Sacred Music Friday: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, the Big Sing at Royal Albert Hall, London

you’ll never walk alone

If you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or better, listened to the audio book version read by the late, lamented author Douglas Adams, you know that the climax involves the spaceship’s computer singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in the face of impending disaster.

If you remember that you’ll understand why I had trouble keeping a straight face at church on a recent Sunday when that song was sung as a duet for the offertory. It was beautifully done. It really was.

Yet while I don’t think I showed any emotion externally, inside I was laughing hysterically.

I think the audio book, which we listened to on our drive down here, has ruined that song for me permanently.

Sanders vs. Clinton

Remember when you took those standardized tests in school and you had to decipher analogies? Here’s one that came to mind the other day:

Humphrey:McGovern :: Clinton:Sanders

Do you remember 1972? We managed to get George McGovern the Democratic presidential nomination over establishment candidate Hubert Humphrey.

And do you remember the general election? At Pitzer College I finished my dinner quickly in the dining room at McConnell Center and headed for the TV room in my dorm, Holden Hall. I never even made it to the TV room before women coming out said, “Don’t bother. It’s all over.” We got four more years of Nixon.

For my friends who are Democrats, I ask that you think about that before you cast your vote in your state’s primary next year.

pulling weeds

We have a lot of landscaping outside our house here at Four Seasons in Hemet. Even with the transition of the front lawn to artificial turf, there are plenty of plants front and back. And where there are plants there are weeds.

So Terry and I spend time pruning roses and other plants and pulling the weeds that inevitably come up.

There is something therapeutic about pulling weeds. First of all it gives me the opportunity to listen to a Great Courses lecture or two. But there is another dimension.Somehow pulling physical weeds is cathartic in the sense that I am simultaneously pulling mental and emotional weeds.

That is a Good Thing.


doing the Right Thing

One of the first decisions Terry and I made about our new home was to replace the front lawn with artificial turf.

A lawn on the West Coast does not make sense in the best of times. The idea of a lawn works well if you are in the British Isles or in New England where the weather supports such landscaping. As much as we love our lawns they require a lot of water, which is scarce enough even when we are not in a drought.


Artificial turf was not our only option, but we considered it to be the best option. Recent legislation and an executive order by Governor Jerry Brown mean that homeowners’ associations cannot prevent homeowners from letting their lawns go brown during a declared drought. But we wanted to be good citizens of our new community, and brown lawns are not looked on favorably by homeowners, the board and architectural committee, or the management company. Terry and I don’t like the look of a brown lawn for that matter.

Drought-resistant landscape would have been another option. The same legislation and executive order also prevent associations from prohibiting such landscaping. I’ve seen some drought-resistant landscaped front yards that looked really nice. But here’s the problem. You have to give drought-resistant plants a lot of water to get them established. The time to put in drought-resistant landscaping is before a drought year.


So we went with artificial turf. The work was managed by a local contractor who both my dad and brother vouched for. He did a great job. Some of the work he did himself with an assistant. He contacted out the concrete work. The artificial turf was done by a company whose sole business is that and pavers.

While the whole process took longer than we would have liked, we are delighted with the end result. The neighbors seem happy too.

We have no doubt that we did the Right Thing.


Sacred Music Friday: Laudate Dominum

Taizé Rotterdam, Laudate Dominum. Thanks to Unapologetically Episcopalian.

trains for crickets

I have written about how I miss the sound of the trains here in Hemet. I do.

One evening shortly after we moved here, as we were sitting outside, Terry sipping her wine and I my scotch, Terry said that we had traded our train sounds for the sound of crickets.

We have.

That really hit me as we were sitting inside in the evening on our very rainy Saturday last week.

Yes, trains for crickets.

But I still miss my trains.

so here we are

Terry and I bought our tickets last week for yesterday evening’s Greg Douglass Band concert here at Four Seasons. They were billed as classic rock, so we thought we would enjoy it. On Saturday we bought two lawn chairs at Target, since the plan was that this would be only the first of many concerts on the plaza.

The lawn chairs were already loaded in Terry’s Jeep Compass, and we drove over to the lodge. We found a comfortable spot to set up our chairs and went inside to get the Mexican buffet. We filled our plates and took them back to our chairs. The food was quite tasty and the temperature was cooling off quickly. There were a lot of folks there chatting and sipping their beer and wine.

The band was good, and people were out on the patio dancing from the start. It was rather disorienting to see older folk out there dancing to sixties rock. But then Terry and I are older folk as well. Otherwise we wouldn’t be allowed to live here.

Lodge1All was well until one gentlemen who was dancing fell. He was quickly surrounded by people who came to his aid. The band played on for a while until someone took the initiative to tell them to stop.

He was clearly surrounded by people who knew what to do. They made sure to get his feet up on a chair while he was lying on his back. They brought ice for his head. They told him to hold up three fingers, which he did. Eventually he was able to sit in a chair.

I was glad that there was such skill surrounding him, but I was wondering why no one had called the paramedics. It turns out they had. It’s just that we’re a few miles away from the nearest fire station. The fire department paramedic truck arrived as did an ambulance. They wasted no time in attending to him.

I told Terry that we probably should head home. I didn’t want to watch all the paramedic activity. I have a weak stomach when it comes to such things. It is good that we did. After Terry finished at the pool this morning she spoke to Brenda at the front desk. It turns out that he had fainted, but while the paramedics were there he had a heart attack.

So here we are. We made a conscious choice to live in a 55+ community and we really do like it here. We love being in a gated community and we love all the amenities like the bistro and fitness center. But sometimes reality rears its ugly head. As a woman said to Terry yesterday evening, it’s the nature of where we live.

Still, let’s hope that the jazz duo concert in August goes on without incident.

Jesus at home?

The Forward Day-by-Day meditation for last Tuesday was about the story of the paralyzed man being let down through the roof of the house in front of Jesus as related in Mark 2:1-12. In particular, the writer of the meditation focused on Mark 2:1: “When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.”

Wait! What? Jesus at home? How had I never noticed that before?

In a way I guess it’s not surprising. The Revised Common lectionary assigns this passage to Epiphany 7 in Year B. Unless Easter is on the late side we don’t get as far as Epiphany 7 in many years. This year (which happens to be Year B) we only got as far as Epiphany 5 before moving on to the The Last Sunday after Epiphany and the story of the Transfiguration.

Nor would it help to encounter this story as part of the lectionary cycle in Matthew or Luke. Matthew simply says that Jesus “came to his own town.” Luke doesn’t say where Jesus was when this happened.

Given the three-year cycle, one could go quite a few years before the reference to Jesus at home came up in a Sunday sermon.

I am guessing that this is probably the only reference to Jesus being at home in the gospels, at least for Jesus during his ministry, putting aside the infancy and youth narratives in Matthew and Luke.

I’m still thinking about what to make of the idea of the itinerant Jesus at home.

getting things together

chinacabinetOur cabinet maker arrived on Monday of last week and installed our new china cabinet. Terry and I wasted no time bringing in our wine glasses and china from boxes in the garage. We also brought in our stainless steel bowls and a number kitchen tools for which we previously didn’t have room. The cabinet that held our limited number of wine glasses was freed up for our juice and rocks  glasses. While we still have a few juice and rocks glasses as well as wine glasses in boxes in the garage we now have everything that we need for pretty much any occasion or function inside the house.utensils

On Thursday I decided that the pots and pans needed some rearranging. We did not do a very good job of organizing them when we moved in. All of our Calphalon and cast iron pans are now in one place, as are all of our baking dishes. I also decided that we really did have room for both of our utensil canisters and the arrangement on the counter around the stove is now much more functional, with the canisters and trivets on the right and the KitchenAid and FoodSaver on the left.


Friday morning I brought in a lot of additional kitchen tools, dishes, and containers for which we now had room. And as long as the momentum was going, I emptied out several additional boxes that we had to date managed to let sit in the garage.

On Friday afternoon we picked up an additional shelf from our cabinet maker, so now we can display the glass and gold figurines we had given my Grandma Monaghan over a period of years. We love having those to remember her by.

It was quite the delightful week for getting things together.

My only question: What in the hell happened to my good Chicago Metallic pizza pan?