Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Scituate Lighthouse on a calmer day


Nothing like taking my Texan visitors (my granddaughter and her fiance) to see the Scituate Lighthouse when the wind is blowing at 50 mph. and the temperature is in the low 20's! They will probably think that it's always this cold and windy. Of course they had to get out of the car to take pictures and walk around the entire structure. Luckily they did not get blown into the ocean. By the time we got to Hull Gut at the end of the peninsula that is the town of Hull they were wiser and remained in the car while we watched the ocean roaring through the gut and the view of Boston just across the water. We did have a nice lunch, warm and cozy and with a lovely ocean view.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Well, this is it. This is winter: gusting wind, swirling snow, plows rumbling by, high drifts, 18 degrees. No more leftover flowers hiding under dead leaves. No more pretending that fall will ease right into spring. This is the reality that is New England. This calls for full battle gear: weatherproof boots with slip-proof bottoms; heavy-duty windbreakers, storm coats, parkas; warm snug hats, a few long scarves and mittens over gloves. Think thinsulate, down, polartec, lambswool. Of course, all that is only for running from front door to car door to store door. If you’re really going to be out in it, you have to start further in with insulated long-johns and various layers of tops and bottoms, building your warmth from the inside out. Do New Englanders truly love this challenging weather that is so much a part of our culture? Maybe some do, but most of us simply endure until spring.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Psalm 8

O Jehovah, our Lord, how glorious is Thy name in all the earth. Thou hast displayed Thy majesty above the heavens. From the mouth of children, even the unweaned, Thou has ordained strength on account of Thy foes, that the enemy and revengeful might be silenced. When I observe Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou hast made firm: what is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou carest for him? Yet Thou hast made him little less than heavenly beings, and Thou dost crown him with glory and honor.....O Jehovah, our Lord, how glorious is Thy name in all the earth!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Though it is daylight, hanging over the misty snow-covered field is a thin and fragile three-quarter moon. It is so vaporous that I cannot tell if it is real or a reflection of the real. The field grass is frozen and white. The unbending trees cast long thin shadows over everything in sight. As usual, my gaze is focused more on the landscape that is earth than on the pale streaked sky. I am such a creature of the earth. The earth is familiar and what my imperfect mind can most understand. It seems more difficult to comprehend the heavens.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The new heat sensors in the pool are being adjusted and today the water is 91 degrees. We are swimming very slowly lest we turn into soup. No high energy laps today, we are just playing at swimming. The face is the first thing to become overheated, then the chest. If I stand up (the pool is only 4 ft. deep) between laps, I can at least cool off the upper body. Just jogging up and down the length of the pool also keeps me cooler. Or floating on my back and kicking my legs. You do adjust to the temperature, however, and after about 15 minutes, I can swim crawl stroke at my regular snail's pace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009


In a weak moment I agreed to be responsible for decorating the tree representing the garden club. What fun! I gathered in hydrangeas (white) and sedum (cranberry colored). My faithful friend, Barbara, immediately offered to help and added more hydrangeas, pine cones and acorns. Hydrangeas dried nicely with a little help from my hair spray. The sedum faded somewhat but a little spray paint took care of that. We added lace paper doilies to set off the sedum. Beautiful! And so arrived the evening of trimming. Eggnog, hot cider, cookies! Fun, frolic, peace, love and joy, right? But alas, no: tumult, chaos, bodies pressing, ladders swinging by, temperatures rising; there are 14 people trimming the tree next to us? There is sweat pouring down my back, my legs are trying to tell me to sit down, my head will explode soon. My very smart friend has brought her pine cones and acorns all looped and ready to hang while I brought wire and scissors. What was I thinking? And how am I going to be able to pull joy from this occasion? Maybe from the many compliments on the beauty of our tree, the warm hug from a friend, the opportunity to go back and enjoy the trees when it is quieter.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


It’s not humanly possible to be happy every minute - is it? After all, from birth we are presented with both pleasure and pain. But we can probably be happier more of the time than we are. Maybe happiness is an art that can be learned through practice, kind of like playing the piano. Lately, I have been trying to keep reminding myself throughout the day to be happy. I guess, it’s sort of like the tried and true recipe of counting your blessings. Only not exactly, because I am trying to be happy in the moment and within myself, not thinking about external blessings. Happiness does, however, seem to involve a certain physical component. Your heart is happier when your body is comfortable and unstressed, which brings up the expansive subject of health and wellness: eating healthily, sleeping well, exercising, meditating, doctoring and medicating. Keeping your heart and your body happy could be a full time job.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Doing errands is sort of like slaying dragons: no parking space in front of the post office; convenient spots in front of the supermarket are taken; people are parked in front of entrances exuding noxious fumes; blocked in by a mail truck? But I'm trying to stay out of warrior mode
and enjoy the blessings of being alive. The girl at the cash register in Staples bounces on her toes as I fumble with my credit card, my "rewards card" and my purchases. She admits that her energy fades as the day goes on. This wonderful energy of youth which left me long ago. The blessing of today is that I finished what I set out to do and now I am back home where it is warm comfortable and restful.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feeling the presence of God

God fills the universe. God is in the very molecules that touch my skin. When I sit quietly, I can feel the energy and warmth that is God, touching me and lifting me up. Enthusiasmos is the enthusiasm that comes from feeling God's presence. Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a beautiful sunny day. It's a good day for a walk, a good day for cleaning up the debris from yesterday's high winds and pulling up the last of the annuals (which are still blooming but finally looking a little scraggly).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baking a Thanksgiving Pie

I am not an especially good cook (my natural impatience prevents that) but when I see an interesting recipe, my curiosity takes over and I feel compelled to gather in all the ingredients and follow the directions to completion. Today it is Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie. The first step is to crush gingersnaps and walnuts for a crust. I have given away my rolling pin, so I roll up the cookies and nuts in wax paper, plastic bag and dish towel and attack with a hammer. This is less than satisfactory as it leaves some chunks in with the finer crumbs and the walnuts resist crumbling altogether. But it will do. The remaining ingredients (along with my personal substitutions) mix together rather well and things are progressing nicely until I realize that, of course, I do not have the appropriate pan for baking the pie. Well, I do have a round cake pan which will work. It is not until about 15 minutes into the baking that I discover that the cake pan consists of two pieces - a bottom and the side part. I have purely by chance placed a flat pan under the cake pan so the leakage is not a complete tragedy and this pie looks and smells pretty darn good. You know what, I think it is going to taste good too.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sunrise Swimmers

Every morning, as faithful as the sun, we slip into the silky smooth waters of our community pool. Suspended between heaven and earth we become otters, dolphins, mermaids basking in an element that challenges our normal breathing process. Although swimming is a somewhat solitary pursuit, we are kept company by the watery ghosts of those next to us. Swimming is the least stressful exercise I know and the most peaceful. We can swim languidly letting our minds wander where they will or we can swim energetically pursuing an endorphin high. When followed by a hot soak, an invigorating shower and various ministrations of body gel, shampoo and moisturizers, we are ready for whatever the day brings.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Defining "graciously"

In using the word "graciously" in the title of this blog, I am reminding myself to be gracious to others instead of crotchety as I age. I hope that it's possible to talk about aging in a gracious and realistic manner and to include both the joys and the difficulties of life at this age.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The First Twinge

We all seem to avoid the topic of age. When we are young, we try not to think about getting older. Denial is a great way to deal with this issue but only goes so far. The first twinge of disintegration causes us to feel diminished as a person. Somehow we are not who we thought we were. My first big diminishment came in the form of a knee replacement. This ended a lot of my physical activities and turned me into a person with mobility problems. This was not my normal view of myself and it became necessary to reconfigure my own identity. My complaints about physical ailments arise because of this feeling of diminishment as a person. It's not that I can't accept my disability but that I feel like I am less of a person because of it. Does that make sense?