Secular (no, really sacred) Music Friday: Inch by Inch

properly called “The Garden Song”


Terry and I have developed a new routine for visiting my family in Southern California. Rather than taking I-5 and doing it all in a single day, we take U.S. 101 and break up the trip. Doing so means we’re far less inclined to feel like Dorothy when we get home:

Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home ….and I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again…

As my friend Tahoe Mom said to me once, “I-5 will do that to you.”

Going south we stay at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo, which serves the best down-home comfort food you’ll find anywhere. Last year we stayed in Oxnard on the way home. This year we stayed in Cambria – one of our favorite spots. Our time there was all too short, made even shorter due to sitting in traffic behind an overturned big rig on the 210. (You say “the” in front of freeway names in Southern California. In the S.F. Bay Area and Silicon Valley it’s considered improper.)

Nonetheless, we had a marvelous ocean view room at the Whitewater Inn, and we had a wonderful dinner at the Sea Chest, where they take neither reservations nor credit cards, but where the food is superb.

That short visit decided one thing for us: we know where we’re going for our vacation in October.

sunrise, sunset

One doesn’t have to have children to notice the passage of time.

Terry and I got (back) together (having been friends in high school) in March 1991. Her sister’s son, Race, was born the previous September. I remember Race as an infant. I remember him as a youngster at Terry’s parents’ house at Thanksgiving. We had all had finished dinner and were watching Apollo 13. Race came dashing into the room as the capsule was approaching splashdown. He looked at the TV and said in amazement, “They’re gonna land in the water?” He had only known the shuttle. This month Race finished his junior year at Annapolis. We expect to see him graduate Memorial Day weekend next year.

When my nephew Eric, my sister-in-law’s son (and my brother’s adopted son), got married, his wife’s daughter from a previous relationship was quite young. At the reception when they had the money dance, she thought that was a great idea and started running around to the guest tables with her purse open. My sister-in-law quickly scurried over to advise her that this was not proper behavior. That marriage long ago disintegrated, but the daughter has stayed with Eric. She graduates high school this month.

Hard to believe.


Terry and I have done a few 5K walks together. I have to admit that I had never been properly prepared for any of them. So when we decided to do the AAUW Wildflower Run in April, which normally happens on Palm Sunday, so I can’t participate, but didn’t this year so I could, I was determined to be prepared. I made sure on my walks that at least three times I did a full 5K (3.1 miles) so I was prepared, and I was. I felt good about the Wildflower run when I had completed it.

We were signed up for the Mushroom Mardi Gras 5K, Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, which we love because it’s a pleasant route along the Coyote Creek Trail. I had planned to do the same preparation, but a trade show in Las Vegas and our Southern California trip, combined with unseasonably hot weather between the two, meant that that did not happen.

Given that, and given that Terry’s knee was in no shape to allow her to participate, I chose to skip it this year. Which is just as well, since my digestive system was in a cranky mood Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Nonetheless, it’s good to know that I can comfortably do a 5K walk with proper preparation.

there’s an idea

When Terry and I were down in Southern California last week visiting my Dad and brother & sister-in-law, Bobbie, my sister-in-law, mentioned at breakfast that she and Brian were talking about visiting Ireland and Scotland in a few years. Terry and I have long talked about visiting Ireland, and I spontaneously, without consulting with Terry, told Bobbie to stay in touch with us as we might want to make the trip with them. I found out later that, fortunately, Terry was very much in agreement.

At dinner Bobbie asked us if we were serious, and I said that while I didn’t think that I could stand to travel with my other sister-in-law, I really thought that I would enjoy travelling with this one. The other sister-in-law would be Terry’s sister, who can be very uptight and regimented. As Terry said in an imagined conversation, “No, Julie we’re not getting up to do that 7 a.m. tour.” Bobbie and Brian are much more relaxed in the way they travel. And Bobbie was quite pleased that we wanted to make the trip with them.

I think it would be fun.

Sacred Music Friday: Choir Evening Hymn

Kings College Choir, Evening Hymn

solar power and the power company

I noticed the other day that a couple in the development behind us with whom we are slightly acquainted seem to be installing solar panels. That’s great. We’re delighted to have them as part of the family.

One of the motivations to install solar is to reduce one’s dependency on the electric utility. It was certainly one of ours. The irony, of course, is that solar panels tie you that much more closely to the power company. That’s because the electricity which you generate and don’t use you are selling back to the utility.

That’s a good thing, of course. It’s very much an economic benefit to us. And we’re using a clean, renewable source of energy to supply power to the system. Working together, those of us in the neighborhood who have solar are, presumably, helping to reduce strain on the grid on hot days when electricity use spikes.

So our while our relationship with the electric utility may not be what we envisioned when we first thought of getting solar, it’s nonetheless a positive, productive, mutually beneficial one.



Irani Tea

Yesterday I mentioned buying Irani Tea online. As I noted, I’ve been an Irani Tea customer since the early 1980’s. I wrote about my long relationship with Irani Tea back in back in 2009 when I was blogging via Typepad, and I thought it was worth republishing that post here.

As a former resident of Moore, OK, where was I living when I first discovered Irani Tea, news of the tornado there hit me hard. The path of the tornado was only a dozen or so blocks south of my house. My thoughts and prayers are, of course, with all those affected. One excellent option for making contributions, if you are so inclined, is the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

27 November 2009

When I lived in Oklahoma City (Moore, actually, a suburb) in the early 1980’s my first wife Ruth and her two kids (whom she had in the summer and at Christmas) and I would go to an all-you-can-eat buffet called Duffs. They had a hot tea I really liked. It was lighter and richer than your average Lipton’s. The name was Irani. The PO Box address was on the tea bag tab so I wrote the company and asked if the tea was available by mail. I got a very gracious response from the company owner, one S.K. Irani, who said it was indeed. I began ordering it and enjoying it at home.

iraniAfter we moved to the Bay Area in 1985, I wrote to place an order, having written and printed my letter from my computer. (I don’t remember whether it was my original Apple IIe, or the 286 I got later.) While I was off at work, Ruth got a phone call from a very surprised Mr. Irani: “A computer letter from California!”

Somewhere along the way, amidst Ruth’s sudden death in 1989 and a few moves on my part, I lost touch with Irani Tea. Then, four, maybe five years ago, I decided to try and find them. I was able to find their address in Indianapolis, but they seemed to have no Web presence at the time. I wrote to Mr. Irani and asked about ordering again. I received a very nice letter from Katrina Irani Donahue, who said she was helping her father with the business. Terry and I started ordering and drinking Irani tea again.

Today Katrina is president and owner of Irani Tea, Inc. While for the longest time I had to request my tea by U.S. mail and wait for the shipment and invoice and then send back a check via U.S. mail, I can now order on-line and pay via PayPal.

I do love my Irani tea. If you like tea but find the standard orange pekoe & black tea from the grocery store a bit too harsh, check out Irani. You can find them at

mom and pop cyber merchants

I certainly spend enough money at Amazon, and I have made my share of purchases on sites like as well. But one of the nice things about the Internet and the flexibility that PayPal provides is that there is as much room for mom and pop merchants with their own storefronts online as there is on Main Street. Maybe more, because they’re not limited to their local community.

One merchant I purchase from regularly is Christian at He sells plastic rolls for the FoodSaver. I prefer to buy the third-party rolls because they are cheaper than what you buy from FoodSaver, and I find them easier to work with. Perhaps the quality is not really superior to FoodSaver’s own merchandise, but it seems that way to me. At least the third-party rolls seem to have more of a commercial-grade quality to them. I first found Christian on eBay, and he was the best and most efficient of the plastic roll merchants that I worked with. I now but directly from his own storefront, and he is always prompt and reliable.

Then there’s my friend Katrina Irani Donahue, from whom I buy Irani Tea. I have been buying Irani Tea since the early 1980’s when I dealt with her father by postal mail. Today I go to Katrina’s Web site and with just a few clicks I’ve placed my order. More on Katrina and Irani Tea tomorrow.

I think it is as important to support our cyber mom and pop merchants as it is to support our brick and mortar mom and pop merchants downtown.

missing Pentecost

Yesterday was Pentecost. I missed it. Or at least I missed Pentecost worship. As this blog entry goes live, Terry and I are coming to the end of a long weekend visiting family.

I really dislike missing the big events in the liturgical year. I try hard not to. But it doesn’t always work out. Trying to sync Terry’s and my work calendar with my brother’s work calendar and his and my sister-in-law’s personal calendar, plus accounting for the fact that we don’t want to wait until it gets too hot to make the trip down there, and we ended up, this year, with the trip coinciding with Pentecost.

Sometimes things sync with the liturgical calendar and sometimes they don’t. The Morgan Hill AAUW Wildflower Run is usually on Palm Sunday, so I end up missing it. This year it wasn’t so I was able to participate. But this year the family calendar has me missing Pentecost.

That’s how the liturgical and personal calendars interact.

In the words of Linda Ellerbee, “And so it goes.”