but it was too windy to even think about that tonight. Everything would have been blown over by tomorrow morning had I tried.

So I planted until about a quarter to nine.

I have rewarded myself with the very last of the Easter chocolate and some congratulatory rum. these are consumed with the sand in my teeth.

Mad. Absolutely off my chump.

If anyone has suck, please stop the winds. Thx.

--the BB

Heart thread - 05/11/2010

Happy Birthday to Debbie Bear from all the kids and me!

A blessed anniversary to Bob and Janet.

Let us remember Jonathan and the Missus going through a profound and difficult transition.

For all people and creatures and the soil and the water of the Gulf Coast.

For my neighbor Rob who graduates with a double master's degree this Saturday. For his entire family as they prepare to move to his next station in Mississippi. They are wonderful neighbors and I will miss them terribly.

Continuing prayers for David@Montreal's cousin Frank.
He is still fighting another round of cancer, but the doctors are hopeful. He's into the hospital in Vancouver at least once a week for blood draws etc and takes almost 30 pills a day (only one of them a repeat). Apparently the genetic material which was used in the gene therapy you all prayed his through last year was from a German lady.
Gratitude- more joyous gratitude than you can imagine would be an apt approximation of Frank's state.
Unable to garden or come into contact with pets, frequently dizzy or experiencing loss of energy, Frank was in full spring mode and ready for the summer he trusts is ahead for him.
Margaret sends a request:
I ask your prayers for my dear friends, Tasha and Blaine, and their new-born son Tommy. Tommy is not having an easy time at life so far.... and Tasha and Blaine are devastated with grief, fear and anguish. Please keep them and those who love them in your prayers.
For Mark, Neal, Rev MIBI starting a new job, David G., Jack and all others standing in the need of prayer.

For those killed, injured, or dispossessed by tornadoes in Oklahoma.

For those affected by the volcanic ash clouds. (Airports in Spain, Morocco, and the Canary Islands)

For Lyssa's Dad, Dan:
SO PROUD of Dad- he is making so much progress, so quickly! Pacemaker/AED implant planned for Tuesday, then rehab... still unsure whether that will be inpatient or outpatient. Dad would like to meet and thank all the officers that stood guard while he was in the ICU, he is so moved by that loyalty. Thank you to all who have prayed and supported us these past couple of weeks.
For Arkansas Hillbilly:
I just turned in the last two assignments for school, which means I am officially done with my coursework for the BSBA in Human Resources. Wow! I am about to be a college graduate, one of the first, if not the first in my family to do it. I am so excited I could just cry.
Now comes the really fun part. The discernment process sounds kind of like tearing your heart out of your chest, rubbing salt in the wound, having a group of people examine said heart, then put it back in your chest. After doing this for about a year, Bishop Benfield will have the final say on whether or not I get to go for the MDIV or MAR degree.
For Kate:
I have been smashed down to absolutely nothing and I don't know how to rebuild -- I'm not sure there's enough of me left to rebuild _with_. Pushing myself in the slightest leads to near-collapse. Trying to rest leads to thinking...and right now thinking hurts too bad.
I know, rationally, that it'll get better. I'm not giving up. But right now it's so hard.
For the Reverend Diane Jardine Bruce and the Reverend Mary Douglas Glasspool to be ordained bishops suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles this Saturday. The Diocese of Los Angeles is where I became an Episcopalian. I used to sing in the choir and teach Sunday School at St Alban's, Westwood, and handled adult education at the Cathedral Church of St Paul (the old building at Sixth and Figueroa).

--the BB

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mothers' Day

Here is a photo of an old photo of Hallie, my mother. She was working as a nurse's aide at St Agnes Hospital and had been looking to adopt a son. Mom and Dad already had two daughters. I was born on a Wednesday and one of the sisters said, "Hallie, I think we have your little boy." The following Sunday, Mothers' Day, they took me home.

Mom was a veritable force of nature but she has been gone now for a very long time. I wish I had more photos of her.

Here's to you, Mom. I trust you and Jesus are having a good time. Blessings on you.

Blessings on my birth mother, whom I do not know but gave me the life that Hallie nurtured.

Blessings on all mothers and the women who have been mothers of various sorts in our lives. Blessings on the women who wanted to be mothers and could not. Blessings on the women who have borne the grief of burying their children. Blessings and more blessings.

Fran wrote a lovely tribute to her mother that you can read here.

Margaret reminds us how Mothers' Day started, in a cry for women to organize against war.

--the BB

Sharing birthdays - updated with second photo

In my family three of us share yesterday as a birthday: my cousin Judy, my cousin Bessie, and I.

This is a photo of cousin Raymond and Bessie on their wedding day. Raymond has been gone for some time now but Bessie is still kicking. She is a truly wonderful lady and I just came across this photo and wanted to wish her, and cousin Judy, a happy (belated) birthday.

Family is a fluid thing. Raymond's parents were Uncle Ollie and Aunt Roxie. Ollie was Roxie's second husband; her first was an actual uncle in my family. So although there was no relationship of blood or marriage, there was nonetheless a deep bond of affection. You can't get more "family" than that in my book.

This is totally my favorite more recent pic of Bessie, hugging her grandson Dallas (2006). Can you tell by her smile that she is a fun person?

Today my "baby sister" came to lunch. I am the baby in my family, she is the baby in my ex's. We are all still family and she will always be my baby sister, her husband my brother-in-law, and their son one of my nephews. Her birthday is next Tuesday. May is a big birthday month for my clan.

To them all I say, Blessings on the day you were born.

--the BB

The work was all done yesterday

But today I got to simply enjoy the yard after yesterday's labors. Here are photos taken this morning before I cleaned house downstairs and got ready to serve brunch.

Not much happened last year but this year I believe we are going to have some iris.

The circus rose (one of them). I am excited as I wait for this bud to open.

The PiƱata rose has a few more blooms today.

The trench I planted with lavender spectrum flowers yesterday afternoon.

An Heirloom rose. You can see why I saw it and had to buy one more rose. (I know, I know, addicts always have a reason to justify their behavior.)

The Lady Banks roses have burst forth in an amazing profusion this year.

On the right side are the zucchini (foreground) and straightneck squash. To the left a couple of roses and in the center toward the rear a French lavender.

One of the Iceberg roses, flanked in the back by potato vines and surrounded with marigolds, gaillardia, calendula, white salvia, and petunias.

One of the two eggplants put in yesterday.

The Golden Showers rose showing new foreground plantings (yellow calibrachoa and dwarf marigolds joining earlier violas) and foxgloves added to the north wall border in the background. Hiding behind the rose bush is a honeysuckle to sweeten the air.

And that is today's garden tour.

I've had a little nap and am pondering onion sets. With tomatoes, chiles, onions, and cilantro I would have my own salsa garden. (Yes, lemons and limes would be nice but the climate here is too cold for them.)

--the BB