Saturday, October 29, 2005

Season's Greetings

Happy Halloween
from the Funnel Cat of the Apocalypse!

Funnel update

Last night was bad for everyone.
The kitten sat with her funnel hanging down
all slumped over, dejected and not feeling well.
The feline wilted and the mama cried.

This morning the funnel is pointed up toward the sky,
only facing down to chase a toy mouse.
Joy comes with the morning.

She is walking more like a cat today
and less like an drunken horse in deep mud.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The #$%@ Funnel on My Head

i was a happy cat
with purrs and pounces
and hearty naps.

they said i needed fixing.
i didn't know i was broke.

so now i'm fixed
and trying to clean
and clean
and clean
my tummy
where the indignity occurred,

and they take me
back to the vet
for another shot

a stinking funnel.

i walked backwards
i ran into walls
i marched around lifting each paw carefully

and still I have a funnel on my head.

it has been a bad week.

i'm purring again,
just pretending there is no
plastic collar.

kneading the place where
i plan to nap
in a little while.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pansy update

Ah, they are in the ground,
in the front bed,
around by the back door,
and by the corner of the garage.

You wouldn't recognize them
since I plucked off all the blooms and buds.
They used their blooms to woo me,
but now they need to concentrate
all their energy on developing roots.

I've tucked them in,
with hopes and blessings
for a little bit of green this winter
and a carpet of color next spring.

Here' s a picture in March
of the flowers planted a year ago.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Meaning and Purpose, part II

Still thinking about Roark,
the architect,
(or what I know of his character
from the first half of "The Fountainhead")
and thinking about Watterson,
the comic strip creator.
Realizing it is not Roark's
single minded focus
on his vocation
that draws me.
it is the integrity
with which he simmers.
Easy to confuse the two.
But a person can have
Roark's integrity,
his refusal to sell out his principles,
without focusing their life on
a particular career
or project.
Perhaps less of a challenge
to maintain integrity with less focus...
since the biggest threat
to integrity
is success.

Meaning and Purpose

The link takes you
to a speech given
by the creator of Calvin and Hobbes.

I found it today at just the right time.
After spending the morning
at the car shop
reading "The Fountainhead"
by Ayn Rand,
I was struck by the focus
of her characters...
their concentrated drive
to achieve one thing,
one purpose.

I began to worry about the
lack of focus of purpose
in my own life.

But Watterson reminded me
that the important things
are so frequently the things
that seem unimportant to others.

I've never focused long enough
and with enough passion
to master any particular
art or science,
but I have taken joy in each day.

I've never become proficient
at a foreign language,
but I've taken time to listen
to other people share their stories.

There has been no great novel,
no outstanding achievement,
other than the deep feeling
of integrity and satisfaction
with my life as I have lived it.

What a world it would be
if we stopped worrying
about impressing everyone else,
if we stopped trying to distract ourselves
with petty entertainments,
if we just lived well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hogwarts United Church of Christ

Okay, so we're not going to call it Hogwarts,
but don't think the children and youth
and H.P. fans of all ages
haven't noticed
that the church building we are buying
is a massive stone gothic wonder
with staircases and half hidden rooms
and all sorts of mysterious crevices and closets.

After a year of worrying
where we would go next,
old church building outgrown and sold,
cleared land on the mountain
too expensive to build,
this came like a gift from God...
the right building,
the right downtown location,
the right time.

There is a new spirit
in this congregation,
undampened by the bajillion meetings
necessary to make the move.
Suddenly we have a vision again.
Suddenly we have a home.

But I would still stick
with this crazy congregation,
if we were to spend the next year
meeting in a McDonald's parking lot.

The people make me think and laugh,
the worship helps me grow,
the children breathe fresh air into everything,
and it is the warm welcome that has given me home
in my own wanderings.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Like Brother, Like Sister

Brother man and I
seem to be on the same wavelength today.
If you follow the link to his blog,
you'll see him speaking lovingly
of hobbiest cherished
and then put aside to collect dust.

Long before I checked his blog out this evening
I spent the afternoon shopping,
not in a store,
but in the corners of my house.

I pulled out my mandolin
for the first time
in at least two months
and played a few jigs
and christmas carols.

I dug out old software
and tried to teach myself
the Hebrew alphabet
for about the fifth time
since seminary.

A rare free time to play,
and why pay money
for a new project,
when there are so many
already bought and ready?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Time to plant PANSIES

Went wild today at the garden store
and bought vivid purples,
velvety petals and green leaves.

I made the same shopping trip last year
and discovered that my fall pansies
hunkered down for winter,
grew strong roots,
and exploded with blooms in the spring.

Plan today for tomorrow's joy.
These flowers should take us all the way to summer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Today I visited
a woman with blue eyes
and white hair
and a sweet smile
in her room in a nursing home.
Over and over she said,
"little baby, little baby,"
while cuddling and caressing
a toy baby doll
(also with blue eyes).
She had nothing else to say,
but greeted me warmly
with those twinkling eyes
looking frequently into my brown ones.

I was reminded today
of the first time I visited
a lady with severe dementia
three years ago.
Jane spoke total gibberish
if she spoke at all.

Visiting her for the first time,
I realized with great alarm
I would have to hold the whole conversation
without her help.
While I've grown more comfortable conversing,
at least in general,
I still do better
with someone else also talking.

So, naturally, I panicked.
I just sat there and grinned.

And she lay there in bed...
and grinned back.
For the better part of an hour.

After that, every time I visited,
she lit up like a Christmas tree.
The facility staff and her family
all remarked on it.

She taught me how to visit,
how to enjoy someone's presence,
without ever saying a word.

Thank you, dear Jane,
for being one of my teachers.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Moravian Gardens

Walking through Old Salem
on a Sunday afternoon,
soaking in the peace
of tree lined streets
and simple buildings
of wood and brick and stone.
We strolled through gardens
with plants grown today
much as they were grown
200 years before
on this same land.

No fancy fertilizers
or pesticides
but fall leaves composted
each year
and mixed into the rich soil,
creating a place
that nurtures plants
and human souls
more each year,
not growing barren
with use and abuse,
but richer with care.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Rainy Friday

Perfect round raindrops collect
on patches of clover
and the steady sound of
echoes through the house
this rainy day.

What is more peaceful
than a fall day
off work
in the warm, dry house
as the rain drizzles outside?

(Meanwhile, the kitten
tears through the house
with toy mice and pens
and anything that moves
or might move if pushed,
just to keep things from being dull.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Off to the Races

The day before
the extra long weekend
running like a pig in a chute
on its way to a picnic.

Visiting as many patients
as I could in one day
before the weekly 3:30 meeting,
with a bonus evening meeting at 5:30.

Rush, rush, rush...
and tomorrow....

I sleep late...

cook breakfast...

and do
I want
all day.

Photo borrowed from last year's Pig Olympics coverage
For more on the pig olympics:

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mad about Marigolds

I look at the pictures
posted on my blog
and realize
--other than the bathroom sink
they all feature marigolds from my yard.

Last week I jumped the rail
at a nursing home parking lot
to pick the seeds
from a really pretty variety
not currently found at home.

The blooms are so bright
the seeds so available
the plants so lacy
and the smell of the musty bloom
lingers on my hands.

(The smell is not pretty.
It is not a delicate perfume.
But I like it.)

Perhaps part of the joy
comes from the distant memory
of one of my earliest gardening successes
as a young child
with a plastic cup
and a tiny marigold plant
rising from the soil.

Or memories of last summer
when the lace of marigold
and the lace of abundant carrot tops
danced together on the breeze.

More on the miracle of carrots later.