Sacred Music Friday: Praise To The Lord

F. Melius Christiansen’s arrangement of Praise To The Lord. Luther College’s Nordic Choir, Craig Arnold, Conductor.

house calls

I remember Dick’s TV coming to our house to fix the television (it was normally Dick himself). And I remember a house call from the family doctor’s office on a Saturday when I was sick. Those times really did exist!


what’s that?

I’m sure that every family has their cryptic phrases and abbreviations that no one else would understand.

One of those for us is “DSS.” It stands for Dog Secure State, after we have closed the dog door at night. As in, “I’ll go do DSS,” or “Do we have DSS?”

Where did that come from? When we first moved to Gilroy we had DirecTV, and they offered the NASA channel. The channel would broadcast the live feed from the space shuttle and the communications with Mission Control. At the end of the work day the crew would power down the shuttle and prepare for the sleep cycle. Like every other routine activity on the shuttle it was referred to by an abbreviation. It must have been “something-S-S,” and I believe that the final “S” meant “state.” We picked it up.

I think DSS must have been preceded by “CSS” when we had my long-time cat Clea, though I can’t say I remember that explicitly.

It sounds a bit silly, but I think every household must have something comparable.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

FieldGuideA Field Guide to Getting Lost
Rebecca Solnit
Penguin Books (June 27, 2006), 236 pages
Amazon Kindle $8.82, Amazon Paperback $9.28
Barnes & Noble Nook $12.99

I first read about this book on the blog Brain Pickings. The author praised the book lavishly, especially the writing, which prompted me to buy it. I enjoyed much of book, and I have to agree that the writing was marvelous. Still, I found the book uneven.

The opening essay addressed the theme of the title directly. The remaining essays touched on the topic to  greater and lesser degrees. Her description of her Russian Jewish forbearers’ sojourn to America was interesting, though the only one who might have seemed lost was her aunt, who spent much of her life in mental institutions. There were stories of Spanish explorers who truly were lost and adopted the ways of the Native Americans. Then there was an essay on other Native Americans who kidnapped white settlers, some very unpleasant material.

On the other hand, her reflections on sad songs and travel in rural America resonated with me. It brought back memories of William Least Heat-Moon’s travel memoir Blue Highways. Indeed the color blue plays a central role in this book. Her description of the life and death of a close friend was both moving and troubling. Close to the end of the book she writes evocatively about her time in the Mojave desert with a sometime lover. Somehow she manages to seamlessly shift the scene to San Francisco and takes us on a tour of the landmarks where Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo was shot.

In spite of those parts that I found less engaging, how can I not but feel well-disposed towards a book which ends with an image of elk on a remote peninsula in Marin county. After describing the elk Solnit writes, “The end of the world was wind-scoured but peaceful, black cormorants and red starfish on wave-washed dark rocks below a sandy bluff, and beyond them all the sea spreading far and then farther.”


I enjoy making homemade pizza. It’s a lot of time and effort however, so I don’t do it very often.

I made it a week ago Sunday. It came out of the oven looking marvelous. It tasted great. Problem is that it fell apart when I went to put it on the plate. I had gone too heavy on the sauce. As Terry and I agreed, I just need to practice making pizza more frequently.



Sacred Music Friday: Widor, Festival Alleluias

Symphony No. 5, “Toccata” with Festival Alleluias by Charles-Marie Widor, arranged by William Ferris. Easter, March 31, 2013. Wayne Slater, organist; The Chancel Choir; Festival Brass; Scott Dean, director.

stay in the game

Comedienne Elayne Boosler, who lived with Robin Williams in 1977 and 1978, posted this on Facebook after his suicide.

quote…I just want to say; though fb and twitter and the media make it seem like everyone’s life is better, richer, happier, and more successful than yours, it simply isn’t true. Life is hard, and it’s hard for everyone. I have watched my Peeps here struggle, and yet valiantly show up day after day, with humor and spirit and strength and hope, to try again. You are my heroes, you are the warriors, you are the successes. Everyone suffers, you are not alone, and you can and will win, but you have to stay in the game.

Thank you, Elayne. Yes, stay in the game. Please.

#115133085 /

(virtual) duct tape

My blog friend, Tahoe Mom, wrote about how her stage manager skills served her well at a picnic she helped organize. Her secret of success at the event, as well as in her long career as a stage manager, was, se wrote:

quoteOrganize, delegate, make rather quick decisions
and keep your eye on the duct tape.

That struck a chord with me. I realized that those are the same skills I employed as a Web content manager. I posted a response to her blog and told her that. She responded, “Even the duct tape part?”

Absolutely. Even the duct tape part. I can’t tell you how much HTML virtual duct tape I and my content team applied to the Web portal over the years.

So here’s to finding a new position in the world of Web content management, virtual duct tape and all.


long ago

My cousin LeeAnn’s mother was my maternal grandmother’s sister. I therefore saw her and her sister Mary at family events with some regularity. LeeAnn is a lot of years older than me. In advance of my birthday she posted on my Facebook wall an anecdote about me that took place when I was very young, which I will refrain from reproducing here in order to save myself considerable embarrassment.

She did however mention the old Methodist church in my hometown of Hemet. It was on Florida Avenue, the main street, at Buena Vista Street. She wrote, “It was just a short walk down the street [from my grandparent’s house] to the church and it seemed so big to me. Do you remember it as being so big?”

In fact, I do.

I was comfortable in the preschool classroom in the basement of the church. I’m told I was singing “see you later alligator” when we were supposed to be singing “Jesus loves me.” But the sanctuary was big and massive and scary and intimidating.

We moved to Barstow in 1960. The church property was sold to Hemet Federal Savings and Loan, and by the time we returned in 1963 the building was gone, replaced by a big, shiny, new S&L building with a large time and temperature display. It is now an office building for the City of Hemet.

We came back from Barstow to a new Methodist church complex at Mayberry and Buena Vista, where the church remains today.

menu planning

Over the last several years when I was working from home, I have done most of the cooking for dinner, and generally planned out the menu for the week. I tended to plan the week, at least Monday through Wednesday or Thursday, in my head. Perhaps it’s those brain cycles that have been freed up due to my being in career transition, but it struck me recently that it didn’t make a lot of sense to try and maintain that plan in my head. Why not write it down?

Right. Write it down. What a concept!