Thursday, March 30, 2017


My bruised knee is slowly getting better. Emphasis on slowly. It has been 11 days now since I fell and while my knee still gets sore and stiff after activity, it isn't quite as bad. I went to PT yesterday, and performed better than I expected. This morning I went to "Bone Builders" at the Dummerston Church and did ok. So I guess I just need to be patient.

On the basketball front, UNC defeated both Butler and Kentucky and have made it into the Final Four. They won the game against Kentucky in the last second with a basket by Luke Maye, a player "off the bench." He will now be a hero forever in TarHeels lore. There was some poetic justice in that win because last year, they lost the championship game to Villanova in the last second. But they have to get past Oregon, a very good team, to get into the championship game this year. The game with Oregon is Saturday night. It should be an exciting one. We plan to go to Katie and Savanna's. 

BUT, between now and then, we're supposed to get a big snow storm!  Tomorrow. That may affect a Let Justice Roll concert tomorrow night at the Guilford Church. We'll see. We are ready for spring, but again, we'll have to be patient. Today is bright and sunny, but not balmy. It is still very snowy up here on the north side of Black Mountain. 

The view out our back door. It's still snowshoe conditions up here, and we are getting more! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


I took another tumble, this time falling forward going up stairs-caught my toe. Right knee is swollen, sore and stiff - the curse of the 3  "s's" !! But I'm getting around ok. I just led choir rehearsal in Dummerston and enjoyed it. I went to the pool today and have a physical therapy date in the pool tomorrow. Once again, I seem to have fallen without serious injury. This was a case of a brief moment of inattention. Not a balance issue but a issue of mindfulness. As my mother-in-law used to say,  "Growing old is hell." It isn't all hell but part is. Ah well! 

For two days we streamed the Gorsuch hearings. We ate up all our data on the phone plan, but it was fascinating. I was particularly impressed with Senators Klobuchar, Whitehouse and Franken. Not so much with our own Vermont senator, Leahy, tho he was ok. Gorsuch himself was extremely skilled in evading his positions on things, all in the name of being an independent jurist. It was impossible to know whether he might prove to be like Justice Souter and side at least now and then with the "liberal" wing of the court, or whether he would turn out to be a doctrinaire conservative like Scalia was. I don't blame the Democrats for being worried, but it's hard to imagine a Trump nominee I would like better, so I have mixed feelings about a planned filibuster. 

Tomorrow after my therapy session, we're going to Northampton where Ellen will cook with Mimi - I hear that macaroons are in the offing - and then to K&S's where I will watch the UNC/Butler game. Butler has beaten UNC several times in the past - 3 out of 5 I think - so it will be a challenge for them. If they bring their best game, they have a chance. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Another nice day for a walk

Today we went to church in Rockland at the UU church. We actually sang in the choir, whose director had the lovely name of Sojourner. The two pieces we sang were unfamiliar but not difficult. Their regular minister is on sabbatical, so the preacher was a guest. She talked about "balance," and started the sermon with a video of a young man balancing rocks in a stream. He had an uncanny knack for it. It made a very effective opening. The name of Jesus was not mentioned in the service, and scarcely that of God. But the people were very friendly and welcoming.

This afternoon, Jim and Mary invited four people over to help them make 600 buttons! Yes. Mary volunteered to make buttons for the 27th Annual Downeast dance Festival coming up on March 24-25. It is very easy to do with a button machine. They've borrowed two. 

      Making buttons

      The button machine

       Ellen takes her turn

Meanwhile, I took a walk, to the same place - Crescent Beach - this time by myself. A bit breezier, a bit chillier, slightly  overcast, but still lovely. This time I counted paces - something I often do. Round-trip from house to beach was about 4200 paces. If my pace is 3 feet, that's 12,600 feet, which works out to 2 miles and a third or so. My pace may be slightly under 3 feet. Certainly two miles at least. 

      Crescent Beach today

  An ornamental mail box near the beach 

          Mailbox  - Close up

          Jim and Mary's house

     The ocean near their house. The snow is not plowed out down to the little cottage, so I decided not to risk walking down to the beach. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Nice day for a walk

Today is a bright, sunny day in Owl's Head, and in the low 30's, breezy, but still a good day for a wall. Ellen and I have not walked for weeks. Only a short one at Fort Robinson during our trip - back in early February. So we walked to Crescent Beach. Not a long one but long enough.

       Crescent Beach

       On our way back

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Scenes from Mimi's musical

We just went to a musical Mimi was in at Northampton High: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Probably a made-for- high-school musical with lots of leads, but quite fun nonetheless. Mimi had a small part; but was not just chorus. She is a freshman.

Tomorrow - Maine!

We've got snow, part 2

Here are a couple more snow scenes from Tuesday's storm. Today is a bright, sunny day, but it is windy, so it feels cold.

This is one of my favorite views of our house, with birches in the foreground .

We just came back from "Bone Builders" exercise group that meets at the Dummerston Church, 9:30-10:30 on Monday and Thursday mornings. Yesterday I had over an hour in the pool doing balance exercises. I'm really getting exercise!

Robin is coming for lunch today. Then Ellen has a 3 pm appt. at Hospice to talk about taking bereavement training. I'll spend that time at the Coop. Then we're going down to Northampton to see Mimi in a play. Full day. Tomorrow we go to Maine, to Jim and Mary's, for the weekend. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We've got snow!

Yesterday, we got maybe 14" of snow. A bit less than forecast perhaps, but enough. Zac plowed us out while we were asleep. But the plow left a high bank of snow behind the car. Also, there were high winds during the storm that left 1-2 inches under the deck. I had a noon PT appointment at the pool, so we dug out the car this morning. It was a bright, sunny morning. Beautiful!

      Ellen digging out the car

When we first woke up, after tea and toast, we did a puzzle called Spelling Bee. It's published each Sunday in the NY Times, but you can find older ones online. We love it. It involves making as many words as possible from seven letters, with one letter designated as mandatory- it must occur in every word. This morning the letters were ABCHIL with a mandatory N. You can use each letter as often as you wish. Each word is worth 1 point, but if you use all 7 letters in one word, you get 3 points. Ellen strives for at least 20 points or more. I am content with 15. When we are stuck we give up and look at the answers and inevitably groan - "why didn't I see that!" It's fun.

I just had my PT appt. I'm impressed with the arsenal of exercises these folks have to improve balance. It should eventually make a difference. 

Right now I'm using the SIT 24-hour study room  a great Wi-Fi spot. 

    Study room at SIT - it is always open

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Swimming, but with no camera

Things continue to happen, I'm still in the swim of things, but I can't seem to remember to bring my iPhone or iPod to take pictures! Right now, it is snowing pretty hard, River Singers rehearsal tonight has been cancelled, and Ellen and I are cozily holed up in our bed! Later today I'll work on taxes.

Yesterday, I had a PT session. Amy Emery put me through a series of exercises designed to challenge my balance. The idea is to fire up brain synapses and muscle memory that control balance. So, e.g., I had to walk heel to toe with my eyes closed ( try it!), throw a ball at a trampoline and catch the rebound while standing on squishy, unstable foam; then sit on a ball with my feet on an unstable disc, and raise my right foot and left arm simultaneously without using the other hand to steady myself. All very difficult! She was close by to keep me from falling, of course. Which she had to do frequently! My session tomorrow will be in the pool where falling is not a risk. 

     I also spent time yesterday reading in two books John brought me on environmental ethics. One by Holmes Ralston, III, one of the pioneers in the field (he is my age), and the other a FAT anthology of many writers which pretty much covers the waterfront of what goes under the rubric of "environmental ethics." I was particularity interested to read about "deep ecology," which has quite a bit in common with John's thinking, though there are differences also. This is background reading for the session we are offering on April 22 on "Eco-Spirituality." We are billing it as a "Father-Son dialogue." More on that in a separate post (when I can transfer things on my computer to this blog).

Yesterday, I also learned that our friend, Arleene Sweet, who lives in St. Paul, has gone into Hospice Care. Her daughter, Karen, had put out that word on Facebook. I immediately emailed her, and then created a voice memo on the phone which included a couple of Hallowell songs, which I emailed to Karen, who later responded saying that she had played it for her mom and that it had meant a lot to her to hear it. 

Sunday, I led the choir in Dummerston in the morning. We had a good little choir, and we did something we had not done before - we chanted a Psalm, with an Antiphon (a repeated choral response in 4- part harmony). It went well. 

Then in the afternoon we had a very special Hallowell event at the Guilford Church. Eight of us, including Ellen and myself, read aloud portions of Kathy Leo's new book about Hallowell, "0n the Breath of Song," interspersed with singing. It was a very moving experience, and we had a very engaged audience. That was followed by supper at Panda North for 26 of us - to celebrate Kathy's birthday. Ellen made a huge, 3-layer hazelnut birthday cake which was a big hit. But I didn't bring my camera! Waaa! 

But this is what it looks like right now outside our bedroom window:

Friday, March 10, 2017

Back in the swim

This week we have pretty much immersed ourselves in the river of our lives here in Vermont. Tuesday we went to Town Meeting  (which went for seven hours !) and to the River Singers rehearsal, Wednesday to Concert Choir, Thursday I led the Dummerston Choir rehearsal. Today, Ellen went to Northampton while I stayed home and worked on taxes; yesterday I had my first PT appointment, to gain better balance and strength on my feet. I've renewed my pool membership and have started to swim again. Wednesday, I spent some time at John's. So things are putting along.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

We are home!

We arrived home tonight and it is COLD! It is in the teens right now but earlier it was in single digits. The fire in the woodstove is struggling to warm the walls, which leaves little warmth for us. But we are fairly cozy under blankets and with a heating pad under my feet. I think it will be a bit warmer outside tomorrow, but it will take a while to get the inside walls, floors and furniture warm again.

We arrived at Katie and Savanna's last evening at about 7:30p.m. Just in time to have a little apple crisp and watch the UNC / Duke game. It lived up to the hype - the lead see-sawed back and forth most of the game. The 'Heels pulled ahead in the final minutes and won 90-83. A very satisfying end to the regular season. Betsey would be happy! 

We went to church at First Church, Amherst, this morning, ate at their community meal and then I went to the Smith College Library while Ellen went to the movies with her friend, Alia, who had been at church. They saw United Kingdom, which they liked very much. I was looking up books about Holmes Rolston, III, an environmental ethicist. Very interesting ! 

Here at home, I got the home fires burning while Ellen grocery-shopped. 

Then we did the "Spelling Bee" puzzle from the Sunday NY Times.  (How many words of at least five letters can you form from the letters C+XAITOM (every word must include "C" and you can use letters more than once in a word). One word uses all the letters, and is worth 3 points. Otherwise, one word = one point. We both got the 3-point word. I got 11 points; Ellen got 16, which makes her a "genius." I'm "excellent." Nothing new there, I guess.

Now we just have to get warm and back into the routine here at home. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Tonight in Erie, PA

We left Bartlett at about 9:30a.m., and got through Chicago reasonably well (the traffic going the other way was backed up for miles). We took US 6 east through Indiana to US 20 in Ohio, stopped in Oberlin for supper at The Alladin, a fave, and then through Cleveland on I-90 to Erie. A long day for Ellen.

    Going through Cleveland

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday to me!

We made it safely to Bartlett! We actually had a fine trip after the initial snowy Togwotee Pass. Roads were clear and dry. We came Route U.S. 20 all the way.  We stayed in Riverton, WY the first night, at the Paintbrush Motel, a very nice family-owned motel. We were in Valentine, NE the second night, and Galena, IL the 3rd night. We arrived Bartlett this afternoon at 2pm, and M&J put on a little birthday party for me and we were joined by Daniel and Becky. Very nice.  Thank you everyone! We're at M&J's tonight, and on the road to VT tomorrow.

         Birthday party, Dan and Ellen (Maggie & Becky backs to camera)

                                 Jerry. Maggie, Becky, Dan

                                Birthday cake!!

The trip back, we came by Fort Robinson again. Coming out we had stopped and walked - there was no snow and 65 degrees. Coming back on Tuesday, it was snowy and 32 degrees. 

 Fort Robinson, photo at about same spot as earlier blog, but different conditions. 

Yesterday, we did something we haven't done for a long time - we stopped at a RoadFood restaurant, this one the Tastee Inn and Out in Sioux City, IA. Famous for loosemeat sandwiches and fried onions. It was not great food,  but the graphics were sort of classic:

                       Tastee Inn and Out Drive-in restaurant